Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Kenner Sky Rail Project Part 2 - Testing, testing

So far, so good. Running two leads to the pickups,
I determined that the motors were operational.
I've been tasked with getting my old Kenner Sky Rail set back into working order. It has to be ready for an event my dad's hosting, so time is short. Can a toy be brought back to life after a half century of neglect?

Read all the posts about this project here. 

The first step, of course, was to determine if the sky cars were even functional. These were toys designed for the short-term. The plastic car bodies consisted of two halves, glued together. So it will be impossible to service the motors. Either they still work, or they don't, and the project's over.

I used a small H0 transformer as a power source and tested each car with two exposed wires. The cars had an ingenious pickup system. The monorail has two metal rails crimped over a fiber frame. The car has two copper plates to pick up the current from the rails. The bottom one is bent to ensure it presses against the lower rail to maintain contact. The upper has bent panels in the front and back to help guide the place over the gaps between rails so it won't snag.

This diagram from the original instruction sheet
shows how the car connects to the track.
They weren't kidding about keeping the rails
and contacts clean!
The test proved partially successful. The motors on both cars worked. Initially, they were quite slow, but as I continued to up the current they were soon spinning free. Each car has a headlight in front. Unfortunately, they failed to light in either car. And there seems to be no way to replace them. So we'll have to settle for just motion with our sky cars.

Now that I know the cars work, it's time to do some cleanup.

Ideas from the instruction book. I wonder if
I can get them to look that good.

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