Model Train Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
This is a promised report/update on what I have been doing with the Automotion FX cars, other "Faller Car System" concepts, and my plans to replace the 'Streets on my layout with vehicles using wire-guided/magnetic steering instead of 'Streets.

It is a rather long, and if you aren't into wanting 'Streets or some sort of moving vehicles on you layout, probably not that interesting. But, plugning ahead . . .

I am committed now to replacing ALL my 'Streets roads and highways, and all my 'Streets cars, truck and buses. It will take a while - and I hope it does, because I expect every step of the way to be FUN!!!!

1) I am retiring from Quanta Technology on April 30. This means the train budget will take a hit. But on the other hand I will have more time to devote to my hobbies now. Altogether this is good: time is currently more important than budget.

2) I have formed the Institute for O-Gauge Excitement (IFOGE - pronounced "I foggy.") which consists of me and no one else right now. It is dedicated to have fun with new ideas in O-Gauge, and sharing what knowledge the Institute's R&D develops with the model railroading community.
IFOGE It is financed by a handsome donation from my model train and ship budget, which, with me being retired now, will no longer be unlimited, but will have to suffice.
Headquarters of IFOG-E is this handsome new desk shwon in the thumpnail image below. The desk I had in my study for the last 31 years went to the city dump and I bought three steelcase pedestal cabinets and built the wood top and drawers specifically to have drawers and space for all the "R&D" and model making tools I need, as well as room for my computer, records, etc. It is over six-feet wide and 29 inches deep so it has room for things like test loops of wire-guided cars, and such.
Desk finished.jpg

3) Now, to the AutomotionFX and Faller system. All five AutomionFX vehicles I have run well and seem to be quality cars. You can see some of them running in the thumbnail image below.

4) I have "repaved" part of Main St. to test-run vehicles. It doesn't look that good, but it is removeable tape and lets me experiment with them.
Slide11.JPG

5) I have yet to test the vehicles for the longevity of their batteries. Later today I plan to set up a loop here on my spacious new "retirement desk" and run each until it dies, determining both how long the batteries last before they must be charged and if and how the vehicles slow down as the battery nears "empty."

6) IFOGE plans to do R&D tests on other important aspects of the wire-guided system, too. Goals for the reserach include:
  1. --> how sharp a curve can the vehicles follow well?
  2. --> how sharp an "S" curve can they follow?
  3. --> how shallow an angle can one wire cross another without the cars' steering system getting confused? When i had the Faller system on an N-Guage layout years ago, I learned that the wire for one loop can cross that for another if they are at right angles, and cars on each route never get confused about which to follow. Can the routs cross and 60 deg with the same certain that the cars willtrack correctly, and never flip from one route to the other by accident. How about 45 deg? 30 deg? Need to know this.
  4. --> How "precise" are the steering sensors at tracking when I put two wires under the road surface that are, for exampe, only 1/4 inch apart, and have a vehicle follow one without error even though the other is there right a quarter inch away? Or will the sensor sometimes get confuses and in a turn jump to the other route? The reason I want to do this is that one of the two wires running side-by-side can be an "express" loop for, say cars and truck on my Main Street, while the other is a "bus" guide that, at certain points, pulls over to the curb (where equipment discussed below would stop that bus for a few minutes). If the wires can be only 1/4 inch apart then I can have both running in the same "lane" but only some- buses and such, pulling over and stopping at bus stops.
  5. --> and generally, and specifically as it affects each of items1-4 I listed above, how does depth of the wire affect the tracking performance of O-Gauge vehicles? When and how do multiple wires in a trench affect each of those factors: when I had an N-Gauge layout I learned that on sharp turns I could put two or even three strands of the iron wire ino the trench under the street, and "it would get the attention" of the vehicles steering sensors better, so they did not lose their way. I need to learn how this trick works for O-Gauge, and how shallow I need to make the wire (I plan on something like only 1/50 to 1/25 inch.)
7) Some Faller HO vehicles, and those from Automotion, apparently come with a "speed adjustment" - with an itty-bitty screwdriver (included with the car) that can be used to fine tune speed so vehciles go almost exactly the same speed - in order that they can run on the same loop. I have no instructions on how to do this but will troll German websites and find some. I imagine I can figure it out on my own if I have to. I plan to do enough tests to determine if the battery life extends when speed adjustment is set to low, if the speed setting is absolute (i.e., if it is basically like cruise control, so as the battery wears down the car does NOT change speed) or if it just affects a slow-down from full voltage so the car slows a bit as battery power is approaching "empty," and similar things there.

8) Purchases and such fromAutomotionFX. I packed up and sent eight 1:43 cars for conversion. I think AutomotionFX is only one person, but regardless the peoplewho build their cars are real craftman, and expect that conversionwill both take time and perhaps several I sent cannot be converted. Time will tell. Even if I succeed in making my own I will support automotionFX with continuing business because I want it, and this wire-guided system, to succeed.

9) In the mean time: I am exploring other ways to get vehicles:
  • Convert some more 1:43 remote control vehicles. This worked with the Nissan GTR model I have. It is not as good as AutomotionFXs (does not have the sensors, etc., built into it) and it is too-modern of a car to relaly run on my 1950s layout) but it works.
  • Convert diecast vehicles myself using Faller "conversion kits" (I gdo into more detail about this farther down in this discussion)
  • Build my own: investigation convinced me the needed precision and inctricacy needed to scratch-build a vehicle IS within my modeling skills, but that has yet to be proven and I know it would take a long time to build one. Still, I will try, in time
  • I have two 1:48 remote control big-rigs, 18 wheelers that look a lot like traditional Kenworths or Peterbuilts scheduled to arrive this week, and will try to convert them. (Note: there is a company that converts HO-scale models of American big-rigs to the Faller system, and they are truly fantastic things to watch in videos. One way on another I will find a way to make big-rigs work on this system, and I will convert my country road to this system.
10) Finally, a second set of purchases, on e-bay and Amazon. I ordered some Faller items not available in the US, all of which orginate from Germany even though I bought them on US websites and will take a couple of weeks to get to me. I have very few details on how these work but each will come with German instructions I can translate, I'm sure. These include;
--> a "conversion chassis" made for modelers who wish to convert HO-scale diecast model busess to the Faller system. It is HO size, but made for a city bus, so it has wheels the right diameter for, and breadth that (hopefully) will be about right to correspond to a small 1:43 car, and i can find one in my collection that will fit it to convert.
--> a big truck (in HO). Again, my hope is that its wheels I can use the chassis to concert a diecast car in my collection: remove the body, fit it to a 1:43 car.
--> a 'distance control' module that stops a vehicle following too close behind another.
--> 'a bus stop control' that stops a bus for a period of time before it continues
--> a traffic light - I dont' have anywhere to set up cross-streets, but I have a light for a pedestrian crossing on Main St, and will try to set that up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Well, calling me will cost them nothing. Me coming back will cost them more than they will want to pay. My business partner in forming the company asked me what it would take to get me to stay another year and i told him "A new Bentley." He said that was a bit too much, and I replied that was exactly the idea . . .

They know I really mean it this time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,871 Posts
Congratulations on your retirement Lee. I loved my job, but I retired 9 years ago and have no regrets. Always busy. Don’t know how people that work find the time.

Love the desk. What species wood did you use for the top?

I’m still working on my “streets” layout, but I’m very interested in IFOGE findings with the Automotion system.
 

·
Admin
Joined
·
43,203 Posts
Congrats on the "final" retirement, and I'm really looking forward to this new research, it sounds REALLY neat! Let me know if I can assist in any way, I think you've already convinced me that not proceeding with Streets is a good idea for my town scene, this technology looks great!

My first idea is wireless charging... ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
898 Posts
Congrats on your latest and possibly final retirement and on being the founder of iFoggy. Regarding Streets and the Faller alternative, not my thing as I run carpet central but it's always interesting to see how a project like this develops, particularly using technology that is not from the 80s as I think so much of what we get in O scale is.

I must admit to being skeptical about the crowned roads because it could be a great deal of effort for relatively little effect but it's not my railroad or township!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thanks. Crowned roads along with realistic drains in the curbs and such are little touches I want as I rebuild and refurbish my layout. I'm deeloping a way to make they realistically and easily (I hope).
Sitting here watching the 1:48 scale Karmann Ghia VW running on a 38 x 14 inch loop I have set up on the desk behind my laptop. Trying to determine how long it will run on a full charge. so far its gone for 37 minutes and has no slowed down much if at all.
Played with the speed adjustment. Slowest speed is about 9 scale mph, fastest is faster than I want it to go (which isn't very fast, I'd guess it can maybe go a scale 60 mph but no faster).
The curve on one end is constant 7-inch radius, that on the other 6 inchs for 90 deg and 8 inches for the other 90 deg. The 6 inch radius curve slows it down quite a bit, the 7 inch only a little, and the 8 inch hardly at all. doubt it would go through a 5 inch.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,398 Posts
...
The curve on one end is constant 7-inch radius, that on the other 6 inchs for 90 deg and 8 inches for the other 90 deg. The 6 inch radius curve slows it down quite a bit, the 7 inch only a little, and the 8 inch hardly at all. doubt it would go through a 5 inch.
Was there supposed to be a pic? It's not showing.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top