Fine tuning HO steam engines


Thomas Beutel <Thomas.Beutel@...>
 

Ok, here's another topic for discussion.

What are your experiences in remotoring/regearing/tuning HO steam engines,
either plastic or brass. I've found that brass models in particular need a
lot of tuning. One thing that I always run into is pilot wheels and trailing
wheels that touch the frame and create a short.

Has anyone had any experience using NWSL's line of gearboxes? Also, are
universal joints or flex tubing better for shaft connections?

Thanks in advance for your input.

Regards,
Thomas

-----Original Message-----
From: f-v-h@webtv.net [mailto:f-v-h@webtv.net]
Sent: Saturday, May 22, 1999 12:42 AM
To: HOsteam@onelist.com
Subject: [HOsteam] Running late?


From: f-v-h@webtv.net

Are the tanks dry? Or are we just dead on the law?


KenRClark@...
 

Thomas,
Thanks for opening the Memorial Weekend Can-of-Worms.

I'm sure you will get a variety of answers on the subject. Many different
approaches appear to work equally well; success depends upon both skill and
careful attention as well as understanding your objectives.

As a veteran of a few hundred of these projects; I have developed my own
prejudices/standards. I judge the success of brass engine tuning by the
change in mechanical efficiency. I have assembled a set of test meters that
simultaneously show voltage and current draw (digital, 0-20 volts+/-, 0-2000
milliamps+/-). Using the set of meters I can monitor the progress (success)
of the brass tuning work (remotoring, regearing, etc...).

A few keys for success have emerged.

First, the better the alignment the better the performance, flexible tubing
held in perfect alignment will be virtually as efficient as a solid shaft or
the best universal; unfortunately on many brass models the tubing is used to
hold the gearbox in alignment and a significant amount of work is done in
this effort reducing the model's efficiency. I use brackets soldered to the
frame to hold the gearbox in alignment with the motro shaft; with such
alignment flexible tubing is the equal of most universals, but I normally
replace the tubing with a rugged, durable universal (such as Hobbytowns)
because of the greater reliability. Some of my older models equipped with
can motors and flywheels 20 years ago have not required any maintenance and
other than wheel cleaning and light lubrication every few years. The wheels
are threatening to wear out before I have to replace drivetrain components.

Two. There are bad motors out there and there are good ones. A skilled
modeler can improve some of the bad ones. The advantage we formally had with
the NWSL/Sagami motors was that we had specs to evaluate the motors against
and could return poor performers. Many can motors require tuning as well,
the test meters help here as well. I personally do not have the time to
spend improving poor motors on a routine basis. There are some brands that
were particularly poor, one in particular starting with the letters
Fu**********; others such as Mashima had an occasional poor motor but also
have some very useful, excellent motors. Some of the best motros were only
available in a very few sizes (Taneda).

Three. I mostly use KTM gearboxes as my first choice, partly because they
were installed on many of my SP models and they were a quality product,
readily available. I avoid the assembled brass gearboxes that typically are
one of a kind, without replacement parts. I regularly use NWSL gearboxes,
they are the only choice in HOn3, and I have been using their larger
gearboxes in On3 and large HO articulateds. They keep threatening/promising
to make ball-bearing gearboxes avilable for our HO models. When that happens
that will be my gearbox of choice. Their "O" scale gearbox is by far the
best gearbox I have tested or used, far superior to the gearboxes, ball
bearing or not, found in the high end models.

Fourth. Tune before painting; models never run better after painting. For
that reason I install motors with screw and motor pads instead of silicone
sealer. It's faster and allows quick maintenance.

enough to start a discussion,

ken


Robert Joseph Amsler, Jr. <ramsler@...>
 

Tom:

I have not re-motored a steam engine yet. However, I know a man who earns a tidy profit working on re-motoring brass engines. He suggested using a few different gear boxes from NWSL and standardize on them for uniformity. Better to have two or three types than quite a bunch. He would build a base on the frame with brass channel to form a horizontal line between the motor (he only uses expensive can motors) along the shaft to the gear box. The motor was isolated from the frame however. (I cannot remember how he said to do this.) He strongly discouraged the use of tubing but suggested instead making a solid connection using universal joints or other parts. This provided good torque and there would not be any slippage or other problems. The base holding the motor prevented any tendency for the engine to lurch to a side.

I have extensive notes written somewhere from when he told me how to do this. I intend to dig them out and sart working on some of my brass engines after the contractor finishes working on my house.

Hope this helps,

Robert Joseph Amsler, Jr.
Ramsler@worldnet.att.net

-----Original Message-----
From: Thomas Beutel [SMTP:Thomas.Beutel@efi.com]
Sent: Friday, May 28, 1999 3:39 PM
To: HOsteam@onelist.com
Subject: [HOsteam] Fine tuning HO steam engines

From: Thomas Beutel <Thomas.Beutel@efi.com>

Ok, here's another topic for discussion.

What are your experiences in remotoring/regearing/tuning HO steam engines,
either plastic or brass. I've found that brass models in particular need a
lot of tuning. One thing that I always run into is pilot wheels and trailing
wheels that touch the frame and create a short.

Has anyone had any experience using NWSL's line of gearboxes? Also, are
universal joints or flex tubing better for shaft connections?

Thanks in advance for your input.

Regards,
Thomas



-----Original Message-----
From: f-v-h@webtv.net [mailto:f-v-h@webtv.net]
Sent: Saturday, May 22, 1999 12:42 AM
To: HOsteam@onelist.com
Subject: [HOsteam] Running late?


From: f-v-h@webtv.net

Are the tanks dry? Or are we just dead on the law?


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Nelson Kennedy <nelsonk@...
 

Thomas Beutel wrote:

Has anyone had any experience using NWSL's line of gearboxes? Also, are
universal joints or flex tubing better for shaft connections?
Personally I have used only the NWSL 0 scale gearboxes - and they are
wonderful. I have a friend who is a custom builder and he uses the
NWSL H0 gearboxes. He finds them great. We would both make the same
comment about both H0 and 0 scale NWSL gearboxes and that is to tighten
the screws that hold them together to a snug but not tight fit. The
plastic casing of the gearbox may be distorted with over-tightening and
cause a binding in the gearbox. With carefull assembly they will give
years of reliable service.

As to choice of drive. There is no argument. Universal every time. I
have a real prejudice against rubber or silicon tubing due to it tending
to twist under load and to introduce load when the drive is not in a
straight line. The universal seems to handle that without the same
friction.

HTH.


--
Nelson Kennedy
Christchurch, New Zealand
Tramway Preservation and NZR 0 gauge trains and a little H0 Espee are
at:
http://DownUnder.Railfan.net


Leonello Pesce <leo@...>
 

Another thing to consider is this: before the gear box is
installed, make sure that the loco frame and drivers, with
rods and valve gear installed, are free rolling, and does not
bind. A good test is to use one flex track (36") on a base
of same length, with one end propped up with a block of wood
(I use the ROCO cleaning pad). The free rolling should show
you if the valve gear and rods are binding, showing as a jerky
motion.

As for the gear boxes, I find the KTM the best ones (and I was lucky
enough to get my hands on a box full of them of various sizes,
some complete, some not). And Nelson is right, never tight the
sides too tight. I found this out while cleaning my recently
acquired KTM GS4. It was completely dry. After the clean up, I found
the engine was hardly moving, at full power. I found that the gear
box was too tight to the gear. I could not find why it was happening,
but after loosening the screws, it became very fluid.

As for the motors, I have changed a couple of engines, from open frame
to can motors, and even though when running by themselves, they are
very smooth, with a train behind in our club size layout, with
12/14 passenger cars, mostly weighted, or 25/35 freight cars, all
weighted, we are not seeing much of a difference. So at this time I
have elected to keep the open frames motors (of course I completely
disassemble them for a throughout cleanup) until such time I am
satisfied that can motors are much better than open frame motors.
[now this is another topic altogether]

As for the rubber tubing vs universals. I had only a couple of engines
that had problems with the tubing, only because the original eventually
gave way, and I had to replace it. The distance has too long, so I solved
it by putting a steel rod in the middle, long enough to have 1/8" gaps
at each ends between it and the other two rods, motor shaft and the gear
box shaft.

One more thing. Put two small squares of rubber pad between the gear box
and the frame, one on each side. It will still give a little way on the
axle gear going back and forth, but not sideways.

If I sound like an expert, I am not. All this I acquired working on
(so far) a few dozen of engines, most mine, but recently of others.
But reading experiences from others, that is where one learns, and find
out if one method is better than another. Thanks for sharing.

Cheers
Leo