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I know a number of us have the Phantom set, I happen to have the first version.  It's a cool set and an eye turner with visitors, but it's frustrating that it can barely drag it's four passenger cars on level track, much less on grades.  I have Fastrack, so the magnatraction helps, but on the club layout with Atlas track, even on level track is sometimes struggles to get the consist moving, the locomotive just spins it's wheels.  I'm sure traction tires would help, but I don't have them.  Of course, if the motor was in the rear, it would make a HUGE difference I'd imagine, but in the front it has no traction at all.  I even put about 12oz of weight in the front to help, no joy, it didn't seem to change anything.

 

I finally have had enough, so the Phantom improvement project has been launched! 

 

I got an old GP-9 stripped chassis with just the motor and power truck and set out to improve my locomotive.  Since I've had several AC powered dual motored locomotives that have been pretty strong pullers, I figured that was a place to start.  Here in pictures is my progress report.

 

 

First step is to remove the old sideframes from the GP-9 truck.  I ground the tops so as not to damage the square holes that I'll need later, they match up perfectly with the Phantom sideframes.

 

Phantom Dual Motor Installation N1

 

The "new" motor and truck, cleaned up and ready to install.

 

Phantom Dual Motor Installation N2

 

For the motor mount, I drilled out the welds on the old motor mounting plate.  I drilled smaller holes from this side, then on the drill press, slowly partially drilled through to release the plate.

 

Phantom Dual Motor Installation N3

 

Next, I cut a hole in the chassis and drilled out the holes for the mounting screws.  Conveniently, the old swivel mount exactly lined up with the keystone hole for correct alignment, making it easy to locate my cutout correctly.

 

Phantom Dual Motor Installation N4

 

The next two pictures are the motor mounting plate in place with flathead screws, looks like it belongs there!

 

Phantom Dual Motor Installation N5

Phantom Dual Motor Installation N6

 

 

Here's the chassis with the motors mounted and also the sideframes. they look to be in the right position.

 

Phantom Dual Motor Installation N7

 

After a couple minor alterations, the fuel tank with the speaker and controls is mounted.

 

Phantom Dual Motor Installation N8

 

A test fit of the shell, perfect fit, looks just like it did before the surgery.  Plenty of clearance for the new motor.

 

Phantom Dual Motor Installation N9

 

The old electronics package isn't going to fit, so I'm going to use an ERR AC Commander and a RailSounds 4 board set.  Some time back I ordered the RS4 Phantom sound board in case I ever got to this point.  I rummaged around in my parts box for a RS motherboard that would hold the cars oriented so they would fit.  It's a tight fit, but it looks like standing the RS boards and MB on their sides will get it all in.

 

Phantom Dual Motor Installation NA

 

That's as far as I got today, but more to come.

 

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  • Phantom Dual Motor Installation N1
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  • Phantom Dual Motor Installation N5
  • Phantom Dual Motor Installation N6
  • Phantom Dual Motor Installation N7
  • Phantom Dual Motor Installation N8
  • Phantom Dual Motor Installation N9
  • Phantom Dual Motor Installation NA
Original Post

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Originally Posted by MartyE:

Doesn't one of the trucks have the cherry switch Cam setup?  How is that overcome?

Yep, but I can put magnets on the wheel with a reed switch or use my motor speed sensing circuit to know when it's moving.  However, I have the Phantom III RS4 board, and it may not need the cherry switch, we'll see.  In any case, it's a minor issue, I'll get it working, I"m not letting that stop me!

 

 

Originally Posted by Lee Willis:

Neat project.  I've always liked the Phantom although I don't have one.  Are you at all concerned the boards may be incompatible with the amount of power the two motors will draw and voltage their sweet spot will be in/  I don't know much about these motors.  They look big, old-school, and perhaps much hungrier than newer can motors. 

Lee, I'm using the ERR AC Commander, it's rated for two AC motors, and I've used it in several conventional upgrades with no problems.  I thought about can motors, but since I already had all the parts for this upgrade, I figured that would solve the basic issue of no traction.

John, I look forward to reading more on your project. I too want more traction in my Phantom, it's horrible.

I also put a bunch of lead in the nose (1/2 lb+), that helped some.

It's also a power hungry pig.

It would pop the breaker on my Z-1000 with all the other stuff on the layout idling.

Nothing else ever popped that breaker (barring derailing), even my Imperial Big Boy pulling 58 cars including my PW stuff. (That consist filled my 9 x 33' main loop)

 

Second problem; It runs fast or not at all. I suspect the AC commander will help this as well. I have been tempted to gut it and use my PS2 upgrade kit on it but I would lose the sounds, don't like that idea.

Last edited by Russell
Originally Posted by gunrunnerjohn:
 

Lee, I'm using the ERR AC Commander, it's rated for two AC motors, and I've used it in several conventional upgrades with no problems.  I thought about can motors, but since I already had all the parts for this upgrade, I figured that would solve the basic issue of no traction.

Frankly, probably just the added weight of one of those big motors with their heavy magnetic core would do wonders for the loco's traction.  Two motors will make it awesome, I expect.  

 

Nice idea.  Fun project.  

 

"What talent lurks in the hearts of men?  That Phantom knows!"

Cool!
 
Originally Posted by gunrunnerjohn:
Originally Posted by MartyE:

Doesn't one of the trucks have the cherry switch Cam setup?  How is that overcome?

Yep, but I can put magnets on the wheel with a reed switch or use my motor speed sensing circuit to know when it's moving.  However, I have the Phantom III RS4 board, and it may not need the cherry switch, we'll see.  In any case, it's a minor issue, I'll get it working, I"m not letting that stop me!

Wrapped up work for today.  I couldn't resist hooking up the motor and seeing how it runs.  It's a puller now, what a difference!  I hooked it up to my track cleaner, my usual test subject, and it can start out slow and pull it without any slipping at all!  It's truly like a different locomotive, I can't imagine it having any issues pulling the cars now!  The ERR AC Commander in 100 step mode seems very smooth, I think this is a major update to the engine.

 

Now I can't wait to get the audio stuff in and it back together, I'm a happy camper!

 

To Marty's point, I did think of a small issue with the cam switch replacement.  All of the axles on this now have magnatraction, so that may preclude me using the original idea of magnets and a reed switch.  I'll probably have to drive it from the motor voltage if I need it.  If I need a toggling voltage, I'll probably put a little oscillator circuit across the motor field and drive the RS input with that.  We will overcome!

 

I'm heading over to Harry's tonight, I'm going to run it on the large layout and see if it'll pull a bunch of cars around the whole layout.  This seems like it'll be the silver bullet for the Phantom.

Last edited by gunrunnerjohn

Marty, the cam switch turns out not to be an issue.  I put the RS 2.5 chips in an RS4 board, and also dug out my Phantom III RS4 board.  Both ramp up the RPM in response to the serial input without any external cam switch.  Not only is it a non-problem, I have two different voices for my upgrade!  I think I'll put the Phantom III in first, it has a couple extra sounds with the cab-talk keys.

 

Originally Posted by Lee Willis:"Lamont Cranston"
Originally Posted by gunrunnerjohn:
 

Lee, I'm using the ERR AC Commander, it's rated for two AC motors, and I've used it in several conventional upgrades with no problems.  I thought about can motors, but since I already had all the parts for this upgrade, I figured that would solve the basic issue of no traction.

Frankly, probably just the added weight of one of those big motors with their heavy magnetic core would do wonders for the loco's traction.  Two motors will make it awesome, I expect.  

 

Nice idea.  Fun project.  

 

"What talent lurks in the hearts of men?  That Phantom knows!"

 

I also have the first version. Seems like I waited for YEARS for the passenger cars.

 

When they were coming out with newer Phantom versions, Lionel then made them with a traction tire. I sent for several of the newer trucks. I bought a second Phantom ( version 1 ) engine. I replaced the non-traction trucks with the traction ones. I then did a push - pull set up with an engine at front and rear.

 

It accomplishes what you've done but may have cost more. The 2nd engine cost me $168.00. I forget what the trucks cost. It was an easy swap.

 

Other than the dull interior lighting they move swiftly around my Atlas track.

Thanks guys, I hope this inspires a few people to dig out the old Phantom and give it a new lease on life.
 
Originally Posted by Lionel16:

John

 

What tool did you use to cut the hole in the chassis?

Believe it or not, I used a Dremel with a fiber cutoff wheel.  I marked a pattern for the hole, then rough-cut it with the Dremel and then finished it with a file.  I have a nibbling tool for metal, but the chassis was too thick.  I have the "industrial strength" Dremel 4000, it cut through the 16ga chassis steel like butter, I was suitably impressed!

 

I considered the truck replacement, but after looking at the options, this seemed like the easy route.  I got the motor and truck for free, and since I had a leftover AC Commander that's likely to rot in my parts box, I figured I could use it.

 

For anyone contemplating this upgrade, after closely looking at the LCRU2 & RS 2.5 board set, if you separate them, they would fit in between the motors, so if you have an old GP-9 powered truck around, the upgrade can be very cheap.

 

FWIW, I took this up to the club layout with Atlas track, it has no problem pulling a dozen diecast cars or five passenger cars around the layout.  The AC Commander also gives it excellent low speed performance, I was very impressed with how smoothly I could slowly run. 

 

I've already done some lighting enhancements to the locomotive, it got a red MARS light, LED headlight, and I even lit the turbine inlet with flickering blue LED's.  Now that it's clear that I'll be able to run this more, I'm going to add some cool lighting effects when the horn is blown, there are side light lenses that do nothing right now, that will change.  Then I'll look into some passenger car lighting upgrades.

Thanks, guys!  When I finish up installing the sound and the rest of the wiring, I'll crank out a video.  I have to slide it aside for a day or two to work on some other stuff, but it'll be done in the next few days for sure.

 

I'm still thinking of what lighting effects to put into the rear side light slots.  Since the AC Commander has a convenient logic output when you blow the whistle, it will be easy to trigger the effects, just have to come up with the actual lighting controls.

 

 

 

Originally Posted by Russell:

It's also a power hungry pig.

It would pop the breaker on my Z-1000 with all the other stuff on the layout idling.

Nothing else ever popped that breaker (barring derailing), even my Imperial Big Boy pulling 58 cars including my PW stuff. (That consist filled my 9 x 33' main loop)

 I checked the power draw with the dual motors and the AC Commander.  It's not a power sipper, but at speed it was drawing less than four amps pulling the cars, so it's not terrible.  The cars account for a bit over an amp of that (until they get their LED upgrades), so the locomotive was pulling a bit less than three amps, that tapered off to a bit over two when it was at speed and not accelerating.

Last edited by gunrunnerjohn

John, perhaps I can make a dimensioned pattern from my existing Phantom, then print a piece with my new 3D printer. This would be a good stress test.

 

Thanks for documenting power consumption. I knew it was higher than my other engines, didn't know details. Looks like an LED lighting upgrade will help.

 

PS, I suggest a light chaser effect down the side for the Whistle lights. Perhaps backwards for a wierder effect.

And if you get a bell output how about from the middle out both ways.

Russell, the slot is pretty small, about 5/8" long on each side.  I don't know how much of a chaser I can fit.  I am thinking more along the lines of two different colored LED's slowly pulsing in a somewhat random pattern.  I'm trying to get some ideas of what to add, I might use one of the Arduino Nano boards I have as a simple way to do this task.

 

If you have the original Phantom, you can see the slots near the rear top, they are part of the plastic for the rear light and shell posts.  I guess they thought the anemic backup light would shine when it was on, bad read, it doesn't!

 

The deed is done!  I put it all back together, it sounds great, runs great, and can easily pull it's four cars now!  I haven't done my horn effects lighting yet, but I'll figure something out.  I used the Phantom III card in it as it had a few more sounds, and the RPM ramps up without any switch, so that was a non-issue.

 

Overall, I'm very pleased with the mod.  I turned into what was a shelf queen as it couldn't get out of it's own way into a usable set.

Thanks guys.   I may look around for more cars now that it's a real locomotive and might actually be able to pull them.

 

Actually Alan, you can do this upgrade for minimal expense.  If you keep the RS 2.5 board and the LCRU2 and just rearrange them, it would have been cheaper.  I had all the stuff to upgrade to ERR, and lots of RS4 boards, so I decided to upgrade.  The only added complexity with the older electronics is you'll have to figure out a truck mounted switch for the motor RPM trigger, with the R2LC & RS4 boards, that was taken care of painlessly for me.

 

I'm trying to come up with some neat lighting for the sidelites near the rear of the locomotive that are triggered by the horn, still thinking on what that would look like.  Any ideas on what would look cool there are gratefully received.  The little windows are 1/8" tall by about 7/16 long, so probably only two or possibly three LED's would fit.  I'm thinking of something like slowly varying intensity in a couple of colors when the horn blows.

 

Originally Posted by gunrunnerjohn:

 

 

I'm trying to come up with some neat lighting 

 

This really isn't about your sidelites, but I have been thinking about this for some time, the problem being what loco, and the Phantom is the perfect one for it.   I recently bought a saber saw with one of those laser pointers that draws a red line out ahead of its cutting path.  It not only really helps you cut straight, but it looks cool.  

 

Something like that, a bright red line shooting out and pointing down the track from the Phantom's nose every time the horn is blown, would be cool, in a futuristic loco.  Not sure where you get an inexpensive laser that draws a line rather than a dot, but . . . 

Actually, I have such a laser in my drawer, don't know how small the operating part of it is.  I have a laser level and tape measure, I got it years ago from a friend of my wife's that sold Avon produces of all things.  The box is even labeled Avon.

 

In looking, I'm not sure where I'd put it on the Phantom, the nose is pretty busy as it is, it has the headlight, MARS light, and the turbine inlet that I put a couple of flickering blue LED's in.  The lower pilot skirt has space, but not much depth without interfering with the front trucks.

 

Interesting idea, I'll have to look around for a compact solution like that.

 

Edit:  I didn't have to look far!

 

Laser Line Module

 

 

laser line

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  • laser line
Last edited by gunrunnerjohn

John...crosshairs?

 

I really like the pulsing idea too.

 

While it wouldn't have "the near dual motor GG-1 or FMTM power", and would require as much, or more work (filler plate on the front), I have to wonder if just swapping the power truck position would improve it enough. Two motors on four cars seems excessive.

Any plans for expanding the number of Phantom cars in the train GRJ?

 I might be up for just an engine to pull the Marvin the Martian Earth Disintegrator, and Porky's Instant Martian cars should one become available one day.

  

Cool, I ordered one of those as well!

 

I'll have to see if I can fit one of these into the pilot skirt without affecting the appearance much.  One of these could be triggered by the smoke output, which is currently unused.  Kinda' like a laser cannon!

 

I thought about swapping the position, but since the motor was already in place, and I had a second one, I just went for the max.  Since neither has traction tires, I figure having all wheels powered is probably a good idea.

 

I did just pick up a Phantom I coach off eBay just a couple hours ago.  There was a baggage car as well, but I'd like another coach or dome car.  I'll keep looking...

 

There's a couple of Phantom locomotives on eBay, so now's the time to grab them.

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/LIONEL...;hash=item3f4836888c

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lionel...;hash=item20f767c468

 

 

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