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Topics: 45   Replies: 63
posted on Apr 10, 2018:

This will be a crew car to go with the crane that I just finished.
It will have a small cabin on one end with tool boxes along the sides in front of the cabin.

I'm using a short base made out of aluminum from an old Lionel tender for the frame of the flat car that the cab will be mounted to.

The deck for the flat car is made from a sheet of styrene that has grooves in it to represent boards.

Searching thru my collection of trucks, I found this pair of old lief spring archbar trucks that will be perfect for it.

The are mounted on the underside of the flat car.

The end sills and couplers are mounted on each end.

These caboose steps will be mounted on one end to make it easier for getting on and off the car.

The area is cut out on each side of the deck where the steps will go.

Then the steps are mounted in place.

The cab is going to be built out of 1/8 inch plywood.
I've cut the opening in one of the sidewalls for a window and I'm machining the edges to make the opening square using a 1/16 diameter end mill.

When all of openings are cut out of the side panels, they are then glued together.

The sidewall of the cab are all glued to the floor.

Gluing the roof on the cab.

Strips of plastic and wood are glued to the edges of the roof to trim it out.
Plastic " L " trim is glued on the corners and strips of plastic are glued to the sides for the bracing.
Small nails are put in to represent the carriage bolts that hold the trim and bracing strips on.
The doors and windows are all glued in place.

The walkways have been added to the roof of the cab.

Making the railing for the end of the car is next on the list.
The holes are being drilled into the end sill for mounting a piece of brass angle that the railing will be attached to.

Here I am using a small hand drill to hold the tap for putting threads in the holes for 00-90 screws.
These screws are only .040 diameter and I have to be very - very careful when tapping the holes in the pot-metal end sill.
The piece of brass angle is to the top right in the photo and the two screws that I'll be using to fasten it in place are at the tip of the pencil.

Here is how the brass angle fits on the end sill.

The two halves of the railing are bent to shape and the piece of brass angle is soldered to the bottom ends of the railing.

Then the center supports are soldered onto the railing.

The finished railing is mounted on the end sill.

Here I'm soldering a piece of brass angle to the back side of the ladder so I can fasten the ladder onto the end sill.

The bottom of the ladder is fastened on with a small screw and the top is fastened on with two small nails.
The two hand rails are mounted on top of the foot board to finish the mounting of the ladder.

The brake wheel has been mounted on the opposite side of the railing.

Using a small end mill for making the hole for the mounting stub on the smokestack that I'm using for this.

The smokestack is pressed into the hole in the roof.

The ladder on this end of the cab has also been mounted in place and the two hand rails are fastened onto the foot board on the roof.

Here is the finished crew car.

I set the crew car and the crane outside and took a couple of photos.

MOW crew car
Topics: 17   Replies: 16
posted on Mar 26, 2018:

MTH AIU relay outputs can be used to activate the momentary pushbuttons on wireless remote control transmitter fobs. The AIU SW(itch) port outputs close for exactly 1/2 sec when the Straight or Diverge button is pressed on the DCS remote. The AIU ACC(essory) port output closes for as long as the ACT button is pressed, or indefinitely if the ON/OFF latching buttons are pressed.

On eBay and elsewhere, there are many low-cost transmitter and receiver components using the somewhat dated but tried-and-true garage-door wireless technology using 315 MHz or 433 MHz RF and basic Amplitude Shift Keying (ASK) coding. These products use the venerable 2262/2272 chip set which can be configured to generate over a thousand unique addresses - enough for any practical train layout.

An example of transmitter and receivers:

For just a few dollars, you get a 4 channel remote fob and a 4 output receiver. The transmitter is powered by a 12V battery. The receiver requires 5V DC; and one of its 4 digital outputs is activated when the corresponding button is pressed on the transmitter. The low-current digital outputs could then drive a relay or transistor to control the remote load. Or, there are relay receiver modules that integrate one (or more) relays.

The idea here is to demonstrate how to attach the AIU to a wireless fob so that ALL remote control can be performed from the DCS handheld remote...rather than having multiple handheld control devices.

In the above 4-button remote fob, there are 4 momentary push-button switches. So the idea is to simply tether the 2-terminals for each push-button to the AIU. As it turns out, one of the terminals for each push-button is in common. This common wire means only 5 wires need to be tethered out to the AIU. This common wire will go to the "IN" terminal of the SW(itch) or ACC(essory) ports. And the "IN" terminals will be daisy-chained at the AIU.

Here is an ACC port in action using 2 buttons to control 2 of the outputs of the 5V receiver. There is enough output current on the receiver to drive a small LED. As discussed earlier, the receiver output would more likely drive a relay or transistor in a practical application. Refer to another thread showing how this exact receiver module controls the action of an MTH operating reefer boxcar.

Note that it is unwise to mistakenly press the ON button when using the ACC port. This would continuously activate the remote control transmitter (note red LED on transmitter) until turned OFF.

This video shows a SW(itch) port controlling two pushbuttons. The take-away is the exact 1/2 second AIU relay closure when the Straight or Diverge control is pressed is long enough to generate a wireless burst that the receiver can detect and decode.

In the above video, the relay module is shown operating in different modes. These relays generally provide 3 operating modes. 1) Momentary, 2) Toggle, 3) Set-Reset.

In Momentary, the relay is closed as long as the button is pressed; this is like the ACT button of an Accessory Port.

In Toggle, the relay closes and opens on successive button presses (same button). There is no equivalent mode in the AIU. Note that with this method, the Straight and Diverge controls of a single SW(itch) port can control 2 ON/OFF relays.

In Set-Reset, the relay closes on one button press and the relay opens on a different button press. This is similar to the ON-OFF (separate buttons) behavior of an ACC port.

MTH AIU: activating wireless fob remote c...
Topics: 45   Replies: 63
posted on Mar 22, 2018:

While unpacking some of my stuff, I came across this crane that I had built way back in the 70's when I was was first trying to learn how to build with metal instead of plastic and soldering them together instead of gluing.

This is made out of tin ( using the metal from an old paint thinner can ) and small diameter brass rod.
I have learned a lot about soldering and working thin metal over the years and this model is a little crude compared to the standard that I set for myself now.

This is the crane.
I've taken the back cover off of it so I could put paint remover on it and get it down inside everything.

The first thing to do, was to separate the main parts of the crane.

You can see that the crane boom was mounted using two large terminals for electrical wiring.
The pulleys are made up from putting brass eyelets together on a rod.
I'm only going to modify this enough to make it look a little more realistic but still has some of the oddball things that I used when I first built it.

The base for the crane is a single sheet of tin that extends out the front ( where the boom is attached ) and hangs out past both side of the main body.
I trimmed both sides so they are flush with the main body of the crane.

The gear and pulleys at the top front edge are for the cables that raise and lower the boom.
Originally, I had the cable for the hook running up over the center of these pulleys and going under the center of the lift pulleys out on the boom and from there, on out to the end of the boom.

Now, I made up a bracket with two rollers and mounted it down closer to the base of the crane body.
I want to use a clam-shell bucket on this crane so the cables for it will come out between these two rollers.

A piece of brass is bent up on the ends to form the new mounting bracket for the boom.
I have also soldered 1/4 inch square brass tube to the underside of the base to make it thicker.

I machined a cover out of a piece of brass for the gear on top of the crane.
The cover makes it look a little more realistic and it also has a screw in the back of it that will keep the gear from rotating.

The gear is used to wind the two boom lifting cables up on the pulleys then tightening the screw will keep the cables from unwinding.

If you'll look back at the first photos, you'll see that the framework for the cab is made out of round brass rod.
I want to be able to put glass in this cab so I cut the brass rod out so it can be replaced with pieces of angle.

This side of the cab has a hole in it that was for clearance for the boom mounting bracket.

Here I'm forming the frame for the rear window behind the seat.

The top was also held in place by the brass rod so I decided to just get rid of it and make a new frame for the top from the brass angle.
The rear window frame is soldered in place.

The brass angle is used to form the windshield frame and the support for the top of the cab.

A new roof piece is soldered to the top of the cab.
Remember that hole in the lower part of the cab to clear the mounting bracket for the boom ?
I covered that with a piece of brass.

The I used some narrow strips of steel to frame out a door and soldered a strip of brass along the back side of the door.
This looks kind of gaudy but I think it will look okay once it is painted.
I also made up a door handle and put it on.

Here is how it looks so far with the cab mounted to the main body.

The front and rear window and the two angled side windows will have clear plastic in them for the glass.

I took three straight pins with the little round heads and soldered them to a piece of brass.
This is the panel with the control levers for inside the cab ( I know a real crane has more than three levers, but this cab only has room for three. )

This is mounted to the dash inside the cab.

Next is to build a clam-shell bucket.
Starting with a piece of sink drain pipe, this will form the bottom 'curved' part of the bucket.
I squared the two sides on the lathe and I took a skim cut to remove the chrome plating.

Then I cut two sections from the drain pipe for the bottom panels of the two bucket halves.
The sides are cut from sheet brass and a brass washer is soldered to the hinge point on each piece.

Soldering the sides to the bottom panels.

Trial fitting the two halves of the bucket together and making sure they upen and close properly.

Here I'm fastening 'teeth' to the bottom edge of each half.
Each tooth is soldered onto the cutting edge of the bucket so it over laps the the other side just a little.
They are only soldered lightly so the solder doesn't flow across the surface of the whole tooth and stick it to the edge of the other bucket half.

Then two small holes are drilled thru the tooth and the bucket and two small brass pins are pushed thru them.
The long ends of the pins are cut off about 1/16 inch above the surface of the tooth.
This is place on the corner of the vice and the cut ends of the pins are hammered flat to form a tight rivet to hold the tooth in place.

The teeth are all attached, 3-teeth on one halve and 4-teeth on the other half.

I cut a brass rod to length and drilled and tapped the ends to form the pivot bar for the two bucket halves.
The pulley goes in the center of this bar and is free to spin on the bar itself.
I made up a triangular shaped housing with brass tubes soldered on each side of it.
This is the guard to keep the cable from coming off the pulley and it also keeps the pulley in the center of the bucket.

If you look close, you can see that each of the washers also have two rivets thru them to hold them in place because they are only soldered on 1/4 of each washer.

Here is how it looks so far with everything assembled.

All that was left was to make a top bar and attach the four arms to it and the corners of the bucket.
The arms are valve linkage parts from the Rivarossi 0-8-0 locomotive kit.

The operating cable to open and close the two bucket halves goes down the the small hole in the center of the top bar, then under the pulley and will be attached onto the underside of the top bar.
With the bucket hung from the hook in the center of the top bar, releasing the operating cable will let the center pivot bar drop and the two halves of the bucket will open up so it is only held by the cable attached to the top bar.

The open bucket is then lowered down so it sits on top of the dirt.
Then the operating cable is pulled back up and this lifts the pully on the center pivot rod up and causes the two halves of the bucket to close.

The teeth on the cutting edge of the bucket dig down into the ground as the two halves close so it digs a hole and fills the bucket with dirt.
The whole bucket is then lifted by the operating cable.
The cable attached to the top bar is also raised at the same time but is kept slack to keep the bucket closed.

To drop the dirt, either the cable to the top bar can be raised up to let the operating cable go slack and open the bucket .. or the cable to the top bar can be held still and the operating cable is then lowered to open the bucket.

A drag line from the crane will be attached to the chain that is hooked to one end of the bucket, to keep it from spinning on the cable and also to help position the bucket.

MOW crane
Topics: 69   Replies: 120
posted on Mar 21, 2018:

Fresh from a five year overhaul in 1897 per B&O practice, Staten Island Rapid Transit Forney number 18 with white flags returns to St. George for it s first scheduled assignment, after a 5.5 mile shake-down run to Arlington.
Forneys like this were used in commuter service on some late 19th century roads and were bi-directional and did not need to be turned at the end of a run.
This loco is equipped with the Eames vacuum brake, as seen by the vapor ejector on the cab roof.
Vacuum brakes were ideal for short trains making frequent, short stops often less than a mile apart.
That is because the system recovers its working vacuum faster after a stop, than air pressure raised by a compressor in the Westinghouse air brake is able to do.

Test Run Extra
Topics: 17   Replies: 16
posted on Mar 10, 2018:

A positive DC offset of several Volts triggers the horn/whistle on O-gauge conventional control. Any engine with a horn/whistle has this detector circuit built-in. And there are after-market boards or upgrade modules with same detector capability. You can roll-your-own DC offset detector for less than $1 in parts. And if the application of DC offset detection is to simply flash alternating LED ditch lamps, you can integrate both functions for another $1 or so. There is a lot of tedious component-level assembly.

Two wires on the left bring in AC track voltage. When DC offset is detected, the two white LEDs (3mm diameter suitably sized for most diesel engine ditch lights) alternately flash.

In action:

The trick, if you can call it that, is to isolate or separate the DC offset from the 60 Hz AC voltage. You are trying to find a few volts of DC in the presence of 18V or more of AC. The filtering of the 60 Hz is a simple Resistor-Capacitor filter shown above using a 100K resistor (R5) and a 4.7uF capacitor (C4). This is a simple 1-pole filter with a time-constant of RxC = 100k x 4.7uF = 0.47 seconds. This is equivalent to a so-called corner frequency of 0.3 Hz. Such a filter will knock down the 60 Hz AC track voltage amplitude by some 100 times. So the 18V AC gyration are become less than a 1/4 Volt which in effect leaves just the DC component of the track voltage. This filtered detector voltage triggers a pair of transistors set up in a so-called Darlington configuration which essentially turns on when its input exceeds about 1.2V DC. When the Darlington-pair turns on, it provides 5V DC power to a widely used oscillator circuit which flashes a pair of LEDs.

The circuit uses readily available, low-cost components available in thru-hole or surface-mount packages depending on your preferred assembly method. C4 should be non-polarized uch as a ceramic or bipolar type.

If the 2 input wires are reversed to the track, this circuit would flash the LEDs when the Bell button is pressed - that is, when a negative DC offset of several Volts is impressed on the AC track voltage.
Alternating ditch light flasher for conve...
Topics: 45   Replies: 63
posted on Mar 4, 2018:

Thought I would like to build a model of a Garratt locomotive next so I went searching for some photos of them on the internet.

Being mostly ignorant of equipment used on railroads in foreign countries, I had thought that this type of locomotive was only used in Great Britain and that they only made one style of this locomotive.
Boy .. was I in for a surprise .....

I quickly realized that the Beyer-Garratt steam locomotive was used all over Europe and some of them are still in regular use in Australia and Africa.
They were built as small as a wheel arrangement of 0-4-0 + 0-4-0 all the way up to 4-8-2 + 2-8-4.
Here are a few photos starting with the smaller locomotives and going to the bigger ones.

They also show up in a variety of colors.

Some photos of a couple of the locomotive that are still in operation.

SO .... after spending some time looking at photos of them and seeing some of them running on Youtube, I started digging up parts to start building my model and this is what I have to start with.

These are parts of two European 0-6-0 locomotives that are plastic models made by Pola Maxi in Germany.
They are suppose to look like this but my two models have seen better days.

I'm going to build a 0-6-0 + 0-6-0 so I stripped the two models down to the basic chassis by removing the side rods and valve linkage and the steam cylinders.
The steam cylinders are the wrong design and the side rods and valve linkage are all plastic so I'm not going to use these parts.

The Garratt locomotive has a front and rear set of drive wheels with the water tank sitting over the front set of wheels and the coal tender is over the rear set of wheels.
The boiler is mounted on a carriage frame work that is hung between the two sets of drive wheels.
Each set of drive wheels has the steam cylinders at the far end of the chassis and it pivots at the other end where the boiler is mounted over the end set of wheels.

The first problem that I see is the electric motors on the plastic models is in the cab with the steam cylinders at the front.

I can't make the pivot mount for the boiler carriage on the opposite end from the cylinders because the electric motors are there.
So I need to mount the steam cylinders on the end with the electric motor so it will be hidden inside the water tank and the coal tender and the carriage for the boiler can then pivot on the other end of the two chassis units.
( Whew ... I hope that wasn't too confusing ? )

Back to my old standby of parts for building plastic locomotives, I'm milling the top off a steam cylinder from the Rivarossi 0-8-0 locomotive kit.

The tops are milled off both steam cylinders and I'm gluing a piece of styrene on top of them.
The individual parts are shown in the foreground and the piece of styrene is clamped onto the cylinder in the back ground, waiting for the glue to dry.

The next problem is the plastic models have the center drive wheels connected to the steam cylinders and the Garratt locomotives have the far end drive wheels connected to the steam cylinders so I need to switch the wheels.

The crank pin and eccentric lever are made from plastic on the model so I have to make new crank pins out of steel rod for the rear drive wheels.

The steel crank pins are made up and pressed into the drive wheels.

The center wheels and the end wheels have been switched and the crank pins are pressed into the end drive wheels.
The other two pairs of wheels have the crank pin hole threaded so I can screw a small shoulder screw into them to hold the side rods in place.

So far .. I have a pair of 0-6-0 chassis units, steam cylinders that will fit them now, brass valve linkage ( That I think I can make work ) and the main rods for the steam cylinders.
I wasn't able to find any side rods in my parts that will fit the wheel spread on these two chassis.

So I'm going to machine the side rods out of some strips of brass.

The side rods are finished and mounted on the two chassis.

The steam cylinder is mounted on the end of the chassis with two small screws and the electric motor is set in place.
The main rod is set into the guides on the cylinders and on the crank pin to see how everything fits.

The top of the chassis frame on these drive unites sits about 1/4 inch higher than the top of the frames for the 0-8-0 locomotive kit.
I had to mill out the underside of the steam cylinders where they sit on the top of the frame so that the cylinders sit down low enough to line up with the wheels.

So the support for the cross head guide rails has to be milled out so that it sits lower on the frame also.
The support on the left is the stock unit and the modified support is on the right.
The two little white blocks on each side is where the holes were drilled for fastening this to the front of the valve linkage frame with two small screws.

The front part of the brass valve linkage assembly has to be shortened in order for the front linkage arms to reach up to the steam cylinders and the rear linkage arms to fit back to the rear wheel.

The stock brass valve linkage assembly is on the left with the stock cross head guide support in front of it.
The shortened valve linkage assembly is on the right with the modified cross head guide support attached to the front of it.

Seeing as how the steam cylinder and guide support had to be lowered for them to fit .. you would think that I would have realized right away that the valve linkage is probably going to have to be lowered also ....
Well I didn't think about that until I had everything assembled on the chassis and got right down at eye level to take this photo.

It was then that I saw that the pivot point at the end of the front linkage arms is still sitting higher then the slide bracket on the upper part of the steam cylinders.
This pivot point on the front linkage arms is suppose to rest in the pocket of the slide bracket on the cylinders.

Oh well ... I'll chalk this one up to brain fade and go on from here . ......
I took the brass valve linkage assembly all apart so I could reassemble it with the side frames upside down.

With everything put back together, the pivot point of the front linkage arms now fits snugly into the pocket of the slide bracket on the steam cylinders like it is suppose to.

The valve linkage assembly with the cross head guide support mounted to the front of it is attached to the top of the chassis with two screws.

A matching pair of drive chassis's.

I have left the electric motor off the chassis unit so I can rotate the wheels by hand to make sure that everything works correctly and they won't be put back on until after everything is painted and the locomotive is assembled for the last time.

I'm going to use this frame and floor piece from the tender of the Rivarossi 0-8-0 locomotive kit to build the carriage frame that is mounted in between the two drive units and carries the boiler.

The two parts are clamped together while the glue dries.

Then I milled off the parts for the brake system.

A piece of styrene is mounted on the end of each of the drive units and a counter-bored hole is machined into them for the pivot point with a brass ring set into each of pivot holes.
A round boss is glued onto each end of the underside of the carriage frame that will fit into the counter-bored pivot holes.

Styrene is glued onto the top of the carriage to bring it out to the correct width.
The carriage frame is set on the drive units.

Beyer - Garratt locomotive
Topics: 17   Replies: 16
posted on Feb 25, 2018:

As of February 2018, the MTH website continues to show the use of an NTE50 latching DPDT relay to control a Tortoise switch machine from an AIU SW(itch) port.


The suggested relay is now obsolete and even when in production was quite spendy (over $25). The required functionality to operate a Tortoise switch machine via the AIU's SW(itch) port is a so-called LATCHING DPDT (double-pole-double-throw) relay. Suitable "bare" or loose unmounted relays can be had for just a few dollars but require soldering and such. There are assembled DPDT relay modules with screw-terminals but are around $15 each.

Here's a DIY method for about $5 out-of-pocket and does not require soldering to tiny relay pins. Additional ports would be less the $3 out-of-pocket as a single 12V DC power adapter can power multiple (at least 10) ports.

Again, this method does require careful attention to detail and is perhaps more of a thought-provoking idea than a practical solution. In any case, here's the concept in action ... albeit driving a bi-directional DC motor rather than a Tortoise switch machine.

Note: using this method, when the relay module is first powered, it always starts in the "OFF" or unlatched position. This can be wired to be the "straight" or "diverge" position. The point being this is different than a true mechanically-latching relay which remembers its position between operating cycles. There are features within MTH DCS command-control to set multiple SW ports to a pre-determined configuration.

Note: DPDT relay is used to reverse (invert) the polarity of a DC voltage to the switch machine DC motor. If AC voltage is available to drive the switch machine(s) then only a single-pole SPDT relay is required. This method is described in the Tortoise literature. A latching relay is nevertheless required. In this case, Relay #3 can be the SPDT relay and Relay #4 is not used.
Tortoise switch machine control using MTH...

O Gauge General Categories:

Electronics & Wiring (63)
   MTH AIU: activating wireless fob remote control pushbuttons
Electronics & Wiring (63)
   Alternating ditch light flasher for conventional control
Electronics & Wiring (63)
   Tortoise switch machine control using MTH AIU SW Port
Electronics & Wiring (63)
   MTH AIU: make an ACC port from a SW port
Electronics & Wiring (63)
   DIY 4-wire 3-aspect timed-yellow signal head
Electronics & Wiring (63)
   Servo control of MTH Z-controller transformer voltage, horn,...
Electronics & Wiring (63)
   Modifying a 99 cent servo for continuous rotation
Electronics & Wiring (63)
   Post war 3 rail relay blook
Scratch Built Rolling Stock (7)
   B&O and Other Equipment
Great Train Stations of O Gauge (35)
   From 4 MTH Banks to One Station PHOTOS RESTORED

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