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A Primer on Re-powering and Re-gearing Locomotives

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A Primer on Re-powering and Re-gearing Locomotives
Posted by jeffers_mz on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 1:59 PM
I've searched here on the subject and only got three hits, maybe I'm using the wrong terms.

I have five new locomotives, two Model Power RTR 2-8-0's and three MDC kits, a 2-8-0 and two 2-6-0's, all old timers, none with elegant engineering. I want them to run like Katos, quiet, smooth and precise, and to accompli***hat it's clear they'll need to be repowered and re-geared, which brings up some general and some specific questions. All use plastic gears, a direct drive shaft to the worm gear, open frame motors, no U-joints to isolate vibration and noise.

Additionally, I eventually need a two truck Shay, which will either be an MDC or Keystone, both of which will also probably need regeared and re-powered to perform up to specs.

This week looks full of wiring and track tuning, next week will be foam laying, and then I need to look into getting my motive power up and running, so now is a good time to begin research.

1. First off, are there any well done How-to's online?

2. What websites do I need to have bookmarked to learn and to find out what motors and gears are available?

3. How do I know what gear ratios I have now, so I know what to buy to replace them? How much of a range will avoid a locomotive that either crawls or flies off the layout?

4. What major and minor tools do I need before I engage on this project? I have a well stocked woodshop, and a medium well stocked hobby shop, but as for strictly metal working equipment, I'm a complete neophyte. I have a drill press, and some milling bits for the Moto-tool, but no lathe, no milling machine, no bandsaw, no tap and die kit, etc. What about measuring tools? I have a micrometer good to 0.001", and rulers and that's it. Do I need calipers? Laser nanometers? What all needs to be measured and how precise do you need to be doing it? I've got an index of high speed bits, but the step size is 1/32", not 1/64" and a few are missing. Should I replace the missing ones or do I also need to fill in the odd 64ths? How big and how small does the drill bit set need to cover?

5. How hard is it to find quality motors that will fit? Are dual flywheel cans available in a wide range of sizes? Is horsepower a consideration? The motoers in place now are able to climb my grades, so I need new ones at least that powerful. How is this measured? Who makes good motors and who makes bad ones?

6. Is sound isolation in the motor mounts a good thing or more problems than it solves? I have read that ball and socket U joints are the quietest way to go, but that article is 14 years old. Is there a better way to design the linkage now?

7. All of the drivers on the MPs and on the MDC 2-8-0 are brass rimmed. Ispent several hours with MAAS getting a couple decades worth of oxidation off one of the MP RTRs, and would prefer to avoid repeating the process in the future. Who makes replacement drivers in stainless or nickle? Are old time replacement drivers available in a wide enough range of sizes to fit?

8. Slightly off topic, I also need to replace the pilots on all five. For whatever reason, they chose the much newer and smaller pilots, and I need the older long pointy ones to match prototype. I know Kemtron used to sell a lot of these back in the day, but I haven't seen them in the Walther's catalog or under discussion here, so I assume they have gone out of business. Does anyone still sell old time pilots? If I have to I can fabricate my own from brass, but again, I don't have much metalworking equipment and don't even know where to start.

9. What else am I missing? Tips, tricks, techniques, pitfalls, I always hope for the best, but plan for the worst, so I'm sure about to step off some kind of cliff, but I'm not seeing it yet. Any advice or experiences are welcome, I need all the help I can get.

Thanks for any heklp you can give,

jeff
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Posted by andrechapelon on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 2:33 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by jeffers_mz

I've searched here on the subject and only got three hits, maybe I'm using the wrong terms.

I have five new locomotives, two Model Power RTR 2-8-0's and three MDC kits, a 2-8-0 and two 2-6-0's, all old timers, none with elegant engineering. I want them to run like Katos, quiet, smooth and precise, and to accompli***hat it's clear they'll need to be repowered and re-geared, which brings up some general and some specific questions. All use plastic gears, a direct drive shaft to the worm gear, open frame motors, no U-joints to isolate vibration and noise.

Additionally, I eventually need a two truck Shay, which will either be an MDC or Keystone, both of which will also probably need regeared and re-powered to perform up to specs.

This week looks full of wiring and track tuning, next week will be foam laying, and then I need to look into getting my motive power up and running, so now is a good time to begin research.

1. First off, are there any well done How-to's online?

2. What websites do I need to have bookmarked to learn and to find out what motors and gears are available?

3. How do I know what gear ratios I have now, so I know what to buy to replace them? How much of a range will avoid a locomotive that either crawls or flies off the layout?

4. What major and minor tools do I need before I engage on this project? I have a well stocked woodshop, and a medium well stocked hobby shop, but as for strictly metal working equipment, I'm a complete neophyte. I have a drill press, and some milling bits for the Moto-tool, but no lathe, no milling machine, no bandsaw, no tap and die kit, etc. What about measuring tools? I have a micrometer good to 0.001", and rulers and that's it. Do I need calipers? Laser nanometers? What all needs to be measured and how precise do you need to be doing it? I've got an index of high speed bits, but the step size is 1/32", not 1/64" and a few are missing. Should I replace the missing ones or do I also need to fill in the odd 64ths? How big and how small does the drill bit set need to cover?

5. How hard is it to find quality motors that will fit? Are dual flywheel cans available in a wide range of sizes? Is horsepower a consideration? The motoers in place now are able to climb my grades, so I need new ones at least that powerful. How is this measured? Who makes good motors and who makes bad ones?

6. Is sound isolation in the motor mounts a good thing or more problems than it solves? I have read that ball and socket U joints are the quietest way to go, but that article is 14 years old. Is there a better way to design the linkage now?

7. All of the drivers on the MPs and on the MDC 2-8-0 are brass rimmed. Ispent several hours with MAAS getting a couple decades worth of oxidation off one of the MP RTRs, and would prefer to avoid repeating the process in the future. Who makes replacement drivers in stainless or nickle? Are old time replacement drivers available in a wide enough range of sizes to fit?

8. Slightly off topic, I also need to replace the pilots on all five. For whatever reason, they chose the much newer and smaller pilots, and I need the older long pointy ones to match prototype. I know Kemtron used to sell a lot of these back in the day, but I haven't seen them in the Walther's catalog or under discussion here, so I assume they have gone out of business. Does anyone still sell old time pilots? If I have to I can fabricate my own from brass, but again, I don't have much metalworking equipment and don't even know where to start.

9. What else am I missing? Tips, tricks, techniques, pitfalls, I always hope for the best, but plan for the worst, so I'm sure about to step off some kind of cliff, but I'm not seeing it yet. Any advice or experiences are welcome, I need all the help I can get.

Thanks for any heklp you can give,

jeff


Well, first off, you might want to visit these sites:

http://hometown.aol.com/kenrclark/guide_to_repowering_and_regearing.htm

http://www.roundbell.com/LocoDocHome.html

Naturally, NWSL comes to mind: http://www.nwsl.com/ as they sell everything related to regearing an repowering.

Tools? NWSL Puller, Quarterer and perhaps an arbor press. You might need a caliper to determine motor shaft and axle diameter if you don't already know. American made axles are 1/8", and axles made in metric countries generally run 3mm in diameter. Motor shafts can vary a bit more.

Kemtron was taken over by Precision Scale. Virtually anything ever made by Kemtron is available from Precision Scale. http://www.precisionscaleco.com/ I Recommend you get the HO catalog of steam detailing parts. It's part #9740 and sells for $18.

The gear ratio you want depends in part on the top speed of the motor, the and the scale driving wheel diameter. A motor with a 10,000 RPM top speed hitched to a 37:1 gearbox will drive the axle at a maximum 270 RPM. IIRC, in the prototype, what was called driving wheel diameter speed (i.e. 80 mph for an 80" driver loco) equalled 336 rpm. 270 RPM is roughly 80% of driving wheel diameter speed. In a scale 50" driver machine like an MDC 2-8-0, a 10,000 RPM motor with a 37:1 gear box would mean a top end speed of around 40 scale miles per hour. If the motor had a top speed of 15,000 RPM, you'd get a scale 60 mph.

Hope this helps.

Andre



It's really kind of hard to support your local hobby shop when the nearest hobby shop that's worth the name is a 150 mile roundtrip.
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Posted by andrechapelon on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 3:08 PM
Forgot to mention that there was an article in the May, 2002, issue of MR on regearing an MDC 2-8-0. While that loco was the "Harriman", much of the information could be used on the old-timer. Article is on pages 60-63.

Article also showed the technique of making a "witness" mark on the insulated wheel and axle so you can reassemble the wheel back on the axle and keep it quartered, all without having to use the NWSL Quarterer.

Andre
It's really kind of hard to support your local hobby shop when the nearest hobby shop that's worth the name is a 150 mile roundtrip.
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Posted by jeffers_mz on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 3:48 PM
Good info Andre, it'll take some time to read all of it. I found the NWSL site just a little bit ago, and am currently reading their catalog/guide.

Thanks for the help and quick response.
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 4:55 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by jeffers_mz

Good info Andre, it'll take some time to read all of it. I found the NWSL site just a little bit ago, and am currently reading their catalog/guide.

Thanks for the help and quick response.


Good post. I have a bunch I need to regear/remotor.

Let me know how you do with the NWSL site. I couldn't make heads or tails out of it. I emailed them and asked them for information and, no joke, they just copied the page from the Internet and included it in the email. I couldn't understand it on the Internet nor the email, so I posted the my email and the reply and not one person could figure out what I needed from the email.

Enough side tracking. Good post.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by Soo Line fan on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 7:00 PM
The catalog is confusing; I like to use the brochures. Here is a link to the motor brochure: http://nwsl.com/Brochure%20Pages/broch%20160009%20Motor.htm The 2 most common motors for use in HO steam are the 16mm and 20mm diameter motors. I like the 20328-9 motor. The 16k rpm seems about right for the Mantua Mikado I installed it in. I used a couple of Timewell flywheels. They are out of stock of this motor right now, unfortunately.

Hope this helps,
Jim

Jim

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 7:07 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by Soo Line fan

The catalog is confusing; I like to use the brochures. Here is a link to the motor brochure: http://nwsl.com/Brochure%20Pages/broch%20160009%20Motor.htm The 2 most common motors for use in HO steam are the 16mm and 20mm diameter motors. I like the 20328-9 motor. The 16k rpm seems about right for the Mantua Mikado I installed it in. I used a couple of Timewell flywheels. They are out of stock of this motor right now, unfortunately.

Hope this helps,
Jim



Thanks. I have 2 Mantua 2-6-2s that I need to remotor. Figures that I get my answer and they are out.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by Soo Line fan on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 8:30 PM
Sounds like you have the Prairie. The 2032 motor will probably not fit the smaller Mantuas. In the one I did, I had to grind some to get it to fit. The Mikado is a much larger boiler. You are better off with the 1630. Pull the boiler and measure the width. The 16309-9 is in stock. Before you buy, I would post a message asking for a Sagami motor recommendation for your 2-6-2. I am sure someone has actually done one as that was a very common engine.

Jim

Jim

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Posted by ICRR1964 on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 9:16 PM
Space mouse type in "Helix Humper" in a serch on google or Yahoo, they make the best remotor regear for the Matuas. I have put these on many of the 4-6-2 and some other Mantua's. The motor and idler gear with extra large worm and flywheel sit in a motor mount cradle. You will gave to do a bit of grinding inside the boiler to make it fit. It is worth it though, the kit cost about $55 now. It will make you older Matua run like a quiet running P2K.

Jeff The Keystone Shay you are considering is a difficult kit to build and motor, the loco comes with no motor kit but NWSL does make a powering kit for it. I have been working on my Keystone for about a month now, it is a slow go. You seem interested in building your own and thats great, I would stay with the MDC kits the. NWSL should give you all the info you need to regear and remotor. There site is hard to make heads or tales of, but you have to comb through it to find your info you need with pics and drawings.

Some of the tools you need is a set od/id digital calipars, drill bits in mm, and a good micrometer to measure thickness, and small taps. I could spend an hour writing down other tools, but since you are building and remotoring that should do. Don't forget to get a jewlers file set and a good Dremel and bit set, these come in handy when building MDC kits.

Sounds like you got allot of heart and soul, so good luck to you on the builds and regearing, keep us up to date when you get to building. Wish I could talk to you face to face in my shop, would be easier.
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 9:53 PM
I'm not sure what Jeff is building, but it might be the same on the one.

I have 3 MDC kits to build an old-time 2-8-0 kit and 2 0-6-0 Ts that I want to convert to 2-6-2 Ts

I'm looking for motoring/regearing info and 2-wheel trucks front and rear.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by jeffers_mz on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 9:58 PM
Spacemouse, I'm only up to the tool section in the NWSL manual/catalog, but so far it makes sense ok. If it goes squirrley on me, well, Andre posted some links to how-to's and Soo Line pointed up the motor guides, hopefully they are easier to understand.

ICRR1964, thanks for the heads up on the Shay, I'll look more for the MDC kit. It's not that critical, the railroad bought one, let a sister road use it for a while, tried it out at home and almost immediately swapped it for a Baldwin because it was so slow. I have a Spectrum for general illustrative purposes, and plan to concentrate on the Baldwins as they were used almost exclusively.

We aren't very far apart, I'm in west/central Indiana, and come across I-70 heading for Denver two or three times a year. My e-mail is jeff4303ATyahooDOTcom if you want to talk more about kit building and bashing.

I want to get more involved in precision metalworking and machining. It's something that's always interested me and in addition to helping with model railroading, this and a plastics molding/machining shop will help complete some other projects I have in mind.
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Posted by andrechapelon on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 10:00 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by SpaceMouse

I'm not sure what Jeff is building, but it might be the same on the one.

I have 3 MDC kits to build an old-time 2-8-0 kit and 2 0-6-0 Ts that I want to convert to 2-6-2 Ts

I'm looking for motoring/regearing info and 2-wheel trucks front and rear.


Chip,

Check out this guy's work: http://markschutzer.com/

Especially the article where he makes SP #2500 (class C-6) out of an MDC 2-8-0.

Andre
It's really kind of hard to support your local hobby shop when the nearest hobby shop that's worth the name is a 150 mile roundtrip.
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Posted by nfmisso on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 10:00 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by SpaceMouse


I have 3 MDC kits to build an old-time 2-8-0 kit and 2 0-6-0 Ts that I want to convert to 2-6-2 Ts

I'm looking for motoring/regearing info

NWSL
QUOTE:
and 2-wheel trucks front and rear.

Precision Scale, and Walthers
Nigel N&W in HO scale, 1950 - 1955 (..and some a bit newer too) Now in San Jose, California
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 10:06 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by andrechapelon


Chip,

Check out this guy's work: http://markschutzer.com/

Especially the article where he makes SP #2500 (class C-6) out of an MDC 2-8-0.

Andre


Cool stuff. I'm modeling SP with the 2-8-0 but in 1885. The Praries will be 1917.
However, I do need to convert all my steamers to oil. I'm surprized that no one seems to make an oil tender for anything. That article might help me there.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by nfmisso on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 10:09 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by jeffers_mz

4. What major and minor tools do I need before I engage on this project? I have a well stocked woodshop, and a medium well stocked hobby shop, but as for strictly metal working equipment, I'm a complete neophyte. I have a drill press, and some milling bits for the Moto-tool, but no lathe, no milling machine, no bandsaw, no tap and die kit, etc. What about measuring tools? I have a micrometer good to 0.001", and rulers and that's it. Do I need calipers? Laser nanometers? What all needs to be measured and how precise do you need to be doing it? I've got an index of high speed bits, but the step size is 1/32", not 1/64" and a few are missing. Should I replace the missing ones or do I also need to fill in the odd 64ths? How big and how small does the drill bit set need to cover?

drills: # 61 thru #80 and #31 thru #60
digital caliper very useful, Harbor Frieght is good enough
taps & dies: #00-90, #0-80, #1-72, #2-56, #3-48 and #4-40
swiss type files
pin vise
little clamps
bench vise
drill press for your moto tool

more hints: http://www.bowser-trains.com/misc/building_tips/building_kits.htm
QUOTE:
5. How hard is it to find quality motors that will fit? Are dual flywheel cans available in a wide range of sizes? Is horsepower a consideration? The motoers in place now are able to climb my grades, so I need new ones at least that powerful. How is this measured? Who makes good motors ......?

NWSL
Alliance
Mashima
QUOTE:
7. All of the drivers on the MPs and on the MDC 2-8-0 are brass rimmed. Ispent several hours with MAAS getting a couple decades worth of oxidation off one of the MP RTRs, and would prefer to avoid repeating the process in the future. Who makes replacement drivers in stainless or nickle? Are old time replacement drivers available in a wide enough range of sizes to fit?

new tires - make your own on a lathe; use nickel-silver
wheels: Bowser http://www.bowser-trains.com/hoother/hoother.htm , Greenway http://www.greenwayproducts.com/a_drivers.shtml
Nigel N&W in HO scale, 1950 - 1955 (..and some a bit newer too) Now in San Jose, California
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 10:29 PM
Great info guys. I'm at home now and I wanted you all to know I've bookmarked this thread and pput it alongside Joe's clinics.

Thanks for starting it Jeff.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by jeffers_mz on Wednesday, January 11, 2006 1:58 AM
SpaceMouse, this commentary from the NWSK site seems to address regear questions for all the MDC steamers collectively:

http://www.nwsl.com/Catalog/pg041-cat4-16a-v0503.pdf

It helped me to understand it when I had the kit's underframe and mechanism assembly instructions handy when reading the NWSL discussion. The left column applies to MDC Shay kits, and the right applies to MDC kits generally.

The information matches what I see on my 1976 2-8-0 kit, which corresponds to the NWSL Phase II discussion. I deciphered the kit's age from the bottom of some of the instruction sheets, where they list revision dates.

The information does not match my 2-6-0 kits which were issued after 1998, per revision info. The NWSL discussion mentions frame holes rearward of the drive gear bearing slot, for the idler gear bearing shaft, while the 2-6-0 frame only has holes well forward of the driver slot for the idler or compound (larger gear mated to a smaller gear) gear bearing shaft.

The NWSL article also recommends the MR article posted by Andre above as being a good source of info. Finally, they say the motors used in the kits are high quality Sagumi open frames, imply that they do not need to be replaced, but do offer a replacement in a can style moter if desired. This last info may apply only to the Shay, it's hard to tell from the NWSL article. I know the two 2-6-0 kits have single flywheel open frame motors while the older 2-8-0 kit motor has no flywheel and a rougher end on the worm.

I think I'm going to continue to research this, as I'm sure the Model Power 2-8-0's need new gears, motors, or both, as they are balky and noisy, but right now I plan to assemble the MDC kits with the supplied parts and see how they perform before deciding what to improve.

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Wednesday, January 11, 2006 4:52 AM
Jeff,

Interesting. The 0-6-0 I have do seem to be of high quality and when I tested them they seem to pull less than 1 amp, so maybe I should just think in terms of re-gearing. The 2-8-0 I have not tested as I just got it in trade.

Thanks for the update and the link.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by jeffers_mz on Wednesday, January 11, 2006 10:19 AM
Nfmisso, thanks for all the links. I copied down your tool recommendations and have located many of them already. I don't have a lathe, or a place to put one, but realistically, this project may take a year or more to complete, and by then, space for a machine shop won't be so much of a problem.

How do Sagumi motors rate in comparison with NWSL, Alliance, and Mashima?


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Posted by rolleiman on Wednesday, January 11, 2006 11:00 AM
Two things I haven't seen mentioned here (forgive if they were)...

First, You may be able to have those drivers nickel plated.. There's a guy who does it for $5 per axle. Write me offline and I'll forward you his email address.

Second, The NWSL universals, in my experience have been known to slip, even on NWSL motor shafts.. They are tight fitting going on and with gentle force can't be moved but after a little excersise unless everything is lined up dead on, they Will move.. Again, in my experience. I've found RC Airplane fuel line to be the best universal coupling out there.

Ideally, you want the motor shaft and the gear tower shaft to be in perfect alignment. It won't always be possible but that's what your goal should be.

As for motors, I've bought several and the best ones I've found were Cannon motors I found on ebay for $5 each.. I've also bought mashima but I can't say I liked them very much.. A little weak and stall very easily under load.. Sagami, NWSL, okay if you want to pay the money..

A lathe would be nice to have but isn't a necessity.. In addition to Bowser for a source of drivers, look at Greenway Products

http://www.greenwayproducts.com/a_drivers.shtml

Good luck,
Jeff
Modeling the Wabash from Detroit to Montpelier Jeff
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Posted by fwright on Wednesday, January 11, 2006 3:45 PM
I was asking questions about the Keystone Shay earlier on a couple of forums. Got quite a bit of good info - I'll have to look up the earmarks and saved files for you. Also very useful is Jeff Johnston's book "The Roundhouse Shay Handbook" - again, will have to confirm the title when I get home. My memory ain't what it used to be! :-) Both the Roundhouse and Keystone Shays use similar type drive systems. The Roundhouse Shay is a lot bigger, and is considered too big for HOn3. It also needs backdating for per-1910 - Ontrak makes a boiler backdate kit that is listed in Walters.

From all reports I have heard/read the Roundhouse (and Keystone) engines can be made into sweet runners, but it takes fussin (and likely some cussin) and testing and tuning. From my experience with my old MDC Climax, the older open frame Roundhouse motors aren't very good, and neither are the flywheels and gears/bearings. But several of the responses on building the Keystone Shay said they used open frame motors during their testing and tuning. A lot easier to spot binding problems and see what's going on with an ammeter and an open frame motor - the current draw changes visibly with the load. Also, you don't burn up a much more valuable can motor in the process. The MDC can motors in their more recent production are supposed to be adequate.

I have the following waiting to be built: MDC HOn3 inside frame 2-8-0, MDC HO 3 truck Shay (gift), Keystone Shay (both HO and HOn3). On the to rebuild list is an HOn3 Kidder Porter 0-4-0T, HO MDC Climax, and an HO Model Power 2-8-0 made in Brazil. Latter is easily my best looking loco, but a terrible drive. Has to be refitted with a drive totally in the tender because the engine wasn't designed to be driven.

But my modeling is on hold until next Fall because of having to move this summer. :-(

Fred

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