This section shows the various kinds of electrical apparatus that can be rebuilt and/or custom fabricated. Complete controls plus weather-tite enclosures can be supplied for mounting on your external subsystems (e.g. generator, AC, refrigeration). Other kinds of controls are also available, such as heating thermostats. Enclosures of any shape and size can be fabricated in interior or rain-tite models from carbon or stainless steel.

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Standard Electrical Enclosure

A standard, exterior electrical enclosure can be fabricated out of carbon or stainless steel. It features positive closure of the cover against closed-cell neoprene gasket, glove knobs and plenty of room inside for components. Fabrication plans can be found in the documentation section.

Electromechanical Diesel Starter

The standard enclosure easily accommodates an electromechanical diesel engine starter. To the left is a magnetic starter for the electric radiator fan. Top right is a circuit breaker for the fan and start/stop pushbuttons. Below them is an hour meter and underneath it are the starting and shutdown relays plus timing and other control relays. This starter (whose plans can be found in the documentation section) can be used with remote pushbuttons and/or a solid state engine controller.

Airconditioning Controls

Another use of the standard enclosure to house the controls for an airconditioning unit. At the top are a pair of motor overloads for the dual condenser fans and next to them is the compressor contactor. The high and low pressure controls along with pressure gauges are below. Plans for airconditioning controls are in the documentation section.

Freeze Protection Controls

The standard enclosure has been cut into the side of an equipment housing where it contains the controls for a freeze protection unit. At the top left is the starter that controls the circulating pump. Right and below is the contactor for the circulation heater. Bottom right is an outdoor ambient temperature sensor which turns the unit on near freezing temperatures. In a separate compartment are system filling and draining valves and a test port. Power and control wiring is being hooked up in this picture.

Box For Control Panel

A large galvanized steel box can be fabricated that will house all the components of a control panel. In this case, the customer specified the box dimensions and door location so that the box would bolt right to the unistrut on the wall of the car's electrical locker. The control panel is hinged with a piano hinge to the tab on the right (or left, if you prefer) of the box for easy access to all the components.

Railcar Control Panel

Electrical control panels should group all of the logical functions together and the controls should be intuitively located and easy to use. In this overview of a car control panel, miscellaneous controls are on the left (exhaust fans, vestibule lights, hallway floor heat), the 120V breaker panel is in the middle and the three phase power handling, heating, cooling and ventilation systems are on the right.

Control Panel Layout

A close up view of the major system components shows the logical groupings of the functions. Additionally, the flow of power through the system, selector switches, etc. is denoted by black lines so that one can follow the power from where it enters the car (on the left), through the contactors and selectors, out to the car (on the right). Meters and indicator lights are meant to give an accurate status of all of the car's systems. Lamp test button in the bottom right -- it's a classic and I couldn't resist.

Control Panel Back Side

The control panel is hinged and swings out for easy access to its rear. Remember. Neatness counts! All of the wiring exits the panel on the hinge side in a single bundle which is looped down and up to a set of terminal blocks where it can be connected to the rest of the car. The loop allows the bundle to move and flex when the panel is opened.

Punched Panel

The sequence of steps in the creation of a control panel, to fit in the galvanized box (above) is shown here. The customer specified a carbon steel panel that was punched for all of the components, painted and striped. Lettering was about to be applied, prior to overspaying the entire panel with clear laquer for protection.

Components Mounted

All of the control panel components are mounted on the panel. The customer supplied some of the components used for generator set controls (an existing control panel was disassembled and reused) and the rest were purchased after consulting with the customer as to their preferences. Pilot lights are long-life diode lamps and switches are industrial type controls or heavy-duty toggles.

Wiring In Progress

Here, wiring of the control panel is in progress. All of the panel wiring was done with #18 or #14 Exane wire. The lamp test function was implemented by diodes incorporated into the panel wiring.

Wiring Nearing Completion

The control panel wiring is nearing completion. A large bundle of wire is formed to the left of the panel, which will be looped down and back up to an attachment point on the box. This will allow the door to easily hinge open.

Panel Attached To Box

The completed panel is attached to the box and wiring of the terminal strips on the back of the box has begun. Field wiring will enter through the large hole in the bottom right corner of the box and attach to the control panel terminal blocks.

All Wiring Complete

All panel wiring is complete. Three control transformers to provide power to the panel (Standby, HEP, Gen) and three phase failure relays, in addition to a fuse block for the generator controls, can be seen bolted to the box. The proposed unistrut mounting holes are marked where the customer will field drill them.

Assembled Panel

The completed panel is assembled and ready for shipping. Power monitoring and selection for the three sources of power (Standby, HEP, Gen) are at the top. Generator controls are in the middle. Below them are HVAC monitoring lamps and a row of toggle switches for car lighting. The lamp test button is at the bottom. Controls for any and all car functions can be included in your control panel.

Ready For Shipping

The completed panel crated and ready for shipping. The customer will install the panel in their car and complete the field wiring.

Control Relays

A set of narrow shelves is used to support the relays and control transformers that control the car. Wiring can be laid in using bead ties to temporarily hold it in place. Once wiring is completed, wire ties are applied and the bead ties removed. Note that all of the relays are socketed for easy replacement. Carrying one spare of each kind is a good thing.

Main Contactors

The main contactors for switching the car's three phase power are bolted to the wall in the electrical locker close to where the power wiring enters the locker from the underfloor conduit. The 240V standby contactor is to the left, the 480V trainline contactor is in the middle and the 240V diesel contactor is to the right.

Heating Thermostat

Vapor thermostat, refurbished and rewired to operate an SSR (see the documentation section), ready to be installed in a custom fabricated stainless steel pedestal enclosure.

SSR Heater Control

A 240V Solid State Relay (SSR), bolted to a suitable heat sink (in this case a metal wall) can be used to control electric baseboard heaters via the existing thermostats. Sometimes, the thermostat will have to be rewired (see the documentation section), but the SSR itself can operate directly on the 32V DC thermostat power with no need for a current limiting resistor.