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Private collections: Jerold Crawford
Jerold Crawford - Part 4
Tampa, Fl.

Bryant-Zinc/Railroad Supply Co. Center Harp Shortie Wigwag

This wigwag was prototypically found all over the Upper Midwest.  There were
taller vesions of the center harp wigwags on the CB&Q and other lines, but
the shorties were primarily a C&NW style.

I chose the corner of my lot for this signal since I was running out of room
by the driveway.

 I dug a 4-foot deep hole and squared it up with some wood.  I was able to
level the frame in the soft sand that we have here in Florida.  Made the pad
22.5 inches on a side. That way the outside dimensions would be 2 foot
square for the template.
Before I could cement in a pad, I needed to run conduit.  Since I was using
a wire for the bell, one for the motor, a neutral wire and separate wires
for the banner light, I decided to use 3/4 in. conduit. 

I decided to run separate wires for the light as I have been unable to find
8 VDC bayonet base bulbs.  10 and 12 VDC bulbs are too dim.  Besides, I
wanted to have the ability to turn on the banner lights at night without
running the signal.

As I have a gravel yard, I needed to move the gravel and cut the weed
barrier fabric.  Of course, I ran into an old orange tree strum which meant
a detour around it. I buried the conduit about 6 inches down in the dirt.
Since it has only low voltage wire, it was not necessary to go deeper.

Here is a template of the base made out of 5/8" plywood.  I have drilled out
the the center for the ground rod, the conduit opening which is offset on
this base, and the 4 anchors. The template fit exactly over the frame so I
would be able to center all the anchor bolts.  I used 3-foot, 3/4-inch thick
threaded rods that I had a welder bend at a 90 angle 8 inches from one end.

The conduit came up from behind and into the front hole.

 With the anchor bolts, ground rod, and conduit in place, I rented a cemet
mixer to pour the foundation.  Bought 25 bags of cement mix and used 22 of
them - pretty good figuring!  I covered the top of the conduit and the tops
of the threaded rods to keep concrete off.  Let the water evaporate off the
concrete and the brushed the surface with a whisk brook to texture it.

Let it sit for a couple of days and removed the frame. 

Took the frame off and set the signal on the base.  Fit perfectly and level
too.  Attached the ground wire to one of the anchor bolts and then to the
ground rod.  Also grounded the base to the household system at the same time.

Notice how easy it is to repair a gravel yard.  You could never tell that it
was all dug up 4 days before.

My husband and I attached the yoke, angle irons and motor base as one unit.
This is a two-person job.  We were so afraid it was going to fall as it was
so unweildy.  I then attached the motor cover with the bell mount on it.
The bell was not ready so I put a finial cover over it to keep the water out.

I then attached a temporary banner and wired up the light.

 After getting the bell placed and wiring the motor, I was thrilled when it
began to light, swing, and clang immediately.

The banner is still temporary until I can get an another one restored.  I
have decided to use a banner with adjustable lights on the banner to aim then down a bit.

I wanted to only have the bell work when the signal was turned on but wanted
to be able to run the signal without the bell.  It was necessary to wire the
bell switch up with power that came out of the power switch when the signal
was turned on.  The duplex switches that have a common power feed work great
for this,  I fed the power into the output side rather than the power side
(makes no difference electrically).  When the power switch was on, it fed
electricity to the second switch which had the bell on it.

I had a timer for the light to turn it on at dusk and off at dawn.

Closeup of the motor, temporary banner, and the power feed from the base to
the motor.  I used 3/8-inch armored conduit which was prototypical.  I
passed six 14-gauge through it which was a tight fit.  There is a separate
juction feed in the base of the signal.  I went from 12-gauge to 14-gauge
wire here.
View from the corner of Cactus Wren Place and Fulmar Drive
In order to house the various power supplies, I place a large metal cabinet
which is the type used for outdoor cable TV wiring centers.  The door slides
down to open and is held shut by a couple of clevis pins. The various
switches are attached to the sides of the box.  I designed this so that I
could use it for 2 more planned signals in the back yard.

Power was supplied from tapping into an outdoor outlet with flexible conduit.
I put a master kill switch on the other side of the box.  I also used a
heavy duty surge protector.

The inside view shows a relay that I used to turn on the banner light
anytime the power is onto the signal.  It bypasses the timer and is powered
in the same way as the bell is.  Power only comes to the relay when the
power switch is turned on. The relay also powers an indicator light in the house 
that shows if the signal is powered. I cannot see the signal from in the house 
so I added this next to a three way switch that will allow me to turn the signal
on and off from the house.

All photos by Jerold Crawford (2007)


More of Jerold's  collection -  Part 5
More of Jerold's  collection -  Part 1
More of Jerold's  collection -  Part 2
More of Jerold's  collection -  Part 3

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