Category Archives: Electronics

Switch machine perfected

I have finally perfected a slow motion switch machine after having the timer motors for over 40 years. In a January 1977 Model Railroader article Gordon Odegard wrote about using a timer motor to build a turnout points machine. Later that year I purchased about thirty, 6 rpm, 24 Volt AC timer motors for a dollar each. Only this year have I had a use for them. Using 16 AC volts the motors revolve at a nice three rpm and now switch both the frog points and route indicating LEDs. I can also activate the motor from multiple locations. More pictures to come as I get these installed.

DCC power to turnout points

I recently detected that the points on some of my Atlas custom line #6 turnouts are not getting power & the DCC signal to the points. When using an un-powered frog, and the points are dead, engines of just the right wheel base will die on the turnout. Since I run only four axial trucks this becomes more of a problem. In the picture you can see that the points are powered through a small eyelet and metal pad that is suppose to touch the closure rails, or through the end of the points touching the stock rail on the through side. Neither of these is reliable. I’m hoping to find a better, more reliable power-signal transfer method.

Puzzle solved

This afternoon I solved the puzzle of why my 40 year old PCRy engine motor turned counter-clockwise while all the other Athearn motors turned clockwise, with the same polarity DC power applied to the motors. Somewhere back in forgotten time, I took the motor apart and then reassembled it with the center magnet reversed. So, today I again took it apart, turned the tubular magnet, reassembled it and it now turns clockwise like it is suppose to do.

When dissembling the engine you will need to twist the weights to pry them off the ends of the motor shaft. Other than that be very careful when you take the brass straps off the top and bottom or you will loose the small spring and brushes under each one.

Motor Anomalies

After wiring up a “new to me” GN engine, with another NCE decoder, I found that the engine ran in reverse when it should have gone forward like my older PCRy engine, (the lower engine in the picture). So I tried the motors in two other Athearn blue box engines, which I acquired two years ago, and they allĀ  turn in the same direction as the newer GN engine motor. Now I have to decide if I want to modify the PCRy engine or all the other three engines. It only takes switching the + and – wires on the motors. I use brass clips on all the decoder wires so switching them is relatively easy.