2/13/08: The Brown truck is supposed to arrive today.. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif
Nick S, did you get my email? Thanks to GregE. for all the good info he is providing about the K4 on his website.
edited: 1:32PM ...THE K4 ARRIVED ! ! ! Unpacked it ... WOW!. Lubed it per instructions. Couldn't wait ! Took it out to inner loop [track power capable], gave the track a cursory rub with the sheet-rock-cleaner-on-a-stick [loop hasn't been used with track power since september], mostly to insure that debris wasn't on the track. Placed the K-4, hooked up the MRC 10A transformer, and..........
*to be continued with pictures later tonight.
Sorry for the delay, but I have to get ready and go teach an evening class.
First a word about self-preservation: This is not a good time of year to wear the good sneakers out to the layout and then come into the house. Wifey amazingly develops the ability to lower her brow all the way down to her chin. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crazy.gif
I got the K4. It was packed extremely well.
The loco packing comes with a metal framed, wood bottomed carrier that it is held down to with packaging tape.
The instructions that come with it detail lubrication points to be oiled prior to operation. The detail all over this engine and tender are outstanding. The finish is without flaw that I found.
Although I told GregE. that it would be several days before I tried to run it, I COULDN"T WAIT ! /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif
The K4 was placed on the inner loop that is track power capable, a quick cleanup was done on the rails, the MRC 10A transformer was hooked up, and she ran.
I had derails by the front truck, each of the first four loops made. However, they were at exactly the same spot. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/wow.gif The spot was one of the few places on the layout that still use ballast fill roadbed, and it was on a curve that transitions downhill. Some quick work on the roadbed and there were no more mishaps.
The K4 ran well, strong, and smooth. The power load required was similiar to my LGB Mikado.
The possibilities for a smoke unit are MTH, Aristo SD45, USA , and TAS. I already have the Aristo and USA units. I like what I have been reading about the TAS, but its a little expensive, considering how much I've already spent. I'll let you know what happens. I may try out the USA unit first.
Jerry, and Greg,
Thanks for the replies. I am like a kid with a new toy!
I had planned on waiting until more pics could be taken outdoors. Right now, the weather is not cooperating. Do you want "table-top" pictures of detail? No video will be made until smoke and sound are installed, unless you are just wanting video of the driver side-rod action taken from test rollers.
Greg E. alerted me to a problem in the K-4 pilot truck which can contribute to derails. He has this fix documented at his website found at www.elmassian.com/index.php under the "Misc. info/tips" link.
The shoulder bolt that holds the pilot truck has a sharp lower edge on the head, which can gouge into the sliding surface, causing a bind and subsequent derail. The fix, is to
1. remove the truck,
2. use the bolt head to remove all paint from the sliding area,
3. remove the sharp edge by sanding/filing the backside of the bolt head while chucked in a drill,
4. Lube area with moly or graphite grease,
5. reassemble with washer and spring.
Greg also suggests placing three #4 washers around the threaded portion of the shoulder bolt to increase possible downward travel.
While performing the above, I discovered another issue with the shoulder bolt that required correction.
The edges of the slider slot had burrs on them, causing the bolt to bind in the middle and at the extremes of movement. I filed down the slot as shown in the pictures.
Now the pilot moves much smoother throughout its travel, without binding.
Re-assembled Pilot truck.
This last pic is for those interested in seeing the underside of the K-4. The track pickup wires are easily seen.
Congratulations on your new K-4 order, Larry. The K-4 ran continuously on track power for about 3.5 hours. We had a great day ourdoors with the grandkids playing in the yard while the train was running.
Out of curriosity, I checked the weight of the loco and tender.
Several pictures were taken, but sadly weren't good enough to post.
Work has started on converting the K-4 to RC/DC/DCC operation.
First step was to remove the boiler. I used the guidelines in GregE's website to ease removal.
Following suggestions in GregE's site for re-wiring the loco so that all twelve wires:
2-track pickup, 2-motor power, 2-chuff, 2-classification lights, 2-headlight, 2-smoke, wires were connected/left-connected to the plug between the loco and tender. I created the below diagram to help me track wires all the way back to the pcb in the tender.I discovered that sometimes, wires reversed colors on the loco/tender sides of the plugs as well as Accucraft often used the black wire of a pair for the positive, instead of the usual negative.
Much to my disgust, I also later discovered that there was a faulty trace on the loco/tender plug PCB. Note the location and fix for the problem shown in the picture.
I spent well more than an hour trying to track where the open connection was for the smoke circuit. After checking all wires in the loco and tender with an Ohm meter, the plug was the last place I checked. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/angry.gif
More pictures of conversion to come in the near future.
Smoke unit installed.
An Aristo SD45 smoke unit was installed into the smoke box of the K-4. The connecting tube between the stack and the smoke unit is a piece of flexable 3/8in ID auto transmission fluid hose. It should handle both the heat and oil. The tube was sealed on both ends with blue high heat silicone. A scrap piece of plastic was cut to 3/4in x 2-5/8 and wedged to support the smoke unit. The plastic strip was hot glued to the boiler as an extra precaution.
The unit was tested with the running gear on rollers. It puts out a nice smoke plume, which can be run along with the lights and standing sounds without movement. The smoke starts before the loco starts moving. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/tongue.gif" border=0>
Additional disassembly/reassembly pictures for the K-4.
A small set of pliers is almost essential to replace the tiny slot screws and bolts for reassembly. Some of the hex head bolts are so short that they go too far up into the hex driver to start the threads.
Pictures of some of the parts that need to be removed prior to taking the boiler off. Reassembly involves reverse order.
More pictures to come.
BTW, I had a long conversation with Cliff, from Tech Support at Accucraft, about some of the items mentioned earlier in this thread. He was very supportive and is a great representative for the company.
I am afraid you have misunderstood.....
1] There were only two items that were problems: the pcb [which would not have shown up in stock form] and the pilot truck.
2] I disassembled the loco to rewire for use with a QSI/Gwire DCC decoder that offered individual lighting, smoke, horn, bell, and running controls, with battery power, track power, or DCC track powered. The loco ran great [except for the pilot problem] right out of the box, using DC. If I were content to use an Aristo TE in the tender without the additional controls, the boiler would not have needed to be removed. When I converted an LGB Mikado to battery power, using an Aristo TE, it was no less work to remove the boiler than on the K-4.
Unless Susie keeps me so busy with "Honeydos" tonight that I can't finish getting the tender buttoned up, I will be bringing it. I still need to adjust some CV values on the QSI. I did an antenna test run outside today. Here are a couple of pictures of how the smoke unit is performing.
It is nice to be able to ring the bell, blow the horn, or blow-off steam with the controller buttons.
A picture of the K-4 at David McLain's open house on April 19th.
PowerPlug closeup with view of two back screws that hold the boiler in place.
Underside of cab showing coupler and screws holding power plug in place. Mine came out and had to be replaced.
Picture of sheet used to organize teardown. Small parts are stuck to double sticky tape and labeled:
Hopefully, tomorrow pictures of the tender installation will be posted.
As seen in the picture above, I installed a QSI/Gwire/Magnum in the K-4. After several frustrating test runs and multiple calls to Dave G., Bob G., and Greg E.,I did an AMP test on the K4 [at Dave's suggestion].
With the loco tied to a section of track, the K4 was connected to an Aristo TE w/ 24v gel cell batteries. Power was ramped up until wheel slip began. It required 4A to start wheel slip. Immediately, the amps would drop to 2A while slipping. Unfortunately, the QSI is only rated for 2.5A. This would explain why the loco was unable to start while on a grade with a load.
I will next try out an RCS unit and Phoenix 2k2 installed sequentially. Dave Goodson has been very helpful in all aspects of the prospective new install. My biggest concern is range with the brass tender and loco.
Today I installed the RCS 9amp unit in the tender of the K-4.
It's circling the layout now.
I Coiled the antenna in a circle under the coal load. Reception is a little shorter than with the antenna lying on top of the tender. Next trial is to connect the antenna to one side of the tender truck, using the rails for the antenna.
With this setup, it will dead start the 12 cars from standing on the 5% grade, 12ft curve. It would not do that before. Acceleration is very smooth and low speed control is excellent. Top speed with the 18.5V li-on battery used was adequate. Although these locos were designed to run fast, on my layout with its grades and curves, a scale 40-50mph should be about max.
The next stage will be to install the 2k2 Phoenix sound card and a relocated speaker [on order from Jon Bleise]. I will post pictures of the new install when completed.
My conclusion on the QSI is that its rating of 2.5A was just insufficient for the K4 under load.