Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Kenner Sky Rail Project Part 4 - Power

I tried replacing this connector, but I couldn't construct
one that fitted tight enough into the rails.
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.  
By hooking a wire through this loop, I could run power
from a transformer and use the existing connector.
I insulated the two leads with electrical tape.

The over-and-under arrangement of the circuits on the monorail created something of a problem. The sky cars' contacts bracket the rails. Power wires have to be carefully placed to stay out of the way of the passing car.

The power packs that came with the sets used a double U-shaped design that joined two sections of track together. The leads were then snugly pulled together (insulated from each other), going out through the very small clearance the passing sky car afforded.

Unfortunately, the plastic toggle switches in in the packs had become brittle with age. When I turned them, they fell apart. Using the original power packs was no longer an option.

I tried twisting wire into the shape of the connectors, but I couldn't get the gap between the rails tight enough. Only the original connectors would do. I was reluctant to strip them off the power packs. As the Sky Rail set is a vintage toy, I thought it best to leave everything in its original condition.

The original power packs. Unfortunately,
these were toast, so I had to improvise.
So I created a temporary solution. The connectors had loops on the ends where the power pack wires were soldered on. I threaded new wires through those, and crimped them closed. A little electrical tape insulated the wires from each other, and I was set. I could then run the wires to a pair of DC toy train transformers.

And so I did. Trying the sky cars out on my small test loop proved it a successful solution. So now I was ready for the next step. Construct the actual layout we would have for the presentation and make sure it operated as anticipated.

Another page from the Sky Rail Book of Dreams
(also known as the instruction book)

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