Saturday, August 24, 2013

Feel the Power

After a couple of frustrating delays, we finally received the correct insulating material for connecting the motor leads on the 36.  Rod ordered these, and it's the same material used on the 1797.  There are two layers, as seen here.  These were much easier to install than the rubber tubing I had been struggling with.

And when installed, they look like this.  One can only hope nobody notices the garish colors.  And yes, I admit I wound up using duct tape to hold them in place.  So our old friend "Red Green" can have a good laugh at my expense. Of course, this is under the car and it will not actually be noticeable.  Except to those of you who are in on the secret.

This is somewhat ironic: our GE traction motors were rebuilt at Cleveland by the Westinghouse Apparatus Repair shop.  They seem to have done an excellent job of rebuilding, though.

Once the motors were connected, I did some electrical testing.  This revealed a problem with one of the reverser fingers.  It wasn't making good contact in one direction.   The reverser finger is actually a thick copper bar, so I took it to the village blacksmith, with his large and sinewy hands, who straightened it out for me, and everything appeared to be in working order.

And now it's time to put power to the car for the first time.  This is one of the most exciting (or frightful) experiences at the Museum I know.  I can easily remember the first time we powered up each of the other cars: the 309 in 1978, the 321 in 1998, the 308 in 2001, and the 319 in 2010. Joe Stupar helped by observing and running the car.  We pushed it out of the barn with the 319, then I put in the motor switch and prayed for success.  The motors worked fine and operated in the correct direction on the first try!  We ran it back and forth a couple of times.  We noticed that there were sparks falling from the grids, due to loose connections.  The geniuses at Cleveland had loosened up several of the grid connections for unknown reasons, and then left the loose bolts to rust.  I had missed a couple of these, which I later fixed.  Nonetheless, this test was very successful and the car is now able to power itself.  It still needs a functioning compressor to operate on its own, of course, and we'll get to that soon.  

After tightening up all the connections, I would have liked to test the car again, but the yard trackage was embargoed due to work on the overhead wires by the Bureau of Electricity.  He didn't send me an official embargo notice, but his bucket truck over the tracks speaks for itself.  But that's fine, I can always do it next time.

Meanwhile, Thomas was going full blast.  When it wasn't the music playing over and over again, either Harold Krewer or our own Al Reinschmidt was hard at work on the loudspeakers, keeping the vast multitudes entertained.  They deserve a lot of thanks for the hard work nobody else seems qualified or willing to do!  As do all the other members who were hard at work, making DOWT a success.

Did we mention the Labor Day Weekend 60th Anniversary Extravaganza, which is now just one week away?  The 0-6-0T has already arrived, and was parked on the lead to Barn 6.  What a neat little engine!  I can't wait to see it in operation.  This is really going to be an amazing event.  If you can possibly make it out to IRM next weekend, and fail to do so, you will descend in sorrow to an early grave.  I hope.

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