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Proto 2000 GP7 truck power and painting question

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Proto 2000 GP7 truck power and painting question
Posted by BigDaddy on Sunday, September 04, 2016 2:44 PM

I bought one off ebay a couple months ago, but I have been busy with benchwork, initial track laying and finally my 1st successful DCC install. 

The GP is undecorrated.  I have never painted a diesel with fan detail.  What color to I paint the fan blades.  Are the handrails made out of that slippery stuff that doesn't take paint?

Second, the seller said he replaced the trucks, for the well known gear cracking problem.  Everyone say there LL 2000's run sweet.  Therefore I was surprised to see that only one side of the trucks is wired.  I don't recall any mention of that in the gear replacement or DCC installation vids I've seen or any comments here about how well they run. 

A google search only found replacing the trucks with Kato and milling the frame.  I'd like to avoid that.  What is the best way to power the opposite side trucks?

 

Henry

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Posted by gmpullman on Sunday, September 04, 2016 3:06 PM

I don't remember which Life-Like locomotives came along with the "improved" pickup where bronze strips were used and the wires were soldered directly to them, maybe when the GP-30s came along? All 8 wheels pick up track power just that one side is carried through the frame.

I have many of the older FAs and GP7s that used the frame to carry half the current pickup. There really isn't anything wrong with that method. I tapped a hole and used a small brass terminal with the decoder wire soldered to it (right now I don't recall which, red or black). I completely remove the light board and use LEDs.

A drop of CRC 2-26 on the contact points and the truck bolster pivot helps maintain continuity.

TCS has some "basic" decoder installs in this list but they don't go into much detail.

http://www.tcsdcc.com/Customer_Content/Installation_Pictures/HO_Scale/HO_Search/search.html

 Some modelers like to use an automotive binder spray that body shops use for plastic bumpers on their handrails. I have found that Krylon light gray primer (sometimes I use white if I'm painting the handrails a light color, like yellow) sprayed in a light coat will adhere well to the "slippery engineering plastic". You still have to be careful with handling. I have locomotives that I have weathered the trucks on maybe fifteen years ago that still look pretty good, and that was just a spray of Polly Scale.

Your model probably has the see-through roof fans. Colors depend on the paint scheme of the railroad. The fan starts out as silver but doesn't stay that way very long, so light gray is probably a good choice for the fan blades. On your undecorated Geep are the fans installed? The grilles were usually body (roof) color.

Newer locomotives had galvanized grilles. The molded air intakes look nice if you give them a light wash with India ink very well thinned.

Regards, Ed

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, September 05, 2016 6:50 PM

I inadvertently hijacked some guys thread on frogs.  Since I didn't see a second wire coming from the trucks, I assumed no power was sent from one side.  Apparently the frame is the conductor.

gmpullman

Again—

The early Life-Likes used a design similar to that of the Athearn engines. The current path took a route through the TRUCK BOLSTER (as noted) then through the FRAME and on SOME life-line engines (The Alco S-1 for example) was routed directly to the motor brush so there was a possibility of cooking a decoder IF the wheel happened to touch the frame. On the Geeps, FAs, Eriebuilts, C-liners maybe others, there was a ring terminal that continued the current path from the frame and then to the motor brush.

Also why I suggested putting a drop of CRC 2-26 on that bolster contact point. Reduce friction, corrosion and improve continuity.

Therefore one side (four wheels) collect power through the frame and the other side collects from the metal tab you show in your photo.

DID you happen to notice that those metal tabs both collect from the same rail?

So how would the other rail get current to the motor... WhistlingEd

I saw the soldering tab, sticking up from the same side of the trucks, but I figured there was wire down in the trucks somewhere that routed the from one side on the front and the other on the back.

For the record, I don't have the newer electric board seen here http://www.tcsdcc.com/Customer_Content/Installation_Pictures/HO_Scale/Life_Like/Proto_2000_GP-9/lifeli2.jpg

Where is this ring terminal you mention?  Maybe it's obvious when I get around to removing the oem electrical board

 

Henry

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Monday, September 05, 2016 7:02 PM
BigDaddy

The PO said he had a LL GP20  It certainly could be different than my LL GP9. In cardiology, they call it concealed conduction, electrical pathways in the heart you can only imagine.  Maybe that's the case here but I don't see a second wire from my trucks.

EDIT If the frame is the second (concealed) pathway, well I'm glad I brought that up before installing a DCC board, otherwise the kimchee would be deep.

 

 

 

 

Yes its a hot frame.  When I plugged the decoder into mine I did not pay attention to that (but I had no issues).  Should be black wire running from both trucks.  Red wire is screwed into the top of the weight.  Engineers side if you are short hood forward.  On the Left hand side (short hood forward) is a red wire going to the lower motor connection.  This is how they get away with hot frame.   Both trucks provide power.

Rule 108: In case of doubt or uncertainty, the safe course must be taken.
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Posted by gmpullman on Monday, September 05, 2016 9:25 PM

BigDaddy
The OP said he had a LL GP20  It certainly could be different than my LL GP9.

Well, for the sake of accuracy what I wrote was:

I don't remember which Life-Like locomotives came along with the "improved" pickup where bronze strips were used and the wires were soldered directly to them, maybe when the GP-30s came along?

Which implies that there was a design change somewhere around that time and there was two wires coming from each truck and the frame was truly isolated.

Between 1999 and around 2003 or so lots of manufacturers were trying to get their version of "DCC ready" locomotives into production. There were lots of variations which involved scratching traces off of PC boards, replacing low voltage bulbs or more commonly, completely gutting the electronics and hardwiring from scratch.

STILL there were holdouts, like the aforementioned Alco S1 which—although having an 8 pin DCC socket—still had a hot frame and the motor + was common to the frame! NOT DCC ready in my book!

I DO have a bunch of Life-Like GP-7s and-9s and I did the decoder installs probably eleven years ago. I don't exactly remember where the screw for the wire on the frame is. I didn't take photos of them back then. 

{edit:}

Looks like this (BLUE ARROW)

Life-Like made many production runs of these Geeps, there are still thousands of them still in boxes! Next month I'll go to a train show here in NE Ohio and I'll bet I see a dozen vendors selling them along with many varieties of E units, PAs, FAs and on and on.

They made several design changes during their long production run so there might are  variations, and then there's more changes that Walthers did after THEY took over the line.

The best method for a decoder install in nearly any locomotive is to strip it down to the basics, get rid of any existing PC board with useless diodes. Study how the rail power is collected and how the motor is fed. 

In its very basic form there are only two paths from the rail to the motor. All you're doing is breaking that path then inserting a decoder between the two end points.

Can it be any easier?

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Tuesday, September 06, 2016 5:33 PM

gmpullman
 
BigDaddy
The OP said he had a LL GP20  It certainly could be different than my LL GP9.

 

Well, for the sake of accuracy what I wrote was:

I don't remember which Life-Like locomotives came along with the "improved" pickup where bronze strips were used and the wires were soldered directly to them, maybe when the GP-30s came along?

Which implies that there was a design change somewhere around that time and there was two wires coming from each truck and the frame was truly isolated.

Between 1999 and around 2003 or so lots of manufacturers were trying to get their version of "DCC ready" locomotives into production. There were lots of variations which involved scratching traces off of PC boards, replacing low voltage bulbs or more commonly, completely gutting the electronics and hardwiring from scratch.

STILL there were holdouts, like the aforementioned Alco S1 which—although having an 8 pin DCC socket—still had a hot frame and the motor + was common to the frame! NOT DCC ready in my book!

I DO have a bunch of Life-Like GP-7s and-9s and I did the decoder installs probably eleven years ago. I don't exactly remember where the screw for the wire on the frame is. I didn't take photos of them back then. 

{edit:}

Looks like this (BLUE ARROW)

Life-Like made many production runs of these Geeps, there are still thousands of them still in boxes! Next month I'll go to a train show here in NE Ohio and I'll bet I see a dozen vendors selling them along with many varieties of E units, PAs, FAs and on and on.

They made several design changes during their long production run so there might are  variations, and then there's more changes that Walthers did after THEY took over the line.

The best method for a decoder install in nearly any locomotive is to strip it down to the basics, get rid of any existing PC board with useless diodes. Study how the rail power is collected and how the motor is fed. 

In its very basic form there are only two paths from the rail to the motor. All you're doing is breaking that path then inserting a decoder between the two end points.

Can it be any easier?

Good Luck, Ed

 

Get rid of the Light BULBS!

Dont remember which bulbs where in the GP, but LEDs are an easy upgrade due to LL using a Light tube (At least my MEC GP7 Does).  If the bulb is one of the 3/16" (approx) sized ones it needs to go in the trash.  Can easily turn your well detailed plastic shell into molten slag.

Rule 108: In case of doubt or uncertainty, the safe course must be taken.
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Posted by BigDaddy on Thursday, September 08, 2016 5:41 PM

Thanks guys, I've been at the Ocean, at a hotel with 300 baud Internet.  Well they called it wireless.  Thumbs up for wireless.

Henry

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Posted by BigDaddy on Saturday, May 13, 2017 3:11 PM

It's an old thread but it's mine and I'm bringing it back  My engine has been parked on Procrastination Junction. 

Unlike the above pics, there  is no red wire attached to the weight.

WH 1 & 2 both come from the left sides if the bank and short hood trucks.

M+ red wire to motor

M- is a copper tab that extends below the board to contact a copper strip above the engine

RL's and FL's are for the lights. There are soldering pads P1-8 except I'm not seeing P3.  P7 is soldered to a couple resistors?

There is also a "cut here for DCC"

My intention is to install a loksound micro decoder in place of this circuit board, install LED's instead of the bulbs and alter the weight for a cell phone speaker.  This is only my second DCC install, so I have a lot of trepidation. 

I assume much will be revealed when I unmount the weight.  In the meantime, would the right side trucks connect to both the motor and circuit board via M- ?

What are all these P pads for?

I am assuming the Cut here for DCC is about the voltage to the lights, but how would a decoder mount to this board (not planning on going that route)

Henry

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, May 13, 2017 3:25 PM

That big hole bottom center, to the left of the P7 marking - does a screw go in there? That looks like where it picks up from the frame, since the whole has a copper ring around it for contact with a screw head. Plus that very trace leads right to one of the "cut for DCC" X's. The motor minus is going to be a clib soldered to the circuit board (looks riveted on, actually) at the M- hole right center of the circuit board.

P pads I used to train my dog when she was a puppy. Laugh  Actually, I think if the X's are cut those are supposed to correspond to the 8 pins on the DCC connector. Do yourself a favor, just completely remove that board for the install. Since it uses a clip to the top motor connection you may need to solder a wire to the top brush holder. Since there is a wire going to the lower brush the motor most likely is isolated from the frame but double check so as to prevent frying the decoder.

                                --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 7:11 AM

The two round holes are screw holes. (screws removed before I took the pic)

rrinker
Since there is a wire going to the lower brush the motor most likely is isolated from the frame but double check so as to prevent frying the decoder.

This is just a straight forward continuity test?  (looking for ways to avoid screwing up)

Henry

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Monday, May 22, 2017 5:13 PM

BigDaddy

The two round holes are screw holes. (screws removed before I took the pic)

 

 
rrinker
Since there is a wire going to the lower brush the motor most likely is isolated from the frame but double check so as to prevent frying the decoder.

 

This is just a straight forward continuity test?  (looking for ways to avoid screwing up)

 

Yes and no.  

Place locomotive on a dead piece of track.  Check continuity between rails and frame.  When you get a beep, remove probe from rails while maintaining contact with frame.  Touch probe to bottom motor wire, if it beeps, you have an issue, if not, should be fine.  

Alternately you can unscrew the weight and remove motor (either screw or those rubber mount press fit in).  Carefully remove the drive shafts by pulling away from but in line with the flywheels (they should be telescoping).  

If rubber mount, rock motor side to side and end to end while pulling up, may need to apply pressure to the bottom four holes.  If screw mount it should pull out somewhat easily. 

Once motor is out, place a piece of electrical tape on the frame at the centerline of the locomotive.  Check to make sure that the motor doesnt have one of the frame pickup tabs on it (it shouldnt if there is a wire going to the lower motor contact).  Look at the solder joint between the lower motor wire and the frame while you have it out.  If it leaves something to be desired, you may wish to re-solder it while it is out. 

IF you remove the contact clip from either side of the motor, take care not to loose the motor brush and brush spring (spring is slightly compressed, and if you just pop the clip out it may launch into orbit).  

If you get this far, you may find it desireable to clean the trucks and re-lube with Labelle products.  I have found most of the models that I get from factory are excessively lubricated, even new old stock.  Walthers and LL P1k/2k particularly.  Had an P1k RS2 that would not run at all due to dried up grease in the gearbox.

Reverse process to reassemble.

 

Rule 108: In case of doubt or uncertainty, the safe course must be taken.
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Posted by BMMECNYC on Monday, May 22, 2017 5:18 PM

BigDaddy
I assume much will be revealed when I unmount the weight.  In the meantime, would the right side trucks connect to both the motor and circuit board via M- ?

The answer is kind of to first part, second part no.  The M- just contacts the motor contact clip on top.  

Right side trucks feed power via the bolsters directly to the frame.  The copper ring contacts around the lighting board are the give away.  Right side truck power feeds througth the weight to the board.  

If you can find a ring terminal small enough (I think that is what they are called), you can immitate the photo that Ed? posted that has the arrow.  If you cant find one, you can make one with a small brass washer by soldering a wire to it.

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Posted by santafe5000 on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 9:34 PM

I have been working on a Proto2000 GP60 which was in the same time frame as the GP7. There is only one wire from each truck, on the left side. The frame, via the bolster is the electrical path for the right side. I too have a wire attached via a small ring terminal to the top of the weight for right side connection. The fuel tank is held on by a strip of double sided tape which had through all these years become a strip of GOO. It took soaking the frame in an alcohol bath to remove it from the frame.

There are two large screws next to the motor mount tabs which in conjuction with the two small screws at each end of the frame which hold the weight to the frame.

The motor mount plastic tabs on my unit were the white type, but were hard from age. They broke off from the bottom of the motoer when i rocked them side to side to remove the motor from the frame. The standard Athearn screw mounts fit perfectly, so i will replace with them.

There was another strip of gooey double sided tape running along the bottom of the lower motor brush retainer, that would ensure the motor was isolated from the frame. I replaced with a strip of Kapton tape.

The tiny ring terminal on the top of the weight was broken loose from its connection,, so i used one of the PCB mounting screw holes to reattach it. Chunked the PCB board and wired in a JST plug to the associated wires and installed  DH142 decoder. And replaced the bulbs with LEDs.

James in TexasCowboy

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Posted by GrandTrunk-HO on Saturday, May 27, 2017 8:41 AM

Proto 2000 Diesel Locomotives (HO) Scale

BigDaddy

September 04, 2016

I bought one off ebay a couple months ago, but I have been busy with benchwork, initial track laying and finally my 1st successful DCC install. 

Second, the seller said he replace the trucks, for the well known gear cracking problem.  Everyone say there LL 2000's run sweet.  

Therefore I was surprised to see that only one side of the trucks is wired.  

I don't recall any mention of that in the gear replacement or DCC installation vids I've seen or any comments here about how well they run. 

A google search only found replacing the trucks with Kato and milling the frame.  I'd like to avoid that.  What is the best way to power the opposite side trucks?

I presently have over (10) Proto 2000 diesel locomotives, from Life-Like first release, till Life-Like last release, before Walthers Trains took over this product line.

Sorry to inform you, but this Ebay seller was (100%) incorrect informing you to replace the trucks, for this well-known gear cracking problem.

When I checked my Proto 2000 diesel locomotives, (85%) of the drive axle gears were cracked. (faulty manufacturing using the incorrect type of plastic). This faulty drive gear will not rotate the locomotive axles.

 

To repair my Proto 2000 diesel locomotives, it only required that all the locomotive drive axle gears be replaced. A very simple procedure and no special modifications were required.

I used Athearn #60024 gears to replace my LL cracked drive axle gears that are exactly the same size.

Part# ATH 60024 Loco Drive Axle Gear - SD40-2 - 6 per pack

 

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