All wheel pickup for locomotives

Discussion in 'How to' started by Dave Marson, Jan 16, 2018.

  1. Dave Marson

    Dave Marson Full Member

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    Hi guys, just a quick question for you to ponder upon. Have any of you, converted your loco's to all wheel pick ups?.What i mean is, that all the wheels on the bogies pick up current from the track?Thanks
     
  2. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, I've done a few of mine, not too difficult and there are several different ways of doing it, depending on available space. On tender loco's, I've used a couple of Veroboard copper stripboards glued across the chassis, copper strips cut centrally to form 2 connections, and 2 lengths of brass wire soldered down the length of the chassis onto these strips to form two 'busbars'. You can then solder on phosphor-bronze pickup wire (Eileens Emporium/Hobby Holidays stock this) to bear on the backs of the wheels, then wire from the tender to the loco pickups. The only slight drawback is that the tender and loco are permanently joined, unless you use a small 2 pin plug & socket which can be glued under the tender. Alternatively, Alan Gibson does 'plunger pickups' which you may be able to fit to the tender chassis.
    When it comes to adding extra pickups to a loco, I've never attempted to add pickups to a trailing truck, but leading bogies can sometimes be fitted using a similar method to the tender, or by supergluing on phosphor-bronze strips to the bogie frame, bearing on the wheel backs once again. Due the the lightness of most leading bogies though, you'll need to use decoder wire (very thin and light) or similar to link to the driving wheel pickups or you could have problems with the bogie derailing on curves. Basically, it's worth experimenting on a "Suck it and see" basis to find out what works on individual loco's, you've nothing to lose, and everything to gain, and other members may well have other useful suggestions you could try. Below is a pic showing use of 'plunger pickups' on my recently built "GT3" tender.
    Keith.

    Attached files [​IMG]
     
  3. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    This pic shows how I made a frame to glue under a tender chassis on a recent kit build, using the stripboard and brass wire method outlined. You can see the 'whiskers' of phosphor-bronze wire which will bear onto the backs of the tender wheels.

    Attached files [​IMG]
     
  4. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    .....and here you can see the frame glued in place under the chassis, with the pickup wires bearing onto the tender wheel backs. Two wires were then taken from tender to the loco driving wheel pickups, resulting in loco and tender being permanently coupled, hopefully you get the idea of what I mean. All of this assumes that your loco/tender wheels are the insulated type, ie, not electrically connected to each other via an axle.
    Keith.

    Attached files [​IMG]
     
  5. Dave Marson

    Dave Marson Full Member

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    Thank you Keith, this is very useful for me.
    I saw a video on you tube, but can't remember which on it was lol
     
  6. paul_l

    paul_l Staff Member Administrator

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    Hi Dave

    My Bachmann V2 has all wheel pick ups on the loco as standard, but I will be adding pickups to the tender as well, very similar to Keiths method - strip board, Nickel silver wire or Phosphor bronze wire for the pick ups. The same will be done for the J39 & B1 tenders when I get round to it.

    Paul
     
  7. Dave Marson

    Dave Marson Full Member

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    Cheers Paul
     
  8. Dave Marson

    Dave Marson Full Member

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    Would the same system work for diesels ?
     
  9. paul_l

    paul_l Staff Member Administrator

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    Should do, most modern diesels already have all wheel pickups.

    Rather than stripboard, copper clad sleepers may work better in a diesel - one per side per bogie.

    Paul
     
  10. Dave Marson

    Dave Marson Full Member

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    :thumbup:
     
  11. Bernie

    Bernie Full Member

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    Good tips here, thanks. I have often wondered why they build loco chassis with no suspension. Unless everything is perfectly lined up and glass smooth, the loco will be running on 3 wheels, 2 on one side and one on the other. This why they stall on frogs, only a fraction of a mm deviation results in no power. Suspect the rigid chassis may also impact traction too. Adding extra pickups should solve the loss of power issue, so I will try that soon. Have some base board construction to do first.
     
  12. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    A good few of the later kits often have the option of cutting out the frame to fit hornblocks to create suspension, some older kits can be modified if you're careful, much easier on 7mm stuff than 4mm but it depends on how experienced as a chassis builder you are as it's not really recommended for a first build. Most modern kits usually have hornblock cutouts half-etched into the side frames which makes it easier as the marking out is already done for you.
    Keith.
     
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  13. paul_l

    paul_l Staff Member Administrator

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    Hi Bernie
    Bogie'd Diesels fair better as the bogies tend to work as partially compensated (ie they wobble), so even if only powered at one end if they have pickups from both bogies they will be very smooth over point work - the other end is away from the V so should still provide a good contact. My old Lima Class 20, converted to P4 with Ultrascale drop in wheel sets was one of the most reliable/smoothest loco's I've had, and that was before I had DCC.

    Paul
     

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