G Scale Model Train Forum banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
65 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't think I am the only one who has complained of the poor electrical pickup of traditional DC power and in particular the Bachmann Annie. I've searched the forums for the past 2+ years and tried all the traditional fixes, frequent wheel and track cleaning mostly. These worked initially but I always feel back to the herky jerky running with the flickering headlight indicating the track to wheel electrical pickups were poor.

After running a little LGB 0-4-0 locomotive around the outdoor stainless steel track forever without wheel or track cleaning I figured the slider pickups on the LGB's must be the answer!
Since the future of LGB is unknown I didn't want to sink money into LGB's and it seemed USA trains were the only other manufacturer incorporating slider pickups I set out to build my own to attach to my inexpensive few year old Bachmann 10 wheeler.

By using some thin strip brass, a mini torch to solder and some trial and error I think I've finally come up with a solution to fit the Bachmann's with slider pickups. Now I know some of you may feel the extra drag is too much to deal with or the look of these sliders close up is unacceptable and you are certainly entitled to your opinions. However, I would rather see trains running and running instead of stopping every 30 minutes to be cleaned.

Here are a few pictures of what, so far, has worked. Now this is still a work in progress. I will update this post as I run more and come across any problems or solutions.

I will tell you this though....After the usual wipe down of the Aristo SS track and setting on the Annie she ran smoothly with no headlight flickering for about 45 minutes straight before I shut it down. I will continue to test and post updates if this helps anyone out there in trainland.








 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,491 Posts
Great idea. Are the screws "nutted" under the cover or just tapped into the plastic? Do they clear the Aristo Rerailer?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
65 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Todd!

The screws are just tapped into the plastic body. And I couldn't answer the questions about the Aristo rerailer. Sorry.

Most of the trial and error on this was trying to find out how thick of brass strip to use so that it has some 'spring' to it but wont' twist and crumple if the slider hits some major foreign object. Started out with .005 thickness but it was too frail.

Paul H.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,167 Posts
Sticking a couple of Aristo ball bearing wheel sets with pick ups in the tender would have been easier and put far less drag on the loco.

-Brian
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
65 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That reminds me....
adding pickups to the tender was the 3rd mostly suggested solution to bad pickup. I figured it was just adding another set of wheels to clean when they no longer pickup power.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
712 Posts
what size brass did you deside on ........

also I would tin the ends of the wires and maybe coat the wire and screw head with a little rubber cement or rtv to seal it from water and corrosion .....
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
65 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I believe the final size thickness of brass I used for both the slider and the "slider arm" was .010

It was a bit of a trial and error process and I still think the arms are a bit too thick and not as "springy" as I'd prefer. But so far so good. Ran the old Big Hauler this weekend and a bit more this afternoon and it worked out well. Did stop once for a little slider wipe down and of course if you clean the wheels too it makes things great. I use the Aristo Train Engineer and the loco starts, stops, slows and reverses directions nicely so far.

Still testing and running to see what may go wrong. But like I say it is surely an improvement to the frustrations I've had with this loco in the past.

 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
60 Posts
Try Phosphor Bronze. It has far more spring to it. If you can't find it locally Micro-Mark has sheets of it. It is only .006 thick but you can still solder a thicker brass slider to it.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,434 Posts
As I recall from my small slot car days they used a nickel silver plated pickup shoe? The larger slot cars used a braided material though?

Chas
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
65 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Kevin, Thanks for the suggestion on the MicroMark phosphor bronze. The photo on the sight looks just what I was designing! Other than being a bit thinner than the .010 that I used does the phosphor bronze provide BETTER conductivity than just the brass that I used to fabricate these sliders?

Paul H
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,742 Posts
I don't want to sound too negative, but are you sure you have identified the root cause of the problem with the bachmann engine power pick up?

I ask because many people I know have removed the sliders from the LGB engines (specifically the engines with more than two axles) and their power pickup via the wheels only (no sliders) is just as good as with the original with the sliders.

Knut
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,491 Posts
Posted By hans911 on 10/29/2008 1:33 PM
Kevin, Thanks for the suggestion on the MicroMark phosphor bronze. The photo on the sight looks just what I was designing! Other than being a bit thinner than the .010 that I used does the phosphor bronze provide BETTER conductivity than just the brass that I used to fabricate these sliders?

Paul H


The conductivity of the short springy piece above the "slider" is not an issue at all..., it's too short to be of consequence. Brass, bronze, copper, silver, or gold would not make a measureable (using ordinary equipment) difference in conductivity.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
65 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
KRS, In my experience this is what I've observed...
My Bachman uses cast wheels that tend to pit and become dirty quickly for whatever reason I can't technically explain (maybe arcing). LGB and others evidently use a machined wheel that does not seem to become dirty and less conductive as quickly as the Bachmann. Now I am not sure if the higher end Bachmans i.e. Annie or Spectrums use machined wheels. It's my opinion, and some of the other more technical types may give you a reason, that machined wheels conduct better for longer.

My little LGB with both machined wheels AND sliders is nearly bullet proof except for absolutely filthy track.

This is why I added sliders to the the Bachmann. Bigger contact area and brass conductivity I figured would improve things and so far it appears to have done so.

Paul H
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,491 Posts
Posted By hans911 on 10/29/2008 5:49 PM
KRS, In my experience this is what I've observed...
My Bachman uses cast wheels that tend to pit and become dirty quickly for whatever reason I can't technically explain (maybe arcing). LGB and others evidently use a machined wheel that does not seem to become dirty and less conductive as quickly as the Bachmann. Now I am not sure if the higher end Bachmans i.e. Annie or Spectrums use machined wheels. It's my opinion, and some of the other more technical types may give you a reason, that machined wheels conduct better for longer.

My little LGB with both machined wheels AND sliders is nearly bullet proof except for absolutely filthy track.

This is why I added sliders to the the Bachmann. Bigger contact area and brass conductivity I figured would improve things and so far it appears to have done so.

Paul H



I think it goes farther than that. Not only do the wheel "tires" get "cruddy" because of poor casting/plating, but the portion of the wheel that contacts the actual pickup that takes the electricity to the motor is also suspect (and typically has failed on my B'manns). So there are two "wheel points" to fail. The slider conducts the electricty directly from the track to the motor avoiding all of these other "friction" contacts and their pitfalls.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
65 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Todd,
Well put. I figured I wasn't too far off. Thanks for the additional information. Is it your experience that machined wheels conduct better and longer between cleanings than do the inexpensive cast ones?

Paul H
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,491 Posts
Posted By hans911 on 10/29/2008 9:45 PM
Todd,
Well put. I figured I wasn't too far off. Thanks for the additional information. Is it your experience that machined wheels conduct better and longer between cleanings than do the inexpensive cast ones?

Paul H



Seems to be. And USA wheels do better than AristoCraft wheels for me.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,043 Posts
When adding wheel pick ups to my tenders or trailing cars behind diesels, I find the wheels do not get dirty as more pick up points means less arcing and all wheels perform better.

This is true for the LGB powered tenders, cars with the brush type pick ups.

I was able to add a single axle brush pick up to my 2-4-0 LGB tender (69232 version).
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top