This engine does not have a lot of modifications in appearance like #37. It is mostly a paint job and a change to the onion stack. It is however the first engine where I installed Airwire and Phoenix sound. This was a steep learning curve and as is often my custom some new curse words were invented.
I first ran this engine as track power. It did okay but was under-powered and contained the original plastic gear famed for splitting at the drive axle. When my friend Bill Beck offered to upgrade it to one of his horizontal transmissions I jumped at the chance. The new gears are very low in ratio. More importantly they are made of metal, in this case the new gear is titanium. The design is pretty straight forward. Two peices od metal stock are cut to make the side frames. A 5 pole 24V Pittman motor is attached horizontally at the top with a worm screw gear. An idler sits in the middle and then the final drive gear is pressed onto the axle. It is a very tall assemble and barely fits inside the boiler. I had to hack out a rather large hole to get it to fit. It will now pull tree stumps and is surpassed only by my #51 the Accucraft K27.
The original gear and transmission. Thanks to Bart Salmons for that inside look on the right.
Here is the new system installed.
With everything running properly I set about doing the paint and installing the electronics in the tender. Step by step instructions on ow I do this are in the #37 Build Log. This was my first try and I made a few design errors. The most noteworthy was the supports for the batteries. I used to wooden supports raised over the electronics. This let them move around and fall on top of the sound board making removal / installation awkward. I never had any damage but I felt that was only a matter of time.
The view from the inside. Yuck! There is a lot wrong with this. The battery can fall down on the sound board. That big block of wood is creating a heat build up point next to the Airwire decoder. The sound volume toggle was inside the tender and hard to reach with the batteries installed. The wire bundle pushed the batteries to one side making the tender roll off balance. Wow with all of those mistakes imagine how much I learned!
When I did the install on #50 I changed the design to a shelf that filled the opening. It worked great and kept the batteries from wandering around inside the tender. To fit the smaller Connie tender I had to cut a slot in the shelf to ensure clearance for the sound board. This allowed the shelf to sit low enough to provide clearance for the batteries. I now locate the sound board in the front of the tender but in this case the speaker was to tall to fit underneath the shelf as it does in the other engines. This is the Phoenix SP-2.5OV: 824-710 speaker which is actually designed for O scale engines. It fits neatly in the front of the tender. It blasts out plenty of decibels and I recommend it if you do not like the installation configuration I used in #37.
To install the shelf I first removed the old supports. This let all of the wiring fit in the bottom of the tender leaving the upper section free and clear. I put in new supports at the correct height using the battery packs as weight while the glue dried. Next I drilled and countersunk the screws to hold the shelf in place. Job complete.
With the tender shell off you can see how nice and neat the install looks. By removing the log pile cover the batteries can be changed quickly.
Jobs a good’un. Engine thirty four is ready to go to work routinely pulling 7 to 8 Accucraft cars with ease.