Wednesday, May 23, 2018

White Creek Spring Switching

 Robb and I ran at White Creek.  The first day we had Rick helping so we had a 3 man crew.  Robb loco had a fault with the brake interlock and kept stalling so we used mine as the master, his as slave, but kept his remote on for horn bell and headlight.
 Friday was much better.  We figured out that low voltage in the caboose system was resetting the controller, turning off the brakes.  We were able to use my brake car with less errors. 

Our train the first day was the tugger, robb's boxcab, a riding flat, my loco 2, another riding flat, the five freight cars, another riding flat, the brake car, and a caboose. 
This is a photo of a drum I picked up in india.  It is designed to be a throw away item, but I had it for quite a few years, then we move the drawer it was in over a heat vent, that dried out the skin top.  We decided to take a picture and let it go, I put it in the pile of ceramic items in the yard.  
Last, this is a picture of my train at the end of EPRR under the high bridge.

Saturday, April 28, 2018


Robb and I braved a long 10 plus hour drive down to Dunlap Thursday afternoon / night so we could play trains at EPRR on Friday and Saturday.  Then we took a long drive home Sunday.

He brought his loco, a riding car and his new caboose.

I took loco 2, the brake car, a flat and the new tugger. 

the tugger works well when momentum and hills are in favor.  It does not work well for starting or climbing long hills.  I ended up treating it like a scooter and giving it a running start in several places.  When it works well it is extremely fun!

The odometer on loco 2 said we only did a few miles.  I can't believe that... I think the loco went around the whole railroad ten to 12 times the whole weekend.

On their annual runaway car contest Robb beat any of my guesses by a long shot.  The car only rolled a few hundred feet, I had my farthest marker a mile away.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

first run weekend

Saturday I took my trains over to west michigan.  After checking out an auction I went to White Creek to meet with Robb.  While I did not help clean up the railroad much I did take the tugger, brake car, blue flat, and Loco 2.  I some how managed to get the TX to change channel and pipe... Robb fixed it.  I guess I am missing a switch that would make setting a new pipe easier.

The tugger works.  It has a lot of momentum.  It does not have enough power to start out very well.  It does not have enough brakes to stop.  But it made it most of the way around White Creek as long as I had momentum on my side.  That includes up to Apple Tree and up to Avalanche.  It did have trouble up the little grade before sleepy hollow.  It has trouble starting out on uphills.

I am not sure what my long term plans are with it.  I don't think it is safe for kids as is.

Sunday I visited the NAMES show and dreamed about little power plants and bought a few magazines plus some radius and angle gauges.  

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Tugger works

Today I installed the rest of the tugger wiring. 

 And programmed the sabertooth.
Right now the only signal source is the MU plug.  A 3.5mm TRRS with 0v 5v speed and direction signals.
 I have both the ability to multiple unit with my other loco or use a simple tether remote.  When hooked up to the other loco only one should supply the 5v to the MU line, so there is an on off switch.  Second is if the loco's are confused which way is forward (fighting eachother) there is a switch to change which way is the head end.
 I use the sabertooth in user mode.  This allows me to have quite a bit of logic in the controller.  For example here is where I am having the head end choosing happen.  Take A2 and look at S2, if S2 is above 2.5 volts go one way, if below go the other.  Note the A2 signal is flipped (from 0v to 5v or vis a vis) as needed.
 This above is fed in as U1 to the A1 signal to set the direction to two maps one ramping to forward another ramping to reverse.
Pine Ridge shops is working on a slightly different project.  I hear it interfaces with the arduino controllers we already use.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Temporary Tugger Top

Yesterday I started prepping for the first run of the year.  Bringing the important stuff up to the garage and making sure loco 2 and the brake car were ready.

Tonight I got distracted when I came down to find some four conductor wire so that the Loco 2 and the tugger could MU.  

I finished wiring up the lights and I installed temporary tugger top.

I still have to hook up the batteries and control system to the tugger sabertooth.  

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Tugger Battery

Today I started on making a tray from oak to hold down the batteries.

The loco will be ride behind.
I will find a spring pot for safety.
There will be an E-stop button.
It will have a grandpa switch to lower the top speed.
It will MU with my other loco's.
It will be 1/4 scale (30 inch gauge) same as the SBT.
It will be running by the end of the month but the details of the top wont be applied until next winter.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

screws too long

Working with my brothers I figured it out.  The mounting screws were too long, touching the wiring internal to the motor resulting in a closed circuit between them.

I used shorter screws and  now it works.

Next is to bring the loco outside and do a trial with pulling flatcars.

Monday, April 02, 2018

New motors

Nancy found me replacement motors on craiglist.  Much to Jon's dismay I took them out of the scooters and installed them on the tugger.

With some work and a call to my brothers I moved the speed and direction wires to A1 and A2.  Next I need to figure out why the sabertooth only wants one motor connected at a time.  It will run M1 or M2 but when I connect both then the sabertooth blinks really fast.

Robb thinks it is because of the 5ah battery source is not big enough amperage.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

motor smoke

 This weekend I did some assembly
 Got everything on the bottom side mounted
 Including a way to hold the motors in place
I started hooking up the top side.
 Did you see my mistake above? 
 Blue orange brown, red black... OK now I know how to hook up
 And power up... and let the smoke out of the motors.  100W motors with a 30 amp controller... with the program set to full speed at the start.  yep quickly overheated a commutator.  Melting the same lead on both motors.
On to another project making monitor stands to sell. 

I searched ebay for replacement motors, nancy searched craigslist.  she got two for $35, my lowest was $48 for the pair.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018


Tonight Jon and I glued plywood lift the motor mounts so the motors will clear the centersill.