Essel Steam Tram Battery Conversion

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
18,679
3,808
72
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Having bought this beast many more years ago than I care to remember its day has come for a new Power Supply and Repaint to DR Livery. Called Helga by Essell there were only ever 2 made heavily based on the LGB Steam Tram. Was powered by 5 or 6 C Cells NiCad (remember them?(no pun intended)) batteries that had given up the ghost. In truth I was a bit of an abuser of NiCads not really allowing full discharge before a recharge enabling the memory effect and ultimate failure. That type of Battery was never going to work for me and NiMh are a savior so far as I am concerned.

Back to Helga, she had a Switch for forwards/off/reverce that I never really like and a pot for speed that was a Brass Dome that stuck out of the roof. Very neat. I messed around with the switches putting two SPCO in to make a Forward Reverce and a separate On/off, much better. Sadly she appears to have been quite Camera Shy and I have not found any pictures of her in my Albums. Neither it appears did Steve Essell take any of her either so her early days must pass un photed.

So the following picture shows how she has been the last year or two dismantled in a Plastic Box. We must all have a few projects like that I guess.
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The construction is all by varying sized screws so dismantling for the respray was a simple process and here she is with a new coat of Red for the Skirts over the existing cleaned up Red.
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Next up the Body got a coat of Halfords Rattle Can Matt Black
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I had ro be a little bit inventive to get the Fosworks Wiring Loom all in place and an extension to the Brass Switch Plate was made to get the Charging socket and On/off switch in place in as small an area as possible. Inevitably stuffing all the kit in was goind to be a bit of a challenge.
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Once all the gear was in and we are talking Reciever, Batteries, Speed Control, Sound Card and Speaker it was time for a little test. image.jpeg
This proved that the reciever was not at all happy in all that Metal so a small Plasticard Box was made to place it by one of the Cab Doors. image.jpeg
Now I could fit the beast all back together to await production of DR Letteing and Number Plate. Though I have left the original Brass "Steve" nameplate and number on in place on just one side. If I find the other ones they will be mounted on the other side! Oh and a couple of footplate crew added as well. Hate to see locs with no Loco Crew.
Eventually those were printed off and applied and some runs out on the line appear here as well.
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The running is very smooth and slow as befits a Steam Tram and I have some how made a happy mix of the MyLocoSound options that I feel works with her. Not as powerful as I would like but more than adequate for a working that may need to double up on one of the grades with a Block Train on the main incline to Silberhutte.

I am though not entirely happy with the RC Reception and feel that I will have to get an Extended Aerial option to replace the existing one. The replaced one will go in a Plastic Conversion that is currently in mind.
 

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stockers

Trains, aircraft, models, walking, beer, travel
24 Oct 2009
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Nr. Ashford, Kent. England.
Jon, The correct DR font is available for free download. It is DIN 1451.
 

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
29,226
3,508
North West Norfolk
I am though not entirely happy with the RC Reception and feel that I will have to get an Extended Aerial option to replace the existing one. The replaced one will go in a Plastic Conversion that is currently in mind.

My understanding, Jon, is that the aerial needs to be outside of the metal cage.

This adds a bit of a new dimension or challenge in finding ways to conceal the necessities for battery operation. I have one battery loco where the on/off switch is a press switch operated by the exhaust pipe - press for on, press again for off, and there are a number of manually controlled battery locos where the exhaust pipe is turned to operate the speed - I have one like that as well.

Hiding an aerial is different though, unless you have an overhead wire to operate a bell or something like that :think::think::think:
 
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PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
27,393
2,827
Tamworth, Staffs.
Anything on the outside of the engine, about an inch and a quarter long will do..

I have seen (or not, if you get me!):
Westinghouse pump (plastic, dummy).
Fire-iron (handle) in a cab-window.
Shaft of a shovel, on cab roof.
A 'Walkie-Talkie' hanging in a cab doorway. - aerial was in the body and the aerial.
Stuck up the exhaust of a diesel outline model.

I am sure there are many other ideas out there?
 
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dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
18,679
3,808
72
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Jon, The correct DR font is available for free download. It is DIN 1451.
Thanks Alan, that is what I use though I wonder if I forgot on this one. Will check my Cad to see for these labels. I think twas you that suggested it eons ago when I asked.
 

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
18,679
3,808
72
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
My understanding, Jon, is that the aerial needs to be outside of the metal cage.

This adds a bit of a new dimension or challenge in finding ways to conceal the necessities for battery operation. I have one battery loco where the on/off switch is a press switch operated by the exhaust pipe - press for on, press again for off, and there are a number of manually controlled battery locos where the exhaust pipe is turned to operate the speed - I have one like that as well.

Hiding an aerial is different though, unless you have an overhead wire to operate a bell or something like that :think::think::think:
So far as I can see there is no visoble Aerial on the chip that can be mounted outside of the Loco which is why I will be asking about the extended aerial option from Fosworks.
 

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
29,226
3,508
North West Norfolk
So far as I can see there is no visoble Aerial on the chip that can be mounted outside of the Loco which is why I will be asking about the extended aerial option from Fosworks.
Deltang do a standard with stubby aerial and an extended version - same reason :nod::nod:
 

Tony Walsham

Manufacturer of RCS Radio Control.
25 Oct 2009
2,204
50
Casino, NSW
You can often get surprisingly good range in metal body locos without needing the extended range antenna.
I simply mount the short antenna Rx hard up against the inside of the metal body. The antenna does need to be vertical if possible.
I don't know why it works but in my case it does work.
 

Slawman

Deckline
9 Apr 2018
276
79
Sydney
Having bought this beast many more years ago than I care to remember its day has come for a new Power Supply and Repaint to DR Livery. Called Helga by Essell there were only ever 2 made heavily based on the LGB Steam Tram. Was powered by 5 or 6 C Cells NiCad (remember them?(no pun intended)) batteries that had given up the ghost. In truth I was a bit of an abuser of NiCads not really allowing full discharge before a recharge enabling the memory effect and ultimate failure. That type of Battery was never going to work for me and NiMh are a savior so far as I am concerned.

Thank you for sharing details of your project Jon. I think the tram looks excellent and I am continually impressed by the modelling skills I see on the forum. Excellent.
 

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
18,679
3,808
72
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Further to this little beast I did have a chat with Steve at Fosworks and though an Extended Aerial is available and would probably have been a better bet one of my problems was that I had mounted the Rx and Speed Controller pretty well next to each other. This can be a problem in a Metal Loco so having pulled the beast apart and separating those two items to opposite ends has made a big difference. Noting that my last post on this was July last year I am happy to report that ‘Steve’ is still perfoming Light duties more than adequately. Incidentally the name was fitted many moons ago and is after Steve of Essell Engineering who built it.