Install DCC in Lionel 3-rail AC powered O-scale locomotives

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Install DCC in Lionel 3-rail AC powered O-scale locomotives
Posted by standard-gauge on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 4:35 PM

I am trying to convert a Lionel pre-war 3-rail o-scale locomotive to DCC.

I have combed the internet to no avail for months. Everything is HO or N scales.

I also have some Standard scale I may wish to convert.

I have a DCC decoder that will hold the amps (5-6), but am told that:

1) DCC will NOT run an AC train motor and.....

2) The motor must be isolated from the frame.

I am also told that many have already performed this conversion successfully. Apparantly, they do not provide any instructions on the Internet.

I do NOT wish to install a can motor.

Any help out there?

 

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Posted by Billwiz on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 9:47 AM

My understanding is DCC is limited to D.C. motors.  While there are decoders designed for 0 scale locomotives (higher amps), they are D.C. motors.  So you would have to change the motor to utilize DCC.  There might be other control options for a post-war train.

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Posted by lionelsoni on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 11:40 AM

Until the advent of the can motor, toy trains used universal motors, which are called that because they will run on AC or DC.

Bob Nelson

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Posted by standard-gauge on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 3:45 PM

This morning, I took a Standard Lionel "SuperMotor" and was easily able (but time consuming) to isolate the motor from the frame. When tested with a 12v scooter battery. This motor runs nicely on DC power.

I have a ECoS 50210 ESU. So I installed a ESU 54640 New 2019 LokPilot XL V4.0 decoder chip into the motor. Keep in mind, the motor in just sitting on the workbench without wheels or axles.

The hookup was easy. Just 4 wires (motor+, motor-, track- (outer rail) and track+ (center rail).

The command station recognized the chip immediately. I went through the steps to enable the supermotor, touched the throttle slightly and the motor started spinning on the bench!

Amazing, right?

Unfortunately it was running at full tilt and no amount of throttle increased or decreased the speed. Didn't go into reverse, either.

That's where we are right now. Do not have a clue as of yet.

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Posted by bobhwalker on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 6:27 PM

This question has come up quite often. There is a very simple circuit that will make universal motors look like can motors and respond directionally to DC polarity.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 6:53 PM

Standard-gauge, it's your locomotive, and you can do with it what you want, BUT if it's pre-war, and in decent condition, and runs well as it is I'd leave it alone.

In my own humble, and probably worthless opinion, it'll be worth more in the long run left intact instead of altered in any way.   If you like DCC stick with a modern, current-production unit.  Enjoy that pre-war for what it is, not what it might  be. 

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Posted by rtraincollector on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 11:09 PM

If you where TMCC or Legacy the easy fix would be to get a Powermaster or a TPC300 or 400 and then you could control it with your hand held and not worry about messing up a good prewar engine, but since your DCc I have no idea of a simple way to do it and control it. 

Life's hard, even harder if your stupid  John Wayne

http://rtssite.shutterfly.com/

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Posted by lionelsoni on Thursday, October 31, 2019 1:25 PM

The modifications for DCC are not much and can easily be undone.  But, even if they weren't, I wouldn't fault Standard Gauge.  Telling anyone how to enjoy his trains rubs me the wrong way.

SG, in your experiment, is the motor armature wired in series with the field, as it should be?

A universal motor is a version of a series motor, which, unlike a (permanent-magnet) can motor will run at a theoretically infinite speed if completely unloaded.

The modification that you need to make the motor reverse is to wire either the field or the armature (but not both) to the + and - terminals of a bridge rectifier, using the ~ terminals for connecting it in series with the rest of the motor.  If you want, you can leave the e-unit functional but shut off.  This allows you to reverse the definition of forward and reverse for running with other locomotives (double-heading) by turning on the e-unit to let it take just 2 steps. 

Bob Nelson

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, October 31, 2019 7:11 PM

Well Lionelsoni, I'm not telling him to do this or that, after all who am I?  I'm just advising him that if I was in his position I wouldn't mess with it.

And of course, it's his to do with as he pleases.  

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Posted by standard-gauge on Thursday, October 31, 2019 11:59 PM

Thanks.

Can you provide a wiring diagram of this simple circuit?

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Posted by standard-gauge on Friday, November 1, 2019 12:02 AM

Thank you. This sounds feasable. Can you provide a wiring diagram for your idea?

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Posted by standard-gauge on Friday, November 1, 2019 12:47 AM

Let me begin again by saying this:
I have many, many standard gauge locomotives, motors, cars and parts, so I am not too concerned with the originality of this Lionel #10 motor.
I am a purist at heart and used to restore mid-year Corvette automobiles. They are judged down to the markings on a bolt head. But we are talking tens-of-thousands of dollars, or more, for a Concours d'Elegance automobile.
While I understand the desire to preserve the originality of a vintage toy locomotive, I also know that finding any unmolested pre-war locomotive or rail car with gradings of C-10, C-9 or C-8 are virtually impossible to find. Those are almost always in the hands of long-time collectors and, if for sale, the seller commands a high premium. Once the proud collector passes away, the horde if pristine originals kept private for decades, are then sold at auction for pennies on the dollar. And many do not even run!
A perfectly restored Lionel 1912 that runs properly should always be worth more than a scratched up, non-running original….. always.
But I digress.

As soon as I find a photo-hosting site I will provide some picts.

 
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Posted by standard-gauge on Friday, November 1, 2019 2:26 PM

This is how I got to where I am now (procedure same for old standard gauge supermotors and 53 motors):

 

 

 

NOTE: The NMRA standard decoder wire code is: Orange to Motor+, Gray to Motor-, red to Track+ (hot rail)(through pickup shoe) and Black to Track- (outer rail)(through wheels).

 

 

 

Motor must be disassembled down to where you can get to the field windings wire which is grounded to the field magnet. This wire is either screwed or riveted to the field magnet plates.

 

 

 

Either cut the wire at the rivet or remove the screw to where you have enough ground wire left to solder a longer 24 gauge wire to. I soldered a white wire (didn't have any gray) to it from the decoder "motor-" terminal.

 

 

 

Cut and lengthen the pickup shoe wire or solder in a new, longer one The other end attaches to the decoder "track+" terminal.

 

 

 

Same goes for the wire that went from the pickup to one of the brushes. This severed wire attaches to the decoder “motor+” terminal.

 

 

 

The last wire to install is from the decoder “track-“ terminal and attaches to the motor frame. I simply threaded an unused frame hole and grounded the wire with a #6-32 screw.

 

 

 

Reassembling this motor is always painful for me and it depends on how adept one is at installing motor brushes. But I persevere. So put the motor together as it was originally.

 

 

 

I used ESU ECoS 50210 command station with a ESU 54640 New 2019 LokPilot XL V4.0 decoder chip in the motor and set everything up according to the ECoS instructions.

 

 

 

The motor runs full speed all the time and does not reverse. So I am awaiting comments/instructions from bobhwalker and/or lionelsoni in this forum on how to remedy this situation.

 

 

 

I thank them in advance.

 

 

 

I hope the above is not so convoluted that it is difficult to comprehend.

 

 

 

No Lionel product was desecrated and nothing was done that cannot be undone.

 

 

 

Attached are some photos; hope they come through.

 

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Posted by lionelsoni on Friday, November 1, 2019 3:06 PM

Let me go back to first principles.  Then you can decide for yourself which of many ways you may want to rewire the locomotive:

A universal motor has two main components, the field winding and the armature.  The field winding is the winding that doesn't turn; the armature is the part that does turn.  Connections to the armature are made through the two carbon brushes that rub on the brass segments of the commutator.

The field and armature are wired in series, so that the same amount of current flows through each of them.  The direction that the motor turns is determined by the directions that the current flows through the field and armature.  Reversing the current of either part of the motor reverses the direction of rotation.  Reversing the current direction in both parts of the motor reverses the motor twice; that is, it has no net effect.  This is why the motor can run on AC or DC:  The reversals of current in both field and armature when AC voltage is applied cancel each other.

One way to get the motor to reverse is by a switch that swaps the two ends of one of the motor components.  Many pre-war locomotives were reversed manually in this way.  Later locomotives had that reversing-switch built into the e-unit, indicated by the "E" suffix on the model number.

Another way to reverse the motor is by adding a bridge rectifier to one of the motor components, so that the current in that component always flows in the same direction.  Then reversing of the track voltage affects only the other component--the component without the rectifier--and therefore reverses the motor.  The component that gets the rectifier is wired only to the + and - terminals of the rectifier.  The two ~ terminals of the rectifier are then wired in series with the other motor component.

It is entirely possible to have all of these reversing methods in place at the same time, to allow double-heading of locomotives that are pointing in opposite directions.

Here is an example, based on the typical post-war Lionel wiring:  Leave the connections between the e-unit and the brushes alone.  Isolate the field winding and wire its ends to the bridge rectifier's + and - terminals.  Connect the rectifier's two ~ terminals to the places that the two ends of the field winding were formerly connected to.  Shut off the e-unit.

Bob Nelson

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Posted by standard-gauge on Saturday, November 2, 2019 1:14 PM

lionelsoni. Thank you for your informative reply.

The motor on which I am experimenting does not have a directional switch of any kind. I eliminated it and wired the motor in series.

While I think I understand the wiring of a bridge rectifier into the diagram, it seems to defeat the installation of the decoder. I find confusion as to where the decoder motor+ and motor- terminals are attached with the rectifier in the system.

Yesterday, my reply to this thread included photos & wiring diagram, but it appears it was not blessed for inclusion in this forum.

And I am still stumped as to why this motor runs at full speed when the decoder is added. I am getting a tad frustrated.

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Posted by lionelsoni on Sunday, November 3, 2019 12:40 PM

Any news or questions?

Bob Nelson

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Posted by standard-gauge on Sunday, November 3, 2019 4:19 PM

lionelsoni

Any news or questions?

 

I had several, but my replies don't seem to get posted in this forum. ????

 

lionelsoni

Any news or questions?

 

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Posted by lionelsoni on Monday, November 4, 2019 3:49 PM

I don't have any way to post a schematic.  Assuming you have been able to completely isolate the field and the armature, try this:

o  Connect the field and armature in series and to the DCC decoder, as I think you have already done.

o  Disconnect the field completely and replace it in the circuit by the two ~ terminals of the bridge rectifier.

o  Reconnect the field, but to the + and - terminals of the bridge rectifier.

Bob Nelson

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Posted by lionelsoni on Monday, November 4, 2019 3:56 PM

 

Even if everything is wired correctly, a series motor needs a load for it not to try to turn very fast.  This is different from a permanent-magnet (can) motor, whose speed is proportional to the voltage given it.

Bob Nelson

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Posted by standard-gauge on Monday, November 4, 2019 8:10 PM

lionelsoni

I don't have any way to post a schematic.  Assuming you have been able to completely isolate the field and the armature, try this:

o  Connect the field and armature in series and to the DCC decoder, as I think you have already done.

o  Disconnect the field completely and replace it in the circuit by the two ~ terminals of the bridge rectifier.

o  Reconnect the field, but to the + and - terminals of the bridge rectifier.

 

Color me stupid. Maybe I'm too old!

Here's a diagram. Maybe you could what number goes to what other number.

Thanks

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Posted by lionelsoni on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 1:32 PM

Good idea.

1-5, 2-8, 9-6, 7-3, 4-10

Bob Nelson

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Posted by standard-gauge on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 3:13 PM

lionelsoni

Good idea.

1-5, 2-8, 9-6, 7-3, 4-10

 

 

OK! That's very good information. Thank you

Now I've misplaced my rectifier! ARRRGHHH!

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Posted by lionelsoni on Saturday, November 9, 2019 8:37 AM

Status?

 

Bob Nelson

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Posted by standard-gauge on Monday, November 11, 2019 2:19 PM

lionelsoni

Status?

It now reverses, but still screams at full speed no matter the throttle setting.

 

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Posted by lionelsoni on Friday, November 15, 2019 4:15 AM

What is the voltage out of the DCC decoder?  The important thing is whether you can control that voltage, not the motor speed, which, as I mentioned before, would be infinite for an ideal motor with no load.  If you can control the voltage, then try running the motor with a realistic load.

For some reason, your posts are being delayed beyond all reason.  New members' posts are routinely delayed for a little while until the moderator thinks you're okay, but it seems like you have fallen through a crack and never got a clean bill of health.  Maybe it's worthwhile to figure out how to contact the company by telephone to see if they can fix it.

Bob Nelson

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, November 15, 2019 9:09 AM

I concur, new poster "vetting" shouldn't take this long.  If it persists I'd contact customer service.  Give it 'till the weekend, see what happens.

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