• Installing Quantum Event recorder on ALCO

  • Discussion of products from the American Locomotive Company. A web site with current Alco 251 information can be found here: Fairbanks-Morse/Alco 251.
Discussion of products from the American Locomotive Company. A web site with current Alco 251 information can be found here: Fairbanks-Morse/Alco 251.

Moderator: Alcoman

  by jmandell
We need to install a Quantum FRA Event Recorder on our ALCO (RSD-15). The Quantum unit is designed for EMD. Does anyone have any experience with this installation that might be willing to give me some advice?

I have 2 specific areas of concern, both electrical:
1) Axle speed: Our RSD-15 has a GE axle alternator that drives the transition control logic. The Quantum unit expects a 20 (or 60) pulse/revolution encoder. I think that means we need to mount another axle encoder, but I could really use some suggestions.

2) Throttle position: The Quantum unit is designed to interface to a Woodward governor. It has 4 wires that record the status of the A/B/C/D valve on the Woodward governor & then internally converts that to the throttle position. We have a GE 17MG8 governor. It has 4 "Engine Speed Relays" that control the governor. I'm not sure if there is a way to properly connect these.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

Cheers, John Mandell
Austin Steam Train Association
ALCO 442 (RSD-15 Gator)
  by FCP503
I'm no electrical expert but....

The logic for the ESR's is simular to that for a "conventional" governor. After all these locos had to MU with other makes.

Could you tap into the wires for the coils on the ESRs? Would that work?
  by jmandell
You are correct. After doing a bit more research on the GE vs Woodward governor, I discovered exactly what you said is correct. They all are compatible with the 4 MU wires that define the throttle setting.

Now, all I need to do is figure out how to get the axle transducer issue solved.

Thanks for your help, John
  by N_DL640A
Installing a Quantum event recorder on an ALCO is pretty straight forward, I've installed Quantum event recorders on several ALCOs as well as EMDs.
They work on the basis of AAR standard trainline circuts for the throttle position. Therefore: AV = Trainline # 15; BV = Trainline # 12; CV = Trainline # 7; DV = Trainline # 3. I always use Trainline # 6 (generator field) for throttle 1 through 8.
You can connect the event recorder at the main terminal board in the electrical cabinet or at the control stand terminal board instead. It really depends on what's most convienent.
The GE axle alternator used on ALCOs for wheel slip & transition are a 20 pole model. It will work on the event recorder. If you have an electronic speedometer you can tie the event recorder to the speedo input. However, if you don't it might just be easier to just install a new axle alt for that purpose (typically installed on the # 2 axle).
On Type E wheel slip panels, they have one axle alt connected to an isolation transformer with multiple outputs. The purpose of that is so you can use the spare output from the isolation transformer to drive a speedo (or event recorder) without affecting the balance of the transition and wheel slip circuts. I don't know if they have that on an RDS15, though. If not I would personally reccomend that you install a separate axle alternator.
  by jmandell
Thanks, this is great info.

We have a mechanical speedometer. I have concluded that the GE axle alternator (used for the transition circuits) is a 20 pole unit, so it should work with the Quantum unit. I'm not sure if there is an isolation transformer on it, but I'll look - that would be a good idea. Would it be OK to just put the quantum inputs in parallel with the transition circuits?

It looks like the installation will be more straightforward than I had originally thought. We're planning to add a pressure sensor to the bell air line and record that as one of the two "spare" inputs.

The last issue is how to connect the plumbing. We have a standard 26L brake system (26C brake valve). We're looking for easy ways to connect the air lines for the 3 pneumatic inputs. It should not be too difficult, but if you know any "tricks", that info would be appreciated as well.

Again, thanks for the help!

Cheers, John
  by N_DL640A
It should be OK to connect the quantum speed input to the axle alternator if it's only used for transition. I'd be a little concerned with connecting anything directly to an axle alt if it were used as part of the wheel slip detection system though, so you wouldn't run the risk of creating false wheel slip indications.
An easy and convienent way to hook up the air is to use D.O.T. approved 3/8" nylon air brake tubing. There are a wide variety of approved push lock and compression type fittings available, and you can get the stuff at any large-truck supply house. It's very easy to work with.
As for connection to existing tubing, I've used hydraulic compression fittings in the past. They make a secure and durable connection without the need to flare the tubing.
  by jmandell
Thanks for the continuing help. The air brake tubing sounds like the way to go!

On the axle encoder wiring, I found the isolation transformer you mentioned and it does have an unused secondary, just as you predicted! Actually, "Sec 2" has 3 terminal posts - probably a center tap, but I should be able to sort that out easily enough.

I really do appreciate your help. The unit was to be ordered this week, so we'll be wiring it up soon.

Cheers, John
  by N_DL640A
You're very much welcome for the help, I'm glad I could be of some assistance.
Good luck!
  by mymarcec
N_DL640A wrote:You're very much welcome for the help, I'm glad I could be of some assistance.
Good luck!
We are looking for the software to access the Quantum Event Recorder. We installed one in a steam locomotive about 8 years ago, but have misplaced the software that came with it. It appears they are out of business now, but I thought someone might have a copy they could ZIP and email to me?

  by jmandell
It has been a while since I dealt with Quantum, but I know they have gone through 1 and possibly more acquisitions. All their web addresses now point to http://www.invensysrail.com

My recollection is that the SW that configures & downloads the event recorder is free with the unit, but the SW that displays the data is purchased/licensed. There are a number of different event recorder units, so I don't know how the compatibility thing works vs the SW. I found the Quantum guys to be quite helpful. Please email me privately and I'll dig up the last contact information I had for the Quantum support folks.

ALSO, with any luck we'll need to install an event recorder in our steam locomotive in the future. Could you give me some general thoughts about how you went about doing your installation?

Cheers, John