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Most-Recent O Gauge Topics:

Topics: 50   Replies: 43
posted on Jan 24, 2016:

A Birney 'safety car' makes a stop in late afternoon on old Shore Road. Pullmans in B&O's "Chicago Night Express" rumble overhead on their way west. Street traffic is heavy too, beside the Edgewater Shops of the Baltimore & New York Railway.
Car Stop on Shore Road
Topics: 37   Replies: 36
posted on Jan 22, 2016:

Building another O-scale model steam locomotive using parts from the AHM / Rivarossi 0-8-0 plastic locomotive kit that was available back in the 70's.
We are also building a new house so I only play with model trains when the weather is too cold to work on the house.
...... Because of this, the updates for this locomotive could be days, weeks or even months apart. ......

This is a freelance design and will have a wheel arrangement of 2-8-8-2 and be modeled similar to this engine.

The front and rear section was cut off of two of the AHM chassis.
The chassis at the top is what the stock frame looked like from the AHM model kit.

I glued a piece of white styrene to the back of one of the frames to form a pad for the attaching screw that will hold the two frames together.
Using part of a tender drawbar, I glued it to the front of the other frame for the attaching bar.

Then I turned a piece of brass down and taped it to take a 2-56 screw to form a shoulder bolt for the attaching screw.

This screw fastens the two frames together.

With the two frames attached, this shows how much the front frame will be able to rotate in relation to the rear frame.
A model railroad layout has to have wide radius turns in order for this type of locomotive to run on it.

These are flat brass castings to make the leading and trailing truck.

The top casting is for the lead truck but is not long enough to just bend into shape so it is cut into two pieces.
The axle holes are already drilled into this casting but they are larger then the axle ends on the wheels from the AHM kit.

I turned a piece of brass down in the lathe and drilled a smaller hole in it to form a bushing for the axle holes.

The bushing is pressed into the casting part on the right.

The bottom casting is for the trailing truck and needs to have the holes drilled into it for the axle shaft but it is long enough so it just needs to be bent into shape to form the truck.

I used a brass bracket for mounting an electric motor in an engine and bent it so the ends of the casting for the leading truck were held together by the bracket.
Then I soldered the parts together to form the leading truck.

2-8-8-2 Locomotive
Topics: 10   Replies: 15
posted on Jan 16, 2016:

MTH Operating Reefer cars must be activated on a special activation track section sometimes called an Unload-Uncouple section or a UCS.

But what if you want to activate it at some arbitrary location on the layout? Electric Railroad makes commander modules that you can install in the reefer that provides remote control if you have a TMCC command system. The modules are about $40 and requires some degree of wiring and assembly skill so it's not plug-and-play. But what if you don't use TMCC? Or what if you use DCS as your command system and don't want to invest in both command systems?

Jumping ahead, here's a video of where we're going:

So rather than pressing the "UNLOAD" lever on the activation track, you simply press a button on a wireless remote fob. This mimics the action of the "UNLOAD" lever which starts the action on the reefer. Note in the video that, as with the lever, you need to activate the car for a couple seconds. This is because the reefer mechanism has a microswitch that senses when the reefer door has moved and then the switch takes over providing power for one door cycle. You can see how this works in the following video:

There are two ways to supply power to the reefer's gearmotor mechanism. You can throw the "Unload" lever switch. In doing so for about 2 seconds, the internal reefer microswitch opens and takes over applying power (which is the 2nd way) to the mechanism until the door closes.

So to create a remote controlled proxy for the "Unload" lever switch, this topic shows how to add a 3rd way to power the mechanism. For about $5 in parts on eBay, you can get a remote-controlled wireless RF fob transmitter, a corresponding RF receiver, and a handful of component parts that will do the trick.

Direct eBay links become stale and turn into errors; so this being an archive forum suffice it to say that by searching on eBay for the words/terms shown you will quickly find the relevant items. The key item is the 4-channel RF wireless remote control transmitter and receiver module.

Simply put, you install a 12V type A23 battery in the remote transmitter. There are 4 buttons on the remote. The receiver is powered by 5V DC. When one of the 4 buttons is pressed, one of the 4 pins on the receiver goes from 0V to 5V.

To tap into the existing circuit, you only need to attach 3 wires to the existing reefer electronics. You do not have to modify the reefer's existing circuit board. 2 wires (yellow and white) can be picked off from the gearmotor mechanism. 1 wire (red) can be picked off of the door microswitch.

The electrical schematic of the wiring and the added components:

When a button is pressed, one of the 4 outputs of the receiver modules goes "high" (to 5V). This signal drive a N-FET power transistor which applies power to the gearmotor mechanism to start the action. There are hundreds of suitable FET devices. The photo shows a BUZ11 though it is now obsolete and may be hard to find - I happened to have a bag of them. At the time of this writing, popular parts readily available on eBay for 25-50 cents are the IRF520 or the IRFZ44.

Everyone has their favorite way to assemble/mount components. I happen to like grid 0.1" (2.54mm) prototyping board which of course you can also find on eBay. Here we have the 3 wires from the existing circuit hooked up to the new RF receiver board and loose components:

There is a cavity on the reefer next to the gearmotor that is large enough to insert the new electronics.

The above photo is an upside down view so the electronics will drop down onto the metal chassis of the reefer when right side up. So a small piece of bent cardboard provides insulation:

Note that some MTH operating reefers have a smoke unit on/off switch on the chassis. So think through how to orient the added electronics to fit in with the smoke switch.

Some technical notes.

The existing reefer electronics is a 9V DC circuit using 7809 type voltage regulator ICs. When active the gearmotor mechanism draws about 100 mA. If smoke is turned on, the circuit draws about 500 mA.

The added receiver circuit converts the 9V DC to 5V DC using the 78L05A regulator IC. The added burden is negligible (less than 10 mA).

The circuit does not affect existing operation so the reefer can still be used with a track-activation section.

The photos and diagrams show a 4-channel transmitter/receiver. The idea is you may want to use the other 3 channels to control other rolling stock. There are eBay wireless receiver modules that include a relay if that is better suited to activate your device.

The wireless fob transmitter is readily dis-assembled revealing there are 4 momentary push-button switches inside. These push-button switches can be wired to a MTH AIU so that you can activate the MTH reefers using the DCS handheld remote (rather than the eBay transmitter fob). In this case you would use the "ACT" softkey button on the DCS remote which closes a relay on the AIU accessory output for as long as the "ACT" softkey is pressed.

If you are using DCS, there is anecdotal evidence that you must add a 22uH (microhenry) inductor/choke in-line with the power coming from the wheel truck. The electronics in animated operating cars can reduce the integrity of the DCS command control signal which is sent over the rails. The remote control modification presented here does not affect the need (or not) for this inductor/choke.

Wireless remote control of MTH Operating ...
Topics: 10   Replies: 40
posted on Jan 16, 2016:

my new bridge. had to assemble it with rivits and I added flashing led lights at the peak.
New metal bridge
Topics: 10   Replies: 40
posted on Jan 16, 2016:

a couple of my stations One is a crecent locomotive works station and the other is a station I had cut up and I am building.

My Stations
Topics: 50   Replies: 43
posted on Dec 22, 2015:

Sorting freight cars in a yard was never ending work. Here a camelback shifter pushes in a cut of cars at Edgewater Yard on the Baltimore & New York. The C&O boxcar was built from a cast aluminum kit made in 1937. The Santa Fe panel side box was made from a Sun Coast kit of the 1960s. The 0-6-0 was built in brass by heavily modifying a 1990's Locomotive Workshops kit.

Yard work is never finished
Richard E
Topics: 56   Replies: 23
posted on Dec 19, 2015:

Boarding the morning Southbound Buffalo Rochester & Pittsburgh train.
Boarding The Pittsburgh Flyer

O Gauge General Categories:

Electronics & Wiring (55)
   Wireless remote control of MTH Operating Reefer
Electronics & Wiring (55)
   mth ps2
Great Bridges of O Gauge (67)
   New metal bridge
Stations and Depots (9)
   My Stations
Layout Remodels (5)
   new layout
Stations and Depots (9)
   Rossiter Junction on the B&NY
Great Skyscrapers of O Gauge (11)
   Skyscrapers of Central City (Alan Arnold's layout)
Outdoor Layouts (2)
   Outdoor Layouts Are Possible Anywhere?
Tinplate (8)
Trees & Foliage (10)
   Quick and Easy Yucca Plants for your desert layout

O Gauge Member Blogs:

jdcrawler  (28) Balto&NY  (48)
Richard E  (50) stan  (8)
Cgm  (1) jhainer01  (10)
Hugh Laubis  (31) JohnBoy  (12)
timw  (33) leavingtracks  (10)
AG  (33) Stu Gralnik  (9)
DAVE UPTON  (5) Dale H  (29)

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