"How to" Series

Modifying the light board: Steps 7 - 11


Isolated light board


Step 7 - Using the picture at the right as a reference, isolate the light board by scoring the metal traces with a sharp #11 X-acto blade on each side of the screw hole; being careful to only cut as deep as needed.  Pry up or file the waste between the scored lines so as to leave a ~1/16" gap.


(Special thanks goes to Tony's Train Exchange for their helpful DCC Decoder and Sound Installations .pdf manual. The information for the correct isolation gapping was gleaned from Fig. 12 on pg. 15 of the link above.)

Front and rear contact clips removed


Step 8 - Use a small pair of flat-jawed or needle-nose pliers to "peel" off both the two front copper headlight clips and the rear motor contact clip.  (They should come off fairly easily, with only a mild amount of rocking motion.)  Remove the remaining rear clip rivet with a 1/16" drill bit and pin vise.  Leave the front clip rivets in place, as these will be used for mounting the front LED headlight.

Pre-bent LED for front headlight


Step 9 - Modify a 3mm (T1) Golden-white or Sunny-white LED. (For specific details, see this page.

FYI: LEDs are diodes and current only travels through them in ONE direction ONLY.  Unlike incandescent bulbs, an LEDs orientation is very crucial to it working properly.  With that being the case, take extra precaution to follow the next directions so you don't have to go back and "correct" what you just wired up.

Soldered Front LED headlight (bottom view)


Step 10 - Position the modified LED to the front and bottom side of the lightboard (the dog leg will "step up" when in the correct orientation) so that the leads stradle both rivets.


With the LED in place and using the diagram above, solder the cathode (-) lead to the front rivet and trim it flush.  (Be sure not to inadvertently solder the anode to the same rivet in the process.)  Slide a small piece of 1/16" OD heat shrink over the anode (+) lead to electrically insulate it from the cathode rivet.  Solder the anode lead of the LED to the other rivet and trim it flush with a pair of nippers.

Modified LED sits slightly higher
Modified light board with headlight shroud


Step 11 - Reattach the modified light board to the chassis with the two screws.  Cut a 3/16" long section of 1/8" OD black heat shrink and slide it over the bulb end of the front LED headlight.  (No need to shrink the tubing around the bulb. Just leave it loose.)  This will be used as a shroud to concentrate the beam of the LED through the front headlight lens.