Inside the KHIAC 44

The KHIAC NSWR 44 came as a bit of a surprise to many O-scalers I would imagine. It arrived on the market very suddenly and was priced keenly. It’s a Chinese brass r-t-r locomotive and happens to be one of my favourite prototypes, so it didn’t take too long for me to decide that I wanted one. It took four days to arrive in the mail and was in pieces on my workbench the night it arrived.

What I found upon examining the 44 didn’t really surprise me: the body was nicely painted and the detailing was ok: there are a few quibbles I have with the body details, but overall the loco looks right on the track and I couldn’t argue with the price. The only problem was that I wanted to see how it ran and I use DCC, so I started working on modifications to add a DCC decoder right away. I had already purchased a Loksound XL with the correct sound file from The Railroad Model Craftsman, so I had that base covered.

I removed the body from the chassis and found that the motor wasn’t really up to the standard I needed. It was some cheap, generic item and I wanted a high-efficiency Japanese can motor to replace it. I looked in my parts drawer and found I had a good quality Sagami on hand that had been purchased a few years ago that was supposed to be used in a project that I still hadn’t started. I also found some NWSL universals and 1/8″ shafting stock that looked like it was also going to come in handy as the motor I was replacing with the Sagami was considerably longer than the Japanese motor. I suspect that the motor supplied is an 18 volt motor, all the more reason to replace it.

I removed the old motor and found that the new motor was a drop in replacement, but it only needed one of the motor cradles to hold it in place. I used two of the screws from the the leftovers I had from converting my CPH (which comes from the same Chinese manufacturer as the 44 as far as I can tell) to fix the motor in position. I cut to size and fitted the new drive shaft, as the one supplied was now too short to reach the motor. After I got everything hooked up I temporarily wired this setup to the decoder and tested the motor and chassis for the first time. The running was very nice: it ran smooth and quiet through the points on QW. The sound files on the decoder were really different to the 48 class sounds I have on another decoder and the XL was doing a nice job of producing plenty of decibels.

Over the next couple of days I designed and assembled a small circuit board to allow operation of the lights installed in the body. I found that the marker lights, front and rear, are lengths of fibre optic but that these are not held in place with any glue, so the ends have a tendency to poke out or fall back inside the body. The headlights too are unsecured. I polished the ends of the fibre optic to ensure decent light emission and then glued them in place with some epoxy. I put a small drop on the inside so they were secured in postion. All the lights are LEDs and these will be operated in conjunction with the head lights: so when the front headlight is on the front white marker light and rear red marker light will also be on. I also took the opportunity to install a cab light and this will also be alight when the headlight is on, depending on direction. I felt I didn’t need to be able to switch these on and off separately but this can be altered later.

I installed the home brewed circuit board and started hooking up the wires. I got about half way through this job only to discover that my assumption that the wiring followed the standard DCC colour coding was incorrect, so I now have to got back and redo some of this work before I can get things working as intended. I’ll post a photo of the assembled loco when I finish but for now I’ll post some photos of the insides.

This upgrade was simple to carry out and will allow my new 44 to run with DCC sound.

2 thoughts on “Inside the KHIAC 44

  1. Hi Trevor

    Did you check to see if the model tracks true and that the bogies are centred, and work on a small radius?

    I also have a sagami to fit to my 44, but before that I need to remove the bogies and check why the bogies are off centre and it appeared that the top style saddle that that the bogies are screwed to are bent, the “B” bogie being worse that the “A” bogie.

    What is the current rating of the Loksound XL that you are using?

    • Keiran,
      The model seems to track fine through my points but I will have to check whether my bogies are off centre. I didn’t notice this on mine while I had it open.
      The stall current on the XL is 4amp, more than adequate for this application and a bit of of overkill if you swap out the motor. I had the XL on hand with the correct sound files installed so it was a no brainer as far as I’m concerned. A LokSound 4.0 HO decoder would probably be adequate if you put a good can motor in it and it’s a lot cheaper too.
      I got the sound files loaded on by Gary SS at the Craftsman.

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