Monday, July 29, 2013

Beep, Beep

 The list of things that need to be done for the 36 to run under its own power is steadily getting shorter.  One item is that we need to be able to connect the wires from the car to the motors correctly.

Ordinarily this should not be a problem.  On our other cars, it looks like this.  There are four (or five) wires from the control system motor circuits that are carefully arranged from left to right, clamped between two pieces of wood.  They terminate in quick disconnect hands.  The motor leads then attach to these wires from left to right, and as seen here on the 309, it's very straightforward.

But guess what: our esteemed colleagues in Cleveland decided to remove the wires from the clamps, for some occult reason, so that it's no longer obvious what order they were in.  Thanks, guys!  Here we see the leads to motor #2 hanging from the car, after I'd traced out the circuits and labeled them.

Now in order to trace the circuits, we ordinarily use what is called a ringer, which consists of a large battery and a doorbell ringer, with two long test leads.  If the two leads are electrically connected, the bell rings.  Last time we looked, however, the one working ringer had gone missing, so I decided to make a temporary replacement with what I had lying around.

 In my case, what I had lying around was a spare 15V transformer and American Flyer's version of a Diesel horn.  Actually, it's just an anemic beep, not very convincing as an air horn.  But it's fine for this particular purpose.  And in no time, we have a way to trace out motor circuits -- just listen for the beeps.  You need to plug it into AC, but otherwise it's just as good as a battery-powered ringer.  The components are carefully packed in a small box to protect them.

It turned out that the wiring of the reverser to the motors was not what I expected, but will work perfectly well, of course.  I then worked on getting the leads arranged back into the clamps in the correct order.  The tubes which should cover the disconnect are missing, and were replaced with electrical tape, so that's another thing to take care of.  But I should soon be able to hook up the motors when we're ready.

While I was out of town last weekend, Rod took care of removing the harps from the spare poles and installing them on the new poles we'll use for the car.  I installed the shoes and attached the shunts, and here we see a before and after picture of what these harps look like.  They were later painted with primer, and the poles will be ready to go onto the car anytime.

And then I did more stripping and repainting on the truss rods, as before.

In other exciting news, Tim Peters informed me that the E&B right-of-way through Camp Epworth is now up for sale for back taxes.  The price is something like $800, yes, less than a thousand.  I myself am not interested in starting my own competing museum along the old E&B, but if you are, Tim can help you out.  He'll be glad to show you the door.


Anonymous said...

That's amazing re. the E&B right of way. I'd have imagined it had been bought or adverse-possessed and plowed over ages ago.

Jeron G. said...

Where is/was Camp Epworth? Google Maps doesn't bring up anything.

David Wilkins said...

Toy train technology saves the day!

Randall Hicks said...

It's an old Methodist church camp along Rt. 20 west of Garden Prairie at Epworth Road. I think it's still in use.

Anonymous said...

good for you for collecting American Flyer. In my set I had the circus sign which was a steam whistle for locos that did not have their own internal whistles.

I expect that you can find a modern circuit tester in a good hardware store. And leave you American Flyer collection at home to admire.
Ted Miles
IRM Member

Zach said...

*American Flyer® is a Registered Trademark of Lionel LLC.*

Charles Brown said...

Homemade gadgets are always the best. The only problem I'd have with the doorbell ringer is that every time it rang, I'd crawl out from under the car and walk to the front of the barn to see who's there.

I'm sooooo glad that these cars ended up in the hands of dedicated and skilled fans who know what they're doing.

Charles Brown

Bruce Duensing said...

I remember reading about the E&B supplying the Camp during an epidemic
( Spanish Influenza?)presumably with one of their freight motors, and it came as a unexpected revelation that such a parcel of history is left unclaimed for local history. Of course, it brought to mind a related much of the E&B RTW is unclaimed? I know, at least recently, the Shop has been preserved after a fashion. Interesting tidbit.

Randall Hicks said...

Bruce: There are several parts of the ROW that are basically unused, unchanged since the tracks were torn up, but I have no way of knowing how much of it is actually unclaimed. I suppose the county tax office would know.

Zach: Perhaps I have failed to warn you, but introducing the "L" word on this site is a serious offense. One more infraction and you will really be sorry. :)

Anonymous said...

The last time I drove by Camp Epworth many of the 'camp houses' were still standing and more or less intact. Many looked like the typical Illinois farmhouse architecture. But when you got up close it looked like whoever built them used 10 inches to the foot instead of 12. All a little smaller, shorter just enough off kilter to make you wonder. I would have to duck to enter the front door.

Bob Kutella