Jon's US Workbench: Module Dilemma

Jon's US Workbench: Module Dilemma

Postby jongwinnett » Sat Oct 11, 2008 8:51 pm

So, I had a cunning plan.

I had a nice DC Athearn CSX MP15AC, but I wanted sound.

Mac's are having a sale, no CSX MP15s but they did have a SOO Bandit and several GM demonstrators, with sound.

Easy thinks I, I'll swap the innards over and have a sound CSX loco.

The best laid plans...

Here's the sound loco, undergoing dismantling:

gm1.jpg
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gm2.jpg
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gm3.jpg
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gm4.jpg
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And here's #1135. Spot the difference!

1135-1.jpg
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1135-2.jpg
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1135-3.jpg
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Not quite the straightforward swap I was hoping for. However, I am delighted to say that surgery was successful and both locos have been tested and work. I now have a CSX switcher for interchange service, which burbles away quite happily. I also have a soundless MP15AC looking for a new home - ??25 plus postage at cost. Any takers?

I suspect that #1135 needs considerable weathering, and possibly renumbering (1135 seems wedded to Osborn yard in Kentucky). It also needs ditchlights but I don't know where to start on this :(

Next up, working out how to program the long address on my Atlas GP38 with QSI chip
Last edited by jongwinnett on Sun Sep 06, 2009 7:06 am, edited 8 times in total.
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Re: Jon's East Coast Workbench: Switching a Switcher

Postby jongwinnett » Sun Oct 12, 2008 2:15 pm

jongwinnett wrote:Next up, working out how to program the long address on my Atlas GP38 with QSI chip


Which turned out to be surprisingly easy! Last time (For an MP15DC) I had to mess about changing CV's but this one programmed without any fuss on the Dynamis.

Here it is:

400.jpg
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Re: Jon's East Coast Workbench: Switching a Switcher

Postby jongwinnett » Sun Oct 12, 2008 2:22 pm

When I get time (or brave enough) I have some Plano walways to fit to my small fleet of Walthers cement cars. Has anyone tried this? Any hints gratefully received.
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Re: Jon's East Coast Workbench: Switching a Switcher

Postby jongwinnett » Sun Oct 12, 2008 5:16 pm

plano.jpg
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walcem.jpg
walcem.jpg (268.77 KiB) Viewed 6429 times
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Re: Jon's East Coast Workbench: Switching a Switcher

Postby CraigZ » Mon Oct 13, 2008 12:46 pm

The trick with the etched walkways is not to use a hard adhesive like cyanoacrylate (ACC or CA) to secure the walkway to the supports. The adhesive needs to be flexible to provide the small amount of give needed to compensate for the different rates of thermal expansion between the plastic and the metal...CA will pop loose. There's a couple of brand names used here that work well; not sure you can source them in the UK. But they're basically high quality clear contact cements.

HTH...
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Re: Jon's East Coast Workbench: Switching a Switcher

Postby jongwinnett » Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:56 am

Cheers, Craig,

just the sort of hint i was after!
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Re: Jon's East Coast Workbench: Switching a Switcher

Postby wsor4490uk » Fri Oct 17, 2008 6:38 pm

Hi Jon,
Just been looking at your Footpic site.
Looks an interesting layout
Is that Peco US code 83 track???

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Re: Jon's East Coast Workbench: Switching a Switcher

Postby Northpoint » Sat Oct 18, 2008 6:09 am

Following Chris's lead and looking at your Photopic site - whats the story on the US layout? Where, what era etc?
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Re: Jon's East Coast Workbench: Switching a Switcher

Postby jongwinnett » Sat Oct 18, 2008 7:29 am

Details here. Things are a bit moribund atm :(

viewtopic.php?t=11082

Yes it is Peco code 83
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Re: Jon's East Coast Workbench: Switching a Switcher

Postby Northpoint » Sat Oct 18, 2008 7:43 am

Thanks for that link, Jon.

If you don't mind me asking, if it's in the Pacific NW, why the A&R geep?
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Re: Jon's East Coast Workbench: Switching a Switcher

Postby jongwinnett » Sun Oct 19, 2008 7:12 am

Northpoint wrote:Thanks for that link, Jon.

If you don't mind me asking, if it's in the Pacific NW, why the A&R geep?


:D :D :D 'cos when those posts were made, Tacoma ish was looking favourite. But I'm a modellign butterfly - recent US purchases have all been east coast oriented. The BNSF stuff will probably go up for sale when I get round to taking some pics.

But I spent yesterday learning about things LMS with a view to something around Berkhamsted/Bletchley, so don't hold your breath!... (Those Hornby 2-6-4 tanks have a lot to answer for!)

(Next week, Jon's butterfly brain will alight on German narrow gauge or East African something or Chinese or... or... or...)
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Re: Jon's East Coast Workbench: Switching a Switcher

Postby Northpoint » Sun Oct 19, 2008 9:00 am

I know the feeling - I do the same. I have 3 US layouts on the go at the moment, "Lochnagar", a Scottish BR blue diesel layout and a small BR (W) branch terminus.

Oh, and I also have several boxes of German (both DB and DR) kicking around somewhere...

BTW - if you are thinking of selling some US stuf, let me know. I might be interested.
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Re: Jon's East Coast Workbench: Switching a Switcher

Postby jongwinnett » Sat Mar 28, 2009 8:40 pm

Some horse trading with Craig Z led to the acquisition of an Athearn model of this

http://videorails.com/viewphoto.php?id=31726&nseq=3

Now I know the Athearn GP40-2 is not a directly appropriate model of this loco - no anticlimber, etc etc but it??™s a good looking starting point. And its robust enough that I don??™t mind the wee lad playing with it!

But HELP this is the first Athearn with the traditional blue box style chassis to which I've tried to fit DCC.

I thought I was being cunning and purchased a Digitrax decoder with their DHAT solder less harness, but, there are no instructions on how to fit the harness. I've tried googling without much success. A bit of research found some articles on hardwiring Athearn locos and these have enabled me to get most of the way there (I think):

HPIM3106.JPG
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I'm not too sure about the lighting attachment, but most worryingly, I can't for the life of me work out where to attach the black track feed wire. It has a snazzy clip on the end so it must be intended to snap on somewhere. At the moment my only guess is the mounting plate for the light, but TBH that seems a bit doubtful. Here's the little devil:

HPIM3105.JPG
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Woe is me. Any suggestions guys?
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Re: Jon's East Coast Workbench: ATHEARN DCC help needed

Postby Gary H » Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:17 pm

It looks to me like you have Athearns older pick-up arangment Jon. One rail goes to the big tabs that you already have conected (red), the black goes to the frame as the frame takes the other rails power through a rubbing plate affair on the top of the trucks. It then carries the power through the frame, contacting the motor terminal via a copper strip under the motor IIRC.
If you study this picture of an Athearn truck you'l notice the T shaped piece next to the right of the gear tower, this makes electrical contact with the frame. Note! this peice IS electricaly seperate from the large tab!
Image
The motor is conected to the frame via the black lead, normaly its attached to the frame via a screw somewhere. (NON DCC
This is the view under the motor.
Image It must be stressed here that its even more important that no part of the decoder or any wiring comes into contact with the frame!
Looking back, I infact done away with this heath robbinson affair on a couple of my Tunnel motors. I soldered a lead to both trucks near the rubbing plates (make sure you get the correct side for obvious reasons!) and took these leads straight to the decoder terminal where the black is.
The grey wire will go to the motor terminal where the black was. You then do away with using the frame and rubbing plates for electrical continuity! :thup
Last edited by Gary H on Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:43 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Image

My updated layout thread- (7-6-09)
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=24548&p=640809#p640809" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Jon's East Coast Workbench: ATHEARN DCC help needed

Postby pH » Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:24 pm

Jon, have you seen this site? http://forum.atlasrr.com/forum/default.asp. There is a DCC forum, but also there are DCC topics, including chipping an Athearn 'blue box', in the HO forum.
Some photos of BR steam locomotives at : http://peter752.fotopic.net/
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Re: Jon's East Coast Workbench: ATHEARN DCC help needed

Postby jongwinnett » Sun Mar 29, 2009 8:22 am

Thanks Guys.

This morning (i.e when not tired) I decided that the light mount was the obvious place for the black wire to clip. Now I don't know if I'm right or not, but the whole thing works. So the conversion was actually pretty easy.

I just don't know whether to detail it up or leave it as robust power for little fingers (and less than careful Dads i.e. me!)

Off to play now! :D
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Re: Jon's East Coast Workbench: ATHEARN DCC help needed

Postby CraigZ » Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:30 pm

jongwinnett wrote:Thanks Guys.

This morning (i.e when not tired) I decided that the light mount was the obvious place for the black wire to clip. Now I don't know if I'm right or not, but the whole thing works. So the conversion was actually pretty easy.

I just don't know whether to detail it up or leave it as robust power for little fingers (and less than careful Dads i.e. me!)

Off to play now! :D


Nope, you're correct...that's where the black wire goes. A small caution is that those light mounts have a history of being loose or working loose over time. I usually end up drilling and tapping a brass screw into the frame someplace and soldering the black wire to that.
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Re: Jon's East Coast Workbench: ATHEARN DCC help needed

Postby jongwinnett » Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:42 pm

Cheers Craig.

I'll hardwire if/when it works loose, but for now [fingers crossed]

It seems a shame Athearn haven't updated the GP38/40 line as they have other ranges - the new SW1500s look superb for example...
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Re: Jon's East Coast Workbench: ATHEARN DCC help needed

Postby jongwinnett » Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:28 pm

For some time now I've been looking for an excuse to run my BNSF MP15DC in a SoCal setting. Thanks to Karl Dahlquist for these shots which show 3703 hard at work in Hobart Yard. Karl says on his youtube site that the locals call #3703 the Pizza Oven. You can see why. Now, how best to model that filter box (if I can't persuade BLMA or somebody to do it for me!)

Karl Dahlquist
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Karl Dahlquist
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here's another shot:

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=269949&nseq=0&favsearch=1

The whole LA Junction/ Hobart Yard etc area appeals to me as a location for a city switching layout, especially as Lance Mindheim has prior dibs on Miami, which might have been my first choice as I have visited personally!
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Re: Jon's US Workbench: Pizza Oven

Postby shortliner » Sun Apr 05, 2009 6:49 pm

Jon, Miami is big enough for more than one layout, and I'm sure another won't hurt
I know of 4 - Lances East Rail and Downtown Spur, Chris Gilberts "CSX Miami",this one
http://www.zealot.com/forum/showthread.php?t=163541 which continues here
http://www.the-gauge.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=169 being Built in Germany by CNW1961 (Kurt)
If you poke about on Google Earth or Windows Live, there are some other interesting areas to the north of the area that Lances are set in, full of backstreets and industrial sites including scrap yards and warehousing.
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Re: Jon's US Workbench: Pizza Oven

Postby jongwinnett » Sun Apr 05, 2009 9:10 pm

You may well be right, and anything I did would have to factor in the Cemex plant (as shown on other threads) and Tri-rail - gotta love those palm tree coaches!

But FEC seems woefully under-represented, so that might be an option. They have a very active and friendly fanbase. As an aside, when we landed at Miami back in 2003, we passed over Lance's layout area. There was a GP switching, still in Chessie System paint. I wonder if that has survived. I doubt it!

However, I am very taken with the LA Junction in particular, although stock could be pricey (the MK1200G's that are the staple power are only available in Brass). But it certainly offers scope for a "similar but different" modern urban switching layout
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Re: Jon's US Workbench: Pizza Oven

Postby shortliner » Mon Apr 06, 2009 8:43 am

Jon - you have a PM
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Re: Jon's US Workbench: Pizza Oven

Postby Supaned » Mon Apr 06, 2009 8:52 am

Jon ,

I don't know if you've seen this forum before , but there is a lot of info on local freights and switching jobs at : http://www.westcoastrailforums.com

They also have a section with google earth views of various yards : http://www.westcoastrailforums.com/view_forum.php?id=38

I'm also quite taken by modern urban railroading , some of the pics on that board are very inspirational , especially those around J yard...

Regarding motive power , the LAJ recently retired their CF7s , but replaced them with GP35s , so even if you can't get hold of a brass MK1200G (they do occasionally crop up on Ebay) , there is an alternative.

The Genset switchers will soon be available from Atlas in HO scale , or Overland in brass if you have deep pockets....

Another LA based switching line worth investigating is Pacific Harbor Line , they had until recently a motley collection of power, now they have genset switchers and CAT-powered SD rebuilds .

If you like passenger operations (like me) , LA has Metrolink , using the same bi-level cars as Tri-Rail , and a mixture of F59PH (Kaslo kit in HO) , F59PHI (Athearn RTR) , F40PH (Kato/Walthers RTR) , and now MP36-PH (soon to be RTR from Trueline Trains) ; they also hire-in stock from Coaster (Seattle commuter line , they also had locomotive #901 on hire , very much a "prototype for everything" moment) , and Altamont Commuter Express.

Hope this gives you plenty to contemplate....
Cheers ,

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Re: Jon's US Workbench: Pizza Oven

Postby jongwinnett » Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:23 pm

Cheers Supaned. Spent several hours last night on that very site, before I got your message but welcome suggestion nonetheless.

Don't knowo if you noticed, but PHL have one of the MK1200Gs from the LAJ on test
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Re: Jon's US Workbench: Kato GP35

Postby jongwinnett » Sat Apr 25, 2009 4:53 pm

Here's some shots of my ex-UP Kato GP35, which I've stripped in preparation for a (long term) rebuild as a BNSF GP35u.

See AndrewC's thread for the problems I had stripping it, but note the discolouration and cracking, where the Precision Super strip has started to attack the shell. Note this is not a failing of the paint-stripper - I knew beforehand that Kato shells were vulnerable. However, I don't think there's anything insurmountable here??¦

GP35-1.jpg
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GP35-2.jpg
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GP35-3.jpg
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