Does anyone have a Varney 0-4-0 Docksider?

Pastor John Mar 4, 2021

  1. Pastor John

    Pastor John TrainBoard Member

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    I have a 1948(ish) Varney Docksider that I'd like to get running. I have a general idea of a plan, but one of the power pick-ups appears to be missing. Worse, the one I'm puzzling over doesn't appear in any drawings that I've seen. The two exploded diagrams I've found online are essentially mechanical and not electrical schematics.

    On one side, there is an electrical pickup screwed to the side of the frame. That pick-up has two brass tabs (in the drawing) or wires (on my model) that contact the two drivers. There is a wire connecting that pickup to the motor. But the motor, obviously, has two poles/power inputs and the second one is missing it's wire. The original source may have been a connection to the frame, or another pickup on the other side, but I can't figure out where it was. The pickup on the first side is attached with a screw, but there's no screw, or screw hole, on the opposite side.

    Does anyone have one of these?

    Could you take a photo, or describe where the second motor pickup comes from?

    I would certainly appreciate any help you can offer. I'm sure I could kludge a solution, but I'd rather do it as close to original as possible if I can.

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  2. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    I had one as a kid in the 60's.

    Did you check the motor is working by isolating it and putting power to the connectors?

    Not sure about your loco but it may be that half the wheels are isolated and use a shoe for pickup and the other side is connected through gears and drive shaft to the frame.

    All you need is a wire to the loco frame for that missing wire you speak of.
     
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  3. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    Is the electrical pickup that is screwed to the frame, isolated from the frame? As geeky wrote, many times, in those days the hot side was contacts riding on insulated driver rims and the ground side was dependent on the other, uninsulated drivers contacting the frame through the metal parts of the loco. One of the motor brushes was then connected to the hot lead and the other grounded to the frame, also.

    Doug
     
  4. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    OK, I googled it. The left (fireman's) side wheels are the insulated ones and there are wipers to contact the wheel rims. A wire then carries current to the insulated motor brush.

    The uninsulated wheels are on the right (engineer's) side and are grounded to the frame through the axles. The uninsulated motor brush is in contact with the motor frame which is grounded to the frame. Thus, a complete circuit. There are no wires involved for the ground side.

    And yes, check to see if the motor is actually good.

    Doug
     
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  5. Pastor John

    Pastor John TrainBoard Member

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    I did, but it's been a while and I'm going to have to do it again to be sure exactly how it worked.

    It's hard to tell, but I *think* that's what's happening. My problem is that there *is* a place for a wire to connect to one of the two motor poles (the second pole comes from the driver pickup) but that wire is missing. My assumption is that yes, this wire originally was grounded to the frame but, since it is missing, I can't figure out where it was attached. There do not seem to be any obvious places of connection and that's what promoted by question. Yes, I can add an attachment wherever I want, but if it was originally in a particular place, my strong preference would be to attach my new wire to the same place. And that's why I'm asking if anyone has one. I'd love to look and see how, and where, this wire is attached. As I said, the wire from the pickup is shown in the exploded diagram that I found online, but the missing one isn't.
     
  6. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member

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    Can you post an image or 2 of what your talking about. I may have one. But don't want to clutter or confuse if I don't have it.
     
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  7. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    Yes, that would help. The previous owner may have added a wire to the ground side to to make current transfer more reliable. If the diagrams don't show a wire, however (and they don't), it originally wouldn't have had one. It would have just been: current from wheels to axles to loco frame to motor frame to grounded brush to commutator.

    They made things pretty simple, in those days.

    Doug
     
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  8. Pastor John

    Pastor John TrainBoard Member

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    Here it is. My initial assumption was that (in photo 3) the wire is attached in the right hand contact, and a second would have been attached to the "wire hole" on the tab and screw in the center. The motor runs if DC power is applied directly to the two contacts on top which feed the brushes. But it did not work if fed through track power.[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

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  9. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    OK, so the wire is coming from the fireman's side wheels to the one brush which is correct. The wire looks like it is actually soldered right to the brush spring coming through the hole in the insulator.

    It also looks like the other brush spring comes through the other hole in the insulator and ends right near the hole in the tab held by that screw right in the middle. That screw looks like it screws right into the motor frame and the tab is thus grounded to the motor frame through the screw. It seems as though the brush spring right near the tab should actually be soldered to the tab to ground it to the motor frame and thus, to the loco frame. I bet it would run if that were done.

    Doug
     
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  10. Pastor John

    Pastor John TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Doug. That would account for the tiny bit of soldier that seems to be on the tip of the tab. Such a connection would have only been a 1/4" piece of wire. I'll give that a shot.

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  11. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    You could try bending the tab down so it touches the brush spring and then soldering it.
    Doug
     
  12. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member

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    The dock side switcher I have has the same shell, but an updated motor and drive. So I'm not gonna be much help to you.
     
  13. Pastor John

    Pastor John TrainBoard Member

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    While I tinkered with this last night I reminded that top screw. Unfortunately, I wasn't paying close attention, nor holding it correctly, and the entire assembly collapsed into a dozen pieces. One clamp, some juggling, and fifteen minutes later, I had it back together. The important discovery is the the bit of solder that I thought I saw inside the "wire hole" of the top tab was, in fact, the tip of the brush spring.

    So, yeah, some bending and/or a dab of solder here is definitely in order.

    Next, I have to repair the driver pickup because the non-conductive piece that screws to the frame is broken.

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  14. Pastor John

    Pastor John TrainBoard Member

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    That may be a future project once I get this working. I'd like to see how well this 75 year old machine can work first. Remotoring and DCC are definite possibilities.

    Sent from my moto g(7) play using Tapatalk
     
  15. Pastor John

    Pastor John TrainBoard Member

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    SUCCESS!

    It isn't perfect, but after repairing the contacts in the drivers and soldering the tab to the spring connection, life returns to this 75 year old relic and it runs.

    Okay it runs pretty good forward. Backwards, it doesn't want to move except at full speed. Is that some sort of weird dirt problem, or something specific to the motor winding that was used. Has anyone else seen that behavior in one of these (with original motors)?

    In the process of doing this, I recorded a bunch of video for my new YouTube channel, I'll try to post a link once I get through my backlog of editing.

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  16. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    OK, great! Usually, with an old model, it's dirt and oxidation/corrosion causing running problems. A thorough cleaning/polishing is required. Running well in one direction and not the other can be some kind of bind in the mechanism or the motor itself.

    The usual procedure is to remove the motor and see if you can roll the loco along the track easily. If it's difficult, there's the problem. Then connect the motor to a power pack and see if it runs well in both directions.

    Doug
     
  17. Pastor John

    Pastor John TrainBoard Member

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    Yeah, it may not have been cleaned in my lifetime, so that's the next obvious thing. Thanks.
     
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