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More on BCR Battery Component Replacement
Bob Oursler - January 2004
BCR Battery Component Replacement
Ron Stowell - January, 2004
Protosound Battery Source
Ted Piunno - December, 2003
Lionel TMCC Cab-1 Reference Card    (pdf - 120KB)
Ted Piunno - November, 2003
Rail Isolating Pins, Fish Paper, and Male Disconnect Terminals for Rail Connections
John Kerklo - November, 2003
Battery Testing
Jerry Dobbs - October, 2003
Protosound Battery Issues   (pdf - 1.3MB)
Ted Piunno - July, 2003
Protosound Battery Maintenance   (pdf - 600KB)
Ted Piunno - July, 2003
Trainmaster Tutorial
Ted Piunno - February, 2003
Lionel 182 Crane Armature Maintenance
Jerry Dobbs - May, 2003
Lionel's 456R coal ramp coupling solution!
OGR Forum - Howard Reed - April, 2003
Installing Switches for Lionel RC Track
Susan Deats - March, 2005
Phasing Transformers
Susan Deats - March, 2005
Light Up Your Projects with LEDs
Ted Piunno - July, 2005
Tips for Installing People Bridges
Susan Deats - June, 2005
All Things ZW
K. Schwarz - April 2009
MTS DCS Track Signal Filter
S. Deats - April 2009
Date/Time: January 21, 2004 10:19 AM Posted By: Bob Oursler

Subject: More on BCR "Battery Component Replacement" Regarding the article on the MTH battery replacement, I have had two PS1 locos go scrambled irreparably because of low battery charge. What happens is not the whole PS1 board, but the primary controlling firmware chip that makes the whole engine useless. The chip cannot be repaired only replaced, according to qualified techs. The article in OGR was pretty close to reality. The clarification should have been that the chip is smoked that is resident on the board, not the whole board. It is still a serious inconvenience for us occasional operators and adds expense that should not be necessary. Operators need to be advised by MTH that if the loco has not been operated in some minimum time frame from manufacture, then it needs to be "recharged over some specified time". Currently their procedure advises to place the loco on the track and turn on initial voltage to 12 volts (?? I'm not certain) and leave it in that state for some 8 hours (?? again not certain). We old time operators do not relish the idea of turning on ou transformers and leaving them for long periods unattended. Make that leaving them unattended period, for any length of time. Safety First!!

Date/Time: January 15, 2004 10:19 AM Posted By: Ron Stowell

Subject: BCR Battery Component Replacement

Here's a copy of a letter sent out by MTH regarding BCR "Battery Component Replacement". Check out the third and forth paragraphs in particular. I'd be interested in any comments or thoughts regarding this. "PS1 Battery Charging Jack The battery lead with charging jack is now in stock at MTH. Order part number BC-0000204 to obtain MTH's battery lead with charging jack designed for PS1 models. The harness comes with the battery snap, barrel connector to receive MTH battery charger plug, plastic mounting bracket, and 2 pin connector to connect the harness to the PS1 board. The harness eliminates the PS1 board from the circuit when the battery is being charged. The MSRP price for the harness is $8.00. Mounting screws are not supplied with the harness.

BCR Battery Alternative In response to the Jan 2004 OGR "Battery Alternative" article found on page 48 MTH reminds everyone that PS1 boards are NOT "irreparably damaged" due to a low battery and has contacted OGR about the statement to the contrary in the article. MTH has not formally tested the "Battery Component Replacement" or BCR offered by J&W Electronics and therefore cannot fully endorse it. However, our initial review indicates the product should work fine without harming the original Proto-Sound system now referred to as PS1 when used properly.

It is important to remember one can still scramble the PS1 software if the operator does not wait long enough for the BCR to fully charge. The capacitors in the BCR take time to charge up and go from 0 Volts to 10 volts in less than 1 minute with a minimum of 12 volts supplied to the track. If track power is interrupted when the BCR is not fully charged the PS1 locomotive may not leave neutral or worse, a software conflict or De-Select may result. When the BCR is charging and not yet fully charged, it is no different from a battery with a low charge. Users need to remember the BCR is not a battery and must be charged using at least 12 volts track power with each use. Therefore, the operator must allow time for the BCR to fully charge each time track power is first applied to their PS1 Locomotive to prevent battery-related problems from occurring.

9 Volt Batteries Date: Wednesday, December 17, 2003 4:37 PM  By: Ted Piunno

I've had a couple of people tell me they are having a hard time finding the Ray-O-Vac 9 volt rechargeable NIMH batteries at Wal-Mart (Reference my newsletter article on PS-1 batteries). I found another source for that battery type at batteries.com. The Web address is http://www.batterymart.com/battery.mv?p=BAT-9V-NIMH . The battery number is BAT-9V-NIMH and it sells for only $5.95.

Isolated Rail Information John Kerklo November 03, 2003

At Sunday's meeting, I had questions about rail isolating pins, fish paper, and male disconnect terminals for rail connections. Thought the following might be a useful "Tidbits" subject.

Rail isolating pins are nylon/plastic pins for joining rails without making an electrical connection. Standard item for O or O27 gauge track (get the right size). Typically found in the rails of O22 switches that provide for non-derailing. Generally available from train sources, including Mizell's and Caboose locally.

Fish paper is broadly used for electrical insulation. It is known as "Fish Paper," "Fyberoid Fish Paper," "Natural Hard Fiber," and "Vulcanized Fiber." A .010 inch thickness seems to work well for isolating high-rail track rails. We use a piece a little smaller than 3/4" x 3/4" for O gauge. It needs to cover the metal tie and clamps, but not interfere with wheel flanges on the inside of the rail.

Mouser carries a tightly-rolled (inconvenient) sheet 10" by 24" which can make about 400 rail insulators. It is Mouser part number 524-560, $4.05/sheet. It carries a label "GC Electronics, Fiberoid Fish Paper, .010 inch thick, #560. We cut it into strips with a paper cutter, then use scissors to make the insulator. Form it over a track rail.

McMaster-Carr has a variety of forms. Their product 8490K11 is a 12" x 12" sheet of .010 inch thickness for $2.36.

Almost invisible connections can be made to high-rail and Gargraves track by inserting a 1/4 inch, non-insulated, male quick disconnect terminal, from underneath, between rail metal sides. Sometimes it helps to insert a small-bladed screwdriver first to prepare the way. They hold well, but can be also tightened with track pliers.

These come in different wire sizes. For isolated-rails, 22 gauge wire works fine. For power connections, use 18 or 16 gauge. Use a non-insulated terminal crimper to hold the wire in, then solder the wire to the terminal, just to be sure. (Don't solder the terminal to the rail.)

For 22-18 gauge wire, Mouser's part is 517-2247, about $9/100. McMaster Carr's part number is 69525K66, $4/100.

For 16-14 gauge wire, Mouser's part is 517-1650, about $9/100. McMaster Carr's part number is 69525K68, $4/100.

Mouser is on the web at www.mouser.com. Good for all kinds of electrical/electronics stuff. Easy to deal with.

McMaster Carr is on the web at www.mcmaster.com. Great supplier. Good for hardware, wire, tools, etc. The web site is great for finding what you want.

Fistell's is a local electronics source. They have the terminals, and have carried the fish paper, but may have trouble finding it. Great place to browse; lots of junk. 10th and Bannock. Web site is poor, no online ordering: www.fistells.com.

Trainmaster Tutorial Date: Sunday, February 16, 2003 10:31 AM Ted Piunno

Here's the Web site address for Coil Couplers of America, a site that is dedicated to Lionel equipment. It contains news, product reviews, discussion boards, and historical information. The best part of the site is the interactive Lionel Trainmaster (TMCC) tutorial, which consists of a series of lessons. When you reach the last page of each one, there is a button link that allows you to print that lesson. I went through the entire course. It was fun as well as informative. http://coilcouplers.com/tmc/tmc.html

Battery Testing Jerry Dobbs October 31, 2003

The article on QSI/Proto-Sound Batteries in our club news was very interesting, showing how to measure the voltage of the battery. A quicker and easier method that I use it to take a 12 volt lamp and touch it across he terminals of the battery, from the brightness of the lamp you can determine the state of charge of the battery. Some practice helps, compare it to a new battery.

Lionel 182 Crane Armature Maintenance Thursday, May 02, 2002 6:01 AM Jerry Dobbs

Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2002 09:05:54 -0700 (PDT) From: Scott Holm Subject: Lionel 182 crane armature update

I told the story of my Lionel 182 crane armature that was virtually destroyed by over-oiling (probably WD-40.) Got some good suggestions from Tom Jarcho, which are going to work out. I tried searching for a replacement armature at the train show, but the guys that are usually there with Lionel motor parts weren't there (York?)

I connected the transformer leads directly to the commutators, turning the transformer up until the shorted areas between the plates in the bakelite started to light up. I carved these out with a knife until no more shorts occurred; one was right near the shaft. Also soaked it in solvent to remove whatever oil was still left on the surfaces. When I measured the resistance between the plates, two of the plates were 1.9 Ohms from each other and the other two readings were about 9 Ohms. The reason for this was identified as bad solder joints. I guess the heat must have melted the solder off. I soldered them and tried the armature out and it works great in both directions. Before I put the whole thing back together I'm going to fill in the holes with epoxy, to keep it from falling apart.

Thanks to Tom for the advice and thanks also to Bob Hannon for the information about the problems with WD-40 on armatures and a possible source for replacements.

Lionel's 456R coal ramp coupling solution! From: OGauge RR Forum - TCA Member Howard Reed Posted April 27, 2002 10:47 PM

At York on Friday, I purchased the 456R coal ramp reproduction that came out last year. I had reservations about buying this accessory because I had read a number of reviews and commits by others on the computer lists. Many of these talked about how hard the train had to hit the coupler at the top to get the car to couple. Also, I already owned the postwar version, which worked well, but the only hopper to work with it is the postwar car. I have a number of modern era operating hoppers that would not work with the postwar ramp. So I had been interested in the modern ramp but with the negative commits I had heard, I had not purchased one.

Then at York, I found the modern era ramp for a very good price so I took the plunge (like the hopper cars do when you release them. Zoom) and purchased it.

Well I set it up this past week to test it and guess what? The only way the hoppers would couple at the top is if I rammed them into the coupler at the top with my hand!! (the old 0-5-0 method??) Even then the car only coupled about 20% of the time. This was unacceptable.

So I started to study the problem and I noticed the spring bumpers were pushing the coupler back before it had a chance to couple. So I took a second plunge and started taking the ramp apart to see if I could find the problem. I removed the metal plate that is on the back of the bumper pier. This is the piece of metal which starts at the base goes up to the top of the pier then bends to form the top of the pier. The red light lens is mounted in it too. To remove the piece of metal, you must straighten two metal tabs under the base of the ramp. Then pull straight up on the metal plate. It fits tight, so pull hard, it will come  suddenly! You will then have clear access to the bumper.

I then saw the problem! On the end of the sliding bumpers there are black plastic tubes. These tubes are to long so when the car is pushed in to couple, the sliding bumpers push the spring-loaded coupler away before it can couple to the car. Of the two black tubes, the shorter one, which pushes the contact switch that turns the bumper light on, is the main problem. It must be reduced in length. The tubes are easily removed from the sliding bumpers by taking the small Philips head screw out from the end of the tube. You will need a very small screwdriver for this task. I then cut the tube with a razor saw, and cleaned up the cut with a fine file. I actually cut a little off at a time and experimented until I had the proper length. The longer black tube on the other sliding bumper also needs to be reduced in length however the length on this one is not as critical. When you reassemble the bumper sliders the small electrical switch, which operates the bumper light, may need to be adjusted. I did this by using a small pair of needle nose pliers, and bent the contact spring out a bit.

When I replaced the metal plate to the back of the pier, I did not bend the metal tabs back that hold the plate. The plate fits tightly and doesnt really need the tabs bent to hold it. This way I will be able to easily remove the plate to service the ramp without removing the ramp from the layout. This will also keep the tabs from breaking off from repeated bending.

I can now push the hopper cars up the ramp with an engine and have them couple without any problem. It now couples as well as my postwar ramp! I am now quite pleased with my ramp. It will handle both the postwar hoppers and the modern era hoppers. I am running it at about 18 volts. The ramp looks very good and the new railings look much better then on my old ramp. Also, the bumper

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