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Motorized Lone Ranger Constitution SteamTrain with working headlights
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Power Function Remote Control motorized version of the Lone Ranger Constitution Train with working LED lights.
About this creation
This is my second attempt at a Lego Power Function(PF) remote control motorized version of the steam engine locomotive Constitution from the Movie "Lone Ranger" (Lego kit 79111). In this version, I keep the kit's original 4-6-0 locomotive engine's wheel configuration by putting the Lego PF Train motor under the Coal Tender car instead of locating it on the steam train. A Lego PF AAA battery pack powers the motor and also provides extra traction to the drive wheels by sitting directly on top of the electric motor inside the coal tender car. The extra weight of the PF AAA battery pack gives the drive wheel extra traction by preventing slippage between the drive wheels and the railroad track. Once the PF AAA battery pack has been disconnected the coal tender's outer shell can be lifted off for easy access to the battery pack.

Initially, I had no spare dark green bricks to expand the length of the coal tender car so in order to maintain the same color scheme of dark green along the side panels of the coal tender car - I modified the rear side of the coal tender car to be all black so I could reuse the dark green bricks from the rear panel for the side panels. I have since gotten additional dark green bricks and the coal tender car color scheme is now returned to the original design.

The original train's headlight was enlarged to accommodate LED lights. The size of the train's smokestack was increased to the same scale as the headlight modification. I change the color of the smoke stack to black because I didn't have the larger pieces I needed in grey. To get the LED Headlight power cables to the IR receiver - the the boiler-firebox was hollowed out and an opening was made in the back of the boiler into the pilot's cabin so the cable to get to the IR receiver. To make space for the two cables attached to the IR Receiver the grey pilot's cabin was extended slightly. The black raised firebox section of the locomotive engine in the original design that was between the grey pilot's cabin and the dark green boiler section was simplified and lowered to make it easier to run the LED cables into the pilot's cabin. The train and the coal tender car's height has been increased slightly to accommodate the wiring.

I also replace the Sensei Wu hat (Lego #6035732) with a radar dish for the front part of the boiler. Historically, trains like this had their train number emblazoned on a circular flat plate where the blue faux headlight is, e.g. "3". Using a squared number tile (like from the Lego business card holder) didn't look right. To make next version 3.0 more historically accurate, the train's pilot (aka cow pusher) is extended a out in front further and has two flags mounted on each side.





Both LED lights and the motors are switched on and off by a Lego IR receiver that is located in the pilot's cabin. The IR channel switch is accessible from the rear of the pilot's cabin so the train remote control can be changed from 1,2,3, or 4. Unfortunately, the position of the IR receiver is not an ideal location with respect to performance, at certain angles when the Lego IR transmitter/controller is in front of the train the IR receiver cannot *see* a signal. The next version, version 3.0, fixes this communication link problem by repositioning the IR controller to the rooftop of the pilot's cabin.





My first attempt to motorized this train was based on directly powering the large counterweight flanged train wheels with the Lego PF train motor in an American Standard 4-4-0 locomotive wheel configuration but early testing indicated the large flanged counterweight drive wheels were slipping on the rail road track. Both the American Standard 4-4-0 and the Thatcher Perkins 4-6-0 Steam locomotives are represented in the Lone Ranger movie trailers. One contributing factor to the wheel-track slippage in the 4-4-0 wheel configuration is because the Lone Ranger large flanged counterweight drive wheels (Lego part#4543943) lacks a rubber friction band where the wheel contacts the railroad track(this is unlike the Lego kit 10194 Emerald Night train whose six large flanged counterweight drive wheels, Lego part#4289864, have a rubber friction band long its rail contact surface). However, the main reason (or so it seems to me) that the Lone Ranger Train large flanged counterweight drive wheels were slipping on the railroad track was because there was not enough weight on top of the large counterweight large drive wheels to give them a firm grip. To wit, to increase the Lone Ranger Train's energy efficiency - extra weight was needed over the Lego train motor's driving wheels to reduced wheel-track slippage. The heaviest item on the train is the AAA battery pack (95 grams w/ alkaline Duracell AAA batteries) but AAA battery box was too big to put on the locomotive steam engine. Putting the PF train motor under the coal tender car has two advantages: 1) The coal tender was big enough to hold the AAA battery pack and the AAA battery pack sitting on top of the PF train motor also provided extra traction for the PF Train motor drive wheels, and 2) the standard PF Train motor drive wheels have a rubber friction band so it is less incline to have wheel-track slippage problem.

Performance: This train can pull about small 4 cars without a problem. The limiting factor to how many cars this engine can pull is the magnetic couplers. To get the This train-tender to pull more than 6 cars - the magnetic couplers need to be reinforced with super powerful rare-earth (neodynium) disc hobbyist magnets Or one needs to use a mechanical couplers. Without any load ( not pulling any rail cars) at the highest speed setting on a 180 degree turn, the high center of gravity of this train will cause it to derail and break into several pieces. Luckily, being made out of Lego - this train can be easily put back together again.

Power Management: The AAA battery box and the rechargeable battery box have a timer that turns off the power after about 120 minutes - which will cause the train to shutdown automatically. To reset the timer you need to hold down the on-off button for about 3 seconds - when the power to the battery pack is depleted ( AAA battery voltage drops to about 1.2 to 1.4 VDC when they are depleted. an alkaline AAA battery voltage is about 1.60 to 1.70 VDC when fresh and fully charged - you will need a voltmeter to measure this though ) the lego IR receiver-controller link is severed (does not work) and you'll need to put in new batteries. The Lego Pf IR control communication link requires more power than the PF train motor, so the train loses its IR control before the train motor stops running.


Below is a video of this train running...



Version 3.0 of this train is done. I don't have any photos of it yet, but it is now one of the visiting 9v Lego trains on display at the Ellicott City Maryland B&O Railroad Museum's 2013-2014 *Festival of Trains* exhibit. I also have a 9v version Red Cargo train there, too. Version 3.0 has a redesigned front headlight, driving rods for the six large flanged locomotive engine wheels, a shortened smokestack, an extended and more realistic pilot/cow pusher(with flags on either side), a larger redesigned pilot's cabin that to improves IR receiver position and performance, a sandbox was added to the top of the locomotive, and the stickers have been applied to the locomotive and tender. Version 3 of this train has been converted into a Civil War Union Army Train aka U.S. Military Railroad (USMRR) Train. A US Civil War Railway Gun Car and a 13 inch siege mortar car have been added (both are based on Civil War Photos of actual civil war military trains used during the Siege of Petersburg, Virginia). During the Civil War - both Union and Confederate experimented with making militarized railroad trains - which some historians attribute to influenced by the new naval *ironclad* ships of the day. During the 9 months Siege of Petersburg, under Union General Hermann Haupt, the Union Army initially used trains to support wartime transportation and to provide armed escort for railroad-bridge construction crews. During the Siege of Petersburg, under the suggestion of Confederate General Lee the Confederacy were the first to deploying Railway guns to provide artillery fire in battle at Savage Station, VA.

This train's design is based on the 4-6-0 Thatcher Perkins steam train. My visual reference for the 4-6-0 Thatcher Perkins steam engine type is Dorling Kindersley Book's "Ultimate Train" by Peter Herring (c)2000 (pages 48-49 ) and videos/photos of the newly restored B&O Museum's Thatcher Perkins (No.147). I currently have all the parts now to make a more realistic coal tender car but I put off the conversion to help out with the WamaLTC Lego Train display at the Ellicott City B&O Railroad Musuem's Festival of Trains show where this train should be one of the many trains on display.

I am still working on redesigning the connecting rods to the six large flanged counterweight locomotive drive wheel; the challenge to making the connecting driving rod is one of being big enough to clear the large counterweight flanged drive wheels, flexible enough to allow the train to turn on a curved track without causing the train to seize up, and compact enough to be within scale of the large counterweight drive wheels. I had to tear down the entire train and redesign the entire driving wheel mechanism first to do this. After looking at some advance AFOL train expert designs (by Anthony Sava and Caleb Radolph) and reviewing model train forums on steam trains - I've have settled on a Lego Technic based solution for the driving wheel-connecting rod-piston design. The Lego Technic system handles the constant vibrations inherit in the connecting rod movements and held together better. One thing I learn is that the left side and right side connecting rods are 90 degrees out of synch in much the same away as 2 pistons in a combustion engine are out of synch - the term for this is called "Quartering" - if this is not done the wheels will not rotate nicely and seize up - the term for this is called "rotational binding." Another thing I observed is that when Technic cross-beams are used for the driving wheel axle - the beams must be recessed inside the drive wheel and not sticking out else it will cause the drive wheel to seize up.




Comments

 I made it 
  March 18, 2014
Quoting Chris Bolton Your approach to powering the Constitution is in line with the way many other folks have approached this project. I decided to take a slightly different route to powering the 4-6-0 locomotive. I have always felt that a locomotive should be responsible for providing power to the train instead of powering the train via one of the cars. Of course I could have used the 9V Power Function train motor as the "4" in the 4-6-0 but that would have created some issues in the front of the locomotive. My solution was to approach this project in a similar way that the LEGO Emerald Night locomotive did. Of course the Constitution is a smaller locomotive and doesn't have as much space to play with. The result is a power functions m-motor driven locomotive that is geared with the driver wheels producing the power to run the train. I did have to modify a few things including placing the IR receiver in the cab and changing the motor orientation so that it is near the front of the boiler but the end result is quite effective. I am finishing a few tweaks on the exterior and then I will be posting a Youtube video in the next few days showing the original set locomotive along side the new powered version.
Chris, thanks for the comments. I look forward to a youtube video of your powered version. I have heard the gearing of the Emerald Night is tricky but I myself have not yet built one. Before I bought my Lone Ranger Train(LRT) , I did see the Brickshow video used a motorized car to push the LRT locomotive and tender. About the same time I released my LRT video, a fellow in Germany released a video of a motorized LRT Prison pushing the LRT locomotive and tender. The members of my Lego Train club also prefer the motorized the LR prison car instead of motorizing the locomotive-tender unit. My LRT motorization design is suppose to maximize the number of cars the locomotive-tender can pull or push without any need for a special motorized unit in the rear. Previously, when I added a red caboose to my motorized Red Cargo Train, I found out that the standard Lego magnetic couplers were too weak and I would lose the last car in the train - the caboose - if the train accelerated too fast. My solution at the time was to reduce the size and weight of the caboose just so the standard Lego magnetic couplers would hold together. Using the last car in the train to push the entire train forward solves this problem but it would not work when the train went in reverse ( that is there would be a high risk of the locomotive and or tender detaching from the train if motorized rear car accelerated too fast in reverse). I wanted my locomotive-tender to run on its own (e.g. the Civil War great train chase) and I wanted my train to go both forward and reverse without problems - so I chose to motorizing the locomotive and the tender as a single unit. The standard Lego magnetic train buffer coupler still limited my train to pulling about four cars. However, given that I don't have an extensive train track layout - this was good enough for me. For longer heavier Lego trains, one needs a more powerful train buffer coupling system than the standard Lego train coupling system.
 I like it 
  March 17, 2014
Your approach to powering the Constitution is in line with the way many other folks have approached this project. I decided to take a slightly different route to powering the 4-6-0 locomotive. I have always felt that a locomotive should be responsible for providing power to the train instead of powering the train via one of the cars. Of course I could have used the 9V Power Function train motor as the "4" in the 4-6-0 but that would have created some issues in the front of the locomotive. My solution was to approach this project in a similar way that the LEGO Emerald Night locomotive did. Of course the Constitution is a smaller locomotive and doesn't have as much space to play with. The result is a power functions m-motor driven locomotive that is geared with the driver wheels producing the power to run the train. I did have to modify a few things including placing the IR receiver in the cab and changing the motor orientation so that it is near the front of the boiler but the end result is quite effective. I am finishing a few tweaks on the exterior and then I will be posting a Youtube video in the next few days showing the original set locomotive along side the new powered version.
 I made it 
  January 11, 2014
Quoting R RR How did you accomadate the buffer magnet piece on the side of the motor where the cable fits? I'm having trouble with that one
The distance between the locomotive and wood/coal tender car is fixed because of the two train buffer (magnetic coupler) connecting them. The Power Function(PF) Lego train motor cable threads from underneath the tender car, around the battery pack, over the two buffer/magnetic couplers, and then into the rear bottom floor of locomotive pilot/boiler room, underneath the IR receiver, then up and over and back to connect onto the four channel PF Infrared reciever. You have to adjust the power function cables so there isn't any slack between the two train buffer/magnet couplers or else the PF wire will act as a spring and push the magnetic couplers apart. The current version this Lone Ranger Train is at the WamaLTC Festival of Trains display at the Ellicott City MD B&O Railroad Museum until January 26 2014 - if you want to see it.
  January 9, 2014
How did you accomadate the buffer magnet piece on the side of the motor where the cable fits? I'm having trouble with that one
 I made it 
  December 2, 2013
Quoting Isaiah Marc Nice train, looks like it can go pretty fast, I also like the working light and this creation would make a perfect Christmas set plus it has tons of hours of fun just watching the train go around and around.
It goes very fast because it doesn't add much weight and it can stand alone as a train-tender combo. The conversion cost is low because other than the Lone Ranger Train itself (Lego 79111, $100) not many extra parts are needed other than power function train motor, AAA battery pack, the remote controller, LED lights, and the IR receiver($62). At a total cost of about $162 -- the price point on this train looks competitive with the yellow cargo train (Lego 7939, $180).. Right now you can get the Lone Ranger Train for under 70 dollars - which makes a converted Lone Ranger Train one of the cheapest Lego Train sets you can build if you apply a bit of elbow grease...
 I made it 
  November 15, 2013
Quoting Frank Cernak Love the working light. What parts did you use to replace that piece? Especially the clear cover you've got over the LED.
headlamp rooftop (3x2 stud surface)== two(2) Roof Tile 1x2x 2/3 ABS, Category= sloping brick, black, lego pick a brick element id = 4548180, design id =85984, cost =0.20 each; and two(2) Roof Tile 1x1x 2/3 ABS, Category= sloping brick, black, lego pick a brick element id = 4548180, design id =85984, cost =0.10 each. front crystal lense for LEDs= is one 1x2x2 transparent clear panel with hollow studs, see bricklink item 4864b, cost = 0.08 each the side panels for the LED headlamp is created by using two black 1x2x2 panel, bricklink item 4864b, cost = 0.02 each When I want the back covered up - I use black electrical tape... To keep my cost down many of my Lego parts are used from bricklink dealers or from "Classic Plastic Bricks" or 'All Time Toys" in Ellicott city MD
  November 14, 2013
Love the working light. What parts did you use to replace that piece? Especially the clear cover you've got over the LED.
  October 25, 2013
Nice train, looks like it can go pretty fast, I also like the working light and this creation would make a perfect Christmas set plus it has tons of hours of fun just watching the train go around and around.
 I made it 
  May 18, 2013
Quoting Matthew G Thanks for the build information. One question, what did you use to attach the wheel and motor unit to the bottom of the coal car?
The coal tender car body slips over the Lego PF AAA Battery Pack (Lego#88000) like a T-shirt, when the cable from the PF IR Receiver (Lego#8884) to the battery pack is detached. The battery pack sits on top of one Lego Technic plates (Lego Pick-a-Brick 2x04.9 2x4 Special Plate Element ID 370926, Design 3709; Bricklink# 3709b). The pivot pole on top of the PF train motor's boogie plate (Lego#88002, Bricklink #87574c01)fits into the center hole of the Technic Plate so that the coal tender car swivels on the train motor. In the youtube video above, I show how this works. A 2x2 Coupling plates (Lego Pick a Brick, Special plates, Element ID 4225733 Design ID 3176 ) could be used instead of a Technic Plate.
 I like it 
  April 27, 2013
Thanks for the build information. One question, what did you use to attach the wheel and motor unit to the bottom of the coal car?
 
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LEGO models my own creation MOCpages toys shop Motorized Lone Ranger Constitution SteamTrain with working headlightsEngines


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