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31  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Converting Annie 4-4-0 to Battery on: January 28, 2017, 03:18:25 AM
Presuming you mean the 4-6-0, the answer is yes. (The "Spectrum" 4-4-0 is likewise easy to convert.)

Easiest way is to gut the existing electronics. Run 6 wires from loco to tender; two for the motor, two for the headlight, and two for the chuff contact. You can omit the chuff contacts if you opt for magnetic chuff triggers on the tender wheels or if you're using a sound system that allows for motor-controlled chuff. (QSI, Zimo, Soundtraxx DCC decoders, for example.)

Most folks just put everything in the tender for convenience sake. That way it's easy to get to in order to replace the battery when they go flat, or troubleshoot, etc. There's plenty of room in the tender for battery, speaker, and control electronics. If you're a bit more adventurous, you can put the control electronics and speaker in the locomotive boiler. The advantage there is that with the speaker being in the boiler, the sounds will come from the locomotive instead of the tender, which is more realistic. Also, you can wire the motor, chuff trigger, and headlight directly to the controller instead of needing to run wires between the loco and tender. I'd still recommend in this case putting the batteries in the tender. It'd just be two wires (maybe 4 if you want to wire up a back-up light on the tender) running between the loco and tender, which is what exists on the stock loco anyway, so you can use the existing connections, just wire them to different things.

I can get more specific, but I'd need to know which flavor of battery R/C control you're considering. The basic concept for installation is identical for all the various systems, though the exact components will vary depending on what you want to do and control.

Later,

K
32  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Walschaerts valve gear removal from Annie 460 ? on: January 21, 2017, 11:13:50 PM
If you've got the boiler and cab off of the frame, then most definitely, you can remove the valve gear from the frame. If I recall, the reverse bar is what ends up keeping both sides joined together with no easy way of separating them, but you can remove them easily enough.

Later,

K
33  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Walschaerts valve gear removal from Annie 460 ? on: January 21, 2017, 01:18:42 PM
The tricky part will be the reverse quadrant hangers. They're attached to the top of the frame, and won't come off without taking the boiler off of the locomotive.

Later,

K
34  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: To the Bachmann -Development of engines on: January 21, 2017, 01:15:07 PM
While on many fronts I can understand Bachmann's position about waiting until the market is stronger to release new items, there's the other side of that coin which looks at the almost complete lack of anything new coming out over the past 5 years from many manufacturers and believes there to be a strong correlation between that and a lack of market enthusiasm. Are sales down because demand is down, or is demand down because there's nothing new to excite people to buy?

We need a spark, and I think Greg's onto something. The 1:29 market has been flagging with the demise of Aristo, and I could get a sense when Bachmann announced the eggliners' return to production that the sap started to rise in the hobby in sincere hope that they'd once again see some more of their favorite models return to the shelves.

It's not my money on the line, so Bachmann can ignore my comments to their hearts' content, but at the same time, they've got considerable money invested in existing tooling. Sitting idly by while the market declines takes value away from that investment. From my perspective, I think it would make sense to use the tools you already have on hand to try to invigorate the market, even just a little bit.

Again, it's not my money on the line.

Later,

K
35  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Help - 2T Shay motor draw on: January 18, 2017, 03:18:35 AM
I'd plan on 2.5 - 3 amps stall current. Most likely in "normal" operation it will draw somewhere around 1 amp give or take. My 2-motor Climax and 45-tonner both pull just under an amp on average. You'll draw more on starting the train and also if you've got steep grades (which many folks who run Shays tend to have).

Later,

K
36  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Spectrum DCC Ready? on: January 17, 2017, 03:58:13 AM
To my knowledge, the 4-4-0 was never offered "DCC-ready," unless they did some minor updates when they released the Eureka & Palisades version a few years after the original 4-4-0 release. Those original 4-4-0s did not have anything that resembled "DCC-ready" accessibility. Most certainly, the 4-4-0 was never offered "DCC equipped." The only DCC-equipped locos from the factory were the 3-truck Shay and the 2nd-generation Climax. The updated 2-6-0 (the one that just came out) is--to my knowledge--the first of that class (the 4-4-0 and 2-6-0) to be available truly "DCC Ready" with an easily-accessible PC board which controls all the functions of the loco.

The wiring diagrams linked above appear to me to be different than what I found on the original 4-4-0. Specifically, the connections between engine and tender. There are 6 wires, a 2-wire plug for the chuff switch on the rear axle, and a 4-wire plug, which carries power from the tender forward to the loco as well as and power from the loco's lighting board back to the back-up light on the tender if it were so equipped. The wiring diagram doesn't show the wires going from the chuff switch on the rear axle to the tender (it shows the wires on the rear axle, but not where they go) and the 4-pin connector is weird. On the tender board, the wiring diagram shows the first two pins as being the left and right rails, and nothing on the right two pins. The connector going to it in the loco has the left rail and right rail on the outermost pins, and a speaker connection on the middle two pins. So, something's definitely wrong on that diagram. Also, if the chuff switch is wired from the rear axle to the tender (which it is), that presumes the sound system would be in the tender, along with the speaker (the opening for which is molded into the tender frame), so presumably there would be no reason for speaker wires to run between loco and tender.

My guess is that if your loco has sound already, it's probably got a Phoenix or similar board in the tender. If it's a Phoenix board, then the toggle switch would be the volume control for the sound. Check to see if it's a "center-off" toggle switch. If it is, it's likely the volume control. Depending on how the sound system is programmed, the bells and whistles will function at various voltages or changes in voltage. There may also be magnetic triggers which would be triggered off of magnets in the track. Look for magnetic reed switches probably mounted to the tender trucks if they're there.

With regard to converting the loco to full DCC, I would not describe the 4-4-0 as "plug and play" by any stretch of the imagination. In looking at the DCC wiring diagram Bachmann supplies, it looks like they're presuming a boiler-mounted decoder, but that would seem to preclude a any kind of sound-equipped decoder. (Why have the chuff contacts go back to the tender?) Most folks who have done DCC or R/C installs on the 4-4-0 opted for the "cut and gut" method. In terms of cost, I'd expect an install like that to be anywhere from $100 - $250 depending on what's involved and how you wand to do things. There are lots of options.

First, I'd recommend opening up the tender and having a look-see at what's inside of it. That'll help us figure out your best future course of action.

Later,

K
37  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: 1:20.3 Forney and Clmax on: January 15, 2017, 07:29:25 PM
The 4-6-0 is a 1:22.5 model of a large engine, and the Climax and Forney both are 1:20.3 models of small locos. Visually they play well together (at least in my opinion.)

Later,

K
38  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Question for the Bach-man on the New 2-6-0 Mogul on: January 06, 2017, 02:52:54 AM
The motor's in the firebox. I know there was none on the earlier versions of the mogul, I didn't even look on the new version.

Later,

K
39  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Three truck shay,factory sound on: January 06, 2017, 02:32:36 AM
If it's DCC-equipped, to convert it to battery power, you need only add batteries and something like Airwire's "Convertr" or Tam Valley Depot's "DRS1 Hi-Power" receiver. Both work with Airwire's transmitters. You would hook the battery to the Convertr or Tam Valley receiver, then attach the output of the to the track inputs on the Shay. There's ample room in the tender over the third truck for batteries.

Later,

K
40  Discussion Boards / On30 / Re: Opinion Please! on: January 01, 2017, 03:09:24 PM
I put this together the other day on Facebook comparing the tie sizes of the various commercial tracks:

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

For a little perspective on the prototypes, I couldn't find a whole lot of reference for 2' gauge ties, but the WW&F went with 5' long ties that had a width and depth of 5" (The author of the sources referred to them as "5x5x5"). They had originally tried 4' long ties, but they proved too unstable.

The 3' gauge ties ranged from 5' - 7' long seemingly depending on availability. There was a chart published in the Narrow Gauge Gazette which surveyed the ties used by western narrow gauge lines. There was little (if any) consistency on any one railroad.

Later,

K
41  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Gen 2 climax dcc factory sound!ANY SUGGESTIONS! ! on: January 01, 2017, 02:43:58 PM
They have e-mail and live chat options at the top of their web page. It'd be worth asking about shipping to down under. I'd imagine they have surface options, or maybe can point you to a dealer in your neck of the woods.

Later,

K
42  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Gen 2 climax dcc factory sound!ANY SUGGESTIONS! ! on: December 31, 2016, 02:21:01 AM
If your battery car allows for easy access to the batteries, I'd get two of these and just swap the charged one for the discharged one.

http://www.all-battery.com/li-ion18650148v2200mahrechargeablebatterypackwithpcbprotection.aspx

It's 14.8 volts, 2200 mAh, which should run the Climax for a good 3 hours.

If you can't easily get inside the battery car, then I'd go for a higher capacity battery (4400mAh) such as this:

http://www.all-battery.com/li-ion18650148v4400mahpcbpreotectedrechargeablebatterywithbareleads.aspx

or this one, 5200 mAh, which is about $13 more:

http://www.all-battery.com/AT_Tenergy_Li-Ion_18650_14.8V_5200mAhRectangularBatteryPackWithPCB-31892.aspx

You'll get 6 - 7 hours run time out of the 4400 mAh pack and probably in the neighborhood of 8 hours with the 5200 mAh pack. They're the same size, just slightly higher-capacity cells. I'm not convinced the extra capacity is needed; I've got the 4400 mAh pack in a few locos of mine, and I've yet to run the battery flat unless I'm running the loco a lot (multiple operating sessions) and forget how long it's been since I charged it.

The charger I'd recommend for either pack can be found here:

http://www.all-battery.com/universalfastsmarttlp3000chargerforli-ionli-polymerbatterypack148v4cells.aspx

There are fancier chargers, but this is all I've ever used and I've been using Li-Ion batteries since 2009. I've only had 2 (so far) stop holding a charge.

Later,

K
43  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Gen 2 climax dcc factory sound!ANY SUGGESTIONS! ! on: December 30, 2016, 04:47:24 AM
If you want to use the factory DCC decoder, I'd get either a Tam Valley Depot DRS1 Hi-Power receiver or Airwire 6-amp Convertr and put it in a battery car. Run two wires forward, and plug them into the battery input on the PC board. The Tam Valley Depot and Convertr receivers take power from the battery, combine it with the DCC signal being transmitted via the transmitter, and send a standard DCC signal to the decoder. Since the Climax already has the DCC decoder onboard, just set your transmitter to the apporpriate loco address (whatever that is; by default it's 3 until you reprorgram it), and you're off and running. The advantage of this arrangement is that there's no re-wiring of the loco necessary; just a pigtail 2-pin connector to go between the Climax and battery car connected to the screw terminals. If you want to run the Climax on track power, simply throw the switch from "battery" back to "track" and you're off and running on traditional track-powered DCC.

Note--I'm betting that by default the DCC decoder on the Climax is set to run on analog DC track power as well. With the Airwire Convertr, you will want to change that so that it does not run on analog DC. (It's one of the bits in CV29). Here's why... if you turn on the power to the locomotive before the transmitter is turned on, the Convertr won't recognize a legitimate DCC signal, and will simply pass the battery voltage forward to the decoder. The decoder sees a linear DC voltage, thinks it's analog DC track power, and your loco takes off down the track at 14.8 volts (or whatever your pack is rated at). When you turn on the transmitter, it will see the valid DCC signal and the loco will stop, but it does create a few moments of panic. Likewise, if the loco was to run out of range of the transmitter, you'd get the same behavior.

I do not know if the Tam Valley Depot receiver does this or not.

Any of the Airwire transmitters will work with both receivers. I'd recommend the T-5000, as it's very easy to use, and using the on-screen menu to program CVs on the decoder is a tremendous improvement over previous versions.

Later,

K
44  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Plugin interface board wires for Bachmann C-19 on: December 24, 2016, 02:38:43 AM
They should be labeled on the plug-in adapter board. At least they are on mine. If they aren't, here's the pin-out diagram.

http://www.bachmanntrains.com/home-usa/dwg/dwgs/LS_C-19.pin_assignment.pdf

All the documentation for the C-19 is on the Parts, Service & Information page on the web site here if you ever get stuck. It's very simple to use the wired plug-in interface to connect with a DCC decoder. I dropped a QSI decoder into the new Bachmann mogul for the product review; it took me all of 5 minutes to wire everything up.

Later,

K
45  Discussion Boards / On30 / Re: How steep a grade is reasonable for most On30 locomotives on: December 17, 2016, 11:20:17 PM
I found my Bachmann mogul didn't like pulling 5 cars up anything steeper than 3%. I had to tweak the height of one section of my railroad to allow the loco to pull the train between the two without slipping.

Later,

K
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