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  • Topic: Rehab of the Missile Sponges Part the Second - Christmas Thomas

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    • June 1, 2021 3:21 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Pete,

       

      Thanks.  We'll take a crack at it again, doing as you suggested. Today, I cleared the lanai, fired up the grill, filled the cooler, and just ran trains...after trying (unsucessfully) to tap the worm gear on the railtruck's motor.

       

      Eric

    • June 1, 2021 2:09 PM EDT
      • Fort Myers Beach & Annapolis, Florida & Maryland
         
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      Today, I cleared the lanai, fired up the grill, filled the cooler, and just ran trains.

      Some days, that's what you gotta do.

       

      ____________________________________

       

        Pete

    • June 1, 2021 5:43 PM EDT
      • West Grove, Pennsylvania
         
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      ____________________________________

      "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --Martin Luther King Jr

    • June 7, 2021 3:59 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Update:

       

      Kid-zilla and I availed ourselves of a free Saturday morning to take Pete's advice.  He pried out the motor out while I scrounged the bits box for Christmas Thomas' previous battery.  With the motor out, we took it to the track to look for binding.  He wandered off, and I pushed the chassis back and forth.   R1/2ft radius curves are not its favorite.  I didn not take a picture, but, I observed as it entered the curve, the forward drive on the inside rail tended to rise up, and the whole thing sort of rocked on the rear driver on the inside rail and forward driver on the outside raile. Again, given the wheel base is the same as a STAINZ, I don't understand...I sanded the bottom of the original chassis flat.  

       

      I hit upon the novel idea of using the directions, and, while it did not explain the above phenomena, it did recommend super glue to mount the motor, vice E6000.  Done.  Without clamps.  When it cured, I puttered around with the 3xAA batteries, but it just wouldn't go through the curves.  So I brought this guy back out:

      Using an LGB flatcar and some jumpers, the 1:24 crew took to the rails...

       

      Video1:24 Crew Tests the Chassis but with a Better Battery

       

      The engineer deciding discretion being the better part of valor  not withstanding, I am going to call this a success and move on.   I am worried about the gear wear, but, given Christmas Thomas is intended for obvious seasonal use and those days when the track power gremlins strike or I am just to lazy to run wires, I think we'll be OK for the foreseeable future.  I just have to weigh the Magnetic Critter Controller, as I wonder if it would be "pearls on a pig?"  On the other hand, it would be fun to have, and it could always got to another project later...Lot's to do as I ponder the options.

       

      I'll close with some 1:1 shots.  Kid-zilla in particular has become fascinated with the relics of Oahu's railroad history.  We drove out to visit some family in Waianae, where some of the last of the OR&L mainline pokes above the concrete.  The Navy used these tracks to move ammunition to Pearl Harbor until the 1970-s:

       

       

      I believe these are under federal protection as historic sites, so they are relatively safe.  The bridge that would connect them to the historical railroad, alas, is gone, so I doubt I will live to see iron horses ride these rails anytime soon!  Interestingly, and not pictured, are the remnants of the OR&L in Kapiolani Park in Waikiki.  Though the OR&L never served Waikiki, you can find bits of cut up rails stuck vertically along the park's perimeter and linked with chains, where they rust away serving to keep cars out of the park.  Kid-zilla and I plan to make crayon rubbings of some of the markings the next time we are down there.  Similar rail-to-fence conversions exist in Kailua, though whether OR&L or plantation tracks, who knows (the OR&L never got this far).  I share all this because I find it amazing how much of our railroading history surrounds us, yet many people who are born here never knew we had trains for over 100 years!

       

      Have a great week!

       

      Eric

       

       

       

       

       

    • June 7, 2021 6:25 AM EDT
      • West Grove, Pennsylvania
         
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      "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --Martin Luther King Jr

    • June 13, 2021 3:40 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Update:

       

      I had watch on the homefront, so it was a good day to work on this project.  I soldered extra wire to the motor  leads, wired up the headlamp, patched some holes from hackneyed cutting, assembled everything, touched up the paint, and...

       

      ...not half bad!  I tried to mount the piston rods (2x large cotter pins) to the main rods.  The chassis came with two small screws for that purpose.  That didn't work.  Back to the hardware store...That's OK, as I have a professional obligation that will  put all projects on hold for several weeks, and I need my Magnetic Critter Controller to get here, anyway.  Yeah, I gave in on that one...

       

      Now, hijacking my own thread, an update on my running gun fight with  that B'mann railtruck, Charlie...

       

      Desultory work continued. Oldest Son set the worm gear and mounted the motor, one trial seen below:

       

      He did this himself after I showed him what he had to do.   He has the talent.  I just need to figure out how to build his interest...

       

      Power was not getting to the motor from the track, and this little battery doesn't pack the voltage to turn it with the gear engaged.  I had to re-solder some wires that bypass those flukey plungers on the leading truck, and we got power to the circuit board.  The headlamps came on, but Charlie would not budge.  There was no voltage where the motor leads attach to the circuit board.  We had smoke come from the board at one point in the last couple months, so I suspect that the board is fried.  Pete T., who donated a motor to the cause, authorized us to proceed by jumping from the power in terminals to the motor.  I also stumbled across another UK based operation (HGLW - Home) that may offer a means to achieve a Jim Rowson inspired solution.

       

      Meanwhile, our B'mann 10-wheeler stopped working.  I suspect a broken soldering joint.  I mention this only because it motivates me to get Christmas Thomas done and working to clear my backlog of projects, especially as it seems some of our testier equipment seems bound and determined to add to that backlog!

       

      As mentioned, I may be passive on the net for a while as I maneuver through an overtime rich environment.   Hope all are having a great summer!

       

      Eric

    • June 14, 2021 1:44 PM EDT
      • Fort Myers Beach & Annapolis, Florida & Maryland
         
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      We had smoke come from the board at one point in the last couple months, so I suspect that the board is fried.

      I believe that the board is quite simple, and all it does is supports motor reversal (NMRA-Large Scale polarity,) and includes the resistors for the LEDs for lighting.  I would connect the motor to the track power in, and leave the board to handle the iights!

       

       

       

      ____________________________________

       

        Pete

    • June 27, 2021 3:24 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Update:

       

      Came up for air from work, got things caught up at home, so Oldest Son and I took another whack at this.  Anytime he wants to get involved in "doing," I make time.  He seems to like soldering (which I loathe), so we focused on getting new terminals on the battery, the charger, and the lead from the Critter Controller.  Once he focused, he did better than I ever do.  Step by step... We wanted to apply power to the motor, but, of course, the battery had gone dead.  It is charged and awaiting the jumpers to see if it'll work.  If it fails, the plan is to remove the chassis, invest in a new STAINZ chassis (the committee voting against bashing any existing STAINZ's in the collection, all STAINZ being declared "cute"), finish out Christmas Thomas the new LGB chassi, and proceed to new projects.  The Smallbrook / m2075 (battery) chassis will then join the railtruck for "recreational puttering."   Once working (I'm close...I can feel it!), I'll lift any of a number of ideas off this site and make a simple industrial steam loco from it.   Waste not, want not, but recognize when an avenue of advance is not paying off and see if the materiel investment can pay off if employed in a different direction.

       

      All that being said, here is a photo of our lamp in place on top of Christmas Thomas:

      The "fuzziness" is from botching the spray job.  Sigh...  Anyway, lamp and paint all look better from the all important 10 foot distance:

      I am considering purchasing the baseline CRICUT to make the lettering.  Between the railroad and the girls' never ending stream of projects, it looks cost effective over time.  I am also ideating on how to make a nice forward and after pilot. I figure a nice wood beam over the loop coupler with some bolt heads glued on and some steps bent from sheet brass (another new skill I get to learn!), should do the trick.

       

      Before closing, I forgot to close-out one the side stories that emerged in this thread.  I am happy to report the immunes of the local legion were well pleased with the new catapult conveyance:

      The U.S. 7th Cavalry and French Troupes de La Marine took it on the nose and had to abandon their position, I am told...

       

      Family priorities sit before me and further progress on any project, railroad or Imperial, so, again, excuse any silence or lack of progress!

       

      Eric

       

    • July 14, 2021 3:04 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Update:

       

      Desultory tinkering continued.  I stripped the chassis to bare bones to inspect the wiring.  No issue.  I popped out the motor and, lo!, it spun beautifully.   I checked to make sure the wheels were quatered and looked for evidence of binding in the rods.  No issues.  I pushed the chassis back and forth by hand and noticed it felt "stiff."  I put a couple drops of oil on the axels where they penetrate the chassis walls, supeglued the motor back in place, wired on the battery, and, lo!, the thing happily looped around the track.  Was it really that simple? Or was there something just out of alignment?  At any rate, I decide to proceed.

       

      I broke out the instructions for the Magnetic Critter Controller.  The chassis was intended for 3xAA (4.5 V), and my NiMH battery is 4.8 V.  The Critter Controller, I forgot, needs 7 V.  I am loathe to take my motor block any further from design, so I'll put the Critter Controller in the parts bin for a future project (Charlie, that B'mann railtruck which has defied me for years, may find "himself" under battery power with a new powertrain... If this project has become my 2021 windmill, Charlie is a half decade old Moby Dick.).  Instead, we'll run Christmas Thomas with a DPDT switch and throttle as shown:

       

      We lost power to the neighborhood today, so soldering will have to wait until this weekend.  I cannot wait to solder onto that little DPDT switch...

       

      Eric  

    • July 16, 2021 6:22 PM EDT
      • Bundaberg, Queensland Australia
         
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      Looking good there Eric.

      Word of encouragement keep on bashing and remember acrylic filler is your friend it and paint hide a multitude of mistakes.

    • July 18, 2021 3:33 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      GAP,

       

      Thanks.  This project has tested my perseverance, to be sure!  To that end, Kid-zilla and I wired it up today:

      He saw me getting the soldering iron out, grabbed they eye shields, and remined me to don mine!  He has learned to solder safely; I wish I could say I taught him to  solder well!  After a few tries, I got all the leads soldered to the DPDT switch, hooked up the battery, and...nothing...We stripped the loco to verify electrical connectivity.  All good.  We aslo noted the battery was not at full charge, so we put it back on the charger.  When it was full, we hooked everything up again, turned it all on, the wheels started to turn, and then...they stuck.  I could hear a high pitched whine, so, thinking the motor had lifted from the mount, I looked into the hull through the hole I cut to let the drive gear clear, and saw that all was in fact engaged.  Further tests showed the best I could get was a few rotations in forward or reverse before the wheels just stuck.  

       

      I am completely flummoxed.  I've posted the videos of test rigs cruising the loops, so I know that the motor will pull.  The loco shell weighs less than the flat cars the test rigs have pulled, so weight should not be an issue.  The whine could be the motor shaft spinning freely in the worm gear, I guess.  I'll break it all down (again) and tighten the lock nut and inspect the motor.  If that fails, then I am going to walk away from what should have been an easy, fun project for a while so I can address needed repairs to our structures (Our dog, Mrs. Opal, deems then not worthy of stepping around en route to clear the hyacinth from the pond.  Others just have begun to succumb to the tropics).  I see an order for a STAINZ chassis in the near future absent a flash of brilliance.

       

      Have a great weekend!

       

      Eric

       

       

    • July 25, 2021 2:44 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Update:

       

      A small craft advisory over the last few daysmeant that diving was out, as it'll typically stir up the bottom in shore.   I took the home duty today instead and dedicated the afternoon to the Triple O, starting with this thing.   I verified all the electrons were  flowing.  I verified the worm and drive screws were fast.  I popped out the motor (again) and pushed the chassis up and down the track.  I detected a bit of binding, so, after checking the quartering, I watched the side rods.  Sure enough, one seemed to buckle a bit, and I could actually see it push an axel forward!   I had fastened the rods on too tightly, so, after addressing this, the chassis again rolled smoothly under "0-5-0 power."  I hooked up my wires again, and...failure.  It'll roll a bit then jam and whine.  If I  back the motor out, it seems to do better, but it won't remain engaged. Several iterations suggested that there is some optimal position for the motor between "fully inserted into its cradle" and "backed off just enough."  I suppose I could insert a thin styrene shim into the cradle and see what happens, but I have a feeling TrainLi is about to make some money...

       

      I had mentioned putting something in the "win" column.  The original plan was to address our buildings after purchasing a bradnailer and nails.  The hardware store had the former but not the latter.  Buy nothing in Hawaii with the assumption the rest of it will be there on the next steamer! I  decided to  take on the B'mann 4-6-0 instead and find what I hope is simply a failed soldering joint, only to find one of the screws on the bottom of the chassis is wedged in too tight to remove.  In my struggles to remove it, I did transform the head from a Phillips to "unknown geometric pattern" head.  It remains wedged in there, and I think I am going to have to drill it out...I didn't get to the railtruck, as the lanai is now covered with too many casualties of my rebuild and repair attempts.

       

      I rewarded myself for the troubles with some trains on the track and a bonus beverage in my hand.  Could be worse!

       

      Eric

       

    • July 25, 2021 10:17 PM EDT
      • Fort Myers Beach & Annapolis, Florida & Maryland
         
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      I rewarded myself for the troubles with some trains on the track and a bonus beverage in my hand.  Could be worse!

      I hope this is a regular occurrence. Nothing like a Bonus Beverage.

      I did transform the head from a Phillips to "unknown geometric pattern" head.

      When it is in a plastic device (like a Big Hauler chassis) I usually take the Dremel with a cutting disk and I carve a slot across the defunct Phillips screw and sometimes into the adjacent plastic. Then a regular flat screwdriver will probably persuade it to unscrew.

      ____________________________________

       

        Pete

    • July 26, 2021 2:05 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Pete,

       

      Thanks.  I designed the RR to allow for relaxing evenings.   Like my aquariums, though, sometimes I have to remind myself to avail of this!

       

      As for the 4-6-0, I had to tap out the screw with a drill to get a Philips to engage.  Pain... Naturally, the cut wire was not visible, so I had to pry off the boiler / cab (snap! went a detail...).  A wire had broken free of the can motor:

      I take cold comfort in knowing that this was a factory solder joint and not one of my own, as it means my own soldering doesn't stink but that some other quality made-in-China joint is probably preparing to give way.  Some gravel fell out of the chassis as I was opening it up, so maybe some debris was the culprit.  This thing is just not sealed up like LGB, PIKO, or HLW.  Once I had this solder joint fixed, I cut and re-soldered the leads to the forward truck.  Things were going well, to  include reassembly, then SNAP! the lower part of the chassis just forward of the tender drawbar.   Let's see how JB Weld does in hold it together.  I'll reinforce it tomorrow with a sheet of styrene.

       

      I'm going to put this in the "win" column and then return this thread to its original subject.

       

      Eric

    • July 26, 2021 5:01 PM EDT
      • Bundaberg, Queensland Australia
         
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      Eric a little tip I read years ago for over tight screws in plastic.

      Take your soldering iron place it on the head of offending screw and allow it to warm a little, not warm enough to melt the plastic but slightly soften the bit in contact with the screw and the screw should turn easier.

       

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