HO Power pickup question

I have a caboose (HO) that I would like to light up. It has plastic wheels. I have been looking around for metal wheels that will get the
power from the track but non have wires attached. Just metal wheels. How do I get power from the track with the metal wheels do I have to replace the trucks? Thanks
jay
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Jay1028 wrote:

The first question is: If the wheels are metal, are the two metal wheels jointed by a metal axle. If so then this will short across the rails and glow the power supply. Of course, don't do this.
Normally something like one wheel is plastic and one is metal, or both are metal but the axle is mounted in a plastic center to insulate it from one wheel. Either way, you can lay a small brass leaf like contact on the axle and pick up power from one rail on one truck and reverse the other truck so you pick up power from the other rail. Or some combo of this in some fashion.
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What happens with Athearn passenger cars is the truck mounting screw (a 2-56) holds the brass leaf (actually probably phospher bronze) across the two axles in the truck (both axles in a given truck have the wheels oriented the same way and one truck is opposite the other truck). On the inside of the car there are two pieces of metal that hold the bulb, each is mounted by one of the truck mounting screws. One piece of metal has a hole that fits over the bulb and the other goes under the bulb.
It might be possible to adapt an Athearn passenger car lighting kit for the OP's caboose.

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Jay1028 wrote:

Metal trucks such as Kadee with wheels isolated from the axle on one side only. You want a pickup wire solidly attached to each truck cross piece plugging into a fitting made from an IC socket (electronics)
Regards, Greg.P.
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In HO, you can use a AAA battery pack (2 batteries for 3 volts) and use L.E.D.'s for marker lights and 3 volt bulbs for interior. Use a tiny mini toggle for on/off and there won't be any flicker. See my web site for examples, http://www.rrscenery.com
Phil
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Take a look at Walters part numbers: 147-1533 Athearn Freight 10.40 81-825 Contact Wipers 6.75
They might be along the lines of what you want. (Metal wheels and the wire is the easy part, it's the contact wiper that's not very common.)
Puckdropper
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Puckdropper wrote:

Unfortunately, Walthers no longer distributes or sells Athearn. Athearn is now owned by Horizon Hobbies, a distributor. Since HH bought out Athearn (and Model Diecasting/Roundhouse), a large part of former Athearn product is no longer available. Check the Athearn website.
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Those might have been for Athearn cars, not by Athearn. I got the numbers out of the 2008 reference book, so they should be accurate.
Puckdropper
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Wow, you guys were a big help. The wheels are some shiny metal and the axels are plastic.. it looks like the contact wipers are what I really need and I can configure them to rub on the inside of the smooth metal wheel like is done on our GP40 diesel locomotives.
I couldn't find any photos of what the wipers look like or how big they are. I will also look into Kadee for axels for other cars that I want to light up. Trains look so dull until you see a layout that has done a lot of lighting for buildings and cars.
Thanks to all very much and for your timely responses. I have a nine year old son that I am getting into the hobby.
Jay
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Jay1028 wrote:

Kadee doesn't make N scale - it's Micro Trains Line (MTL). MTL split off from Kadee about 20 years ago. They have a website.
The only metal N scale wheel I know of are made by Atlas.
The wipers on N scale wheels would probably be made of wire a lot easier than cutting sheet metal into itsy bitsy wipers, anyhow. ;-) If you can find it, phosphor bronze is best. it solders easily, and is springy.
HTH
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Wolf Kirchmeir wrote:

Hi Wolf, Jay,
the question is definitely about HO, not N scale, so Kadee is the one Jay would want.
Wipers are best avoided if possible, as they can add a lot of drag to a model. With a metal wheel (the other one insulated) and axle and sprung metal bogie/track frames, electrical contact is automatic without relying on connections of minimally moving contact parts which can oxidise and become nonconductive.
If you must have wipers then the best material is phosphor-bronze, either circa .020" shim or wire.
Regards, Greg.P.
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Wolf Kirchmeir wrote: [...]

Sorry about the irrelevant post.
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Jay1028 skriver:

Like this:
http://www.modelbaneeuropa.hadsten.dk/klaus/currpu01.jpg
http://www.modelbaneeuropa.hadsten.dk/klaus/currpu02.jpg
http://www.modelbaneeuropa.hadsten.dk/klaus/currpu03.jpg
Klaus
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Went to the Kaydee site and looked at the metal trucks. Can't tell if the axels are metal with an insulating bushing on one wheel as mentioned in a previous post or are they plastic axels. Anyone know the Kaydee 550 thru 554 series. I like the idea of soldering a wire to each truck to get power from the oposing rails. If the trucks are cast, how do you solder to them? Anyone used the Kadee metal trucks in the link below? I can handle the electric/electronic parts, I just need to get some elctricity inside the car. I like the marker lite suggestion. I have seen someone do that on a web page somewhere with a bulb inside the caboose and LEDs inside the marker lights.
http://www.kadee.com/htmbord/truck.htm
Jay
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Jay1028 wrote:

Kadee wheels have plastic axles.
The trucks are Zamac, which is difficult to solder (I'd say impossible for all but the extreme expert.) You can use small machine screws (0-80 or 1-72 size works) to fasten a pickup to the truck bolster, and use the same screw for the wire into the interior of the car. I've done this, and I wasn't satisfied. YMMV. NB that Zamac is not especially easy to drill either, you need a new, sharp drill. When cutting the thread, go slowly, and back out frequently.
HTH
[...]

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Wolf Kirchmeir wrote:

Err, Wolf, you are forgetting that the plastic axles mean that the 'truck frame' isn't connected to either rail. Now you still can make 'wipers' for the back of the desired wheels, but that's another problem.
Chuck D.
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Charles Davis wrote:

Err, Chuck, I referred to a pickup - that means wheel wipers in my language. ;-)
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Wolf Kirchmeir wrote:

Ah, Yes!!! ENGLISH strikes again!!!!!
Chuck D.
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As I am not familiar with metal wheels at all, here are some I have found. My question is: are the axels metal so I can pick up track power? I can't tell from any of the photos. Looks like plastic axels to me.
http://www.trainsetsonly.com/page/TSO/PROD/920-21258
http://www.trainsetsonly.com/page/TSO/PROD/920-21259
Jay
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Proto wheelsets are metal with a delrin axle. You can use separate wipers on both wheels and there will be no short circuit KD wheelsets and trucks are similar.
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