Topics

Converting a brass E-60 2-8-0 to DCC

Nick Ostrosky
 

I have a brass Consolidation I'd love to convert for operation on my DCC layout.  It appears the loco picks up right rail from the drivers and left rail from the tender.  I know I'll have to isolate the motor from the frame, but my concern is that the gap between the last driver and first tender wheel pickups may be large enough that if I do have a dead spot somewhere (e.g., in an already-installed turnout that works fine with my F7s) the loco will stall.  Does anyone have experience in this area, and am I being overly cautious/concerned?  Thanks!

Charles Brumbelow
 

Is the existing motor suitable for DCC or will you need to remotor? Is there or will there be room for a flywheel? Charles




On Monday, February 19, 2018, 1:04 PM, nick79ostr@... [WiringForDCC] wrote:



I have a brass Consolidation I'd love to convert for operation on my DCC layout.  It appears the loco picks up right rail from the drivers and left rail from the tender.  I know I'll have to isolate the motor from the frame, but my concern is that the gap between the last driver and first tender wheel pickups may be large enough that if I do have a dead spot somewhere (e.g., in an already-installed turnout that works fine with my F7s) the loco will stall.  Does anyone have experience in this area, and am I being overly cautious/concerned?  Thanks!



Alan Cushing
 

Well, by converting to DCC, you have the chance to put a Keep Alive circuit in there so the loco will be capable of coasting a distance when hitting a dead spot.  

   ASC

Mark Gurries
 

This is where purchasing a Keep Alive with the decoder comes in handy.  It will make up for the consequences of not having all wheel pickup.  The only think you must remember is let the keep alive charge up for a minute of so before you run the locomotive.


On Feb 19, 2018, at 11:04 AM, nick79ostr@... [WiringForDCC] <WiringForDCC@...> wrote:



I have a brass Consolidation I'd love to convert for operation on my DCC layout.  It appears the loco picks up right rail from the drivers and left rail from the tender.  I know I'll have to isolate the motor from the frame, but my concern is that the gap between the last driver and first tender wheel pickups may be large enough that if I do have a dead spot somewhere (e.g., in an already-installed turnout that works fine with my F7s) the loco will stall.  Does anyone have experience in this area, and am I being overly cautious/concerned?  Thanks!




Best Regards,

Mark Gurries
Electrical Engineer
DCC Website & NMRA DCC Clinics: www.markgurries.com



whmvd
 

Trying to think through what would happen if such a skewed pick-up engine crosses from one power district into another, or into an auto-reverser. It's giving me brain freeze. Any special considerations there?

Wouter

On 21 February 2018 at 10:54, Mark Gurries gurriesm@... [WiringForDCC] <WiringForDCC@...> wrote:
 

This is where purchasing a Keep Alive with the decoder comes in handy.  It will make up for the consequences of not having all wheel pickup.  The only think you must remember is let the keep alive charge up for a minute of so before you run the locomotive.



On Feb 19, 2018, at 11:04 AM, nick79ostr@... [WiringForDCC] <WiringForDCC@...> wrote:



I have a brass Consolidation I'd love to convert for operation on my DCC layout.  It appears the loco picks up right rail from the drivers and left rail from the tender.  I know I'll have to isolate the motor from the frame, but my concern is that the gap between the last driver and first tender wheel pickups may be large enough that if I do have a dead spot somewhere (e.g., in an already-installed turnout that works fine with my F7s) the loco will stall.  Does anyone have experience in this area, and am I being overly cautious/concerned?  Thanks!




Best Regards,

Mark Gurries
Electrical Engineer
DCC Website & NMRA DCC Clinics: www.markgurries.com




dvollrath@...
 

No special considerations required. If you have only one booster there is no issue as there will always be a path for current to flow from rail A of one power district through the decoder and back to rail B on a different power district, unless a protective breaker has tripped. Ditto for crossing A-R boundaries as a short circuit will be created by the first trucks to combine opposite rail polarities together, causing the A-R unit to flip and correct the problem. If you have correctly installed the power common wire between multiple boosters there will still be a path to power the loco when drawing power from rail A of booster 1 and rail B of booster 2 when a loco crosses those boundaries. This is one of the several reasons to provide that common bonding wire.

DonV

---In WiringForDCC@..., <vandoornw@...> wrote :

Trying to think through what would happen if such a skewed pick-up engine crosses from one power district into another, or into an auto-reverser. It's giving me brain freeze. Any special considerations there?

Wouter

On 21 February 2018 at 10:54, Mark Gurries gurriesm@... [WiringForDCC] <WiringForDCC@...> wrote:
 

This is where purchasing a Keep Alive with the decoder comes in handy.  It will make up for the consequences of not having all wheel pickup.  The only think you must remember is let the keep alive charge up for a minute of so before you run the locomotive.



On Feb 19, 2018, at 11:04 AM, nick79ostr@... [WiringForDCC] <WiringForDCC@...> wrote:



I have a brass Consolidation I'd love to convert for operation on my DCC layout.  It appears the loco picks up right rail from the drivers and left rail from the tender.  I know I'll have to isolate the motor from the frame, but my concern is that the gap between the last driver and first tender wheel pickups may be large enough that if I do have a dead spot somewhere (e.g., in an already-installed turnout that works fine with my F7s) the loco will stall.  Does anyone have experience in this area, and am I being overly cautious/concerned?  Thanks!




Best Regards,

Mark Gurries
Electrical Engineer
DCC Website & NMRA DCC Clinics: www.markgurries.com




Mark Gurries
 

As a general rule it is best to re-motor.  Many brass engines had very low efficiency motors that draw much higher currents than modern motor do.  Often they will require a 2amp decoder to work properly.

You will get smoother performance and less current draw and the Keep Alive will work a lot better.

The need for a flywheel goes away if you have a keep alive.   That said having one will make early movement of the engine better until the keep alive charges up.  Personally I always have one anyway.

On Feb 20, 2018, at 7:01 PM, Charles Brumbelow mrb37211@... [WiringForDCC] <WiringForDCC@...> wrote:



Is the existing motor suitable for DCC or will you need to remotor? Is there or will there be room for a flywheel? Charles




On Monday, February 19, 2018, 1:04 PM, nick79ostr@... [WiringForDCC] wrote:



I have a brass Consolidation I'd love to convert for operation on my DCC layout.  It appears the loco picks up right rail from the drivers and left rail from the tender.  I know I'll have to isolate the motor from the frame, but my concern is that the gap between the last driver and first tender wheel pickups may be large enough that if I do have a dead spot somewhere (e.g., in an already-installed turnout that works fine with my F7s) the loco will stall.  Does anyone have experience in this area, and am I being overly cautious/concerned?  Thanks!






Best Regards,

Mark Gurries
Electrical Engineer
DCC Website & NMRA DCC Clinics: www.markgurries.com



Nick Ostrosky
 

Thank you for all the responses. I did stumble across this link which appears to be identical to mine.

https://brasstrains.com/Classic/Product/Detail/082378/HO-Brass-Model-Sun-Dancer-B-O-Baltimore-Ohio-2-8-0-E-60-Unpainted

The motor does appear to be a DC "can" type, but whether that is suitable for DCC, especially with a loco dating to 1987, has me wondering.

The rail picks split between loco and tender also had me asking the same question about crossing a block, especially my two reversing sections.

Any guidance on how to overcome that, if it is a concern, would be appreciated.

Nick Ostrosky
 

Thank you for all the responses, I obviously have more research to do.  Very helpful!

whmvd
 

Thanks, Don. So I worry too much, but at least it keeps me careful! :-)

Wouter

On 21 February 2018 at 17:00, dvollrath@... [WiringForDCC] <WiringForDCC@...> wrote:
 

No special considerations required. If you have only one booster there is no issue as there will always be a path for current to flow from rail A of one power district through the decoder and back to rail B on a different power district, unless a protective breaker has tripped. Ditto for crossing A-R boundaries as a short circuit will be created by the first trucks to combine opposite rail polarities together, causing the A-R unit to flip and correct the problem. If you have correctly installed the power common wire between multiple boosters there will still be a path to power the loco when drawing power from rail A of booster 1 and rail B of booster 2 when a loco crosses those boundaries. This is one of the several reasons to provide that common bonding wire.


DonV

---In WiringForDCC@..., <vandoornw@...> wrote :

Trying to think through what would happen if such a skewed pick-up engine crosses from one power district into another, or into an auto-reverser. It's giving me brain freeze. Any special considerations there?

Wouter

On 21 February 2018 at 10:54, Mark Gurries gurriesm@... [WiringForDCC] <WiringForDCC@...> wrote:
 

This is where purchasing a Keep Alive with the decoder comes in handy.  It will make up for the consequences of not having all wheel pickup.  The only think you must remember is let the keep alive charge up for a minute of so before you run the locomotive.



On Feb 19, 2018, at 11:04 AM, nick79ostr@... [WiringForDCC] <WiringForDCC@...> wrote:



I have a brass Consolidation I'd love to convert for operation on my DCC layout.  It appears the loco picks up right rail from the drivers and left rail from the tender.  I know I'll have to isolate the motor from the frame, but my concern is that the gap between the last driver and first tender wheel pickups may be large enough that if I do have a dead spot somewhere (e.g., in an already-installed turnout that works fine with my F7s) the loco will stall.  Does anyone have experience in this area, and am I being overly cautious/concerned?  Thanks!




Best Regards,

Mark Gurries
Electrical Engineer
DCC Website & NMRA DCC Clinics: www.markgurries.com





Craig Zeni
 

On Feb 21, 2018, at 4:31 PM, nick79ostr@... [WiringForDCC] wrote:

Thank you for all the responses. I did stumble across this link which appears to be identical to mine.

https://brasstrains.com/Classic/Product/Detail/082378/HO-Brass-Model-Sun-Dancer-B-O-Baltimore-Ohio-2-8-0-E-60-Unpainted

The motor does appear to be a DC "can" type, but whether that is suitable for DCC, especially with a loco dating to 1987, has me wondering.

The rail picks split between loco and tender also had me asking the same question about crossing a block, especially my two reversing sections.

Any guidance on how to overcome that, if it is a concern, would be appreciated.

I would expect the can motor to be just fine for DCC provided the mechanism is running well without binds etc. I like to test my questionable/unknown models for amp draw with a DC power pack and amp meter. I do check full load/locked mechanism amps just in case something goes mechanically haywire and the mechanism locks up on me...I had that happen when a worm seized in a bearing.

Craig Zeni
Cary NC

Nick Ostrosky
 

Thanks, everyone, for all the advice, I clearly have more research to do before jumping in feet first.

 

Nick

Nick Ostrosky
 

Craig, I finally have it wired up with the current keeper.  It seems to operate for a couple seconds, then dies, then comes back to life, then dies again.  Could this be a sign the motor is drawing more amps than the decoder can support (Soundtraxx TSU-750 since I have several in use in diesels)?  I have no problems with my diesels.  Thanks!

Annette and Dante Fuligni
 

Nick,

Sorry for the late follow-up. Hope you have satisfactorily resolved your concerns. But, for what it's worth, I offer my experience with a brass 4-6-2 with similar pickup issues.

First, run the loco on the layout to see if, in fact, you do have dead-track/frog issues. If not, save yourself money and time and leave things as they are.

If there is a problem, I agree with the keep-alive approach. TCS has a very small decoder with built-in keep-alive. I fit one in my ancient Varney Dockside 0-4-0!  Unfortunately, my brass 4-6-2 does not have enough room for this decoder or a separate keep-alive because of a necessary weight in the boiler taking apace. Also, I could not add one to the tender because the tender assembly is soldered; I had no desire to mess that up! But I did fit a small TCS decoder without keep-alive into the loco. Then I improved the tender pickups by adding wire connections from the trucks to the drawbar that connects to the loco rather than depending solely on the truck bolster screw connections to the tender frame.

Finally, don't forget about powering dead frogs with controls that power frogs and switch polarity automatically, such as certain Caboose ground throws and Tam Valley Frog-Juicers.

Dante

monty cunningham
 

I experienced the same symptoms once.  Found I had inadvertently wired the track wires (red and black) to the motor wires (gray and orange).  I was installing a decoder in a Bachmann 2-6-0 and all the wires are black.  Not wanting to accept the blame myself I blame it on the fact the loco wires were all black.
Luckily the decoder didn't fry.
Monty

Richard Gagnon
 

I have had Bachmann locos for some years and saw black wires. Some had different colors.

Took the ohm meter out and traced the wire and used the NMRA DCC wiring guide.

Also have followed the Bachmann forums since maybe 2009 and saw this also.

As far as motor current, I always do a DC current test at 12 VDC. I slowly press on the motor shaft until it stops and watch the amps.

What is nice is at least SoundTraxx has decoders for higher current.

NWSL has helped me select a better motor a couple times.

When I first program, I use the program track in case of a mistake. Happened once when I swapped the red and orange wires because of poor lighting. My NCE Power Cab with program track told me there was something wrong.

Not a big deal. Standard operating procedure when converting a loco to DCC.

Rich



Failure is not an option. it comes bundled with Windows.


On Saturday, March 17, 2018, 10:36:20 AM EDT, monty cunningham lamont7777@... [WiringForDCC] wrote:




I experienced the same symptoms once.  Found I had inadvertently wired the track wires (red and black) to the motor wires (gray and orange).  I was installing a decoder in a Bachmann 2-6-0 and all the wires are black.  Not wanting to accept the blame myself I blame it on the fact the loco wires were all black.
Luckily the decoder didn't fry.
Monty



Nick Ostrosky
 

Thank you again for all the suggestions.  Through a process of elimination I have determined that the problem lies in the power pickup from the locomotive’s wheels.  Given this loco is 20+ years old that doesn’t surprise me, so I’ll be working on that and will hopefully have some success.