Data sheets are not always available for electrical motors. For non documented motors we must rely on the experience of other mechanics who document and share their experiences with various motors. There are many ways to test electrical motor output however, from an Engineers perspective, whatever method is used it should be implemented consistently in testing and comparing all candidates. In 2013 Ken Clark provided us with an invaluable listing of motor data that he compiled by applying the same testing process to all motors. This should be bookmarked by anyone interested in remotoring locomotives. Using Kens listing all you do is pick your size and see which motor has the best operational characteristics for your application.
Occasionally I mention that a motor exhibits characteristics I find to be either desirable for models or maybe not conducive to our needs. Several folks have asked me how I make that determination. (Click on any image for a larger version)
Many years ago this device came into our shops. It was obtained when we bought a small collection of models from an estate sale. I have no idea who produced this device or when it was available. We actually used this tool for a while and it did provide some interesting numbers. However, based on our automotive experience we know that while a particular motor may produce notable performance numbers on a shops dynamometer, what really matters is it’s performance in a cars chassis. (If you check out our Remotoring of a brass Akane/Aristo Craft 2-8-0 you will see where our original round can motor, which produced desirable results on a test stand, did not produce the desired results when installed in the locomotive.) Our automotive experiences with car engines produced our preferred method of testing motors which we described in our 05/23/2013 Blog and motor test. Basically we strap the motor into our test mule chassis, which is a PFM/United UP 2-8-0, and hook it up to the gearbox/drive axle. We then apply DC power and find out at what volts and amperage the motor starts turning the driver and visually count the number of revolutions in 60 seconds. We then multiply that by 40 which is the number of teeth on the axle mounted worm gear. We then count the number of revolutions at 3 and 4 volts. (More voltage causes undue eye strain.) We do this a number of times.
I am a sucker for purchasing and testing any motor that appears to have desirable characteristics. This has resulted in now having over 100 replacement motors in our present inventory. Some work and some do not. As we have noted in many remotoring projects, our current favorite motor is the Mabuchi FF-180PH 8,900 rpm which we purchased in quantity years ago and is listed on Kens data sheet. We have installed over 60 of these motors in the past 8 years or so.
The first motor on the left is our favorite. The second motor from the left is the FK-180SH-17140 purchased from All Electronics that we reported on in our 05/23/2013 Blog and installed in the PFM/United ATSF 2-8-0 project. The short motor is the Nichibo PC130SF 15mm x 20mm x 25mm 6,000rpm flat can motor that we successfully installed last year in numerous small locomotives. The thin motor is the 12mm x 15mm x 28mm flat can motor procured from an Ebay seller a couple years ago and installed in the Ali San Shay in the Vintage Gem Birdey and a NWSL 20 Ton Shay as well as several other small locomotives. There are video’s attached to most of these projects so you can see the results of these remotoring projects.
Recently we purchased some Mabuchi FF-180PH-3048 (shown at the right) at the price of $5.50 From an Ebay seller. The seller indicated these were good for remotoring locomotives. While they are small enough to be installed in many different locomotives, our “in chassis” testing produced numbers that indicate these motors are about three times as fast as our favorite Mabuchi FF-180PH motor which causes us to classify them as too fast for locomotive installations. These motors would be good if high speeds were desirable.
By the way, while I have not ordered any, there is an Ebay seller who seems to be currently offering the desirable Mabuchi FF-180PH motor for about $7.95. These motors are getting difficult to find.
So what is in your locomotive?
Now back to the shops!
Some Ebay sellers have come under scrutiny for their less than honest descriptions and representations of items being sold. Sometimes the descriptions are completely wrong and when the seller is contacted they claim a lack of knowledge about the particular item being sold. However, occasionally we find a seller who is more than honest in their listings.
Along with about seven good quality images, this was how a locomotive I recently purchased was described:
· Cosmetic Condition: Excellent.
· Year of Production: 1970.
· Motor Type: Open frame
· Does it run?: Doesn't run very well. Very slow. Took a minute to even get to move. Had to manually turn the armature to kick-start it. After cleaning the wheels and letting it run for a few minutes, it might warm up enough to start running well, but a new motor may be in it's cards.
· Paint: Custom
· Brass Finish: n/a.
· Wheel Wear: Moderate/Dirty
· Lights: No
· Backhead Detail: No
· Drivers Sprung: No
· Box: Minor shelf wear, and a coupler of dealer stickers still attached.
· Foam: Excellent, but missing top piece.
· Spare Parts: PFM coupler pack.
· Paperwork: Yes.
· Decals: No.
· Comments: n/
Let me call your attention to the paragraph that begins with Does it run? This seller could have stated slow runner or not addressed the issue of performance at all and relied on the models other attributes to sell the model. However this seller took the time to explain in detail the not at all positive operational characteristics of the model. In this case, many hobbyists reading that explanation would take a pass on this item. In other words the honestly of this description may have hurt the sale. However, this is exactly the kind of locomotive we welcome into our California Western Loco and Car Rebuild Shops so this negative aspect was not a deterrent for us in acquiring this locomotive.
I have never met nor previously purchased from this seller and our only personal connection was when I spoke with him on the phone to consummate the financial aspects of this deal. However I wish there were more sellers out there like Chris Irek of Irek’s Toys and Trains who sells on Ebay under the name of Irekforpresident.
The first step was to clean the drivers. Solvent was first used to remove the paint overspray then a wire brush in my Dremel Mini removed the remaining oxidation from these drivers which were never plated.
This shows the original drive train configuration and the new flat can motor that will be installed. See our Projects page for additional Climax remotoring projects.
Location of the new motor is critical. Too far forward and it will come in contact with the inside of the cab. Too far back and the shaft will be too short for the worm. As is, the worm extends about 1/16 of an inch past the end of the motor shaft. NWSL bushings were used to mate the 2.0mm motor shaft to the 2.4mm i.d. of the worm.
The painter scraped the paint off of the bolster attached to the frame but forgot to do the same to the mating portions of the front truck This would not be an issue with the rear truck which is to be isolated from the frame.
I don’t want to suggest that this locomotive had not been serviced recently but…
Happy second anniversary to us. This month we celebrate being on line for two years.
The whole idea of our CWRailman Adventures in Model Railroading web site is to demonstrate basic modeling techniques and plant the seeds of ideas in modelers minds which hopefully motivate them to try similar projects.
Judging by the number of visitors, hits and downloads, the Mantua General, Bachman and Rivarossi 4-4-0 remotoring projects were by far the most popular articles we published this year. They also inspired others who built on those basic remotoring ideas and went much further with their projects than we did.
Besides these three published projects I have received photo’s of several models in various scales based on our John Allen memorial Gorre & Daphetid box car build and a few emails showing additional remotoring of Mantua as well as Bachman and Rivarossi 4-4-0 locomotives.
Thanks to all of you who visited our site and additional thanks to those who wrote to offer suggestions or to share their projects. While our shops spent the majority of this year focused on locomotive remotoring and regearing projects, in the coming year we hope to share our progress in the completion of some long term structure builds and initiate several new builds complete with downloadable plans. Then again we may run into another “backroom sale” of orphaned locomotives similar to that which produced many of this years projects. Whatever, we plan to continue having fun and hope that you will continue visiting our site.
Here’s wishing you all a Safe and Happy Holiday Season and a prosperous New Year.
Who the Hell is Fred Harvey? is a question answered in “Appetite for America” by Stephen Fried. In short Fred Harvey was the visionary who “created the first national chain of restaurants, of hotels, of newsstands, of bookstores-in fact, the first national chain of anything. But unlike the chains of today, the Fred Harvey system was known for dramatically raising standards wherever it arrived, rather than eroding them. It turns out that being a fast-food nation was originally a good thing.”
As an entrepreneur, Fred Harvey was quality control before W. Edwards Deming was born. “He was Ray Kroc before McDonalds, J.W. Marriott before Marriott Hotels, Howard Johnson before Hojo’s, Joe Horn and Frank Hardart before Horn & Hardart’s, and Howard Schultz before Starbucks.” What George Pullman did for passenger cars and his Pullman porters, Fred Harvey and his Harvey girls did for the food industry. In fact in certain aspects, such as providing dining services on Pullman trains, the two men were business associates.
But Fred Harvey was much bigger than his restaurants and Harvey girls. Did you know that Fred Harvey owned and operated one of the largest cattle ranches in the West or that he was connected to and had an impact on the early airline industry and that his contributions of Indian artifacts to major museums throughout the US became the basis for many of the collections of Western art in those museums. While Fred Harvey was known for the Harvey girls who served his customers/guests, find out who first gave Fred the idea for the girls. Find out how Fred Harvey was connected to the Teddy Roosevelt Rough riders and how he had a showdown with Red John. (And you’ve been watching the Mentalist to find out who Red John is.)
Don’t think his success came easy. As a child living in England Fred Harvey suffered the embarrassment and misfortune of having his family declare bankruptcy when doing so led to disgrace and meant you might spend the rest of your life as a pauper or in debtors prison. Later as a young business man in the US, Fred had similar business misfortune and lost everything including his first family. Inspired and guided by 16 principals that he carried in his wallet Fred picked up the pieces and rebuilt himself and his family. My favorite of these principals is “Be silent when a fool talks.” Author Stephen Fried dug deep to pull out details of this very private company and stitched it all together with historic occurrences that had an impact on Fred Harvey. The bibliography itself takes up over 40 pages. Don’t miss the 15 pages of Fred Harvey recipes.
I have been fortunate to tour all of Arizona by motorcycle. In the process my lady (Sharon) and I have spent a lot of time in areas formerly and currently served by Fred Harvey establishments. Yes, I said currently because while most of the establishments formerly run by Fred Harvey have closed, and many have been completely demolished, the restored La Posada resort in Winslow and El Tovar at the Grand Canyon continue to offer the first class service and dining experiences that Fred Harvey provided those traveling first by rail and later, after route 66 was built, by automobile.
While I purchased my soft cover copy of “Appetite for American” at, appropriate enough, La Posada, you can get a copy from your local book seller or I found new copies for sale at discounted prices on Ebay.
CLICK ON THIS LINK TO GET A SAMPLING OF THIS EXCELLENT BOOK. The available viewing pages are scattered throughout the book. For those of you with culinary skills, near the end of this sampling, around page 415 you will see some of the recipes.
This book makes a great Christmas gift for anyone interested in studying the historical aspects of Americana or Railroads or early restaurants, or for that matter early business in the US. If you ever get to Arizona, don’t pass up any opportunity to visit La Posada in Winslow or El Tovar at the Grand Canyon. If nothing more, after getting your picture taken at the official “Standin on the Corner in Winslow Arizona” site made popular by the Eagles song, take some time to walk through the La Posada gardens and sample a cup of their excellent coffee while watching the now diesel powered BNSF container trains roll through town. And, if you see a couple on a black Honda Valkyrie motorcycle it may be Sharon and myself. Stop and say hello.
Now back to the shops.
In Engineering we have a saying. “Reinventing the wheel” which we applied to those who attempted to reinvent something that had already been invented or successfully implemented. Usually their reinvention produces less than desirable results. (Click on any image for a larger version.)
A few years ago we had a brass locomotive in the shops that had been reworked by the owner. He had replaced the flexible tubing between the motor and gear box with a universal type coupling. He sent it to me because he said there was a bind in the mechanism. He was right, the bind was the universal coupling. (You may want to read this posting especially the paragraph about “universal joints” to find out why some universal couplings produce a bind. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constant-velocity_joint Anyone who has used a universal on a rachet socket wrench and applied a lot of torque to it probably felt just such a bind.) I removed the contraption and replaced it with flexible tubing and the model operated smoothly. When I delivered the model he was impressed with the operation but then got angry when I told him what I did. He said, I told you it had a bind, why did you remove my coupling. I suggested he stop “reinventing the wheel” and enjoy his now smooth running locomotive and left it at that. I said all that because over the past months several people have written to ask me where they can get the flexible tubing I show in many of the locomotive projects. While I had purchased my supply from a hobby shop many years ago, here is an on line store that offers the material at a reasonable price and in a quantity that will not take up much shelf space.
http://www.hobbylinc.com/rc_airplane_fuel_linesThere are two sizes applicable for our use. One is 3/32” id and the other is 1/16” id. Most of what I use has an ID of 1/16” for a tight fit onto 2.0mm motor shafts when mating to a 2.0mm gear box or a 2.4mm gear box and can also be used for the 1.5mm shafts.
http://www.hobbylinc.com/htm/dub/dub221.htmThe 3/32” tubing can be used for 2.4mm shafts if you are just replacing the tubing between the original open frame motors which were normally 2.4 mm and the original gear box which usually is 2.4mm.
I should point out that I have discovered that not many of the airplane shops, at least none in my area, stock the 1/16” id tubing so you may have to mail order it. If the shaft of either the motor or the gear box is short, place a washer between the tubing and the motor or gearbox so the tubing does not rub on the housings.
By the way, like politics or religion or DC verses DCC I do not argue with those who wish to “reinvent the wheel” and use other types of couplings. I just choose to use that which is the least complex and proven to work well on thousands of brass models including all of my own.
Now back to the shops.
While much has been written about the gun battle at the OK Corral and most of it fictionalized, there was a less publicized shootout that took place in Holbrook, Arizona in 1887 that was more deadly and conducted by a higher skilled marksman.
In September of 1887 while attempting to serve a warrant for arrest, Commodore Perry Owens single handedly took on the Blevins gang in Holbrook killing four and wounding a fifth while only firing five shots. Though there were other people in the building none were apparently wounded in the shootout though a horse on the street behind Perry Owens was hit by one of the Blevins gang. While this accounting of the battle does not entirely agree with others it is in many respects factual: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_Perry_Owens(Click on any image for a larger version)
What has become known as the Blevins house still stands in Holbrook though it has been modified and is now a senior center.
In the 1880’s Holbrook was a major loading point onto the ATSF of live stock. Mostly cattle and sheep which were herded by the Hashknife cowboys (you can Google them on your own). Some, not all, of these cowboys were actually outlaws and suspected of crimes in Arizona or other states. Due to the abundance of live stock the area attracted it’s share of cattle rustlers. It was reported that Sheriff Perry Owens would set out after rustlers by himself and usually returned with the live stock and that the rustlers were never seen or heard of again. There is a new book out about Commodore Perry Owens which suggests he may have had as many as 100 killings to his credit yet few people have ever heard of him.
It should be noted that in one year 10% of Holbrook’s 250 plus residents, actually 26 people were killed. Mostly in gun battles. http://cityofdust.blogspot.com/2010/04/bucket-of-blood-street-usa.html
I should also note that the currently active Hashknife Pony Express is the last authorized horse mounted Pony Express route in the United States. Every year a series of riders set out from Holbrook Arizona carrying mail bags. Their ride ends in Scottsdale Arizona. Here is a brief video showing a bit about these riders and their responsibilities. You will also learn how you can send a letter to be carried by these Pony Express riders. By the way, each of these riders pay a good amount of money to participate in this yearly event. I recommend you play the video on this WEB site to see how the history of the short lived Pony Express is being relived. Don’t forget to expand your screen. http://www.hashknifeponyexpress.com/hashknife-history
I have been fortunate to spend a considerable amount of time touring Holbrook and the upper areas of Arizona by motorcycle.
It was on my recent trip through these areas, while photographing the remains of the “Bucket of Blood” Saloon (that is another story) which is across the street from the Holbrook ATSF train station that I heard one of the numerous cross country BNSF trains rumbling through. Like those gunfighters of old I actually spun around and grabbed this shot of the train passing through behind my iron horse.
A few minutes later as I made my way back to the bike I grabbed a shot of another train heading West. Yes, Holbrook has been the site of yet another shooting. However, unlike those gunfighters of the 1880’s, at the end of my shooting spree, there was no smoke coming from my weapon of choice
Time to get back to the shops.
One of the stops on my recent motorcycle tour was the home of the Grand Canyon Railway in Williams, Arizona where I found this steel tank car on display. Download the free Tank Car 11 mb ZIP file of photo’s I shot capturing some details of this car such as the wood blocks between the frame and the tank or the expansion springs used at the ends of the bands holding the tank to the frame. Check out the springs on each side of the frame for the coupler. There are shots showing some of the piping for the the air brake system as well as close ups of the trucks
. I hope these help anyone interested in building or detailing one of these cars.
Auto manufactures employ vehicles they call “Mules” for testing at their proving grounds and test tracks. This short tender has been around our facility since I don’t know when and it is known as “Bunkie”. Bunkie is our test “mule”. Whenever we get a locomotive into the shops that is having electrical issues, after testing with it’s original tender, we do a test run with it pulling Bunkie. If the problem persists with Bunkie in tow we know to start looking at the locomotive. If employing Bunkie solves the electrical problem we know to initiate our investigative process by looking at the original tender. A mule is a good resource to have available to your shop crews.
Besides assuring there was good flow of electrons through the trucks we also added the flexible wires around the axles. These wires were soldered to the tender floor then wrapped around one axle and as such they were a simple addition that work as wipers. They do not impede rotation of the trucks. Employing the KISS principle, such modifications do not have to be pretty, they just have to be effective.
Here Bunkie is shown behind our reworked PFM Omaha 0-6-0 being converted to a 2-6-0. While that is not the tender being used behind it today, Bunkie was used throughout the remotoring and later the conversion to a 2-6-0 process. Bunkie can also be seen trailing behind the CGW 4-6-0 in the video of that reworked loco in operation. Your mule does not have to be fancy, or have a name, but as most mules, which are known as beasts of burden, it does have to be reliable.
Now back to the shops.
It’s 1:30 in the morning and we’re still working in the shops. I needed a 2.0mm dia rod to build a drive shaft for the 4-4-0 locomotive we have in the shop. There is no such material in our inventory that could be used for a drive shaft. But I am impatient so…..
(Click on image for a larger version)
I jammed the ball from a universal coupling onto a round tooth pick and cut the tooth pick flush with the ball joint. No glue was used. Then I cut the other end of the tooth pick and jammed it into the flexible coupling that was attached to the motor output shaft.
In this image of the mechanism in operation, blurred drivers and side rod, note that neither the motor nor the chassis are hard mounted to anything. The motor which is connected to the electrical leads is sort of floating on that matchstick box yet it is running relatively vibration free. NO this will not be the permanent solution but it did allow me, prior to shutting off the shop lights for the day, to see that the mechanism would operate smoothly. I’m already calling around to find 2.0mm shaft material. WATCH A BRIEF VIDEO OF THIS BENCH TEST.Now back to the shops.
Recently we had a somewhat rare CB&Q Burlington Aeolus 4-6-4 S-4A Streamlined Hudson by Nickel Plate models in the shops. The new owner of this model reported that it shorted out and he thought the drivers were bad. We noted several modifications, such as installation of an easy coupling Precision Scale drawbar had been done by a previous owner.
During a road test we found that this locomotive ran fine on straight track but when going through a #6 turnout it would short out. Initiating our normal procedure for uncovering such demons, we replaced the tender with our short test “mule” tender. This is a tender we know has no electrical issues and will run through all sorts of track work. With the mule in tow, the loco still shorted out.
(Click on image for a larger version)
Flipping the model over we noted that the wheels of the lead truck barely missed the front set of drivers but when slightly rotated did come in contact with the frame bottom plate. At the point of contact some paint had been rubbed off this bottom plate. On some locomotives with 4 wheel lead trucks you will find that the wheels come close or actually come in contact with some part of the model so that was why we looked there first.
This image shows the front wheel touching when the truck is pivoted in the opposite direction. Again there was a minute amount of paint rubbed off. We removed that bottom plate and after a few minutes with a grinder that potential point of conflict was resolved. A bit of paint and it looks factory new. However back on the road we found the problem still existed so the front truck was completely removed and the problem still existed.
We then removed the trailing truck and with the model now running like an 0-6-0 and pulling the mule, it ran smoothly through all forms of track work. Obviously the trailing truck was causing the problem.
With the trailing truck removed, we noted a rub mark on both sides of the frame where the last wheel of the training truck, when swiveled for a curve or turnout, had slightly worn through the paint on the frame. With the trailing truck installed this could not be detected.
With the chassis removed from the model and wrapped for protection, using our Dremel Mini Mite and a grinding cone we ground that area to provide additional clearance. After cleanup and some paint the modified chassis looks like it was done at the factory. (Sorry for the poor quality image.)
We installed the trailing truck, hooked up the loco’s original tender and the model ran through the switch with no issue. Then we reattached the lead truck and again no issues. Problem solved.
In our July 07, 2013 Blog “Is Quartering of Drivers Always the Answer”, we discussed removing the bind in a Westside SP 4-6-2. In that situation, we removed all the side rods then started rebuilding the assembly till we found what was causing the bind and then remedied that problem. In this instance, we worked in the opposite direction removing components that could have been causing the problem and tracked down this shorting issue. In this case it was providing additional clearance which probably should have been done at the factory.
I would like to point out that upon additional evaluation we noted that the model had been heavily weighted by a previous owner. This caused the chassis to ride down a bit further on it’s suspension than normal. This may have caused the contact between frame and trailing truck wheel.
Now back to the shops.