Converting old Mantua to DCC

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by kchronister, Nov 2, 2004.

  1. kchronister

    kchronister Member

    I have two older Mantua locos - 2-8-2 and 4-6-2. Both use motors coupled to worm-drive gears to run the wheels. Both use one pickup from the drivers and another from the tender - The driver pickup seems to consist of both motors being screwed directly to the frame - there's no visible wipers, brushes, etc. The motor comes off with one screw and has no other attachments. It sits on a brass pad that must somehow be picking up from the wheels.

    Here's my question. For DCC, do the BRUSHES have to be isolated? Or the WHOLE motor?

    Isolating the brushes on these would be easy enough. Isolating the whole motor a little tougher - I can isolate all day, but as soon as I screw it to the frame, no more isolation...

  2. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    You can use a nylon screw to fasten the motor, also insulate where the motor sits on the frame.
  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I think all you need to isolate are the brushes. A length of insulation on the spring should do it.
    Any lights or other items?
  4. kchronister

    kchronister Member

    Well... If I can find the proper vinyl screw to mount the engine, I'll isolate the whole thing - at that point it's easy. If not, I'll try just isolating the brushes.

    Now my next challenge is finding a way to put wipers on the wheels -- the old right-side-loco, left-side-tender setup will play havoc with my auto-reversers on my reverse loops otherwise... Or I'll just have to not run it into the loops, I suppose. We shall see.

    Anyone with more input, feel free -- not going to do anything on this until the weekend anyway.

  5. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Kris, What auto reversers are you using? I use Tony's and my steam locos with one side pickup don't have any problems. Of course additional pickups are a good idea anyway...
  6. kchronister

    kchronister Member

    Gary - THANK YOU! I am also using Tony's (though not yet hooked up) and was working on the assumption single-side pickups would be a problem. If that's not the case, I can add yet another item to my "why I'm a fan of Tony" list...

    So with your info in hand, I'll try converting the loco without the pickups and see if it works - that will be much, much easier!

  7. kchronister

    kchronister Member

    Does anyone have a source for the nylon screws Gary mentions? I have asked at half-a-dozen places ranging from Radio Shack to Home Depot to the LHS, and everyone looks at me like I have something growing out of my head...
  8. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Kris, I got some from my LHS, I don't know but figure he got them from Walthers. You might check there. I'll be going to the store over the weekend, I'll see what the owner has to say.
  9. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

  10. kchronister

    kchronister Member

    Thanks, Gary!
  11. kchronister

    kchronister Member

    Got the nylon screws from Walthers today and mounted the motor. Success! Isolated from the frame... Now as soon as the decoders arrive, I'll see if the whole thing comes out... Thanks to all for the input.

  12. kchronister

    kchronister Member

    SUCCESS! Sort of... I got the decoder yesterday and set it all up in my old Mantua 4-8-2 mountain. First try, ran like a charm! Hooray!

    So I figured "that was easy enough" and grabbed the old Mantua K4 to try. Did precisely the same thing and ZAP. Short every time I put it on the track. Ran some tests and motor wasn't isolated. Reworked it, checked motor, isolated. Put it on the track and it ONLY runs full speed (even with throttle set to zero). Think I fried the decoder??? Any ideas?

  13. nwdstek

    nwdstek New Member

    Kris: I've done a few decoder installations myself on old Mantua (Tyco) 10 wheelers. I highly recommend repowering with Helix Humper can motor kits. They instantly solve any isolation problems, they have flywheels, are a "bolt in" replacement for the old open frame motor and they draw about 1/3 the current. Also if you use an N scale decoder you can fit it into the boiler above the drive gears. Much simpler wiring and it leaves the entire tender available for sound.
  14. kchronister

    kchronister Member

    Thanks for the idea, NWDSTEK. I'll have to give that a try. Haven't actually got back to the 10 wheeler yet, but will give your idea a shot when I do (plus, I have to like a motor called a humper - tee hee).

  15. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    It's been 20 years, if I recall correctly I installed a motor kit which included valve gear in a Mantua Berkshire and I'm pretty sure it was by Mellor. Mech ran great, much better than the original, but project is still in a box somewhere in the basement, as I got frustrated with my inability to solder the headlight casting to its platform and then to the smokbox front, all brass parts which I had wanted to super detail my model. CA didn't exist then, or if it did I wasn't aware of it. Hmm, ought to look for that...

  16. tweet469

    tweet469 New Member

    I'm repowering my Mantua 4-6-2 with Accurate Lighting's repower kit. It was about $45.00 and ia a can motor with a brass worm gear mounted on one end and a brass flywheel on the other. I'm waiting on the order to come in from Able Hobbies. I have had this locomotive since I was 5 years old. I'm 40 now. I wanted to get it running mainly for sentimental reasons. I replaced the main side rods and socket head screws and the pilot along with a working front coupler. I'm going to add more details and install a DCC decoder in the tender. Be careful if you tear the locomotive down that you get the drivers back in correct position-the middle ones are blind and the wheels are insolated from the axle on one side. The uninsulated side supplies power through the frame to one side of the brush set. A fresh coat of paint and decals should wind things up. sorry for the long story. The short part is that you only have to isolate the brushes. Also be sure and use the fiber drawbar that came with the engine or if you want closer coupling make sure the drawbar doesn't conduct electricity as the metal tender bottom is a different polarity than the metal engine frame.
  17. SAL Comet

    SAL Comet Member

    Sounds like a cool project Tweet, glad to hear your bring the old loco back.

Share This Page