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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I saw an New Aristo Craft GP40 up close and personal at the BTS in the St Aubin's booth and thought that this might be a nice addition to the PCSRR stable. So I chose a UP yellow #622 and decided to try something new. There's been some noise about the plug and play into Aristo-Craft locomotives with QSI/G-Wire match up that will link with the Airwire 1300 and 9000 throttles.

Bottom line..... Yup, they work like a charm after I read the instructions and found that one of the cables wasn't quite right. If at first somethings not working. It's best to read the instructions, right????

Plugged a full 26.5 volts into the battery connection on the GP40 and polarity don't make no difference no how. If'n you got the polarity backwards, the thing will run in reverse as the throttle defaults to the green light. Just reverse the polarity and it runs the right direction with absolutely no release of magic smoke.


I was able to very easily program all the necessary CV's with my 1300 throttle and the unit is running on the layout as I type under full control.... We'll be doing some run time tests for comparison to our other locomotives.

The single GP40 is pulling a 9 pound battery car, 9 Bachmann box cars, 5 Great Trains metal road railers and a caboose without breaking into a sweat.

I'm pleased.... Thanks, Mark.
 

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Stan,

My guess on the power polarity is QSI uses the NMRA power standard, plus on the right rail & negative on the left rail & engine going forward, battery voltage has to be the same.. The QSI has a bridge rectifier so you will do no damage with the power reversed..

BulletBob
 

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If the thing runs backwards there is a CV you can reprogram to change it. Stan- I have the GP 40 and the same set up as you but haven't had much time to tweek it. Which Cv did you change and to what? What is your Speed Table like?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Posted By rpc7271 on 07/01/2008 12:17 PM
If the thing runs backwards there is a CV you can reprogram to change it. Stan- I have the GP 40 and the same set up as you but haven't had much time to tweek it. Which Cv did you change and to what? What is your Speed Table like?

Roger, it's much easier to switch the battery polarity. That way my 1300 throttle works the same with all my Airwire controlled locomotives. It's a very nice feature of the QSI board. The only CV's I changed were #1 for locomotive address and #29 set to "0" as recommended by Greg Elmassian. I haven't gotten any farther with programming CV's. The locomotive is running and responding just fine right now, so I'm not going any further as I need to learn a bit more about the system first... I get slight pulsing of the locomotive on very slow starts. The start speed is nice and slow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yerrite, Bob. That's a very nice safety feature. Especially for electronic klutzes....:):D/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif

A very interesting thing happened today.... I've been running the GP40 all morning. Started the runs at 7 am with a set of older gel cells that I wanted to test, discharge and bring back to full charge. The run time on this set was 3 hours pulling the battery car, 19 Bachmann box cars and a Delton caboose. At 10:15, I stuck another set of batteries in and started running again.

30 minutes or so into the run, the locomotive stopped and started talking to me.... Yes, started talking to me.... and no, I'm not loosing my mind whatever you might think...:):D/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/tongue.gif;)

It says...... quote.... "87 degrees C.... 87 degrees C.... 87 degrees C.... 82 degrees C.... 78 degrees C.... " Figured out that the motor driver in the QSI decoder and it's telling me that it's overheated and has shut down..... It was very nice of the little man in the decoder to shout out the upper limits of the operating temperature range.

87 degrees C is..... 188.6 degrees F

The air temperature was 103 F with intense sun at that time so converting 87 degrees C into F means that the decoder drivers shut down at... 87 degrees C which is a toasty 188.6 degrees F. No wonder it shut down.... The top of the locomotive was very hot to the touch.

Quick solution was to power down the decoder, repower it and crank the knob to go. It took off for about 3 minutes and shut down again. Power down, power back up, brought the train to the train shed, uncoupled 9 of the cars and set it out on a run again. This time it ran for 30 minutes before the "87 degrees C.... 87 degrees C.... 82 degrees C...." announcement.

Power down, power back up, brought the train into the train shed, uncoupled all cars except caboose, ran the locomotive, battery car and caboose back out on the mainline and it's been running for the last 40 minutes... HOWEVER....... it clouded over, temperature dropped to 98. The top of the locomotive is not as warm (hot) as it was.

I think the solution will be to provide more air movement around the decoder. I'll need ot do some investigating for that to happen. I have had similar overheating problems with the 27 Mhz TE in a reefer battery car. Solved that by opening the ice hatches on both ends to allow the breeze to flow through the car and over the receiver.

Ah, the black magic and smoke and mirrors of the electronic R/C age..... Ain't it phun...... :):D:cool:/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/satisfied.gif

REMEMBER................. The Proverb of the day....

These are just toys.....
 

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Stan,

Might look into a small computer fan, 12 volts & low current draw.. Have fun cutting the holes for the air to get through..

BulletBob
 

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If you change the speed table you can get rid of that pulsing at startup. I tweaked my speed table just a bit and it helped but it needs more tweaking. I'm like you and very new to the DCC thing so I am making adjustments very slowly. I am hoping to get a DCC group in the club and hopefully someone else knows more about it than me. It would be nice if there was more shared info about DCC settings in these forums (more like try setting CVxx to YY). I've got QSI's Quantum programer that works on the computer. The nice thing about it is that you create a computer file for each loco. If you have duplicate locos and want them all set the same you just use the same file. Why did you set CV 29 to 0? I set mine to 12. The info I got on that is to use the table on the bottom of the QWire instruction sheet for a standard speed table OR set CV 29 to 12 or 13 (depending on which direction the loco is set at) for a custom speed table (which is what I am using in the GP 40). I just finished a QSI install on a U25-B last night with the CV 29 set to 2 per the instructions. There is a function, I forget which it is maybe button 11 or 12 that when standing still the decoder will "talk" the decoder address and when moving will "talk' the loco speed. Nice to play with. With it 115 degrees outside right now I can't run much of anything outside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for that input, Roger. I'll go out and change CV 29 and see what happens. Yes, 115 even in Phoenix is hot.... /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif

It dropped to 99 here and the sun came back out. Train is still running with just the battery car and caboose.
 

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I too would like to see a repository of CV settings for various locomotives.

In addition to the table included with the GWire, I've found the following webpage helpful when setting CV29: http://www.tonystrains.com/technews/cv29-lookup.htm

I've tried the Quantum Programmer, but haven't been able to get it to work. I currently use my NCE system in Ops Mode to change CVs before I install the GWire. Has anyone used DecoderPro successfully with their DCC system?

Bert
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
An update on the of testing...... :):)

Started the day at 8 with a 12 volt 4.5 amp hour and a 6 volt 4.5 amp hour battery configuration to make 18 volts. Pushed "go" and the locomotive started nicely pulling the battery car, 19 box cars and caboose. Air temperature was 80 degrees at the start of the run. 1 1/2 hours later, the train stopped dead. No sound, no overheating annoucement, no nuttin'...

So I "dedueced".. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/blush.gif that the poly fuse worked. Air temperature was now 95 degrees with full sun.

Powered it down and let 'er set fer a few minutes, powered it back up, sound came on, pushed "go" and away she went. (For another 10 minutes) Then shut down again. No sound, no overheating annoucement, no nuttin'...

Powered it down and let 'er set fer a few minutes, powered it back up, sound came on, pushed "go" and away she went. (For another 20 minutes) Then shut down again. No sound, no overheating annoucement, no nuttin'...

Powered it down and let 'er set fer a few minutes, powered it back up, sound came on, pushed "go" and she went right back to the train shed to check the batteries. Batteries tested 90% charged so I again "dedueced" that it didn't like 18 volts as well as 24 volts. Put the two 12's back in, powered it up, sound came on, pushed "go" and away she went pulling the battery car, 19 box cars and caboose.

It ran for 30 minutes and shut down..... Only this time it was talking to me again. "87 decrees C.... 87 degreess..... etc". Air temperature now 100 degrees with full sun.

Powered 'er down and let 'er set fer a few minutes, powered it back up, sound came on, pushed "go" and she went right back to the train shed to park some cars. Took all the cars off except a dummy RS-3, the battery car, an extra box car and the caboose. Sent it back out on the main line and it ran for a hour with that consist when it shut down again. The locomotive was responding with the overheated announcement but this time it was "90 degrees C". Air Temp now 103 degrees.

After a quick power down/power up, it started up at so we could run it to a shaded area. We're just letting it sit there in the shade for a while.

Observations and "conclusions"..... :)

This is one fine looking, well designed, smooth running, quiet, strong pulling locomotive. It's easy on batteries and very responsive to the Airwire 1300 throttle. It would be fun to MU this with another GP40 and pull a very long world record train. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif:cool::D (pun)

When running in 100 plus temperatures with full sunshine, /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/whistling.gif

1) I'll need to put a fan on the decoder and/or
2) drill some holes to allow air to flow around the decoder and exhaust the heat.
3) The decoder in this locomotive likes 24 volts. The locomotive seemed to run smoother with 24 volts.

****** Added just over an hour and a half after the above report.

It's starting to cloud up with the air temperature dropped to 95. Train started back up and has been running for an hour without incident except for another micro burst./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I stopped by Radio Shack this afternoon and purchased 2 of their 273-240 12 volt Micro Fans..... They have a very low current draw (.13 amp).



I bought 2 so I can wire them in series, one input and one exhaust and run them straight off the 24 volt battery input. If I need just one, I'll use a 7812 voltage regulator to drop the 24 to 12. At least that's my thought....

Yes, with air temperatures over 100 degrees in full sun, there is a definate possibiltiy that it will over heat the motor drivers and stop. However, the decoder is still operating as it's giving the voice temperature announcements.

It has occurred to me that the shut down mode in extreme temperatures could be a point for a negative argument. I certainly haven't made these reports to indicate anything of that nature.

If we aren't able to run our trains (toys) when the weather is too hot because of some limitations, is it any different that having 12 inches of snow on the track, freezing temperatures and wind chills at -30 degrees. :) :) It difficlut to run trains then as well. :D:D:)/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/wow.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Happy 4th of July....

I took most of the day lazily installing 2 cooling fans in the GP40. One would blow over the decoder and the other would be an exhaust fan. Started by laying out all the parts to see what was going to fit where. The smoke unit was removed which provided a very nice opening for the exhaust fan. The smoke unit power plug and on/off switch now can be used for the fans. I wanted to pick up power from the main battery supply and found that the input to the smoke unit is the full battery voltage so we had our 24 volts right there in the smoke unit wiring.

All the parts laid out to start the work... Fans with the mounts. The fan itself was a perfect 1 1/2 inches so an inch and a half Forestner bit did the job right nicely.



Then mounted, ready for installation. The label determines the direction of flow.



The exhaust fan was installed first followed by the "intake".





Both fans mounted and ready....



The top of the locomotive was labeled for the new functions also showing the exhaust fan, program switch added and the fan on/off control.



I can't give a complete report on the effectiveness of the fans as the maximum air temperature today was 88 and we had cloud cover and thunderstorms in the area most of the day. However, after the installation process, I ran the locomotive for about 20 minutes with the fans off. When I stopped it, pulled the cover and turned the fans on. I held my hand over the exhaust and could feel the heat that was pulled from the interior. When I put the cover back on, the decorative fan on the top of the locomotive was spinning. Put the 10 car consist back on and ran for more than an hour without a hitch.

The forecast for the next few days will be in the high 90's so we should be able to do a complete test.

The day ended with trains still running and a beautiful rainbow just over the back 40...

 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hi Dan.... Yes, the stock car is a solution for plenty of ventilation when installing all the R/C and battery stuff in a follow car. However, in this situation, all we have in the battery car is the batteries. The electronics are in the enclosed shell of the locomotive. The batteries in the battery car remain cool to warm and are not effected adversely by the heat.

The decoder has been designed to easily plug directly into the socket on the Aristo Craft circuit board. It's a snap to install. Just line the pins up with the socket, push it in, connect the G-wire receiver cables properly and it's done; ready to receive the signals from the Airwire transmitter. Flip the battery/track switch to "battery", plug in a battery to the plug and the back of the locomotive and you're ready to address the locomotive. (I've found that the decoder likes 24 volt batteries and is rated up to 35 volts)

Because the circuit board and decoder sit just under (about 3/4 of an inch) the very top of the locomotive shell and there is little ventilation for airflow, heat builds up inside the shell and can't escape. It runs just fine when temperatures are below 100 and/or the sun isn't beating down on the top of the shell. We're at 5000 feet altitude and the sun gets real intense from noon to 3 o'clock. When the decoder shuts the motor drivers down, it is still functioning by announcing that the decoder temperature is 87 degrees C. That's 188.6 degrees F. That's hot, don'tcha know.

By removing the smoke unit, installing one fan as exhaust in the opening left from smoke unit and other to move air over the decoder, my hope is that it will keep the decoder from overheating when the air temperature exceed 100 degrees F with intense sun. Since the installation of the fans has been completed, we haven't had mid day temperatures over 88.... /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/blush.gif

I ran all day yesterday with the fans off and not one shut down... :):):)

Have I mentioned that "these are just toys" /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/satisfied.gif
 

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Stan, did you find a polyfuse, or other "circuit breaker" on the main Aristo board? (or somewhere in the wiring to the trucks?)

I'm trying to confirm why it cut out on you (no temp announcement) if you did not have one on your QSI.

On the mikado, they used a different component, it was a flat pack, like a TO-220 transistor case, but only 2 leads and was lying on some back and forth zig zags of copper (to transmit heat).

Regards, Greg
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Posted By Greg Elmassian on 07/06/2008 8:45 AM
Stan, did you find a polyfuse, or other "circuit breaker" on the main Aristo board? (or somewhere in the wiring to the trucks?)
I'm trying to confirm why it cut out on you (no temp announcement) if you did not have one on your QSI.
On the mikado, they used a different component, it was a flat pack, like a TO-220 transistor case, but only 2 leads and was lying on some back and forth zig zags of copper (to transmit heat).
Regards, Greg


Greg... I believe there are components that look like poly fuses on the lower pickup board near the battery plug input solder connection. I just remember them from observation and not really checking them out. I was more concentrated on the decoder. If I recall, there might have been 2 of them in that position quite close together. The next time I pull the shell, I check more carefully.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The fans really work. They work wonderfully

Our forecast temperatures this afternoon were to be in the mid 90's so I decided to run some tests. Put the GP40 and the dummy RS-3 on the outer main with a 20 car consist plus one 9 pound battery car and caboose. Started the run at 9:30 without the fans.

The train ran normally for an hour and 15 minutes, then I heard a "toot" and the train stopped. Air temperature was 96 degrees with full sun. The "87 degrees C" announcement started. 188.6 degrees F. I went to the train turned the fans on. Immediately the announcement went to 85 degrees C.

Every 15 seconds or so, the announcement was made and with each announcement the temperature dropped at least 5 degrees C. After 2 minutes, the announcement repeatedly stayed at 65 decgrees C. 149 degrees F.

The fans brought the temperature down 40 degrees F in 2 minutes.

I turned the unit off and then back on to reset the decoder, pushed go, the locomotive proceeded forward and ran another 2 1/2 hours before slowing for new batteries. The air temperature had risen to 100 with full sun by then. The fans have been on during this time of running.

After a change of batteries over an hour ago, the train is now ruunning without incident. Air temperatures range 98-102 with full sun and intermittent clouds.

Is one test enough to make a conclusion?!?!?!?!?!?! I think so....

The GP40, QSI decoder and G-wire receiver will run in extreme (hot) temperatures with the fans running.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Posted By 3lphill on 07/09/2008 2:24 PM
Stan,
What kind of batteries do you use, and what do you charge them with?

Hi Phillip...
I've used the 12 volt 5 amp hour batteries for many years. Yes, they're big, they're heavy but they're inexpensive, readily available at my local battery store, they're fast charging and easy to charge.



I series wire them to make 24 volts and feed my Aristo Craft 10 trackside Train Engineers that are mounted in box cars. I also am using them at 24 volts to power specially wired Airwire decoders and the GP40. The QSI decoder likes higher voltage.

Here's just one supplier from the Internet...

12 Volt Power Sonic Battery

I use an inexpensive 12 volt battery charger that I get at Wal-Mart for under $20. I have 10 sets of batteries and 6 chargers which allows me to run big trains all day long without stopping except to change batteries.

With the new GP40/QSI combination, I've getting 3-4 hours of continuous run time. Other locomotives and consists can run up to 6 hours or more.
 
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