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HI GANG,

THE U - UNIT PROGRESSES WHEN THE E & T ENCOUNTER THE 90o CROSSING. I  ASSUME

THAT IT'S BECAUSE THE TWO TRUCKS  OF THE TENDER ARE SO CLOSE TO ONE ANOTHER THAT WHEN PASSING THOUGH IT, CURRENT'S MOMENTARILY CUT OFF & THE SOLENOID ADVANCED.  ANOTHER ASSUMPTION IS THAT THE SAME PROBLEM OCCURRED WITH

PRECIOUSLY RARE 574 3/16s 3 RAIL VERSION.   ONCE THE 342 WAS ISSUED, DID GILBERT

POST ANY ACKNOWLEDGEMENT &  FIX FOR THIS?

A CONSEQUENCE OF THIS OPERATION PROBLEM IS TO 'SHUT OFF' THE SOLENOID & ONLY RUN THE UNIT, IN MY CASE, IN FORWARD. BUT THAT'S ON HALF THE FUN.

APPRECIATIVELY,

SHIFFY.

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Gilbert fixed this problem but not until 1952. Up until then the sheet metal trucks were short with two vertical spring imprints between the journal boxes. In 1952 the long trucks were introduced which have three spring impressions between the journal boxes. Among the 0-8-0's only the 1952 342 had these longer trucks. That solved this and other issues. All the knuckle coupler 343's, 346's etc are fine.

WOAH! GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE!

JUST ABOUT 2 DAYS AGO MIKE NICKEL & I WERE EMAILING ABOUT THIS CHALLENGE. I CITED MY ADVENTURES WITH AMPEX PRO AUDIO BEFORE I WAS EMPLOYED THERE. WE ALSO SHARE A ‘CLASSIC’ AUDIO TECHNOLOGY INTEREST, TO PUT IT MILDLY.

CIRCA MID 1970s I WAS FREELANCE, DOING AUDIO RESTORATIONS, MACHINE MODS & REPAIRS, & TRYING TO FIND (OR NOT) A PERMANENT JOB.  ALL THAT, & ALREADY WITH A DEAF RIGHT EAR SINCE ABOUT 1953. POOR ME: I’VE NEVER HEARD STEREO. BUT I CAN SEE IT ON A ‘SCOPE (REAL OR DIGITALLY EMULATED) & OR STRIP OF OPTICAL FILM. ONE SUCH EFFORT WAS A FISHING EXPEDITION @ THE RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN ARCHIVES OF RECORDED SOUND (LINCOLN CENTER) IN MANHATTAN.  THEY WERE SET UP WITH A GAGGLE OF AMPEX 350 SERIES PROFESSIONAL (PLAYBACK ONLY) AUDIO TAPE MACHINES. OSTENSIBLY CREDENTIALED USERS REMOTELY CONTROLLED THEM AT PLAYBACK DESKS IN ITS SPACIOUS REFERENCE ROOM. THE MACHINE ROOMS BELOW HAD ATTENDANTS SPOOLING UP THE OPEN REELS & THEN RUNNING TO THEIR EDIT-ALL SPLICING BLOCKS WHEN THE DISASTERS STRUCK. THEY OCCURRED BECAUSE THE AMPEX DESIGN (DATING BACK TO THEIR DEBUT 20OA IN ’48) EASILY ENABLED, WITH THE TAPES RUNNING IN FAST REWIND & OR FORWARD, SLAMMING THE PINCH ROLLERS AGAINST THE CAPSTANS, WITH THE DOOMED TAPES IN BETWEEN. THIS WAS DUE TO PREMATURE PRESSING (NO SNICKERING PLEASE) OF THE N.C. “STOP” BUTTONS.

TO SOLVE THIS, I USED THE SAME CONCEPT CITED BY DAVE TO DELAY ACTIVATING THE ‘PLAY’ (ALSO RECORD IN FULL FUNCTION VERSIONS) RELAYS TO WHICH I ADDED IN SERIES, “STOP” RELAYS EACH WITH A SUITABLE VALUE CAP. WIRED IN SERIES WITH ITS COIL. THE ABSENCE OF THE ‘MISSING’ RELAY MIGHT & MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN DUE TO KNOCKING OFF THE DESIGNS OF THE CAPTURED (’45) GERMAN TAPE MACHINES & OR AMPEX REDUCING ITS PRIME MANUFACTURING COSTS.  THE FORMER CERTAINLY WAS NOT A MATTER OF PATENTS RIGHTS.  THE AMPEX WORK – AROUND WAS THE HARD WIRED LOGIC OF THE CONTACTS OF THE OTHER RELAYS. SORT OF COMPARABLE TO THE  IVES – FLYER – LIONEL STUFF?

I DIDN'T THEN KNOW OR NOW RECALL IF I'D YET BEEN AWARE OF THE PRINCIPLE.  NOW, IN 2020, IT’S JUST THE DIFFERENCE IN THE SCALES (ANOTHER INTENDED PUN) OF THE NECESSARY COMPONENTS. THE RELAYS & SOLENOIDS IN THOSE MONSTERS OPERATED @150 v.d.c.  AND OH, THE SIZES OF THOSE PARTS! THE CONTACT POINTS OF THE 3 POLE RELAYS HAD DIAS. OF ABOUT .25"! AND THINK OF THE RECTIFIER TUBES & THEIR POWER SUPPLIES. THE LATE ‘40s CAPS & FULL WAVE RECTIFIERS OF THE STIPULATED VALUES WOULD'VE BEEN MEGA GARGANTUAN IN THOSE 342 / 343 TENDERS. & WHAT ABOUT THEIR CUMULATIVE WEIGHT?

A FEW DAYS AGO I’D THOUGHT ABOUT TRACKING DOWN (I PROMISE, THIS IS THE LAST PUN…I CAN’T RESIST THEM) A QSI ACRU OR DCRU TO POSSIBLY SOLVE THE ENIGMA.  BUT A CAP & A FW RECTIFIER?  WHAT COULD BE BETTER? OH YEAH, HANDS NOT SHAKING WHILE TRYING TO SOLDER…

AND WOULDN’T YOU KNOW IT?  WITH LIFE GOING ‘FULL CIRCLE’ I STILL GET CALLS FROM THE COUNTRY MUSIC FOUNDATION IN NASHVILLE. I DESIGNED & BUILT ITS RESTORATION LAB AT THAT TIME.

I CAN’T PROOF READ THIS YET AGAIN, SO I’M SIGNING OFF.

SUPER GRATEFULLY,

SHIFFY

No need to change trucks. Simply add a 2 AMP rectifier & a 6800uf capacitor to operate the E unit coil independent of the rest of the unit AC wiring. Then, you will be able to make the engine creep instead of running at 1/4 throttle or more and it will not fall out of gear for more than 15 to 20 seconds when selecting reverse.  Dave @LBR

How would the rectifier and cap be wired to achieve the stall-free operation of the reverse unit?

It is as GRJ describes. Be aware this may not stop the "stopping" at the Gilbert 90deg crossing at low speeds. It will delay the reverse unit from cycling but with a high ratio worm gear and no motor flywheel, the 342 moving at low speed can stop within the dead spot on the crossing. Give it a try and let us all know how the diode/cap works out.

The "3 spring" long trucks are a for sure 100% fix. They are readily available from the usual American Flyer specialists like PortLines and Jeff The Train Tender.

Some operators modify the crossing to put conductive foil on the plastic diamonds. I have also seen crossings where the plastic was cut out and short pieces of rail installed. This was done by operators who had a lot of link coupler engines, it was better to fix the crossing than modify 20 tenders. Another much easier fix is to buy an S gauge Lionel FasTrack crossing plus four of the short adapter pieces and use those in place of the Gilbert 725 crossing.

Can I assume that the wheelbase/spacing of the 0-8-0 tender trucks is shorter than the other Flyer steam engines' tender trucks spacing? Can someone provide measurements for the length of an Atlantic and NKP 0-8-0 tenders? My hunch is the Atlantic gets through crossovers without tripping the reverse because its tender trucks are spread out far enough so that the tender trucks don't lose contact with metal rails on either side of the intersection (which is all plastic/bakelite to prevent shorts from occurring).

The distance between the truck mounting points on the tender has no effect on stalling on a crossing because both Base Post rail pickup wheels are in one truck and both 7V-15V rail pickup wheels are in the other truck. It is only the length of the truck that matters. That is why the longer trucks made in 1952 solved the problem and why the 322's and 332's with long die cast rucks never had an issue.

This can be fixed but it takes some work. First make sure all the crossing rails are tight against the plastic diamond by tapping all eight rail ends lightly with a hammer. The rails can loosen and move. Then on each engine make sure the 4 pickup wheels and the axles are clean along with the bronze wipers. The spring tension must be about equal in both axles in the truck otherwise the pickup wheel with less pressure may not make good contact with the rail. While the wheels are out of the truck make sure the truck sideframes are straight and even. Sometimes these sheet metal truck sideframes are "torqued", or twisted, so that all 4 wheels cannot make good rail contact.

I find that any of the pre 1952 engines with the short sheet metal trucks can stall on a crossing. At least in my experience the 342 stalls more frequently because I tend to run them slower than other engines like a 302.

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