wtorbeyns

Power Functions and Santa Fe: stating the obvious

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Maybe you've converted your Santa Fe Super Chief to Power Functions a long time ago; if so, then please skip this thread. What I'm writing below will probably be obvious to you.

I put off converting the Super Chief from 9v to Power Functions for a while, because of the gray 'decorative sides' that were included. These fit the 9v engine, but not the new RC or Power Functions engines. These use a thicker technic axle. The RC 'decorative sides' therefore have a hole for the technic axle, but the gray Super Chief 'decorative sides' do not. In an older thread you will find the following advise:

You have some choices to make it work. I went with number 3, until I can get the parts and try number 2.

* Use the decorative sides from #7897 or #7898, which should work but aren't available in Light Gray (old).

* Use 5-stud Technic axles, which may not go all the way through the wheels on both sides.

* Shave a half-stud length off of each 6-stud axle.

* Drill out the metal pin holes in the old Decorative Sides to accommodate the larger diameter of the Technic axles.

I didn't want to use black sides, I have no 5-stud axles, I didn't want to cut 6-stud axles and I certainly didn't want to drill holes in the gray Super Chief sides.

But today I realized the obvious: I could just use the old 9v engine! No need for replacing it with a newer engine. I could just put in the battery and the IR-receiver and connect them to the old 9v engine with the 8886 'Power Functions Extension Wire'. And it just works.

The Santa Fe and Emerald Night are now running laps together on my all plastic Power Functions track.

Edited by wtorbeyns

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I've already converted my Super Chief to power functions, and did so without making any cosmetic changes. I shaved off the #6's for the motor. Then, I was able to fit the battery box inside the train, as well as the IR receiver. The IR receiver sticks up behind the 5 round circle parts on top, and looks really nice. No Light Bluish grey can be seen. Also, I even included an external button for the battery box which doesn't change the appearance of the engine at all. You want to look in the portholes? you'll see the same thing as on the 9V model.

as far as using the old 9v Motor, i'd recommend against it. It lacks the power to pull a full santa fe train without a second motor. the PF motor can pull the full santa fe train and then some.

Edited by Goldenmasamune

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as far as using the old 9v Motor, i'd recommend against it. It lacks the power to pull a full santa fe train without a second motor. the PF motor can pull the full santa fe train and then some.

Did you treat the wheel holders with a Stanley knife (see "The long haul" in railbricks #2). The wheels rub against the wheel holders, and you have to make a small cut in the wheel holder to prevent this rubbing.

Without those cuts, I could not pull my Santa Fe train with one 9V motor. But with the cuts, it's a fairly easy load (it's 4 cars, i.e. an engine plus 3 cars).

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Did you treat the wheel holders with a Stanley knife (see "The long haul" in railbricks #2). The wheels rub against the wheel holders, and you have to make a small cut in the wheel holder to prevent this rubbing.

Without those cuts, I could not pull my Santa Fe train with one 9V motor. But with the cuts, it's a fairly easy load (it's 4 cars, i.e. an engine plus 3 cars).

I couldn't figure out where to make the cuts at. The parts I have already look like the diagram its telling me to cut. And my santa fe is the engine and 5 cars: Mail, baggage, sleeping, dining, observation.

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I couldn't figure out where to make the cuts at. The parts I have already look like the diagram its telling me to cut. And my santa fe is the engine and 5 cars: Mail, baggage, sleeping, dining, observation.

Engine plus 5 SF cars, that surely is too much for one 9V motor.

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Engine plus 5 SF cars, that surely is too much for one 9V motor.

which is why i use 1 PF motor. 1 PF motor can handle all 5 santa fe cars packed with minifigs and luggage, as well as several cars after that. If only using santa fe cars, i'm sure 1 PF motor can handle 7-8 with no bad slowdown. possibly more, but i don't have the money to invest in more santa fe cars.

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On 9/12/2010 at 5:03 PM, Goldenmasamune said:

I've already converted my Super Chief to power functions, and did so without making any cosmetic changes. I shaved off the #6's for the motor. Then, I was able to fit the battery box inside the train, as well as the IR receiver. The IR receiver sticks up behind the 5 round circle parts on top, and looks really nice. No Light Bluish grey can be seen. Also, I even included an external button for the battery box which doesn't change the appearance of the engine at all. You want to look in the portholes? you'll see the same thing as on the 9V model.

as far as using the old 9v Motor, i'd recommend against it. It lacks the power to pull a full santa fe train without a second motor. the PF motor can pull the full santa fe train and then some.

Hello, I tried to PM you as this thread is several years old, but the system would not allow it.

You mentioned that you added Power Functions to your Santa Fe without any cosmetic changes. How did you do it? I'm considering a Santa Fe and/or a BNSF but I cannot head down the 9V path. Any insight would be extremely helpful. Thank you!

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Greetings Detroit-Funk

ordinarily reviving such an old thread is discouraged, but you definitely found the exact right thread for your question. Conceptually it is really easy to add PF to the superchief, you just need to pull out "engine" and there should be enough room to fit the PF battery and receiver. If you want to have "full view" reception you would have to figure out some way to poke the IR receiver out the roof. There is no one way to do it, but at least one pair of the 2x3 curved bricks would have to be replaced in some part of the roof to do it. You could also replace the engineers seat with the IR receiver and shoot the IR through the windshield. It works, but you do have to be in front of it to get the necessary line of site. If you are running on the floor probably not a big deal, but if you are running on the edge of a table you might want more reliable communication in case of an emergency stop. A potential better solution would be the new PUP system that incorporates the Bluetooth receiver in the battery box, so you do not need line of sight.

In either case, this segues into the topic of the original thread. The superchief is old gray, but the IR/PF/PUP decorative motor sides never came in old gray. They did come in new gray but they are expensive and do not match the original superchief. If you are building with new parts that will not be an issue, but if you are building an original set you will have to make one of the comprimises in the original post... except, he realized that he could use a 9v motor and the extension cable for PF, which is compatible with the 9v motor connection. Of course 9v motors are a lot more expensive than PF or PUP these days. Furthermore, while PF is compatible with 9v motors, PUP is not.

Finally, the BNSF is not as easy to convert to PF or PUP. The hood of the locomotive is 4 wide, while both the battery box and IR receiver are 4 wide. So there is no where to hide.

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Posted (edited)

Thank you for the response. And absolutely, i wasn't trying to revive a dead thread. I just literally had not way to communicate with the person that I felt had the most appropriate response to what I was after.

Appreciate all of the detail you gave in your post above. It seems no matter which way i go there would be some sort of modification necessary unless i found some old 9V components. And by doing so takes away a lot of what i'm after originally and that's the look of these engines. 

I would love to have one of these older style engines. I haven't seen anything as unique come out of LEGO for trains in quite a long time. I may try to find a Maersk or Horizon Express that can accept the newer systems fairly easy.

Ya'll have a fantastic day!

P.S., I guess I do go back to the person I was responding to. He said he made zero cosmetic changes outside of shaving down the wheels. So I guess I should ask if anyone has images of what the update looks like for the SC with either PF or PUP, preferably the PUP as that's what i have in my new cargo train and it seems like a great system.

Edited by Detroit-Funk

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, zephyr1934 said:

Greetings Detroit-Funk

ordinarily reviving such an old thread is discouraged, but you definitely found the exact right thread for your question. Conceptually it is really easy to add PF to the superchief, you just need to pull out "engine" and there should be enough room to fit the PF battery and receiver. If you want to have "full view" reception you would have to figure out some way to poke the IR receiver out the roof. There is no one way to do it, but at least one pair of the 2x3 curved bricks would have to be replaced in some part of the roof to do it. You could also replace the engineers seat with the IR receiver and shoot the IR through the windshield. It works, but you do have to be in front of it to get the necessary line of site. If you are running on the floor probably not a big deal, but if you are running on the edge of a table you might want more reliable communication in case of an emergency stop. A potential better solution would be the new PUP system that incorporates the Bluetooth receiver in the battery box, so you do not need line of sight.

In either case, this segues into the topic of the original thread. The superchief is old gray, but the IR/PF/PUP decorative motor sides never came in old gray. They did come in new gray but they are expensive and do not match the original superchief. If you are building with new parts that will not be an issue, but if you are building an original set you will have to make one of the comprimises in the original post... except, he realized that he could use a 9v motor and the extension cable for PF, which is compatible with the 9v motor connection. Of course 9v motors are a lot more expensive than PF or PUP these days. Furthermore, while PF is compatible with 9v motors, PUP is not.

Finally, the BNSF is not as easy to convert to PF or PUP. The hood of the locomotive is 4 wide, while both the battery box and IR receiver are 4 wide. So there is no where to hide.

 

Edited by Detroit-Funk

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37 minutes ago, Detroit-Funk said:

 

P.S., I guess I do go back to the person I was responding to. He said he made zero cosmetic changes outside of shaving down the wheels. So I guess I should ask if anyone has images of what the update looks like for the SC with either PF or PUP, preferably the PUP as that's what i have in my new cargo train and it seems like a great system.

one of my lug members has an original (runs on 9v or PF) and another has a newly built (with new grey and PU)  they both decided to shave a 6 long axle down by the width of a half bushing.  The axels are the perfect length then.  Oddly enough even with the one engine being "brighter" they still look great double headed.  

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5 minutes ago, Roadmonkeytj said:

one of my lug members has an original (runs on 9v or PF) and another has a newly built (with new grey and PU)  they both decided to shave a 6 long axle down by the width of a half bushing.  The axels are the perfect length then.  Oddly enough even with the one engine being "brighter" they still look great double headed.  

would love to see some pics if you have some!

So is there enough room in the engine compartment area to house a PF or PUP without any other modification? Or am i removing side bricks to accommodate the battery box and is that why folks are saying the grays won't match? As the battery box then essentially becomes that current gray area? Sorry, feel dumb for asking, I just don't want to ruin the aesthetic of the original.

I'm referring to this sentence I suppose from Golden way up top: "I've already converted my Super Chief to power functions, and did so without making any cosmetic changes."

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The grey that doesnt match is the motor skirting.  The old grey is noticably different then the newer "blue grey" 

I can only speculate as im not the op but I think he was refering to not having to swap to the black or blue grey side skirts nor having to change the exterior appearance.  As has been said the IR can be set in the cab and the battery box can be set where the "engine" goes.  The pf motor can be used with the old grey skirts if the wheels do not rub (two different mold patterns of old grey ... One rubs the other was revised) However the 6 long axles will have to be shortened by half bushing width or you need to drill out the slots in the side skirts for the axle to clear.

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Got it Got it Got it. 

I'm sitting here thinking motor = train engine, not thinking that the engine is the wheels on a LEGO train. :blush:

So net-net is, the Super Chief can handle a battery box of PF or PUP, but will require the axles to be shortened to accommodate the skirting. But also sounds like perhaps I could search, e.g., bricklink for the correct gray skirts so no altering would be necessary? If not, and I try to use the originals, what is the correct length for a "half bushing?" cut on the axles? Or does that become obvious if i have everything sitting in front of me?

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1 hour ago, Detroit-Funk said:

what is the correct length for a "half bushing?" cut on the axles?

4mm, but you could cut a little less than that and then iterate between testing the fit and sanding off a little more of the axle. Worst case, you have to toss the axle and start a new one

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9 minutes ago, zephyr1934 said:

4mm

thanks! small dremel tool or similar to make the cuts?

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Actually I am glad this thread was revived.  I have a Limited Edition Super Chief, which I was going to convert to PF, but never got around to doing it and wasn't aware of this issue.  

I also would love to see pictures of an original double headed with one built in the new gray as I have considered that as well.

 

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On 5/22/2019 at 11:16 AM, Detroit-Funk said:

Hello, I tried to PM you as this thread is several years old, but the system would not allow it.

You mentioned that you added Power Functions to your Santa Fe without any cosmetic changes. How did you do it? I'm considering a Santa Fe and/or a BNSF but I cannot head down the 9V path. Any insight would be extremely helpful. Thank you!

https://m.imgur.com/a/LTSCS

 

Hope this helps

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@CSW652

Im searching the pictures and im not finding a close up but itis in the background ... You'll notice the one side skirt is off... This is how we learned of the rub issue. It ran but ate battery life and only pulled 2 cars until we fixed the rub. gts2018-07.jpg

gts2018-14.jpg

gts2018-15.jpg

Again sorry for not having any close ups

The original ran on 9v (we installed a dummy truck) the new he built was PU.

You will either need shave your axles down or cut notches for them to run the old grey skirting on the pf or pu motors.

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Thank you for the reply! How did you shave the axles down? Simple hand file do the trick? 

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I'd recommend trying out using 5-Long Axles out instead of shaving down a perfectly good 6-long. They don't go completely flush with the outside of the wheels but the grip is just fine.

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Arent 5-wide just the standard size? Pretty sure I could just try them out from my current train. 

And if you use 5-wides you can use the skirting and everything? 

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5 hours ago, Detroit-Funk said:

Arent 5-wide just the standard size? Pretty sure I could just try them out from my current train. 

And if you use 5-wides you can use the skirting and everything? 

5 w works just fine.  Personally I shave the axle with a dremel but I generally dont dismantle trains so they stay with that train. The skirting may still rub the wheel if it has the spot inside the skirt.  The 5W axle will not rub but your wheels will only be on the axle about 2/3rds of the way.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Roadmonkeytj said:

5 w works just fine.  Personally I shave the axle with a dremel but I generally dont dismantle trains so they stay with that train. The skirting may still rub the wheel if it has the spot inside the skirt.  The 5W axle will not rub but your wheels will only be on the axle about 2/3rds of the way.

Alright, so net-net, grab a PU battery pack and motor, slap that rascal in there, use the axles that Come with the PU motor and perhaps shave them down a smidge if they are noticeably too long? 

 

Edited by Detroit-Funk

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1 hour ago, Detroit-Funk said:

Alright, so net-net, grab a PU battery pack and motor, slap that rascal in there, use the axles that Come with the PU motor and perhaps shave them down a smidge if they are noticeably too long? 

 

If you use the axels that come with the PU motor they are 6W and will rub without modification

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