FITTING DAPOL LIGHT BARS (NC040) TO COACHES
I have just had the experience of fitting the Dapol Light Bar to a set of GWR Collett coaches. It wasn’t easy so I am putting together a few tips on how to proceed with this. However I have to point out that these are guidelines and suggestions only and I cannot be held accountable for anything that may go wrong with your fitting.
The Collett coaches have four pieces of wire that represent pipework at the ends of the coach. The instructions say that these should be removed using a pair of long-nosed pliers and to pull the wire away from the body and NOT the roof.
What the instructions don’t tell you is that these four wires, which are just over a centimetre long, are under tension like a spring. I found that my long-nosed pliers (I have two types) were too large to grip the wire anywhere BUT on the roof. I ended up using the blade of a scalpel knife, carefully easing it under the wire as far from the roof as I could get. The first two wires sprang out at an alarming pace and in the process I lost one. Therefore I made sure that for the others (I did three coaches) I kept a finger on the wires on the roof.
“The roof can be pulled away from the body using finger pressure.” Yeah, right! I was trying everything to gently squeeze the body to no avail. In the end I found that a fingernail easing itself under the roof at the coach’s end, easily prized the roof up off the body.
Inside the roof there are two lines in the plastic, into which the light-bar fits. The light-bar instructions say “Do not use glue”. However the light-bar does not clip into place and as soon as you tip the roof over, it falls off! I used a tip from a customer, who just rested his light-bars in place and found that the heat of the bulbs melted bits of the internal coachwork and roof!! He then used a bit of blue-tack, as I have done, to keep the bar in place. But why can’t we glue them in place?
Clipping the electric connection in place can be a bit fiddly as they only connect in one way, but that done, the roof then easily clips back into place, though care has to be made about where the wires connecting the electrics go.
Then comes the difficult part – refitting the four ‘pipes’ back on. I found the best way was to insert the wire into the body end first and use the pliers to pull the wire over the roof to drop into the hole – however it would seem that the wires are bent in such a way, that they are left and right-handed! So you need to study the way the wire looks before attempting to refit them.
Having said all this, I was most impressed by the look of the coaches when lit up. However I have one remaining question for Dapol. Why don’t you fit the light-bars when assembling the coaches yourselves – yes I know they will cost more, but most of us are not good at doing this sort of thing and would pay for this option.
By the way, it took me nearly an hour to fit the first one, but only about ten minutes on the third one. It is a shame that the coaches are only lit when there is power in the rails, but then if I wanted it to work when stationary, I’d have to go digital.