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January 17, 2018, 09:00:53 AM
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1  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: DCC Locomotive on Dc Track on: January 07, 2018, 08:16:43 PM
The "half-speed" in the newer loco is compared to "full speed" in an old 1970s loco, which typically has an unrealistically high maximum speed.  So, perhaps a lot of what you are seeing as "slowness" is really a change in how the newer  locomotives are being manufactured to run at more realistic speeds.

To put matters into an objective framework, can you measure (or calculate) the length of the loop you are running the locomotive on and time it for a lap using a stopwatch (or smart phone app)?  And tell us what scale the locomotive is.  That way, we can calculate the scale miles per hour, and see if there is a real problem.
2  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Warning labels on: December 16, 2017, 12:21:35 PM
I suspect that this thread could easily get too political for this forum.

Before it does, I just want to say that this is clearly a case of "crying wolf" to the point that no informed consumer pays any attention to such warnings because everything has a warning and (almost?) none of them are really inportant to personal health or safety.  It has simply become a way for lawyers to make a system that is for the benefit of lawyers to exploit.

I believe that there is actually NO product available anywhere in the world that does not contain at least some miniscule quantity of some substance that is associated with cancer or reproductive issues.  That even includes pure water, which naturally contains tiny traces of Tritium, the radioactive form of hydrogen.  And, ionizing radiation has been proven to cause both cancer and reproductive mutation.

So, without regulations that specify allowable minimums and allowable containment measures that do not invoke warnings, these requirements are absolutely useless to anybody but the predatory lawyers who prey on legitimate business people for "bounty" fines.



3  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Warning labels on: December 15, 2017, 07:29:15 PM
Perhaps you can get a more definitive answer from somebody on the manufacturing side, BUT, if that label is one "requried" by the "State of California", then it is pretty much meaningless.  To sell things in California, a label must be added if the product contains anything that California has decided a person should not eat nor inhale, even if the product contains that material in some manner that makes it all but impossible to be either eaten or inhaled.

On the other hand, I have not noticed any of those labels saying anything about generating dust that may contain lead, so maybe this is not one of those silly California warnings?  Or, did they just get sillier?

Does anybody have a real answer?
4  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Will adding a DCC tender to DC Loco work? on: December 15, 2017, 02:57:57 PM
The way the Bachmann locomotive control mechanisms have ended-up after a lot of developmental changes over time, Bachmann could now make a DC locomotive that could be changed to DCC or DCC with sound simply by changing the tender.  But, they do not do that. 

The locos they sell with the beginners sets are mostly their old DC designs, and are not intended for easy upgrade.  Even their newest offerings are supplied with tenders that have electronics intended to run on both DC and DCC without changing tenders, even though Bachmann could make a better system by making interchangeable tenders for converting from DC to DCC to DCC with sound, or back the other way.  (Some people like DC, some people do not like sound, etc.)

Mark (Spookshow) has a website with great info on the various designs of each locomotive (Bachmann and pretty much all the others, too).  If you want to upgrade to DCC, the easiest way is to buy another locomotive.  But, there are instructions on how to convert juat about anything, if you want to make the effort to learn and execute some intricate model work.
5  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Your childhood Christmas electric train on: December 15, 2017, 02:45:52 PM
The first memory that I can reliably date is of my first Christmas train.  ("Experts" say memories from this young are very rarely retained in adulthood.)

I was 19 months old, and got a Lionel Prairie type engine with a box car, gondola and caboose.  My parents had to feed me at the platform, because I wasnot leaving it for lunch or dinner.  With very little fine muscle control at that age, I had a very hard time actually running the train myself with one of those old Lionel power packs with the relatively small single speed control knob.  My grandfather would set the train on the track, and I would try to start it slowly.  But, mostly I got it going too fast and it left the track at the first curve.  For my grandfather, it was repeat - repeat -repeat, for I don't know how long, before I could actually run the train by myself.  The next year, he got me one of those power packs with the two large levers for controlling speed (on two tracks, because he also got me another loop of track and an A-A set of F7s with 3 passenger cars).  With another year of growth and the new throttles, I had no trouble running those two trains.

But, that first Christmas train made an indelible memory.  Many years later, after growing to near-adult size, I found the old power pack in a closet.  I recognized it immediately, but marvelled at the small size of the speed control knob.  By then, I could easily twist it with the fingers of one hand.  But, that first Christmas, it took both of my tiny hands, and I still remember how much larger and hard to twist that knob was in my memory.  Even today, I can close my eyes, smell the smoke, and see that train running in my grandparents living room, ... and feel that knob.
6  Discussion Boards / N / Re: 2-10-2 Shell on Light 4-8-2 Mechanism? on: November 16, 2017, 09:55:52 PM
Remember I am asking about a LIGHT Mountain shell on a Light 2-10-2 mechanism.

That said, I agree that it seems strange that Bachmann sometimes produces a winner like the Heavy Mountain and then doesn't do any more runs of it.  I will buy one if they ever make another.
7  Discussion Boards / N / Re: 2-10-2 Shell on Light 4-8-2 Mechanism? on: November 16, 2017, 05:55:51 PM
The question for both swaps is how well or poorly they fit the other mechanism.  Anybody with some actual experience?
8  Discussion Boards / N / 2-10-2 Shell on Light 4-8-2 Mechanism? on: November 16, 2017, 02:34:30 PM
Has anybody tried to put the shell from a USRA Light 2-10-2 onto the mechanism for the Light 4-8-2?
9  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Why not make various shells for same mechanism? on: October 30, 2017, 02:44:04 PM
It sounds so simple!  Cheesy

Well, making a good shell is not exactly simple.  But, it is obviously more simple than making a good shell and a good mechanism that is unique to it.  That is the point.  Others can make shells with 3D printing and sell them on Shapeways, but those are not going to be as good as shells made with injection molding and individually applied details like Bachmann is doing.  And, for pulling power, making the shells out of metal alloy, even if the added details are made of plastic, can greatly enhance the appeal of the loco.  Also, because Bachmann typically runs out of mechanisms, hobbists who want to use Bachmann mechanisms for Shapeways shells really need to buy a Bachmann locomtive and trash its shell.  That makes that approach more costly than neccessary and suppresses the market for the Shapeways shells.

Doing the research to make a new shell that is a good prototypical representation has sometimes been raised as an impediment to bringing out a new model.  But, if the vendors would tap into the various historical societies for the railroads with the prototype engines, they would find that there is a great wealth of information and a group of really dedicated hobbists who would be glad to dig it out and provide it in useful form, because they actually want those modeled and would buy the products.
10  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: replacing ez command on: October 30, 2017, 02:26:45 PM
The wiring on a layout can be powered by a DCC controller or a Dc controller, but not both at the same time.  For simple layouts, some people set them up so that there is a double-pole-double-throw electrical switch that connects the 2 layout feeder wires to either their DCC or DC controller, so that they can run one type of locomotive or the other at different times.  One down-side to that is that some DCC controllers can be damaged by plain DC power.  So, you need to be careful what is on your layout when you swap power/control systems - no matter whether you do it with a dpdt switch or by unplugging one and plugging in the other.

As you probably know, running a layout with DC means that you cannot independently control two or more locomotives on the same electrically connected pieces of track.  So, complex layouts designed for DC control typically have many isolated track areas with their own controllers so that more than one train can be run on the layout at the same time with independent control to each.  Layouts that are set-up for DC can be run with DCC, but there is a tendency to interconnect track segments that were isolated for use with DC.  If those segments are connected when you run DCC, then you would need to think carefully about what that would mean when switching back to multiple controllers for use with DC, again.  For one thing, the direction control switches used for DC, while unneccesary for DCC, can make short-circuits if two isolated segments are connected for DCC operation and the DC reversing switches are set to opposite directions across an insulated track gap.
11  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Why not make various shells for same mechanism? on: October 30, 2017, 10:07:44 AM
I understand that there are some differences that are noticeable and might be more difficult to switch than others, but really not very many. 

To me, the valve gear would be the most difficult, since it is a moving thing that must be made to work with the model mechanism.  Still, I would think that Walschaerts and Baker would cover most modern locos, and slide valves would do for most old locos.  Many folks can't tell the difference, especially on a model.  And, many real railroads switched between one and the other on the same model of locomotive.

Swapping trailing truck types is never a problem, and switching cylinder sizes by a bit of stroke or bore is not such a big deal, either, because the model piston rods simply slide in and out of a hole in the casting. Most of the other detail is on the shell, even the pilot, reverse mechanism, etc.  Just look at now different the variations of the K4s are.

I agree that the moderators on this forum are missing a good thing unless they take some poles about what the members here want and think would sell well.

And, I think that Bachmann is missing sales due to its well-known inability to repair most of the models they have issued in the recent past.  Especially when quality control from a foreign manufacturer is an issue, domestic repair capability and a parts supply to support it goes a long way toward creating brand loyalty and respect.
12  Discussion Boards / N / Why not make various shells for same mechanism? on: October 29, 2017, 10:05:14 AM
I am looking to Bachmann to provide the steam locomotives that I want in N scale.

But, I don't understand the logic of always making new mechanisms that then serves for only one model (maybe with some minor variations). 

Why not use the same mechanism to produce other engines that have similar wheel arrangements and driver sizes?  For example, a shell for a B&O P7 should be an easy switch for the recently released Pennsy K4 shell.  And, with the high headlight position and all-wheel pickup tender, it would make the competition for that model wither and die.  And, I am sure that there are other prototypes whose shells that would be suitable for that mechanism, too.

At the same time, a series of new shells on the same mechanism would provide the reason for having a continuing source of mechanism parts to actually repair the engines that have been previously produced with different shells.  That continuing part availability would greatly bolster the value of the Bachmann guarantee, which, at this time, really means only that you will get another locomotive type, probably not of your choice, when the one you wanted and bought somehow fails.

It just seems to me that that change in marketing strategy would bolster both our hobby and Bachmann's part in it.
13  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Curves on: August 10, 2017, 12:23:34 PM
TO make a full 180 degree turn, you need a shelf width of twice the radius of the curved track pieces, PLUS at LEAST one times the width of the track pieces.  That would put the edge of your track right at the edge of your table.  But, if you do that, a derailment could send your trains off the layoutand onto the floor, damaging them.  So, most people allow some space between the edge of the track and the edge of the layout.

You could put a piece of plexiglass along the edge of the layout to stop trains from falling to the floor, put you probably need a little space between the edge of the track pieces and the plexiglass near curves to allow clearance for the cars to overhang the rails as they go around the curves.

You did not say what scale you are working with.  For HO, 19" radius cruves are already tight.  But, for N scale, 19" radius curves are still pretty wide, and some track pieces in N scale go down to 9-1/2" radius.  A lot of N scale equipment is designed to go around 9-1/2" curves, but they don't really look good doing that.  Still, that would make it on a 24" wide shelf, with a couple of inches between the track and the edge.  There are also 11" radius pieces of sectional track, and that would work with plexiglass.

One final thought is that some layouts do not have ovals that let trains run continuously.  The track goes "point-to-point", with turnouts onto passing sidings and industry spurs that allow for interesting car switching activies between the two end points.  Those types of layouts can be made even thinner than 24" in most scales.  And, with your "L" shaped layout, you might be able to fit a wye into the corner to turn engines and maybe a few cars so that you can see both sides when you operate.
14  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Super elevated curves for open rainge fast freight on: July 16, 2017, 11:42:41 AM
Just a comment on your superelevation plans: 

Your post sounds like you will be increasing the amount of superelevation from the beginning to the midpoint of the curve, then starting to decrease from the midpoint.  That would not be prototypical looking.  The real railroads would have an easement to the curve, with the radius beginning at infinity and decreasing to the constant radius section in a smooth fashion.  In that same horizontal easement, the superelevation would start at zero and increase to its maximum value where the curve radius becomes constant.

The purpose of the easements on the real railroad is to make the centrifugal forces on the passengers and equipment increase at a comfortable and constant rate from zero to the constant value that occurs on the constant radius part of the curve , rather than by an almost instantaneous jerk to the side.  The superelevation likewise makes the curve more comfortable by making the force seem to go more "down" instead of "sideways".

On a model railroad, neither of these factors is really an issue, except for making the shape of the curves and the motion of the train seem realistic when we run our models.

There is quite a science to making easements to curves for real railroads and hhighways.  (Basically, the reciprocal of the radius, 1/R, increases linearly with distance around the curve, which makes centrifugal force build up linearly from zero to the maximum value for the curve.) 

On a model, it is just a matter of making it not look like a "train set" layout.  I am not going to try to explain easement layout here, but I will tell you that it does not have to be complicated.  There are several books that you can use to find methods for making easements for model railroads.  For instance "Track Planning for Realistic Operation" by Jack Armstrong (Model Railraoder Books) has an easy method using flex track.  If you do not want to use flex, you can get a similar-appearing effect by starting your curve with a piece of sectional track that is the largest made by your track manufacturer and then use sections of the available decreasing radii until you get to the desired radius for your curve.

Be advised that putting easements on curves needs to be planned well in advance of settling on your track plan, because it adds a lot of length and a bit of width to a curve, compared to just jumping from straight to your selected radius.  But, it really adds to the visual effect, as does superelevation when done right.
15  Discussion Boards / N / Re: 4-8-2 pilot truck on: June 21, 2017, 12:30:44 PM
I bought one of the later version Light Mountains, and had the same problem with the pilot truck derailing on 15" radius curves.

When I took a close look at it and the "exploded" drawing supplied by Bachmann, it looked to me like it was attached up-side-down.  So, I turned it over and it has not derailed, since.

Because it was a second-hand purchase, I don't know if that was an original Bachmann assembly goof or a previous owner goof.
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