Visiting Jim – and my RS18

Last week, I decided I hadn’t seen enough of my friend Jim Martin – so I braved the weather and drove to his place near Port Colborne, on the north shore of Lake Erie.

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The weather was nice when I set out, although turned foul later in the day. However, a good cup of coffee and some homemade cookies – chocolate chip – took care of that. I spent a couple of hours with Jim, his wife and their daughter, who was in town for a visit – and we had a great, wide-ranging chat about things train-related and otherwise.

The trip reminded me that I have an S scale CNR RS18 that I need to tackle:

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Jim has one of these and it’s a solid performer on the S Scale Workshop modules whenever we’re at an exhibition. I’d like to prep mine for use with the modules, too. A quick search through my blog reminds me that this model has been collecting dust on a shelf in my home office for more than two years. It’s time to do something about that.

I’ve been stalled on this project for a couple of reasons, but the big one has been figuring out how to wire it for DCC. The model has some unusual features – including paltry four-wheel pick-up (left rail on one truck, right rail on the other: seriously!) and two motors, back to back, where one would’ve done just fine. I’m not sure what the importer was thinking – except possibly that, like many brass models, it would never turn a wheel.

I’ve proven the importer right on that – at least, for the past two years. But while pondering the model and its problems on the drive home from Jim’s place, I came up with a viable solution that solves both the pick-up and the power issues, while reusing a decoder in my stock that would otherwise be surplus to requirements.

There are a couple of other issues with this model – all cosmetic. I need to decide which ones I can live with, and which ones must be addressed. But in the meantime, it’s time to start planning the decoder installation. Stay tuned!

4 thoughts on “Visiting Jim – and my RS18

  1. Trevor:

    I did some experimenting on my S scale River Raisin SD9 (an Anjin import) which also has two motors lashed back to back motors. They are connected by a solid drive shaft.

    I found that the engine runs better, especially if you operate with BEMF, if the motors are wired in series. FWIW, I tested several different decoders and it was my opinion that the TCS and Zimo decoders worked the best with my engine.

    Feel free to contact me offline if you have any questions.

    John Gibson

    • Thanks for the suggestion, John.
      I think I’ve found a workable solution and I’m just waiting on the delivery of a keep-alive module before implementing it. When I do, I’ll be sure to write about it…

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