Author Topic: Electric pick up for tender  (Read 2046 times)

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carlso

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Electric pick up for tender
« on: March 17, 2013, 10:30:42 PM »
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I need some suggestons, please. Perhaps someone has done what I need to do.

I have a brass KEY Challenger that I would like too add pick up for power in  the tender. I know the tender wheels are insulated on each side of the axle and there is not any power getting to the tender chasis or shell. That's good. So, I am wondering if I could run a phosphour bronze wire to contact the backside of the wheels on each side of the axle and at one end solder insulated decoder wire and go up through the floor and connect to the usual red and black wires.

Any thoghts and or suggestions woild be greatly appreciated.

Carl Sowell
El paso, Texas
Carl Sowell
El Paso, Texas
Southern New Mexico N Scalers, Las Cruces, New Mexico

mike_lawyer

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Re: Electric pick up for tender
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2013, 09:04:40 AM »
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Does each side of the tender frame have a tab that runs up into the tender?  How is power routed from the tender wheels to the motor in the original design?

You are on the right track with the phosphor bronze.  That is the preferred method of creating pickup strips.  The question is how to get electricity from the wheels to the phosphor strips. 

Could you post a picture?  That would be very helpful.

One other alternative would be to swap the trucks for some Bachmann spectrum tender trucks with all live pickup, then use the phosphor bronze strips to "collect" the power from the trucks.

sizemore

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Re: Electric pick up for tender
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2013, 09:08:17 AM »
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It would be an engineering marvel considering the whole tender is brass, most likely including the trucks. Thats a lot of electrical isolation to finagle. Its not impossible but some of the best loco's out there are of the simplest design.

If the tender is a USRA design, might consider using a Bachmann Spectrum tender and attaching the brass carbody to it with screws. Another alternative is using either Kato or Bachmann trucks under the chassis but it would require cutting channels for the contact posts to ride up through the frame.

Not the greatest answer, but hope it plants some seeds to get you started. The other more experienced steam-heads will chime in any minute.

The S.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2013, 09:10:06 AM by sizemore »

carlso

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Re: Electric pick up for tender
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2013, 11:02:52 AM »
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Mike & sizemore

Thanks for the replies.  Mike, the original design of the tender did not include pickups. The loco is a 4-6-6-4 and the power comes from one side of the front engine and the opposite side on the rear engine. I actually had thought about the B'man trucks. Keep in mind that this is the UP centipede tender that I am talking about. There are 5 axles that are "fixed", non swivelling, plus the head end of tender has a "normal" truck under it. The side fraames for the centipede wheels are solid part of the tender chasis and make no contact with the wheels, which have no pointed bearing on their ends.

I had thought of using a KATO GS-4 tender truck plus a KATO Mikado tender truck and sanding off the side frames, and then mounting them in place of the factory installed axles with a screw and leave a little bit of swivel in them. They would roll well and have excellent pickup characteristics. In fact the lead truck on the tender could be replaced also. I have not checked axle spacing and that is most likely going to be a problem.

Just another " round-to-it ". Thanks again for suggestions.

Carl
Carl Sowell
El Paso, Texas
Southern New Mexico N Scalers, Las Cruces, New Mexico

sizemore

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Re: Electric pick up for tender
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2013, 11:08:16 AM »
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Mike & sizemore

Thanks for the replies.  Mike, the original design of the tender did not include pickups. The loco is a 4-6-6-4 and the power comes from one side of the front engine and the opposite side on the rear engine.

Carl

I completely missed the part about it being a 4-6-6-4. I'd have to go home and look, but you might consider using a Athearn tender frame and trucks. Otherwise its sounding like you're in for a engineering project to make it work.

The S.

DKS

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Re: Electric pick up for tender
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2013, 11:48:10 AM »
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I agree this may involve either tricky tinkering or major surgery. If it was me, I'd look at seeing how difficult it would be to remove the tender chassis, and maybe try to graft in the chassis from one of the Bachmann Spectrum tenders.
"Life's a piece of sh!t when you look at it."
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mmagliaro

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Re: Electric pick up for tender
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2013, 11:59:49 AM »
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EDIT:
Now that I have reread some of your further details, I need more information.  You say the wheels have no
pointed "bearing on their ends".  How do they spin between the sideframes?   Are the sideframes at all removeable
or unscrewable or are they actually cast solid with the floor?

Some close-up photos would really help here.

-- ----------------------------------------------------------------------


I don't have one of these, so I don't know if the centipede truck is attached under the bottom of the tender the
same way as on a Pecos River Brass Niagara centipede tender, but assuming it is.... here's how I would do this.

NO WIPERS.

The centipede truck is actually two long sideframes screwed up to the bottom of the tender.
They are brass.  So...

1. Remove the whole tender bottom, and cut a new one from a piece of thick styrene (1/16", 1/8"?  Whatever you
can make fit)
2. Drill and reattach the trucks to that, fit it up into the tender body and screw it back in place like the original.  Make sure
that works.
3. Track down some split-axle wheelsets.  You can use Kato or Spectrum.  Kato still has the passenger car wheelsets
on their site, which are 36" diameter.  What diameter do you need?
4. Replace the wheelsets in the centipede truck with the Kato.  Now, each of those tender sideframes is "hot",
one on each rail, and they are isolated from everything because the bottom is styrene.
5. Solder (or loop on a screw) a wire to each sideframe up into the tender, and you're done.  5 wheels on each rail,
no wipers.
6. I wouldn't bother with the swiveling front truck.  5 wheels on each side should be plenty.

« Last Edit: March 18, 2013, 01:57:15 PM by mmagliaro »

Nato

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Re: Electric pick up for tender(Nakamura of Japan?)
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2013, 01:33:23 PM »
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         Are we talking about the original KEY Imports Challenger locomotives manufactured by Nakamura of Japan,where the tender just went along for the ride as on old Bachmann steamers? The KEY AC12 CabForward was the same way. I have four of these locomotives ,two of them were run for hours on end on old N Quack (trak) layout at shows. Pickup has never been an issue to me,but I have always wished they were lighted.Nate Goodman (Nato). Salt Lake, Utah.

carlso

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Re: Electric pick up for tender
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2013, 02:58:56 PM »
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Nato,

yes this is that same unit made by Nakamura. I agree with everything Spookshow has to say about the loco and its running characteristics. Mine too was that way in analog state. the problem is I installed a Loksound Select Micro decoder in the tender along with two speakers. With sound muted, the loco ran well but with sound on it hopped, skipped, jumped, cavorted along the tracks and the sound chimed in at the same stuttering rate. ESU told me they figured there was a pickup problem and shortage of volatge on the track. I ran it on club layout with Digitrax system set on "HO" voltage and same problem. I was thinking that I might need to rig some tender pickups. However, and I feel bad about all the time guys have spent in answereing my request, I have found that by adjusting several cv's many times I have it performing well with sound muted or on.

I will test it again tomorrow on large club layout and I think I will be happy. I shall see.
Carl Sowell
El Paso, Texas
Southern New Mexico N Scalers, Las Cruces, New Mexico

peteski

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Re: Electric pick up for tender
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2013, 05:33:26 PM »
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Quote
However, and I feel bad about all the time guys have spent in answereing my request, I have found that by adjusting several cv's many times  I have it performing well with sound muted or on.
Don't feel bad. Remember that the more electric pickup points the locomotive has, the more reliably it will run.  There is no such thing as "too much pickup".  :D  Maybe some day you'll decide to use all this info to add the tender pickup to this, or maybe to another locomotive you own.

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carlso

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Re: Electric pick up for tender
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2013, 08:46:36 PM »
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peteski - thanks, you are right. I may add pickup to this unit yet. The 5 centipede axles are held in place with a metal plate screwed to the tender floor. If I used styrene or some other non conductive material to replace that plate I could easily attach wipers for the back side of the wheels. Yes, the axles are insulated on both ends. I will see after testing it again tomorrow.

Carl
Carl Sowell
El Paso, Texas
Southern New Mexico N Scalers, Las Cruces, New Mexico

mmagliaro

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Re: Electric pick up for tender
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2013, 09:59:14 PM »
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I for one, would really like to see a close-up photo of the underside of that tender. 

I really think that wipers are
the wrong way to go.  They are such an unreliable pain.  It should be possible to make this work with Kato or other insulated wheelsets that can conduct through the ends of the axles, to get more reliable pickup than you'll get with wipers.

SkipGear

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Re: Electric pick up for tender
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2013, 11:43:29 PM »
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Max,
 The centipede tenders need a lot of axial play in the wheel sets. You just can't get that with needle point axles in that situation. The Athearn tenders are done just the same way to be able to handle any kind of radius. The wheel base of the 5 axles on the fixed part of the loco is over an inch and a half long. The Athearn loco's use needle point on the front pivoting truck and no pickup on the remaining 5 axles. Only 2 of the axles in the centipede section actually suport the weight of the tender, the others are just floaters.
Tony Hines

mmagliaro

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Re: Electric pick up for tender
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2013, 11:59:12 PM »
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Tony,
Since I do not have the loco in question, I will defer to your judgement on this one.
I will say, however, that the PRB brass centipede tender I do have is not like that.  There is very little
side-to-side play in the 5 axles.  That does mean that you need broad radii to run the tender, but it seems
to run just fine on 18" curves. 

u18b

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Re: Electric pick up for tender
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2013, 11:37:03 AM »
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You said BOTH wheel treads were isolated.

One thing you might try is replacing the wheels with ones that the axle and one tread are one piece and thus only ONE wheel is isolated.  In doing that, you would electrify the frame.

Now, you would need to confirm if the frame on the locomotive is electrified.  If not, then no problem.  If it IS, then you would have to get the polarity the same or you'll have a short.  If isolated, you might need to add a) a wire from the frame to a motor pole.  b) possibly solder a thin guitar string on the drawbar to press against the tender pin.

Now, if you did that, then electrical pick up will only be improved on ONE side.  Now you would only have to install wipers on one side instead of two.

Just some ideas.

If you REALLY want this to be a reliable runner- with no concern for the brass part- the best solution would be to replace the tender with an Athearn tender, if you can find one.  They are very highly detailed for plastic.
Ron Bearden
CSX N scale Archivist
http://u18b.com

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