Instructions for Advanced SW1500 Frame

Tools & Parts Needed

  • Rokuhan Shorty Shinkansen Type x 2 (two units are needed!)

  • Rokuhan Dual Shaft Motor

  • Flat Head Screw Driver (5/64 or 3/32)

  • Needle Nose Pliers

  • Standard Flat Surface Pliers

  • Cutting tools (wire cutters, tin snips, hobby knife)

  • Soldering Iron

  • Primer for metal

Recommended Tools

  • Sand paper

  • Nail file

  • Screw clamp that can open at least 2.5 inches

  • Handrail Kit with Wires and Resistor

  • Wire Stripper made to strip 30 AWG wire

  • Tamiya Surface Primer for Plastic and Metal (works equally well for the shell, frame, fuel tanks and truck parts)

  • Micro Trains Tap and Drill set for coupler mounting

  • Metal Files for smoothing out print lines if desired

IMPORTANT!! The advanced frame use two shorties. The shorties are prepped differently from the SW1200, TR4 and the SW1500 Basic frame. Follow the steps below.

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Step 1

Using a screw driver, push the truck pin out from the shorty chassis.

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Step 2

Pull the pin out from the other side with pliers or tweezers.

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Step 3

While holding the shorty upright, pull the truck out from under frame.

Cut the two wires holding it in place.

Caution! The small black gear sitting in the truck can easily fall out.

Remove the small black gear floating at the top of the truck and place the metal pin through it. This will keep them safe.

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Step 4

Remove the wire wrapped around the two metal poles.

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Step 5

Remove the metal coupler box lid.

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Step 6

Using the screw driver, pry out the wheels.

Chop off the entire couple box. Do not damage the wall between the coupler box and the geared axle.

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Step 7

Remove the wheels with traction tires and replace them with all metal wheels from the other truck.

Choices: It is highly recommended the traction tires be removed to drastically increase electrical pickup. However, this is an optional step. If you purchased a plastic shell instead of brass, you may prefer to keep the traction tires. Keep in mind, the advanced frame has four powered axles and is endowed great pulling power for such a small locomotive.

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Step 8

Using a hobby knife, begin shaving the details off the truck side frame. Move slowly and carefully. Don’t dig too deeply into the side frame.

NOTE: The photo shows the non-powered truck. These steps are intended for the powered truck only(seen in the above images). The results are the same.

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Step 9

Finish with some light sanding. be sure no debris has gotten into the gears.

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Step 10

Put the black gear and the metal pin through the truck to keep it safe for storage.

Pull the wheels and axles from the unpowered truck and place them aside.

Repeat steps 1 to 10 for the second shorty.

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Rokuhan Dual Shaft Motor

Here is the motor and gears that will run the advanced frame.

IMPORTANT: Remove the black sleeves from both sides of the shaft. Remove the black sleeves from the worm gears. Discard all plastic parts that come with the dual shaft motor.

NOTE: From this point forward, the side of the motor with the wires will referred to as the rear.

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Step 11

Using a screw driver , pry the black shaft coupler off of both shafts (front and rear).

DISCARD ALL PLASTIC PARTS THAT COME WITH THE DUAL SHAFT MOTOR.

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Step 12

Place one of the worm gears onto the front shaft by hand as far as you are able.

Place the motor with the worm gear into a screw clamp. Using the clamp, squeeze the assembly until the worm gear is nearly as far as it can go onto the shaft. Be sure the plastic coupler has been removed from both sides of the motor shaft.

Do not push the worm gear in too far. There should still be some play in the motor shaft after the gear is inserted.

PERSONAL NOTE: I actually used a hammer for this step. If you prefer to hammer it into place, I can attest to it working out just fine. The gear went on straight and does not wobble.

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First gear done

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Step 13

An axle from the unpowered truck will be used for the next step.

Pull the wheels off the axle and place the wheels aside.

The small plastic axle will be used on the motor shaft in step 14..

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Step 14

Push the axle onto the rear motor shaft.

Check that the shaft spins freely. If not, pry out the shaft slightly until the shaft spins without resistance.

This is also a good time to test the motor. Use a battery to power it up and see if its working properly.

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Step 15

There are two worm gears with a shaft and plastic couplings.

If you have not done so already, remove the black plastic parts from the worm gears.

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Step 16

Cut the long shaft off the worm gear.

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Step 17

Push the short shaft into the black plastic axle. Make sure the short shaft goes all the way in. Pull out the plastic axle to give the worm gear’s shaft more room if needed.

Now the motor is ready.

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Test Fit

Place the motor into the bottom frame to check the fit.

Remove the motor for the next step.

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Step 18

Wash and scrub the bottom frame with Dial dish detergent. Let it fully dry.

Apply a coat of primer to the frame and let it cure overnight.

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The Frame Top

This is the plastic top part of the frame. It will be handling all the electronics.

It should be washed with Dial dish detergent and warm water. Scrub it with a tooth brush to remove any wax support material.

Be gentle while washing. The four hooks at the top are critical and must not be broken.

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Clear out the tubing

Using a .74 drill bit or smaller (anything about .02”, .572mm), make sure the wire channels are clear on the top frame. The channels will hold the motor wire and resistor wire in place to make contact with the circuit board.

The channels go though the front of the top frame and though the “box” on top of the upper deck.

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Step 19

Strip both wires coming out of the motor. You will need at least 13mm(half inch) of exposed wire.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The motor’s wires have non-conductive fibers embedded(see the image below). Be sure to separate it out from the metal wire or it can disrupt conductivity from the circuit board to the motor.

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Hidden problem

The two motor leads have white interwoven fibers. Tease out these fibers with tweezers and cut them off with a fresh hobby knife.

The circuit board will be connected to the wire by physical tension, not solder. If the fabric comes between the circuit board and the wire, no electricity goes to the motor.

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Step 20

Insert the motor into the bottom frame. Orient the motor so that the red wire is on the right side of the frame. Notice that the rear of the frame has two long beams protruding outward. The front of the frame has a single rectangular depression.

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Step 21

Thread the wires through the hole in the top frame.

The plastic top frame does not need to be painted. The top part of the frame shown in the images was painted orange for clarity.

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Step 22

Align the top frame pegs with the holes in the bottom frame and push the top frame into place.

Pull the wires up and out.

Use tweezers to adjust the wires so they do not rub against the motor shaft.

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Step 23

Use the resistor from the advanced handrail kit.

No kit? Use a 200 OHM 1/4W 5% resistor.

Cut one of the leads from the resistor to 13mm(half inch)

Thread the longer lead through the wire channels on the left side of the frame top.

Place the resistor body into the clip at the back of the plastic frame.

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A closer look

Here is another view of the resistor lead going through the channels.

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Step 24

Twist the stripped black wire around the short lead of the resistor.

Solder them together.

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Step 25

Bend the soldered wires around 180 degrees to move them out of the way of the shell.

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Step 26

Twist the red wire until it is tight and does not fray.

Thread the red wire through the wire channels on the right side of the frame.

Both the resistor wire and the red wire should go all the way through the front of the plastic frame (as seen in the image).

OPTIONAL: Cut any excess wire poking out the front of the frame and/or add a dab of CA glue where the wires poke out to insulate and hold them in place.

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Copper Pickups

The copper pickups transfer power from the trucks to the circuit board.

You can order pre-formed pickups in the SW1500 shop or you can use the downloadable template to make your own.

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Pickup slots

Just below the top deck of the plastic frame, there are thin slots that will hold the copper pickups in place.

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Proper Fitting

This image shows a properly inserted pickup on an unpainted frame.

Take note of how the copper goes up and over the box shape toward the rear of the frame.

That top part of the copper strip is where it feeds power to the circuit board (seen mounted at the top).

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Step 27

Start by inserting the copper pickup into the slot at the front of the frame then work your way back.

Repeat for the other side.

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Step 28

Make sure none of the pickups are touching the worm gears.

Push down the ends of the pickups so that they are at a downward 45 degree angle. This will make sure they there is tension between the them and the trucks.

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The PCB

The printed circuit board (PCB) has two tabs pointing straight up.

These will need to be bent to fit into the frame.

The instructions are the same if you choose to use DCC or analogue. The following photos will show an analogue PCB from an AZL GP30.

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Step 29

Using needle nose pliers, begin bending the tabs toward the rear of the board about 45 degrees. Bend away from the resistors(two black cylinders in the photo).

Use tweezers or your fingers to finish the bend to roughly 35 degrees from the surface of the circuit board.

This photo shows the tabs in good position.

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Step 30

Place the PCB on top of the frame. It will slip past the hooks.

Push the PCB backward into the hooks to lock it in place.

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Check the fit

Make sure the PCB goes back as far as possible.

If it does not reach all the way into the rear hooks, the PCB may need to be altered. See below.

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Adjust the PCB

Not all PCBs will fit all the way into the hooks on the frame. Some are rounded on the inside corners preventing them from going all the way into place.

File away no more than one millimeter from the edges circled in red to allow the PCB to fit deeper into the hooks. A nail file works well in the small space.

NOTE: The better the PCB fits into the frame, the better the copper strips will provide power. A tight fit will also stabilize the copper strips against the trucks.

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Step 31

Remove the pin from the powered trucks that were put aside in step 10.

Make sure the black gear is sitting upright on top of the truck, then push the truck into the frame.

Push the pin back though the frame hole and through the truck.

Turn the truck left and right and rotate it laterally to make sure the copper pickups are always making contact with the truck’s copper towers(the metal part with the holes).

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Adjust the Pickups

If the truck can be rotated to a position that looses contact with the copper pickups, take the pin out and pull the truck out of the frame.

Push the pickups down so they match the photo.

Mount the trucks and test again.

Make sure the pickups don’t fall past the copper towers on the trucks. If so, bend sideways it so that it remains on top of the truck’s towers at all times.

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Test Drive

The inner workings are complete. The loco should move smoothly down the track and the lights should turn on based on the direction of travel. Congrats!

For DCC, follow any necessary instructions that came with your decoder.

Having trouble? Try the trouble shooting tips below to get your loco going.

Please send any questions to: thezmaker@gmail.com

Trouble Shooting

  • The lights come on but the motor doesn’t activate

    This can happen if the red wire or the resistor lead is not making contact with the PCB. See if the tabs on the PCB are pinching the red wire and/or the resistor lead. The two tabs on the PCB may need to be bent outward so they pinch the red wire more forcefully. Another possibility is the white fibers embedded into the red wire may be blocking contact. Check the stripped part of the red wire to make sure there are no fibers present. See step 19 for more info.

  • No lights or motor activation

    Turn up the throttle and push down on the PCB while the locomotive is on the track. If this gets it moving, the copper pickups are not securely making contact with the PCB. The PCB may need to be filed down so it will fit better into the frame. Go to step 30 for more information. Also, try bending the pickups upward at the area they make contact with the PCB.

  • Stuttering, excessive grinding noise

    The top frame may not be pushed all the way into the bottom frame. The plastic top part of the frame holds the motor in place and aligns the worm gears with the truck gears. If the top frame is loose or not fully in place, it can cause a number of problems. Check that all six pegs on the top frame are pushed all the way into the bottom frame. The coat of primer on the bottom frame should provide enough friction to hold the top frame in place. If not, add a dab of CA glue to secure it.