Saturday, August 2, 2014

Decoder Installations

Over the last couple of years many activities have and continue to occur that provide alternatives for those of us/you looking to have quality running 4-4-0's, especially if using the Mantua General.

Over the last few months my primary focus has been to re-tool two locos. Al Mueller has been instrumental in helping me both with his manual on "Modifying the Mantua General", as well as locating a superb motor from a source known as "Motorman". These new motors clearly surpass the usual can motors. NWSL (North West Short Line) has been my source and the motor provided when Mantua was offering a retro-fit to replace the original open motors installed in their Generals. Motorman reconstitutes motors that he acquires. I use the Maxon Swiss 13mmx... Some are so small that there is plenty of room for a sound decoder in the tender. I use Tsunami micro and the OSI .62 speaker from Tony's Trains.

These two photos give you an idea on how I positioned them in the tender. Al's General rebuild Manual has been a key resource for ideas on how to modify the tender. You can also see that the small motor is a perfect fit. In this tender I fabricated a base for the motor for ease of removal. A piece of brass plate was tapped from under the tender then a styrene plate on top of the brass plate where the motor was attached with silicone adhesive. I can remove the motor if needed to make repairs or do maintenance. The speaker here is a .62 OSI round with its casing. Although someone mentioned the casing is not needed, I have not experimented with that idea...yet. 
In the photo below, foreground, I attached a plug for the hot (red) wire from the decoder to the the black which attaches to the loco drivers. Plugs are essential because of the number of times I may need to dismantle for maintenance, and there are times (sometimes too many for me) when this is needed. The drive shaft is piano wire attached to NWSL universal cups. You might also see my use of shrink tubing to prevent inadvertent shorting.
Photo on the right is an install after having machined the tender top and corners to allow more space. Lots of drilling and filing required!
Lastly, this photo below shows the addition of a tender "harness". This idea was another of Al Mueller's to ensure good contact,  key to the 4-4-0's operational ability.

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