Micro-Trains’ latest locomotive, the GP-35 uses a virtually silent, yet powerful 8 mm coreless 9 V motor from Maxon Precision Motors. The locomotive features dual brass flywheels, is dcc ready, and has a chassis mounted light board with directional golden white LEDs.
Model trains are not only a widespread hobby, they are part of a huge business involving realistic models. Micro-Trains Line Co., OR, is a leading distributor and manufacturer of such scale models. The company specializes in N, Z, HOn3, and Nn3 scale model railroad engines and cars. Its design staff produces finely detailed and accurate locomotive shells with etched metal handrails. Micro-Trains is also the original designer of the patented Magne-Matic® coupling system used throughout the industry.
Several years ago, the engineers began preparations for a new locomotive design. They wanted to launch their GP-35 locomotive product in the Z scale. For this project they needed a reliable motor that would perform well in the prototype as well as in final production. Of course, scale was a defining factor.
Research led the engineering team to Maxon Precision Motors, which offers small diameter coreless dc motors similar to the size and shape needed for the GP-35 locomotive project. The newly developed 8 mm motor was not only the right size for the restricted space available in the GP-35, but Maxon was looking for new applications for its new motor line, as well.
Analysis of the coreless 8 mm motor revealed that it could run to speeds of over 22,000 rpm, and offered a maximum continuous torque of 0.628 mNm. The brush dc motor also offered
extended life and low maintenance. These motors are non-cogging, so they provide smooth movements, even at slow speeds, which is perfect for train enthusiasts. Another critical advantage: the motors are quiet.
“The biggest challenge facing the project didn’t pertain to the motor specifications as much as it related to motor size,” noted Eric Smith, president and CEO, Micro-Trains. The allotted space available for the motor was the problem. The company was designing new gear towers, so the motor had to integrate into them with minimum engineering changes or special motor mounting adjustments. “We also had to choose the right motor to attain scale speeds necessary to make the product operate properly,” said Smith.
Overall, the Maxon motors provided Micro-Trains with better operational characteristics, which included torque, stall speeds, operating range, and lower start-up voltage. The ceramic shaft in the motors cut down vibration and removed any electrical issues with unintentional grounding. This let the engineers use the proper gears regardless of composition.
Maxon’s RE 8 motors are built for quiet operation. They offer a non-cogging design that suits high- and low-speed operation.
Micro-Trains’ expectation is that with the high reliability offered by the Maxon motor, plus a unique and manufacturable design, the company has pushed the envelope with this particular Z Scale locomotive design. “We are expecting the product to be embraced widely by model
railroad collectors and runners for a long time,” said Smith.
Maxon Precision Motors
Micro-Trains Line Company
Coupler enhances miniature train realism
Technology has allowed progression from the tin toy trains of yesteryear to the prototypically accurate scale models of today, thanks to advances that faithfully reproduce the realistic operations of railroading. The most significant of these advances has been the introduction and continuous improvement of the Magne-Matic® Coupler.
Early coupling systems gave modelers the choice of either a coupler that looked like a ‘prototypical’ coupler but did not operate well, or a system that worked fairly well but did not look like a coupler. To operate model railroads realistically, modelers needed a coupling system that both looked and operated like the prototype. This led to the invention of the coupler, which let modelers evolve from being spectators, watching a toy train go around the track, to becoming model railroad engineers, switchmen, and brakemen on their own layouts.
To this day, the coupler is the only one with a ‘prototypical’ appearance that offers the model railroader ‘hands-free’ automatic coupling, uncoupling and automatic delayed recoupling.
How it works:
To uncouple: stop train with couplers directly over uncoupler magnet.
Back train slightly, allowing slack between couplers so that they can disengage. Magnetic force of uncoupler draws coupler trip pins off center, opening coupler knuckles. Pull train forward.
Couplers are in delayed position.
Re-approach and push uncoupled cars past uncoupler to desired location on layout.
Pull train forward leaving uncoupled cars behind.
Couplers return to normal coupling position.
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Filed Under: Electronics • electrical, Motors • dc