Modifying Proto2000 Locomotives Clinic Night at the Bill Library.

Modifying Proto2000 Locomotives
MPRR Clinic Night Archive

Clinic Photo Gallery

Carl Modifies Locomotive.

Above: Club member Carl Roberts works on modifying a Proto2000 GP9. Photo Credit: Jim Spavins

Bill and Bob testing locomotives.

Above: Bill Evans and Bob Applegate test locomotives during the clinic. Photo Credit: Jim Spavins

Clinic By: Stu Dom
Clinic Night Date: January 22, 2012

When the first Proto 2000 (Life-Like) engines came onto the scene, I raced out to buy everything I could in my preferred railroad (PRR), and there was plenty from which to choose. The engines were extremely detailed, looked better than almost anything I’d seen before, and ran well. However, this delight soon subsided when I found that the engines ran much more slowly (perhaps more prototypical) than the breed of engines most club members had (Atlas, Athearn & some Stewart).

That didn’t stop me from buying one of everything. However, many times these engines were not put on the club's layout, because they would get overtaken by the majority of the trains. There were many words from other club members about these obstacles on the track, more than a handful of rear-enders, and I would reluctantly take these beautiful locomotives off of the track and run my other engines.

Then one show, we decided to have a “Proto 2000 Only” time slot. This renewed my interest in these wonderful engines, but it soon became apparent, that few of the club members wanted to put up with these sluggish engines. We tried to remedy this situation with a “Proto 2000 Only” operating session. But this, again, ran its’ course and the engines (most) went back in their boxes. For some mystical reason, a few of the off-the-shelf engines actually ran faster than others and fit right in with the MPRR club members’ rosters.

I really wanted to run these engines, and began to look into the cause for this uncommon behavior. The first thing I noticed was that these engines came equipped with constant intensity directional lighting – which appeared to be relatively new to the off-the-shelf stable of engines. My original Stewart F units had very bright lights but I don’t believe they were “Constant Intensity” lights. Having some electrical background, I decided to take a further look into these engines to determine if this could be the cause of this phenomena, understand why this was the case, and to develop a corrective fix.

In all cases, I found that the constant intensity lighting circuit introduces a resistance or voltage drop in series with the motor. This means that for a given track voltage, the actual voltage getting to the motor was up to about 2.5 to 2.8 volts less, which translates to about a 20% reduction at full power. The power that a motor is able to produce is directly dependent on the current in the motor, and Ohms Law would indicate that this current is also directly related to the voltage across the motor, so the motor was receiving less current than other engines.

With this new knowledge, I developed a method to fix this problem and improve the performance of Proto2000 locomotives.  To learn more, download the Clinic pdf below.

Download the Clinic Write Up Here (.pdf)

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