TRAMS & TRAINS 081221
This Tuesday we fully assembled the Seafront layout. So it is available to be seen on Wednesday when it’s the Christmas Party day and for Thursday when the BBC come. The cliff lift is running and so are the trams, – That’s provided the mains is plugged in! No ideas at the moment how long it will be left up like this so take the chance to get a  look at the complete model. A reminder it’s the Seafront about 1910, from the Grand Hotel to St Nicholas Cliff  Gardens inclusive.
 One issue that needs looking at after Christmas is that the cliff lift only has just enough friction to work. It needs a redesign of the pulley system that is normally hidden out of sight. The pulley needs a stronger grip on the “rope”. (It’s a cotton thread!) So I might as well explain how the cliff lift works.
 Enclosed is a video of one movement of the lift plus a photo of the cars in their plastic storage box and finally a photo of the back of the lift showing the aluminium pulley. The lift is driven by a 12V geared motor that drives the aluminium pulley about 30 RPM. There is a bit of electronics hidden under the track that reverses the motor direction every 30 secs or so. Then a pair of microswitches detect when the cars have fully moved and cut off the motor until the direction changes. The cars were designed to the best information and photos we had at the time. But we now know they are not quite right. Ours are more like those of the short lived Queens Parade cliff lift. But we are not planning to change the cars at this time.
Now the problem: Originally the main pulley was plastic. It was smooth and was too “slippy” on the thread. It would not shift the cars reliably. It was changed for an aluminium pulley with slightly better grip. But that’s not working out to be quite good enough either. So the next project will be to completely change the drive arrangement to give a lot better contact with the pulley and a lot more friction. The proposed arrangement is shown on the drawing enclosed. The work will involve re-doing the rear supports of the cliff lift frame to make room for the second pulley. However it should solve the lack of friction problem once and for all. Funnily enough, – the real Spa and Central Tramways cliff lifts might well have the same friction problem if they only used one rope? Instead they use four ropes with a fifth one in reserve. So they have as much as four times the friction to drive their cars.
 
More on the model next time.