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Discussion Starter #1
The video linked is the PART 1 of a video documented install of Phoenix P9 sound and RC/battery in a USAT-F3-AB.
This video and others can also be found on Bob Grosh's video channel at http://www.mogulus.com/theally

Jim Carter
 

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Nice video, but get rid of the background noise, is that a TV or live people?

Some (nit picky) details, but hopefully helpful:

1. not soundbox, but fuel tank, might note that it goes back on only one way.
2. you can slice off the hose mounting tangs to not get in the way of the chassis removal. You should glue them on, they always fall off.
3. Plugs are called "JST", only Aristo calls them "mu style" plugs, and even that is a misnomer.
4. No, no reverse polarity in wiring between trucks, they are interchangable and electrically identical. The reversing is done on the pcb.
5. I would add tips on how to remove all the screws that hold the shell, and how to get out tough ones... typical problem
6. the chassis is not very strong when it is not fastened to the shell, I would recommend a couple of strips of metal angle on the chassis if you intend to leave the shell loose.

All in all, very helpful Jim, you are a movie mogul!

Regards, Greg
 

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In response to a question on chat, this video and narration were filmed live action while I was working on the loco. The intent was to go through the steps in preparing the loco for installation of DCC or RC systems as if I were talking to someone in the room with me. The talking in the video is not a voice over. Because of that, it was not possible to remove the TV sound in the background after the video had been downloaded to the computer.

The connectors do have the product name of JST connectors. I had always known and refered to them as MU plugs or two-pin connectors. When using these connectors, a certain degree of attention and care is required. I have two batches of them from different suppliers. The red and black wire positions are reversed between the two batches of connectors.

The reversal of polarity for the red and black wires coming from and going to the two motors is a result of the blocks being installed facing opposite directions. Care needs to be taken so as not to create a dead short [been there, done that on an older Aristo FA -same situation].

The primary screw that is difficult to deal with in removing the chasis from the shell was not pictured in the video. It is located in front of the forward motor, centered on the loco. It is very close to the end of the motor [pilot end] which makes it difficult to remove.

The replacement of the gas tank/speaker shell, greatly increases the rigidity of the chasis floor. Greg's suggestion to add a metal support is good and is being considered.
The hose mounting tangs will be shortened now that they are removed, before re-installation. While the floor is in place, only one tang can be seen on each side. They are difficult to access with a cutter or saw with the floor in place.

Future:
The P9 board and speaker will be placed in the gas tank. The unit has been pretested already.
The loco will be prewired with using the necessary bridge rectifier, filter cap, DPDT switch, and connectors so that the RC unit [RCS, Airwire, or QSI-w/o P9] could be easily connected. As stated in the video, the goal is to be able to choose between constant track power w/RC control, or RC with interchangable battery power for both the A and B units.

Part two hopefully will be posted here in a few days.

I am presenting a clinic on Airwire, RCS, and TE, here in Wichita, KS, for Garden Railway Gizmos next Friday, 2/28/09. Marc Horovitz of Garden Railways Magazine, will be the featured speaker at the all day seminar. To have the F3s operational prior to the clinic is the target.

Jim Carter
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Work is progressing slowly but steadily on the F3. A wiring harness was built to accomodate both battery and track power input. The green plug is for a battery pack with a single plug. The two white plugs are used when two lower voltage battery packs are used in series.



The Phoenix P9 sound system was placed in the F3 gas tank. Holes were drilled in the chasis to place the COMPUTER INTERFACE, and the VOLUME TOGGLE SWITCH. A third hole was drilled to pass the 4-wire sounds trigger ribbon and the pos/neg power inputs which will attach to the throttle on top of the chasis.



A jumper to MU the F3-B unit was built and installed through the pedistal for the rear coupler. The jumper will connect to the output of the throttle.

Final preliminary wiring will be hopefully installed tomorrow, connecting the TRACK pickups to the bridge rectifier/Cap-filter, and then to the Red/white wires on the harness pictured above. The next step following is to install the throttle/receiver.

JimC.
 

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Today the Track power side of the installation was completed. A 12A 600V Bridge Rectifier with 1000uFd 35v Capacitor and 1W-10Ohm resistor were used to make the track power input safe for the RC units. This install was done in a manner that would allow the installation of RCS [shown], Airwire, or QSI.



The receiver unit will be placed on the back of the cab wall. and be strung along the roof on the loco. A jumper was run to the back of the loco to MU to the F3B unit.



A first run test on the outside layout gave reliable reception at about 48ft [ 3/4 the length of layout ]. An AZARR antenna will be installed which should significantly increase distance. Tony W, Bob G, and George S. have been very helpful while working on the electronics.

Jim C.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
UPDATE:

The track power operation choice using the RCS remote control system worked very well in a preliminary test today.

Work has begun on the F3-B unit, modifying it to work powered from MU plugs [JST] to the F3-A. Initially, the track pickups in the F3B will not be used unless trials determine that the pickups on both locos are needed [ Don't want to use 4-pin plug unless necessary]. The F3B will run with power from the MU jumper input to the USA circuit board in a manner similiar to that used in the F3A. Pictures and video will be added as work progresses.

In contrast to the F3A, which has 9 chassis attachment screws, the F3B has 8 screws; 4 on each side. The gas tank must be removed [as in the F3A] to access 4 of the screws.

Additional pictures of the chasis mount screw locations may be found in Greg Elmassian's site at Greg's F3 disassembly page .

Jim Carter
 

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I'll be interested to see how your RCS unit works on track power. I know it's not Tony's typical recommendation, but it should work fine.

Also, I will improve my F3 page, all comments and suggestions are welcome, I know it needs pictures of the shell off.

Regards, Greg
 

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Hi Greg.

At one stage many years ago I did offer a small pcb that did exactly what Jim has done to polarise and filter track power, thus providing a constant source of filtered DC voltage from any sort of track voltage. I sold about three of them and concluded that there was little demand for such methods. I simply deleted them from the list.
There is no real reason why an RCS/EVO ESC will not work on constant track voltage as a power source for the ESC's. One proviso is a special de-coupling capacitor MUST be inserted in series with the antenna wire IF the antenna wires is hooked to the track.
If PWM is being used as the constant track voltage superior range can be achieved if the antenna wire is kept well above the track .
I have been in touch with Jim to advise where the RCS metal cased receiver is best placed if an AZARR antenna is being used.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Another UPDATE:

The F3-B was modified to run with power from the F3-A [through RC throttle - either battery or track power].

A JST "MU" plug and jumper was installed to deliver power directly from the throttle output to the circuit board of the F3B.



The Pickup plug from the rear motor block was disconnected.



The MU jumper was connected to the JST plug of Pickup #1. A 3mm Warm White LED from a string of Christmas lights was soldered into the cablight sockets, through a 1000 Ohm resister in series to light the interior of the B-unit during night running. The light switch on the underside of the chasis turns the light on or off during forward motion.



After making the above connections, a [laid on the side] test to make sure that both the F3-A and B unit motors were rotating the same direction. The direction of travel was the same for both on the first try [ I got lucky??? ].

The locos were field tested on the outdoor layout. I am pleased with how they run. Tomorrow, Marc Horowitz of GR magazine will be in Wichita and will be visiting the HedgeApple - RioGram RR along with a couple of other layouts. I had to have the equipment ready to pull my new [ from Santa] set of DRGW Heavyweights.

Hopefully in the next few days, Part 2 of the video headlining this thread will be completed.

I sincerely hope that something of interest or a useful idea has been in this thread that might help others that are ready to convert a USA loco to self contained RC operation.

JimC.
 

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The original antenna was replaced with an Azarr. Reliable reception distance was increased to 87ft. Now I can sit on my back deck and operate the trains anywhere on the layout .




JimC.
 

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Fantastic Jim!! I have followed this thread with interest since we talked at the seminar on Sat. and I must say that I am thoroughly impressed! I wish I could have stayed for your presentation but I was short on time and had to be back in Salina. I'm looking forward to seeing your units run! Your experiments are definitely on the cutting edge here in the Wichita area!
 
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