Installing a DZ123 in Bachmann Plymouth Switcher

This little Bachmann is another body-full-of-chassis split-frame model, and runs really well for a small six-wheeler.

Preparing to Install

The chassis and body shell

The body shell lifts off easily; the chassis is a tight fit.

switcher underframe removed
switcher wheels removed

I took off the underframe (I had already swapped the couplers for MicroTrains), and then removed the wheels. You can also see where I have removed one of the pickup contacts as well; more about this later. These are screwed to the chassis, and press against the outside face of the wheels.

switcher chassis disassembled

The chassis needs to be totally disassembled, as the frame halves will need milling, cutting and filing, and you don't want metal filings anywhere near the moving parts.
Take care to record what went where, step by step; I use my digital camera to make the records.

switcher milled frame

The decoder is going to go in the very top of the cab, and needs a space to fit.
I also cut off the tabs that were the motor contacts, and made more room for an LED headlight.

All electronics installed

In order to fit this very small space, I chose to remove the red sleeve from the DZ123 (not approved by Digitrax, but I chose to take my chances!) and it sits on Kapton tape to insulate it from the chassis.
As you can see in this assembled view, there's lots to pack into a small space!
I fitted a LED headlight, with series resistor, and also a micro-LED reverse light at the top of the cab. The blue stuff is BluTack, a flexible reusable sticky stuff that holds the lights in place very easily.
The red and black wires go through existing openings in the chassis into the wheel wells, and are soldered to the back of the contact strips for the wheels, providing the power input. The motor wires are soldered directly (very quickly to avoid melting the motor shell) to the brush caps.

switcher completed

Everything packs inside, and I added Microscale Kristal Klear glazing to help hide the wires in the interior.

As a final measure of success, the little switcher had a road test at the Zoolights recently; yes it really pulled that train all round the track!

switcher pulling power


Questions or more, please contact me.

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