Can anyone supply information on Defect Detectors and will you likely be ordering one?

On page 66 of Lionel's vol.2 - 2018 catalog is a new item #1929100, Defect Detector. While Lionel claims this came about during the 1940's can anyone supply information on what railroads, if any, actually used a system such as this, and in what parts of the country?  How widely was it used and how prototypical is Lionel's design to how the actual facilities looked and operated. Was this a "for real" necessity used by many railroads or an oddity used onDefect Detector just a few rail lines? Also, are any of you planning to add this to your layout? 

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Original Post

I doubt anyone knows anything about the Lionel one other than Lionel and they ain't talking.

I plan on getting one though.  It looks like it could be fun.

Marty Eibeck

 

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ogaugeguy posted:

How widely was it used and how prototypical is Lionel's design to how the actual facilities looked and operated. Was this a "for real" necessity used by many railroads or an oddity...

They were, and still are widely used today on many Railroads mainlines. They along with EOT's are why the caboose is no longer used.

Before there were defect detectors, the train had to be visually inspected often for hot boxes.  Time consuming and not always effective since there seemed to be a lot of wheel fires.

Forum member Francis Bauer has a similar one on his modern era layout (I don't know the make).  During operating sessions it will fairly accurately state how many axels the train has and either states everything is OK or, based on a setting in the device, once in a while say there is a hot box.  Which makes things interesting because now you have to stop the train, set out the bad car, then continue.  Sort of messes up the operating schedule

Ron

 

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sinclair posted:

I wonder how easy it would be to remove the FT bit and adapt it to Atlas 3R.

It looks like there is a little doo-hickey embedded in the roadbed that must have something to do with the operation of the accessory:

That might pose a problem for transplant to the Atlas track.

Mark

 

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banjoflyer posted:
sinclair posted:

I wonder how easy it would be to remove the FT bit and adapt it to Atlas 3R.

It looks like there is a little doo-hickey embedded in the roadbed that must have something to do with the operation of the accessory:

That might pose a problem for transplant to the Atlas track.

Mark

 

That "Doo Hickey" is the simulated hot box detector. The Vertical "back tabs" to the left are the "dragging equipment" detector.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defect_detector

member:Golden Spike Club Charter Member

This type of detector...

...sent its signal to the dispatchers room. Before a train crossed the detector, the next home signal was coded to STOP. The detector signal was shown to the dispatcher, who had to read it, on a rolling paper in the form much like a seismic graph. He would be counting spikes representing axles, watching for spikes on the graph that were say two times higher than the others. After he read the graph, if there were no high spikes/defects, he would allow the train to proceed. If there were defects he would count how far back they were and let you know. This was always an estimate and you had to check five ahead of and five behind the axle/axles given (this is also true today with the computerized radio transmissions).
I think the dragging equipment detector set off an alarm in the office and you were instructed to stop immediately. 

This item is on page 66 of the volume 2 catalog. Price $79.99. These are located fairly frequently along the mainlines of the major railroads, well under 100 miles apart. They are audible if you have a railroad radio scanner and are close to one. They report in a computer generated voice, so the onboard crew can hear the report. It counts the axles, and if there are any defects found, it tells which axle(s) are bad. 

 

This looks like an interesting accessory, but I probably won't get one because it's on Fastrack, even though it doesn't look too difficult to modify.

sinclair posted:

I wonder how easy it would be to remove the FT bit and adapt it to Atlas 3R.

Sinclair, Boulder Creek Engineering makes a Defect Detector made for use with any O scale track except Fastrack and MTH track as well as many manufacturers' HO and N scale track too. While it has many user customizable features and announcements, it's double the MSRP of the Lionel Fastrack Defect Detector. Here's a link explaining it's features and installation along with video of it in action:

http://www.bouldercreekengineering.com/trainboss.php

Regular defect detectors (hot box / dragging equipment) are generally placed at about ten mile intervals.  As noted previously; you can hear these broadcast if you use a scanner programmed to the correct railroad radio frequency.

When my youngest son hired out with NS as a conductor; one of the gadgets they gave him to carry in his grip was a small handheld counter or clicker.  If a defect detector identifies a problem at axle number such and such; he uses the clicker to count axles as he walks the train.

Curt

Defect detectors are real and in use on the major railroads today. When a detector spots a potentially bad or hot axle it sends a phone message to the engineer and conductor. They then have to stop the train and manually inspect it. The detector measures the heat of the axles and if one is above "X" percent above the rest it sends the message that axle # blank is suspect. They have to count back to the numbered axle and check 5 cars on either side of it. They use a special pencil to place on the axles and if one is bad it will melt the wax like substance. That is so they won't get burnt by a hot axle. If they find a car with one they then have to set it off the train at the first siding that they can. 

I learned this from train watching with a retired BNSF engineer recently. I may have got something a little wrong, but I think it is reasonably accurate. At least close enough for government work.

Art

Defect detectors  will also indicate if your train is traveling too slow.  Many times our train was too long getting out onto the main coming off of restricted speed yard track to get up to track speed before hitting the detector.  The computer voice from the detector would come over the radio and indicate "defect found - speed to slow".     We had to radio the dispatcher and his response always was- "have a good day"...

banjoflyer posted:
sinclair posted:

I wonder how easy it would be to remove the FT bit and adapt it to Atlas 3R.

It looks like there is a little doo-hickey embedded in the roadbed that must have something to do with the operation of the accessory:

That might pose a problem for transplant to the Atlas track.

Mark

 

You have to be careful with those doo-hickey’s because it could definitely mess up that thing-a-ma-jig.  

Blake

Now that you've had a chance to hear a detector in the video I posted above, you'll better understand this humorous piece of railroad graffiti done by a local guy who goes by the name 27. 

301524789_l

"CP detector milepost 27.7, you have a defect. You love trains, and you won't get a girl... Detector out..."

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THe new Lionel defect Detector looks pretty neat. I just wish they would make these things without making us use the piece of Fastrack. I suppose it does make the installation very easy for Fastrack users and I do see their logic behind that. But, for those of us using another track type it's just a little more difficult to use. However, it does look like a really neat product and is definitely worth a closer look. 

The Boulder Creek Engineering product comes with no track and they also have some other really neat products as well. Probably does more and is more configurable, but I imagine it's also a bit more difficult to install. Probably for the more advanced users? I have looked at the BCE detectors before as well as some of their other products. They have some very nice stuff. 

I think it's great to have more choices with all the O gauge product offerings we have today. Good for the hobby too! Especially the easy install items to help those new to the hobby. Something for everyone!!

Big_Boy_4005 posted:

This item is on page 66 of the volume 2 catalog. Price $79.99. These are located fairly frequently along the mainlines of the major railroads, well under 100 miles apart. They are audible if you have a railroad radio scanner and are close to one. They report in a computer generated voice, so the onboard crew can hear the report. It counts the axles, and if there are any defects found, it tells which axle(s) are bad. 

 

This looks like an interesting accessory, but I probably won't get one because it's on Fastrack, even though it doesn't look too difficult to modify.

That's great Elliot, I didn't know that you could hear them that easily.  I now must make a trip to the local RR and check it out further.  I asked my retired engineer buddy how could they tell which train it was?  He said the engineer and conductor would easily know that it was their train that just passed milepost # blank.  I also didn't know that they talked about train speed either.  I asked how hot it had to be to trigger an alert and he said it was based on a percentage above the rest of the train.  Usually they would be less hot in the dead of winter and hotter in the summer.  So when an axle was X percent above the rest of the train it must be a hot box or defect.  Interesting stuff.

Art

Chugman posted:
Big_Boy_4005 posted:

This item is on page 66 of the volume 2 catalog. Price $79.99. These are located fairly frequently along the mainlines of the major railroads, well under 100 miles apart. They are audible if you have a railroad radio scanner and are close to one. They report in a computer generated voice, so the onboard crew can hear the report. It counts the axles, and if there are any defects found, it tells which axle(s) are bad. 

 

This looks like an interesting accessory, but I probably won't get one because it's on Fastrack, even though it doesn't look too difficult to modify.

That's great Elliot, I didn't know that you could hear them that easily.  I now must make a trip to the local RR and check it out further.  I asked my retired engineer buddy how could they tell which train it was?  He said the engineer and conductor would easily know that it was their train that just passed milepost # blank.  I also didn't know that they talked about train speed either.  I asked how hot it had to be to trigger an alert and he said it was based on a percentage above the rest of the train.  Usually they would be less hot in the dead of winter and hotter in the summer.  So when an axle was X percent above the rest of the train it must be a hot box or defect.  Interesting stuff.

Art

Well Art, you can only hear them with a railroad scanner, which that guy who shot the video obviously had. I have one. The railroads have been allocated something like 102 channels by the FCC. Crews are told which channel to tune to as they enter different areas, usually by a sign next to the track. The crew always knows the track they operate over. It's second nature to know where the detectors, after just a few trips over a given subdivision, just like they know which channel to tune their radios. 

Knowing where detectors are is a handy rail fanning tool, because if you set up near them, a couple miles down track, they will tell you when trains are coming your way, but only in the one direction, because trains in the other direction haven't passed it yet (duh).

If you go out to Rochelle, they have the radios for the UP and BNSF at the pavilion, but I forget which railroad had a detector near there. Maybe it was both. I'd be willing to bet Jim has a scanner.

Blake Morris posted:
banjoflyer posted:
sinclair posted:

I wonder how easy it would be to remove the FT bit and adapt it to Atlas 3R.

It looks like there is a little doo-hickey embedded in the roadbed that must have something to do with the operation of the accessory:

That might pose a problem for transplant to the Atlas track.

Mark

 

You have to be careful with those doo-hickey’s because it could definitely mess up that thing-a-ma-jig.  

Blake

Not if you are using your whacha-ma-callit while removing the doo-hickey.

Mark

I’m going to be ordering one. I think it it will be an interesting accessory that won’t take up much space and relatively inexpensive.  I do have Fastrak so adapting it into the track plan won’t be an issue. 

      

Chris.

 

Home of the C.L.&M railroad

 

 

 

 

  

There is one about 1000 feet from my house on the NS "R" line, I should probably get a photo of it just for reference.

Later Gator,

  Dave

 

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Heading to Gatow with a load of coal.
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Severn posted:

Gee, I'd have thought a missing axle, would make the train fall down... no?

One "missing" axle would certainly cause an incident, but how about 4 or 8?

The conductor and engineer would like to know if a knuckle broke on the last car or two and the manifest suddenly doesn't match the axle count. Now where did those two flatcars go...maybe the angle cocks were turned already on those two cars so no dumping of the air.

Now 99.99xxx of the time the axle count will assist the conductor locate a problem if detected.

The railroad is a funny place. Stuff happens everyday that makes experienced railroaders say "I never thought I'd see that happen". Some great books out there that relate the most interesting stories. (and add in a few forum members who have their own unique stories on the 1:1 size)

Paul

...Don't say I never warned you, when your train gets lost...

 

I saw in a youtube layout video a guys ho layout had one of these things on his layout. funny thing at the kc nmra convention I asked ryan at lionel about making one of these. I said you already have the trackside shed. before I could finish my sales pitch for the idea he told me wait till the new cataloge is out and I think we have something you may be asking for and will like it. needless to say when I saw it I preordered one right away. 

one question I have to those who have seen these in real life. would a double track mainline have one on either side? if so it seems with the fastrack version one would need two of them one for each track. the infrared sensor may not detect a train on the ajasent track. not entierly sure though till we get one to play with. these will surly add a lot of fun to an operating  session. 

Roger g.

Lionelzwl2012 posted:

I saw in a youtube layout video a guys ho layout had one of these things on his layout. funny thing at the kc nmra convention I asked ryan at lionel about making one of these. I said you already have the trackside shed. before I could finish my sales pitch for the idea he told me wait till the new cataloge is out and I think we have something you may be asking for and will like it. needless to say when I saw it I preordered one right away. 

one question I have to those who have seen these in real life. would a double track mainline have one on either side? if so it seems with the fastrack version one would need two of them one for each track. the infrared sensor may not detect a train on the ajasent track. not entierly sure though till we get one to play with. these will surly add a lot of fun to an operating  session. 

You cannot reliably count the axles of two trains at once with a single led beam and detector. Each line would need one detector.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

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