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Discussion Starter #1
This may be the first non-MTH G scale two axle diesel running under DCS anywhere, it's definately my first one.  Just got the upgrade completed and it runs great.  Front motor has the same problem as one on my Mallet where it needs a little more power to get moving... that's why it's a tad jerky at 1 SMPH.  Jason has plans to swap it out.

This is also the first engine I've rigged up the protocouplers as it looked like they might actually be able to fit on correctly without a lot of modifications.

Should also note the extra ditch lights have been left out loose as he has plans to install them later.

www.rayman4449.dynip.com/Jason_Hatala_GP-38-2_Video1_2100kbs.wmv - 44mb
www.rayman4449.dynip.com/Jason_Hatala_GP-38-2_Video1_1000kbs.wmv - 21mb
www.rayman4449.dynip.com/Jason_Hatala_GP-38-2_Video1_150kbs.wmv - 3mb
 
www.rayman4449.dynip.com/Jason_Hatala_GP-38-2_Video2_2100kbs.wmv - 46mb
www.rayman4449.dynip.com/Jason_Hatala_GP-38-2_Video2_1000kbs.wmv - 22mb
www.rayman4449.dynip.com/Jason_Hatala_GP-38-2_Video2_150kbs.wmv - 3mb


Raymond 
 
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proto couplers? i did not know they had them uuuuooo ray i see a change coming for the macs and the gp 30/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif ps macs are on sale with free ship from southeast trains....
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks and you are very welcome.  Seeing the finished product I've very very pleased.  On a new engine like this when you start you're not even sure it can be done.  One thing is for sure now, assuming all USA Trains 2 axle truck blocks are like this one and the three axles are all the same, I should be able to convert ANY USA Trains diesel to DCS.  This has been great news!  The 2 USA blocks are excellent candidates for conversion for partly the reason that they have sliders.  I've found that the sliders are benefitial in helping to ensure you don't have power pickup issues as far as high resistance points as I've recently seen on a Mallet and Dash-9 that were sent to me for conversion.   If you plan to convert an engine, while it's not required, I recommend folks keep the sliders. (I know some don't like them, but they don't bother me and having an engine run right and reliably is more important than the little bit of asthetics for me.)

Hey Nick:  I've checked every engine I've ever done and the GP38 is the first that could reasonably have them added.  The SD70s are (in my opinion) not good candidates as they have a coupler sticking through a thin slot.  It would require alot of cutting open the front to get it in and that is not something I personally am willing to do on someone elses engine.   I'll do the electronics and mechanical but affecting asthetics of the engine is a barrier I don't like to cross.  One person's idea  of a good job is not the same as anothers and you botch that kind of work and the model is ruined for that person.  I will leave it totally up to you on if you want me to send them inside the engine and can let you look at installing.  It was the same by the way on the steamers, these couplers are long and on normal non-MTH engines stick out too far. (my opinion)  That's why I've never mentioned them on my site or anything.  Again tho, totally up to you how we proceed, just I'm not cutting holes on the outside of your engine!  /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crazy.gif LOL 

Jason, I think you are going to be very happy with it once you get it.

The original board circuits have been modified an original switches have isolated(some).  

-  Sound switch = DCS power cut off switch.  Cuts power to the electronics but still allows power to the original factory lights
-  Light switch = Still controls remaining original lights on and off 
- Smoke switch = Now controls smoke units on and off when running under non-DCS control (i.e. no TIU)
- Motor switch = Is now your DCS Polarity switch.

Raymond
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Oh and Nick, your two SD70s are still most of the way complete.  Both are finished except for the sound file selection and correct tach strip for that file.  I will be working all day today on trying to do sound file samples of the remaining MTH DCS Diesels.  May take a few more days to complete that tho.

Raymond
 

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Raymond,

I find that swapping the traction-tired wheels with normal wheels offsets losing the sliders on USAT locos. I prefer not having the traction tires, it limits the stress on the axles, and keeps them from spinning in the gear "housing", the dreaded USAT spinning wheel disease. (This happens frequently). The half axles spin in the plastic housing from too much torque, and the housing splits and lets the axles loose.

On the Aristo locos, there is a common manufacturing problem, the power pickup from the axle is bad, it's the little finger I refer to in this: click and scroll to last picture this problem is common, but you can be fooled, thinking there is a "high resistance" when actually the conduction path for that wheelset is back through the connecting rod!

Regards, Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for sharing that Greg.  EXCELLENT photo write-up on your page by the way!   I bet that was part of the issue with that Mallet I converted.  Because it was beyond the scope of my DCS upgrade I opted to keep and add additional tender power pickups which solved the issues we were having.   Oh my what a pain in the butt that will be to get it that far apart to fix.   On the last Dash-9 I worked on I think the ball/axle contact spot was dirty as lubricating and running on rollers for a while seemed to clear it up.  

Can you bend that tab without removing the wheel?  Like reaching in there with a screwdriver or something behind the wheel?

What I've found is if a DCS engine is getting signal through too high a resistance pickups, it can affect the ability to detect other engines on initial power up.  Strange, but....   This is why I recommend for DCS users to keep the sliders.  You will get better conductivity with them.  My bottom line recommendation will be to them, while it should work ok (especially if you swap the wheels out like you say), it's cheap insurance to keep them to protect against future issues.  Will be my 2 cents based on my experience.

Here we go, I'm getting my own thread off track.  LOL /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif  /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/tongue2.gif


Raymond
 

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Thank you for the nice compliment Raymond. That is praise indeed from a person as detail oriented as you are!

Unfortunately, you cannot bend the finger from the outside. The motor block housing pretty much covers up the entire gearbox.

In addition, you would most likely want to look at the clip very carefully as you bend the finger. Too much and it could interfere with the spring tension.

I found that removing the clip, and re-forming it to conform to the gearbox contours really helps, and often this action puts the finger in the proper alignment.

My conjecture is that the forming of these clips is not carefully controlled, so screwing them to the gearbox will bend the clip a bit and affect the finger's contact.

I may have mentioned this before, but I had a loco that had smoke coming from the front drivers. Scared the heck out of me. Turns out that when most of the power pickup was trying to get through the driver with the defective pickup, the power went from the rail to the driver to the crankpin, down the rod, to another driver with no pickup problem. The small contact area and the oil in the rod "bearing" caused enough heat to create smoke!

In my Mikado thread, I outline a simple procedure to increase the power pickup on Aristo tenders, so that you have very reliable pickup there. After that conversion, I had much more reliable operation. I was getting some DCC decoder resets on dirty track, track that really was not dirty enough to explain the problem. With 8 drivers, only 3 of them were doing power pickup!

Regards, Greg
 

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Raymond,
There is another old trick with USA 2 axle motor blocks that usually smooths the slow speed binding. after tightening the 6 screws on the bottom plate back them off a 1/4 to 1/3 turn.  It does work.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks Greg.  I really like the way your site is laid out to classify the information.  Very nice!

Excellent Paul, thanks for the info, I will give it a shot!   I'll report back how it works.

Raymond
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks Chuck and Stan.   

Greg:  Were you wanting to get a detail pic of exactly what the coupler looks like?  Or could you not see it at all on you monitor?  It was very dark.  The coupler was loose on the walkway of the engine and Jason is going to work on figuring out how to install.  I was wondering maybe if you could turn your contrast and brightness up on your monitor if you could see it better.    Check it again and let me know if you want a detail pic.

The couplers were the O gauge ones that came with the kit, but are about the same size as the One gauge Kadee couplers so they techincally would work ok.  MTH does have the G gauge size, but I've only seen them on the MTH Big boys.  I've not bothered with them for any of my other engines, because I just don't really need them and getting a setup to where it would install and function right was more trouble than I was willing to deal with.  I like my Kadee couplers.  However, the protocouplers are really slick!

Oh and yes they are remotely fired.(uncoupled) 

Raymond
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I will also note that I just learned something new based on a question Jason asked me yesterday....

He noted that it's technically more prototypical that the motor rev would increase BEFORE the engine moved and asked if the rev up button would rev the engine up and hold it there so you could have a more realistic start.  Well, It does!  You can increase and decrease in increments  and when you go to move the engine it will hold that rev.  I assume that when you get to the next level it will resume auto control of the rev sound.  Anyways, I will do a video later at some point, but it's a REALLY slick feature.  I continue to learn more and more about this system as time goes on.  Just very impressive.


Raymond
 

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Raymond, the first video is very dark, and unless the coupler is on the very front of the loco, I see no coupler at all, and the image is not large enough see anything that small anyway.

The second video is zoomed in a lot more, but the ditch lights obscure seeing anything that is sitting there, and then it zooms in where you cannot see the walkway.

I only downloaded the low res pictures (I'm spoiled and hate to wait to download the big ones)

Could you just shoot a picture of the coupler itself? Thank you Raymond, not meaning to derail your thread!

Regards, Greg
 

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I don't know if it works with G scale, but when using DCS in O gauge a really cool function is the record option. You can have the engine stop, start, blow its horn or whatever. The remote system will then playback your route or whatever you recorded. This is one of my favorite features. I still have not decided on what sound to use and MTH might be a good option. I am sure it installs easier than in a small O-gauge shell.   
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hey Greg,  no problem!  I'll get a pic posted for you.   The low res video is why.  You can't see anything with that.  You will want to download the 2100kbs file to see it.

NS Rob:  All the capabilities from O gauge are in G so the record feature does work.  It is pretty slick.  Cliff (Stumpy here on MLS) is the record feature SME as he has spent quite a bit of time working with it.    

On the upgrades, I have found them to not be for the faint of heart, but the extra room is a bonus.  I don't know how they got all those wires in an o gauge engine.  I know the boards were generally in the tender on the steamers.

Raymond 
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I tried the loosening of the screws on the bottom of the block and it helped the wheels move maybe 1 to 2 SMPH sooner.  It is still slower than the other set.  I'm still going to recommend he replace the motor, but it was worth a shot!  

Hopefully Jason will report back soon how the swap out goes.  :)

Raymond
 

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Posted By Rayman4449 on 02/22/2008 7:54 PM

NS Rob:  All the capabilities from O gauge are in G so the record feature does work.  It is pretty slick.  Cliff (Stumpy here on MLS) is the record feature SME as he has spent quite a bit of time working with it.    


Raymond 


           Ray, as you know, I am a smart man, but not a very intelligent man, what does "SME" stand for?

  Cliff
 
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