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1981  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: When is the EZ Track Turntable coming out? on: November 17, 2010, 12:57:09 PM
Will there be a non-DCC version available for those who don't like paying for things they don't use?

Len
1982  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: troubleshooting on: November 17, 2010, 12:55:34 PM
A bit more info would be helpful:

Do the lights stay on when the engine hum stops??

Is the motor part of the front or rear truck assembly, or is it a can motor with drive shafts going to the trucks?

If you apply power directly to the motor, does it run okay?

Did you accidently connect the track to the AC accessory terminals on your power pack??

Len
1983  Discussion Boards / Williams by Bachmann / Re: MRC 280 Transformer on: November 17, 2010, 12:50:34 PM
The Atlas-O 80 watt transformer, also sold with a "Williams by Bachmann" label on it, works just find with WBB and most PW locos.

It's what I call an "old school" transformer, with common 'U' terminals for the track and accesory power. So you can wire things exactly the way old magazine articles show and not smoke any internal PC boards.

Len
1984  Discussion Boards / Williams by Bachmann / Re: DCC for Williams by Bachmann O Gauge on: October 25, 2010, 09:02:34 PM
Also why can't there be just one system for command control?

Lee F.

Now that's a really good question!

As for the sizes, my rule of thumb is if it's anywhere close to the size of a 1:48 Atlas-O car or loco it's 'O'. If it's not that big, it's O27.

Len
1985  Discussion Boards / Williams by Bachmann / Re: DCC for Williams by Bachmann O Gauge on: October 25, 2010, 11:56:57 AM
  The old mechanical will get magnetized over time and will not cycle.

Possibly, on a 3-position unit. The stainless steel used 'back when' wasn't the same quality as todays, so over 30 - 50 years the plunger can retain some magnetism and 'hang' occasionally.

More often a sticking plunger is caused by dirt build up in the solinoid. A shot of contact cleaner will usually clear that up. If not, it could be a magnetized plunger.

If the plunger shaft has become magnetized, it can usually be cleared with a "head degauzer" for cassette, VCR, and reel-to-reel (giving my age away with that one) tape decks.

Worst case, except for a few prewar locos, you can replace the plunger/pawl/pin assembly with a new one from Lionel (600-0100-048) made with modern stainless steel. Clean the solinoid bore out with contact cleaner on a cotton swab before installing the new plunger.

Len
 
1986  Discussion Boards / Williams by Bachmann / Re: DCC for Williams by Bachmann O Gauge on: October 24, 2010, 11:55:40 PM
Lee,

Regardless of what Lionel did in their catalog, when talking with customers in the retail store and my repair shop I still use the O/O27 terminology. It's less confusing for everyone.

When Lionel first announced their unilateral change to "Standar O/Traditional O" you would believe how many customers came in looking for Lionel's 'resurrected' Standard Gauge track and equipment. They'd tend to get a tad upset when they finally understood if they wanted new Standard Gauge track and equipment it'd be from MTH.

Oh! The only standard in Standard Gauge was the 2-1/8in rail spacing of the track set by Lionel. The trains and buildings were considered toys, and their actual scale varied all over the place within and between manufacturers.

Len
1987  Discussion Boards / Williams by Bachmann / Re: DCC for Williams by Bachmann O Gauge on: October 23, 2010, 02:31:59 AM
Lee,

I'm aware that technically 'gauge' refers to the track spacing and 'scale' to the proportions of the people, buildings, locos, rolling stock, etc.

There is also a long standing convention, not a defined technical usage, where "O Scale" is used to refer to 2-rail track and equipment, and "O Gauge" is used when refering to 3-rail track and equipment. It's unfortunate some manufacturers are drifting away from this convention, as was Lionel's dropping the "O/O27" terminology when no one else did, to the confusion of many.

Doing trains since the 50's.

Len

P.S. for BJ - Electro-mechanical E-units work fine on DC. Many people add a bridge rectifier to their E-unit to eliminate the buzz from the solinoid caused by AC current. The problem with using DC with post-war locomotives is if there is a whistle or horn, it will go off constantly because DC is used to trigger the whistle/horn operating relay. Modern equipment, with digital sounds, will blow the whistle/horn in one direction and ring the bell in the other, as the DC polarity determines which sound is triggered.

1988  Discussion Boards / Williams by Bachmann / Re: Lionel Electric Railroad Upgrades for Wiliams by Bachmann Locos on: October 22, 2010, 11:46:42 AM
Yes. If you have reasonable mechanical and soldering skills it's not all that hard to do. Depending on the loco you may have to drill some mounting holes, and there will be some desoldering/soldering involved. If you don't like the idea of working directly on the motor power lugs, you can snip the WBB plug off the original motor harness and splice the ERR motor, power, and ground leads to them. Don't forget to slip some heat shrink tubing on the wires before you start soldering everything.

Len
1989  Discussion Boards / Williams by Bachmann / Re: DCC for Williams by Bachmann O Gauge on: October 20, 2010, 10:57:06 AM
Thanks for everyone's input.  I will look for information on the DCC forum.
Tom

P.S. - I thought I saw on the Digitrax website, O scale decoders for DCC to use
with the Digitrax system?

To tell them apart, "O scale" is generally used to refer to the 2-rail O equipment that operates on DC or DCC. "O gauge" is used to refer to 3-rail AC equipment, with or without a command system such as TMCC or DCS.

Using DCC on 3-rail equipment would be a bit unusual. It can be done, but it's not common.

Len
1990  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: Uncoupling Track/Ramp for Thomas on: October 19, 2010, 02:32:53 PM
Richie,

Thanks for the info. To clarify, it's the customers of our train shop that are looking for the uncoupler, not me personally. And I don't think most of them will bother tracking down the Hornby unit when they're just looking for a "stocking stuffer" for their kid or grand-kid.

Len
1991  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Uncoupling Track/Ramp for Thomas on: October 19, 2010, 11:09:42 AM
Are there any plans to produce an uncoupling track, or ramp that can be added to an existing track, for the Thomas couplers?? Or at least some kind of "wand" that is simple to use to uncouple cars??

We get asked this at the hobby shop where my repair shop is on a regular basis. I know there was a thread on making a ramp sometime last year. But that's not what our customers are looking for. They want something they can take out of a package, put in their layout, and it works.

Len


1992  Discussion Boards / Williams by Bachmann / Re: DCC for Williams by Bachmann O Gauge on: October 18, 2010, 01:00:46 PM
Actually, since the motor inputs are isolated from the chassis it would be simple to install DCC in a WBB loco using a G scale decoder after removing the E-unit and sound board. Not sure why anyone would want to do that, unless they plan to convert all of their locos, but it could be done.

You could also upgrade to TMCC with the appropriate boards from ElectricRR or Digital Dynamics, or DCS with a set of boards from MTH.

Len
1993  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: help with power Bachmann EZ snap track wiring on: October 15, 2010, 02:07:15 PM
Or, you could convert to DCC, avoid having to do the block wiring and spend a lot more money to buy greater flexibility.

Unless you have a very small layout, you should at least install blocks that can be turned off/on even when using DCC. Otherwise you may end up spending 3 days searching for the dropped T-pin that ended up across the tracks inside the paper mill!

Len
1994  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: DPDT wiring frustration on: October 11, 2010, 10:19:46 PM
Except for the pin numbers, the Salescom diagram shows what I said. With the switch laying so when you look down on the pins you are looking through the holes (lugs oriented horizontally) the center row of lugs is the common row.

I used pin numbers going:

1--4--7
2--5--8
3--6--9

And the Salescom diagram uses:

9--6--3
8--5--2
7--4--1

But either way, the center lugs (2--5--8 or 8--5--2) are the common lugs and, unless there was damage to the switch from earlier wiring attempts, the connections I suggested should have worked. Strange.

Len
1995  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: How to identify trains still in boxes w/o markings on: October 10, 2010, 07:08:41 AM
I will also assume you're talking about HO cars. Most modern cars come with some version of knuckle couplers installed. They look like real couplers. Older cars generally had "horn hool" couplers, which don't look like the real thing, and have a "horn" sticking out to one side.

If the cars couplers are horn hook, mounted to the wheel assembly (truck mounted), and held in place by a pin that pops into a small hole, they are most likely older Tyco, Life-Like, or Model Power cars.

The cars themselves are decent entry level cars, but the trucks aren't so great. At a minimum you'll want to replace the horn hook couplers with knuckle types, and put metal wheels on them. Eventually you may want to completely replace the trucks and body mount the couplers, but that not essential to get started.

The simplest way to change the couplers is with Life-Like 'SceneMaster' couplers from Walthers. A 20 pack is PN 433-1427, a 4 pack is PN 433-1436. The 20 pack is a good deal. These couplers have the same small hole as the original horn hooks. Another option is to use Kadee 212 Talgo Adaptors and Bachmann EZ-Mate or Kadee #5's with the larger hole generally used in cars with body mount coupler boxes.

Metal wheels are available from Intermountain, Kadee, and Life-Like Proto. Most freight cars use 33in wheels, and passenger cars use 36in wheel. There are a few exceptions to this, but most older cars hold to this.

If the couplers are body mounted, and have a fairly large hole, the cars are most likely Athearn, MDC/Roundhouse, or Bowser.

Most, but not all, locomotives have the manufacturer's name somewhere on the bottom of the loco. If it just says "Made in Austria" then it's probably a Roco made for what I call a "Toys-R-Us" set. They also made locos sold under the AHM brand name. On diesels, if you turn it over and there are four holes with white plastic plugs in them it's an Athearn.

Oh! If the track is the old brass stuff, you may want to consider replacing it with nickle silver track. Brass works, but you'll constantly be cleaning it to keep your trains running. Which is why they don't make it any more.

Len
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