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Nigel's workbench - On Members Workbenches. - More Practical Help - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Wed Oct 23rd, 2013 09:35 pm
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Improving the Lima GWR/BR Diesel Railcar. Part 1, Non-powered Bogie.

Background. I model the GWR/BR WR, so having an AEC/GWR diesel railcar is almost obligatory. I’m currently constructing a layout based on the East Gloucestershire branch line (Witney to Fairford) in EM gauge, sometime in the early 1900’s and 1950’s (GWR and BR WR, essentially 2 layouts in one). There is photographic evidence of a diesel railcar on the branch line, although I have yet to find a timetable that scheduled one. This presumably came from Oxford. Numbers 10 and 11 (the ‘flying banana’ body style) were based at Oxford in 1947. Close enough! I was fortunate enough to find a Lima GWR/BR diesel railcar in maroon and cream for $20.00 Can. Paintwork is a bit battered (just like the real thing) but it runs smoothly with the characteristic gear-train whirring. The drawback of these Lima units is that electrical pick-up is on two wheels of each bogie, not really good enough for DC, let alone DCC. The following describes how I rewired the unit for 4-wheel electrical pick-up and DCC operation. It’s a 4 part write-up, non-powered bogie first, then the powered bogie, wiring for DCC and then some detailing in the way of lights. I did rewire the powered bogie using phosphor-bronze wipers but there are issues, and I think there’s a better way. I’ll describe in the next post when I've tried it out.

Wheels. I ordered replacement wheels in EM gauge (18.2mm) from Ultrascale Gears These have an insulated wheel and a live axle. The non-powered bogie was removed from the chassis, the axle cover plate removed (snap fit) and the replacement wheels test fitted. No material removal from the bogie was required to fit EM gauge wheels. The bogie width appears to be prototypical, so maybe Lima had this in mind. I removed the tension lock coupling as it won’t be pulling anything and it’s just downright ugly. If I have to put a coupling on it’ll be a small Kadee mounted on the body. There is just enough room. Certainly looks better now the wheels are nearer true gauge (as opposed to narrow gauge 16.5mm). Wipers on both sides will help in keeping the wheels central.




1. EM gauge wheels test fit in Lima GWR diesel railcar non-powered bogie. Tension lock coupling removed.

Pick-ups and wipers. The Lima electrical pickup consists of a sprung brass piece resting on both axles with a brass pivot post going through the chassis. This provides some compensation as the axles are in slots (there were some smart people at Lima). I took the opportunity to remove, clean and polish the brass piece with #1000 emery paper. Two new pick-ups were fabricated using ¼” brass strip, 15 mm long, and 1 mm phosphor bronze wiper strip. I used 143° solder and no-clean liquid flux to tin the brass strips. A pick-up wire was soldered to one of the pick-ups. The backs of the brass strip were roughened using #150 sandpaper. 



2. Pick-ups fabricated from brass and phosphor bronze strip. Only one is wired - for the non-conducting wheels.

I rounded the ends of the phosphor bronze wipers with a fine flat file, and polished them with #1000 emery paper. The plastic on the bogie axle box between the wheels on both sides was roughened with a coarse flat file and cleaned with IPA (Isopropyl, not India). The pick-ups were glued in place with slow set CAA so that the wipers were in contact with the upper inner rim of the wheels. The tension was adjusted to allow free rotation of the wheels. This was done for both sides of the bogie to ensure equal tension on the wheels, with electrical pick-up from the insulated wheels only.

   

3 and 4. Pick-up in place on side of bogie between the wheels and the wipers in position on the inner upper rim of the wheel.

I also polished the pick-up pivot post and lock-tab (which probably had 30+ years of dirt and corrosion, no wonder the previous owner said it ran a bit hesitantly), and re-soldered the electrical wire onto the tab. It’s a simple and effective system. Archaic by current standards, it works perfectly if kept clean and polished. A small hole was drilled inboard of the bogie post hole to allow passage of the new pick-up wire. LIMA provided 2 channels in the floor where the wires can go. 




5. Pivot post and locking tab polished with newly soldered electrical connection, and the the wire from the previously insulated wheels. Note the channels that Lima had kindly left ready for the wires.

Anecdotal. I’d visited Didcot a few years ago when they were refurbishing the interior and rebuilding the engines of #22, the carriage shed supervisor was kind enough to let me have a wander through it. First time I’d been in one since 1951 (I took a lot of photo’s). I never realized that getting new plush for the seats was so expensive (£10,000 minimum order, and nobody in the UK makes it any more). Impossible to replicate the pattern in 4mm scale of course, so the correct shade of green will have to do. I was there last year on a day when they had it running. Great fun. Dapol are bringing out the early pre-WW-2 versions, but just in case there are delays (I'm estimating 2015) I've got myself a Worsley Works 4 mm brass etch of numbers 10 or 11. Ends and sides, with the roof you’re left to your own devices. I’m exploring 3-D printing at the moment; if I get proficient enough for those compound curves I’ll do the roof. If the curvy bits beat Worsley Works in brass it could be challenging. At least gauging power bogies to EM will be easy, something I've done before using Black Beetles and cosmetic frames.

 Source materials. All of the following do mail order, and I have had good experience with all of them. Ultrascale wheels - Gear Services Ltd. (Letchworth, UK), ultrascale.com. Be prepared to wait 4-5 months from order to production; Solder - C+L Finescale (Bristol, UK), finescale.org.uk; Flux - DCC Concepts (Naval Base, WA, Australia), dccconcepts.com. They take PayPal, some of their products are becoming available from UK and North American suppliers; Phosphor bronze strip – Mainly Trains (Watchet, Somerset, UK), mainlytrains.co.uk.

 Reference material. For GWR diesel railcar reference I use “Great Western Diesel Railcars” by Jim Russell (Wild Swan Publications Ltd., 1985) and “Great Western Diesel Railcars Supplement” by Paul Karau and John Copsley (Wild Swan Publications, probably 1986 or 1987). Both are out of print, but to me they are essential if modeling these railcars. Nigel Bird (Tregaron, Wales, nigelbirdfbooks.co.uk) usually has a good selection of Jim Russell’s books or will source them. Stella Books (Hay-on-Wye, UK, stellabooks.com) always has a good selection of transport books and will also source. There is always ee-by-gum as a last resort. The supplement is a very useful source of railcar allocations and timetables in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. It’s actually surprising how much of the GWR/BR network this small class covered, especially in the summer pre WW-2, when they were hired out for the evening to ‘mystery tour’ organizers or for works outings. Seeing one in other railway regions was not uncommon.

 ©Nigel C. Phillips, 2013



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 Posted: Wed Oct 23rd, 2013 11:55 pm
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Brossard
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That's a complete dissertation in itself, puts me to shame.  The railcar is a good looking vehicle, even if it's not LMS and I'm looking forward to seeing more progress.  The bogie overhaul is looking very good already.

I would add that Eileen's Emporium  (  https://www.eileensemporium.com/) is a great source for all sorts of things.  Worth a look.

John 



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 Posted: Thu Oct 24th, 2013 02:53 am
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John Dew
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Excellent post Nigel........ I tried to do the same thing with markedly less success and finally gave up and used the chip and stay alive elsewhere.......you have almost persuaded me to try again......your next post will probably do it :lol:



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 Posted: Thu Oct 24th, 2013 12:27 pm
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Tis was one of locos that definitely ran more reliably with a TCS T1 back EMF Chip fitted

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 Posted: Thu Oct 24th, 2013 01:18 pm
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BCDR
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Good point about DCC. My first effort at "modernizing" the Lima GWR railcar was in a previous model (sold on when I stopped modelling late GWR) where I used a Soundtraxx decoder with the "galloping goose" sound suite. Certainly ran a lot better than on regular DC. The Lima ringfield motor actually works well with a decoder and emf feedback if there is decent electrical pick-up from both bogies. If there is not, running over a series of points (switches), especially an "S", can result in the sound or motor cutting-out. Using a "stay-alive" does help, but it needs one with considerable capacity. I've also re-motored these units, these days a motorized bogie is the way to go if the motor or gear train finally decide to stop working (the Achilles heel of these models) although spares for the Lima motor are still available (springs, brushes, etc.). Not a Tenshodo SPUD though, I've tried, it's a small motor, it doesn't have the necessary torque and only 2 speeds - stopped and out of sight - due to a high start voltage and low (14:1) gearing. Fiddly to wire for DCC as well. Other offerings with can motors are better and DCC ready. Most of these diesel railcars spent their life trundling around at 25-30 mph, so high ratios (25:1 upwards) are they way to go in a 4mm model. 
Nigel



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 Posted: Thu Oct 24th, 2013 01:30 pm
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Thanks John. Rewiring the power bogie has some issues related to the gear-train getting in the way (this applies to both OO and EM gauges). I did come up with a fix, but I think there is a better way. As soon as I get the necessary bits I'll post what I did. With all 8 wheels picking-up the start voltage using DC dropped from 5-7v to 3-4v, and running on DCC I could get it down to around a scale 2-3 mph without judder. Not bad for an old ringfield motor and a gear train a mile long. Getting rid of 25+ years worth of muck and corrosion probably helped as well.



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 Posted: Thu Oct 24th, 2013 01:58 pm
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Thanks John (Brossard). Don't let being an LMS modeler stop you from running one, plenty of excursions and specials, even after nationalization. Plus the joint lines.

I also like Eileen's Emporium. Great mail order service.
Nigel



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 Posted: Sat Oct 26th, 2013 02:44 am
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John Dew
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Well you have me going now Nigel

I dusted out my old Lima from my all too extensive Loco Cemetery.........three questiions........ there may be more:shock:

[1]  I am coarse gauge Code 100......but I would still like to replace the Lima Pizza Cutters.....could you recommend a suitable wheel set

[2]  I am a bit slow sometimes ( old age and dumb)   For greater certainty current is collected from both sides....on the insulated side it is wired on the "live' side it is connected to the brass strip Lima originally fitted?

[3] I am guessing that replacing wheels on the second bogie (including the horrid traction tyres) is not quite so straightforward? It sounds as though you will be using a (beetle?) power bogey? Are there any other alternatives retaining the Ringfield motor?

Regards from Vancouver




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 Posted: Sat Oct 26th, 2013 07:35 pm
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Hi John Drew,
Wheels. Ultrascale. Lima Pack A. Currently 19.74 GBP plus around 5.00 GBP postage, and a 4-5 month wait. I have a set of these, used once (put them on then immediately changed to EM gauge). Send me a message to discuss if interested. The wait would be a bit shorter with Canada Post.
Non-powered bogie "live" wheel pick-up. The brass piece inside the bogie works fine. Take it out, clean with IPA, polish with 1000 grit paper. Give the axles a clean as well. Same for the powered bogie. 
Replacement powered bogie. I understand that replacement motors that fit inside the ringfield casing are no longer being made. I re-motored my previous one with a Black Beetle of the appropriate wheelbase and wheel diameter. This involves a fair amount of butchery to the bodywork, with a replacement floor for the bogie pivot screw. I also used a dummy Black Beetle to replace the non-powered bogie, again with bodywork butchery. The Hollywood Foundry will also do a replacement bogie to your exact requirements - wheelbase, wheel diameter. Both the B-B and the Hollywood bogies are DCC friendly. You'll need the sides off the original bogie to put on both the B-B and the Hollywood Foundry bogies. I did try Tenshodo SPUDS, temperamental, especially under DCC, and not enough torque.
One objection to the Lima ringfield motor and gear train is the noise. It does whir at speed, but as I said, most of these railcars spent their working life at low speeds. Looking at the 1946 timetable for Oxford-Thame 38 minutes was allowed for 15.3 miles - 24 mph average. Allowing for starting and stopping probably around 35-40 mph maximum. These railcars had reasonable initial acceleration with only 2 low HP/high torque engines - 1.5 minutes and 0.62 miles to 40 mph (top speed) for cars 19-34, although 5 minutes to 60 mph (top speed) for the high ratio cars. The twins (35/36 and 37/38) with 4 engines could hit 70 mph, but took over 8 minutes to get there. Numbers 2-17 had better acceleration due to higher revving engines (0-60 in 3.16 minutes).
At 1:76 that's approximately 14 yards for acceleration to a scale 40 mph (longer than most layouts), after which approximately 15.5 yards/minute. On my layout I'll be looking at a maximum speed of about 5 mph (less than 2 yards/minute) as it enters and leaves. Hence the need for improved running. If you're using DCC, it's easy to control the acceleration and limit the top speed allowed.  
At these speeds the gear-train whir is barely noticeable. These motors respond very well to a good clean. I very lightly lubricate the gear-train (one drop on the end of a small paperclip) with plastic-compatible oil, that seems to help as well. The gear-train is open, so muck from the track does accumulate. Switching from DC to DCC makes a tremendous difference to the running characteristics.
It's interesting to note that the design team at AEC came up with a design and performance in numbers 2-17 that the GWR then down-graded with their version (numbers 19-38) to that of a branch line small steam locomotive (0-4-2 or 0-6-0) and an autocoach. The twins were the exception, capable of competing with mainline and cross-country expresses.  20 years before their time unfortunately.
Nigel



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 Posted: Sun Oct 27th, 2013 01:20 am
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Hi Nigel,

Thanks for such a detailed response.

I guess the issue I have to address is (a) How much do I want to spend on the project and (b) have I sufficient skill to " butcher the bodywork" to fit a new powered Bogie

I guess in my naivety I was hoping to retain the ringfield (it has very few miles on the clock....never runs:twisted:) and some how replace the power bogie wheels..........I guess thats a non starter?:cry:

TCS have a new stay alive chip (stay alive may be someone elses name:oops:) which is absolutely brilliant. Unlike the DCC Concepts version there are no sudden jerks and judders........I put one in an auto coach added some pickups and permanently connected/coupled it to a Hornby 14xx*   and it shuttles back and forth without a moments hesitation.

I am wondering if I change the non powered wheels (I will pm you) add pickups as per your post and buy a new chip if that would work?    
I dont have too much problem with noise, I am increasingly deaf.........but I also agree with you about speed levels.....my ordinary passenger stuff runs at a max of 25 scale mph .......partly due to dodgy trackwork at the terminus and storage throats......but also the distance element........ RR&Co controls speed very effectively.

* As an indication of my skill level I am still plucking up courage to replace the traction tyre wheels on the 14xx with wheels from a donor (I have a few in the cemetry!)

I do appreciate your help with all this......mind you...you started me off   :lol:


:cheers  Regards from Vancouver



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 Posted: Sun Oct 27th, 2013 04:06 pm
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Hi John,

If your motor is good and no teeth are missing from the gear trains I would keep it (if it's working don't fix it) and change the wheels. My track is code 75 and some sections have inside keyed chairs, replacement wheels are essential, and look a lot better. I've had 5 of these models over the years, only one required re-motoring. The Black Beetle or Hollywood Foundry pathway is an expensive one to go down, along with the butchery required. Alternatively the Hornby remodel if you can find one (I just checked eebygum, one in carmine and cream at 70.00 GBP), but it's the same body as the Lima one. I'm doing this one because it's a carmine and cream body (difficult to find and pricey) and I do things on the cheap whenever possible. At $20.00 cost it's worth changing the wheels, putting in a decent non-sound decoder and doing some improvements (and I'm still ahead of buying a new Hornby model). 

Working on these motors is easier if the ringfield unit is removed from the model, not difficult but a bit fiddly as it's a 3-dimensional puzzle. 

My only experience with decoders has been with those from Lenz, QSI, ESU Loksound and Soundtraxx. I use some very basic Digitrax decoders for playing around with and preliminary testing, but in my experience money in = quality out. Most of my stock has ESU Loksound (or Loksound Select for the HO engines). I use Lenz for non-sound projects, excellent, and nice and small, and ESU Loksound mini's for almost everything else. ESU service is fantastic, and they're in PA. Many of the budget UK decoders appear to be relabeled decoders anyway.

The one I'm working on will have a non-sound decoder for the moment, as nothing currently available comes close. Hopefully the one at Didcot will be recorded soon.

Just reread your previous post. The pick-up from the live wheels is via the brass plate in both the non-powered and powered bogies. Direct contact with the ringfield metal chassis for the powered bogie. 

Nigel



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 Posted: Mon Oct 28th, 2013 03:05 am
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Thanks again Nigel...........I have PMd you

Regarding the power..... bogie I can just prise off the horrid lima wheels leaving the gear wheel on the axle ?...............I had no idea I could do that :oops:

Like you I have a very high opinion of Lenz......I have basically standardised on them.....you pay a bit more but the totally consistent performance makes it worthwhile........I tried saving money putting Bachmann chips in some Panniers but with no CV 6 they were basically a waste of money and got replaced.

However the Lenz stay alive is very very expensive and it only works with a Lenz Gold chip! So on the (fortunately) few occasions when I need stay alive I now go with TCS

Regards




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 Posted: Mon Oct 28th, 2013 12:36 pm
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Agree about Lenz, I like the Silver decoder for 21 pin locos.  I have some DCC Concepts 8 pin with stay alive that I want to try for smaller locos.

John



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 Posted: Mon Oct 28th, 2013 02:22 pm
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Good idea. I had a look at the old wheels and tried the gear/wheel puller. Not recommended, and I'm not sure what to replace the tire with. No reason why they can't be turned down on a lathe (or a drill and a file if a lathe is not available), but that still leaves those traction tire rubber rings. The Ultrascale wheels do look a lot nicer.
Nigel



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