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Herb Kephart
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This will be presented in a series of short snippets. It certainly isn't the only way, and may not be the best way for some- but it is the way that I have refined with ideas of my own, and stolen from others (for which I will gladly take credit).

There is something that I should make clear, before starting. Many years ago, I did some trolley modeling in HO scale, but since then all my experience with trolleys has been 1/48 (US O scale) and full size- with too many years at a trolley museum. I have a very limited knowledge of systems in GB, and Europe, and I'm only slightly more familiar with modeling in those places. Also because I have been in the hobby for so long, I have not kept up with what is offered commercially. I have so much stuff squirreled away I don't remember half what I have. Being a scratch builder doesn't help either- because what little I buy is in the nature of materials.
So -- if that hasn't convinced you that I have no idea what I'm writing about---read on.

First, you should decide on the height your wire will be above the rail. Prototype practice was 14 to 22 foot- with city cars using the lower height, and the larger interurbans the higher. In cases (mainly in the Midwestern states) where interurbans came into town under the same wire used by the city cars, the wire was high to suit the larger cars, and in some instances the city cars, if they had low roofs, would have their poles mounted on 12"-18" high lattice work towers to get the angle of the pole where it intersects the wire the same for both cars. This angle can also be adjusted, to a limited extent by varying the length of the pole also. I have always gone with the lowest wire height consistent with being reasonable with the largest cars. If nothing else, the lower the wire- or rather the pole/wire angle, the easier it will be to back up with a pole, if the situation requires. There are two types of wire systems. Direct suspension is what nearly all trolley and interurban lines used-this is where a single copper conductor-between 3/8" and 7/16" in diameter (00 to 0000 Huw) was supported, and sagged to some extent, by poles beside the track approximately 100' apart. Another type called catenary was used, mostly by electrified railroads. In this system there is a suspension wire, which has a definite sag between supports, which are usually spaced farther apart. The contact wire is suspended from this by vertical wires of varing lengths (spaced abt. 10' apart) so that the contact wire is a constant height. This is much more involved to model, and since it is not typical trolley, will not be covered here.

The wire that I (and most other modelers) use is phosphor-bronze, .020" diameter.
It comes in coils, and is springy and resists efforts to straighten. Also, it will break if bent too severely (or bent and re-straightened) neither of which makes hanging the wire any easier. Here is what I have done for years. Although others continue to fight with the wire, (and lose) I remove some of the hardness, and end up with dead straight pieces to work with- so here is one of the secrets of my method. You need a source of low voltage with at least 10 amps. A large Lionel transformer will work (just), a big battery charger, or even a half dead car battery. Fasten one end of a piece of the wire to something solid- I have used a vise, and also a screw in the benchwork of the layout. Measure off and cut a length of wire- the length will depend on how big a power source you have, and experimentation will have to be done. Grab the free end with pliers. Now, with one wire from the power source connected to the fastened end, and a wire from the other terminal of the source in your free hand, pull 1-2 pounds force on the wire, and touch the second wire to the pliers. The wire should start to heat, possibly smoke a little from residual oil. Keep tension on the wire with the pliers. When the wire gets hot enough, you will feel the pliers start to move as the wire stretches. As soon as this happens, remove the electric connection from the pliers, but maintain the pulling force. The pliers will move a total of 4"-6" before the wire cools. When cool, the wire will be dead straight. and while not soft, will not be as hard and springy as it was when you started. If, with your power source you can't get the wire hot enough to lengthen, either shorten the length of wire that you are starting with, or get another larger supply of amps.
On the other hand, if everything happens too quickly -including the wire turning red and melting- go with longer wire, or less 'lectric. I use a 250 watt transformer, about 18 volts, and work with pieces 5-6 foot long wire.

Next time--Poles


Herb  :old dude:

W C Greene
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Herbie-I LOVE IT! Great info. When I first read this, I imagined the famous doctor raising the monster on the table and letting lightning hit it! "It's Alive!"...

Really, this is some good info and while I may not build overhead, it is very interesting and I learned something from your instruction. The day we don't learn something new is the day we don't wake up!

                       keep going, I'm with you....     Woodie

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This could be the start of something a little bit different.

Like Woodie I am not into overhead stuff but the article makes for a good read. Can the wire be heated with gas torch or other means ?

Looking forward to the next episode

Don

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Herb----

Great little article - so far. Looking forward to the next chapter. In the various overhead articles I've seen in the press I don't believe that any of them ever had anything to say about working with the wire - other than hanging it.

Woodie knows that I have always been drawn to this OTHER Dark Side of modeling.

This new forum is just another Communist plot!! REDS, REDS, EVERYWHERE!!

Love it!

Last edited on Tue Nov 16th, 2010 01:27 pm by Sullivan

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Thanks for the comments, my friends!

Don- you asked "Can the wire be heated with gas torch or other means ?"
Yes it can, but  unless it is to turn into a two man job, much shorter pieces than the 5-6 ft hunks that I work with will have to be used. Also the heat source (if a torch) will have to be moved up and down the wire rather quickly to prevent overheating one spot. I have seen fellows that work with the wire straight from the roll heat just the end with a cigarette lighter so they can bend it to connect it to the next piece without breaking- so the answer is yes--but the electric method is more uniform and (I think) more controllable.

James- got a chuckle from "This new forum is just another Communist plot!! REDS, REDS, EVERYWHERE!!" Certainly not a Commie, but early in my machining life, on the first day the foreman asked "What name do you go by- certainly not Herbert?". I said that it didn't matter to me- and he replied (because of my hair when younger)  "well here, you're going to be Reds" Am I posting too much? :us:

Woodie- See--you learned something today also! Fat lot of good it's going to do you though. :)


Herbie  :old dude:

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More posts, Reds!!

There is so little info on proper construction of overhead lines and street trackage. The modeling press has darn few articles - maybe once in a blue moon - and only when they decide to do a little specialty layout series. I think it's been three or more years since MuddleRoadrailer did any.

I've pulled all those articles from the magazines and have them in a binder for that day in the future when I get the time, money, and wherewithall to do it. Like I said, I've always had a place in my heart for the trolleys and interurbans. It was just this past summer that my grandson and I road the Dallas (McKinney Ave.) streetcar line and we had a blast.

Last edited on Tue Nov 16th, 2010 05:15 pm by Sullivan

Huw Griffiths
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Sullivan wrote: There is so little info on proper construction of overhead lines and street trackage. The modeling press has darn few articles - maybe once in a blue moon - and only when they decide to do a little specialty layout series.
I couldn't agree more.

The usual fare in the UK consists of occasional, very superficial, magazine articles - seemingly written on the basis that we already know what we're doing (so why the article?) - either that, or they effectively come up with a slightly more civilised way of saying "RTFM" (ditto).

This brings me to the "manual" - a Sommerfeldt "guide", which looks from the outside like a magazine - but it's very expensive and written in highly technical German, with a partial translation that serves only to confuse.

It's sometimes possible to find information on prototypes, or other scales. The Tramway & Light Railway Society website - http://www.tramwayinfo.com/ - has a section called modelling on line reference. If you go to their homepage, you're greeted by what looks like a card ticket - clicking on the flag marked modelling o-l reference, then scrolling down to the paragraph entitled general, leads you to a number of flags which lead to articles - the one about current collection makes interesting reading.


Of course, none of this tells you much about building model overhead - which is very different to the full size version. Let's face it - the distances between overhead supports are often "compressed" on model layouts - and the wire used on full size trams (and electric railways) won't always have a round profile. Also, even if the wire were the same profile, the diameter won't be exactly to scale (it would probably be too thin and snap in use).

In other words, compromises are called for - and we can only learn those from somebody who's been there before and is willing to explain. This is why I'm so glad to see this stuff appear here.


I don't want to hijack Herb's excellent "how to" thread - but one of the reasons why a number of tramway systems (especially on the European mainland) and electric railways use catenary is because trolley poles can't always be trusted to stay "on" the wires. This is particularly a problem at junctions - and led to the development of special "ears" for attaching wires and guiding poles etc through problem spots.

Basically, on systems that use catenary, cars don't have trolley poles - instead, they're fitted with pantographs (or sometimes bow collectors) which slide under the wire and are less likely to get "dewired". For this system to work properly, the wire needs to be taut - so catenary OHLE (overhead line equipment) often includes tensioning equipment (often weights on pulleys) fitted to some towers. The wire also needs to move from side to side (relative to the car and the pantograph), so it doesn't wear a hole in one spot on the pantograph head.

There's no doubt that pantograph / catenary set-ups work well (they're probably the only credible system with high speeds) - but designing them and setting them up involves a lot of skill and patience.


Saying that, trolley poles (as fitted to older tramcars - especially in the UK and USA) don't exactly have a reputation for being easy to set up. When the time comes, I'll be very interested in seeing how Herb has got them to work. In the past, I've tried and failed - judging by the number of exhibition layouts I've seen with "trolley pole style" "soft wire" OHLE and pantograph fitted cars, I don't think I'm alone.


Anyway, that's enough from me for now. I'm looking forward to seeing how this thread develops. I know it'll take time - that's fine by me. However long it takes, it means that I'm getting the chance to learn about this stuff - a chance that I haven't got elsewhere (and probably won't). Many thanks.


All the best,

Huw.

Herb Kephart
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Huw--

Absolutely no problem about "hijacking" from me-- Your a major contributor to this thread, so far as I am concerned.

I intend to cover both wirework for pantographs, and poles--in fact on my layout most of the wire will accommodate either, although by rights the old style pantographs were seldom used on single suspension wire, and then only where very slow car movements were involved. The newer Flavely (sp?) single arm pans seem to be able to run on single suspension though--I suppose that it has to do with the amount of pressure, and/or the lighter linkage allowing better response.

Your comment about the real wire not being round, reminded me to hunt up a real "ear" used to fasten the wire to a support---



And the comment about deviations from absolutely scale are right on. I have heard that some folks are using Nickle Silver wire of a much smaller gauge, but I think that it is too soft, and if bumped, stretches--besides it has a much higher resistance--because of the material AND the smaller diameter.

So keep the comments flowing- you have provided some great links! 

Herb

Huw Griffiths
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Thanks for your kind comments.

Here's a link to the Faiveley website (with a number of PDF brochures - some more interesting than others - and most not related to current collection) - http://www.faiveley.com/uk/plandusite.php - and here's a direct link to the section about pantographs - http://www.faiveley.com/uk/categorie.php?ID=23#cat19.


Another major manufacturer of electrification equipment is the Chard (Somerset, UK) based Brecknell, Willis. A few years ago, David Hartland wrote a very interesting book, Collectors for Trains, Trams and Trolleys (ISBN 1-984474-292), which details the company history. The book also includes a number of photos of prototype OHLE and current collectors.

The Brecknell, Willis company website also includes some interesting literature - http://brecknell-willis.co.uk/bwdocs.htm. I particularly enjoyed the technical papers "good looking overhead wires" and "developments towards an active pantograph". (There's also some interesting stuff on their product specific pages.)


In case anyone is wondering, I believe the reason why pantographs are normally used with "stiff wire", catenary systems under tension is to prevent damage when the car reaches a wire support pole, or a junction. Without the tension, the pantograph would push the wire up - probably jumping, or causing a kink in the wire, the moment a support is reached. Apart from possible damage to wire and support, this could cause the pantograph head to break. In an extreme case, the pantograph could be ripped off the car.

To prevent this, the wire is always kept under tension. Also, the pantograph head doesn't actually contact the wire directly. Instead, contact is via a shaped carbon block, which slides along the wire. To stop the wire wearing a groove in the contact block, the wire also zigzags between supports, over a short range either side of the track centre line. This also allows the pantograph to continue collecting current on curves.

By the way, I'm aware that a lot of research has been done into working out the correct contact force between pantographs and wire on full size railways and tramways - it seems to vary according to the speed of trains (etc) using the lines and how much current they draw. There's also been a lot of research into how to achieve this ideal force.


Perhaps not strictly relevant here, I also enjoyed reading some of this material: http://www.old-dalby.com/Brecknell.htm

(Also of limited relevance, your comment about the high resistance of thin cross section wire reminds me of some gear I installed for a living, when I worked as a "university "labrat" - specifically, strain gauges. These work on the basis that, as a wire gets longer and narrower, its resistance goes up - and this change in resistance can be used to measure strain. I know there's also a lot of very OTT maths relating to this stuff - thankfully, I never needed to understand it!)


Anyway, I think I've said enough for now.


Regards,

Huw.

Last edited on Wed Nov 17th, 2010 06:55 pm by Huw Griffiths

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Anyone reading this thread- please see the second paragraph of the first post--an addition that I just made.

Working on the pole installment. I think that this is going to need some drawings, or rather sketches, or rather rough sketches, or rather VERY rough sketches, which I will have to do, and scan- but I'm hoping to post the pole bit this evening.

Herb  :old dude: 

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POLES- (the non-European ones)
The poles that were used to support the overhead ("line" poles) were usually metal in cities, wood in towns and rural areas. The metal poles were often stepped diameters, approximately 10" diameter at the base and 6" at the top, with usually three different diameters. These can be modeled with telescoping brass tube. The top of a metal pole had a cast iron plug, or finial, which could be very plain, serving to only keep the rain out of the hollow pole, or could be ornamental, with several diameters and perhaps a pointed top. In O scale I would make these poles from 3/16" and 5/32" tube slid (and soldered) over a 1/8" brass rod. Look in Gardenvilles links for Arendt's scrapbook 54A-" Tramspotting in Dusseldorf" for this type of pole-although the ones shown have far too pronounced steps for American practice.

Wooden line poles, by rights, should be slightly tapered- starting at about 12" diameter at the ground, and about 8" at the top. Often the real poles were also called on to support cross arms holding feeder or signal wires. In this case the poles would be significantly higher, with a corresponding increase in diameter at the ground end. The top end of a wood pole should be "roofed" to shed water- either cut on a 45* angle, or cut on two 45* angles, like the roof of a house. Even in O scale model poles made of wood usually aren't satisfactory, because they lack enough rigidity. I have used metal (usually steel, because of cost) but have never found a way of replicating the very slight taper with out spending far too much time on one pole. One variety of pole (see later) requires drilling cross holes and the taper significantly interferes with this, so my "wooden" poles are straight 7/32" diameter, a compromise between top and bottom diameters.

The poles should be "planted" back from the track a sufficient distance to give about 30" clearance with the widest car- to prevent someone becoming trapped between the car and the pole. Poles placed on a curve should be checked with the longest, widest car, remembering that the ones on the outside of the curve will come closest to the front and rear overhanging portion of the car, and those on the inside should have the clearance checked at the middle of the car, which will overhang the inside of the curve. Since poles are put up after the track is laid, this checking is not a problem. When drilling holes for the poles, they should be canted away from the track a degree or two, to counteract the pull and weight of the wire.

There are "bracket poles" and "span poles". The later are just two plain poles with a cross, or span, wire between them






I use the same .020” PB wire for spans, pull offs, and backbone -we'll get to the second and third later. To attach the span wire to a pole, make two complete wraps around the pole, and then 4-6 wraps around the span and cut off excess.





Here is a good place to mention the “warts” on the span wire. They represent insulators, used on the prototype. I use small glass beads that are available in craft stores (Michaels, in the US) I use brown, because the real insulators that we used at the museum were that color- although they were/are available in green and black, I'm told. Get the smallest beads that you can still get the wire through, and even then they will be oversize. My opinion is that oversize looks better than none at all.


The other type of poles-bracket- are next.





As previously mentioned the pole is 7/32” diameter, the heavy horizontal bar is 1/16” diameter, and the light horizontal and angular is one piece of .030” wire. There is a small wrap of shim stock, about 1/16” wide between the two horizontal pieces between where the ear is fastened and the pole, but closer to the ear. A long time ago I made a hardened drill jig to drill the 3 holes crosswise through the pole. All  the pole pieces are soldered together. Bracket poles are nearly always planted on the outside of a curved track, for reasons that will be shown later. Bracket poles were not all that common in US cities, with  the exception of when two parallel tracks were going down a "median" (usually grass covered) between the opposing lanes of a major street-boulevard-avenue. In this case, the pole was located centered between the two tracks, with one bracket arm mounted opposite another. Since the locations where this was called for were in somewhat higher class neighborhoods, frequently the poles and/or arms were decorated with fancy cast iron scroll work, etc.


Next fascinating (?) installment will cover ears---




Herb



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ebtm3 wrote: Next fascinating (?) installment will cover ears---

I'm listening - I'm sure we all are.

OK - it's a terrible pun, but I'm really enjoying reading all this stuff - and I'm learning an enormous amount in the process.

You've set the line high for the remaining installments.

All the best,

Huw.

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Hi Herb,

You are off to a great start.

I just ordered two 100' rolls of Pole wire , Phosphor Bronze, Grade A, .0179, 26 Gauge from Alpine. I should say from my local train store who will get it from Walthers.

How about a list of a few materials to get on order so when you get to that part we (those) who might be following along will have the stuff we need to keep up with you.

Thanks

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Bill-I am sure you know this, but some others may need to know that Precision Scale has both HO and O scale trolley poles. The O scale jobs actually have spoked wheels or shoes. I have a pair of these in a box somewhere...maybe someday...

                            Woodie

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Hi Woodie,

Yes, PSC has 4 pages of "O" Scale parts but only 1 slim page for HO Scale. The pictures of the O Scale things help a bit. The HO Scale things are mostly Trolley Pole related and I have a few of most of them.

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Bill

I can understand your wanting to be able to collect as many needed pieces before starting. I looked at the list of dealers, and what they sold, on the East Penn Traction site and came to the conclusion that the list is so far out of date, that it is useless. The only site that was listed under line parts that worked was http://www.alpinemodels.com, they list span poles (which couldn't be any easier to make- what they call wire hangers,(and I call ears) and wire frogs in HO

Ears can get to be expensive if you buy them, that's why I have always made them- next subject coming up. Frogs you will probably want to buy--they are persnickety to make, although not impossible.

If you haven't already, please read the second paragraph in the first post of this topic regarding what's available and my lack of knowledge thereof.

So I would say get some frogs, some beads, and figure out what you are going to do about poles.

I know that you would like a much more comprehensive list, but please bear in mind I make--not buy

Herb  :old dude:

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A trip to one of the major home centers made me aware that 1/4" dowels are now available in oak. This would probably work very well for line and bracket poles for those building in 1/45, or 1/48 scales. I tried flexing a piece, and it seemed to be twice as stiff as the common (bass wood?) dowel, with the advantage of being much easier to drill (for bracket) and taper. Put one end in the chuck of a drill press or power drill and apply sandpaper, while running.

Not much help for those in 1/87th though---


Herb  :old dude:

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Herb-for tiny scales such as 1:87, etc...how about using appropriate sized brass rod for the poles, soldering the brackets to them and then the wire...It seems (to me) that then the poles themselves could be used as a "common ground" and in small scales would be a lot stronger than the little sticks. Tapered poles might be a bit tough to do this way, but anything is possible. I seem to remember (marimba?) this being done back in the yore days when guys like Gil Mele and Bill Schopp built things "hell for stout"...

                               Woodie

Probably a great reason that I have no overhead is how rowdy we get when operating, things like wires above the track might get torn out due to wild "engineers"...

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Right again Woodrow--

In  HO metal poles are the only way--wood, plastic, or emulsified ectoplasm just aren't stiff enough, a typical case of modeling ED.

Herbie

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Hi Herb and Woodie,

I spent a little time yesterday and sorted out all the traction articles I had saved from old model train magazines. I put the ones related to overhead wire construction in a new note binder. I also rediscovered a good article in the Model Railroader "Traction Guidebook" called "Modeling Overhead". I have had the book for awhile but used it mostly for the plans in it and never really read this article. As it turns this article was first printed in an old MR Magazine. I had the first 2 pages of maybe 3 or 4 pages of the original article. The old magazine version has a few different diagrams but I enlarged the page and lost the month and year on my copy.

I then had a look through my "stuff" and found I have all kinds of "Pole" material. It ranges from 1/8" (I am doing HO) brass brazing rods from my old Hot Rod days, 3' aluminum rods, 3' and 12' titanium rods, 6' aluminum all-thread rods, 3' dowel rods and wooden meat squerers in 7/64" and 5/32". I also found some Phosphor Bronze wire in the right size from some detail work I was doing. I even found a tube of clear "Glass Beads - 11/0 Seed Beads" that might work as insulators. I think I have enough stuff to try a "for practice" Pole.

I am going to make the first Poles out of one of the wooden items. Then I might try one of the different metal rods for a few Poles.

Note: I was writing this and did not see Herbs suggestion about using only metal for Poles.

In reading some of these old traction articles again I found I was being distracted into paying more attention to the layout and cars running on them and not on how the overhead wire was made.

To maintain my focus on learning how to build overhead wire I am going to build my first effort on an empty board. Nothing more then the track and the overhead wire relate construction necessary to make it work.

Last edited on Thu Nov 18th, 2010 07:18 pm by Bill Fornshell

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How about this...in HO, what if maybe every 3rd or 5th pole was metal and the others made from that bamboo BBQ skewer material. The metal poles would "carry the weight", and the bamboo poles would be sturdy enough for in between...Maybe???

                             Woodie

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Might work Woodie. The main load on model poles is the pull of the wire, not as in the prototype, the weight of it---but it would be worth a try.

I did some research on who sells frogs, etc. for modeling overhead. My source came up with (Thanks RC!)--

O scale--Ed Miller--Current Line Models--  http://www.currentline.net

HO scale-- George Huckaby--   http://www.trolleyville.com


Herb  :old dude:



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Firstly let me say I know absolutely nothing about this topic.

Surely the metal tapered poles could be turned down to the required taper on a small lathe. This may be asking a lot in HO but may work in the larger scales.

Now I shall crawl back into my hole and shut up.

Don

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Don-

Very difficult to explain to a non-machinist- but with a non computer controlled machine it is near impossible. There is a diameter to length ratio (about 1 to 10) that cannot be exceeded. It is much easier to turn a long slender piece straight than tapered, because you can run a support on the already turned diameter to steady things---but with a taper the support would have to move in two planes to accommodate the diameter variation.

Trust me--six lathes out in the shop.


Herbie  :old dude:

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ebtm3 wrote:


I did some research on who sells frogs, etc. for modeling overhead. My source came up with (Thanks RC!)--

O scale--Ed Miller--Current Line Models--  http://www.currentline.net

HO scale-- George Huckaby--   http://www.trolleyville.com

==================

Herb,

Can you explain about the "frogs". Does the Car weight pull the Pole along the wire and through a turnout?

I bought 5 -3' pieces of K&S Brass Rod to make my first Poles with.

Thanks.

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Bill-

You asked-
"Can you explain about the "frogs". Does the Car weight pull the Pole along the wire and through a turnout?"

I don't know why you used the word "weight", but the movement of the car, and the position of the pole (caused by the movement of the car, and where on the car the pole is mounted) relative to the position of the frog, guides the pole down the correct wire.

One of the things that causes the most trouble for first time wire hangers, I will cover it in as much detail as I can in one of the last installments.

Meanwhile, your question means to me that you are interested, and that you are thinking ahead- both satisfying to me.

Herb  :old dude:

Bill Fornshell
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Thanks Herb,

Momentum might have been a better word. I have never been around a traction layout much so I really haven't had a chance to see how some of this works up close.

I am going to see if I can made a Pole today.

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Ears, backbone and pulloffs


As posted before, I use the same wire for everything, but some modelers use a smaller gauge wire. For years I used the same beads as the “insulators” in the making of ears, but on occasion one of the beads would break at one point in the forming operation. It happened often enough that I determined on the present layout to look for something better. I went to Michaels to get insulator beads, and in the same area as the beads I found packets of small “gold” (brass) sleeves- pieces of tubing about 1/16” outside diameter by 1/16” long. Bought a couple packs and tried them, and they turned out to be much better than the glass beads as they don't break, and when soldering is done they become an integral part of the ear. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find them on a couple return visits, and neither has a friend that saw me using them and wanted some for himself- and he frequents a different store.


Steps in making an ear
Cut a piece of wire about 4” long. 3/4” from one end, bend it back on itself (fig 1). The bend should be reasonably sharp, but the wires should splay out slightly from each other. Hang this piece over the span wire, or the lowest crossarm wire (fig 2). Slide the bead, or brass tube over both ends of the wire, and push it up as tight as possible against the horizontal span wire (fig 3) While holding the longer leg between the thumb and second finger, with index finger push the bead or tube up to hold it, and with pliers bend the short leg up to horizontal (fig 4) then cut it to 1/4” long. Next, bend the long leg horizontal, keeping it in line with the short leg in both planes (fig 5) Last, place the pliers at the 1/4” point on the long leg, and bend the excess up about 45* (fig 6) This is a “handle” that you can hold while soldering, and later trim off down at the trolley wire.






Backbone
This is nothing more than an additional piece of wire, strung from pole to pole around the outside of a curve. Its purpose is to have something to attach the short pulloff wires to. Backbone can be pieces of wire that go just from one pole to the next, or it can be a long length that makes two wraps around each pole that it comes to. Make the terminations of the wire ends to the poles, the same as shown for the span wire. Don't forget the insulators where the backbone comes up to the pole (about a scale foot away).


Pulloffs
Start out by making an ear, but in the process, put another piece of wire about 6” long where the span wire would normally go, loop it around the first bend in the ear wire and have the short end bent 90* to the long end and pointing down along with the long and short ear wire. (fig 7). Cut the short end of the pulloff so that it will just come even with the bottom of the bead or brass tube. Then continue the rest of the ear bending


Guy wires
These are wires that go from a pole, to an anchor buried in the ground, and typically they will be at about a 45* angle. They are most times on the outside of the poles around a curve, to keep the tension of the trolley wire from pulling the poles off vertical, and towards the track. Some of mine go through a hole in the tablework and are put under tension with a short, rather stiff spring. Unless the layout is located where the temperature and humidity are fairly constant, there will be times when the wire is slack, and others when the wire so tight that it may pull a few solder joints apart. I always had more trouble from the benchwork expanding when humid, and contracting when dry, than from temperature when I had layouts in a heated building- until I started painting all the major pieces of wood (including ply). After doing this most of my variations in wire tension went away- until the present layout. The first Winter the wire went more slack than I had ever had it go- so I took some of the slack out. The following Summer the wire got so tight that joints were being pulled apart left and right. I was tearing my hair out trying to keep up with all this, and wondering what the h##l was going on when I realized that the 40' aluminum trailer that the layout lives in expands and contracts close to 1/2” with the yearly outdoor temperature variations we have here, and the benchwork is bolted to the sides of the trailer.
This is why my guy wires are sprung. If a guy should need to come down in an impractical place- the middle of a road, or the bed of a creek for instance, put another pole on the other side of the road or stream. Connect the two poles with a horizontal wire near the pole tops, and then guy the second pole.


Two other items will be handy to have before we actually start hanging wire. One is a block of some material slightly less height than the intended wire. This should be a little wider than the rail gauge, 4-5 inches long and as heavy as possible- mine is steel, but most of you won't have a machine shop scrap bin to select a piece from. To the top of this fasten the largest ugliest paperclip that you can find- one of the kind with two ears that you squeeze between thumb and index finger to open. Fasten it to the top of the block, to grab the trolley wire and keep tension on it.


Second, an old, preferably unsprung, freight car truck, with a 1/2” square piece of wood fastened vertically with a screw through the kingpin hole. The top of this wooden piece should be the intended wire height.


Next time, we hang wire.

Herb  :old dude:

Huw Griffiths
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ebtm3 wrote: I found packets of small “gold” (brass) sleeves- pieces of tubing about 1/16” outside diameter by 1/16” long.
I've used similar stuff in electronics - albeit cut from longer lengths (they started off about a foot - and ended up about 1/4" - 1/2").

I used a fairly basic tubing cutter - nominal diameter range about 1/16" - 5/8". It was a bit fiddly - possibly because it was right on the edge of its range - and I had to clean up the ends on a whetstone - but it ultimately did the job:

http://www.americanrcboats.com/images/tools/kstubingcutter.jpg

http://www.modelhelicopters.co.uk/acatalog/t-ks0296.JPG

 
Another possibility might be to use the coloured insulation from some types of wire - perhaps individual cores of low current mains wire - or a narrow strip of insulating tape coiled round the "doubled" wire - or perhaps even forget the sleeving and use a drop of Araldite instead.

 
Unfortunately, although some of these other schemes might be reasonably simple, they're all susceptible to damage when soldering. For this reason, I'd be more inclined to use the short lengths of brass tube - at least I know they'd work.

 
Huw.

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I've just remembered another method I read somewhere for doing the "insulators".

Basically, it consisted of coiling a few turns of fine, insulated, wire around the "doubled" section of wire.

I can't remember where I read it - but it would probably be quite effective (and cheap and easy).

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Huw-

The nice thing about the little brass tubes was that they were so cheap, and convenient. It wouldn't be impossible to cut tubing into short lengths, as you mentioned in your first post, just fiddly.

Two or three turns of wire would also serve the purpose just fine, although I think that I would go with bare copper wire- easier to wrap tight, and no need for the insulation , so a little larger gauge wire could be used.

Good thinking!

Herb  :old dude:
 

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If any of you fella's out there are at all interested in doing street tram things,check out the  Melbourne Victoria tramway system:it's the largest in the world.They might have some idea of what you're after.

Check out some pics of Aussie trams in Photovault or many others as well.

             John the Aussie bloke:old dude:.

 

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All I have to do to see real trolleys is ride the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (an overhead operation) down to town and catch the McKinney Avenue trolley. It's free and a nice 1 hour ride. Soon, the line will be extended quite a bit which will be close to what Dallas used to have before the advent of nasty busses.

                               Woodie

Last edited on Sun Nov 28th, 2010 06:11 pm by W C Greene

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First, a pix of the two aids that I mentioned last time-



The upright mounted on the truck has a line scribed on the top denoting the center of the track. Normally on straight track, the wire is hung over the center. The way that I do this is to temporally fasten the wire to something near the center of the track, and then grab the wire in the paper clip that is on the top of the steel block. Next, I tack solder the ear to the cross span or lower bracket arm wire, visually lining it up so that it is over the track center, using the upright on the truck. then, moving the truck out of the way, I lift the first end of the wire up, align it with ear, and solder both sides. If the initial tack doesn't come undone, go over it anyway to add more solder, maintaining the center of the track alignment.Clip off the extended "handle" on the ear as close to the running wire as closely as possible Proceed to next pole(s), moving the steel block as necessary. The second ear will be a little easier, because you have the wire correctly located.

A word about soldering. Just because you are soldering tiny wires, DO NOT try to use the smallest iron that you can find. Rather, use the largest iron that isn't clumsy. The reason is that the larger iron will transfer heat quicker, allowing you to solder the joint that you are working on, without unsoldering the other leg of the ear. If the solder does not flow instantly, something is wrong--probably the wire needs cleaning, or the iron isn't up to temperature. Cleanliness is vital! That includes the iron. Periodically, wipe the iron on something like a heavy rag, quickly. I use my finger, but I've had a little practice at soldering- my father showed me how about 68 years ago, it was part of his trade. As to materials, I use rosin dissolved in alcohol for flux, but since this is somewhat of a specialty item, a second choice would be rosin core solder, although with that it is sometimes hard to get enough flux on the part, without getting excess solder too.

On curves, the wire is hung closer to the inside rail of the track- notice how the shoe lines up with the wire in the pix below.



Obviously, since the wire, when hung, isn't a smooth curve--rather it is a series of short straight segments, perfection in this regard can't be obtained--just try to even the pole misalignment out. Between the supports, pulloffs to the backbone are used--see fig 7 in the previously posted drawing for how they differ. solder the ear to the running wire, then pull the wire that is right angles to the track in the direction of the backbone, and when it looks right bend it over the backbone just enough to hold it in place (don't solder yet). After some wire is hung past that point, go back and see how all the pulloffs look in regard to having the running wire in line with the pole shoe- some adjustment will probably be needed.

 


Crossings can be accomplished with a #2 brass washer- just be sure to locate it where the pole is perfectly in line with the car body, for each wire



Switches need wire frogs, which are best purchased, although in the bad old days, I made my own from .010" brass shim. I have seen all kind of methods for locating a frog relative to the track. I have tried nearly all of them. Don't waste your time. Here is a foolproof (well as foolproof as frog location can be) method.
Start by hanging the wire over the straight (or straighter) track. Off set the wire off center so that the car pole is about 10 degrees relative to the car body over the switch.



Now, push the car around the curve with the pole on the wire, until the car pole is offset by about the same angle



This pix is taken with the car a little past the point in the wire where the frog is, but the angle is what i was trying to show. Right at that spot on the straight wire is the spot where the frog wants to be. Easy, and it works. If it can be arranged, fastening the frog to a cross span helps to keep it in the right location, with changes in wire tension.

One thing that I see that I missed, is that I use #0 brass washers to connect pieces of overhead running wire. If you have a section that gives you trouble with the pole dewireing, annalise what is wrong, but don't spend trying to fix what is there. Most times it will be better to cut out the old and splice in a new piece

That's about it. I know that there must be questions, and things that I forgot. If you need further help--post!

Herb  :old dude:


Last edited on Fri Dec 3rd, 2010 12:37 am by Herb Kephart

Huw Griffiths
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ebtm3 wrote: A word about soldering. Just because you are soldering tiny wires, DO NOT try to use the smallest iron that you can find. Rather, use the largest iron that isn't clumsy. The reason is that the larger iron will transfer heat quicker, allowing you to solder the joint that you are working on, without unsoldering the other leg of the ear. If the solder does not flow instantly, something is wrong--probably the wire needs cleaning, or the iron isn't up to temperature. Cleanliness is vital! That includes the iron. Periodically, wipe the iron on something like a heavy rag, quickly.As to materials, I use rosin dissolved in alcohol for flux, but since this is somewhat of a specialty item, a second choice would be rosin core solder, although with that it is sometimes hard to get enough flux on the part, without getting excess solder too.
If you have a section that gives you trouble with the pole dewireing, annalise what is wrong, but don't spend trying to fix what is there. Most times it will be better to cut out the old and splice in a new piece


Excellent points - actually, the whole series of articles have been great, but I think these points warrant particular attention - and not just for traction modellers.

In my last job, I installed and wired thousands of resistance strain gauges. (Anyone who actually wants to know what these things are like will find plenty of info on transducer suppliers' sites.) What matters here is that I needed to solder wires to tiny pads, which wanted to detach themselves from their backing.

This meant I needed to use a powerful iron (so I could melt the solder and make the joint, fast enough not to damage the gauge), with a bit large enough to transfer heat instantly (but small enough to get in). I often needed to temporarily hold the wire in place with masking tape, to stop the wire jumping out as I applied the iron - and this was very much a case of "in - out" and no hanging about.
 

Turning to the flux, some firms sell a lot of soldering related stuff - but most of them are mainly trade. I know some people use plumbing solders and fluxes (surprisingly enough, from plumbers' merchants) for assembling metal bodyshell kits. These are not what's needed here.

Overhead wiring has more in common with electronics soldering - albeit soldering up a large network of wires, which wants to draw heat away from the joints. This is why rosin based fluxes are appropriate here. You could use Carr's Orange Label Flux (sold in some UK model shops - excellent stuff, but not cheap). Another option would be rosin gel flux - I don't know about the USA but, in the UK, this stuff is sold by some of the electronic components suppliers that also supply trade, colleges and places like that. It might be worth checking out firms like RS / Electrocomponents, Farnell / CPC, or Rapid.
 

If I need to undo any electronic solder joints, I often use a short length of braid from coaxial wire (with the braid flattened and dipped in Orange Label, or a rosin gel flux) - with a hot soldering iron on it, this stuff quickly wicks away excess solder - it also wicks away heat, if you're not careful, so I remove the braid before I even think of removing the iron.
 

I'd also agree with the comments about trying to fix dodgy sections of overhead. OK, initial fiddling is sometimes needed to get things to work - but more than that would be bad news, as any "adjustments" carry with them the risk of pulling everything else out of alignment. There's also the risk of melting loads of other joints, every time you try to "re-work" any particularly troublesome one - partly because of the heat transfer - partly because the iron would probably be spending rather a long time on this one spot.

This heat transfer business is a good reason why clamping sections of wire in place can be a good idea - the clamps act as heatsinks and prevent damage to other joints. This also reinforces the need for a powerful iron - exactly how powerful I don't know (but I certainly wouldn't mess around with the tiny 12W one I use for soldering integrated circuits).
 

In short, this has been an excellent series of articles - full of excellent advice.
 

Many thanks,

Huw.

Last edited on Thu Dec 2nd, 2010 05:11 pm by Huw Griffiths

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Huw- Thanks for the comments. I'm glad that you found the series interesting.

While on the subject of solder- two things that I, and possibly you, have noticed-

A soldered assembly will move, and it's parts will get out of line right after it is soldered if subjected to transmitted heat, but a few days later (provided there are no outside forces involved) it will retain its position, even if the solder melts.
Not sure why this happens, but have an idea that has something to do with the lead-tin (hereafter l-t) molecules "settling down". I know that large thin l-t castings left over from my days of kit production develop a sag over a period of 5 or so years, if not stored on edge, or flat, with continuous support. They say that the molecules in glass slowly move over time also.

It takes more heat to unsolder a joint than to solder it. Kestler, a solder manufacture, says that the l-t, when hot forms an alloy on the molecular level with the base metal, and this alloy has a higher melting point. This is especially evident when silver soldering, since higher temperatures are involved.

One of the things that I forgot to mention is the pole placement on the car body.
On a double truck car, the best position is about 3 scale feet towards the center of the car from the truck kingpin. This seems to give the best tracking, both prototype and model. Single truck cars require a compromise. Some prototype cars had a single pole mounted in the center of the car which was swung around when the car changed direction. Others had two poles, mounted as far apart as possible. Mixing the types is possible, wire wise, but will require some fiddling with the wire position. If all your cars are the same pole placement, it is much easier. Even the real cars have this problem. Having a "standard" pole length, is a big help also.

Herb  :old dude:

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ebtm3 wrote: If all your cars are the same pole placement, it is much easier. Even the real cars have this problem. Having a "standard" pole length, is a big help also.

From what I've read in various places, it seems that height also affects things (not surprising really - as it alters the angles and clearances).

This isn't so much of an issue in countries where all cars are single deck and around the same height as each other (often the case on the European mainland).

However, in the UK, the same city's system might include a wide range of tramcars - some single deck - others open top "Preston" style double deck - others full height double deck with full roofs - yet others "reduced height" double deck (designed to go under low railway bridges). As built, all of these would have had different roof heights, with the poles or (in a few cases) bow collectors or pantographs often being fitted in different ways - and describing different arcs.

All of this forced loads of compromises in the design of overhead - and tramcars (with trolley pole, or pantograph, towers sometimes needing to be fitted to single deck cars). The existence of low railway bridges wouldn't have helped matters - it sometimes led to some designs of tramcars being banned from some routes (either because of reduced clearances - or because wires might have been skewed under certain bridges to allow some pole equipped double deck cars to pass, whilst stopping pantograph or bow collector equipped single deck cars).


Anyway, I think that's enough from me for now.

Regards,

Huw.

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Huw-
I understand that some of the UK systems had a swiveling shoe atop the pole. I also wondered in the past how they accommodated the various car heights Tonight, you turned the light bulb on. :!:

That's probably why the swiveling shoes!

Herb:old dude:

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Looking forward to your treatise on poles.  I've been drafted to help my club put in a city trolley line with working overhead.  I did some of this in the distant past using the Suydam brass pole and arm units, but I'm not sure whether any of that is still available.  I'm not sure I'm tough enough any more to use the old Dick Orr stuff, so may be content with the bigger hardware.  But keep it coming. 

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Hi,

I have bought some of my poles and other traction things from this ebay seller:

http://www.ebay.com/sch/brianweisman/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=&_trksid=p3686

He also sells direct so if you are looking for something not listed, you can email him direct. If you want to do this send me a PM for his email address.

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Mr Nut

If you are looking for a how-to- do on the poles on the car roof--as opposed to the ones alongside the track--ain't gonna happen.

Years ago, when the supplier of 95% of the car pole O scale market--Rich Wagner (RIP)- had a heart attack, the supply dried up. I set about making a run of 100 to satisfy the local market. Bought springs- had to have them wound special, as there was nothing commercially available, machined the base pieces, and about that time figured that Rich was working for less than $1 an hour. I believe that he was selling poles for $2.75 a pair at the time. Never finished the project.

I make my own pantographs, but that is because I don't like the heavy, mainline electric (GG1 et al) pattern. Again, there is no way that I would make them for sale.

When I was making a series of O scale car kits--sold under the Copetown Car Works name, I spent much more time on the brass master patterns, than what the final selling price warranted. Sold the patterns and Ashland car works ran another run of some of the cars, although they had problems casting some of the parts. Still have a bunch of castings, found that remelted, they make excellent bullets.



Herb 

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Herb-a little off topic here...as for a fellow manufacturing model rr stuff, witness the HOn30 guys who want someone to make them a "great running, prototypical" HOn30 steam loco chassis...for around 50 bucks! Yep, they don't have the b@(($ to do it so they want someone else to get paid 50 pesos an hour for their time.

I understand why stuff don't get made any more.

Woodrow

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fascinating thread on the down guy you can use a queen post like they do on telephone poles and sometimes power poles the ankers are 6' deep i have dug a couple of them also helped set a couple of poles in back yards fun!!!

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Good idea, but digging any kind of hole isn't my kind of fun!!!


Herb 

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Now, I'm not an overhead modeler...but I have in my custody a couple of PSC O scale trolley poles, one with a shoe and the other with a neat little spoked wheel. No, I ain't offering them for sale, I might, MIGHT, use them in the future. I just wanted to let ya'll know that PSC has such things for HO and O and they also show several neat items in their catalogs like truck sideframes, details for trolleys, wire stringing hardware, and other details that I don't know what they are about. Interested parties might check out Precision Scale for what's available. OK, is that back "on topic"?
Woodie

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I posted this at another site today, has some "pearls of wisdom":
David L. Pippen
dpippen@nmsu.edu
Assistant College Professor
New Mexico State University

http://et.nmsu.edu/~etti/fall97/electronics/solder.html

I'd say that is the most complete I saw.

Use a flux labeled "non-acid" or "for electronics".

Also, when using pantographs instead of trolleys, the wire is installed so it wanders a little bit each side from post to post to minimize pantograph wear. FWIW.
Jose.

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Questions have arisen as to what a wire frog looks like.

As I mentioned earlier in this series, they can be as simple as a triangular piece of shim brass, with the two long edges turned down 90º, or can be lost wax castings. The castings were always expensive, so most times I made my own from brass shim stock



The grid that they are sitting on is 1/4" squares



It is important that the distance from the wire hole to the vertical edges is as close to one half the width of the shoe, or wheel, on the end of the pole as possible.

Some modelers in O scale have used rotating trolley wheels with some success. 
I tried them, and found that they were much more "picky" about wire alignment, and electrical pickup VS a sliding wheel or shoe (which will scrape dust off the wire, rather than just rolling over it). One of the supposed advantages to a rotating wheel is that it will back up without dewireing-- but if wire has some degree of tension, and is hung low enough that the car pole angle is within 10-15º of horizontal, I never had a problem. You can back through a wire frog from the diverging wire end with success, and even from the other end ---if the pole should always follow the same route, IF the frog is tipped slightly to favor the desired route. Too much tip will cause poles approaching on a car running forwards to always follow that route also, however.


Herb 

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OK, I can see where a shoe would be less pickey but I just LOVE them tiny spoked wheels! Would the wheel operate better if it didn't actually rotate? Vexing questions, I am sure.

Woodie

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Woodie

Yes definitely a non rotating wheel works just fine--in fact most of my cars that have poles use them, because the shape of a shoe causes it to snag on cross spans when there is a dewirement, whereas the wheel even though not rotating, will just bounce off.

If you do try rotating wheels, don't try to use a small axle. Wears out far too quick. Drill a hole through both sides of the harp (forked thingus on upper end of pole) at axle position. Then make a bushing with a wire sized hole in the center, and the OD as large as possible, considering the hub in the wheel center. Length of bushing is distance between legs of the harp, which, in turn, is just slightly more than the width of the wheel to stabilize the wheel, without impeding rotation. Small piece of wire through harp and bushing, bent over on ends. Bushing should not rotate. Still wears out, just not as quick.

Herbal  

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HIYA,

I was wondering, and yes I know this will be a good bit down the road before the Cats are built but...
I would like to have a city on each on each end of my line and heavy loco's like GG1's Little Joes and maybe some rectifers, so I would like high voltage cats for the mainlines.
In the city's I would like trolley lines and I would like steeple cabs and critters working the freight yards.
Would I need to make single wire for the yards or would cats be used in yards also?
I would like to use pantographs on the steeplecabs with a pole for looks like the Sacramento Northern but these are small steeplecabs ( from canonball ) and it will be quite a job making a base for the pantographs and still have enough room for the pole.
Or due to the very small roof on them should I just go with a pole, and if the pole and panto wires would not work just keep them seperate to simplify things?

Rob Wright
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HAPPY FATHERS DAY Everyone!!

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Yes, you can use single wire over yard and siding trackage, and be prototypical.

As to the question about having both a pole and a pan on a small roof-- I remember seeing a photo of a steeple cab with a pan, that in the down position,  took up the whole roof. The pole was mounted BESIDE the pan, and the pole had a Z bend to get the wheel over to the centerline of the loco.

Pole position is somewhat critical relative to the car body--or rather to the wheels under the body--and I cant imagine that setup being trouble free as far as staying on the wire. Being a steeple cab however, it might have been an arrangement to get access to just a siding or two, and when in use, a crew member would have his hand on the rope coming down from the end of the pole--to guide it. This happened often when switching moves were done with a pole--a solution that isn't available to we modelers.

Please don't ask what line the steeple cab that I'm referring to ran on--- it's probably been 50 years since I saw the photo-- however, if both my functioning brain cells stop fighting and declare a truce I MIGHT remember where I saw the photo, and will amend this with the info.

Herb 

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I have gotten the reverse loop in place on the club pike (HO, 8" radius").  At the moment, not being able to get the necessary single arm bracket poles, we are running two-rail DC.  Ahead of this year's holiday season open houses, I'm looking for thoughts/info on an automatic circuit that will reverse the polarity and throw the loop switch machine.  We want the line to be able to run with little or no supervision. 

If we can get the needed overhead materials to string wire, we intend to go to DCC.  The overhead will obviate the need for the auto reverse, but we will still need the turnout thrown automatically.  Any thoughts/direction/possible electronics suppliers welcome. 

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I'm unable to help you with your two rail problem, since the last 60 years I have run with live overhead, and both rails grounded, and 5 or so years ago, built a couple of additional locos that have radio control and on board batteries

If you have a live overhead--and if you are going to hang overhead, why wouldn't want to make it live-- the problem disappears. All you need is a light spring to hold the points in one position, and a car coming up to the switch after rounding the loop will push the points over. If you know what you're doing, and hand lay the switch, you can have this happen without any springs or moving parts in the switch--I have done this many times. No electronics needed.

Herb 

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Herb: Thanks for the response. As I noted, the ultimate goal is working overhead, but Alpine hasn't been very responsive thus far to our request to make the single arm bracket poles. Just by way of background, the club's trolley line will have an around the city block loop in street trackage, then the line that's now in goes on PROW for about 20 feet to the new reverse loop. Ultimately, another line will go out the opposite direction from the city area to the carbarn, with a long interurban line extending from there about 60 feet to the far end of the layout.

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Sounds good!

Herb

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Hadn't gotten as far as looking for this topic yet - have supplies to build some G scale overhead for a 8ft display shelf for HLW Sparky in freelance RR livery.
Just have to get off my rear end and do it.

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After reading whole thread now, haven't seen this reference from the guys who publish Railroad Model Craftsman magazine mentioned

Home > Carstens Railroad Books > Carstens Model Railroading Books > Traction Handbook for Model Railroads by Paul and Steve Mallery  Item# 013-3 $12.95 About this item Introduction to traction modeling, power distribution, trackwork, design of a model traction system, structures, signals, cars and locomotives, electric control and operation.http://carstensbookstore.com/trhaformorab.html

They also have
http://carstensbookstore.com/trpledbyhalc.html
(missed and clicked quote instead of link for link and now can't figure out how to get rid of quote block, tried highlighting and clicking quote again thinking that might un-quote, nope; tried highlighting and deleting, wouldn't highlight; tried backspacing, nope. Am out of ideas.)
Home > Carstens Railroad Books > Carstens Model Railroading Books > Traction Planbook, edited by Hal Carstens  Item# 00016 $9.95
About this item This Second Edition of the Traction Planbook includes revised and expanded text, plus many new photographs. Drawings are reproduced at either HO or O scale, and depict a variety of equipment from electric lines all across the country. While many electric railway cars were standardized, even the standardized cars exhibited variations such as extra windows, one ot two poles, third rail shoes, door variations, plus differences in pilots, headlights, window grills, dashers, end windows, and more.
A great variety of equipment is presented, from early horse cars and trams, to later wood bodied streetcars and interurbans, to modern steel bodied cars. Coaches, combines, locomotives, freight motors, line cars, and other configurations are shown as well. Streetcars, trolleys, interurbans, rapid transit, freight and express cars are all shown here.
The Traction Planbook is a great research tool for the historian and the modeler alike. From faded classics to modern rapid transit, you'll find it all in the Traction Planbook. 98 pages, softcover. Edited by Hal Carstens.

Table of Contents Miscellaneous Early Equipment Horse Cars Cable Cars Single Truck City Cars Third Avenue Railway Single Truck Master Unit Cincinnati Traction Deck Roof Car San Francisco Muni Class J No. 351 United Railoads, Hammond 1893 Birneys 20' Semi-Convertible 10 Bench Open Car Double Truck City Cars Third Avenue Railway Brill Convertible 1-100 28' Semi-Converticle 29' Semi-Convertible Boston & Northern Street Ry. Semi-Convertible 14 Bench Standard Open Car Boston Elevated Ry. Type 1 Boston Elevated Ry. Type 4 Boston Elevated Ry. Type 5 Birney Safety Car, Wason Master Unit, Brill, 7 Window Master Unit, 8 Window Master Unit, Osgood-Bradley Sacramento City Lines, Nos. 56-67 Third Avenue Railway Lightweight No. 1250 Santa Barbara & Suburban Center Door Reading Street Railway 800 Series San Antonio Public Service, Third Avenue Railway Series 510 San Diego Electric Railway Nos. 400-299 Cincinnati Street Railway 2500 Series PCC Cars Standard PCC 1936-1942 Johnstown Traction Co. with Standee Windows Red Arrow Double-Ended Interurban Type Wooden Interurbans Holland Sleeping and Parlour Car, 1903 Mexico City Tramways Lake Shore Electric Nos. 150-159, Niles Montreal & Southern Counties, combine North Jersey Rapid Transit, Jewett Lightweight Interurbans Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, Center Door Niagara, St. Catherines & Toronto, Series 620 Dayton & Troy, Lehigh Valley Transit, Shaker Heights - Curved Side Indiana Railroad 50-84 Series Pacific Electric 600 Series Heavy Steel Interurbans Interstate Public Service 150-157 Combine Interstate Public Service 166-168 Sleeper Interstate Public Service 158-163 Diners/Parlor Cars North Shore Line 741 Series South Shore Line 77' Modernized Coach Rapid Transit Equipment Boston, Revere Beach & Lynn Coach Manhattan Elevated Railway Open Platform Car Interboro Rapid Transit 5100 Series Car North Shore Line Electroliner Chicago Transit Authority 2000 Series Car Locomotives Terre Haute, Indianapolis & Eastern Steeplecab Union Pacific 50-ton Baldwin Steeplecab New Haven Class EY-2 Steeplecab North Shore Line Nos. 455-456 GE Steeplecab Kansas City, Kaw Valley & Western Steeplecab Hoboken Shore Railroad Baldwin-Westinghouse Steeplecab Shore Shore Line 701-710 Freight Motors (ex-New York Central) Trolley Box Motors Potomac Edison No. 5, Wood Body Cincinnati & Lake Erie Nos. 635-649 Lake Shore Electric Nos. 38-40 Cincinnati Traction Single-Truck Box Motor Non-Revenue Equipment Pittsburgh Railways Pay Car M-1 Lake Shore Electric Motor Flat Brill Single-Truck 2,480 Gallon Sprinkler Public Service of New Jersey 2,600 Gallon Sprinkler Los Angeles Railway Rail Grinder 9310 Connecticut Company Shar Plow Nos. 0129-0130 Public Service of New Jersey Wedge Plow 5244 McGuire Cummings Snow Sweeper Public Service of New Jersey Single Truck Sweeper Interurban Trailer Cars Cincinnati & Lake Erie Box Trailer Cincinnati & Lake Erie CERA Box Trailer Cincinnati & Lake Erie Flat Car

Last edited on Sat Feb 23rd, 2013 02:49 pm by Kitbash0n30

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Herb Kephart wrote: I'm unable to help you with your two rail problem, since the last 60 years I have run with live overhead, and both rails grounded,
Did that on HO but on on the G that would prevent using friend's garden layouts.

Have been wondering about possibility of stuffing changeover wiring in to little bitty HLW Sparkys, which use motor block, frame molding and cab from their Mack.

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How about this for a G scale garden layout with dummy overhead...use r/c with onboard batteries. Then no matter where you ran your equipment, it would work fine. Just an idea, a crazy idea.

Woodie

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Actually, a quite practical idea. HLW Sparkies are small enough to require batteries be in another car.

Am in these Yahoo groups but I have been inactive for last number of months.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/largescaleTrolley/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/On30Traction/

Last edited on Sat Feb 23rd, 2013 09:54 pm by Kitbash0n30

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Kitbash0n30 wrote: Actually, a quite practical idea. HLW Sparkies are small enough to require batteries be in another car.

Am in these Yahoo groups but I have been inactive for last number of months.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/largescaleTrolley/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/On30Traction/
What about a cow-and-calf set?. Jose.

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HIYA...

If your really into the battery operation, what about putting a real
M/U cable between the two? And loading the second one with a battery.
I know a gent at ILRM and he runs with a live cat and large scale.. I think he also has a 6 or 8 foot fence to keep coons and dogs out of his yard.
The downside is ya gotta buy more sparkies........YEEEEE. HAAAAAAW
:)

Smokebox

Last edited on Sun Feb 24th, 2013 01:36 am by

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Outstanding thread and thank you for a good education in traction. Maybe that C&LE with the Red Devils isnt out of the question later on!!! Thanks again.
Mike

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Ya know, that cow-calf thing is an idea ...

The m.u. thing would make for better electrical pickup on track power.

(have to buy another Sparky? Good night man, the trauma of that'll land me in therapy for life)
( and we won't talk about how many HLW Macks I have now, okay)

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All of this interest in this old thread reminded me of something else old (besides myself). Many years ago, there was a fellow who lived North pf Philadelphia, who had an extensive 1/2" scale traction layout in his basement. A friend and I used to visit occasionally, and so as to have something besides his equipment to run, my friend and I each built  1/24 scale cars. Mine turned out good enough to win first prize in the large scale category at a show around that time. So I went to a cluttered closet, and retrieved a very dusty box  and took some pictures. Would have been a lot better, if the sun were shining, but that phenomena hasn't occurred for over a week. The only commercial parts are the motor, the chain (metal) that sends power to the second wheel of the power truck (sprockets homemade),the chain supporting the front people catchers, the headlight, and the motorman, who started out as a soldier (US Woodie)from my misguided childhood you might notice that the car has no passengers--that's because the motorman is purposefully looking away from the door that that they would enter through, just so he doesn't have to stop and pick them up. The car is a model of a Media, Middletown, Aston and Chester car-- a line that was absorbed into the Philadelphia Rapid Transit, which became Philadelphia Transportation Co, now Southeast Penna Trans. Authority. . The MMA&C trackage was abandoned before WW2. Herb

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That's beootifuul!!!

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Pretty car.

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What scale and gauge? does it run tworail?

Fred

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Herb...

WOW!!!

I would not let that be a closet queen....

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Fred: Herb noted above that the model is 1/2" scale, probably running on Large Scale track.

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First, thanks for the complements, guys!!

Fred- The car was built to run on 2 1/2 gauge track, because that was the gauge that the layout we visited was. In 1/24 scale, this equates to five foot gauge--which actually was, and still is, the defacto standard for Pennsylvania trolleys. Actually 5'2" gauge, many towns didn't want the trolleys coming down their streets, as they thought that the proposed trolley lines were a ruse by the railroads to have freight trains on major streets in their fair communities. A compromise was created by not building the trolleys to railroad standard gauge.

The model picks up running current from overhead wire, as any self respecting trolley model should--it runs on 12V, DC. The pole didn't happen to be on the car when I was taking the photos.

Herb


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Herb, could you provide a better picture of how you set up your frogs, between spans, tilt, etc., thanks
Mike

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Mike--
Frogs are rapidly (?) disappearing on the Octoraro and Eastern because of conversion to pantographs and catenary. This program, in turn is on hold, because of a bunch of ^##~>< tree huggers, who are conducting a study as to what is causing their demise, whether they can be relocated to a suitable area, and if their diminishment is going to pose any sociological or economic impact. Geez-- it's not like I'm running over the little buggers with a steam roller--it's a DIESEL road roller.

Tonight, when I have more time, I will read over what I wrote initially, and see if I can't explain more fully. The only frogs on the layout now are in positions that probably wont show what you are asking in a photo--but let me see--

Herb

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Mike-

As I suspected the photos posted in post #34 of this topic have the best views that I can provide at this time. One thing that I can add to the text, is to try to have a span wire at the frog location, and solder the frog to it once that the frog location is determined to be correct. This helps to keep the frog put when the wire expands and contracts from temperature, or the benchwork expands and contracts from the amount of humidity in the air--painting the benchwork, top and bottom with any left over or cheap oil base paint helps with the second.

Frog location is so dependent on any number of variables, some not very evident, that even  the method that I described will need tweeking (for reasons described in the part about car poles). Most model systems have a number of discrete car types, not large fleets of the same car types that the prototype systems are equipped with. At best when you first hang a frog MOST of your cars will go through fine--but getting the "mavericks" to behave can drive you up a wall. Even with what I wrote here, a considerable amount of trial and error is involved. Be prepared to tear out and do over some sections. Analyze what is occurring, and if possible, why, then redo the problem area to try to more correctly locate the frog. Sometimes, very little movement of the frog will correct a problem. One thing that is a big help, is to have a  small mirror that you can lay on a car roof so that you can watch what happens when you push the car through the frog area.

Herb

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Thanks Herb, im sure your explanation and the photos included thus far will more than suffice, the tilt thing got me, but i think i have an idea in mind of what you described earlier in the thread. Time to pick up some wire and solder! Already got the frogs. Thanks again
Mike

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Sorry Mike-- I for got to explain the tilt

Sometimes, usually when all else fails, tilting the frog (<10*) will help "influence" the pole to take the desired route. This works best where there is a span wire that the frog is soldered to--to maintain the amount of tilt--otherwise wire tension will try to get the frog back to horizontal.

Also, tilting will also allow a pole that is backing up to always take the desired route-- usually a siding. Trying to balance this against the frog operation going in the forward mode is SOMETIMES IMPOSSIBLE. Also, backing through a frog requires the frog to be very stable in space--again, reason for a span wire. Back polling is very problematic. The wire must be perfectly smooth-no excess solder at the ears, etc, it also MUST be as low as possible, and tight.

Any more questions, or problems, I will do my best to try to help.

Herb

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Tilting the frog, sounds like something college kids in the 1300s did.
Now, the slightly different, tilting the grog, a lot of folks did that one.

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Wish I had found this a while ago, my tramway is to have working overhead with trolley poles. Its been quite a job hand making the ears, ornate poles and other fittings but its coming together now....
I'm actually enjoying the challenge though; http://trevs-tramway.blogspot.com.au/

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What a super bunch of pix on your website. I'm quite sure that seeing some of those paint jobs up close would cure (but only temporarily!) my desire for certain "adult beverages"!!

And the first photo of a switchable wire frog that I have seen. Knew that they existed, but----

Going to spend some time looking more thoroughly there tomorrow.

Herb

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Yes switchable overhead frogs are all the Go in Hong Kong. When I was last there in 1970 They didn't use them so they are a relativley recient install.. and no I'm not going to make any....
It's an incredibly rare event in HK for a trolley pole to come off the wire....

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That Causeway Bay junction is interesting with the loop through the raised planters.

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Any good ideas on appropriate power trucks for HO scale interurbans initially running of 2 rail, than latter coverting to OVHD wire power? I figure, get something running untill OVHD wire can be strung.

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See..... http://www.hollywoodfoundry.com/

Will

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Also the Stanton power trucks available from North West Short Line

http://nwsl.com/uploads/cat_chap2_for_web_3-01-13.pdf

scroll down to page 2-6

Herb

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Across the Bridge wrote: See..... http://www.hollywoodfoundry.com/

Will
Now my brain is on fire... Jose.

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Austrailia....that would be a killer on shipping to way up here in ohio wouldnt it? The stantons look promiseing...a little pricey though. Thanks for the imput folks.

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Herb,

Did I read someplace (I have searched but can't find it now) where I think you said you were converting to catenary and would use RC and the BPS to recharge your Battery (?)

I have just bought three Tatra T3 kits in "O" scale but I am building mine for On30. The prototype ran with a Pantograph and the kit comes with one.

For a look at a really good picture of the Tatra T3:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/62892411@N05/6074055476/in/set-72157627495047676

The Model:



Will you talk about building a Catenary system and how you will wire for the BPS?

As for the BPS my first thought would be no track current and pickup current (+) from the Catenary and ground to the track. Second thought is Battery only and a section of "hot track" such as at the "car barn" to charge the Battery.

My knowledge on this subject is very low at this point.

Thanks

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Bill-

Unusual that something that modern has a full pan, --most all you see anymore on modern stuff is Flaviley -or the like- half pans.

Well, as to your question. I tore all the single suspension wire down over one terminal and half the main, and erected catenary. Not entirely happy with the looks. While my "eye" is quite happy with the series of short straight tangents of single suspension over a sharp curve, catenary looks entirely too "busy" in the same situation. Might try painting the wire to kill the bright bronze look. Don't know---

As for the Stanton charging through the track system--I installed that in an On2 1/2 Plymouth (Ex Joe Car Works I think) and was running it on just a loop of HO snap track.
Performance is fine, great concept, but I think that Neil is working on a later version.

My standard gauge locos that are R/C use the standard S-cab. One is powered by a two cell pack, the other has a single cell, and a voltage step up board (BPS from Neil) to raise the 3.7V to 12V for the motor--although for that particular loco 7-8V is plenty fast enough for switching--probably too fast. Both work well, and do all that I could possibly want them to do--but I do recharge via a small Deans type connector under the floor of each loco, since all my rail is one polarity, and ungapped.

Pantograph equipped locos and coaches run 12VDC conventional control, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Don't know about writing the cat up. Not all that proud of the result.

Herb


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Thanks Herb for the reply.

For the Tatra T3 models, which were mailed to me today, I have made a test chassis I call "The Mule". It uses two NWSL-Stanton Drives, a dummy and a powered unit made for On30.

I will instal the Stanton S-CAB system and BPS on this chassis. To test it I am going to build a short section of track with powered overhead on my test loop. After I see how that works I can then decide how I will continue.

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Hi Herb,

In looking for a place to buy Catenary sections I found some for HO. Do you think they would work for On30?

Thanks

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Like a lot of things Bill, it depends.

Without knowing what the HO pieces that you have in mind look like, I would say that if they are anywhere close to scale for HO, the drops (the vertical pieces between the arc and the running wire) will be far too close together for O. Remember On30 is still O SCALE, that is 1/48.

But-- buy a piece, lash up something quick to hold it up above the car roof an appropriate amount, and see what it looks like to YOU--that's the main criteria.

Herb

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Just as an update, we finally obtained the line poles from two different sources (Alpine and Brian Weisman).  The Weisman poles are nice because he has threaded the bottom for a No. 6 machine screw so you can install the poles from the underside without the nuts showing and you can get the screws in various lengths from your local hardware supplier to match the roadbed thickness (he supplies them with         1 1/4" screws, which are fine for 1" thick roadbed).  I got the poles for the loop installed plus two sets of span wire poles for street running this past weekend.  Next time I'm up I hope to install a bunch of the bracket arm poles along the PROW to the next town and try stringing some wire.  The loop is going to be "fun".  I anticipate lots of pull-offs in addition to the wire frog.  Is it still SOP to locate the frog by pushing your cars through the divering route until the pole pops off? 

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Till the pole jumps off the wire is a bit too far into the diverging route most times.

See the pix and method in post 34 here, for the method that I use.

And send us some photos of what you are doing--

Herb

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One thing occurs to me - we plan to go to DCC on the trolley (as well as the main layout).  Any thoughts on what I need to do about reversing the current once the overhead is in place?  We can deal with the current two-rail setup, which will likely last at least through the up-coming holiday open houses.  But if there are insulators that need to be installed, now would be the time to do it.  Also, I'll need some insight into how to post photos on this board when I get some ready.

DM

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Regarding your two points-

I have always sectionalized the track, and had the overhead continuous, so never worried about insulators (which are always--like the rest of overhead components, overscale) I dont understand what you are referring to when you say "reversing the current". With DCC there isn't any reason to do so--is there?

Posting photos is covered in the first couple forums in the General Talk section. For some reason, no one seems to read what is there.  L: L:


Herb

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Looking at this from a "biased" viewpoint, I imagine that the layout is DCC which means that there are "positive & negative" rails (yes, I know it is AC delivery) which need to be insulated properly. When a powered overhead wire is introduced, there just may be some sort of imbalance in the force...or something like that. The beauty of overhead is that the track can be built just like I build it...no reguard for polarity since both rails are "negative" and the wire is "positive"...(I imagine).
Therefore, uness some smart fellow figures this out, I would think that trolley/traction operation on a DCC layout might require (1) the overhead connected to one feed, track the other...or (2) forget powering the overhead and just use the DCC the way it was intended-2 rail pickup. Get my drift? One or the other it seems.

Woodie

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Woodie: Your raise an interesting philosophical point. With DCC being essentially "polarity neutral" for lack of a better term at the moment, using the overhead for one side of the power does essentially become optional. Purists would insist that I you're going to all the work of installing overhead, you should use it. Others might say it gives the right look, but if your two-rail works, go with it. Might have to cogitate on this for a while. I still intent to put in the overhead and make it work functionally, so the option will be there.

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One thing to keep in mind.

If you use the overhead for power, and the pole jumps off the wire--the car stops.

If the overhead is "dead" and the pole jumps off the two rail power keeps the car going.

Then the pole goes along bouncing off the cross spans, until it gets snagged on something in the overhead. Not good for the pole. Not good for the overhead. Good for laughs when the car does a "wheelie", providing it isn't your car or overhead.

NOT recommended.

Herb

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In other words...run overhead as God intended. Positive on the wire, negative on the track. Or be an attentive motorman while running the car.

"'Taint funny McGee!"
Woodie

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Herb:  Point VERY well taken.  You can get away with non-powered overhead in a case like the Pennsy guy where everything has pantagraphs.  But simple trolley operation is a different breed.  I had enough poles pop off the wire when I was a member of a trolley museum to know that.  Fortunately we normally never got much past 20 mph so didn't wreck any span wires. 

DM

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Herb, thanks for the information in your post regarding overhead. I've just bought some quarter inch bamboo skewers, which seem to be quite rigid. I hope to get some poles in the ground and some wire in the air over the next week or so, so long as she who must be obeyed doesn't find more little jobs for "idle" hands!
My layout is On30. Since everything is built to less than standard gauge dimensions, should this apply to height of wire as well? I thought about 18 feet sounded OK, but I really have no idea.
I have a heap of very old, but unused Lima flextrack, with steel rail. I can't get it to bend at all without the rail popping out of the spikes. Any suggestions? I remember reading somewhere about using a glass cleaning fluid called Windex for loosening tight spikes on flextrack, but an wary about trying it in case I destroy another length!!
This forum is awesome!
Dave

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Dave-

First, let me say that it gives a good feeling, when someone says that I was  of help.

Wire height- If you plan on moving freight cars along your line, I would say that seven foot above the height of a box car roof would be proper--to hopefully keep your brake men from touching the wire with their heads. This may necessitate small "towers" made from strap steel to get the poles on lower equipment to reach the wire and sit at approximately the same angle as regular height cars

Be sure that you hire brakemen that have some common sense. I find that the plastic ones are "smarter" than the metal ones in this regard.

http://www.meetwiki.org/2009/05/electric-train-high-voltage-wire-is.html

Remember to baste yourself first if you try this.

OR--do as I do--I instruct all employees to stay off the car roofs, as my wire is for the most part only 4-5 feet above freight car height. Most comply.

Herb

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As for that pesky old track which comes undone...just strip that fine steel rail off the nasty plastic ties and handlay some nice track. You will feel much better.

Woodie

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Thanks again, Herb. I never thought about the brakemen - we never had those hardy gents here, as far as I can tell. All our early brake manipulating gear was at a height reachable from the ground - none of this walking along the roofs of moving cars stuff. I don't think so, anyway.
Maybe on timber tramways, perhaps.
Anyway, thanks again for your advice.
Dave

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Gee, thanks, Woody. I guess that is one way to fix the problem of inflexible flextrack. Haven't hand laid track this small before, code 250 brass rail is so easy to lay, but I'm not sure about this fiddly code 100 stuff. Guess I can give it a go.
I'm fast running out of excuses, aren't I?
Take care
Dave

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OK, at Herb's request I'm going to try posting some pics.  This is at the McKeesport (PA) Model RR club.  The club is totally rebuilding the layout for better operational possibilities.  I volunteered to try and install a working trolley line.  The pics show the reverse loop at the end of the line, the small town there, and a stretch of what will be PROW.  The city area needs to have the girder rail put in to complete the loop on the other end.  The track is code 70 flex and I bench-built the loop turnout with the 8" radius curve.  The club has its own building and is open on Friday evenings on Walnut Street in McKeesport.






Note that the final location of the structures haven't been set yet.  In the town, the track will be ballasted, with driving lanes for the street on both sides.  I hope to start stringing some overhead when I get up there next time (I live 200 miles away but we have a second home about 6 blocks from the club so we vist regularly). 

ebtnut
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OK, question on DCC. I've been having a conversation over on the Bachmann site, and a couple of folks have raised the issue that using the overhead with DCC might not be a good idea because the "intermittent" contact of the wheel/slider on the wire can interrupt the circuit, stopping the car until the DCC resets. Anyone using DCC with overhead had any experience with this? Any solutions?

BTW, I hope to get back up to the club next weekend and finish stringing the wire over that reverse loop seen the pics above. Then construction will have to end becuase the club needs to get set up for the holiday open houses. We'll use the DC with the Circuitron auto reverse circuit again this year to run the trolley.

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SCTC has a lot of experience with DCC trolley operation, and much of it has been written-up in the monthly Trolleyville Times, which can be found on the SCTC web site.

Also, there are now DCC decoders with super-caps that will keep a car/loco running for several seconds during any loss of electrical contact with its normal power source.

Will 

 

 

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ebtnut wrote:


I hope to start stringing some overhead......


Those line poles look a bit far apart.

 

Will

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Yeah, I've had to add a few more poles as I got seriously into hanging the wire. I'll post a couple more pics once I get the wire over the loop.

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OK, here's some recent progress.  The overhead is in and working mechanically for about 15 feet of track including the reverse loop.  Here's a pic:




The radius is 8", which should accommodate most equipment.  From the loop, the track runs through the small town area:




The street will be paved on both sides of the track, with the track in separate ballasted R-O-W.  That's a Bachmann Birney, which runs great.  I expect to have to replace the roller with a slider on the top of the pole for better contact.  Have not yet tried to run with the overhead powered yet. 

The other end of the line will be in the streets in the city area.  We have the Customtraxx girder rail in hand along with their special rail bender jig.  The girder rail will be spiked down the Homasote base including the Orr single point turnouts to form another loop around the city block.  Here's a view of the end of the temporary flex track at the city depot.





No wire work yet until we get the girder rail and street surfaces installed.  The line will turn left at the end of track and loop around the far block.  Hoping to get most of this installed before the holiday open houses next year.  Right now we have an automatic reversing circuit (Circuitron) that runs the car back and forth from the spot shown out to just before the loop.  The circuit has a built-in delay so the car sits at each end for about 30 seconds before going the other way. Very popular with the visitors!

ebtnut
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Friend of mine recently sent me this link to a new (to me, at least)traction supplier. Looks very interesting. I'm going to order some samples and see what might be done. Here's the link: http://www.proto87.com/easy-street-track-system.html

Eugene Desilets
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Way back in Nov '10 Herb mentioned that he could no longer find small "tubes" for making ears. Check Rio Grande jewelry supplies for "crimp tube beads." 
http://www.riogrande.com/Search/crimp-tube-beads
They come in several sizes and materials (gold, anyone?). The smallest are:
     Dimensions: 1 x 1.3mm
     Hole size: .031"
It may be that squeezing each bead would allow two .020 wires to just pass through.

Rex Desilets, hopeful trolley modeler in O.

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Rex,

Thanks for the source! Even available in different diameters.

Herb

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Probably covered before, but will wire hangers sold as "HO" be reasonably suitable for O scale?

Desilets

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The old overhead hardware originally produced by Suydam was actually O scale, but sold for HO use as well. Richard Orr later came out with a line of real HO scale hardware, which is beautiful to look at but takes a REAL steady hand to install. I believe both varieties are still available from Trolleyville.

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Just an update on progress in McKeesport. Due to some health issues (none serious, fortunately) I haven't had as much time to get up there regularly. I expect that I will have the downtown girder rail loop done with the next visit (probably in 2 weeks). Then we will have to start laying in the street and sidwalk surfaces before attacking the overhead work, so we will still be using the two-rail DC auto reverse circuit for the upcoming holiday open houses. I'm going to wait to take some more pics until I get the rail down, try some street surface work, and have the city buildings put back in place for the open houses.

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The LVS&ET is powered by over head, not the Baldwin of course. I made my ears by etching the bits out of 10thou brass sheet and some clever gigs and even more cleverer soldering. I have never been more grateful for a 3 week course run by the RAN in precision soldering and PCB track repair.... Biggest problem with outdoor overhead is keeping it clean and I have a flock of thieving magpies who delight in ripping down my overhead....
I found that my poles were coming off the wire too frequently so I ventured into swiveling trolley heads; viz

[size=This version came out a lot better BUT there are going to be other problems. These will work brilliantly on trailing overhead frogs but what about facing frogs??? ]

[size=Fortunately I only have one facing frog and that’s above the 3 way points leading into the car sidings so cars could exit the yards with reasonable certainty but the pole could go any way on entry....
 ] [size=Fortuitously when I was in HK I spotted a 3 way frog at the depot in Fung Mat Rd (Whitty St Depot) and took numerous pictures. I was also photographed photographing the frog; as soon as I produced my LVS&ET card it was all smiles and laughing all around - a call to the Consulate was not necessary, indeed I was taken and shown the last remaining tram (No 120) in original condition that they hire out to tram trajics who seek an "authentic" experience it has a resistance controller with magnetic brakes.  All the frogs in HK are switchable as they use swivelling heads (for the same reason I’m going to use them).... There will now be a brief delay while I manufacture what will probably be the a world first, a 3 way switching over head frog in G scale. It will be manual unfortunately unless I get into nano point motors.... Its not going to be that exciting really just a bent bit of brass wire that can swing on an axis and line up with the other 3 wires as desired.... Maybe use the mechanism out of a sub miniature centre off switch.... Don’t wait up for it though I have lots to do before I electrify that end of the line.... When I work out how to make it I may also solve the problem of how I make the trolley wire joins where the removable bridge crosses the back gate.....]
[size=Here are a few shots of the latest version after careful de-burring with the Dremel.... Can I just say these are the  absolute ducks gutz, I am so impressed with how they follow the wire. The side clearance ensures they can run through the frogs while having enough "meat" for the screw. I cant understand why I did not do this years ago, I hope its not an "age" thing. To celebrate how about another chorus of "Riding on top of the car". Sing along with me?


]

Attachment: DSCF1478.JPG (Downloaded 73 times)

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OK, as noted here's some recent pics of progress at McKeesport. One pic shows the Bowser New Orleans car on the PRW near the end loop. A second shows the first paving installed where the PRW enters the city. The paving material is Sintra, a plastic material used by the sign industry. The third shows the girder rail in downtown. The track turning up the cross street extends out of the pic, but then turns back. You can just make it out above the buildings.

Attachment: McKTrolleydowntown.jpg (Downloaded 67 times)

ebtnut
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Guess I have to do this in 3 posts.

Attachment: McK trolley 3.jpg (Downloaded 67 times)

ebtnut
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OK, here's the PRW shot.

Attachment: McKTrolleygrade_zps60041092-1.jpg (Downloaded 126 times)

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Lookin good Nut!

Herb

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Ohhhhh yes indeed the Streetcar I desire...

ebtnut
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Been a while since I posted, so here's an update. All of the girder rail in the city area is down, but there have been some issues with the underlayment material the guys used in portions of the area. The material won't hold spikes so we need to do some retrofit. On the plus side, the "main line" including the other reverse loop is now all in, including the tracks for the car house and small yard.

The club guys would like to extend the auto reverse run over essentially the full length of the run, but that means I will have to take the Dremel to several of the Orr single-point turnouts to gap them for two-rail. I've been reluctant to do that, but wondered if any of you had done this and what pitfalls I might encounter.

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I made my own points and they really looked neat until I tried to run trams around them. Lots of judicious use of the dremel to ease clearances once they were laid....

http://trevs-tramway.blogspot.com.au/2011/11/making-points.html

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I've gone through this thread for a wealth of information.
lacking the correct name has hampered my search for the safety device mounted on the front bumper which ushers an errant pedestrian gently out of the car's path.
anyone know the correct name so I can search? thanks.

Kitbash0n30
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southpier wrote: I've gone through this thread for a wealth of information.
lacking the correct name has hampered my search for the safety device mounted on the front bumper which ushers an errant pedestrian gently out of the car's path.
anyone know the correct name so I can search? thanks.
Fender.
for example, https://www.google.com/patents/US549256

Watch Out For The Cows! Submitted by TechnoBuff on Fri, 04/06/2012 - 12:47pm. tterrace's comment had me going to Google to see what these contraptions were called when fitted to streetcars. Apparently the proper terminology was "streetcar fender". There were an abundance of patents issued for designs to enhance the safety of pedestrians who were reckless enough to walk in front of moving streetcars. Some required the conductor to pull a cord to lower the fender when a collision was eminent, while others were designed to be deployed full time on the forward facing end of the streetcar.http://www.shorpy.com/node/12683#comment-134343
(warning: the period photographs on that website ^ will cause you more 'missing time' than being abducted by aliens ever could)
From The Washington Bee / Saturday, May 18, 1901. Page 3. SLEPT ON CAR FENDER. Michael Nolan,a Sleepy Chicagoan, Makes Odd and Expensive Choice. The Chicago Chronicle is probably right when it says that Michael Nolan was tired and sleepy as he strolled along Madison street at midnight. He had seen things which dazed him and he yearned for a nice, soft spot on which to rest his weary weary bones. He was not particular where he rested himself or the kind of a bed he chose so long as it had proper springs. http://www.cable-car-guy.com/html/ccchi_2stories.html

Last edited on Sun Dec 17th, 2017 11:07 am by Kitbash0n30

Kitbash0n30
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Also of interest;
"1900: Marguerite Globman, Inventor of the Streetcar Fender
After the frustration of designing a sewing pin that she discovered had been patented before she
was born, Marguerite Globman decided to invent something totally different that would save
lives—a streetcar fender"
https://greyhouse.com/pdf/1900s_pgs.pdf

Were quite a few variations.
"Seven years later, Cherry set out to solve a problem with streetcars. Whenever the front of a streetcar accidentally collided with another object, the streetcar was severely damaged, often having to be totally replaced. Cherry patented the street car fender on January 1, 1895 and added safety for passengers and employees. The fender, which was a piece of metal attached to the front of the streetcar, acted as a shock absorber, thereby diminishing the force of the impact in the event of an accident. This device has been modified through the years and is now used on most transportation devices."
http://blackinventor.com/matthew-cherry/

Last edited on Sun Dec 17th, 2017 10:53 am by Kitbash0n30

Kitbash0n30
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and I just found something I didn't already know about,
We are known as one of the top streetcar part restoration companies in the United States. We are the only company in the United States actually building several types of safety fenders (People Catchers)
http://historictrolleycars.com/services-and-products.html

Last edited on Sun Dec 17th, 2017 11:11 am by Kitbash0n30

southpier
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good & helpful information all; thanks

Kitbash0n30
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Welcome!
Quite useful if you can find them ....
All are pre DCC, some of it several decades pre, but have much relevant and useful about track and overhead construction and operation.





Last edited on Mon Dec 18th, 2017 08:08 am by Kitbash0n30

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I have half of these books, found over the years and valued in my collection. Several others (mostly UK Based) also for tramways.

Mark P
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I just read this entire post.
Lots of nice information.
More Pictures Please!
Thanks
Mark


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