Extra electrical pickups for brass tenders.

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by WReid, Aug 14, 2008.

  1. WReid

    WReid Member

    Jan 26, 2008
    Likes Received:
    I was not sure what area to post this topic.

    Today I decided to finally tackle the problem of adding more electrical pickups to the tender trucks on my brass CNR N-5-d tenders.Seeing as I use DCC ( Digitrax ) to run my trains and I plan to add sound to the N-5-ds extra electrical pickups are a must.


    Above is one of the trucks sitting upside down. As the photo shows one side frame is held in place by a small screw. This allows the side frame to pivot so the wheels stay in good contact with the rail over any rough track work.Granted they do not move much and should not if the track has been layed correctly.
    The bad news is this is the side I need to add the extra pick up to. I have read a number of articles where the extra pickups are always added to the bottom of the truck and rub on the backside of the wheels. More bad news. The brass bar running between the side frames is only .004" higher than the tops of the axles. Seeing as my plan is to mount the wire pickups on small pieces of leftover circuit board ties this would mean making wire pickups with a number of bends in them to clear everything. Not good as I find once things get to complicated more problems arise.

    Well after trying for over an hour to mount them on the bottom side of the truck I decided to try the top.


    I used a small piece of circuit board tie and a short piece of phospher bronze wire ( .015" ). I found if I filed the copper off the bottom side of the circuit board tie the bronze wire just press against the wheel tops with a little bit of pressure. I also tried some .012 & .015 brass wire as it seems to drag on the wheels less due to not being as stiff as the bronze wire but it was to easy too damage the brass wire. I think .012" bronze wire would be better than the .015" wire.
    The truck pictured above is just a test run but it seems to work and has only reduced the free rolling of the truck by about 1/3 of the distance it travelled before. The small piece of circuit board was glued with CA to the side frame cross bar. I did not add any electrical wire as this was just to see how it would work.


    This photo shows that the extra pickup is for the most part hidden between to top of the truck and the tender floor. Once everything is painted black and weathered it should be unnoticable. There is also plenty of room between the extra pickup and the tender floor.

    This may not be the only method to add extra pickups to this style of brass tender truck but it seems to work well so far.The real test will be once the locomotive and tender are finshed and put back in service.
    Hopefully this info may help the next person who finds they want to add extra pickups to a brass tender and if someone has a method they feel works well I would like to read about it.

    Wayne R