Electronics Test Bed #2- Athearn BB Amtrak F7A with P1K motor

This engine has been tested extensively to evaluate the impact of various electronics modules.

This is one of a series of tests being performed with and without electronic modules. The purpose in this series is to understand some significant performance differences that have been observed when a module is in the circuit. These electronics can take many forms. The most obvious is a DCC decoder. It can be as simple as a light card. It can be as complicated as a sound system added to a decoder or something else. It may be one of the new DC control modules.

This is by no means a complete examination of the electronics. It is intended to understand how the addition of the electronics in the overall circuit impacts the engine performance.

The standard test activity is to be performed on each variation and the results compared and discussed. The intention is to perform this over a series of engine, motor and electronic variations. It is important to verify and define the usual result and the anomaly. This will require several tests. Each of these reports will focus on a test series on one engine. The overall results will be examined as testing proceeds. The motor test bed engines will also be used in this activity. An electronic module or modules will be added to the end of each of these tests.

For this specific test series, the engine configuration is an Athearn Blue Box Amtrak F7A engine with the following characteristics:
1. P1K Motor & Drive Parts
2. Stock P1K trucks
3. Stock P1K Wheels
4. New Axle Gears
5. No weight added
6. Motor & Trucks Cleaned & lightly lubed
7. Wheels polished with Kadee wire brush
8. P1K 5-Wire connections

This engine is an updated configuration showing the impact of a P1K can motor and drive parts.

In this test series there were three basic variations tested. This consisted of examining one can motors and two DCC decoders. These configurations are:

1. P1K motor
2. P1K motor w used Lenz DCC Decoder
3. P1K motor w NCE DCC
a. DA-SR Card DCC decoder

In retrospect, it would hae been interesting to see how a stock Athearn Blue box motor would have compared here. This will be sown in a later engine series.

This engine is shown in the following figure:
amtrakf7a1

This discussion will focus on the performance measurements of the unit. The basic test requirements are as follows:

1.) Powered with DC voltage with no external pulse wave modulation

2.) Running on a level surface (that is measured and adjusted as required weekly).

3.) The same 8-foot segment of track is used for all the basic tests.

4.) the track is cleaned before each test.

5.) the unit is run without external load for all but the max draw bar force tests.

6.) Each track running data point is the average of three measurements.

These discussions are reviewed in some detail in the following $0.50 down load report:

Thanks for looking.

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