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$2 motor upgrade for Tyco, Mantua PM-1 steam (and MU-2 diesels)

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$2 motor upgrade for Tyco, Mantua PM-1 steam (and MU-2 diesels)
Posted by Autobus Prime on Wednesday, June 25, 2008 5:54 PM
Folks:

Here's a cheap and easy way to make any PM-1 or MU-2 powered loco run a lot better.

Buy a bunch of 1/4 x 1/2 x 1/8 NdFeB block magnets, magnetized through the thickness. I used N42, and I'm pretty sure the pole pieces are completely saturated without spending the extra on N50. I bought mine from KJ Magnetics (kjmagnetics.com).

Stack four magnets. Find the north pole with a compass or other method.

(I stuck a nail to one end and brought it near the original motor magnet until it was attracted or deflected slightly.)

Take out the rear motor screw, remove the old magnet (which will greatly weaken the alnico magnet) and slip in the new magnets. Reassemble. If the engine runs the wrong way, reverse the magnet. :)

Here's how it looks:


You can see Project Bowser behind our heavy lifter there. I'm a little behind in my forum thread.

(That's the Wattsburg Yard throat area, by the way.)

You can also see a 1/2" cube with a hole in it, being used on a Tyco Switcher chassis. I need to refine the technique a bit for that motor. The magnet fits, but I need to finagle something to hold the pole pieces together. I was hoping the hole would be just right to clear the rivet, but the magnetization direction was perpendicular to it. :(

Results:

No-load current on one motor dropped from .60A to .40A without any other work (and it could have used other work, too). Top speed didn't seem to drop a whole lot, oddly enough, but low-end performance and minimum steady speed both improved. If I had better test facilities, I'd give a more complete report, but I don't yet. For $2, though, you can't lose.
 Currently president of: a slowly upgrading trainset fleet o'doom.
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Posted by Rotorranch on Wednesday, June 25, 2008 6:00 PM

Prime, you can use epoxy to glue the magnet segments together, or to the motors. We do that all the time with slot car motors.

JB Weld works great.

You can also use super glue, but it's not as permanent as epoxy.

Rotor

 Jake: How often does the train go by? Elwood: So often you won't even notice ...

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Posted by loathar on Wednesday, June 25, 2008 6:18 PM
Funny you should post this now. I just did that with a Mantua open frame last night and it worked great! Took the start up from .44amps down to .30amps and the no load full speed from .52 down to around .40. Feels stronger and smoother too. I'm going to reinstall the motor tonight. I'll post again tonight about any performance improvements it has.
Now if I could figure a way to quit it down a little.Sigh [sigh]
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Posted by Autobus Prime on Thursday, June 26, 2008 12:01 AM
RR: Thanks for the tip. I'll probably end up using super glue, if I go with a glue, so there's less of a gap in the flux path.

 loathar wrote:
Funny you should post this now. I just did that with a Mantua open frame last night and it worked great! Took the start up from .44amps down to .30amps and the no load full speed from .52 down to around .40. Feels stronger and smoother too. I'm going to reinstall the motor tonight. I'll post again tonight about any performance improvements it has.
Now if I could figure a way to quit it down a little.Sigh [sigh]


L:

INteresting. What size and shape of magnet did you use? Who'd you buy yours from? THis is the PM-1 (small angle-mount) you're working on too, or the MG-81?

I tell ya, that "Bud" guy (I can't remember his last name just now) certainly has some good ideas. His site is where I learned about Jameco can motors and now these magnets and that's two solid wins.

I'm working on the noise problem, too. One thing that seemed to help was taking out the wheels and cleaning the bearings, axles, and gear with solvent (I used alcohol, mineral spirits probably would have worked better). I dislodged a lot of grease from the gear teeth with a small screwdriver. After all those years, the oil was mostly gone, leaving the hard, unlubricating soap base.

 Currently president of: a slowly upgrading trainset fleet o'doom.
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Posted by loathar on Thursday, June 26, 2008 12:52 AM

I used some neodyne disk magnets I got at Hobby Lobby.(had them laying around) About 1/4" dia. and 1/8" thick. This motor is riveted together so I just stuck the magnets to the outside of the frame as close to the armature as I could get. I could run the motor with the amp meter attached and add or subtract magnets or move them around and see the effects on the meter in real time. I reached a point where more magnets raised the amp draw and decreased performance. I found 3 worked good. Two on top and one on the bottom. If I get a chance tomorrow, I'll post some pics.

I cleaned and lubed everything and re-assembled it tonight. It ran better. Low speed was a lot better. If I had to assign a # to it, I'd say it improved 10%-15%. Still not flywheel/can motor performance, but it IS an improvement.

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Posted by Autobus Prime on Saturday, June 28, 2008 12:12 AM
 loathar wrote:

I used some neodyne disk magnets I got at Hobby Lobby.(had them laying around) About 1/4" dia. and 1/8" thick. This motor is riveted together so I just stuck the magnets to the outside of the frame as close to the armature as I could get. I could run the motor with the amp meter attached and add or subtract magnets or move them around and see the effects on the meter in real time. I reached a point where more magnets raised the amp draw and decreased performance. I found 3 worked good. Two on top and one on the bottom. If I get a chance tomorrow, I'll post some pics.

I cleaned and lubed everything and re-assembled it tonight. It ran better. Low speed was a lot better. If I had to assign a # to it, I'd say it improved 10%-15%. Still not flywheel/can motor performance, but it IS an improvement.



L:

Iiiintelesting. I noticed this braking effect, too. I stuck a 5-stack in an old Life Like trainset motor, noted a large improvement, then added another 5-stack beside it and stopped it from running. I think these open frame motors, with their large current capacity, can produce a very great armature magnetic field, but 10 of those magnets was greater and caused a braking force. You may have run into this too.

When you can scrape up the cash, do try the stacked-magnet method I used! $2 buys 4 magnets from K & J, enough for one motor; minimum UPS shipping is ~$6 and would cover a LOT of magnets. I'm not trying to plug K & J, but their shipping was very fast and I am quite pleased. It's really worth trying!

Relevant data: Tyco 0-6-0 #99 went from barely dragging itself around and drawing probably an amp, to drawing .32A free, .52A slipping. I timed speed using a 100 sft stretch of the V&E, and came up with a top speed of 60 mph and a creep speed of UNDER 1 MPH! No BS! This was on a plain-Jane Railpower 1300 cheapie, no pulse power or back emf or anything. It's not silky-silent; I think the nylon-nylon geartrain has to bear some blame there; but at realistic low speeds it's subdued enough. :)

To be fair, I took 99 down completely, cleaned and relubed it, and threw some pennies in the tender to improve electrical contact (a big reason for poor running, it turns out). I also discovered something about the PM-1. I have a few spare ones, and discovered that the older ones have a lot less "cogging". The armature slots are about half as wide on them. So the Tyco wide-slot armature was switched out for an older one.

The real shocker was that Tyco Switcher in the photo above. It's a later model, with a very cheapo Hong Kong variation on the classic Mantua Plymouth chassis. It was loud, fast, and generally obnoxious. After ordering more magnets, I stuck a 4-stack in it, tweaked it a bit (the pole pieces are only held on by magnetism now), and BAM! Suddenly the beast can crawl less than 1 mph, and is quiet and powerful...and these have a wide-slot armature. You can actually throttle it down low enough on plain old DC that it takes several seconds to travel from tie to tie. To me, this was little short of a revelation. As for power, I balanced a heavy die-cast hulk of a John English 2-8-2 on it, and that four-wheeler didn't even try to stall.

I just can't stress it enough. These magnets are the closest thing to a magic bullet for those old open frames. Their armatures can safely handle hefty currents, and produce a lot of power, but the magnets let them down. Upgrading these gives huge torque. And there just aren't many problems that can't be overcome somehow by adding more torque.

Try it, you'll like it.

Addendum: Part number for the magnets used is B842.
http://www.kjmagnetics.com/proddetail.asp?prod=B842
 Currently president of: a slowly upgrading trainset fleet o'doom.
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Posted by loathar on Saturday, June 28, 2008 1:09 AM
There's one problem that I don't think I can over come though. It runs great on flat track. It runs great going up a grade. But a transition from flat to grade or a curve on a grade REALLY draws the amps and drastically slows the train down for a few seconds. It then recovers and runs fine, but it's annoying. I think it's just the nature of the motor. Mine runs a lot better in reverse than forward too!Banged Head [banghead] I'll still fiddle around with it a bit more.
$45 for a flywheel/can motor ain't in the budget right now.(see-market is killing me thread.Big Smile [:D])
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Posted by Autobus Prime on Saturday, June 28, 2008 1:18 AM
 loathar wrote:
There's one problem that I don't think I can over come though. It runs great on flat track. It runs great going up a grade. But a transition from flat to grade or a curve on a grade REALLY draws the amps and drastically slows the train down for a few seconds. It then recovers and runs fine, but it's annoying. I think it's just the nature of the motor. Mine runs a lot better in reverse than forward too!Banged Head [banghead] I'll still fiddle around with it a bit more.
$45 for a flywheel/can motor ain't in the budget right now.(see-market is killing me thread.Big Smile [:D])


L:

What kind of Mantua is this, anyway? 0-4-0, 0-6-0, etc?

You know, the way you used the disk magnets really shows how strong these are. Try sticking a ceramic magnet to the pole pieces to boost the power. REPELLED! I'm pretty sure your motor is running entirely on the NdFeB disks, and the alnico is just short-circuiting them slightly. :)

You might not want to do it until you're ready to replace it entirely (as the alnico weakens when its flux path is interrupted) but you might be able to cure the reverse-forward problem by disassembling the motor and adding some shims to keep the armature from sliding back and forth. This might help the grade problem. It's possible that the armature is bucking back and forth when the loco is suddenly slowed. Or maybe you have some strange eddy-current braking stuff going on when the motor loads up, with those disk magnets stuck on.

You can make the shims from thin brass or clear package bubbles. Drill the hole in the shim stock, then trim the outline round outside the hole.

Also make sure the engine isn't just plain binding on curves.

 Currently president of: a slowly upgrading trainset fleet o'doom.
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Posted by loathar on Saturday, June 28, 2008 1:41 AM
It's a Mantua heavy Mikado. I already tried the shims. Didn't really help. It's got a big silver rivet holding the block magnet to the frame. I really don't want to mess with drilling it out. It might fetch something on E Bay if I don't destroy it. I think it's the PM 1. It runs good enough if I keep it on flat track.
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Posted by Autobus Prime on Saturday, June 28, 2008 2:39 AM
 loathar wrote:
It's a Mantua heavy Mikado. I already tried the shims. Didn't really help. It's got a big silver rivet holding the block magnet to the frame. I really don't want to mess with drilling it out. It might fetch something on E Bay if I don't destroy it. I think it's the PM 1. It runs good enough if I keep it on flat track.


L:

Drill away! Break those eggs and make that omelet. You can replace the rivet with a nut and bolt. I think it would fetch more on Ebay if it ran well, no? And if you do destroy the motor, you can always pick up a $10 Tyco Shifter and take out its motor. They're common as dirt, still cheap on Ebay where nobody really wants them, and a good source of PM-1s.


(Checking Evilbay completed listings, Mantua Mikes tend to sell for just a smidge over $30, so it won't be a huge risk.)

If you already removed the motor armature to add shims, you might as well take out that magnet. They're magnetized with the armature in place, and you kill a lot of the magnetism if you interrupt that flux path. The replacement NdFeB magnets don't have that problem.

P.S. - Had another idea. How much vertical play or rocking is in the center 2 driver sets? And the back one, if that's the geared one?
 Currently president of: a slowly upgrading trainset fleet o'doom.

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