Dallee tech service - need answers 1991 MP Alcos

So the gentleman at Dallee is irritated with me because I've called 3 times with questions - I've got $500 wrapped up in these 2 engines and boards and want to make sure of the connections before I smoke them by accident. Only on the 3rd call did he understand I don't have "O" gauge but have "S", and on the second call I believe he played some sort of "cuckoo cuckoo" tone when he thought I'd hung up.  "These units have been around for 40 years"  "if you don't understand simple electric ciruit"  "I can't be expected to know every kind of engine" etc.  I don't want this idiot fired, I want him to understand he's not very good at his job - interacting with the public - and improve. 

So rather than be insulted once again, I've come to the wise folks here. 

I didn't understand that both motors run at the same time.  I don't have series motors, I have 2 DC motors.  There are 4 wires going off to each truck plus on the front truck 2 wires for the old Christmas style bulb headlight.  Of the two sets of 4 wires, one red and one black go to the motor, once black goes to the rail pickup, and one black wire seems to be chassis ground, being connected to the truck ahead of the coupler.

The Dallee has 6 pins   1&2 motor brush      3&4 track power    5&6 field

Since I have DC motors I just jumper 5&6 together.   It would seem that I can connect the two motor leads from the two trucks to pins 1&2 either in

parallel (two wires on each pin) or in series ( one wire each pin, twist one wire from each motor together:  either way, check for wheel direction by

 putting engine one side and running with a jumper wire on the rail pickups, there is one rail pickup for each rail - one goes to pin 3 and one to pin 4.  I should use these two leads -track power-  to power the headlight ... ?

WHAT I DON'T GET          

So what are the two remaining grounded wires that  are connected to the truck ahead of the coupler for?

Original Post

If I am understanding your question correctly you now have one wire from each power truck for which you question the reason for them being there. These are additional power pickup wires and each can be attached to the wire coming from the pickup shoe on the same truck. Yes you can use these leads to the reverse unit to power your headlights.


Thanks Gentlemen -

Here is a picture showing the new headlight and also that wire to the frame.  Yes, as someone suggested, it's connected to the wheels, meaning, I guess, one truck has two connections to "It's" rail - the wheels come up to these "frame" wires and also the track pickup.  I WONDER WHY?  Because of poor contact - at least there are two routes?  You can see the headlight in the shot, - the Dallee guy said to try using a brass tube as a holder, I did that - I'm a little afraid that since things aren't super tight I could accidentally push the LED back into the engine meaning I'd have to take the thing apart which I loathe because these things screws strip so easily - I seem to have a stripped truck screw on this, despite it being brand new and just taking it apart ONCE.  Anyway, I guess I'll twist each pair of pickup wires together, then put them into the Dallee board and also run them to the LED at this junction.  Note RADIO SHACK is kaput, so I went to a craft store, bought some small crochet20171014_154319[1] patterns of wood with holes drilled (like a breadboard) and made my own little circuit board - eat you heart out Dallee guy!

Tom   (PS I am an EE - I wonder about current loops with these two different pickups - the spring loaded skid and the wheels - but I don't know why it was designed this way.                                   Regards


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 " Yes, as someone suggested, it's connected to the wheels, meaning, I guess, one truck has two connections to "It's" rail - the wheels come up to these "frame" wires and also the track pickup.  I WONDER WHY? " 

The power pickup on the trucks have been done this way even back to the AC Gilbert days, I believe in part to preserve electrical contact over the turnouts or switches.

As far as the LED headlights I filed the LED flat on the front and super glued them right to the lens, but I did use the Evans Design leds that have the circuit in a very small package. Good to see that you are getting these worked out to your satisfaction.


I would say your first problem with the Dallee unit is it's designed for the old Open frame AC/DC motor, which swapts field connections to reverse the motor The can motors are DC. Quite possibly there is a different board for DC motors--or you do have the correct "work-around" I'm not that familiar with them. As to the separate wire from the slider shoe; this is a change Lionel made to provide a more reliable electrical connection from the shoe to the engine, the other (normal) path for electrical pick up is from the one non-pullmore wheel through the axle and bearing to the truck chassis (which is electrically isolated from the engine frame). The problem with this design is electrical arcing which happens between the axle and the truck chassis, causing wear (premature wear?) eventually to the point where the gears don't mesh well, causing the motor to overheat, and a whole failure cascade mode. The shoe is needed to provide a second track power pickup point to allow the engine to run over short insulated track sections, like switch frogs and the infamous track crossing sections. BTW, I've always thought that forming a piece of Phosphor bronze wire to wipe the back side of the pickup wheel would help solve the wear problem.


David "two rails" Dewey

Hello All - thanks for the replies.   Okay, so the Dallee tech service guy told me this was the style of board I needed for a two-motor engine, as I said previously, I'm not sure he really listened to me when I said I had a Lionel American Flyer Alco from 1991.  Some folks here suggested the conversion was trivial, it's not - I also replaced the headlights.  SO YOU ARE SAYING THE TWO PICKUP DESIGN IS GOING TO FRY MY MOTORS?

1) Remove 7 screws plus 2 screws that hold on heat sink - disassemble engine, remove board, cut all wires to leave max length (cut near solder on board)

2) Dallee Tech said to mount board vertically on angle bracket, I don't think there's room for this, had to mount horizontal, so take off trucks by removing small "C" clips (push out with small flatblade) leaving flat frame and small slide switch for engine direction still attached to bottom

3) take to small block of wood so can hammer without damaging slide switch, use hammer and punch to made a drill hole pre-punch right next to existing hole since if you mount the Dallee board in existing holes it's situated for failure -it overhangs and you can't re-assemble engine (learned hard way of course).  Drill out "half a hole" and then take paint off for heat transfer - used recommended "heat paste" from Dallee instructions, attach Dallee board to frame, tighten, put trucks back on.  Push clips on with straight edge screwdriver.

4) run 4 wires from each truck through frame holes to board, remove original Christmas bulb headlight, we're going to use the headlight frame.

5) Jumper winding pins 5&6

6) Make short connector wires and attach them to pins 1-4 - this is so min of wires runs from side of board next to side of engine, too many/thick of wires means you can't re-assemble the engine.

7) FRONT: run 2 motor wires front  motor and 2 motor wires from back to pin 1-2  jumpers (in parallel).  Later double check that both wheels spin in same direction (I can't remember if it's red to black or red to red - I think its the black wire from one and the red wire from the other)12345

8) connect 2 track power from each truck to jumper wire into pins 3-4 on Dallee. Also connect new circuit board for headlight to this junction.  Using care insulate the "circuit board" (cut from wooden frames found in craft store meant to use with thin yarn) using electrical tape and electrical shrink wrap sleeve as needed.  Cut short lengths of brass tube to hold LED - you can see I had to take what I could get for front alignment sticking out old headlight hole, I'm not good at this kind of stuff, I can live with how far this sticks out because when it's on you can't see the slight imperfection      I super-glued the electronics on the inside (LED and brass tube) with superglue, there's still a little play of what sticks out but after all this I'm happy it works)

I converted 2 of these powered engines, so I only had to reverse the motor leads at the board (pin 1-2) to make one run always backward all the time  and the other always pulls forward - they pull beautifully together.




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Tom, you stated: "SO YOU ARE SAYING THE TWO PICKUP DESIGN IS GOING TO FRY MY MOTORS?" Now I am assuming you are referring to the two wires from each truck chassis. If that's what you are saying, then the answer is NO!!! Both wires from the truck chassis go to the same electrical connection; the wire from the pickup shoe is just added to provide a more stable connection--and to keep the pickup spring from carrying the electrical load; this sometimes happened with the ACG design, and then the spring heats up and looses it's tension. What I was also saying is that the ACG design, picking up electrical power through the wheels, which then travels to the axle, and from the axle to the truck body causes electrical arcing in the axle bearing area, resulting in premature wear of the axle holes in the truck body. I have thought of adding a phosphor bronze wire rubbing against the back of the pickup wheel to reduce/eliminate this electrical load on the axle "bearings." However, I've not yet done this, it just seems very plausible to me. This wear has nothing to do with the Dallee unit, nor even the DC can motors. Yes, the pickup shoe is there to assist in going over switches and crossovers, notice the pullmore wheel is always installed closest to the pickup shoe, so the other wheel, farther from the pickup shoe is the power pickup wheel; the spacing is close to the two-axle freight truck used under the smaller steamer tenders (and even then ACG sometimes added a wiper between the tender truck wheels! The axle wiper spring used on the steamers prevented early wear on the tender trucks.


David "two rails" Dewey

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