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Magnetic wheels

Postby Hornet » Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:50 pm

Hi, new to T gauge having previously modelled in OO and N gauge, I am looking into modelling in a gauge that takes up less space and T gauge seems to fit the bill. However before I take the plunge I have one question, I have noted that there seems to be issues with the smooth running of T gauge locomotives, some of this is put down to dirt, which I am very familiar with as N gauge is also quite susceptible to dirt on track or wheels. It seems T gauge locos run on steel track and seem to be fitted with magnetic wheels. Is there a reason for this? Adhesion I presume! I recall that if you run a magnetic ball bearing on a steel plate it runs jerkily due to the north and south poles being strongest. Are non magnetic driving wheels available? Can they be fitted? And if so will the train run OK? Many thanks for your help, Hornet.
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Re: Magnetic wheels

Postby dkightley » Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:09 pm

First of all....welcome to the forum.

There is quite a lot of stories running around about T Gauge being unreliable and running roughly. These are mainly based on videos and comments that are outdated. Yes....the smooth running is reliant on the track being clean like in all gauges. But many of the sories are based on the use of the early speed controller units that were beige coloured. These were analogue controllers that fed up to 4.5v...and were pretty ghastly! A revised PWM controller was brought out....it looks the same as the earlier model, but is in dark blue. Trains run a little better with this controller...but there are still some disadvantages with them.

A few T gaugers have replaced the stock speed controller with home-built PWM systems...which have superior operation to the stock controller. I had such a controller on my Bridge layout until a few days ago. I now have the layout fitted out with DCC control of the power cars, and CBUS control of track sensors and signals......and the upgraded system will make its debut at the TrainWest show this weekend.

You're right that some of the wheels are magnetic. Usually one of the axles in each powered bogie is magnetic....and some power cars have a magnetic wheels on one of the unpowered bogies as well. The magnets are indeed to increase adhesion....but its not frictional adhesion, but adhesion to increase the electrical contact between wheel and rail. Individual axles are not available separately, but are available in bogies. It would be foolhardy to remove any of the axles with magnetic wheels....so I would forget about doing so. There's no issue with "jerkiness" due to the magnets rolling N S N S etc...as they are magnetised NS along the axis of the axle.

Bottom line......don't come into T with any pre-conceptions. Your first impression will be "WoW! Its small!!!"...and then you'll find out T has its own set of good and not so good things....and you'll need to mould your plans around what can be done.

Whatever you do decide to do.....you'll get plenty of help on the forum....and do keep us all up-to-date on what you do as you do it!
Doug Kightley
Webmaster here and volunteer at the National Tramway Museum http://www.tramway.co.uk
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