12-23-14 fly wheels on HO engines

It has been a few days between postings. The selling activity has really picked up. It has been in the dull drums all fall. Because of the recent activity, there were a number of units that needed testing before they went out the door.

The total number of engines tested is approaching 100.

Sometimes I’m a little slow in seeing something that us right in front of me. One thing that virtually all of these engines have in common is the presence of fly wheels attached to the drive shaft near the motor.

The original reason for the fly wheels was to store momentum so the operation of the engine replicated a real locomotive. Namely, the engine would continue to roll after the power was turned off, taking a distance to stop, like a real train. Prior to fly wheels, the engines stopped immediately after the power was shut off.

Additionally, because of this feature, the engines would run through dead spots in the track electronics.

That all sounds like a good reason to have fly wheels in the system.

What brought this up, is the differing stopping distances that are apparent with different engine models. In the test set up the last 3 feet of track are not powered, for engine safety reasons. Well, for some engines, mostly older models, that distance is not sufficient above 9 volts power test runs. However, for some engines, mostly newer models, the 16 volt runs stop in half or less then the 3 feet. The stoping distance on these engines seems to be shorter at all power settings. If true, the effectiveness of the fly wheels have been some how diminished. Thus the dead spot problems will be more apparent.

This also can manifest itself into a problem with running with pulse waves. Depending on the signature of the wave, the engine may totally stop. Then the pulse has to be strong enough to overcome static friction. It seems like this could lead to rough running, particularly at low speed power.

What is needed is to take some stopping distance measurements and figure out how to relate those to the fly wheel effectiveness.

For some time now, it appears that because of operational issues, other technologies have been added to the system to help elieviate those problems.

The pulse wave and keep alive capacitors are in some ways working in conflict and certainly in addition to the fly wheels. It seems worth while to get a better understanding of the facts.

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