Re: The Flyer Crawl?


A couple of additions that I have communicated off list on this subject.

  The Flyer motors had double lead worms, that doubled top end speed by reducing the gear ratio 50%.  The S-N-S slow speed motor  actually just has a single lead worm (on the same can motor used with their double lead motors) the result is doubling the gear ratio and cutting speeds in half at every voltage.  My concern is that the single lead worm has a different worm pitch that could cause premature gear wear in the worm gears (axle and smoke piston) designed for the double lead worm used by Flyer.  The second option is using a double lead worm with a slower RPM motor.  Anyone have a source for a Flyer double lead worm for a 2mm or 2.4mm shaft?

  Flyer used universal 7-15 volt motors that would run on both AC and DC.  Their transformers were mostly 7-15 volts to match the motors.  When Flyer introduced DC motor models they also introduced a rectifier to convert AC to DC.  The rectifier loses 2-3 volts so to retain the top end 15 volts for DC motors; Flyer introduced 5-18 volt transformers with the same model numbers as some of their larger AC 7-15 volt transformers.  Rather than rectify in the loco, I rectify the power supply with a large diode bridge rectifier and supply DC power to the tracks.  Stock Flyer locos with universal motors and reversing units work fine on DC.  Only newer locos like Lionel AC and AM AC locos actually require only AC power.

  Modern DC can motors start turning around 1.5 - 2 volts DC, universal 7-15 volt motors start turning around 7 volts, AC  or DC.  I suspect this significant difference in starting voltage produces different results with DC motor controllers (which can be purchased from China on eBay for a reasonable price and with or without PWM, Pulse Width Modulation).  I would expect a PWM DC motor controller might work better with a Flyer 7-15 volt motor than a motor controller without PWM.  I expect better results from a modern can motor than the old Flyer 7-15 volt universal motor.

  I have Timko and S-N-S motors in my inventory.  Previously I have tested DC motors for use in HO to O scale models as part of my support of the RepowerAndRegear list (results available at

If there is interest I will test the Timko w/flywheel and S-N-S motors (full speed, half speed, 0-8-0, and Casey Jones) I have on hand.

ken clark

On 2018-05-15 08:47, Thomas Stoltz wrote:

Stumpy wrote:   I have considered this before, but have not been able to do it, even with modern can motors.  I'm not sure DCC or other electronic controls are the answer, but perhaps it would be possible with them, though I have my doubts.

I have pretty
 much decided that the real problem is not voltage control or motors, but gearing and weight.



I have been in recent communication with Ken about PWM controllers for DC operation and I have been playing with a PWM LED dimmer.

Result: My SNS DC can motor converted K5 will crawl about the same as my AM GG1.  I also tried a 282 that I converted to DC with a full wave bridged rectifier (leaving the Flyer motor intact) and it will crawl, but not as slow as a can motor and requires higher voltage.  I find binding of the pistons to be a problem at slow speeds and most engines need to be ‘tinkered’ with a bit to get the pistons to cooperate.  Lubricating the pistons helps a lot.  Even AM steamers need to have their pistons adjusted to run real slow.

Flyer knuckle couplers will not close at slow speeds, especially with lighter cars.  Because of this I now use Kadee or Flyer link couplers.

Ken knows way more about PWM than I could ever hope to learn, but my memory is PWM will get ‘balky’ motors to turn at lower voltages.  The 3 pole Flyer motors are in this category.  I also think the Flyer transformers are very ‘course’ in varying voltage and don’t give you the control you need for slow running.  PWM controllers are extremely fine which allows for much smoother control.  I’ve even used everyday dimmer switches and found them to have better slow speed control than the Flyer transformer.

Tom Stoltz in Maine

Join to automatically receive all group messages.