I just purchased a North Pole Central Dockside 0-6-0 with Lionchief with the intent to use it for my Christmas layout at the Redford Theatre in Detroit.  I've hesitated buying Lionchief locomotives because the layout is designed to be turned on with one switch at the lighting/sound booth without supervision since I can't be there every show to operate it.    The Lionchief plus locomotives would allow that operation without the remote, but they're much more than I'm willing to spend on a locomotive that is basically going to end up run to death over many years of operation.  Obviously the plain lion chief starter set locomotives are limited to remote only operation.

A thought came through my head though that it would be simple enough to wire in a single pole double throw switch with a bridge rectifier so I could have sort of a poor man's lion chief plus locomotive that could operate one direction conventionally or with the full Lionchief remote system if I was there and wanted to run it that way, simply by throwing the switch.  Is there any reason this wouldn't work?  Either way it'll be a nice addition to the collection, but if it could be a regular runner that would be even better.  Obviously I don't really care about the sounds working in "conventional" mode as I usually disable the sounds on the runner locomotives so they don't disrupt the organist or other pre-show events.

Last edited by SantaFe158
Original Post

Hello SANTAFE158

Its probably best to use older Williams, postwar Lionel or even Marx to do what you wanted to do.

Tiffany

Tiffany posted:

Hello SANTAFE158

Its probably best to use older Williams, postwar Lionel or even Marx to do what you wanted to do.

Tiffany

I already use a couple Williams locomotives, but have found that open frame AC motors require too much maintenance for the amount of running that is required of them each season.  I save the few MPC engines we run as well as my postwar equipment for certain nights when I'm present and able to supervise their operation and maintenance.

How about use the remote. Then take that remote and put it where nobody can get to it. This way you select the speed you want and walk away. Just an idea.

 

Kurtds posted:

How about use the remote. Then take that remote and put it where nobody can get to it. This way you select the speed you want and walk away. Just an idea.

 

Well that would work, but I'm not always there to set speeds.  Normally I have transformers pre-set to whatever speeds I want and hidden under the display, so they simply apply power from the back of the auditorium and everything starts up automatically.  My idea here is that I could run it conventionally with a transformer on the nights i'm not there, and when I do attend a couple shows to play trains, I'd still have the ability to use the remote.  I also have my Legacy base hooked up to the display for the same reason.  It's not normally used, but myself and my friend Mark B occasionally attend shows and run our more expensive equipment on the display under Legacy.

Why not just buy the conventional Dockside switcher?  They can be had on the used market for less than $100 and would work fine for your purposes.  They even have a reverse-lockout switch to lock them in forward.

Finding the sweet spot for the track voltage and the number of rectifiers needed to get the desired voltage to the motor would be the trick. You should have room in there. The track hot and common aren't that hard to identify. Get some of flex wire. Don't forget to check the smoke unit wires. If they don't come off of the board, they'll need to disconnected.

perhaps one of the AC to DC boards from eBay would be cleaner. Some have a pot to adjust the output voltage.

I didn't see any 6-28660 around, so I see why you went this way. Email gunrunnerjohn for some ideas.

Jake, let me suggest this engine might not be the best for your application. As GRJ suggests a conventional engine would be better. Also this engine has a small can motor not really suited for continuous running. On the other hand Williams engines are nearly bulletproof and also start in forward. On newer Bachman engines its important to make sure they are lubed as many have been found without grease in the gearbox but other than that they will run all day with few problems.

Pete

Last edited by Norton

I understand the thoughts on having a conventional engine being easier.  I have one already actually, but was looking for something decorated for the holiday.  The only conventional ones available at the moment are from the Gingerbread express set, and though I know the North Pole Central is fictional, the gingerbread locomotive is a bit too whimsically decorated for my taste (if that's the word).  My other thought with having the remote is that similarly to when we run Lionchief locomotives on our club layout at a local Christmas event, I could hand the remote to a younger kid on nights I'm there and let them have a taste of running the train.

Running all day isn't something that is needed for the theater.  They run for an hour at most a couple times a day.  It puts a lot of wear on things still, but I've only had to replace a few mechanical parts over the last 5 years.

Well, I just got a good deal on a Lionel Hudson Jr.  Just a basic conventional locomotive that should be a good runner, so I might save the dockside engine for nights I'm there to operate it.

Getting into this a little late... I'm not going to touch on if the LC engine is the right choice or not.  Instead here's my suggestion on how to get the results you were looking for without much trouble:  Assuming I understand correctly, to make it so that by turning on one switch the LC engine will run at a preset speed, but also be easily switchable to run with the remote as designed.  

My solution is to (step 1) open the remote, and solder 2 wires to the remote's power switch in parallel with the wires that are already soldered.  Connect the other end of the new wires to a 3.5mm mono phono jack and drill the side of the remote to mount the jack.  (step 2) connect a relay to be powered off of your transformer that is powering the layout, so that whenever the transformer is turned on, the relay will turn on.  (Step 3) connect 2 wires to the center and NO contacts of the relay and put a 3.5 mm male plug on the other end of the wires from the relay.  

When you want to run normal LC with the remote, you run as normal.  When you want to turn on with one switch, you plug jack from the relay into the socket on the remote, leave the remote switched off, but set to the desired speed, and when you turn on track power it will also turn on the remote.  


The simple version of this is to plug your transformer and a 5v dc wall wart/usb charger into a power strip to be switched.  remove the batteries from the remote and use alligator clips or some such, to connect the usb charger to the battery contacts.  Leave the remote switched on, and your one power strip will turn on and off both the remote and the track/transformer.  

The first version is cleaner and doesn't require any fiddling with things when you want to pick up the remote and use it.  The second has the benefit that you won't use any batteries in the remote.  

On the topic of remote batteries, I use Duracell PreCharged, rechargeable AAA's and in my LC+ NW2 I have not had to charge the batteries yet with about 200 hours of run time (remote turned on) over the last 14 months or so.  

JGL

I can't think of any reason why the motor in a LC loco couldn't be re-wired directly to the track pickups and function independently of the LC receiver. However, I agree with GRJ, it's really not worth the effort.

Well, the locomotive arrived today and I had to open it up right from the start because the chuffing sounds weren't working.  Fortunately it was just a loose connector on a board.

There's definitely a lot more packed into the LC version of this engine compared to my older conventional one, so I'm not going to attempt my modification idea.  It'll be a good runner as is for the theater when I'm present and also on the club layout for holiday events.

I did purchase a Lionel Hudson Jr locomotive from the Ballyhoo circus set and it seems to be a gem of a basic locomotive, so I think that'll be my main runner this year if it behaves ok in my testing runs.

Sort of related question: When operating an LC+ in conventional mode, is it possible to lock it into forward only? Does it start up in neutral or forward?

 

Thanks

Have you, considered putting in a timer? What I used to  do for a hotel, is I had a total of 4 trains and they were all on timers. I made it so one set ran for 30 minutes and shut off, and another set would come on, until all of them had been run, and the sequence would then start over. I would keep the engines from getting hot and allowed more time for lubrication.

JoeG

Trainlover160 posted:

Have you, considered putting in a timer? What I used to  do for a hotel, is I had a total of 4 trains and they were all on timers. I made it so one set ran for 30 minutes and shut off, and another set would come on, until all of them had been run, and the sequence would then start over. I would keep the engines from getting hot and allowed more time for lubrication.

JoeG

There's not much of a reason to as it's only operated for about a half hour to an hour at a time anyway during specific parts of the show.  So far it's worked out OK (fingers crossed) in the past 6 years.  The light guys bring up the power at the same time as them bringing up the lights in the auditorium for intermission and things like that.

I'll throw it out there again that modifying the remote, rather than the engine is pretty simple to do to make it so that the engine will run when powered up remotely.  

Revised from my previous idea, I would now choose to use a closed-circuit barrel jack wired so that when nothing is plugged in, the remote functions as normal, but when  it is plugged in the remote would no longer use it's batteries, and instead draw power from an external USB power adapter.  

When plugged in and it will turn on and off with the USB charger, which can be plugged into the same power strip with the layout's transformer, and if wired in on the switched side of the remote's switch, it won't matter if the switch is turned on or off.  It takes just a couple dollars of parts, a drill to make a hole for the jack in the remote, a couple inches of hook-up wire, and a soldering iron.  

JGL

JohnGaltLine posted:

I'll throw it out there again that modifying the remote, rather than the engine is pretty simple to do to make it so that the engine will run when powered up remotely.  

Revised from my previous idea, I would now choose to use a closed-circuit barrel jack wired so that when nothing is plugged in, the remote functions as normal, but when  it is plugged in the remote would no longer use it's batteries, and instead draw power from an external USB power adapter.  

When plugged in and it will turn on and off with the USB charger, which can be plugged into the same power strip with the layout's transformer, and if wired in on the switched side of the remote's switch, it won't matter if the switch is turned on or off.  It takes just a couple dollars of parts, a drill to make a hole for the jack in the remote, a couple inches of hook-up wire, and a soldering iron.  

JGL

That is a good idea, and basically how I pictured it when you first brought it up, rather than the alligator clips you or someone mentioned for a bit of a cleaner look.  That would also make it easy to still use as a battery remote elsewhere... hmmm.   That might still be a viable project

I have a Pennsylvania Flyer 0-8-0 LC that I bought for my son. I modified it with a DPDT switch, so it can be run with the remote, or directly from track power. I should mention that I run 3 rail DC/DCC on all of my layout.  For his trains he uses a 1-15vDC HO controller.  He can still use the remote for sound when he wants.

If you don't have DC controller, add a bridge diode to the engine, or between the AC controller and the track.

This way you set the controller to the speed you want , and just switch on the power when needed.

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