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Hi folks!  For background, please reference the following threads:

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...5#182044000640598695

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...c/175286893012707946

To recap:  Some have observed that traditional series-wound universal motors (aka "Pullmor" motors) tend to speed up once they've been running for a while.  And when this happens, they lose much of their slow-speed performance.

-You can slow down a universal motor by increasing the resistance of its armature relative to its field.

-Some folks have reported better performance from Lionel-type motors when operated on DC instead of AC.  (Obviously if you put DC on the rails,  you would have to disconnect whistles and horns, etc.  However it's possible to convert AC to DC inside of the locomotive by installing a rectifier.)

In my research about motors I've come across terms like "eddy currents," "thermistors," etc.  I'm not 100% sure what these things mean and I would love to have an explanation in laymans' terms.  But it seems plausible that adding a properly-sized Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) thermistor across the brushes would increase the armature resistance as the motor warms up.  This would reduce armature current relative to the field, and offset the tendency of the motor to speed up when it gets hot.

This leads to several questions: Are thermistors safe to use, and do they work on AC?  Must the thermistor be placed close to the brushes, or could it reside a few inches away in the tender?  If my theory is plausible, what size(s) of thermistor would be appropriate for experimentation (ohms, watts)?

I'm intrigued by the idea of installing a variable resistor (would that be a rheostat, or potentiometer?) in parallel with the brushes to really explore how decreasing armature current affects motor speed.  I'm familiar with online electronics outlets like Mouser and Digikey.  Would someone please recommend a compact component part suitable for on-board installation, that would facilitate experimenting on the fly?  (I've read that suggested values might be 4-10 ohms and 25-50 watts.)

Thanks to all in advance for sharing your expertise!

Last edited by Ted S
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I can't answer how it'll affect the motor performance, but some of the questions are easier.

@Ted S posted:
This leads to several questions: Are thermistors safe to use, and do they work on AC?  Must the thermistor be placed close to the brushes, or could it reside a few inches away in the tender?  If my theory is plausible, what size(s) of thermistor would be appropriate for experimentation (ohms, watts)?

I'm intrigued by the idea of installing a variable resistor (would that be a rheostat, or potentiometer?) in parallel with the brushes to really explore how decreasing armature current affects motor speed.  I'm familiar with online electronics outlets like Mouser and Digikey.  Would someone please recommend a compact component part suitable for on-board installation, that would facilitate experimenting on the fly?  (I've read that suggested values might be 4-10 ohms and 25-50 watts.)

A thermistor will work the same on AC as DC unless it's a special part.  They react to average current.  The thermistor could be anywhere in the circuit and have the same effect.  As to the rating of the thermistor, it would have to handle the maximum current through the motor, probably at least several amps for a Pulmore motor under load.  I have no idea what resistance value and range you'd use, that would obviously be a science project.

If you are considering a variable resistor, yes it would be a rheostat.  Again, it would have to have the power handling capability for several amps.  The actually wattage rating will depend on the resistance required for the experiment.  Obviously, a 10 ohm rheostat would require a lower wattage rating to handle 2 amps than a 100 ohm rheostat.

Here's a pretty good explanation of the effects of eddy currents in respect to motor function, it explains it much better than I would.

What are eddy currents and how do they affect motor performance?

Back in 1999 I bought the Lionel B6 repro and liked the model but did not like it's slow speed operation. The E-unit on the thing would not complete it's cycle till the throttle was near 10v and then the thing would take off it was very hard to preform switching operations. I took it apart and made sure that everything was well lubed and turned free with no binds.  Still it took off when ever the E-Unit completed it's cycle. So the next thing was to install pairs of diodes on both the armature and the field. Before I finished I had two pairs on the brushes and the field 8 in all. The resistance of the armature and the field should be kept in the same ratio usually  with the resistance of the armature around 2 times the resistance of the field for maximum efficiency for our old pulmor motors. it's not too critical the little ceramic beads were 5 amp 50v diodes. You simply hook them in series with the brushes and then the field winding and stack as many an you need till you have the throttle response you need at slow speeds. Understand that your top speed will be reduced some. Ted, imho IF you can find a proper Thermister it will not work in our application. Making it difficult to precisely control speeds. The temp/resistance change will lag your throttle changes too much.  Better a fixed voltage drop than the unpredictable changes caused by a thermister. I once tried to use thermistors in a circuit called a relaxation oscillator to control the temp of color developer. As close as I could get was about +-2 degrees I was trying for a fixed temp of 100F. A common home heater thermometer would have better. If you want to try it, getting the curves right, is going to be your next career. I do think it could be done if you use the thermistor in a PWM circuit but getting everything right ???   Might as well spring for an ERR AC Commander. A Thermistor large enough for our O gauge trains is going to be large and SLOW.  IF, you can find the proper value.

  Diodes will improve your low speeds. Start with one pair on your brushes and one on your field. Keep adding till your slow speeds are slow enough to suit you. I took the ceramic diodes in the pix off my B6 when I added an AC Commander.





100_9517

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Last night I looked across my table with an open postwar 616 switcher and I took the opportunity to try a 4 ohm, and then 6 ohm, and then 8 ohm resistors strapped/soldered across the brushes.

Due to the current condition of my train table (a partially wired-uop mess) I don't have a long area to check top speeds - or give a more thorough test for torque/pulling performance 🙄🤔. But ALL three resistors seemed to provide a similar difference in performance in my temporary test. This 616 switcher is actually in poor repair right now from being stored more than 30 years in newsprint and a cardboard box - but like a lot of tired ol' Lionel engine sit starts up and still tries to run as well as it can.

The voltage at 'takeoff' was roughly one volt higher than the initial un-strapped value. The thing that I DID notice WITH resistors across the brushes was that the lowest possible speed seemed a measure or two slower and operated more smoothly. Un-strapped, the lowest speed of the motor was a bit faster at takeoff and was much more herky-jerky (it's a real railroading term, look it up 😂🙄)

Anyhow, I just thought I would share this part of my postwar-pullmor experiment.



JohnActon, What are the values of those diodes? 20231115_15584020231115_155952

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  • 4 & 8 ohm ceramic resistors
  • ATSF 616 switcher motor
Last edited by woodsyT

Woodsy, 50v/5a on the ceramic. Don't remember the ones in the Bakelite case. Any voltage rating  50v and above should be OK and since their working in pairs 5A should be OK. Unlike your resistors which you wired parallel to the brushes these go in series. Any rating above these will be OK. Note they do get hot in service. Since the ones I used on my B6  were visible in the cab I wanted to keep them as small as possible.          j

Last edited by JohnActon

@woodsyT thank you for posting and sharing your results.

Has anyone ever really looked into how the various electronic control boards for AC motors work?  As home hobbyists, we can add a capacitor here, a diode there.  But one would hope that, along with providing basic forward-neutral-reverse functionality, the electronics experts who design these control boards would make a good-faith effort to wring as much performance as possible out of the motors.

Lionel's first electronic reverse for DC motors appeared on the scene around 1982.  Premium "Collectors Series" locos soldiered on with the AC Pullmor motor and mechanical E-units until the "LionTech" E-unit surfaced about 10 years later.  I believe that the Dallee electronic E-unit surfaced sometime during the late 1980s, as did the QSI ACRU.  All of these were designed for conventional operation.

Fast forward another 10 years, and command control retrofits began to appear on the scene.  Digital Dynamics and Train America Studios both made board sets for AC motors.  TAS tried (and ultimately failed) to develop speed control circuitry for AC motors.  Lionel actually made a Legacy board set for their AC-motored Geeps (it was probably the only Legacy product that didn't have speed control!)  Today, ERRs AC Commander is about the only game in town.

So I'm imagining an experiment where we take a few different AC-motored locos: a Geep, an FM, a 773 Hudson, a 2046 Hudson.  We mount the control board on a trailing car, connect it to the motor(s) with clip leads, and conduct some performance tests.  Chances are, SOME of the AC reverse and command units do a better job than others of coaxing these old Pullmors to run with can motor-like smoothness.  So for those few of us who expect, or hope for better performance from our tradtional locos, these would become the "go-to" circuit designs.

I know that Bruce Greenberg has hosted collector-focused clinics at York, usually related to exploring prewar variations.  I wonder what it would take to set up an operators' trial session like this, and encourage public observation / participation?

I'm fundamentally skeptical as to significant improvements in Pullmor motor performance, due to its 3-pole configuration.  Can motors have 5ish poles, which contributes to their smoother operation.  I'm not saying that supply waveform trickery and what-not can't improve a Pullmor, but its very nature presents inhrerent challenges.  But that's not going to stop me from installing an AC Commander in my 1990s 700E.

Karl has the answer, but I do have a counterpoint.  I added a second motor to my Lionel Phantom, that improved it's pulling power a bunch.  But then I changed to an AC commander, and it gave my Phantom much better low speed performance!  So there is a way to improve the performance, but having two motors is a major step as it smooths out the roughness of the 3-pole motor since it has a second unsynchronized motor as a buffer.

I would also love to see someone develop a 5-pole armature that can be retrofitted into postwar locos (it would have to include a new commutator, and probably new brushes and brush plate design.)  But that's beyond the scope and intent of my post.

The 1990 700E is one of the smoothest running AC-motored locos.  It has decent control and a muted top speed, but it's an exception in that regard.  It's also BIG  (because it IS a scale model) and requires a large layout room for wide curves.  I was thinking of the more common smaller steam locos when I wrote my post.

There are SO MANY old trains out there which are affordable, reliable, and highly servicable compared to what's being made today.  If simple modifications could improve performance by ~25-30%, these beloved favorites would become relevant again, first as toys, and potentially as operating models.

Last edited by Ted S
@Ted S posted:

...I had the more common smaller steam locos in mind when I wrote my post.

There are just SO MANY old trains out there which are affordable, reliable, and highly servicable compared to what's being made today.  If simple modifications could improve performance by ~25-30%, these beloved favorites would become relevant again, first as toys, and even potentially as operating models.

Right on🤘👍you've put words to my wishes.



The 3-pole AC motor will never be a smoothy-smooth - 3 scale miles per hour 'creeper'. I know enough about motors/electric stuff to understand why, and that it's just a fact.

I just wanna squeeze a few more years of enjoyment out of these choo-choos and have some fun with them and apply some reasonable/simple-ish upgrades to their operability. Ye know... just tinker under the hood! I have dozens of locomotives, all post war with a handful of MPC, in WELL-loved condition that are worth dozens & dozens of dollar$. These mods won't harm any value in my kit.

All of the new electronic locos look like they are AMAZING, but I don't have the pocket$ for them.

...And how many of us have slammed trains into each other, or off the tracks, or the table, trying to line up  cars above the uncoupler magnet? or placing an operating coal/log/etc car 'just so' hoping that logs/coal weren't spoiled again? or even simply landing your passenger cars at the platform?  - and it failed because you had to fuss with the twitchy transformer handle, compounded by a surly and/or recalcitrant e-unit,  raised to the third power by a 3-lobe motor (math jokes 🙄)

My little test a few nights ago took 30 minutes and the results could be seen & heard, but I would not call it significant. I'm gonna keep going to keep enjoying this hobby 👍

Last edited by woodsyT
@woodsyT posted:
...And how many of us have slammed trains into each other, or off the tracks, or the table, trying to line up  cars above the uncoupler magnet? or placing an operating coal/log/etc car 'just so' hoping that logs/coal weren't spoiled again? or even simply landing your passenger cars at the platform?  - and it failed because you had to fuss with the twitchy transformer handle, compounded by a surly and/or recalcitrant e-unit,  raised to the third power by a 3-lobe motor (math jokes 🙄)

That's where command operation with can motors come in.    I can creep up and stop very accurately with my Legacy locomotives.

@woodsyT posted:

All of the new electronic locos look like they are AMAZING, but I don't have the pocket$ for them.

My little test a few nights ago took 30 minutes and the results could be seen & heard, but I would not call it significant. I'm gonna keep going to keep enjoying this hobby 👍

Thanks for bringing this up.  Here are several comments.

1.) Tacking in components, here and there, without some serious research beforehand will likely get you a little bit of improvement but not a lot.  I would encourage you to continue with this though.  You may be surprised with the success you have with one or two individual engines, on the other hand you're not likely to find a fix that's groundbreaking to the point that it will improve all Pre-War, or Post-War, engines ever made.

2.) You get what you pay for.  As John has mentioned command control with cruise will get you exactly what you want but it will cost you money.  It works because it's a well thought out design, that's implemented as an engineered system, and not by tacking in parts here and there.  This isn't a case of adding one or two components but integrating many of them, and adding cost in the process, to get the job done.

3.) You don't need to be an electrical engineer to keep trying, and to achieve some success.  But there have been electrical engineers who've tried the tweaking method to get substantial improvement across the board.  The most prominent recent example was Lionel's work on the ill-fated Odyssey motor, about 25 years ago now if I recall.  This wasn't Odyssey Speed Control; it actually predates it.  Instead it was an updated Pulmor, still driven by AC:

  Follow this link for more details, and the typical kind of very enlightened discussion that makes this forum so special:

     Lionel's Odyssey motor (7/21/16) | Phil Gresho



@woodsyT, keep up the good work.

Mike

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That's where command operation with can motors come in.    I can creep up and stop very accurately with my Legacy locomotives.

I appreciate ye, all o' you... the advice, the experiences shared, insights & observations - that even goes for you lot with your fancy smooth operating choo-choos!   i'm a lil' jealous I suppose, that's all...    and so,... I'm trying to "squeeze a little more toothpaste out of the post-war tube"

At 12 years old all the buzzing noise and jerky jumping didn't even get a blink from me. I was all kinds of happy that my grandpa let me run the choo-choos! Now, fifty-five years later, I notice all the buzzing buzzing and jerky jumping

Over the holidays I'm gonna attempt to get to the basement more and complete a few tear-down and rebuilds and then see if those locos appreciate some new widgets getting soldered on I'll post any results/observations and objectively sisyphean progress



EDIT: The links to the "notch 6" interviews in the linked threads are dead/broken. anyone know an active link to it?

Last edited by woodsyT

The mechanical E-unit is one of the worst offenders when it comes to smooth start ups. They get gummed up and don't pull the drum into the run position till the throttle is way beyond a reasonable start voltage. cleaning/tuning them is the first job the second is replacing with solid state E-units which cycle at a much lower voltage. Below what it takes to get the loco moving, This gives you some room on your throttle to creep up to the voltage the armature starts turning. BTW; a cab-1 and a PM-1together will give you a lot more low end control than a transformer alone. But they cannot make up for a sticky E-unit. I remember the day I hooked a PM-1 to the layout and was amazed at how smooth the transition from stop to run was on older post war locos. Before I owned one TMCC locomotive I owned 10 PM-1s.     Properly cleaned and tuned postwar locos will creep down the track quite well. Perhaps not as well as a DCS or Legacy loco but quite respectable.            j        

Last edited by JohnActon

I'm convinced that Lionel's universal motors DO run better and cooler on DC.  That's one of the observations that led to my second post:  Exactly how do the Dallee, QSI, and LionTech e-units work?  Do they harness that improvement by converting track AC to DC before they feed it to the motor??

In the command realm, Electric Railroad (ERR) went to the trouble of making an "AC Commander."  Since universal motors will run just as well or better on DC, why not just use the DC commander with a rectifier added to the output?  Presumably there's something different or better about the AC Commander, that makes it more suitable for universal "Pullmor" motors, otherwise why develop and catalog another product?

Karl mentions "waveform trickery."  Back in the mid-'90s, my dad and I looked at the output from a K-Line train set transformer on a 'scope.  IIRC it delivered a wicked shark-fin waveform with a peak amplitude of 36 volts!  This transformer seems to confer more starting torque to the motors at the expense of amplifying the AC "buzz."  A more sophisticated control circuit could retain the pulses at low throttle settings for starting, and gradually filter them out as RPMs increase.

In the early '90s when the focus of 3-rail O shifted to "scale," Lionel was quick to switch to can motors, in part for lower costs.  Other than TrainAmerica's failed attempt at cruise control, I'm not sure that anyone made a scientific attempt to improve operation of the older motors.  (I regard Lionel's brushless "Odyssey Motor" as a whole different animal.)  And back in the '40s and '50s when universal motors were used in scale models (by Lobaugh, Max Gray, etc.), solid-state components as we know them hadn't been invented yet.  I believe that there are still-undocumented ways to improve performance with "bolt ons," and if so, the combined brainpower of this Forum will uncover them!

Last edited by Ted S
@Ted S posted:

I'm convinced that Lionel's universal motors DO run better and cooler on DC.  That's one of the observations that led to my second post:  Exactly how do the Dallee, QSI, and LionTech e-units work?  Do they harness that improvement by converting track AC to DC before they feed it to the motor??

In the command realm, Electric Railroad (ERR) went to the trouble of making an "AC Commander."  Since universal motors will run just as well or better on DC, why not just use the DC commander with a rectifier added to the output?  Presumably there's something different or better about the AC Commander, that makes it more suitable for universal "Pullmor" motors, otherwise why develop and catalog another product?

Karl mentions "waveform trickery."  Back in the mid-'90s, my dad and I looked at the output from a K-Line train set transformer on a 'scope.  IIRC it delivered a wicked shark-fin waveform with a peak amplitude of 36 volts!  This transformer seems to confer more starting torque to the motors at the expense of amplifying the AC "buzz."  A more sophisticated control circuit could retain the pulses at low throttle settings for starting, and gradually filter them out as RPMs increase.

In the early '90s when the focus of 3-rail O shifted to "scale," Lionel was quick to switch to can motors, in part for lower costs.  Other than TrainAmerica's failed attempt at cruise control, I'm not sure that anyone made a scientific attempt to improve operation of the older motors.  (I regard Lionel's brushless "Odyssey Motor" as a whole different animal.)  And back in the '40s and '50s when universal motors were used in scale models (by Lobaugh, Max Gray, etc.), solid-state components as we know them hadn't been invented yet.  I believe that there are still-undocumented ways to improve performance with "bolt ons," and if so, the combined brainpower of this Forum will uncover them!

Ted , picking up on your mantra Gear ratio, Gear ratio, Gear ratio. On most of our beloved postwar it is virtually impossible to change, unless you own a machine shop. On the one loco which is easy to change the B6 switcher I was able to change it from 14:1 to 21:1 by digging into my slot car gear assortment box. Two things happened it began to run at a lower throttle setting and pulled about 1/3 fewer amps However at the crack of the throttle it ran faster than at 14:1 when not pulling cars. But add a couple of cars and it can creep down the track. I think part of the problem is that ZWs start at 6v I always wished it were less like 1~3v. That is where the PM-1 shines. It along with the Cab-1 will control the voltage to the track all the way down to 0 volts with no gaps. Even though I added an AC commander to the B6 it still creeps down the track better with the PM-1 than in TMCC. Ted on the subject of older O scale Lobaugh running universal motors they can creep as well as any legacy loco even on AC . Part in fact due to a 25:1 gearbox and part  due to their 9 pole universal motor. A three pole motor is a big handicap.  About four years ago I installed a K&D 7 pole motor in a Lionel Mohawk and it will creep with AC or DC which I an not willing to loose whistle and bell to use DC.  And the Pulmor hum is greatly diminished with the 7 pole motor. Some time ago I won the bidding on a new in the box 9 pole Lobaugh motor and  would put it in my Lionel Hudson but it is about 1/2" longer than the long stack Lionel motor and would stick out of the cab.                j

Last edited by JohnActon
@JohnActon posted:

...Gear ratio. On most of our beloved postwar it is virtually impossible to change, unless you own a machine shop...               

3 lobed motors and gear ratios...

Even though more than a hundred years have been clocked since the inception of the Lionel parallel plate motor and a comparable about of years for the pullmor - my semi-delirious waking dream is that someone  discovers that (random common item) has parts/gears that can be cross-fit into our old choo-choos... Or someone discovers crates in an old warehouse filled with boxes of mis-milled gears that fit.🙄🤓🤔🙄

I ALSO want to believe that there are still-undocumented ways to improve our old choo-choo trains performance with "bolt ons,"!

I can dream, can't I?! 😉👍

Last edited by woodsyT
@Ted S posted:

And back in the '40s and '50s when universal motors were used in scale models (by Lobaugh, Max Gray, etc.), solid-state components as we know them hadn't been invented yet.  I believe that there are still-undocumented ways to improve performance with "bolt ons," and if so, the combined brainpower of this Forum will uncover them!

There may well be ways to improve the performance of the Pulmore motor from existing standards.  However, some of the limitations like the three-pole design will not be overcome.  So, you have to ask yourself, why all this work in making incremental improvements in the Pulmore when you can use something like a Pittman 7-pole motor and really get major improvements?

There may well be ways to improve the performance of the Pulmore motor from existing standards.  However, some of the limitations like the three-pole design will not be overcome.  So, you have to ask yourself, why all this work in making incremental improvements in the Pulmore when you can use something like a Pittman 7-pole motor and really get major improvements?

John I think it is because many love their old post war and unless you find a 5, 7, 9 pole armature from another motor that is close to the diameter of a Pulmor motor and know how to tear it apart and adjust the length of the stack and rewind it you are stuck.  As for me it is a sentimental fetish. I found that a window motor from an S-10 Blazer  the armature is the same diameter(close) to Lionel's Pulmor diameter I pulled the ceramic magnets out of it and using Lexan made a mount that fits in a long stack Pulmor. Still runs crappy but no Pulmor hum. I guess the next move is to pull the armature apart and put the laminations on a Pulmor shaft. That's one of those projects which I may never get to as I decided several years ago to convert all my locos to TMCC or DCS. It makes life so much easier to just convert them to DC using a Pittman or Mabuchi. But ,at least for me, the only ones I can change are the horizontal shaft steam locos, not the vertical motors or 2343ATSF/NYC F3s other diesels.                             j

Last edited by JohnActon

There is in fact a documented way to make anything with the PW-style vertical-motor (F3, GP7/9) creeeeep. See this old thread for pics and discussion. Reducing the spur gear size (and correspondingly increasing the size of the two idler gears along with moving their shafts) changes the gear ratio for much improved slow speed operation.



https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...09#83790477125155909

Good find David, I'll have to look into the Dallee momentum board.

Geyser, I was aware of (and pretty excited about) those posts by DanssuperO, but nothing ever came of it.  In the late '80s-early '90s, a company Scaled Tin Rail offered a regearing service for Lionels.  One of their conversions was tested and reviewed favorably by a magazine.  If I could go back in time, I would have sent them every loco in my fleet!  Sadly they're long-gone.  I wonder if anyone on the Forum still has some of their creations? A lower gear ratio will definitely yield slower, smoother operation.  But regearing a vintage Lionel involves custom, skilled machine work.  I'm looking for basic mods, especially electronics or wiring changes which only involve soldering skills, that might confer a noticeable improvement.

Some Pullmor motors actually exhibit good starting characteristics when they're cold.  The problem is, once they've been working hard, they seem to speed up and lose a lot of their slow-speed performance.  That's why I asked so many questions about thermistors.  Adding armature resistance when the motor is hot might restore the cold level of performance.  Perhaps the resistance could be brought into the circuit via a toggle switch or rotary pot on the underside of the tender.

The next time I set up a test track, I'm going to try installing a rectifier in the loco, to see whether my observed performance decrease can be avoided by running the motor on DC.  My other experience with chopped-wave transformers suggests that the motors might perform better on half-wave DC versus full-wave (but again, at the expense of a "buzz" and motor heating.)

This is a time of year when many traditional trains make an appearance for nostalgia's sake.  It would be great if they could regain a permanent foothold on the layout instead of the display shelf.  A few select models have been reissued with can motors and all of the modern features (notably the LionChief Plus 726 Berkshire.)  But if your first train was a postwar Prairie or 2-4-2, you'll have to take a dose of "fast and clumsy" with that nostalgia.  Like Woodsy, I'm still hoping!

Last edited by Ted S
@KarlDL posted:

I'm fundamentally skeptical as to significant improvements in Pullmor motor performance, due to its 3-pole configuration.  Can motors have 5ish poles, which contributes to their smoother operation.  I'm not saying that supply waveform trickery and what-not can't improve a Pullmor, but its very nature presents inhrerent challenges.  But that's not going to stop me from installing an AC Commander in my 1990s 700E.

After looking at this thread (and not understanding most of the advance electronics discussion ), the conclusion seems to be that there is, as of now, no reasonable way to significantly alter the performance of ac Pulmor motors, other than using the ERR AC Commander.

I remember years ago Jon, when he was with Lionel, mentioned that there was a way to add cruise control of some fashion to Pulmor powered engines, but for various reasons it was determined not to proceed in this production. Perhaps it was seen that large-scale conversion to dc motored engines was on the horizon and further tweeking of the Pulmore wasn't time/money well spent, I don't know.

The problem with the ERR AC Commander is the additional cost. These ERR products have escalated in price to the point that adding it to many engines has become a cost/benefit quandry. With a cost (with shipping but not including installation) of $175, adding an AC Commander to, say, a $125-$275 MPC or LTI Pullmor motored engine is seriously problematic.  Now you're in the range of being able to pick up TMCC Odyssey equipped DC motored engines.

For those who might be interested in using the AC Commanders (which come with TMCC added in) to upgrade Pulmor motored engines that are already equipped with TMCC, too bad a cheaper non-TMCC version isn't available without having to pay for redundant TMCC electronics.

Last edited by breezinup
@breezinup posted:

I remember years ago Jon, when he was with Lionel, mentioned that there was a way to add cruise control of some fashion to Pulmor powered engines, but for various reasons it was determined not to proceed in this production. Perhaps it was seen that large-scale conversion to dc motored engines was on the horizon and further tweeking of the Pulmore wasn't time/money well spent, I don't know.

I believe my last conversation on this topic with Jon was that the low speed performance wasn't sufficiently refined to make it worthwhile.  As I recall, it was laid at the feet of the three pole motor and the balance between field and armature current.

I'm of the opinion that you'll never get anywhere close to the current performance of cheap can motors with the three-pole Pulmore motor, so I don't see the ROI in spending a lot of time on it.

Wanting to run traditional Marx or Lionel electric trains slow is recent modern phenomenon.  Back in the postwar times, operating these Toy train engines as fast a possible, without flying of the tracks was the thing to do for most kids.

Charlie

Unless I'm running 3 or more trains at the same time, or if I have an adult beverage (or two) in me, I still run them that way Charlie.

Long live Magne-traction!

Wanting to run traditional Marx or Lionel electric trains slow is recent modern phenomenon.  Back in the postwar times, operating these Toy train engines as fast a possible, without flying of the tracks was the thing to do for most kids.

Charlie

Does anyone remember the MOVIETONE newsreel at the theater ? I remember seeing one when I was around 7. A model railroad club in New Jersey had a kid recruitment program where they held a drag race for kids on a long straight track set up in a parking lot.   I thought that was the coolest thing I had ever seen and wondered why we did not have such a race in Alabama. That is when I started thinking about souping up my trains. Now the prime concern is how to soup them down.  Chasing our collective tails, we are.                j                        

@breezinup posted:

... The problem with the ERR AC Commander is the additional cost. These ERR products have escalated in price to the point that adding it to many engines has become a cost/benefit quandry. With a cost (with shipping but not including installation) of $175, adding an AC Commander to, say, a $125-$275 MPC or LTI Pullmor motored engine is seriously problematic.  Now you're in the range of being able to pick up TMCC Odyssey equipped DC motored engines.

For those who might be interested in using the AC Commanders (which come with TMCC added in) to upgrade Pulmor motored engines that are already equipped with TMCC, too bad a cheaper non-TMCC version isn't available without having to pay for redundant TMCC electronics.

My p/o/v is that installing an AC Commander in a MPC-era, single-Pullmor equipped diesel model is a waste of time and money.  A higher-end steamer is a different set of economics.  As for the diesel, just get a newer can-motor version with TMCC and call it a day.   Or do a  Blunami conversion on a DCRU or PS-1 diesel.  Better detail and performance for fewer dollars.

I realize that several post-war locomotives have been re-issued with an updated DC motor kit inside, eg: post-war 726/736 has a newer counterpart like the 6-28681 Virginian Berkshire with a DC motor AND there is also the 6-18053 Century Club Berkshire but it retains the pullmor motor.

How many of the postwar locomotives have been reissued with a DC motor? all of them? or just a few favorites?

Snooping around on the auction sites I see plenty of modern re-issues with prototypical road names and paint schemes, but how many have an "Lionel Lines" updated kit with a simple list of items like solid-state e-unit, DC motor, lights & smoke?

I'd bet they run smoothy-smooth (shrug)

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