How to pick up power for DCC in OMI Cabooses (Sn3)

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How to pick up power for DCC in OMI Cabooses (Sn3)

Derrell Poole
I think Keith asked how to make power pickup for DCC in the OMI Sn3 C&S Cabooses. Maybe it was a rhetorical question - it sure ain't rocket science. The photos show how I do it. Others may have their own methods.

Frame for 304 a
A .010" bronze wiper wire is visible coming out of the shadow and literally holding the wheel up. It wipes on the tread or the back of this insulated wheel - your choice.

Frame for Cab 304 - b
from a different angle you can see how I looped the wiper for positive yet unobstructive pressure on the wheel. Also note the black wire which electrically ties the two pc board pads the wipers are soldered to and how a lead is passed thru the floor to the interior.

Frame for 304 - c
This is the pc board pad with wiper and pickup wire visible. I used double clad board that is extra thin (+/- 1/32"). It is soldered to the frame of the caboose. You can use single clad board and you can epoxy the pads to the frame.

Frame for 304 - d
This is 304's complete frame with NWSL wheelsets. The originals are Code 110x26" scale with .928" long shouldered axles. I used Code 88 wheels with .917" shouldered axles. The old product number was 7790-4. The new number is 57740-4. These are P:64 wheel sets. So. If you go and buy someone else's wheels I'm just gonna thump ya!
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Re: How to pick up power for DCC in OMI Cabooses (Sn3)

Keith Hayes
Derrell, thanks for this nice photo how-to.

In anticipation of a future installment, how large a speaker are you going to plant in 304?

I was thinking about spiriting off to my local hobby shop to get a small speaker and enclosure, but then found a 1" speaker I bought for another project.

Also, did you notice that the sound car board is wired with a female connector for the current keeper? So nice.
Keith Hayes
Leadville in Sn3
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Re: How to pick up power for DCC in OMI Cabooses (Sn3)

Derrell Poole
Well... The bigger the speaker the better the sound. And. The bigger the speaker the more weight you add to an already too heavy model. How many cars in a train will have Sound Car decoders. More questions I'm not thinking of. Kind of a personal decision, really.
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Re: How to pick up power for DCC in OMI Cabooses (Sn3)

DRGWK37
In reply to this post by Derrell Poole
Another option is to use battery power with a charging jack.  This way you wouldn't have to worry about having good pick up from your track.  Just a thought.

William
aka drgwk37
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Re: How to pick up power for DCC in OMI Cabooses (Sn3)

Derrell Poole
Battery power is an exciting possibility. I was talking with a client the other day who told me DCC was going to be "out" within 5 years and what would replace it would be battery powered radio control. I've installed many Stanton Cab converted decoders and while the thought of onboard power is wonderful there is a little factor called physic. Things have to fit inside the model in order for it to be onboard powered. In order for DCC to be replaced completely by this onboard technology Batteries need to become both small enough and powerful enough to fit inside the smallest models DCC is now applicable to - N Scale and HOn3 - and it needs to accommodate these models without reducing their weight (physics remember? weight equals traction).

Radio onboard power is already engulfing large scales and even making good inroads into the medium scales. But Small scales like HO still has a long way to go. Batteries must have sufficient size in order to have the right impact on the Radio onboard technology and it just may not be possible - because of the physics involved - with the current technology. Will it happen - I'm sure it will, eventually. Will it happen within 5 years.... sorta doubt it. Do I want it to happen? Of course?

Nothing wrong with a battery supplied decoder in this little caboose - except that it already weighs toooooo much!
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Re: How to pick up power for DCC in OMI Cabooses (Sn3)

usairman737
Just in case anyone else should try this upgrade, Linda at Oso Model Works informs me that they missed this set of wheels in the on-line catalog.  They are available from them, just not in the catalog - yet!  Mine are on the way.  Gerry
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Re: How to pick up power for DCC in OMI Cabooses (Sn3)

Todd A Ferguson
In reply to this post by Derrell Poole
Derrell,

Nice setup for picking up power.  One question though, do you notice any issue with the wheel treads getting dirty and interfering with the pickup or the wire wearing away the plating on the wheel's tread? I am wondering if it might be better to use a wider strip of phosphor bronze on the wheel tread. Or just have it rub on the backside of the wheel near the flange?  Just some thoughts from a fellow modeler who likes electrical challenges.

Best,
Todd Ferguson
Harrisburg, NC
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Re: How to pick up power for DCC in OMI Cabooses (Sn3)

Chris Walker
Putting a jog in the wiperwire at the contact zone with the wheeltread would do the same.  just how visible is this stuff?
UpSideDownC
in New Zealand
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Re: How to pick up power for DCC in OMI Cabooses (Sn3)

Derrell Poole
In reply to this post by Todd A Ferguson
No plate wearing off Todd - these are Northwest Short Line wheels - solid NS. As to dirt - I have no cats so my track stays more clean (private joke, maybe).  I had 308 set up with lights in Denver and ran the car quite a bit. I didn't really notice any problem with dirt collection under these wipers. At NWSL we use .010" bronze wiper wires on the Stanton Drives and Magic Carpets. These seem to work better than bronze wipers (which we also sell, btw). But here's the thing - real railroads had a maintenance regiment. Part of the hobby of running a model railroad is maintenance. I like maintenance. It may not be the same kind as the prototype but it is still a part of the experience.

... so lube and clean your little mach-cheeenies - ever once in a while! (Confessions of model master mechanic) Else be prepared to fix them or send me lots of money to do it for you (meaning everyone - not you in particular, Todd).

For some reason N Scalers have the most filthy locomotives of all....  
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Re: How to pick up power for DCC in OMI Cabooses (Sn3)

Derrell Poole
In reply to this post by Chris Walker
They sit up on top of the wheels and are not visible from track level.
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Re: How to pick up power for DCC in OMI Cabooses (Sn3)

DRGWK37
In reply to this post by Derrell Poole
Derrell shoot me an Email back channel and I can give you some info on a guy I know who does a lot of R/C installs and was telling me Sn3 is a prime market for this technology to tap.  I have all of my motive power R/C'd and will never go back.

William
aka drgwk37

william.reed@fedex.com
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Re: How to pick up power for DCC in OMI Cabooses (Sn3)

Derrell Poole
In reply to this post by Derrell Poole
I've been playing with the Soundtraxx SoundCar decoder; yes, I put one in 306. It's actually a slick device and I can see how a string of cars so equipped would add a significant dimension to your train running experience.

First some observation - let's say things I didn't care for about installing. The 9 pin plug they provide is a far cry from the plug on the TSU1000 - because of the wire! They are Teflon coated and trying to strip them with a less than sharp pair of dikes - sux! I pulled a wire out of the plug. Then I promptly pulled them all out and replaced them with quality strand copper wire of the appropriate colors. You can get plugs from TCS but the colors are not correct. The second thing is that I've found is that the Soundtraxx Current Keeper is tooooo much. When you disconnect power it takes a good 60 seconds to discharge. I will try a TCS KA-1 which does not hold as much charge. You'd be surprised how much room is NOT in an Sn3 bobber! So the smaller keep alive will take up less room and not weigh as much. I used a small speaker from Railmaster. I'll show you all of this when I convert 308.

I set the whistle to the little air whistler. Somehow the big Nathan and Wabco horns are a bit much. I have never known if the C&S used whistles in their cabooses but there are hints they may have. Then I turned that and the bell functions off. I have an OMI UP C-4 I'll do that stuff in anyway. You can set the clickity clack to a 2 axle truck and then choose one truck per car option to represent the bobber. You can also adjust how fast the clickity clacks. The bobber axles are 9 fe3et apart as opposed to a four foot truck so they should take over twice as long to clack. I also put a light in the interior but will have to figure out what to do about signal lamps on the ends of the car.

One of the really slick things is how you synchronize the rail noise and brake squeal with the speed of your engine. First the decoder takes the same accel / decel settings as your loco so set CV 3 and 4 the same as the engine. Then set the brake rate CV 61 to also match the loco. Here is where it gets interesting; by consisting the car your "train" will sound correct for how fast the engine is pulling - or braking. The Tsunami does give you braking and release options by pressing f11. But the car must be consisted with the train.

Enter the magic wand. Consisting the SoundCar decoder with the train or consist is as easy as waving this wand - a small magnet attached to the end of a common pencil. The instructions advise that you mount the decoder's flat surface to the ceiling of the car because there is a switch on the decoder that is magnetically activated. By waving your magnet in the right spot you set up consisting the car. First set your throttle to your engine or consist. Then pass the wand over the spot and listen for the hand brake to release. When you hear that press f8 four times. Now you will hear the retainer bleed off and voila the car is a member of the consist! (I do like manual things). The switch on the decoder gives you 60 seconds to press f8 4 times. How many cars can you wave a magnets over in 60 seconds?

To unconsist a car just wave the magnet over it again! You will hear the hand brake ratchet up - that's right - you are the brakeman. Can you imagine the fun this will add to switch lists?

For us narrow gaugers with cars that typically don't easily come apart the brass cars are ideal. I plan to put decoders in all my cabooses and passenger cars. I'll do some house cars as well after figuring a good way to provide removable roofs - something secure (more than friction fit).

There are a lot of options for the SoundCar. You can set them up for cabooses, freight cars, passenger cars, mechanical reefers, cab cars - but not stock cars! No pig, sheep, cow, or horse sounds - darn!
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Re: How to pick up power for DCC in OMI Cabooses (Sn3)

Doug Heitkamp
Sounds interesting Derrell, thanks for sharing! Do you have a way to make a short video?

Doug
Doug Heitkamp
Centennial, CO
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Re: How to pick up power for DCC in OMI Cabooses (Sn3)

Derrell Poole
Not really
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Re: How to pick up power for DCC in OMI Cabooses (Sn3)

Keith Hayes
Derrell, following your lead, I have thrown caution to the wind and started my install on C&S 1000.

I have the pickup wire soldered to a piece of circuit board, which is epoxyed to the frame. A second wire is soldered to the frame.

(Good thing my local Radio Shack is still open)

If only Ajin would have spent just a bit more time designing these cars, finishing them would be so much easier.

I may yet opt to get the less virul current keeper.

Enough for today: time for the epoxy to cure.
Keith Hayes
Leadville in Sn3
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Re: How to pick up power for DCC in OMI Cabooses (Sn3)

Lee Gustafson
In reply to this post by Derrell Poole
Derrell,

Would a very small magnet at each end of a house car roof be enough to hold the roof in place instead of a friction fit? Would enable you to allow access to sound in house cars?

Lee Gustafson
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Re: How to pick up power for DCC in OMI Cabooses (Sn3)

Derrell Poole
That's a marvelous idea, Lee! I'll have to check that out. But one must be careful of the magnetic switch in the decoder - don't know how sensitive that might be...
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Re: How to pick up power for DCC in OMI Cabooses (Sn3)

Derrell Poole
In reply to this post by Keith Hayes
Marvieeee, Keith! Yes. Go with the KA-1 otherwise the caboose will sit there all night draining the SoundTraxx Current Keeper. Might keep you awake, late; sounding like it is running off down line (clickity-clack etc...).
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Re: How to pick up power for DCC in OMI Cabooses (Sn3)

Todd A Ferguson
In reply to this post by Derrell Poole
Guys,

I like the idea of the magnets very much, but also wonder if this would cause any issues with the decoders.  All I can think is that is that most decoders are mounted right next to or right on top of motors which put out a magnetic field. So, maybe magnets would be OK.

Other ideas that I am thinking of would be a bent brass angle that could be soldered to the roof in a couple places and would apply very slight pressure on the inside sides or ends to keep the roof in place.  The most secure idea I am thinking of would be to solder or epoxy a tiny brass nut to the inside ends of the roof and drill a tiny hole to clear a matching long machine screw that would be inserted from the bottom of the underframe and engage the nut in the roof. That should be very secure... I believe Walthers offers a variety of packaged brass nuts and fine machine screws.

Best,

Todd Ferguson
Harrisburg, NC

Sent from my Wacked and Cracked iPad III, OUCH!!!

On Mar 7, 2015, at 11:29 PM, "Derrell Poole [via C&Sn3 Discussion Forum]" <[hidden email]> wrote:

That's a marvelous idea, Lee! I'll have to check that out. But one must be careful of the magnetic switch in the decoder - don't know how sensitive that might be...


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Re: How to pick up power for DCC in OMI Cabooses (Sn3)

Derrell Poole
In a typical decoder magnetism doesn't seem to cause any affect. But the Sound Car decoder has a magnetic activated switch on it. I described this earlier in the thread. That is an issue to investigate.
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