rebuilding an old Riverossi Heisler with DCC and sound.

Discussion in 'Logging, Mining and Industrial Railroads' started by Bill Nelson, Sep 4, 2013.

  1. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    aaa_heisler_tender_pick_up.jpg aaa16stkmech.jpg aaa16mtrout.jpg aaa16goodies.jpg aaa16compntloc.jpg I have had a pair of Riverossi 3 truck Heislers in service on my RR for many years. I have a large fleet of logging locomotives, and the Riverossi Heisler is oversized to fit the motor that was available years ago when the design was developed. Never the less, it was the only non Brass option for a logging locomotive, looked reasonably good, with the exception of it's size, which was slightly large as compared to the largest Heislers, and Humongous compared to the average Heisler. They had a good running robust mechanism, that operated without much need for maintenance and repair, and the heavy locomotives pulled very well due to thier weight and gearing.

    I ran my two primarilay in MOW servive, running my track cleaning train, The two heislers were the only locomotives that could get my heavy track cleaning train up my old mountain grades (I'm rebuilding, and the 8.5% grades are gone.

    I had tried to run the heislers at the club on the DCC system.s 00 adress, but the massive old motors drew so much current they would trip the system's circuit breaker if they got within two feet of the DCC system. elsewhere, the voltage drop from the wires and the tracks was enough to lessen the draw to something that could get past the circuit breakers.

    I replaced the motor in one unit with a gear reduction motor, and installed a Digitrax decoder. It was too slow for any kind of use on DCC, with the decoder removed, and wired back for DC, it was still slow, but not painfully slow, so that unit is, at least for now remaining on DC for my home RR.

    I dissasembled the other unit, and have started to rebuild it for DCC. I replaced the motor with a can motor salvaged from a GM truck powered outside rear view mirror. I have several other identical motors salvaged in my previous life as a GM Automotive Tech; so if I decide later to convert the second 3 truck heisler, I have a matching motor on hand.

    The shaft of the original Riverossi motor is silghtly larger than the shaft of the GM motor, so the spur gear is not a press fit on the new shaft. I stripped the insulation off of a short piece of multi strand wire, and wrapped a couple two or three strands over the end of the shaft in different orentations, and then pressed the spur gear on the shaft. the tiny strands of copper wire deform some, and if spread out eavenly allow the gear to be pressed on the smaller shaft.

    I glued the motor in place on the frame using some leach 2-26, silicone bathtub caulk is usually preferred, but mine had hardened, and I was in a hurry.

    I chose a Sound trax light steam mini Tsunami sound decoder, and a sound trax 810112 oval speaker. there is no room for a larger speaker. I had to grind some of the fuel bunker mounting post off the frame it get room to mount this speaker.

    Running on DC these locomotives performed pretty well, and I had always thought they picked up electricity off one side of the tender truck. while looking at the mechanism would make one think so, my multimeter tols me that there was minimal conductivity from the frame of the tender to the frame of the locomotive; so I added a wire to connect the locomotive frame and the tender frame together . I also made some electrical pickups for the insulated side of the tender truck. the mechanism doesn't pivot under the tender truck, so I just added a PC board strip to the botom of the tender frame, and soldered some phosphor bronze wire (from Micro-mark) to the pc board. I also soldered on a wire to carry power up into the tender from the insulated side .

    In my next installment I will decribe how I made electrical pick ups for the insulated side of the front and middle trucks (which swivel) to get good electical pick up off of all 12 wheels, a significant improvement over the four wheel pick up it went into the shops with.

    I will also discuss my new approach for decoder wire attachments.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2014
  2. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    aaantchingthetrucks.jpg aaaepxygthepctabs.jpg aaaelctrclpckups.jpg aaaa_16_terminalstips.jpg aaa16wirng_hdlts.jpg round two

    The electrical pick ups for the insulated side of the front and middle trucks of the heisler have to be mounted directly onto the truck, as those trucks swivel, and the wheel wipers must swivel with them.

    I took a grinding wheel in my dremil, and ground a notch into the insulated side of each of the two trucks. then I used JB Quick, a five minute steel filled epoxey to glue small PC board tabs onto the milled flat spaces I had made on the trucks.

    Then I formed some phosphor bronze wires into shapes that were very tight fits across the wheel treads, and , holding them in place tightly against the wheels with a pair of hemostats, soldered them to the PC board tabs. I then atached wires to eash of the trucks, installed the trucks onto the locomotive frame, routed the wires up to the top of the frame, and soldered the wires on to small PC board tabs. I ran wires down the length of the locomotive, routing them through holes drilled through the locomotive and tender frames, allowing wires to pass neatly from one to the other.

    I have glued lots of PC board tabs onto the tender frame. , I have hooked up the rt rail buss to one, and the left rail buss to annother other, a third and fourth tab have the motor + and- wires soldered to them (I tested the motor on a 9 volt batery, using the marked terminals on the batery, when the mechanism ran forward to determine which motor lead was the + lead). I have another pair of tabs for the speaker leads. I still need to add a tab for the headlight, the back up light, and the common wire for the two.

    Once all these tabs are in place I can solder the decoder wires right in. the tabs will be available if I need to do some diagnostic work with a multimenter; and if I swap decoders, I can do so without shortining the decoder or locomotive wires, as one must do if they wire the decoder in traditionally with wire to wire solder joints covered with heat shrink. I'm liking ths method so far, It helps me route the wires one by one neatly, reducing clutter; which is important. often in these tight fitting installation one has room for the components, but has trouble getting the shell back on because wires are in the way

    More later

    Last edited: Nov 22, 2014
  3. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    I got this critter all put together, and it ran ok on my work bench with my NCE power cab system. I was not satisfied with the auto chuff , I ctried several different numbers on the CV that is supposed to control that, but was not able to get the cuffs comming fast enough.

    I took it to the club, to test it there, and it was a dismal failure there, drawing way too much current. Going forward, it tripped the main circuit breaker on the ancient and honorable Digitrax system we use at the club every nine inches of travel, and in reverse, it kicked the main circut breaker every three inches.

    I had put a plane jane digitrax decoder in my #17, a formerly identical 3 truck heisler that I installed a gear reduction motor from (a great resource for small motors). that set up did not trip the circuit breaker; but while that locomotive's speed is good on DC, it was painfully slow on DCC.

    So I have to try to find a different motor to try in this locomotive, hopefully one I have or can get a second idential motor, in case the set up works very well, as I could do a similar rebuild with #17, as I used to run the two together when I wanted massive mussle for track cleaning.

    also I need to hard wire the retun for the headlight bulb, as I could not get good conductivity through an attempted non wired contact point.

    Back to the drawing board. I'm going to experiment with motors, if nothing works to my satisfaction after several tries # 16 will get reconverted to DC (at least it would then have all wheel pick up, and the decoder would probably go into a Mantua 2-6-6-2 that is in the shops waiting for some massive upgrade to the **** poor factory electrical pick up and a good decoder.
  4. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    a_sr_number_722_a1.jpg a_number__16_guts_a_1a.jpg

    The last motor I put in # 16 , in conjunction with the Tsunami sound decoder, drew to many amps for the digitrax system at the club , and would kick the circuit breaker after about a foot of movement. In the top photo is a Bachman 2-8-0 in Southern Green and gold passenger livery. the 2-8-0 was a frieght locomotive. In the 70's the Southern had a steam excursion program, and they had a 2-8-0 in use, painted in Green and gold, so the locomotive is right for the 1970's bit not for my 1920's. Never the less, the green and gold paint job is better than I could manage, so this is my Southern interchange engine. doing some maintenance on the locomotive, I disturbed the flywheel, causing the flywheel to connect with the boiler weight that surounded it. Bachgman had a spare bpiler wieght/motor/flywheel assembly available, so I replaced that part to quiet the locomotive down.

    I stole the motor out of the old part, removed the flywheelm and installed the drive gear for the Heisler on the shaft. it was a loose fit, but a few tiny strands of copper wire from a multi strand wire was enough to get the gear to fit tightly. the new motor works on my bench with my NCE DCC system, hopefully it will work at the club. the speed of the locomotive is reasonable for a heisler, and the auto chuff, maked out sounds close to right. time to put the locomotive together, tote it to the club, and see if it will work there.

  5. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    a1_a_number_16_on_work_bench.jpg It's allive. it is woking on my workbench with the NCE system. the puny Dc power back does not give it enough power to run the Tsunami and the motor on DC; I'll have to test the Dc side of the dual mode operation on my RR, with a more powerful throttle.

    I had to install the cab two or three times to get it right. the first several times it pinched a wire, and caused a short somehow, but I got that resolved. the back up light works the headlight doesn't; it will require remuving toe top section of the boiler, (easy), and adding a jumper wire on the headlight/backuplight comon wire
  6. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    Here is a you tube link showing # 16 in action at the club.

  7. zathros

    zathros -----SENIOR---- Administrator

    Those are some beautiful trains!! Very distinctive! ;)
  8. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    Thank You Zathros, These critters are beasts! the heavy frame, the gearing, and the all wheel drive make them powerful critters. # 17 will stay DC, for use on my home layout, but I'm hoping I can find time to do the all wheel pick up for it; it runs great as is, but better electrical pick up is always a good thing.

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