Author Topic: Modutrak Searchlight Signals (WAS: Building BeNscale Signals)  (Read 21557 times)

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randgust

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Re: Building BeNscale Signals
« Reply #90 on: October 19, 2014, 02:12:06 PM »
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Just built my first one using the etched parts.   Holy $##@! are they fine and delicate.    I'm using Tomar heads, and a couple leftover BLMA signal head supports (yeah, I have quite a collection!)

I had a couple cast Sunrise bases left over.   I also had to solder up extensions on the ladders to get mine high enough, I counted 18 steps each up to the heads on the Winslow signals.

The holes aren't quite big enough on the etchings to let the thinwall tube through, I had to split them with an Xacto so that they would work, minor.

I could only get two wires through the thinwall and used the mast as the common, but I don't see how you'd get enough wires through that tube for two signals (4 wires).

But at least on the workbench, this looks pretty spectacular and works very well under power.

Sokramiketes

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Re: Building BeNscale Signals
« Reply #91 on: October 20, 2014, 10:11:00 PM »
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You know, the first two frets I used were fine, and the last one I assembled had holes that were kinda tight.  I thought it was a burr on the end of the brass tube, so filed the end of the tube first, and still had some trouble.  Could be a slightly larger K&S brass tube, or a slightly under-etched fret.  I'll make note to give the hole an extra mil or two to compensate.

What size wire are you using?  I have fit 7 of the magnet wire from Ngineering.  I've heard that 42 or 46 ga is available as well, but that's just getting too delicate.

In the photo below is a triple head mast that I stuffed with 7 wires.  The pick in the lower right is the tool I built to pull wires through the opening at the signal heads.  I found it easier to shove them straight up from the bottom and catch them as they passed each opening.


randgust

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Re: Building BeNscale Signals
« Reply #92 on: October 21, 2014, 09:33:10 AM »
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Finished the second one last night.    Remember I'm cheating and ordering my signal heads - with the tricolor LED installed and leads soldered on, and put in a signal head casting - from Tomar.    They are a special order but I think its worth it.   I don't know what size wire they put on, I'll mic it and report back.   It's laquer-covered wire - magnet type.   

This is quite the project.  Sunrise, BLMA, Tomar and your White City parts, all on one mast.   I've been looking at those NJI monsters way too long, can't wait until I get these installed.    The prebuilt Tomar head approach is nice if your soldering skills are a bit limited as mine are.

I've also got a dwarf to build but its comparatively easy.   It's a permanent fixed indication (yellow) because on my layout the #3 main is actually the yard lead and it dead-ends hidden behind the backdrop about three feet up, but it will be where it belongs in relationship to the other two high single tricolor targets.

I'm just anal enough about signals that having true proper-sized tricolor targets is just the best ever.   Can't stand the look of the old bulbs now.

peteski

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Re: Building BeNscale Signals
« Reply #93 on: October 21, 2014, 04:03:27 PM »
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I don't know what size wire they put on, I'll mic it and report back.   It's laquer-covered wire - magnet type.   


Just like regular insulated wire, magnet wire comes in multiple gauges.  I even have some 12 AWG magnet wire!  On the other end of the spectrum I have some in the rage of 40-something AWG.

Sounds like the Tomar wire is heavier gauge than the one Mike uses.

EDIT:
One more thing worth mentioning is to be careful when feeding the wire through the mast.  The hole in the mast will have a very sharp edge which can easily scrape off the enable on the wire causing a short.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2014, 04:12:14 PM by peteski »
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Sokramiketes

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Re: Building BeNscale Signals
« Reply #94 on: October 21, 2014, 04:09:28 PM »
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Finished the second one last night.    Remember I'm cheating and ordering my signal heads - with the tricolor LED installed and leads soldered on, and put in a signal head casting - from Tomar.    They are a special order but I think its worth it.   I don't know what size wire they put on, I'll mic it and report back.   It's laquer-covered wire - magnet type.   

This is quite the project.  Sunrise, BLMA, Tomar and your White City parts, all on one mast.   I've been looking at those NJI monsters way too long, can't wait until I get these installed.    The prebuilt Tomar head approach is nice if your soldering skills are a bit limited as mine are.

I've also got a dwarf to build but its comparatively easy.   It's a permanent fixed indication (yellow) because on my layout the #3 main is actually the yard lead and it dead-ends hidden behind the backdrop about three feet up, but it will be where it belongs in relationship to the other two high single tricolor targets.

I'm just anal enough about signals that having true proper-sized tricolor targets is just the best ever.   Can't stand the look of the old bulbs now.

Would love to see some photos of the Tomar heads, and your installation!

Sokramiketes

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Re: Building BeNscale Signals
« Reply #95 on: October 21, 2014, 04:11:22 PM »
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Just like regular insulated wire, magnet wire comes in multiple gauges.  I even have some 12 AWG magnet wire!  On the other end of the spectrum I have some in the rage of 40-something AWG.

Sounds like the Tomar wire is heavier gauge than the one Mike uses.

Looks like the stuff I'm using is 38ga:  http://www.ngineering.com/accessories.htm

It's really nice, with its solder strippable insulation... I just wish it was available in a 3rd color!  (I asked Tim and he said he's brought it up to the manufacturer, but no new color yet.)

peteski

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Re: Building BeNscale Signals
« Reply #96 on: October 21, 2014, 04:16:45 PM »
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Looks like the stuff I'm using is 38ga:  http://www.ngineering.com/accessories.htm

It's really nice, with its solder strippable insulation... I just wish it was available in a 3rd color!  (I asked Tim and he said he's brought it up to the manufacturer, but no new color yet.)

Mike, I have a a spool of thin magnet wire with blue insulation. Let me know how much you want and I'll send you some.  No size is indicated (it was bought from a surplus store) but the outside diameter (with insulation) is 0.0045".
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Sokramiketes

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Re: Building BeNscale Signals
« Reply #97 on: October 21, 2014, 04:46:12 PM »
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Mike, I have a a spool of thin magnet wire with blue insulation. Let me know how much you want and I'll send you some.  No size is indicated (it was bought from a surplus store) but the outside diameter (with insulation) is 0.0045".

Thanks for the offer Peteski.  I have some other colors, was just lamenting the lack of a third Solder-On brand heat strippable wire.  I'll see if marking one with a sharpie affects the insulation removal.

peteski

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Re: Building BeNscale Signals
« Reply #98 on: October 21, 2014, 05:53:45 PM »
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Thanks for the offer Peteski.  I have some other colors, was just lamenting the lack of a third Solder-On brand heat strippable wire.  I'll see if marking one with a sharpie affects the insulation removal.

I'm not sure what is so special about that wire.  All the enameled magnet wires I have worked with have heat strippable enamel. Some just need a higher temperature than the 700 degrees F usually used for soldering.  Sometimes I have to turn up the tip temperature to 800 or 850 degrees while stripping/tinning the wire.

In my experience Sharpie ink does not affect strippabiliy of the enameled wire.
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Sokramiketes

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Re: Building BeNscale Signals
« Reply #99 on: October 21, 2014, 11:27:55 PM »
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I'm not sure what is so special about that wire.  All the enameled magnet wires I have worked with have heat strippable enamel. Some just need a higher temperature than the 700 degrees F usually used for soldering.  Sometimes I have to turn up the tip temperature to 800 or 850 degrees while stripping/tinning the wire.

In my experience Sharpie ink does not affect strippabiliy of the enameled wire.

Right, it's the low temperature. Enough heat will burn off any enamel, but with this stuff it comes off clean in a solder ball on my standard 12w iron. No futzing.

Sokramiketes

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Re: Building BeNscale Signals
« Reply #100 on: October 21, 2014, 11:34:30 PM »
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More signal parts. Signal masts are not just pipe sticking out of the ground. They are bolted to a foundation and at least have a clamp on hand hole base casting to allow wiring connections to be made. These are lost wax brass from an RP master. They came out fantastic, with legible initials and almost legible "modutrak" underneath!  With lost wax a lot more detail can be added versus a two part hard tooled part like injection molding. [ Guests cannot view attachments ] [ Guests cannot view attachments ] [ Guests cannot view attachments ] [ Guests cannot view attachments ]

peteski

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Re: Building BeNscale Signals
« Reply #101 on: October 22, 2014, 12:16:05 AM »
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Right, it's the low temperature. Enough heat will burn off any enamel, but with this stuff it comes off clean in a solder ball on my standard 12w iron. No futzing.

I don't futz either - just dip the end of the wire in paste flux and dip it in a solder ball at 800 deg. F. Enamel is burned/melted/cleaned off and the end of the bare wire is tinned. Exactly like what you do - just the temperature is a bit higher.  :D  I do own some of that Ngineering wire and I am using it for some of my projects.
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peteski

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Re: Building BeNscale Signals
« Reply #102 on: October 22, 2014, 12:17:20 AM »
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More signal parts. Signal masts are not just pipe sticking out of the ground. They are bolted to a foundation and at least have a clamp on hand hole base casting to allow wiring connections to be made. These are lost wax brass from an RP master. They came out fantastic, with legible initials and almost legible "modutrak" underneath!  With lost wax a lot more detail can be added versus a two part hard tooled part like injection molding.

Wow!  That is wicked!   :)
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Sokramiketes

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Re: Building BeNscale Signals
« Reply #103 on: October 22, 2014, 11:13:51 AM »
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I don't futz either - just dip the end of the wire in paste flux and dip it in a solder ball at 800 deg. F. Enamel is burned/melted/cleaned off and the end of the bare wire is tinned. Exactly like what you do - just the temperature is a bit higher.  :D  I do own some of that Ngineering wire and I am using it for some of my projects.

Do you solder SMD components at 800 deg?  Or futz with the knob first?   ;)

C855B

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Re: Building BeNscale Signals
« Reply #104 on: October 22, 2014, 12:07:43 PM »
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Do you solder SMD components at 800 deg?  Or futz with the knob first?   ;)

Yeah... I'm visualizing 0402 LEDs going [poof].