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Model Railroading > Making a Powered Caboose Truck


Date: 02/03/19 08:41
Making a Powered Caboose Truck
Author: chessie7602

Went to the Timonium show yesterday and purchased NCE's Light-Its and Walther's metal wheels with metal axles.  What I want to do is light my caboose's interror on one light function and use the remaining two for the front and back marker lights.  I was able to successfully program the Light-It to get the effects I need.

Now I need to power the thing from the track DCC power.  I am looking to make my own powered trucks by getting a small brass strip and gluing it to the cross piece of the truck to pick up power from the axles, then run a wire from the brass strip to the interror of the caboose to power the Light-It.

Does anyone know of a source for a sheet of brass or bronze and what thickness should I use?  This is for HO, so it can't put too much mechanical resistance on the axles.

I attached a photo using paper as the brass strip to illustrate what I am referring to.

Thanks
-Ken



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/03/19 09:32 by chessie7602.




Date: 02/03/19 08:47
Re: Making a Powered Caboose Truck
Author: King_Coal

I've seen several people use Kadee coupler bronze metal centering springs. Easy to work. Some let them rub on the wheel back, some on the axle. They solder well.



Date: 02/03/19 08:55
Re: Making a Powered Caboose Truck
Author: tomstp

Why don't you use  metal trucks that have one side of axle insulated and the other side live .  That way turn them opposite and insulate one truck from the body frame.  Its a lot more simple than what you propose and there is no rolling friction.  All it takes to insulate one truck is a nylon bolster screw and a thin piece of acetate between the truck bolster and body bolster.



Date: 02/03/19 09:01
Re: Making a Powered Caboose Truck
Author: chessie7602

I first looked into purchasing powered trucks with the power wires, but I was looking for a cheaper solution. I am looking to upgrade the entire caboose fleet, so I am trying to avoid having to purchase new trucks.

-Ken



Date: 02/03/19 10:17
Re: Making a Powered Caboose Truck
Author: joliver2k

Hi,
I have used phosphor bronze wire instead of strips. Tichy sells it.
Mounted through small holes drilled through truck. Difficult to glue most trucks.
Regards,
Jeff Oliver



Date: 02/03/19 11:44
Re: Making a Powered Caboose Truck
Author: bq23dash7

I've tried phosphor bronze srips (cut from sheet) like what is in your photo. I could not get a good balance between contact force to make good contact and good/easy rolling. I figured I needed less contact surface so I just got some phosohor bronze wire to try.

John



Date: 02/03/19 12:44
Re: Making a Powered Caboose Truck
Author: Jeff_Johnston

I use .003" phosphor bronze for wipers, it has more "spring" than straight brass and retains its tension on the axle or wheel tread better than the softer brass. I used to buy it from Clover House but not sure if that's still available.

Photo 1) wipers added to an Athearn Mikado truck, plastic frame with metal wheelsets. 2mm screws from NWSL used to secure the wipers to the frame.

Photo 2) If the truck frame is metal, I use a small piece of copper clad tie stock as a mount. The cladding is cut between the screw mount hole and the end of the mount where the wiper is soldered in place so the wiper is insulated from the frame.

Photo 3) The wiper installed on a brass tender truck, narrow-cut wiping strips contactng the wheel tread. All of my locomotives receive extra wipers on the tender trucks and some of the insulated drivers and I experience almost no stalls due to a lack of electric pickup.

Jeff Johnston
www.trainvideosandparts.com








Date: 02/03/19 14:44
Re: Making a Powered Caboose Truck
Author: funnelfan

Seems to me the brass strip would act like a brake.  I simply wrap a brass wire over the axles and under the bolster. With the insulated wheels properly oriented on each truck and a capacitor on the circuit, it provides reliable power.

Ted Curphey
Cheney, WA



Date: 02/03/19 14:57
Re: Making a Powered Caboose Truck
Author: gp15t

I think that Ring Engineering makes a power pick up truck.

Posted from Android



Date: 02/03/19 15:49
Re: Making a Powered Caboose Truck
Author: rrman6

funnelfan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Seems to me the brass strip would act like a
> brake.  I simply wrap a brass wire over the axles
> and under the bolster. With the insulated wheels
> properly oriented on each truck and a capacitor on
> the circuit, it provides reliable power.

Agree here.  Also, with pick-up from the wheel tread I'd think there might be more dirty track contaminants from the rail that might affect circuit continuity.  There should be less at the axle to affect continuity.



Date: 02/03/19 16:08
Re: Making a Powered Caboose Truck
Author: chessie7602

Thanks for the reply and pictures.  I found a 0.008 thick sheet on Amazon.  So that gives me an option.



Date: 02/03/19 20:19
Re: Making a Powered Caboose Truck
Author: fbe

Precision Scale 8059 axle/wheel wiper. Another labor saving device.




Date: 02/04/19 09:29
Re: Making a Powered Caboose Truck
Author: santafesteve

I can not understand why you would not just use Athearn Genesis Caboose trucks.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 02/04/19 12:21
Re: Making a Powered Caboose Truck
Author: fbe

The Athearn caboose trucks with electrical pick up are GS4592 and GS4593 depending which electrical generator is cast into the sideframe. Both are roller bearing with leaf springs. Pick up is with 2 top wipers on all 4 wheels.



Date: 02/04/19 12:39
Re: Making a Powered Caboose Truck
Author: Kimball

Darn it!  From the posted topic, I thought I would see a self-powered Caboose rolling down the track!

Also, note that stiffness is a squared function of the material thickness. That .008" strip is about 8 times as stiff as the .003" mentioned.  9 vs 64



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/04/19 12:42 by Kimball.



Date: 02/04/19 15:30
Re: Making a Powered Caboose Truck
Author: 4thDistrict

He already answered your quesiton:

"I first looked into purchasing powered trucks with the power wires, but I was looking for a cheaper solution. I am looking to upgrade the entire caboose fleet, so I am trying to avoid having to purchase new trucks."




santafesteve Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I can not understand why you would not just use
> Athearn Genesis Caboose trucks.
>
> Posted from iPhone



Date: 02/05/19 16:06
Re: Making a Powered Caboose Truck
Author: chessie7602

I am adding the lighting to mostly Athearn blue-box cabooses, so I don't want one truck to be worth more than the caboose.  I have the light-it and the marker lights installed in one caboose so far.  I ordered the axle wipers from Richmond Controls ($4/pair) recommended by one member. 

The light-it worked out great.  I utilized the on-board white LED for interrior lighting and used the other two outputs for the marker lights.  I used fiber optics for the actual light on the caboose ends.

Thanks for all the suggestions.  I'll post photos once I fully conplete one.  



Date: 02/10/19 05:57
Re: Making a Powered Caboose Truck
Author: ZbigniewChrysler

Use a piece of Solder-Wick (SP?) which is a very soft braided copper sleeve, and wrap it around the axle.  It has almost zero friction, and can make the contact and the run to the load all in one piece.  It is available in several widths, I use about 1/8", but there is 1/32" or so, if you need smaller.  Just don't get any solder near the axle, which interferes with the flexibility.  If the frame is one side of the circuit, make a figure eight around both axles, with the Solder-Wick, and tack the end to the load end of the loops.   Run the other end up through the floor of the car, and you have a reliable power pick-up.



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