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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i’ve noticed two owners of Aster Berkshire’s have had their johnson bar tied in the forward position (logical since in large measure that’s the way we run). Apparently, as the engine runs it slides back to neutral and the engine, of course, comes to a halt. I did not notice this behavior in the one I built and the current owner assures me that everything runs great. As much as i might want to believe i was the superior builder 🥹, i’m more inclinced to believe that there was perhaps substandard parts involved. Has any other owners/builders seen this behavior and, if so, have you applied a fix or simply tied the j-bar in the forward position? Any light on this would be appreciated before i jump into looking at one….

Sam
 

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Sam,

I've never seen or heard about such an issue, but there aren't that many Berks around here. I built mine strictly according to the instructions 15 years ago, and there's still enough friction in the mechanism to keep the Johnson bar in its respective position. No fix needed so far...

Michael
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Michael,

as did I…but the builders who show this issue i know to be careful and skilled builders as well…so although there not a lot of Berks out there I was curious if anyone else has seem this.

thanks for weighing in!
sam
 

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Sam,
Is there not a way to 'lock' the johnson bar lever in place?
I know on one Aster loco I have, I had to remove the lever mechanism and thought that I would just be able to slide the operating rod back and forth when needed.
I was surprised just how much force was involved when running, in that the rod kept shifting.
Cheers,
David Leech, Delta, Canada
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi David,

Miss seeing and running with you and Dan—that was long ago.

To the issue at hand…the long J bar rod to the Baker gear does "bow" out a bit and is perhaps the root cause of the issue… Not sure its a design problem (no problem on my old engine or Michael’s) as there should be perhaps more retainers to prevent the rod from "bowing" out. Again, the material for the connecting rod does appear to be less robust than perhaps it should be (allowing it to bend out rather than lock the valve as it should)..but, since it can’t be reliably replicated then who knows…i could try replacing the connecting rods (if i could actually get any..), and see if that does the trick or simply live with it as is.

thanks,
sam
 

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The Johnson bar on my Berkshire is very free moving when not connected to the RC servo. I assume it's like that to lighten the load on the servo. If I ever decide to run it under manual control, I'm sure I'll have to introduce more friction in the linkage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
pete,

I may end up doing something similar..sounds like no elegant solution here. if you have the issue and— it seems a few do—then either tie the bar forward like I’ve seen or create a way for it to stay in place-like you suggest.

thanks,
Sam
 
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