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July 29, 2014 Restoring a Rivarossi Tender

I bought a spare oil tender for my Rivarossi articulateds off eBay and it needs a bit of fixing up.  The basic tender is in pretty good condition,  The only problem is the missing step irons.

The missing step irons are a simple fix, I glued on some of my own resin castings with super glue then painted them with flat black.  Even looking closely the steps look like they are the original Rivarossi steps.

In the picture above I have pushed a warm white 3 mm LED into the existing backup light hole.  I will remove the rusted weight and install a speaker for a DCC sound decoder.

  Here I have removed the rusted weight and installed a DCC speaker.  I rewired the power pickup to connect to a ⅜" wide copper strip below the frame/floor shown in the picture below.

I have removed the Rivarossi trucks and installed Precision Scale #32346 Buckeye Tender Trucks for better tracking, added weight but mainly for the much improved power pickup.  Good electrical conduction to the rails is very important for DCC operation.

The next step was to cut a hole below the platform for the NMRA 8 pin DCC male connector.  Originally I had tried a small round hole a bit larger than the wire bundle going to the connector but that failed.  The wires need plenty of room to move around going through turnouts or the tender will derail rather easily so now standard procedure is the large rectangular hole.  The larger hole can't be seen when the tender is coupled up to a locomotive.  The larger hole has another advantage, the NMRA connector will clear the hole so the decoder wiring harness can be fully assembled before installation.

Now on to wiring the tender for DCC operation

I use connectors purchased off eBay to make NMRA compatible connectors for all my DCC decoder ready equipment.  I buy double row 2.54mm socket strips for approximately 50¢ each off eBay in quantity.  The connectors can be used either as a male plug or female socket.  One strip will make 10 NMRA connectors. 

The picture above shows a double row connector before and after cutting. 

The best vender I've found for #30 gauge wire is Train Control Systems, they have a great selection at a good price too.

This is the NMRA Color Code

Here I have one of the 8 pin connectors in my Panavise with it wired for the female end of the wiring harness, the DCC decoder will plug into this connector.

This is the wiring harness ready to be installed, notice the red paint on the connectors to prevent accidental reverse insertion.  The harness is essentially an extension cord for the decoder with a breakout for tender power pickup and connection to the backup light.

The picture above shows the female NMRA connector mounded to the tender shell.

The DCC wiring is completed and the tender is ready to be reassembled.  After a bit of track testing and some minor touch up here and there it will be ready for freight service behind a Cab Forward or an AC-9.

Finished Southern Pacific Oil Tender, DCC Ready.      

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