Author Topic: Milwaukee Deer Lodge electric switcher build  (Read 2546 times)

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Jim Starbuck

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Milwaukee Deer Lodge electric switcher build
« on: August 15, 2022, 09:20:33 AM »
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The latest critter experiment is one I’ve wanted to try for a while.
X3800 is a shops built electric switcher that served at Deer Lodge Montana in the Milwaukee’s electrified division where it’s primary duty was to move the Little Joes and big electric locomotives into and out of the non-electrified roundhouse.
I’ve read that it ran off a drop cord but also had a bank of batteries for power.

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The tiny model is available on Shapeways and is very nicely done. It’s intended to be a static model as it comes as one piece with printed axles and wheels.
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Although intended to be static, it was submitted to the “It would be even cooler if it ran” department so here we go…

It’s printed as one piece but the truck separated from the cab very easily.
I cut out the printed wheels and axles and fitted shortened axle cup pickups from a LifeLike SW1200. The geared axle tubes are Katos drilled out to accept ESM wheelsets cut off to make half axles.

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I wanted both axles powered and since there isn’t room for gearing the logical solution was to install two motors.
These are cheap 4x8 mm coreless cell phone vibrator motors fitted with bushed down Bachmann S4 brass worms.
These motors have very little torque and this whole project is a total novelty. If it moves itself with any level of consistency I’ll consider it a success. It’s not intended to pull or switch anything.
The motors were simply glued together and lined up pretty well over the axle gears. They’re wired in parallel with one having opposite polarity so the worms turn in the same direction relative to the truck.

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With the drive nice and compact, there is plenty of room for an ESU Lokpilot decoder and an Iowa Scaled Engineering power keeper in the cab.

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I did add a piece of .030” styrene to the top of the side frames to make clearance for the rear worm under the back deck. As it sits right now it will make slow steady laps around my Unitrack test layout and go through switches for the most part without stalling.

Much more track testing is needed but so far it looks like this just might work.


« Last Edit: August 15, 2022, 07:08:11 PM by Jim Starbuck »
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Cajonpassfan

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Re: Milwaukee Deer Lodge electric switcher build
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2022, 11:35:45 AM »
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 :o :o :o
Wow!
Otto

Jim Starbuck

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Re: Milwaukee Deer Lodge electric switcher build
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2022, 11:58:27 AM »
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I fashioned a lead wafer for the bottom of the truck so as of now it weighs 6.7 grams. There are several more places on it that will get weight added.

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milw156

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Re: Milwaukee Deer Lodge electric switcher build
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2022, 03:00:30 PM »
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are you going to model the extension cord in ran off of? Absofrickinlutely incredible!

Jim Starbuck

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Re: Milwaukee Deer Lodge electric switcher build
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2022, 04:00:15 PM »
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are you going to model the extension cord in ran off of? Absofrickinlutely incredible!
Ha!
It might be fun to model a piece of cord dragging alongside like a car dragging a gas pump hose.
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Dwight in Toronto

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Re: Milwaukee Deer Lodge electric switcher build
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2022, 04:25:42 PM »
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That really is a wonderful little piece of fun … serious mucho kudos to you.  Looking forward to seeing the final result, and perhaps a brief running video someday!

peteski

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Re: Milwaukee Deer Lodge electric switcher build
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2022, 05:32:13 PM »
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Very, very impressive, Microscopic model, with DCC, and it even has a keep-alive cap!
You Sir are now in the ranks of TRW masters like Max Magliaro and Ron Bearden!
« Last Edit: August 15, 2022, 08:21:44 PM by peteski »
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wazzou

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Re: Milwaukee Deer Lodge electric switcher build
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2022, 05:40:43 PM »
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Very, very impressive, Microscopic model, with DCC, and it even has a keep-aive cap!
You Sir are now in the ranks of TRW masters like Max Magliaro and Rob Bearden!


Ron.  ;)
Bryan

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Jim Starbuck

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Re: Milwaukee Deer Lodge electric switcher build
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2022, 05:54:12 PM »
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Very, very impressive, Microscopic model, with DCC, and it even has a keep-aive cap!
You Sir are now in the ranks of TRW masters like Max Magliaro and Rob Bearden!

Thanks Peteski… High praise indeed!
Those ISE powerkeepers have been a real game changer. There’s 940uF capacitance, circuit protection for the decoder and the programmer can still see the decoder through it.
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peteski

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Re: Milwaukee Deer Lodge electric switcher build
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2022, 08:21:10 PM »
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. . . 42 . . .

AlwaysSolutions

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Re: Milwaukee Deer Lodge electric switcher build
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2022, 08:59:23 PM »
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Mind. Blown.   I see you saved room for a speaker as well? j/k :D  That's amazing!

-Mike

Cajonpassfan

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Re: Milwaukee Deer Lodge electric switcher build
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2022, 09:34:35 PM »
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Thanks Peteski… High praise indeed!
Those ISE powerkeepers have been a real game changer. There’s 940uF capacitance, circuit protection for the decoder and the programmer can still see the decoder through it.

The Powerkeeper is impressive in its own right. Got to try these. Would you mind noting the dimensions?
Thanks,
Otto

u18b

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Re: Milwaukee Deer Lodge electric switcher build
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2022, 10:05:27 PM »
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Wow.... I am VERY impressed.   This was on my radar to make one day.

You had me when you installed dual motors... great idea.

And then you added DCC.   Wow!

I love this.

And yes.... if possible, add an extension cord.... at least for a photo.
Ron Bearden
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"All get what they want-- not all like what they get."  Aslan the Lion in the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis.

Jim Starbuck

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Re: Milwaukee Deer Lodge electric switcher build
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2022, 10:38:51 PM »
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The Powerkeeper is impressive in its own right. Got to try these. Would you mind noting the dimensions?
Thanks,
Otto

These are ready made from Iowa Scaled Engineering called Run-N-Smooth.
It’s a simple two wire connection to the decoder. The blue + common and add a - from the decoder to the other pad on the powerkeeper.

The dimensions are .410” x .365” x .192” thick.

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They do just what they say…smooth out the engine. They aren’t a crutch for poor running locomotives or unclean track, however they do make a noticeable difference in small switchers especially with sound. I use ESU decoders exclusively and they play very well together. I have no experience with other makes of decoders though.
This little critter wouldn’t begin to run well without this powerkeeper or on straight DC. What Max, Ron and Chris do with their marvelously intricate gear reductions, I’m forcing motor control electronically through the decoder and powerkeeper.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2022, 07:06:42 AM by Jim Starbuck »
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Cajonpassfan

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Re: Milwaukee Deer Lodge electric switcher build
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2022, 11:42:06 PM »
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Thank you, much appreciated!
Otto K.