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Mad Ax

Globe Liner - Beier SFR-1 installation

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I looked at installing a Beier or Servonaut system in my Globe Liner a couple of years back, when I was getting pretty tired of the limitations of the Tamiya MFU-01.  However it looked like it was going to be a very expensive venture - a new ESC for the truck, plus the Beier sound module, plus the worry that the two wouldn't play well unless I went with an expensive Beier ESC.

I played around for a bit with my Arduino project, but the amount of work involved got overwhelming (especially when dealing with trailers) so it's been parked for a long time and isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

Then I heard about the Beier SFR-1.  This is a clever conjoining of the Beier ESC and Beier sound module to make a single integrated sound, light and ESC module.  It has all the programmability and customisation options of previous Beier systems but comes in a single compact package.  Perfect for those rigs with full interiors and limited space.

After a little bit of saving and deliberation I decided to hit the button.  I ordered an SFR-1, a trailer IR module, various cables and connectors and some odds and ends that I have ended up not using.

Although the Beier is been in place for a fair few months, I haven't done much documentation of my progress yet.  I didn't do many lorry meets last year; those I attended I largely hung around chatting instead of getting on the layout and driving, and with the virus still lurking among the population it will likely be a long time before we can pack a small village hall with two dozen overweight and elderly men.  Not that I am trying to make a statement about the model truck demographic, but one must be realistic about these things.

So one of my many lockdown projects has been the slow improvement of the Beier installation and the Globe Liner itself.  This thread aims to document my successes and failures so anyone who wants to follow in my footsteps can at least be forewarned.

To begin: here's the Globe Liner as it was when I first built it.  It was build with a used MFU-01 (which was supplied with my MAN TGX 6x4 Full Option kit and which I replaced with an MFU-03).

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Yesterday's plan was to install the IR transmitter into the 5th wheel.  This transmits lighting signals and other control options to the trailer module - see this thread for trailer wiring details: 

The IR diode is supplied with the trailer module and has a servo lead that plugs into the SFR-1's IR port.  It's a little 3mm dome LED and doesn't come with any mounting brackets.

My rig still has the 5th wheel that came with the MFU.  It's slightly different to the standard one because it has space for a microswitch.  The Tamiya MFUs plays a distressing coupling / uncoupling sound when the trailer is hitched or unhitched, and the power output to the motor changes depending on trailer installation (I forget exactly what the difference is and if it works on both MFUs or just the 03).  The Beier doesn't have a default option to play a coupling/uncoupling sound, but it is so deeply programmable that an option can be added.  As far as I can tell, there are no switching inputs on the Beier - I can't just plug in the microswitch and configure it to a sound in the Sound Teacher app - but there may be Beier modules that convert a switching input into a servo PPM signal that can be fed into one of the Beier's input channels.  Failing that, it would be very easy to make a simple Arduino switch-to-PPM convertor.  But that's a project for another day.

So the first plan was to drill into the 5th wheel mounting plates so the diode could be mounted.

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This is the bottom of the diode, pushed up into the hole I made

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Here it is cable-tied and hot-glued into place

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The 5th wheel plate sits directly over this crossmember...  Of course the diode now doesn't fit, so it needs to be modificated

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like this:

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Test-run:

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Servo wire won't fit through the holes I previously made for other wires but it's unobtrusive enough for now.  I may do a full rebuild later once all the wiring is finalised.

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I had to make up an extension cable as the diode wire was too short, but the point has been proved and the installation works.

Next plan is to mount a remote coupler release (without resorting to Tamiya's bulky and ugly remote release solution that comes with the motorised trailer leg kit) unto the chassis rails using a micro servo, which I will be ordering later today.

After that I'll be tidying up the mount in the cab and trying to install the driver and interior.

Watch this space!

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14 hours ago, Blue620 said:

I’ve decided to stick with the Tamiya unit but ordered a OB1 kit from Fury Bear.

I have two of these, they are actually very good.  The MFC unit is almost direct plug-and-play into the Tamiya MFC and the trailer unit is pretty easy to wire up.  Largely the trailer units worked fine, although I found they sometimes struggled to detect when the trailer was detached from the tractor, so would continue to display light signals even when the trailer was parked and the tractor was moving around.  I never got to the bottom of why this happens.  In theory the trailer hazards should show when the unit is on and the trailer is disconnected and sometimes that didn't work.  I'm not sure if it uses the microswitch in the 5th wheel or the input commands for raising and lowering the support legs to work it out.  (I might have altered the wiring for the support legs in my TGX trailer because it was a custom install into a Bruder chassis).

Two things to watch out for:

1) the battery box for the trailer unit has an on/off switch on one side and a screw-fixed battery hatch on the other.  If you tape it down so the switch is accessible, you can't change the batteries.  Either use an inline switch or velcro tape, or find a way to hook it up to your remote leg batteries (if you have that installed).

2) the connectors in the modules are a bit fragile and can pull out when trying to detach the wiring.  The metal wiring parts themselves remain attached to the board so you can still put it back together but it's not ideal as it could lead to a short.  Be careful when pulling out the connectors.

:)

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2 hours ago, Mad Ax said:

I have two of these, they are actually very good. 

Thanks  for that. It does look a lot like the GT Power inits but driven from the MFU so fingers crossed. 

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OK, got a bit more done on my daily workshop day yesterday.

Here's where we were at the start of the day.  The 5th wheel release rod is floating in the air.

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First thing was to strip the back end of the truck.  It's not a job I relish (I've done it a few times) but once done it's easy to remove the crossmembers.

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Here I had already drilled a hole in the crossmember to pass the wiring through.  This needed to be enlarged to accept the IR diode wiring that I installed last week.  I also added a new hole for the release pushrod.

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It has always bugged me that the Tamiya 5th wheel release has the pushrod and servo horn visible on the top of the chassis.  With all that space between the rails, it seems a shame not to utilise it.

I made a new pushrod from M2 threaded rod, then used a set of pliers to give it a doge-leg.

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Now it is neatly hidden under the chassis rails.  

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I made a chassis cover plate from a piece of plasticard - I forgot to get pics of that bit.  Then I glued a micro servo to the bottom with hot glue.

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To be honest, I probably could have done a much neater and sturdier install if I'd designed a bracket in CAD and 3D printed it, but I wasn't sure where to mount it - left side rail hide the wiring and right side houses the pushrod, while a bracket mounted to the top plate would have needed additional screws that would look less attractive overall.  Plus I didn't really want to give up my one day off in 7 to sit in the studio designing brackets when I could be in the workshop making things with my hands.  Hot glue is great because it has very little mess, dries really quickly and can be removed without damaging the components.  With this installation, it will either be strong enough or it won't - it's not like a structural component that will experience high loads in use that I can't replicate on the workbench.

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Top plate looks pretty tidy.  I didn't have any attractive chequerplate, which might have looked nicer, but I can go back to that later.  A polished stainless cover would be even more fancy but it's not worth the cost or time.

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Next, I decided to put some time into tidying up the wiring.  It's been a while since I had the cab installed simply because of all the mess under there.

First I re-routed the servo and motor cables so they come up into the rear area of the cab.

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It's worth mentioning here that I have a slightly unconventional servo setup.  Steering is handled from the Beier module (it allows you to configure speed-sensitive steering profiles and operates the indicator cancellifier), but my gearbox is operated directly off  a 3-way switch on Channel 6 of my TGY-i6 transmitter.  I don't typically change gear while driving around - most layouts require just 1st gear anyway and it would be normal to disconnect the gear servo and fix it in 1st gear anyway.  However it is nice to have the option of higher speeds in some places.  Having the switch outside the Beier setup means I don't have to worry about all the complicated setup that goes with gear changes in the Beier module, I can just select the most appropriate ratio for the layout from the transmitter and leave it at that.  (We all know these rigs have more than enough torque to pull a full load from a standstill in top gear anyway.)

Here's the rats nest at the back of the cab.  Absolute chaos.  The SFR-1 comes with some pre-wired servo plugs that are long enough for some big installs but are way too long for my setup.  I need to make them shorter.  I was nervous about doing this before because I hadn't worked out my final install location, and it's easy to mess up the servo plug crimp connectors, but I think this location is mostly fixed for now.  I also left my ribbons a bit too long and should really make them smaller.

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Interior space is now way tidier.

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This is a useful trick from a friend of mine: a paint tin cap, cut in half:

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Makes a good motor cover when combined with some more hot glue:

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Everything now plugged in

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Oh, I had another little disaster - the cab was on the floor while I was working on some stuff, and my wonderful 3-year-old started playing around with some stuff that was twice as tall as she was.  Despite me warning her to be careful, she knocked it over on my cab and snapped off an exhaust stack.

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To be fair, it could have been way worse - the body survived with absolutely no marks at all and the stacks are easy to replace.  Actually I have another standard set still on the sprue from my King Hauler drag truck build, but I will probably fit the taller stacks off my NIB Grand Hauler because that's going to have a tipper bed fitted which is likely to interfere with the stacks and require a side-exit exhuast.

Actually part of me thinks a side exit would look cool on this rig, if I can relocate the fuel tanks.

Anyway - with the cab fitted, the loom bulges outside

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However, with enough persuasion, it's possible to get the battery door on

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So - where are we now?  Well, the 5th wheel release is now configured as a switchable option on the right vertical axis.  A short half-push forwards toggles the servo position.  This is entirely configurable and also has an option that prevents operation while driving.  I use a full static push forwards on that stick to trigger the horn sound, so I could easily accidentally detach my trailer while driving.  That wouldn't just be annoying an embarrassing but potentially expensive if the trailer damaged my truck or someone else's on the way down.

I haven't yet hooked up the 5th wheel microswitch.  I could use that to trigger a loading sound effect, but I'd have to work out exactly how (I would probably need to use an Arduino to simulate a radio input, as mentioned above).

That's all for now - probably more to follow next week.  See further updates (hopefully later today) on the Pole Trailer thread.

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Go Mad AX!

i keep puttn' the trailer off to purchase i don't think i'll build one.

is that your picture?

well next time look both ways before you cross the street:lol:

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