Thursday, April 24, 2014

Improving a Tank Engine


After having spent twelve years in the Royal Australian Navy and now being a civilian, it felt strange not having any ANZAC day commitments. I watched the Canberra services on TV and felt a lot of admiration for those that have seen or have been affected by conflict. I was lucky, being Navy aviation orientated meant that most of my time was spent safe and sound in Nowra. I volunteered to join the Navy, I could not imagine how some people felt being conscripted. It would have been very hard. 

Instead of marching I spent the day finishing off my Trax Z13 for this evenings club meet. As this was my first real DCC conversion a few things needed tidying up. One such thing was the extra driving wheel pick up method. As standard the Trax model is fitted with a plunger type pick up on the non driven driving wheel. Previously I simply added a bronze wiper for current collection on the driven driver. I was not completely happy with this arrangement and wanted to add another plunger pickup in lieu. The positioning of this plunger pickup comes very close to the brass gearbox. With some measurement and purposely built parts it all lined up and fitted quite well. I had a large piece of Teflon type material which I made the shouldered bushes out of on the lathe. The Teflon piece was around 40mm in diameter so unfortunately a fair bit was wasted turning it down to around 3.5mm! NWSL make some nice little shouldered bushes so I may order some of those for the next Z13. Luckily a spare spring is included in the locomotive spares kits. With a turned washer, spring, bushes and pickup rod it was all added to the chassis. So far it has worked very well. I may carry out this mod on future models.

Existing plunger on left, new plunger on right.

Along with this mod, 1311 received a new Mashima motor. I was having some erratic running problems when the loco was first used. As the motor warmed up it tended to come good. I noticed while running the erratic motor on the bench that it did not hold a constant speed. You could hear it sort of hunting whilst running at higher speeds. The commutator was quite dirty and grooved but even after a clean up it didn't really improve things. With the new motor I was able to use two screws for mounting. The old motor was held in by two brass straps, these could be seen quite easily in the cab. Now with the new mounting method the motor takes up less room in the cab. The only issue I have now is that the new motor makes a little more noise than the previous power plant. I am hoping as the brushes bed that this noise decreases.

On other fronts, I took a trip to Canberra last weekend for the ARHS Garratt steaming. I went there with the intention of recording some sound for use in ESU decoders. As this was my first attempt I learnt some valuable lessons. Next time I will be better prepared.

In regards to my track laying mission, I have decided to use the OO-SF standard and have ordered the track gauges from DCC Concepts. These can only really be used with code 70 rail so I may have to take up one of my mates offers to build some code 55 suitable gauges. The OO-SF standard has been used for a long time in the UK. Interestingly the AMRA fine track standard is basically a carbon copy. I like this standard as it enables the use of 1mm flange ways without the need to modify the back to back of wheel sets away from already established standards such as the NMRA standard. This means that models straight of the box should only need minor tweaking to make sure the back to back is within tolerance and also means that I will have no problems running my models on other peoples layouts. Sounds good. Just have to build the track now ha!

Well that about it. Not very interesting I know!


1 comment:

  1. G'day Linton.

    Nice work as usual!

    On a non Railway front, Thank You for serving in the Navy.

    No matter what capacity people serve in the ADF, it's appreciated and respected.

    Lest We Forget.