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Author Topic: DCC steam locos, a suggestion  (Read 3589 times)
Hellhound


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« on: September 09, 2009, 10:07:46 PM »

Steam locomotives with DCC in the tender have wires with tiny plugs that have to be plugged into the back of the loco. Plugging and unplugging those connectors into the loco and handling the unit while it is wired together will eventually damage the plugs and wires. I would suggest a provision to permanently couple the locomotive and tender to prevent strain on wires and connectors. Also provide a storage box long enough to store the coupled locomotive and tender. This would prevent damage to wires and plugs from repeated connecting and disconnecting of the plugs to put the loco and tender back in the box for safe storage. I have an IHC 0-8-0 that is set up with the loco drawbar permanently connected to the tender. It can go on the tracks or back in the box without risk of damage to connector or wires. I also have a 1970s Chessie steam loco with electrical pickup in the tender. The locomotive drawbar is screwed to the tender to prevent damage to the power wire when handling the unit.
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rich1998

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« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2009, 10:29:45 PM »

then we will see comlaints about no tiny convinient plugs for easy removal by ham haneded people
lex
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Steve Magee

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« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2009, 08:39:29 AM »

Yep, some form of permanent wiring and the ability to store the loco in its packaging coupled would be very handy.

Can I add two more things for the design stage? A chuff cam on DCC sound equipped steam locos so that putting chuffs in synch is made a lot easier, and also a speaker in the boiler, preferably the smoke box, to overcome the "sound from the tender" effect.

Steve Magee
Newcastle NSW Aust
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GN.2-6-8-0


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« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2009, 09:38:55 AM »

I was lucky to find a half doz. microphone box's at work that were being discarded.
Using 1/4 foam these made ideal storage box's for my engines up to a 2-10-2 in size and keeps them connected. careful handling when removing has kept the wiring safe from any damage

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Rocky Lives
ebtnut

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« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2009, 09:47:22 AM »

I think you need the flexibility to be able to disconnect the tender from the loco for maintenance purposes, painting and weathering, etc.  My wish is for a better, more robust plug connector that will withstand repeated disconnecting.  There are several issues with putting the speaker in the loco.  The first is physical space - you want the largest speaker you can fit somewhere for better dynamic range.  You also want a sound box around the speaker, which the tender serves as.  And you need enough ports for the sound to be heard - that would mean holes or openings in the bottom of the boiler, unless the models are re-engineered to put the motor in the boiler and the speaker in the firebox, but then you lose most of the space for weight, thereby losing pulling power.  Obviously, the larger the scale, the more options are available.
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CNE Runner


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« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2009, 10:20:55 AM »

My line of work used to be psychology...not electronics so my question might seem silly. Why can't the connecting plug be some sort of magnetic connection? The problem with the current [no pun intended] arrangement is that the force needed to disconnect the plug from the locomotive can ruin the plug itself - unless extreme care is taken.

Just wondering,
Ray
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"Keeping my hand on the throttle...and my eyes on the rail"
Johnson Bar Jeff

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« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2009, 11:42:32 AM »

I think you need the flexibility to be able to disconnect the tender from the loco for maintenance purposes, painting and weathering, etc.  My wish is for a better, more robust plug connector that will withstand repeated disconnecting.

I think that's probably the best idea, "EB."

I'm glad to see other folks bringing up this issue and discussing it. When I said something about it quite some time ago, I just got asked why I would need or want to store the locomotive off the layout. (Ans.: Because not everybody has space for a permanent layout, but that doesn't mean we aren't entitled to beautiful model locomotives.)

Anyway, my solution for my Richmond 4-4-0, when it's off the layout, was to buy a small display case for it. When it isn't running, it now does duty as the centerpiece on my dining room table, between Grandma's sterling silver candlesticks.  Cheesy
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BestSnowman


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« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2009, 10:41:06 PM »

My line of work used to be psychology...not electronics so my question might seem silly. Why can't the connecting plug be some sort of magnetic connection? The problem with the current [no pun intended] arrangement is that the force needed to disconnect the plug from the locomotive can ruin the plug itself - unless extreme care is taken.

Just wondering,
Ray

Actually this is already done by apple on their laptops. There would likely be two issues. First the connection point is pretty small and there would likely be little room for a magnet strong enough to firmly hold it in place. The other issue is probably apple, while it might go unnoticed by the folks in cupertino I believe they have patented it and if memory serves me have sued over it (Also I'm not sure how broad their patent is or if it is specific to computers).

Personally I don't think it is too big of a deal because I rarely seperate the loco and tender. When I do take it off the tracks to put it on my "yard shelf" I lift them together to keep them together.
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-Matthew Newman
My Layout Blog
CNE Runner


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« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2009, 09:45:03 AM »

BSM - I fear you are correct in saying that Apple Computer would not be happy with someone using one of their patents without authorization...I can't say I blame them. Like you, I do not separate my Bachmann American 4-4-0s (I really can't come up with a reason to separate them). Unlike Jeff, I am not allowed to have my two 4-4-0s grace our dining room table...more's the pity.

Ray
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"Keeping my hand on the throttle...and my eyes on the rail"
jestor
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« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2009, 10:53:32 AM »

Remove the locking tab  on the connectors. The friction fit will keep them in place and they are easy to remove. I use a small file to remove them.  Easy in and easy out.
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