Has anyone ever attempted, or even thought about converting a Lionel Burro crane to TMCC?

I pulled my Lionel 6-18402 Burro crane off the shelf to photograph in a few vignettes.  After taking the photographs, I decided to run it down the track a short distance.  As my layout is all TMCC controlled, operating this unit conventionally took some getting used to.  It was fun to see the unit, with a couple of trailers in tow, run about the layout.  Even after lubing it up it was still pretty noisy (in a good way ).  It got me thinking; has anyone ever installed TMCC in one of these units?  I'm thinking it would take a major redesign of the motor and transmission.  I would be happy if it would only control movement of the unit, not cab rotation or raising and lowering of the hook.  What say you who are smarter than I?

 

Tom

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You'd need to add a crane tender with a cab to house the AC Commander, there's no way you'd fit it into the cab of the Burro Crane.  As for cab rotation and raising and lowering the hook, that "might" be possible using something like model airplane servos to move the mechanical levers to trigger those functions.  I haven't looked inside of one of those for a very long time to see what  space is available.

It would probably be easier if you converted it to a can motor (takes much less space) and then added the required electronics and mechanical servo systems.  Even so, it would be a fairly complicated project to do more than just run it up and down the rails.

Let's say that it's not going to be a project for the faint of heart.

Burro Crane + TMCC = TMCC Operating Crane Car. 

As John has pointed out, the killer in this project is the ac motor.  That motor requires the AC Commander which has a much bigger footprint over the mini commander.  If the burro crane had a can motor, then you might be able to fit the mini command in for basic functions of running down the track.  To add full functionality, I don't see it as a viable project since there is so much to change.  In the end, you end up with a TMCC Operating Crane Car.

gunrunnerjohn posted:

 

It would probably be easier if you converted it to a can motor (takes much less space) and then added the required electronics and mechanical servo systems.  I was thinking that conversion to a can motor might be necessary.  That would free up quite a bit of room in the cab and quiet things down a bit.  It would take some serious structural modifications anyway you look at it.   Even so, it would be a fairly complicated project to do more than just run it up and down the rails.  I've done dumber things.  I installed a pipe organ in our home, and I don't even play the organ!

Let's say that it's not going to be a project for the faint of heart.   Or of sound mind!!!

 

Chuck Sartor posted:

Forgot to mention, nice video you can almost hear the 'thump-thump' when it crosses the diamonds. Where did the horn sound come from?

I had a TMCC locomotive just off screen.  I was using just enough power to operate the horn on the loco and not have the Burro run away.  " Theatrics"

Tom

I never saw a real burro without a flat car behind it. (might have been the same one..?)  ...Maybe put it in a gondola?    A load to hide the board?

 An unplugable teather with a mini-headphone plug; jack in the burro? (so it could instantly return to conventional if unplugged)

Neat idea. 

  Even if you had to "change gears" manually , the newly chosen function would work from the controller at least.  (finally...what I see as a really good reason for a remote. Changing those gears and walking back to a throttle, walk again to change gear, walk, power, walk, gear, walk..... it gets old kinda fast eh? )

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





I have hoped for years that Lionel would gut the Burro (I love 'em; as a kid, I got one of the originals as a B'day layout add-on; still have it) and make it a can-motored, well-geared (it's not bad, now), basic TMCC unit - they could (might need to) even keep the over-sized "container" tooling, as that is part of the Burro's mojo.

I'd be all over it.

Basic back-and-forth; hook up-and-down and some cab movement (wouldn't even have to be full 180); the boom angle adjustment could remain manual. Little can motors could replace most/all of the "gearbox". It would only need to pull 1 - 2 small cars. The gutting might leave room for a board, but, if not, a trailer tool car and tether would do just fine - maybe better - we might get that horn.

Just some thoughts when reading the foregoing. These bridges have already been crossed by Lionel, at least to some degree. Fairly recently, Lionel converted their Vulcan snowplows from Pullmor motors to can motors. This Rio Grande can-motored version (there was a Pennsy as well) is equipped with TMCC as well. (The Pullmor powered PWC snowplows, and some other Vulcan units, I think, had TMCC as well.) In any case, Lionel has now done these Pullmor-to-can engine changes in smaller units. 

My other thought, speaking of putting the electronics in a following car, was about a few small units Lionel has made, such as the NYC Fire Car. These are TMCC equipped, with sounds. Since there wasn't room in the engine, Lionel pull all the electronics in the trailing boxcar, with a tether connection. I have one of these, and it works very well. (Actually very cool with its siren sounds and flashing light.)

 

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breezinup posted:

Just some thoughts when reading the foregoing. These bridges have already been crossed by Lionel, at least to some degree. Fairly recently, Lionel converted their Vulcan snowplows from Pullmor motors to can motors. This Rio Grande can-motored version (there was a Pennsy as well) is equipped with TMCC as well. (The Pullmor powered PWC snowplows, and some other Vulcan units, I think, had TMCC as well.) In any case, Lionel has now done these Pullmor-to-can engine changes in smaller units. 

My other thought, speaking of putting the electronics in a following car, was about a few small units Lionel has made, such as the NYC Fire Car. These are TMCC equipped, with sounds. Since there wasn't room in the engine, Lionel pull all the electronics in the trailing boxcar, with a tether connection. I have one of these, and it works very well. (Actually very cool with its siren sounds and flashing light.)

 

Related image

Yes. And, if it would help, a powered (1 small diesel truck) tool car could give all the motor room in the crane proper over to hook and cab control. The crane would only appear to be self-powered.

Assuming all this - any version - could be brought out at an acceptable price. I have doubts. Then there will be the servicing. 

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