To paraphrase Vane Jones, "Knowledge is of little value until shared with others."

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sunset NSL Silverliners #9B – Assembly of Front Coach of Train

With the assembly of the 2 coaches, the cars are not totally completed. When all 3 cars are assembled, some silver striping and numbering has to be done. Then the 3 cars will be completed.

Charlie Pitts asked how the 2 windows in the rear coach was frosted. Before answering, Charlie and I have exchanged emails over how to frost glazing. Some months ago he asked and I responded with I have 2 ways to frost clear plastic to be used for glazing. One way is to scratch the plastic with fine sand paper or emery cloth in one direction. If the clear plastic is treated this way it has to be cut in the same direction as the scratching which can be a problem to keep square.

The other way is to scratch the clear plastic in a rotating direction plus back and forth and sideways - every which way. This "frosted" plastic can be cut in any direction. This method makes the cutting and mounting process easier.

For the Sunset cars, since the glazing is extremely good, I did not want to remove the glazing and scratch it up. A friend had give me a sheet of very thin, soft pliable opaque plastic. I don't know exactly what the material is. It was cut to size and "glued" in place using DAP's "Kwik Seal". Some "Kwik Seal" was applied inside the model above and below the clear glazing. For the vertical edges, some of the "Kwik Seal" was diluted with water and applied with a small brush on top of the glazing. The opaque plastic was positioned on top of the glazing and held in place until the "Kwick Seal" cured.

It works fantstic. Some light comes through the opaque plastic just as though the window was glazed with frosted glass.

Assembling the lead coach is much like assembling the rear coach. The main differences are the lack of rear markers and the front headlight circuit. Speaking of circuits here is my drawing of the electrical wiring for the lead car. Note - the head light circuit is not fed from the Dallee constant voltage board. The head light is the same one Sunset built into the car. It requires track voltage. This complicated the wiring as both extra ground to the track and trolley electrical connections are required.

The other difference between the lead and trail coaches is the wire to 415. There are 2 ways to treat the need to bring an electrical current to the non-powered 415. Either the Dallee constant voltage board in the front car could power the lights in 415 OR the track voltage could be brought to 415. The 415 would have its own Dallee constant voltage board. The later is an additional expense.

I decided to bring the track voltage to 415 from the lead car. I wasn't too sure the lead car from Sunset would always be the car to supply electricity to 415. What if I wanted to put 415 on display, how would I power the lighting in the car? There were other thoughts also - what if there was a short in the lighting circuit between the lead car and 415? Would the constant voltage board in the lead car be damaged?

As part of the final assembly process the motorman with his open cab was installed in the front cab. The rear cab was installed. All the appropriate trolley wiring was done. The homemade light stick was made and installed in the car. The bulkheads were installed and the car prepared for assembly. The Sunset supplied headlight circuit board can be seen in the photo. One of the 2 plugs is to be inserted into the constant voltage "constant voltage out" side of the Dallee board while the other plug is to be inserted into the "track voltage in" side of the same Dallee board. The jack is to be connected with the track voltage of the power truck.

The photo above shows the power truck floor prior to attachmant to the interior floor. The wires can be seen tied to the power truck. The additional black wire is a Miniatronics 2-pin jack for the wire to 415. I use both wires of the 2-pin connector to carry the track voltage to the non-powered car. The Miniatronics connectors were installed so if any work on the power truck is required in the future, all the electrical connections would be easy to take apart and reassemble.

Since the lead car is to power 415, some way to connect the 2 cars electrically had to be built into the coupler of the lead car. This series of photos shows how the coupler shank was carved out to hold a short length of brass tubing. To prevent any short circuits the piece of brass tubing was covered with heat shrink tubing. It was then tied to the coupler shank with thread.

The area of the coupler must be cleaned of any brass filings before all of the unpainted parts of the coupler area can be painted. The pilots can be installed and painted. While the paint bottle is open and the brush wet, complete any touch-ups.

Clean the wheels of both the power and trail trucks. Attach the trolley poles and test run your model. If it works appropriately place the trail coach on the track and couple the 2 cars into a train. Test run the 2-car train on your layout.

One thing no photos were taken of is additional work done to wire the non-powered truck of each coach to the ground circuit of the car. A wire was brought from the ground of the power truck to the trail truck. My method of grounding trucks will be shown when work on the 415 is done.

Since the couplers are non-working they have to slide one over the other. If required, with a round file open up the interior of the knuckles of the cars. I applied a thin coating of Graphogen over the coupler knuckles. This allows the knuckles to slide up and down more easily.

A couple of assembly steps to finish this model were skipped. If you have any questions feel free to ask.

Addendum to 9B –

2-Rail Power and Trail Trucks
If I had purchased trucks exclusively for the Sunset Silverliners, they would be insulated for 2-rail. This brings up some interesting thoughts and problems.

When making CRT and other models of cars to potentially run on the Chicago “L”, I have obtained trucks insulated for 2-rail operation. To wire up the cars, I have found it easiest to wire the cars for pole reverse. Below is a diagram for pole reverse operation.

In the diagram above the low voltage lighting circuit is brough to the 415. The track voltage can be bussed to the 415 with the 415 having its own constant lighting board.

Note when the body of the car and the roof boards are made of metal, the trolley hooks have to be insulated from the body of the car. On the Sunset Silverliner models, pulling up the metal roof boards is an “easy” task. The outer boards are tack soldered onto the roof cleats. Replacing the brass boards with styrene will insulate the trolley hooks.

For the buss connection between the 2 cars the Miniatronics 2 prong connectors between the lead coach and 415 would work out.

Running a 12 v Buss Between All the Cars
This is running a wire with track voltage between all the cars of the train. The CA&E did this with 600 v. For your NSL cars connecting all the cars in a train electrically is not recommended. The prototype NSL cars in a train run with all the trolley poles up and no electrical buss between all the cars of the train. The Electroliner was wired as 2 seperate cars with only control circuits between them.

When a buss is run between all the cars, if one of the trolley poles comes off the trolley wire; the train will continue to run. The pole off the wire can cause damage to the overhead wire. It is easy for a trolley shoe to become lodged in the wire pulling it down!

If there is no 12 v buss between the cars, when one of the poles of your 3-car train comes off the wire the train will either come to a stop or slow down. This will alert you to the problem of a pole off the wire just like the prototype.
Now it's on to the 415!

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