Resurrection of a 30yr old Tyco

Discussion in 'The Caboose' started by JR&Son, Dec 26, 2006.

  1. JR&Son

    JR&Son Member

    Thats right, with me over 40 and a 5 year old son (My handle) I decided it might be fun to dust off the old Tyco HO Sante Fe War Bonnet. To paraphrase the Tyco site, "They did not run well when NEW, the years dont help". I rebuilt the Engine's motor 3 or 4 times using salvage parts from the other engine I owned (circa 71 or 72 I think) and still only managed to get it running in fits and spurts 25% of the time. Giving up I found a local train store with a Bachman engine cabose combo for only $25 USD. Ever the optimist I asked since it had been on the shelf forever for a discount, he declined but then threw in $25. worth of old brass track so either way I got a deal. Building a roughly 4X8 setup and not letting my son figure out it was for him was an interesting lesson in little white lies......but I somehow did it.
    Now its the day after Xmas and we drag it out to play Engineer for awhile and the 30 year old Tyco powerpack that never really worked well to begin with has died. NOT what kittenbritches wants to here about. With the Tyco stuff my mom brought back to me she threw is a couple of other power supplies. The others are likewise dead untill I get to a Wall mounted Aurura (sp) car track supply. I have choped the ends off of this one, cobbled on a car "gun" type controler and the Sante Fe/taking up room in the Den and Central RR War Bonnet is trundling down the oval. Reversing is a lesson in patience that requires black electrical tape and twisting wires, but it is running again. The control with the "gun" is FAR better than the original Tyco (Type 80 I think)

    I do have one question for you guys.
    At 40 am I an Old Newby or a New Oldby?

    JR & Son
  2. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Those old Tycos I think did a lot of damage to the hobby... When I was a kid, me and a large number of cousins and childhood friends were given Tyco train sets, and none of those sets lasted a week. None of my cousins and childhood friends bother to "play with trains" (their words) anymore. I'm the only one in my extended family who still does.

    It's a shame. If we had gotten Athearns instead of those Tycos back then, more of us would have remained model railroaders. :cry: Unfortunately, Tyco was all department stores like Macy's or Bloomies or toy stores like Toys 'R' Us would carry back then, and that's where parents go when looking for a train set 99% of the time, not a hobby shop.

    Anyway, before you throw any more time/money/effort on those Tycos and brass track for ever diminishing returns, you might want to consider starting over right this time, with higher quality stuff such as nickel silver track, MRC power packs, and good engines like Athearns. The higher-quality stuff available today is a lot less hassle to get and keep running. Your wallet and your sanity will thank you. :D
  3. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member

    I started with Tyco and B'mann, and it did me lots of good. I got most at yard sales REAL cheap. When they didn't run, I had nothing to lose. Tearing them apart gave me a good education on what makes them tick. Makes me a lot less fearful of looking at the guts of much better locos.

  4. JR&Son

    JR&Son Member

    The new setup is running the Nickel Atlas track and the Bachman Loco fine. Im going to have to breakdown and buy a new power pack now though. To be perfectly honest though Im toying with the idea of building a powerpack. The transformer is an off the shelf unit. A full bridge rectifier is next to nothing at Radio Slack (pun intended). The potentiometer may be troublesome BUT imagine the speed precision you could generate.

    I have 2 Spare Sante's now I think I will dummy at least one of them. The other I would like to replace the guts me sentimental. I also have a B Unit I would kill to get a coupler on. It has the longer truck on it that I have not been able to find so far.

    As far as the brass goes Im thinking about using some of it towards the end of my dead ends, where voltage is not critical. Although I think a track cleaner disguised as a snow plow might be fun the kitcrash.

    Ill keep you posted
    We'll keep you posted

  5. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    My first train set - Tyco Spirit of '76, I can still remember the song and how badly I wanted that train...yeah...I know...I should seek professional help.
  6. JR&Son

    JR&Son Member

    Ive been able to put the New Haven Box, Wesson Oil Tanker, Sante Fe Crane and Tender, Auto Loader/Trailer Train, Virginian Coal, and the Original Sante Fe Caboose back on their wheels. Not bad for 30 plus year old rolling stock. I sacrificed a 3 position tractor hauler and a 18 wheel trailer hauler for parts. Since I was missing the tractors and trailers anyway I think it was a good way to put more interesting stock back on the tracks.

    Is there an ideal weight for rolloing stock?
    Due to space my curves are very tight. After lubing all of my axles Im no longer jumping the tracks on the curves with 7 car loads, but based on the weight of the new caboose Im light on many of the units.

    Let us know.

  7. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    NMRA recommends 1 ounce base weight + half ounce per inch length. So for instance if a car is 6 inches long, it should weigh 4 ounces.

    It would also help to standardize on coupler mounting and type. Best go with body-mounted Kadees for reliability.

    Hope this helps.
  8. JR&Son

    JR&Son Member

    Thats the math I was looking for.
    Ill break out the wifes diet scale and check them all.


  9. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Welcome to The Gauge, Ron:wave:
  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    JR: I don't think you really want a"potentiometer". You need a variable resistor rated at 2 to 5 amps minimum. Or look at a circuit for a transistor throttle; I'm sure we have some on-line here.
  11. JR&Son

    JR&Son Member

    Gutted the old Tyco 899 Power Pack
    Reworked the lousey throttle response circut by adapting the "gun" nichrome wire "post" and installing it in the 899.
    The Xformer was shot, so I chunked it.
    Instead Im using one of the wall warts from the car set.
    I can not beleive the shoddy original workmanship.
    Im not kidding, a trained monkey could have done a better job.
    Response is now from a bare creep to derailment on the tight cuves.
    Before it was 40% throttle to flying off the curves.
    All kidding aside I picked up EVERYTHING below the old 40% range.
    I have had to rebuild 2 more cars because of kittenbritches.
    Patieance thy name is not a 5 year old.
    My wife asked how many I was going to allow him the break.
    My reply was, as many as it takes.
    The only one I have not seen on takeachanceBay is the Wesson Oil Car
    Correction! I just did a search and found it.

    And so it goes
    As long as I can keep putting it back together
    WE are happy.

  12. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    Word of wisdom: DON'T build a powerpack, because:

    It's not UL tested(!)
    Fire hazard.
    most MRC's can be bought fairly cheap, and have lots of power and exceptional control! :)

    Just my two cents.

    Also, take everyone's advice, and purchase an Athearn Locomotive. They last forever and are ultra-durable. They are also very easy to come by, and more prototypical than Tyco ever was. :)
  13. JR&Son

    JR&Son Member

    I have found at least a half dozen sites with the plans from bland to grand. Im abit paranoid on the electrical side anyway. Multiple back up issues to back up the already backed up issue will come into play. Simply put Im a belt, suspender and duct tape kind of fellow. For the time being this rebuilt 899 will get the job done. He is happy so thats all that really matters!

  14. nhguy

    nhguy Member

    Speaking old Tyco, where can someone get parts for the 4-6-2 steamer?
  15. JR&Son

    JR&Son Member

    Sorry cant help on the Steamer.

    I have my first knock up of the Power Supply.
    Cramed everything I needed into a SFX Computer Power Supply case.
    It is just the Power Supply, no speed regulation for the time being.
    I guess this is a proof of concept.........
    Im puzzled though over the different taps on the Xformer.
    I have it tapped of of the 16 volt for the time being, seriousley considering installing a switch to allow taping off the 16 OR 24 volt. That way when we have huge loads or multiple engines I would have the punch I needed.

    Couple of Tech Questions:
    #1 One already mentioned, Multi engines I know require higher amps, where does voltage come into play? Indirectly in the current equation Im guessing?

    #2 Voltage ripple on the DC side, how much does the ripple come into play. The Tyco had no caps. I included 1 220uf on the prototype. Im assuming less is better. Does it help engine cooling? Keep in mind I do not have access to an Oscope so Im basically throwing the cap/caps at the end circut as good housekeeping

    Your Thoughts

  16. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    What parts do you need for the 4-6-2?
    Yardbird Classic Trains has some parts.
  17. JR&Son

    JR&Son Member

    Heres what the home built looks like
    Outside showing its heritage SFX Computer Power Supply case
    Fuse and switch very close to the 120 voly Primary side
    Yes I left the fan in it
    The Xfomer
    Notice the triple tapped secondaries, also notice the backside of a 1/4 phono jack
    Buried on the righthand side of the back wall is the Bridge Rectifier and the 3 pack of Capacitors.
    This is the other side of the Phono Jack. Gives us the ability to plug it in as we see fit, since the set up is semi portable.

    I wish the pics would have been a little clearer but not bad for a fiirst try, on either of the projects

  18. nhguy

    nhguy Member

    Main driver rods, valve gear, piston rods and guides and the valve gear hanger.

  19. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    WOW...I wouldn't of even attempted to open up a bad power pack.
    The lid to the trash can to throw the pack in......No problem.
    But...What you did is excellent.
  20. JR&Son

    JR&Son Member

    Best part about the whole thing
    I have $0.00 in it.
    Thats right I took junk and made WORKING junk.


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