• Dead Rail Nuts-n-Bolts

    | Feb. 6, 13 | Comments (2)

    I thought it might be useful to show the parts I’ve been using for these battery/RC installs. I’ve settled on a standard battery connector. It’s a Deans 3-pin micro connector shown in the next photo. I only use the outer 2 pins for the battery wires. I cut off the center pins on the backside […]

  • S-CAB Install in Red Caboose GP-9

    | Jan. 16, 13 | Comments (0)

    Well, I changed the motor in the Geep to a Canon FN30 that has a stall current of 500 mA. Once I did that I figured I would try out an S-CAB controller and receiver/decoder. The install is not that much different than the DRS-1 but it is a bit tidier.

  • Engine House Notes

    | Dec. 15, 12 | Comments (0)

    The January 2012 issue of O Scale Trains Magazine will have my review of the Altoona Model Works engine house kit. But I made a number of changes and departures from the kit instructions and I want to share those with you all.

  • New book from OST Magazine!

    | Oct. 9, 12 | Comments (0)

    A new book from O Scale Trains Magazine…The Norfolk & Western M Class: A Modeler’s Guide. Written and compiled by Joe Giannovario, this limited edition book includes:

  • The More Ms The Merrier!

    | Jul. 11, 12 | Comments (5)

    I just got back another Harry Heike “rescue” from Frank Miller. This one was an M built off a Max Gray SP Tw-8. There were two main issues: the cab was too small in both height and width, and the smokebox front was built with the dogs soldered in the open position. If you look […]

  • We’ve Been Workin’ On The Railroad VII

    | May. 23, 12 | Comments (2)

    Notes on the Millhouse Turntable I have been working on the Millhouse turntable to get it operational. The adjustable targets have worked out great for the indexing. With that working I added the rest of the details to the bridge following the instructions that came with the table.

OST Magazine

| Jun. 20, 13 | Comments (0)

First, I would like to thank everyone for the kind words and thoughts sent our way. It is a comfort in this very painful time.

Please know that if you have sent in an order (via snail mail) or renewal, or ordered on line or by phone, your order WILL be processed. It is just going to take me a little time to get everything done. I need a bit of patience on your part.

Again, thank you all for your support,

Jaini

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Dead Rail Nuts-n-Bolts

| Feb. 6, 13 | Comments (2)

I thought it might be useful to show the parts I’ve been using for these battery/RC installs.

I’ve settled on a standard battery connector. It’s a Deans 3-pin micro connector shown in the next photo. I only use the outer 2 pins for the battery wires. I cut off the center pins on the backside but leave them on the connector side because they provide positive alignment so you can cause a short circuit.

Deans 3-pin Micro Connector

Deans 3-pin Micro Connector


In the GP-9 application, I decided not to have a separate charging plug. So, to charge the battery you open the dynamic brake blister and pull the battery plug, then plug the charger into the battery. On my steam locomotive applications, I use one of these as a charging plug under the coal pile because I don’t want to open the tender every time I need to charge the battery.

I also use Deans 2-pin and 4-pin micro connectors as seen in this photo. The Deans connectors can be purchased in any local hobby shop that caters to Radio Control hobbyists.

Deans 4-pin (left) and 2-pin (right) micro connectors.

Deans 4-pin (left) and 2-pin (right) micro connectors.

I also make great use of breakaway strip connectors. These consist of pins/receptacles on 0.100″ centers. You break off as many as you need to make custom plugs. The pins on one side fit into the receptacle on the other side.

Strip connector

Strip connector


You can get a single strip with 64 pins for about $8 at Mouser Electronics. Three of these have lasted me for about 4 years now.

I use a very small On-Off switch that comes as part of a servo switch harness. It’s expensive at $12, so I need to find a better source for these.

ON-OFF Switch

ON-OFF Switch

For batteries, I’ve settled on two units. The larger Electrifly battery can deliver 1000 mAh @ 11.1 volts. I figure it’s good for 3-4 hours of running time. The smaller battery is 11.1 V 800 mAh which will likely last 2-3 hours. You trade off run time for size. This smaller battery was chosen to go in the hood of an Alco T6.

1000 mAh and 800 mAh LiPo batteries.

1000 mAh and 800 mAh LiPo batteries.

Finally, to show you what kind of power is available in these batteries, let me show you something.

Charred wiring harness.

Charred wiring harness.


Since I decide to change over to the Deans 3-pin connector, I needed to change the charging plug in my steam engine DRS-1 install. Without thinking I cut through both wires of the plug I had installed initially. I immediately heard “Zzzzt!” and smoke started pouring out of the tender shell. I realized that by cutting through both wires at once I had shorted the battery. I scrambled to get the tender shell off before anything caught fire, all the while with smoke coming out of the shell. As luck would have it, nothing was seriously damaged except my wiring harness which had promptly melted when the short occurred. This is what was smoking. The short was far enough away from the battery that the battery was not harmed. It didn’t even get hot (which was good because the decoder sits atop the battery!).

So, never, never, NEVER cut both wires from the battery at the same time.

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S-CAB Install in Red Caboose GP-9

| Jan. 16, 13 | Comments (0)

Well, I changed the motor in the Geep to a Canon FN30 that has a stall current of 500 mA. Once I did that I figured I would try out an S-CAB controller and receiver/decoder. The install is not that much different than the DRS-1 but it is a bit tidier.

Read More

Engine House Notes

| Dec. 15, 12 | Comments (0)

The January 2012 issue of O Scale Trains Magazine will have my review of the Altoona Model Works engine house kit. But I made a number of changes and departures from the kit instructions and I want to share those with you all.

Read More

DRS-1 Install In Red Caboose GP-9

| Dec. 7, 12 | Comments (0)

So, I finally got around to installing the Tam Valley Depot DRS-1 in one of my Red Caboose GP-9s.

The first lucky break was the fact that the battery I had chosen for use in the 4-8-0 install just fits inside the shell of the GP-9. You can see this in the next photo.

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SP Shasta Division Archives Available For Viewing

| Nov. 15, 12 | Comments (0)

Thanks to Neil Chichizola for this information.

DUNSMUIR MUSEUM NEWS, Shasta Division Archives

Southern Pacific’s “Shasta Division Archives” have been moved into a new home in the Dunsmuir Museum in the Amtrak building.

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New book from OST Magazine!

| Oct. 9, 12 | Comments (0)

A new book from O Scale Trains MagazineThe Norfolk & Western M Class: A Modeler’s Guide.
Written and compiled by Joe Giannovario, this limited edition book includes:

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Observations #64: Dead Rail Society

| Aug. 9, 12 | Comments (9)

I Have Seen The Future And It Is Dead!

I had the opportunity to visit an O Scale railroad that, for me, at least, portends the future of all model railroading.

Tom Thorpe [www.curvedbenchwork.com] contacted me about visiting an O Scale layout in our area that is run, in part, by radio control. I’ve been very interested in an RC for model railroading for a long time but DCC won out over cobbling up my own RC system. So, I was very interested to see what this O Scale modeler had done on his railroad.

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The More Ms The Merrier!

| Jul. 11, 12 | Comments (5)

I just got back another Harry Heike “rescue” from Frank Miller. This one was an M built off a Max Gray SP Tw-8. There were two main issues: the cab was too small in both height and width, and the smokebox front was built with the dogs soldered in the open position. If you look at the photo at the top of this blog you can see the open dogs on the model.

Read More

We’ve Been Workin’ On The Railroad VII

| May. 23, 12 | Comments (2)

Notes on the Millhouse Turntable

I have been working on the Millhouse turntable to get it operational. The adjustable targets have worked out great for the indexing. With that working I added the rest of the details to the bridge following the instructions that came with the table.

Read More