FA1 Mechanical Green Monster

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by Ed McCamey

From Ed's Home Page

In construction modifications converting the "FA1 Mechanical Green Monster" to electric operations. Unfortunately no pictures were preserved of the 'original' mechanical construction.

Ed McCamey

This "Monster" was all scratch built from shop junk box available components, having an 8hp Briggs (all cast iron) gas motor, an unknown 3 speed gear box, 7 - SEVEN pillow blocks with right angle spur gears, dozens of chains and sprockets - etc. Original construction was a motley foursome of metal bashers - Jack Haskins, Walter Johnson, Ernst Gerloff, and Lee Lyons. Purchased for the COSLAR RR in 1996 it already was a bit overworked. Motor needed rebuilding and being cast iron and over 30 years old, no replacement parts were actually available - so off to another junk yard, got wrecked golf cart, and in 2007 conversion begins. Mechanical rework was completed in January, 2007 and some parts of the electrical rework was underway. Shell as seen will be striped, sanded, and repainted for the COSLAR RR.

Update Wednesday February 21, 2007 - Electrical Components

Yesterday, the man in the brown truck wearing shorts delivered the Allbrite contactors. Got to the shop and made progress on the conversion project.

Update Saturday March 3, 2007 - Electrical Installation Semi-Completed - Bench Testing Done!!

FA1 Runs! Well actually it is only bench tested. Got the power wiring and enough of the control wiring together to run some testing blocked up off the table. The hand controller isn't completed and only temporary wiring to the bus blocks were hooked up.

Will craw at about 4 inches a second and whirls real well at about 28 volts - haven't use the whole 36 volts yet -waiting to get down on the tracks for that. The motor mount is a bit weak - I'll have to rework a stiffer and more solid mounting to keep the chains from 'jumping around'.

Forward went forward and reverse went backwards! Amp draw looks to be bit higher than expected - may need to check the meter hookup or may have to adjust the shunt. Scrounging the borrow of a reference 100 amp meter.

Update Tuesday March 20, 2007 - ROAD TESTED - Not fully complete - BUT RUNNING!!

The shell is off and is being readied for sanding and prime - will definitely become a six hundred plus pound canary yellow. Re-worked the motor mounting with three point turnbuckle adjusted alignment and tie down. Swapped the gearbox and drive shaft chain sprockets to give a slower high end speed ratio. Made up some truck chain tension assemblies to allow full freedom of the truck equalization and keep chains loosely tensioned through out the full travel.

Rolled out of the shop and onto the track. Hooked up a flat with comfy seats, and did the first road test. After 15 min, adjusted the motor turnbuckles and hit the mains. Ran fully 6 to 8 miles, trucks tracked well, and now the decorating can begin! Has nice smooth slow start, good acceleration, and can cruise full speed on one long section of the right of way at an estimated 7+ real MPH. Won't run at that speed very much - but it's nice once in awhile and knowing it's capable. Pulls up to 60 - 70 amps when accelerating up inclines, motor and wires are cool to touch, it'll be a good runner! This has TORQUE - could not spin the wheels - just pulled and pulled. Will do lubrication and adjustments and perform some pulling tests with loads this next week or so while working on the shell and details.

Conversion FA1 calculations and initial run testing:

  • Engine has an approximate weight of 600 lbs +/-. Uses a 36v golf cart 2400RPM 2HP series DC motor w/Curtis 1204-005 controller:
    • 0-5K Ohm Throttle Input, 70A Plug brake current, High Pedal Disable (HPD), No external adjustments.
  • Electric/Mechanical Model Gearing Calculation: RPM of motor (less 10% for load)/Gear Reduction Ratio = Effective RPM
  • Effective RPM x (wheel Diameter x pi) = Inches/Minute travel
  • Inches/Minute travel / 12 = Feet Per Minute
  • Feet Per Minute /(1.46FPS x 60 sec)= Estimated at load actual MPH
  • Has 2.6:1 gear box and following 18:11 chain sprocket drive = 4.24 total gear ratio.
  • 2400 (less 10%) /4.6 = 2160/4.6 = 509.43 RPM
  • 509.43 RPM x (5 x 3.14159265) =509.43*15.71 = 8,003 inch/min 8,003/12 = 667 FPM
  • 667/(1.46FPS x 60 sec) =667/(87.6) = 7.61 MPH
  • 7.61 MPH estimated at loaded max speed (~ 61 scale max MPH) or potential unloaded: 8.37 (~ 67 SMPH)

Update Friday March 23, 2007 - MORE ROAD TESTING - PULLS and Won't Slip!

Amp meter works and is calibrated. Borrowed three BIG 2-1/2" scale cars, one weighted down with air compressor equipment, added more weight and spent three hours on the AS&NT; track breaking in the chains and evaluating the trucks tracking. This one would make ALCO proud. A nice smooth runner, hardly notices the weight, and still no battery charges required as yet. The shell is another 70 pounds of tractive weight to be added as the final 'touch'. Got home and cleaned up - immediately went to work on the body shell and had to clean up again.

Track run tests are showing close to the 8mph actual max speed. On initial start the motor draws almost instantly 20amps, even slow speed running averages 40 amps, with acceleration drawing upwards to 60 - 70 amps. Voltage to motor at smooth slow speed is 8-12 volts, safe cruising speed is from 16 to 20 volts. Beyond 25 volts, the speed appears excessive for track conditions. Throttle control is 0-15% before start (need to adjust pre-load pot), and 15% to ~55% for safe speed cruising. Only modest train loads have been tested, but there appeared to be NO DIFFERENCE when pulling approximately 1,000 lbs of weighted cars. Full throttle shows 36 volts, about 55-60 amps, and excessive ~ 8+ mph.

Update Thursday March 29, 2007 - Final YELLOW Coat Has Begun - Fan Shroud Added!!

Added a facsimile fan shroud and re-sanded and re-primed. First coat of the yellow is now applied. Also picked up the lettering and herald decals from the sign shop. The decorating is going well, and a cake pan made the fan shroud, though not completely correct - at least the proper hint. Ah - soon there will be 'frosting'!

Update Monday April 9, 2007 - Gussied Up for Meet in Two Days - To be Mounted on Chassis Tomorrow

Shell goes to the workshop tomorrow to be mounted to the chassis. Mounted and wired the Bell and Horn last week, so me and my girls will load up and leave for the track meet in two days. (My girls are so loving and sweet - I'll stop at Wal-Mart and get some Ole' Roy treats)!

Update Monday April 16, 2007 - At Boggy Bottom - FA1 RUNS!

Boggy Bottom RR outside Cany, OK April 12-15 - lousy weather most of the meet - cold and raining. FA1 got about 15 hours running, hauled some passengers, and climbed the nearly 5% grades! Last day of meet the sun came out and all was beautiful.

Full passenger operations is being celebrated at the SWLS Spring meet held at the Able Springs and North Texas track near Terrell, TX April 27-28. Got my invite to the C&IG; for the Spring Fling in May - gee life is grand. Won't be long now and I'll get real grimy again in starting up the live steam Allen Mogul project.


This Project is DONE - Next Up is the LONG Construction of the Allen Mogul