Lionel conversions

Re: Lionel conversions

Postby krokodil » Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:40 pm

MacG wrote:These flywheels would be okay.

At DCC you can also use a keep-alive circuit with a charging regulator (to handle the inrush current) and 25V capacitors. SMD ceramic capacitors would be most recommended.

See at the Zimo manual page 60.


You will not find ceramic capacitors with the required capacity. Zimo recommends capacitors over 5000 uF ( microfarad). They are very special parts often combined from many SMD capacitors to fit into locomotives. The flywheel is more effective.
Last edited by krokodil on Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lionel conversions

Postby RodTT » Thu Jul 18, 2019 5:25 pm

Yesss! A working chassis on DCC. Actually it doesn't run badly at all. Lights to sort out now, and then for the really hard bit - cramming all the wiring in neatly and getting the body shell back on. Actually I think I'd have been better off just soldering wires directly together rather than have a PCB 'light board' on top as the body will be a very tight fit over it and I'll need to put a length of tape over it to prevent short circuits.
Truck sideframes also still to thin down and stick on.
Would it help anyone if I did a step-by-step account of how I did this conversion or are you all way ahead of me?
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Re: Lionel conversions

Postby MacG » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:54 am

krokodil wrote:You will not find ceramic capacitors with the required capacity. Zimo recommends capacitors over 5000 uF ( microfarad). They are very special parts often combined from many SMD capacitors to fit into locomotives. The flywheel is more effective.

The 5000µF are at general the maximum for Zimo decoders with direct capacitor hook-up. There are exceptions. This is more than enough, also for decoders without direct capacitor hook-up. Capacitors are effective already from 100μF. They require at least 1000μF to works like flywheels. This all stands in the Zimo manual.

You can buy some SMD ceramic capacitors with 100µF 16V and connect them parallel to increase the capacity. Or you buy tantalum capacitors by a trusted source or aluminum electrolytic capacitors. The first can explode as a cheap product or by overvoltage or at wrong polarity and the second can leak. We don't want these happen in our models.

@RodTT your choose decoder has pads to wiring a charging regulator with capacitors.
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Re: Lionel conversions

Postby RodTT » Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:14 am

MacG wrote:@RodTT your choose decoder has pads to wiring a charging regulator with capacitors.

Yes, I've spotted them. It's just a case of cutting away the plastic casing around the decoder. Looks like these additional function outputs use the same common (blue) wire as the lights.
Though in actual fact I've never really had a problem with locos stalling. I try to keep the track clean and all my turnouts are live frog. Anyway I have the option.
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Re: Lionel conversions

Postby krokodil » Fri Jul 19, 2019 4:04 pm

I do not want to open a discussion but in my experiences even 5000 uF capacitor does not work as a real flywheel. ( it is anyway off the size limit in most TT models) It just gives a smoother run of the model what is enough to compensate a short power breakes but nothing else. In some cases during the power breaks the processor stops to generate the PWM pulses ie the motor immediatelly absorbs the whole charge from the capacitor. Additionally a range of the capacitor back up depends on the motor. New motor with low current requirement will show different effect as another motor with 3-400 mA power requirement. The mechanical flywheel is independent from these effects and normally absorbs more energy as any capacitor can provide. Some new models from Khün or Piko have a run out from 12 V DC over 30 cm. From my point of view the capacitor is much more effective for the sound modules.
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Re: Lionel conversions

Postby RodTT » Mon Jul 22, 2019 7:19 am

All wired up and working.
Don't think I'll bother with the body shell, I can't see anything wrong with it like this...
P1050380.JPG

P1050381.JPG
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Re: Lionel conversions

Postby RodTT » Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:08 am

BTW the photos above show the only casualty - one broken handrail stanchion. Hopefully I'll be able to do an invisible repair.
Also because I got a couple of wires wrong way round I reprogrammed CVs 33 and 34 (light direction) as I didn't want to unsolder anything.
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Re: Lionel conversions

Postby sacto-tt » Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:31 pm

Rod - Great job. I'm sure that others have a number of Lionel models pining away for some real power under the hood. I do. I had Rob M. power some of mine (they run great BTW), but I have others that I'd like to get going.

Therefore a detailed, step-by-step would probably be met with thunderous applause.
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Re: Lionel conversions

Postby TiTan downunder » Mon Jul 22, 2019 7:29 pm

Rob - congrats - looks great. Like your idea with the heat sink.

Yeah - leave the body off. At your next show, try a guessing comp and see how many can work out what road name it is with just the chassis colour to go by. Could be a bit of fun and get a few more talking about TT American!

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Re: Lionel conversions

Postby RodTT » Tue Jul 23, 2019 10:13 am

Well...I'm having great trouble getting the body back on so it might not be a bad thing to leave it off anyway! I think the motor plus the brass strip I've used as a casing are a little too wide (about 0.2mm) as the body sides seem to taper a bit inside towards the top. I did a test fit early on and it seemed ok. But I will persevere.
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