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@lehighline posted:

Very nice job on the control tower! Nice selection of aircraft as well!

Quick question: How is the MTH beacon powered? Is it a copy of Lionel's Vibrotor, or is there a DC motor driving the beacon?

Chris

LVHR

I took a Lionel beacon tower and pulled top assembly off. Popped the red lense out and replaced with a white 30mm lense I bought on eBay. Then soldered the wiring to the lights inside the MTH tower. Now, I haven’t fired it up yet. I’m hoping this works. I’m new to this hobby, so I’m winging it here. Thx

@lehighline posted:

Very nice job on the control tower! Nice selection of aircraft as well!

Quick question: How is the MTH beacon powered? Is it a copy of Lionel's Vibrotor, or is there a DC motor driving the beacon?

Chris

LVHR

My aircraft collection for the static display will be what you see, Plus...another Corsair and Mustang, P-38, Spitfire, B-24 Liberator, C-47, Bearcat F8F, Hawker Sea Fury.  Just part of a 1/48 collection of WWII aircraft I have and want to display along with the layout.

"Just thought I’d post to see what you all think. Thx Boeingman"

Here's what I think...  It's brilliant!!  The OE's should be a bit chagrined to have not thought of it themselves!  OTOH, we may see this from them in the future (2 good and 2 obvious 2 not!)  And if they don't fairly soon, I may have to put it on my bucket list of 2 do's! (Lord, help me!)  I dunno...I might keep the red/green lenses myself.  What's 'aviation-correct'??

KD

@dkdkrd posted:

"Just thought I’d post to see what you all think. Thx Boeingman"

Here's what I think...  It's brilliant!!  The OE's should be a bit chagrined to have not thought of it themselves!  OTOH, we may see this from them in the future (2 good and 2 obvious 2 not!)  And if they don't fairly soon, I may have to put it on my bucket list of 2 do's! (Lord, help me!)  I dunno...I might keep the red/green lenses myself.  What's 'aviation-correct'??

KD

Green and White for a civil airport.  Military beacons flash two quick whites then a green.

My last trip into Greece was 1983, the food was fabulous then and the sights were awe inspiring.

To do a military split lens on the white, a strip of styrene painted black would do the trick, the real thing has the lens so it refracts a split white signal so you knew it was military, which usually worked unless the field was smack dab in the middle of a city, then the lights washed out the beacon until you took a cut on the tacan or ADF, back before glass panels and GPS.

@Boeingman posted:

Green and White for a civil airport.  Military beacons flash two quick whites then a green.

Ah, yes...  I get it!  The OE red/green lenses are for Santa's (Rudolph's) benefit!!

---------

A poster's suggestion of doing similar with a rotating radar screen is another good idea!  I replaced the vibramotor on a Disney tower with a Faller AC motor.  MUCH more reliable and smooth/quiet in rotation than the 6-fingered wishy-washer...especially with an unbalanced gizmo like the radar screen.  Should be a cinch to do the same on the control tower!

Thanks again for one of the most inspiring adaptations of two accessories!!!

Last edited by dkdkrd
@Trainchief posted:

Hey thanks a lot! I did one where I took a press punch and made a hole in the top.  I put the whole assembly that you have on your top, into the tower cab. I'll try to get everyone a pic.

Yep, spent 3 months TDY flying to Athens out of Paris for UAL in the 90's. You can't get a bad meal anywhere in Athens. LOL

I fly the B777 now for UAL. But this trip was a 10 day vacation! Had fun. Great place/people!

@Ron_S posted:

My last trip into Greece was 1983, the food was fabulous then and the sights were awe inspiring.

To do a military split lens on the white, a strip of styrene painted black would do the trick, the real thing has the lens so it refracts a split white signal so you knew it was military, which usually worked unless the field was smack dab in the middle of a city, then the lights washed out the beacon until you took a cut on the tacan or ADF, back before glass panels and GPS.

Agree, but I just kept it like a civilian light for simple application. I do like what someone said about a motor. Problem is how to keep light bulb stationery and rotate lense or ?? I thought about this idea too, but wondered how to make it all work.

Sorry it took so long to answer… I was in Greece eating great food! Lol. Anyways, here’s a picture of the paints I used.

@dkdkrd posted:

Ah, yes...  I get it!  The OE red/green lenses are for Santa's (Rudolph's) benefit!!

---------

A poster's suggestion of doing similar with a rotating radar screen is another good idea!  I replaced the vibramotor on a Disney tower with a Faller AC motor.  MUCH more reliable and smooth/quiet in rotation than the 6-fingered wishy-washer...especially with an unbalanced gizmo like the radar screen.  Should be a cinch to do the same on the control tower!

Thanks again for one of the most inspiring adaptations of two accessories!!!

Can you give me the idea how this motor works in conjunction with light? I wondered about this possibility, but how does the light affix to motor and turn lense too? That’s what stumped my mind. Just too new to this hobby to know all the tricks. Thx

@Boeingman posted:

Can you give me the idea how this motor works in conjunction with light? I wondered about this possibility, but how does the light affix to motor and turn lense too? That’s what stumped my mind. Just too new to this hobby to know all the tricks. Thx

Well, my comment was regarding the motor's use with a rotating radar screen...no light.

I'm right there with you on how to apply a nice motor drive to a beacon.  That ol' bulb/LED in the center is the  bugaboo.  Some sort of off-center gear drive, with a crown or ring gear on the beacon top, maybe?  I dunno...I always end up going to the beer/wine fridge to get some think-drink...hoping the lightbulb bubble will turn on!  So far...  But, then, the lubrication has always been rewarding in itself.

Actually, as I mentioned in another thread re the beacons, the one solution I saw on a tour of layouts re the  dimpled bulb (394) version of the beacon tower reliability/operation was clever enough.  A cheap-o clip-on miniature personal fan attached to the ceiling grid over the layout, carefully pointed toward the beacon to provide just enough breeze to keep the top spinning...satisfactorily.   

I've also modified a 394 beacon tower to replace the center metal wire running from the base to the top platform with a small metal tube.  Providing some seals here and there, drilling some holes in the beacon base casting, I can keep the lamp lit while gently blowing from the bottom of the tube.  In fact, the first time I did that with a can of compressed air (for blowing dust off your keyboard, et al.), I actually LAUNCHED the vane-topped beacon straight up into the workbench light!!  (Found out my septuagenarian reflexes weren't so bad after all!!)  Set the whole thing aside as a 2-do when finally establishing its location on the layout, then coming up with a practical, silent, regulated air source.  (Hmmm, maybe the spare tire in the shed could find a useful 2nd life!)

Tell you what.  If I figure out a way to use that nifty Faller AC motor with the beacon, I'll let you know.

FWIW...

KD

BTW...Never took pictures of the Disney radar tower with motor-drive.  I'll have my loving wife...and photographer/computer geek (who, prior to our marriage owned her own Cessna 172, had an instructor's license...let her medicals lapse when the plane was sold...and I came along!...and found her to be an enthusiastic co-hobbyist!!!) take some pics for posting later.   

Last edited by dkdkrd
@dkdkrd posted:

Well, my comment was regarding the motor's use with a rotating radar screen...no light.

I'm right there with you on how to apply a nice motor drive to a beacon.  That ol' bulb/LED in the center is the  bugaboo.  Some sort of off-center gear drive, with a crown or ring gear on the beacon top, maybe?  I dunno...I always end up going to the beer/wine fridge to get some think-drink...hoping the lightbulb bubble will turn on!  So far...  But, then, the lubrication has always been rewarding in itself.

Actually, as I mentioned in another thread re the beacons, the one solution I saw on a tour of layouts re the  dimpled bulb (394) version of the beacon tower reliability/operation was clever enough.  A cheap-o clip-on miniature personal fan attached to the ceiling grid over the layout, carefully pointed toward the beacon to provide just enough breeze to keep the top spinning...satisfactorily.   

I've also modified a 394 beacon tower to replace the center metal wire running from the base to the top platform with a small metal tube.  Providing some seals here and there, drilling some holes in the beacon base casting, I can keep the lamp lit while gently blowing from the bottom of the tube.  In fact, the first time I did that with a can of compressed air (for blowing dust off your keyboard, et al.), I actually LAUNCHED the vane-topped beacon straight up into the workbench light!!  (Found out my septuagenarian reflexes weren't so bad after all!!)  Set the whole thing aside as a 2-do when finally establishing its location on the layout, then coming up with a practical, silent, regulated air source.  (Hmmm, maybe the spare tire in the shed could find a useful 2nd life!)

Tell you what.  If I figure out a way to use that nifty Faller AC motor with the beacon, I'll let you know.

FWIW...

KD

BTW...Never took pictures of the Disney radar tower with motor-drive.  I'll have my loving wife...and photographer/computer geek (who, prior to our marriage owned her own Cessna 172, had an instructor's license...let her medicals lapse when the plane was sold...and I came along!...and found her to be an enthusiastic co-hobbyist!!!) take some pics for posting later.   

Thanks for the info.......Yes, that dimpled bulb worked great, from Marx to Lionel it never failed.

As I promised, here's a video and some pics re my Radar Tower (Disney) converted from the (unreliable) vibramotor drive to a (very reliable, smooth, silent) Faller AC motor drive...

IMG_3182IMG_3183IMG_3185IMG_3187

...which is another cool option for the top of the Control Tower...IMHO.  The Faller motor can be set up for 4 rpm or 15 rpm, the video tower using the latter, of course.  I believe the 4 rpm rate would be ideal for a beacon...if only I could figure out how to deal with the bulb/LED in the center!!

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That Radar tower is Super Cool!!!  I have the old light tower from Lionel I used to get the light from.  Wonder how I can get the antenna you have and use that tower to build a radar tower for my airport?  I do agree it would be cooler to have my rotating beacon on a motor, but I struggled with the light issue too.  How does one make light independent from rest of unit?  Let me know how I might attain the radar tower?  Thanks B

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