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1996  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Installing DCC and Sound in Athearn Blue Box F7A or B on: February 03, 2011, 05:42:27 PM
You might give the MRC "Generic Diesel" Universal Sound Decoder a try. It comes with a baffled speaker and an 8-pin plug connector on the wires. It's easy enough to remove the plug and hardwire to an Athear BB loco.

A little work on the weight with a hacksaw and file should create a space for the speaker. It's available from Walthers (PN: 500-1669) for around $80.00.

1997  Discussion Boards / Williams by Bachmann / Re: Williams power upgrade trucks on: February 03, 2011, 05:22:54 PM
If you have some four test leads with alligator clips on both ends, Radio Shacks your friend if you don't, there's a quick way to verify if the problem is the motor or something else.

Disconnect all e-unit wires, leave the field coil wire on the lug between the brushes, and remove the motor from the loco. Put the brushes back if you didn't already.

Connect a test lead from the center lug with the field coil wire to either brush holder.

Connect a test lead from the other brush holder to lug on the side of the motor with the other end of the field coil wire attached to it.

Use the remaining test leads to connect one brush holder to the 'A' terminal of your transformer, and the other brush holder to the 'U' side.

Bring the throttle up slowly and see if the motor starts spinning in either direction.

If the and the ohm readings between armature segments were okay and the armature doesn't move, or moves a little but doesn't spin up, you've got a bad field coil that's not creating enough of a magnetic field for the armature to push against. In which case the motor needs to be replaced, or the field coil rewound.

If the motor does spin up okay the problem is somewhere in the wiring and/or the e-unit. Never forget, there's no rule that says you can only have one problem at a time!

1998  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Computer Coding of DCC Decoders on: February 02, 2011, 05:13:06 PM
Many people, including myself, use JMRI DecoderPro, which is open source software that's free! Grin

They also have something called PanelPro that's supposed to let you run your layout from a computer. I haven't tried it, so can't comment on how well it does or doesn't work.

JMRI's webpage can be found at:

The hardware you'll need will depend on which DCC system you're using.

1999  Discussion Boards / Williams by Bachmann / Re: Williams power upgrade trucks on: February 01, 2011, 04:50:29 PM
In addition to what Joe said, did you check the wear of the motor brushes themselves. If you can see half, or more, of the brush holder above the brushes they should be replaced.

Replacements are available from Olsen's Toy Trains (PN: 622-121) for $1.00/pr+S&H. Or you can get brushes with a copper 'wick' imbedded from Lionel (PN: 6108507150) for $1.20/ea+S&H. The wick gets soldered to the brush holder with the e-unit wire so connectivity isn't completely dependent on the brush spring.

2000  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Light Strip for bachmann rolling stock on: February 01, 2011, 12:20:18 PM
There's also the Miniatronics 100YCL01 passenger car lighting kit. It's available from Walthers and Horizon Hobbies. The built in capacitor will hold the LEDs on for up to 4 minutes for 'station stops', and it can be cut down for shorter cars. There's also a kit for lighting a caboose, Miniatronics 100CB201.

2001  Discussion Boards / Williams by Bachmann / Re: Williams power upgrade trucks on: January 29, 2011, 12:41:49 PM

It may just be the motor brushes have worn down to the point the brush springs aren't maintain a good contact any more. If they're worn down to roughly half the depth of the brush holders, you should replace them.

Since you pulled the motor already, it's fairly simple to find out if you have a bad armature winding. Remove the brush plate and brushes from the motor, then use a tootpick to clean any brush residue from the slots between the armature segments.

Use a multimeter set to Ohms and check the resistance between each pair of adjacent armature segments, for three readings total. Touch the leads together to see what resistance, if any, you meter leads are adding first. You should read between 1.3 and 1.5 ohms, not counting any test lead resistance, between each pair of segments. It's okay if it's a little higher, as long as all three readins are fairly close.

If you get a reading of less than 0.5 ohms anywhere, you've got a shorted winding. If your reading an open, you've got a burned out winding. In either case the armature would have to be rewound or replaced.

These folks do rewinding and have replacement F3 armatures for $34.95.

2002  Discussion Boards / Williams by Bachmann / Re: Williams power upgrade trucks on: January 29, 2011, 05:52:31 AM

The short answer to your question is no.

Unfortunately, there's no way to modify the Lionel frame for their horizontal mount motors to accept the WBB trucks and motors.

Question on the motor that stopped running: When it is mounted to the truck assembly, are you able to rotate the armature by hand so the wheels turn? If so, I would suspect a loose or broken wire to a brush or the field coil.

2003  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Bachmann EZ track and Lifelike Power Loc on: January 26, 2011, 11:15:13 AM
You can also get them direct from Walthers:  Currently on sale for $3.59.

They can also be used to transition to other brands of track installed on cork roadbed.

2004  Discussion Boards / Williams by Bachmann / Re: O Gauge rail joiners on: January 20, 2011, 11:21:10 AM
The good news is you don't have to move any pins around. The Lionel FT O-Gauge Trainsition Piece (6-12040) has the pins, and the AIRRB Trainsition Track doesn't. Just plug them together and your good to go!

2005  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Woodland Scenics Mold A Scene Plaster. What Am I doing wrong? on: January 20, 2011, 11:13:55 AM
You're using the wrong plaster. This is what the Woodland Scenics site says about Mold-A-Scene plaster:

Mold-A-Scene is a plaster material that can be shaped like modeling clay, but sets like plaster, without a mold.

Woodland Scenics Plaster Cloth has hydrocal plaster on it. Want you want for filling voids and smoothing things out is their C1201 Hydrocal Casting Plaster. If the Plaster Cloth has dried, spray it with a bit of water before using the hydrocal to fill voids and smooth things out.

2006  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Testing Track (DCC) on: January 19, 2011, 08:25:38 AM
Also, are the wheels on the loco clean? Odds are if the track is dirty, so are the loco wheels. Especially if they came with the layout.

RibbonRail makes a nice loco cradle, or you can make one with a shoe box and towel. Put the loco in the cradel with the wheels up, touch a couple of wires from a DC transformer to the wheels, and while they're spinning lightly hold an eraser or Brite-Boy against them.

While you're at it, make sure the loco's been properly lubed and there are no loose wire connections.

2007  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Military cars on: January 18, 2011, 11:54:23 AM
Walthers currently has the HO Herpa (Roco) AH-64 Apache in stock, item 326-741668. Horizon Hobbies has the Huey Gunship (1/100) in stock, item MDP56011. The Model Power is slightly undersize, but "close enough", as the saying goes.

2008  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Number for slide switches for EZ track turn outs? on: January 18, 2011, 11:39:36 AM
If you cut the plug off the end of the green wire/green extenstion cable you can use the Atlas #56 switch control button. They are available from Atlas, Walthers, Horizon Hobbies, and a bunch of other places on line.

The center wire from the cable goes to the center screw, the outside wires to the outside screws. If the direction of throw is backwards, just flip the outside wires. Using the Atlas control buttons also makes it very easy to wire two switches to one controller for a crossover.

2009  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Bachmann #6 crossover switch on: January 13, 2011, 01:53:05 AM
Another one caught in the "designed for DCC layouts" #6 Crossover trap...  Roll Eyes

When is Bachmann going to:

a. Offer these things with gaps already cut so they can be used in DC layouts out of the box? It's a lot easier to tie the two sides together for DCC than going the other way.

b. If no changes are planned, at least clearly label the outside of the box, "FOR DCC LAYOUTS ONLY" in large type to warn the unwary?

c. If no changes are planned, at least include clear instructions to modify them for DC layouts IN THE BOX?

This issue has been going on since these things were first released, and it does impact LHS's that have to deal with the product returns of "defective" crossovers when customers with DC layouts run into this issue. It's long past time for Bachmann to address it.

2010  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Woodland Scenics Scenic Cement on: January 11, 2011, 04:35:41 PM
The best thing I've found for applying Scenic Cement to ballast is one of those blunt "syringes" you can get from the pharmacist for giving young kids liquid medicine. Put some Scenic Cement in a bowl, load the "syringe", and apply to the ballast.

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