This little post has been produced on behalf of the UKTS team, after a couple of hours’ play, to try to help those users who say ‘my EM1 doesn’t work properly’. As far as we’ve seen up to now, it works fine – but like the class 86, there’s definitely a technique to getting the most from the EM1.
Our advice is firstly, to READ THE MANUAL which describes the techniques to drive this loco very well. But just to provide a little help, we’ve put a few hints below that should help if you’re having a little trouble.
This post, and all the advice in it, is NOT 'official' help – if you have any customer service issues, as ever we ask you to e-mail email@example.com
. We’ve had a blast playing with the EM1 today, we hope you find the hints below useful.1. It won’t go at more than 40 mph at most, even with no load, it’s rubbish!
You need to know that the EM1, like many electric locos in the pre-electronic era, used SERIES and PARALLEL modes.
To start off, the loco defaults to SERIES mode. This is the best option for low-speed control. Set off in SERIES and accelerate to a speed somewhere between 30 and 35 mph. Then you need to take off power completely, and wait for the Field Ammeter dial (second from the right) to drop to zero. When it’s at zero, move the Traction Mode Lever (under the power lever) FORWARDS to PARALLEL (you can also do this on the keyboard by pressing B, or on the F4 display by pressing the bell icon). The loco will now accelerate to its top speed.
Think of it being a bit like second gear! And also, don’t forget to put the lever back into SERIES when you stop – the loco won’t start in PARALLEL mode.2. It keeps slipping when I set off, do I need the sanders?
Not necessarily. You can use the sander of course, but the real EM1 was known for being a little light on its feet – something to do with the bogie articulation. So instead, you can use the ‘weight transfer switch’ just under the left hand edge of the windscreen:
What this did was to take a little power off the leading wheels, so that it was less likely to slip (and by the way, in real life also the front end of the bogie was liable to slam up against the underside of the cab – not good for the driver’s nerves). So operating the weight transfer switch at low speeds does reduce your tractive effort a little bit, but makes the loco less liable to slip.3. I don’t understand the regenerative braking thingy, how does it work? Is it the same as dynamic braking?
It’s a little bit like dynamic braking, but really it isn’t the same. But the basic principle is that you’re turning the traction motors into dynamos on downhill stretches. Dynamos have resistance, of course, so the effect is to slow the train down.
This system was used because it stopped the brake shoes wearing out (and also probably prevented ‘brake fade’ that could happen as brakes got hot if used continuously); and it returned current to the overhead wiring, helping trains drawing power going up the hill and saving on the electric bills! As a TS2012 user you don’t get the benefit of the energy saving, of course, but using regen braking is an interesting part of the simulation.
To brake your train with the regen brake:
1. Make sure the power handle is at zero.
2. Pull the big regenerative brake lever - that's the one that looks like the power controller, but is on the far right - towards you gradually (you can move it with the mouse, or use < or > on the keyboard). As you do so, keep an eye on the second dial from the left, the Motor Voltmeter. You need to pull back the lever until the reading on this dial matches the reading on the far left dial, the Line Voltmeter, at 1500V.
4. Okay, now do something a bit counter-intuitive: pull the power controller (i.e. the throttle) ALL THE WAY to the ‘full power’ position. You should now see the far right dial, the Armature Ammeter, move from zero to below zero – that’s showing that you are now generating power by using the motors as a dynamo. You should now have a primitive ‘cruise control’ and the speed should stay constant. To increase or decrease the retarding effect, LEAVE THE POWER LEVER ALONE – move the regen controller lever.
5. As you slow down to about 15 mph, regen braking doesn’t work any more and you have to use the ‘normal’ brake lever. To switch off the regen:
a. First, move the power controller back to zero power.
b. THEN move the regen lever back up to zero.
Okay, that wasn’t too bad, was it? But one more time – PLEASE READ THE MANUAL. It’s all explained in pages 22 to 25. Happy simming!