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Thread: improvments for an Atlas/RR Pacific

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    Default improvments for an Atlas/RR Pacific

    the video is like watching paint dry.
    https://youtu.be/LhHrnt2aiIQ

    I built this loco over the past year
    and it has had some re-iterations.

    it has a replacement chassis and a kato 5 pole trolley motor and a flywheel

    the tender has an all wheel pickup in it and I made a drawbar like a kato mike
    there is no pick-up on the loco.

    I want a reliable Pacific.
    in my testing, it is reliable.

    overall it has a better motor and better chassis.
    the pick-up solves the reliable operation problem

    what I can't say is that it is easy to build.
    the chassis is three pewter castings and the motor mount and drawbar post are made of PC boards
    the pcboard parts are not well thought out.
    I have to think up a better way.

    the tender is easier...
    frankly, using a bachmann allwheel pick-up tender is the best solution.

    I have a number of Atlas Pacifics. They failed for various reasons over the years.
    I wanted to put the loco parts to use.
    one of the issues here is that Kato makes allwheel pick-up wheel-sets
    and these were purchased to go into the Atlas tender trucks

    If you have a couple of tenders to do you can cut the extra atlas wheelsets
    to make Kato style wheel sets...
    These will not fit code 55 trackwork however.

    Effort and time and money all taken into consideration,
    a re-motored Model Power Pacific attached to a B-mann tender is a good option.

    The gear ratio of the Atlas/RR pacific is the only problem left to solve.

    a beauty shot.
    atlas-rr-462.jpg
    Last edited by victor miranda; 21st Mar 2018 at 09:04 PM. Reason: fixed a typo and a wordy sentence

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    this is the loco and one iteration of the tender.
    the idea for the tender is the same for the pickups

    I added an electrical drawbar to the loco in place of the wires

    a possibly recognizable photo:


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    Very nice work there, Victor. I have an older Atlas steamer that needs some pro work because it sure was beyond me. Some day, maybe.
    Daniel Dawson

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    As a fan of A1G (my site), Victor, I like it.

    Doug
    Atlas First Generation Motive Power and Treble-O-Lectric. Click on the link:
    www.irwinsjournal.com/a1g/a1glocos/

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    Hi Mobile one,

    so some extent what you have determines what you need to do.

    If you have a good frame and just need a motor, that trolley motor is a good option
    and can be installed, believe it or not, that is fairly easy.

    the tender was done with hand tools...
    If a motor tool and a soldering iron are hand tools...

    the conversations I get into often ask how can I do that?
    .... my work on Locos has often been getting tools to help do things
    like pull gears and cut/grind motor shafts.
    that is the 'how' for a lot of the work.

    where my heart led me may be why I did this.
    It is more grim determination than anything special.

    there is nothing here that could not have been done 40 years ago
    if any one had decided to do it.

    what I am chasing is a loco that is reliable and easy to keep running.

    hidden in there is that most locos are made to be cheap to assemble at the factory.
    the thought that one must lubricate? is not considered.

    the atlas/RR stuff is almost great.
    The tender with the archbar trucks (the second and older photo) was given a trial behind
    a couple of re-motored Atlas/Rr locos. It was hard to make so I have tried other ideas
    that seemed easier to make.
    the performance of the re-motor engines was impressive.
    enough that I felt it worth giving this another attempt.

    I have a MP Pacific that runs as good as one can expect ANY loco to run.
    and I hate to get in there to clean and lube. so it fails some aspects of easy to maintain.
    this is in complete contrast to a kato J3 Hudson. (or an atlas/RR)

    I will give you more help than you might guess for fixing your loco.
    you will have to do the work. and buy some parts from some where.
    and almost all is rather easy.
    ... or I will re visit my idea of easy.

    victor
    Last edited by victor miranda; 23rd Mar 2018 at 05:59 PM. Reason: extra blank lines removed

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Gosha View Post
    As a fan of A1G (my site), Victor, I like it.

    Doug
    I so wish the operator of RivaRossi had some notion that he could have been remembered
    for being an N-scale Great. 50 years later and the shells are still pretty good.

    It seems RivaRossi decided that gig didn't pay well.
    So that top Honor goes to Mr. Kato
    His company is still thriving. (I hope!)

    victor

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    If only Senor, Alesandro Rossi wouldn't have cheaped out on some parts, most notably the commutator form in the can motor, the Rivarossi steamers would have been/be even better than most admit they are.

    The gears/wheels are pretty much indestructible and they did improve the motor in a relatively short period of time but the early ones could not take much of a load at all without overheating and melting the commutator. I have rebuilt many of the original motors, using epoxy in several places, and they run without problems now.

    Doug
    Atlas First Generation Motive Power and Treble-O-Lectric. Click on the link:
    www.irwinsjournal.com/a1g/a1glocos/

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    It is odd to attempt to give credit where it is due.
    and don't you fear I'll give that RR motor its due later...

    for the price charged for the atlas/rr pacific (I acquired the 0-4-0 and mikado much later)
    I think it is (ok 'was') a darned good value.
    A good and well detailed shell and easy to clean and maintain.
    these qualities are where I think the Atlas/RR locos are great

    For what would have been very little more expense, and I mean that very and little,
    the loco could have been robust. just improve the motor...
    and you need to give that rubber magnet more credit for roasting armatures.
    those commutators melted because of that incredibly cheap material.

    the trolley motor I am using is 'better' If for no other reason simply because it has good magnets.
    I set those same magnets into a RR can and used the original arm just to prove that point to a friend of mine.

    I will avoid further digressions...
    it is often surprising how one can avoid becoming great.
    so close and so far...

    the bright side is that without 0-8-0s and pacifics
    I would not have had the chance to learn so much about building locos.

    victor

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    Since this tender pick-up is expected to go under a RR heavy Pacific
    I decided to add it here
    this is the truck I picked for this experiment
    tender-truck-3axl.jpg
    and this photo shows all the parts
    3axl-pickups.jpg

    examine the photo a bit and you should be able to figure out how to do it.
    the phosphor-bronze is the .008 one can buy
    and the wheels sets are the 33 inch from Kato

    I had to dig the pockets of the trucks to allow the wheels to roll freely and move up and down a bit.

    my next set of pickups will be a bit taller as I had a hard time testing that truck.

    I have to sort out how to set the tender floor for this pick-up.

    victor
    Last edited by victor miranda; 16th Apr 2018 at 03:24 PM. Reason: removed the double photo

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    over the weekend I received some gears from Gizmo-zone.


    and I spent some time examining how to fit a gear reduction into the chassis.
    ... I can do it if...
    I move the gears in the loco over to either side. They are close to centered in the frame


    Since I am building the rest of the gear-case/chassis, I can rearrange the gears.
    Moving the gears on the driversets is a good deal of effort.
    at that point I am building a new mechanism.
    mostly because I'd be making axles/driversets any way I want
    and I may as well do the vertical split frame because the re-made axles
    can be isolated... the benefit being I get additional wheels doing pick-up.


    and then... well, the project goes from simple to complicated
    and I may as well use all plastic gears and soon enough the project will be done.
    Then I have a loco that was a lotta work that looks exactly like the Atlas/RR Pacific.


    the MP Pacific, on the other hand, has the gear work done.


    If you want an excellent Pacific type,
    the effort to improve The MP version looks like the easier path.
    just replace the motor... why am I laughing? and upgrade the tender.


    If you have an Atlas/RR pacific...
    the tender upgrade and motor upgrade are, in my opinion, worth doing.


    the replacement chassis is also my idea of worthwhile.
    should you have an Atlas/RR pacific that is special to you.


    victor

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    Victor, great write up, years ago I bought probably about 0-8-0s and dozens of Pacifics and Mikados (and countless e8s and FMCs) from Bob Rufe, who apparently bought or acquired all the factory returns from Atlas back in the day. To misquote a famous author, all Rivarossi steamers are equal, but some Rivarossi steamers are more equal than others. I had some that ran very well indeed in stock form with just a little cleaning. The Rivarossi can, as mentioned, is a very good design let down by poor materials (the chassis isn't a bad design-but let down, etc.). Is there any other N scale motor designed to be completely taken apart and cleaned and serviced like that?

    Although I am sure they don't run as good as your rebuild, I have had good luck fitting the five pole conversion from Micro Locomotion (I don't know if he still sells them, but bung out the bearing ever so slightly, but the shafts and they pop right in. They don't run that much better than a three pole, but they are so much more reliable and consistent.

    I haven't done it on the Rivarossi steamers, but have added truck pick up to my Trix 0-6-0, and it makes it so much better. So what I am saying is you could get a pretty nice set up by adding the five pole armature and all wheel pick up and maybe a little weight to the tender and some new traction tires so it pulls well too.

    Not discounting your efforts just a simpler proposal for those less skilled or ambitious.

    Regards,

    Greg

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    I bought a bunch of E8's and FM C-Liners (a few steamers) from Bob, years ago, too. Also, there was a guy named George (I have forgotten his last name) who usually sold one working loco in a lot along with several non-runners. The problem was almost always the motor and I learned how to rebuild the Rivarossi motors. A lot of the locos were like new except for the motor so the motor must have failed in short order.

    I still have all those locos and take them out once-in-a-while just to see them run.

    Doug
    Atlas First Generation Motive Power and Treble-O-Lectric. Click on the link:
    www.irwinsjournal.com/a1g/a1glocos/

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    Doug, you do bring up one of the points about old equipment that should not be over looked
    the fact that newer locos are usually easier to run and maintain.
    so people tend to avoid the frustrations of keeping the old Atlas/RR locos in operation.

    oh the many ways to get a loco going.
    with the help of a slot car supplier...
    I have a ream for the RR brush caps.
    that allows me to use tyco slotcar brushes... and springs

    then the 4 wheel trolly provides 5 pole armatures, if you don't like the entire motor, anyway.
    should you want, the magents can be set into the RR can to replace the RR rubber magnet.

    I used a wrap of paper around the arm and epoxied the Kato magnets in place.
    I have not found any super neo type magnets that fit. yet.


    so with a minimal investment one can definitely improve an over heating RR magnet motor.


    the above has the benefit of keeping the current electrical system.

    the real improvement is the magnets...

    after that. weeeell.
    I have tried a few things on the frames.
    I've baked a frame for a few hours at 250 degrees in my oven
    then painted it with super thin super glue.

    it has not cracked. but who knows? it may be one of the ones that will never grow and crack.
    Ive tried copper plating and it was pretty but the frame continued to grow and crack


    maybe the plating solution helped with the cracking?
    it was a gonner if I did nothing.


    I was thinking if one sets a frame in a jar with a bunch of iron filings
    and a paper layer to keep then from forming some kind of battery
    the iron would grab the oxygen and eventually reverse the frame damage...

    that may take years however.

    Since I have read that lead free pewter is a reasonable bearing metal
    I decided to try a frame and run it.
    which is what I have been doing. the one frame I have been testing is holding up.
    I have not seen wear past the initial bedding.

    I think it could make an excellent kit...
    my design uses a lot of screws and is not free of glaring flaws.

    victor

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    Quote Originally Posted by victor miranda View Post
    Doug, you do bring up one of the points about old equipment that should not be over looked
    the fact that newer locos are usually easier to run and maintain.
    so people tend to avoid the frustrations of keeping the old Atlas/RR locos in operation.
    I am probably the odd man out, though I suspect from your posts you may have a little of it in yourself Victor. The locos that don't run well or reliably get all the running time and attention. Once they are rectified they sort of get stored away and on to the next project. I guess I like to tinker more than I like to operate a model railroad.
    Last edited by A1GMAN; 3rd May 2018 at 05:40 PM.

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    Hi A1GMAN,

    I have to say I had not noticed I did things that way.
    looking back it is the case quite often.

    I know I often take up the task of tuning up a loco
    so I'll have it ready for use when I have my Grand Empire going.

    the loco work itself is usually satisfying.

    victor

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    Yeah, I just hate to have a loco sitting around or in its box, that doesn't run. So I work on them until they DO run and then, everything seems right with the world.



    Doug
    Atlas First Generation Motive Power and Treble-O-Lectric. Click on the link:
    www.irwinsjournal.com/a1g/a1glocos/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Gosha View Post
    Yeah, I just hate to have a loco sitting around or in its box, that doesn't run. So I work on them until they DO run and then, everything seems right with the world.



    Doug
    I think having OCD is a model railroading prerequisite. Or at least it is for me, lol.

    -Mark

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    at the time you wrote this post, I wondered if I displayed any OCD tendencies.

    I was adding up all the time I spent working on a pacific( one in another thread)
    and I am pretty sure I cleared 25 hours on that project over 2 days.

    so I can see an obsession... I am not so sure about the compulsive part...
    I've been known to stay parked in an arm chair watching TV instead of
    tinkering in my basement workshop.

    sure is fun to get 'lost' in a project.

    victor

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