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16  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: What happened to cause the downturn of the large scale market sales? on: November 21, 2017, 12:06:32 AM
(Norman, sorry I totally spaced your e-mail...)

First, it's not just large scale. The hobby across the spectrum is down. If you look at magazine subscription numbers from 15 years ago to today, they're down about 60% or so, even more. New product releases from the manufacturers have been limited compared to years past. (Bachmann had very few "new" HO items this year.) So it's "not just us" that's seeing a slump.

The question remains, though, what's behind it, especially in large scale? In many ways, the there's a lot to be said for the theory that the 2nd-hand market is slowing new sales. There are a few reasons for that. First, in the "golden age" of large scale, I think manufacturers may have over-produced. The reason is simple--the more models you produce, the more you can spread out the cost of tooling, thus keep the cost per item low. I don't know that manufacturers necessarily misjudged the market, but I think they weren't counting on the selection available segmenting the market to the extent I think it did. In the days of LGB, we bought what they made because they were the only game in town. Enter Aristo, USA, Bachmann, etc., and folks now have the ability to follow their natural tastes in railroading prototypes instead. The result of this is that there were many models bought at fire-sale clearance prices added to collections but never run.

Fast forward 20 years. Manufacturers have realized they need to shrink their production runs, and prices increase in response to the fewer number of models produced. (To say nothing of general increases in production costs.) So, what is being produced is being produced in smaller numbers at higher prices. That right there depresses your market. You've also got all these "new-in-box" items from collections hitting the market as their original owners sell off their collections. These are competing with these new products from the manufacturers, at much lower prices. While I do think the market is a bit smaller than it was a few years ago, I also think that the younger folks coming into the hobby (folks my age and younger) are much more tech savvy, and used to navigating sales in a digital world. They're able to find these 2nd-hand gems just as easy, if not easier than finding a brick-and-mortar hobby shop from which to buy.

Having said that, I wonder if we're not actually headed back to where we were in the late 80s in this hobby. For the most part, there was only one manufacturer (LGB), so folks did a lot of kitbashing, supported by a good number of cottage industries. Today I think we're ripe for a nearly identical situation, except it's not so much that there's one dominant manufacturer, but a handful of very quiet ones. There's no lack of inventory, but folks wanting new stuff or to modify what they have are looking to small suppliers for 3D-printed parts, etc. Maybe I'm putting something of a Pollyanna-ish spin on things, but it's better than not having anybody supplying anything. I don't so much see it as the hobby "shrinking" as much as it is just reconfiguring to fit with the times. I think the pendulum will ultimately start swinging back to where the manufacturers feel safe bringing new stuff to market again.

Later,

K



17  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Sound Systems for Bachman G Scale steam train sets on: November 20, 2017, 09:01:35 PM
I would echo Joe's recommendation for the Revolution system. The receivers come pre-loaded with sounds, and the transmitter will control up to 50 locos at one time. (Probably overkill for what you're doing.) But for $100 for each receiver, and that controls sounds, lights, and motor, you're not going to beat that. You can also buy a USB interface and program new steam sound sets onto the receivers. Check with your dealer; they may be able to do this for you as well. Otherwise, I believe each decoder comes with the same default sound, so both of your locos will sound the same.

Later,

K
18  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: C-19 Decoder on: October 24, 2017, 01:51:03 AM
Soundtraxx has discontinued the 4-amp Econami in favor of the 4-amp Tsunami2. The minimal price difference between the 4-amp Econami and the 4-amp Tsunami didn't warrant continuation of both products. The Tsunami2 has a very similar form factor, but many more features. I've played with the 2-amp Tsunami2, and definitely find it much more flexible than the Econami. I haven't had a chance to install the 4-amp Tsunami2 yet, but I've got a project on the workbench which is slated to get this board.

Later,

K
19  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: C-19 Decoder on: October 22, 2017, 02:51:19 AM
Thanks, Stan. Something in the back of my mind told me they did when I wrote that, but I wasn't finding that specific board when I searched for Zimo boards. (MX697 for those interested.)

Later,

K
20  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: C-19 Decoder on: October 21, 2017, 12:42:14 PM
Are you looking specifically for a DCC decoder, or just a 3rd-party RC control system?

Airwire makes a plug-and-play board for the C-19 that gives you motor and light control (no sound), but it also features an easy interface with the Phoenix sound system.

The Revolution R/C system is also plug-and-play with the C-19, but you may need to jumper the power from the battery to the pins going to provide +V and Ground to the locomotive. The early Revolution boards do not pass this power. I don't know if the new (sound-equipped) versions do. Revolution has released new steam sounds which are an improvement over the original version, but it's still not yet "Phoenix" quality sound.

If you're looking for a plug-and-play DCC decoder, that's a taller order. QSI's "Titan" and older-generation "Magnum" boards came with pins designed for the Aristo/Bachmann socket, but those boards are no longer in production and are difficult to find. Zimo and ESU make sound/motor decoders which have pin interfaces, but I don't believe they're compatible with the Aristo/Bachmann socket. (Different number of pins.) Having said that, you should have an interface board included with your C-19 which plugs into the socket and has a bunch of wires sticking out of it. You can use that to turn any DCC (or other) controller into one that would simply plug into the socket. Plug the interface board into the socket, then connect the wires to the appropriate terminals on the decoder.

Later,

K
21  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Question on the C-19 on: October 06, 2017, 11:45:16 AM
Congrats on the new loco. The C-19 is (in my opinion) one of the best locos in all of large scale.

With respect to the wires, you can reinforce the connectors by running a bead of hot glue along the back of each plug to reduce the stress on the wires in the connectors.

Later,

K
22  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Large scale Diesel on: September 28, 2017, 10:03:12 PM
And it's Big! The prototype (if I recall correctly) was an industrial switcher offered in multiple gauges from standard gauge down to 3'; so the model is essentially a standard-gauge diesel riding on narrow gauge trucks. There was an outfit at one point offering conversion trucks to make it 1:20.3 standard gauge--70.64mm. I've seen photos--it looks great with a proper 1:20 standard gauge box car behind it.

I narrowed mine and lowered the hoods to bring it more in line with the overall size of my narrow gauge rolling stock.



Great-running loco! I put a QSI decoder in it, with two speakers and dual prime mover sounds--each mapped to the individual speakers under each hood. Sounds fantastic!

Later,

K
23  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Climax DCC number changing on: September 11, 2017, 02:44:25 PM
Few (any?) decoders allow you to change the DCC address (CV1) in ops mode. You have to be in service mode to do so. I don't know the Digitrax system, so I don't know its various programming modes. You do mention you have a computer for programming; might I presume JMRI? You should be able to use that to change the decoder address. Just make sure the Climax is the only thing connected to the DCC output of the computer when you do so.

Later,

K
24  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Release of K-27 on: August 27, 2017, 01:43:51 AM
Changing scales to one of the other large scales, or changing scales to the smaller (indoor) scales?

There's not a lot of "new" stuff in any of the large scale scales right now. Piko and LGB are probably the closest to having new stuff (not just repaints), but LGB's stuff is mostly European. Aristo's gone. USA's not released anything "new" in a little while. Accucraft's got some new stuff, or at least stuff I haven't seen before, but their locos aren't mass-produced. The market's still very soft. Folks are placating themselves in the 2nd-hand market, which is actually pretty well-stocked. There's little I can't find for sale with a little bit of patience.

Later,

K
25  Discussion Boards / On30 / Re: National Train Show - Any new On30 announcements? on: August 04, 2017, 09:15:12 PM
On30 got a work/crane MOW car. (25-foot flat car with half shed, crane, and steam donkey.)

HO and N only got one new loco each and two or three new cars. Williams and Large Scale sit this year out with nothing new at all. (Not even Thomas! Shocked )

Soft year.

Later,

K
26  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Any announcements for large scale from NMRA convention? on: August 04, 2017, 09:08:22 PM
Looks pretty soft across the board, really. Excluding the "previously announced" stuff, HO and N got one new loco each. That's not a whole lot, and HO and N are by far the dominant scales. If that's all we're getting "new" for the two dominant scales, I'm not remotely surprised to see nothing for large scale. Heck, even Williams gets to sit this year out. On30 got a work car.

Another year hitting the secondary market for new toys.

Later,

K
27  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: 3 ton shay and massoth on: July 20, 2017, 02:11:13 AM
You don't say whether your 3-truck Shay is the DCC-equipped version or the DCC-ready version. I'd start by taking a look at the wiring diagrams for both versions of the loco to see where the track, motor, and light control functions get wired to the DCC decoder.

Pulsed smoke will require replacement of the stock Bachmann smoke unit with a suitable fan-driven smoke unit. You'll also need to run new wires forward for said smoke unit. As for triggering the pulses, I think you can use the chuff triggers on the cylinders to do that along with triggering the chuff sound at the same time. Here again, refer to the circuit diagram to figure out which wires are for the chuff contacts.

The PowerCap question would be a Massoth thing, dependent on which specific Massoth decoder you're using. That's likely going to be a plug or socket on the decoder itself.

Later,

K
28  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Bluetooth Smart Train Control on: June 28, 2017, 05:30:38 PM
The 5 amps refers to the maximum current the unit can deliver. The motor will determine how much current it needs. Running light as you describe, it will not even come close to 2 amps, let alone 5.

Later,

K
29  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Adding a decoder to a DCC-Ready Climax on: June 14, 2017, 06:46:34 PM
QSI is for all intents and purposes comatose at the moment. You can still find the Titan decoders at dealers here and there, but QSI apparently has not been filling orders for some time. I'd opt for Soundtraxx, TCS, or LokSound at the moment.

Later,

K
30  Discussion Boards / On30 / Re: On30 Ties on: June 09, 2017, 12:12:46 AM
I'm using Micro-Engineering. I would agree that you need to be a bit careful with it, but the results are well worth it.



Here's a list I did comparing the various commercial tracks and how their ties scale in 1:48.

Micro Engineering code 83 - 6' long, 6" wide, 21" center-to-center
Peco On30 code 100 - 5' long, 9" wide, 21" center-to-center
Atlas HO code 83 - 4' 6" long, 4" wide, 9" center-to-center
Atlas HO code 100 - 4' 6" long, 6" wide, 14" center-to-center

With regard to the prototype, much depends on the look you're going after. The only reference I could find to tie lengths on the 2' gauge railroads was a mention that they were 5' long, 5" wide, and 5" thick. (I forget which railroad that was.) On the 3' gauge, ties ranged in length from 6' (some outliers were slightly narrower) to full-length standard gauge (8' 6"). Center-to-center spacing on the ties hovered around 20" give or take an inch in pretty much all cases I've seen.

Later,

K
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