Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Review - Randgust's Powered Express Reefer kit

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    1,591
    Blog Entries
    1
    Thanks
    549
    Thanked 1,221 Times in 493 Posts
    Mentioned
    57 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default Review - Randgust's Powered Express Reefer kit

    A few months ago, I purchased Randgust's kit to power a 40' Athearn Express Reefer as a stealthy 'helper' engine to put behind anemic pulling locomotives (no! really? those exist??? LOL) Although the recommended Tomytec units in Randgust's instructions seem to no longer exist, he assured me that the Tomytec TM-21 would work, and has the appropriate sideframes for the job.

    The kit requires you to purchase a Tomytec unit, which are Japanese-made and apparently all the rage over there, but made of pure unobtanium as far as getting them in the states via a retailer. So it was off to Ebay and the long wait for the Tomytec TM-21 to arrive.

    Randgust's kit arrived neatly packaged with everything a person needs to assemble the kit, minus tools, paint and decals. Included in the kit are two frame halves - lower and upper, tiny brass screws, a length of wire and 2 copper driveshaft splice sleeves.

    The first step is to disassemble the Tomytec TM-21. Do this VERY CAREFULLY. You need to remove the two grey driveshafts, both trucks and the motor. Take care to remove the wipers as well, you will need them. Note that NONE of these parts are available seperately from Tomytec. Work in a box if you have to. I have taken to working inside of a low-walled tupperware container, and for things that might cause a part to fly -- like cutting the driveshaft -- I work in a rolling stock case with the guts removed, and hold my hand over the top while making the cut so parts don't go ZING!!!

    This, of course, was after I lost the driveshaft twice and one of the wipers 3 times in the carpet on the floor. At one point, I came up with the brilliant idea of just setting up a work surface on the floor and working down there, as everything ends up on the damned floor anyway, but my age and my knees wouldn't allow it.

    Anyway, once you have the Tomytec reduced to parts, you can set aside/use for something else/discard the Tomytec frame and weights.

    Somehow, I had managed to dislodge the wipers that fit into slots on one side of the motor, so I made the job harder for myself. I split the plastic motor housing carefully by spreading it with my fingers to remove the motor. Then I dug in one of my parts boxes and found more tiny-gauge wire, and soldered leads directly to the posts on the motor, and then re-assembled the motor into the housing, after trimming the housing a bit with the x-acto knife to accommodate my bird-**** soldering job.

    Then I soldered these to the short pair of wipers, lined them up in place, marked the hole in the wiper with the point of a Sharpie and drilled a hole for the screw to attach. After screwing the wiper in place, I repeated the process for the other wiper. A quick test on the track confirmed that the motor spun when current was applied.

    I then halved the supplied wire and soldered one end of each piece to the tail end of the long wipers, drilled and screwed them in place, and soldered the other end to the wipers I previously installed. Another quick test on the track confirmed that both trucks were picking up current and the motor ran fine.

    Now I'm not sure what course of events led to my doing so, but Randgust would have you cut both driveshafts in half and then use the supplied sleeves to lengthen them to fit from motor to truck...but for whatever reason, I took the longer of the two original driveshafts and plopped it whole on one side, and then set about making a *double splice* for the other driveshaft. A section of plastic wheel axle did the job perfectly. I removed the truck at the end that I was fabricating this for, slid the motor toward the opposite truck to firmly tuck the driveshaft at that end in so that it wouldn't pop out - but not too tightly, then adjusted my sleeves as I slid the truck back up and into the frame after applying CA to all the middle joints (NOT AT THE ENDS!!!). I had to work quickly before the CA set.

    Making sure that everything aligned up properly, I then applied CA to the bottom of the motor and cemented it in place.

    Again, a run on the track confirmed that it ran, though poorly (no weight yet!)

    I then assembled the top half of Randgust's 'frame sandwich', lowering it down on the assembly and screwing the ends in place.

    The next step was to take my reefer car apart and cut the floor out of the 'box'. This was done with a super sharp X-acto knife, scoring around the inside of the car. Careful as I was, I still broke the damned thing at one corner, but some CA fixed that. Some work with a file to clean up the cut, and a little filing on the top corners of Randgust's pieces and the car body dropped right down onto the kit.

    I then took some 'coiled lead' that I picked up somewhere...it's basically lead that's coiled around a spool, cut numerous lengths of it, wrapped it in tape and stuffed it in the car til I had it packed full of lead. If I wanted to do this "right", I'd have melted lead with a torch or something and cast chunks in exacting sizes, but this worked well enough. Once I had it weighted down, I snapped the car roof on and tested it out. Wow. Ran like a charm!

    Next step was to add couplers. I stole some frame-mounted MT's off of a Milw Road Atlas RS-3 that was missing handrails, that I had bought at one time for my Baldwin project but ended up using a different powertrain with. Anyone want a RS-3 with no couplers or handrails? Once the couplers were mounted, I painted the underside black, snapped on the very-close-to-authentic sideframes for the trucks, and apart from a coat of flat clear, the project was done.

    I can pull a little more than twice as many cars as before. Without any way to slow the reefer car down, I try to stick to faster running Atlas and Rivarossi engines, though it does seem to work ok with my Model Power 4-6-2. I wouldn't probably try it with a couple of my more realistically-geared units at this point. I could add diodes, but that would take away from room for lead. MRC makes or made this "Genie" product that functionally allows individual speed control for stubborn old DC guys like me, so if / when that becomes available I will look into it. But man... an old Rivarossi 4-6-2 hauling 22 cars?!?!?

    Nice Kit, Randgust!

    Pictures? You want pictures? Randgust will supply all the pics you need, should you purchase his kit. And if *I* can put it together, so can you!!!

  2. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to P-LineSoo For This Useful Post:


  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    1,591
    Blog Entries
    1
    Thanks
    549
    Thanked 1,221 Times in 493 Posts
    Mentioned
    57 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default

    Short video of Soo 2719, a Model Power 4-6-2, "pulling" a nice string of cars (with a little help from the Express Reefer behind the tender).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5x5VUQaOTKc

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    1,493
    Thanks
    684
    Thanked 2,137 Times in 648 Posts
    Mentioned
    57 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by P-LineSoo View Post
    I then took some 'coiled lead' that I picked up somewhere...it's basically lead that's coiled around a spool, cut numerous lengths of it, wrapped it in tape and stuffed it in the car til I had it packed full of lead. If I wanted to do this "right", I'd have melted lead with a torch or something and cast chunks in exacting sizes, but this worked well enough. Once I had it weighted down, I snapped the car roof on and tested it out. Wow. Ran like a charm!
    Very nice overview.

    I think those spools of lead are for salmon fishing or something -- https://www.walmart.com/ip/Bullet-We...-1-lb/16928066

    I think that you may risk poisoning yourself if you melt lead and are not sure what you are doing (I do not know what I am doing so have avoided that).

    One option I found for molding shaped weights was to cut up strips or bits of lead and use a mold filled w/ liquid epoxy to create the shape / weight combo. Basically, I just cut up the pieces or lead and arranged with weight evenly distributed inside a mold that I made w/ Blue Stuff (in my case I was molding a missing Life Like weight and my handmade weights were always moving around, fouling the worm gear, etc...). I then poured liquid epoxy into the mold around the lead (poking and prodding things a bit w/ a toothpick to get the epoxy to fill in around the lead pieces that I had filled the mold with). The resulting weight sat just right in the space I had and was pretty heavy (around 2/3rds to 3/4 the weight of the original weight I would guess).

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    1,591
    Blog Entries
    1
    Thanks
    549
    Thanked 1,221 Times in 493 Posts
    Mentioned
    57 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default

    Lead is soft enough that one can shape it with a hammer, needle nose pliers, etc. to a large degree also. I probably should just buy some of that putty used in Pinewood Derby cars, but I'd need about $20 worth.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Palo Alto, CA
    Posts
    265
    Thanks
    267
    Thanked 288 Times in 112 Posts
    Mentioned
    9 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Any room for a DCC decoder, which would allow you to speed match better? Or would it reduce the room for lead too much?

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    1,591
    Blog Entries
    1
    Thanks
    549
    Thanked 1,221 Times in 493 Posts
    Mentioned
    57 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default

    I'm not a DCC guy. Randgust might know. Plus, he also includes instructions on how to swap the Tomytec motor with a much slower running Atlas 5 pole.

  8. The Following User Says Thank You to P-LineSoo For This Useful Post:


  9. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Oklahoma, USA
    Posts
    299
    Thanks
    237
    Thanked 625 Times in 175 Posts
    Mentioned
    12 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    An alternative to lead might be the more expensive tungsten powder. One of the folks here - Dragoon 45 - showed me a canister he'd bought from GolfWorks.

    Sam

Similar Threads

  1. Brass New York Central Express Reefer
    By jargonlet in forum Rollingstock
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 19th Sep 2016, 12:52 PM
  2. PRR R50b Express Reefer kit available
    By glakedylan in forum Product & Service Announcements
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 12th Jun 2015, 08:22 PM
  3. Indian Rock Atlantic Reefer Express
    By Vince P in forum Rollingstock
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 19th Sep 2014, 03:51 PM
  4. Amtrak express tracks reefer ... :)
    By mariuszjj in forum Rollingstock
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 7th Mar 2014, 08:42 PM
  5. Athern express reefer
    By zosimas in forum Rollingstock
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: 14th Jan 2013, 06:03 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •