A Volt Up

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A Volt Up
Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, October 08, 2018 2:33 AM

Aloha All!

 

Quick question...My ancient power supplies put out 14-16 V at the terminals, which powers along my 0-4-0Ts at the scale 728 mph my kids prefer.  Other than locomotives and a couple of lit cabooses, I don't draw on them for anything else.

I have observed, however, my "heavies" - a re-powered B'mann Big Hauler, an LGB Mogul, and an LGB 0-6-2T - seem a bit unhappy of late in a hairpin we call "Deadman's Curve" for its ability to stop locomotives, especially this trio.  The curve is 4' radius track, with three feet of track between each 90 degree arc.  Trains enter either side of the curve with a good 4' run of straight level track.  All three of the "heavies" slowed down, and the tender ones just stop (The 0-6-2T Gustav has other problems...separate post, I suppose...).  I / We have cleaned and / or clamped rail joiners, leveled and reballasted the curve, done the same for both approaches, and polished the tracks to a high gleam.  Other than a rail clap that had casued a pinch point by coming partially dislodged, trackwork seems sound.

Is this an issue of too little voltage getting to the tracks?  Is it time to retire my 1980-s vintage power supply?  Or is there additional troubleshooting I can do?  I have discussed with Chocho Willy / Bill the idea of broadening the curve to reduce friction, but I am pretty space constrained.

I welcome your thoughts.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

 

Eric

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Posted by chocho willy on Monday, October 08, 2018 10:47 AM

Eric, if the engines are just slowing down in the curve it is because there is drag on the wheels, even though most LGB engines are designed to operate on 1100 track the still bind in tight turns. I can't speak to the Bachmann but I imagine it is the same. You probably find that although the 0-6-2 slows down, it slows down less than the mogul and that is because the drivers wheels are of a smaller diameter. When Delton was in business and started producing their 2-8-0 the center wheels didn't have flanges, called blind drivers, for the same reason, curves too tight. Not sure which manufactures also use blind drivers but several do. Just like your car goes faster in a straight line than in a curve. Now this is being said with the understanding that you don't have a electrical problem. See if you can't at least get a piece of 1500 in the center. If you have a amp meter hook it up to you electrical feed line and I think you will find that the amps go up when the train slows down. Bill 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, October 08, 2018 8:00 PM

Bill,

Thanks as always.  Leaving aside the 0-6-2T, the B'mann does have blind drivers, which is probably why it handles Deadman's Curve less poorly.  I used my multimeter with the Mogul Nuernberg on the tracks per your suggestion and found:

She draws:

  1. about .5 amps on the straightaways.
  2. about .75 amps on most curves.
  3. nearly and amp in Deadman's Curve.  You can watch  the current draw drop back down to ~.5 amps again on the short run between the curves in the hairpin.

I have one curgve wiht a 1500 section, and, sure as all, the current draw is ~.6 amps on that curve. 

Friction will cost me $$$ in track (What else should I order to make the postage worhtwhile Big Smile?), but that is LOTS less than a new power supply!

Aloha,

Eric

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Posted by Greg Elmassian on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 5:45 PM

You have figured it out yourself, it's not the voltage, it's the amps.

 

You did not indicated what manufacturer or specifications are for your power supplies, but if they are the Bachmann starter one, or the smaller LGB, you just need a better power supply.

 

Greg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 9:34 PM

Greg,

 

My power supplies are museum pieces from MRC.  Both are Model 501 Throttlepacks.  I think we got them about 1985.  I have nothing to suggest either delivers other than a steady stream of power based upon the performance of the 0-4-0Ts.

 

Thanks!

Eric

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Posted by Todd Hackett on Saturday, October 20, 2018 7:44 AM

If the flanges arn't binding due to the sharp curve (which is the first thing I'd check for), try measuring the voltage on the track near the locomotive as it slows or stalls on the sharpest spot, and compare that to the voltage at the power supply terminals in the same conditions. If the power supply voltage is droping considerably, that would indicate it isn't capabable of delivering the required current and you probagbly need to upgrade it. If the voltage does't drop much at the power supply, but it does at the section of track where the locomotives slow or stall, then you probably still have some bad connections or may need to run additional wire to the track in that area to provide a lower resistance path than the track and all of its joints. 

Todd

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Posted by Greg Elmassian on Saturday, October 20, 2018 7:01 PM

Ho powerpacks... if you read about them, they had issues with supplying enough current, in fact the original ones had selenium rectifiers.

a newer supply with at least 2 solid amps at full voltage would be worthwhile.

 

Greg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, October 22, 2018 12:28 AM

Greg,

Thanks.  Bill (aka "ChocoWilly") and i have been going back and forth on "Deadmans Curve" for about a week. Given most of my layout usese LGB "R1" curves and only Deadman's Curve gives me issues, we theorized the track, and not power, was teh issue.    I spent about three hours today with my LGB 2018D Nuernberg troubleshooting, in fact, with the working assumption that a rail or track had gotten bent out of position enough to stop the "heavies" but not enough to stop the tank engines, which could ride up on their flanges.

I first went ahead and pulled the curve apart where it reentered straightaway.  It literaly sprang upon a rull track width!  After digging out and restting a straightaway on one side, then correcting all the second order effects from shifting one track, I let the mogul loose for about 90 minutes.  I had no issues unitl I put a short train on (2x 3 axel box cars and a bobber caboose).  Back to square one, as I could hear the motor trying to turn but "he" wouldn't move.

I then reversed the train, running it counterclockwise.  It ran, but it was not happy at one of the curves.  I replace that whole section with new track, and, outside of the electrical connectivity issues I get for using 12" section track to run track power in the tropics, Nuernberg and train rain through the curve without issue.  We should be able to deal with the electrical issues with some elbow grease over the coming week.

Thanks again though for the recommendation I upgrade the power supply, at least on the outer loop where I run the "heavies."   It is on the list for the next "strategic purchase."

 

Eric 

 

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Posted by chocho willy on Monday, October 22, 2018 12:36 PM

Eric, glade you are getting some where, like i mentioned before you can squeeze the track or relax the track just on the way you put it down, and agree with Greg as to needing a transformer sometime in the future, keep plugging, Tom's watching, Bill

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 1:18 AM

Todd,

Sorry, I missed your post.  I am going to engage in your experiment next time I have power to the rails.  My next "strategic order" of bits and parts is due, and I may as well see if the big item is pack of 4' track sections or a new power supply and throttle!

 

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Sunday, October 28, 2018 11:17 PM

All,

 

This should be the last post.  As Todd and "Chocho Willy" recommended, I focused on the track (I still need to do that voltage check to rack-and-stack  a power supply purchase amongst other prioritiues, but I digress...).

First, I thought I'd clarify a point about my earlier troubleshooting.  The whole curve it seems, was under compression.  When I pulled apart the tracks, it sprang open per the following photo:

You can see why correcting this required a bit of re-landscaping!

Using Bill's suggestion, I hit the rail jointers with vinegar and then flushed them.  The upshot of all this was that Nuernberg pulled beautifully for the children of CINCHOUSE's friends and did it in the rain.

Thanks again!

 

Eric

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Posted by Greg Elmassian on Thursday, November 01, 2018 11:35 AM

So instead of a R1 curve, it was an R0.7?  Surprise

 

Perhaps you had some warp (cross level) issues also...

 

Greg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, November 02, 2018 8:32 PM

Greg,

 

We did have some real level issues at first.  Oldest Daughter and I spent over an hour out there fidgeting with that.  That is when we first noted a rail partially popped out a rail clamp.  I assumed "bad track."  It necer occured to me until much later "bad track laying!"

Enjoy your weekend!

 

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Wednesday, December 05, 2018 2:05 PM

All:

 

Just a quick follow-up...

All that troubleshooting allowed the B'mann 4-6-0 North Star to work flawlessly when we had the privilege of showing the Triple O to (gasp!) fellow garden railroader, a first!  So, thanks.

The LGB Mogul Nuernberg gave me fits after our guest left.  I set to cleaning and crimping all the connectors in the curve, so all is well.  It seems that this whole issue was combination of dirt, corrosion, heavy landscaping exacerbating the problem of heavy locos and too-small controllers.

 Aloha,

Eric 

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Posted by chocho willy on Friday, December 07, 2018 2:47 PM

Sounds like "shocking news from Hawaii"

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, December 07, 2018 7:47 PM

Big Smile Ha! Ha!

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Saturday, December 22, 2018 11:58 PM

Bill,

I wanted to follow up on our behind-the-scenes discussion about DIY transformers.  Rough math says this would be 1/3 the price of "out of the box" solution, but there are two issues I thought might be of value in an open forum:

  1. Skill level.  I still stink at soldering.  Although power supply and throttle would be out of the box, would connecting them pose a challenge?
  2. Ruggedeness.  Could a DIY transformer survive moving too / from the RR and the "gentle" hands of young enginners?  I am wondering if an old computer box might be a solution here, as I believe most of your parts list came from computer suppliers.
  3. Safety.  Given the issues above, and the fact this will take line voltage, are the cost savings not worth the potential risk?

And on that note, I shall sign off!

 

Eric

 

 

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Posted by chocho willy on Sunday, December 23, 2018 10:09 AM

   Soldering is a learned skill and from what I have seen you definitely have skills, now just need to learn, but being as I have never wired up one I can't really say but the one that I saw that Earl has looked like it was all done with solder less terminal, when he gets back from Christmas I will ask him, or maybe some of the Garden railroaders from the Atlanta area can chime in with there experience being as this is where apparently several of them use it. As far as safety I wound house it in some type of plastic container like a plastic ammo can and make sure it's well ventilated either with holes and or pancake fan from a computer. I would think that if the components were mounted securely it should be fairly rugged. Last as far as hi voltage, I would think that it would be no different a commercial made one, all have hi voltage and I would protect the engines with resettable 5 to 10 amp circuit breakers which I will look on eBay and send some pictures. I'm sure that there is a boat/ship store near you that would have the type that they use on boats. It's sort of $100 verses $500 both equally safe and reliable just a cost issue.

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 10:31 PM

Bill,

 

First, to you and all others, Merry Christmas.  The Holiday came between me anda more prompt reply!

My father-in-law (who is also e-Bay savvy) and I are working this out, too.  The cheapest off-the-rack 5 amp power-supply / throttle packages run ~$350, so, yes, absent a safety issue, this is the way to go.  As what I have works, there is no rush, so we are going to run this to ground.  I appreciate your efforts to get a bit more data from the Atlanta folks!

Aloha,

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, March 28, 2019 1:05 AM

Update:

 

OK, if I pull the curve open, shine the rails, and crimp a few joiners, all works well for a couple hours but, gradually, the curve tightens, my "heavies" stall, and my tank engines bind.  Clearly, this is a stop gap, so I am attacking this from two sides:

  1.  Power.  At Bill's urging - and with a little research - I am building my own 24V / 5A power supplies.  Not sexy, but inexpensive, and if one controller is starting to get wonky, the other cannot be far behind, so cost was a consideration.  They'll do.
  2.  Curve.  I enlisted a friend out here for Reserve duty to bring out 2x R2 curves in her luggage.  I'll get them fit into Deadman's Curve this weekned, and we'll see how that impacts operations.

 

Thanks to all as I worked through this issue!

 

Aloha,

Eric

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Posted by chocho willy on Saturday, March 30, 2019 10:23 AM

Sounds like you're on track to me, no pun intended

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, April 01, 2019 2:41 AM

Bill,

I would've intended the pun!

 

Anyway, back on track...

 

I got those R2 in place this weekend:

     

 

The next step was to take out the loco that Deadman's Cruve most frequently bedeviled, our LGB mogul Nuernberg.  After letting him run a few laps alone, we hooked up a longer than normal train:

 

 

2 hours of running...no stalls!  You can see him slow a bit coming off the R2 track into the R1s, but he seemed to have the momentum to carry through.  We did deploy the last of my LGB spacer tracks on the straightaways leading up to the curve.  It was either that or relandscape by removing the rocks in the foreground.  Oldest Daughter and I thought that would be a visual shame.  If this track configuration works, I'll cut (Gulp!  Not another new skill!) a 12" straitght track to fit.

 

Oh, I finished one DIY 24V/5A power supply today.  I'll see how Nuernberg responds under real power next weekend when he takes on Deadman's Curve!

And that should, at long last, close this thread!

 

Have a great week!

 

Eric

 

 

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