Jan 6, 2011
I suppose he considered it a "piece of junk" because it didn't have DCC and sound installed?
Rich, just so you don't feel like you were too deprived , here's a picture of my first power pack (not my actual pack but just like it) I got with my Treble-O-Lectric trains for Christmas of 1962:
I still have it and it still works. Years ago, it started to get scratched up a bit and I decided it would look better with a "brushed steel" finish so I sanded all the original finish off it and sprayed it with clear lacquer. No printing on it anymore, of course, and I ended regretting what I had done (kids). Then it started rusting so, a few years ago I repainted it copper and it at least looks better.
I still remember riding my Schwinn Deluxe Sting Ray up to Nichol's Hobby Shop to buy the Golden Throttlepack. The ride home seemed like it took 2 hours. It was $14.95 and I don't know how long it was I saved my money to get it.
Of course, I went nuts for a while recently and have bought many MRC packs (2 Tech II 2500's, 2 Tech II 2400's, 2 Tech III 9500's, 1 Tech III 9000, 1 Tech IV 260, 1 Tech 7 760, etc.). I don't do DCC so they are used, not just collected.
Those old power packs seem bulletproof. My brother's Aurora Model Motoring powerpack from the early '60s provides plenty of juice, but at 24 VDC. I still have a pair of well-used MRC Golden Throttlepacks around here somewhere.
I was thinking the same thing -- what on earth did the Buyer expect? Frankly, I'd take an Arnold steamer over a number of competing models from that era and even later.
Here are my latest Arnold SW1s, fresh from my custom painter.
Thanks again Shawn!!!
Those take me right back to Austin, MN in the mid sixties! Thanks!
Glad you like them. S
Like the MILW SW1's. Where are the custom exhaust from. Scratch built or bought.
Shapeways I believe is where my customer got them
As long as they didn't corrode (don't ask!) those MRC metal packs were pretty indestructible. The only exception I can think of is a "PulseMaster 1" where we managed to break the speed control lever.
He didn't elaborate and I didn't ask. Maybe the buyer thought it was a product of the "new" Rapido not the old "Arnold Rapido"... despite my description...
Good luck getting a "new" Rapido anything for the selling price of the Arnold 4-6-2...
So, with my recent interest in the Arnold Rapido equipment of years past, I discovered a category on eBay - Ersatzteile Arnold, which means "spare parts" I recently bought a couple of remote switches and the little V-shaped controllers and they work beautifully - like new. Arnold's track system and power control with power-routing switches was/is very impressive.
The elongated, translucent yellow, push buttons on the controllers can be illuminated with the addition of Arnold 0796 bulbs. The button for which route is chosen stays lit to give an easy indication for which route the switch is set. No randomly pushing one of the buttons to see.
I thought, "Good luck trying to find those bulbs, these days." They are relatively low amp. bulbs so they don't get too hot and warp the plastic housing. Lo and Behold, there are all kinds of them on eBay so, I ordered 20 from Germany - about 22 bucks which I thought was reasonable. Everything is in German so my very rusty skills at that language (I used to be pretty fluent) were tested and I was amazed how much vocabulary I have lost over the years.
Anyway, I finally figured it all out and they are on the way. I am building a small Rapido layout on the same 4'X3' board on which I had a Treble-O-Lectric layout (I have a much larger TOL layout on an old dining room table) just to get some experience with the Arnold stuff 50 years after I could have. It's a blast.
Looking back, I now figure that the Arnold turnout motors must have had an internal switch that turned off the current at the end of each movement? With the controller lamps continually lit, I'm guessing that the current to the solenoid had to be turned off somehow. I'm not sure about any of this, but it seems logical.
I'm sure you are aware, but the Arnold solenoids can be flipped upside down to allow better clearance and appearance trackside. A Rapido book I have then shows a piece of electrical tape applied to the top (former bottom) so that it can be covered with ballast and made less noticeable.
Trivia: Arnold made two grades of turnouts. One was the original design, precise and beautifully machined with lots of moving parts. Sometime in the early to mid-70s Arnold introduced a more cheaply made budget turnout with fewer parts and a simpler, less reliable frog contactor. The lesser design was unable to accept switch machines. The cheap design didn't obsolete the original; both types continued to be produced.
When I received an Arnold turntable and Controller for Christmas in the early '70s, its instructions were in German. Flustered, I asked my parents and brothers for help. Fortunately my oldest brother was taking a German class in college and offered me his German/English dictionary and I quickly figured out where those blau, gelb, braun, violet, grau, weiß, und Schwarz wires went.
Rapido's turntable was quite the model in its day, with automatic track alignment and electrical connection, and with the optional Controller, any track could be selected and the table would move to it without any further attention. The Controller was a fussy solenoid-driven device though and was prone to become out of synch with the turntable position. Fortunately the table could also be controlled with a DPDT toggle switch with little loss of functionality.
Thanks for the switch info, Dan. I'm not really sure exactly how the lights on the controller stay lit either but I did see in the instructions that came with them that somehow, the current is returned to the controller while, at the same time removing it from the solenoid. Yes, the switch motor does automatically remove current from the solenoid to avoid burn out, like you said. It is all done with contacts and copper segments within the switch.
I have some of each of the grades of switches. In fact the first ones I got off eBay are the cheaper variety with no bottom plate and simple contacts to supply current to the points/closure rails (all one piece on the Rapidos). Contrary to Arnold's text in the catalog I have, they do still route current to the route for which it is set. The catalog states they are for mechanical routing of the train only. I have found that the two fingers making contact with the point rail assembly sometimes need tinkering to keep them in contact there and also the contacts at the other end in contact with the copper plates there.
I noticed that, with the more elaborate version, they supplied little strips of paper you can cut out and insert them into the switch to keep one or the other route dead all the time, regardless of which way the switch is set. At least that is my understanding.
You mentioning the turntable reveals just how extensive the range of Arnold's N scale equipment was. You can name almost anything and they made it or supplied. Siemens made the power packs, for instance but Arnold sold them.
Yep, all you wrote is exactly as I recall -- those fingers were finicky. I can't remember if Arnold had different item numbers for the different quality turnouts.
I bought them from Shapeways
I still remember how I got mine. I said "As soon as someone comes out with a PRR N5c caboose in n scale," (confident that no one would) "I'll hunt down an Arnold GG1 to pull it with." But then Bowser did, so I kept my promise to myself. I had it until the Katos came out, at which time I gave it and a short piece of track to a friend of my fathers to use as a display. He was not a modeler but remembered GG1s fondly from his younger days and had always admired it. It still ran perfectly the day I gave it away.
A few more:
I saw this little beauty on eBay and resistance was futile. A Swiss "Crocodil". A little later model - about 1988.
The first F9 in very nice shape and with the backward compatible couplers.
I now have the Southern version Pacific, too. It was pretty dirty, so I completely disassembled it, cleaned, and relubed. It's not perfect. The P.O. painted the cab roof black and I'm deciding whether to restore it to green, paint it oxide red as I have seen some prototype pictures with the roof painted that way, or leave it as is. The fireman's side eccentric rod is presently off because half the split pin on the eccentric broke off when I removed it and I have to figure a way out to reattach it. Also, if I ever start talking about completely disassembling the Rapido Pacific again, kick me off the forum.
Another Rapido car I saw all the time in the catalogs/advertisements, back then, wanted but never bought.
Concerning Rapido switches, they originally always sold them in pairs, one right and one left in a box, so the catalog number was for the pair. I think I remember reading Arnold later sold switches individually, also, but I'm not really at all sure of this.
0170 is the original "Directronic" manual switches.
0171 is the original "Directronic" remote switches.
0177 is the simplified switches (no bottom cover, no current controlling contacts because there is no remote version of this switch and no provision to add a switch machine) There ARE still contacts to supply current only to the route to which the switch is set.
I'm sure I have seen the catalog number 0179 and I think that's the one for the redesigned switches with a more integral switch machine (the actuator rod doesn't stick out of the body of the machine to go to the throw rod). The area around the frog area looks different, too.