Playmobil 4010 2.4 ghz Conversion

Background

The Playmobil PM Train (4010) is a battery powered (4 X AA) remote control locomotive, utilizing 27 mHz radio signal.  It is a nice loco robust and great for the Grandchildren to play with, however its down side is the 27 mHz radio band which has two main issues:

  • Interference which can be caused by several factors, some of which are listed below:-
    Low battery volts in the train or transmitter.
    Other radio controlled  items using the 27 MHz frequency.
    Paging systems in halls and outside radio operated CCTV.
  • Blind spots, i.e. when to loco goes either in a tunnel or through a cutting.

Solution

The original electronics are all contained within the power bogie, with a single lead into the body to power the LED lights.

My proposition is to removed all the electronics and and replace with a 2.4 gHz system including a sound system, but retain the original battery system, but with 4 X 2300 mAh NiHm batteries.

The above diagram describes the proposed system.

Bogey Removal and Disassembly

The first steps are the removal of the bogies.  As can be seen from the right hand bogey (power bogey) in the photo, these are retained by four lugs.  Gentle but positive leverage will remove them.

No further work will be required on the none powered bogey.  To remove the bogey carrier unscrew the two countersunk screws in the top, and then gently prise out the lugs front and rear to release the bogies, the aerial sliding through the hole in the carrier body.

To get to the electronics the top of the bogey need to be removed.  Remove the two screws holding the brass strips to the harness socket, as shown in the photo above.  Turn over and remove the rear most two screws, the front screw retains an internal weight and does not need removal. 

With the screws removed there are two lugs at the front and rear, and one lug either side prise these out and the top of the bogie lifts off.  Be aware that the rear axle is now free to move and can dislodge the motor.

The component part of the power bogey shown right.

For this conversion the battery compartment will remain in tact and the brass strips and power socket will be used to power the new components in the loco main body.  All the other items will be removed.

The removal of the electronics requires four wires to be disconnected, two from the copper battery connections, and two from the motor.  The top of the aerial is removed and the aerial slid out of the bogie top, and that is it

The bogie is now preprepared with the connections for the new electronics. 

Two wires are connected to the motor and utilizing the aerial hole in the top plate of the bogie.  The bogie re-assembled including the brass strips and power socket.

The power socket will now provide the power to the new components, and the Electronic Speed Control  (ESC) output will connect to the new motor wires.

Body Disassembly and Re-fit

To remove the body shell from the chassis six screw are removed, one in each centre recess, and two from each end.  Though the end screws hold the cab controls panels on, these in turn help retain the body shell.  You now have full access to the remaining components, and will be able to determine how you would position each component, and what other work you wish to do.

I decided that I would upgrade the LEDs to bi-colour (red/white) two wire LEDs, where the change of polarity on the LED changes the colour.  I used miniature sockets for “grain of wheat” lamps to replace the existing LEDs, this way I could ensure that I had white light at the front and red light at the back, and at these are powered from the motor line, when the power to the motor is reversed, so are the colours.

As this is having sound, a speaker is required.  I had a 63 mm speakers, that I decided to fit where the weight fits.  The single screw was removed and the clips eased outward and the weight removed.  Fitting the speaker was not quite straight forward, opposing sides of the speaker base had 1 -2 mm removed on the longitudinal axis, then the chassis internal bracing for the weight was removed.  Holes drilled in the base for the sound to exit and the speaker bolted in position.

The side around the the speaker were built up so that the weight could be fitted using Velcro above the speaker.  At the front end, above the motorized bogie the receiver (Rx) and  ESC were fitted to the pillar using Velcro, and the sound card attached to the rear pillar.

Bench testing took place and it was found that the 4 X NiMH batteries were not powerful enough to drive the electronics and the the motor and a “New Solution needed to be found.  The solution being using a Li-Ion 2S battery, which required the wiring diagram to change and some additional components, primarily a charging socket for the batteries which would now be charged in-situ on the loco.

The Rx, ESC and sound card remained in the same places, and a plasticard baffle was fitted to the top of the speaker.  The new Li-Ion 2S battery took almost 2/3 the spaced of the weight, so the weight was cut down to fit the remaining space.

The power switch/charging module was fitted in in the removable front bulk head.  To facilitate the removal of this bulkhead, if it is required, the clips holding the two seats were eased so they could be removed first.

All redundant electrics from the original battery system was removed, and weight was added in the original battery holder to balance the front bogie and assist traction.

 

Once content that it was all working correctly the body was refitted, connection re-made and bogies re-fitted.

Main Suppliers used for the components:

  • RC Trains
  • Micron Radio Control
  • Garden Rail Outlet
  • kokologgo (eBay)

Components used:

  • Rx – MR001a
  • ESC – Cobra ESC 161
  • Step-up- RC Trains
  • MyLocoSound
  • Speaker – Visaton FRS 7W
  • Massoth – Socket for plug-in light bulb (#8311801)