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2056  Discussion Boards / Williams by Bachmann / Re: DCC for Williams by Bachmann O Gauge on: October 24, 2010, 11:55:40 PM

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.

2057  Discussion Boards / Williams by Bachmann / Re: DCC for Williams by Bachmann O Gauge on: October 23, 2010, 02:31:59 AM

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.


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.

2058  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.

2059  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.

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.

2060  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: Uncoupling Track/Ramp for Thomas on: October 19, 2010, 02:32:53 PM

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.

2061  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.


2062  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.

2063  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!

2064  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:


And the Salescom diagram uses:


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.

2065  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.

2066  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: DPDT wiring frustration on: October 08, 2010, 11:18:53 PM
Miniatronics also makes several SPDT and DPDT toggle switches. If your LHS doesn't carry them, you can order them through Walthers (mfg code 475) and Horizon Hobby (mfg code MNT).

2067  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: DPDT wiring frustration on: October 08, 2010, 04:23:34 PM
If the switch is the model T8301 3PDT Straight Type then it is a straight ON-OFF-ON (Center Off) type switch. Throwing to either side creates a constant on condition until the switch is moved to the center off position. It it's a different model, the manufacturers web site would have to be checked for the particulars on that switch.

2068  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: DPDT wiring frustration on: October 08, 2010, 11:29:51 AM
There are actually 11 different models of the Salecom T80-T toggle switch, each with their own number.

Assuming you have the model T8301 3PDT Straight Type, lay it on a table with the terminal lugs facing you, and oriented so if you look down on the switch you're looking through the holes in the lugs.

For point of reference, not because they are actually numbered that way, think of the lugs as being numbered from top to bottom, left to right, as:


Row 2--5--8 is the common row, equivelent to the center contacts on a DPDT switch.

When you throw the switch one way, you're using rows 1--4--7 an 2--5--8. Throw it the other way and you're using rows 3--6--9 and 2--5--8.

To wire it as a reversing switch ignore contacts 1/2/3 or 7/8/9 and wire the remaining contacts the same as a DPDT. For example, ignoring contacts 7/8/9, connect 1-to-6, 3-to-4, power in to 3 and 6, track to 2 and 5. Lugs 7/8/9 should have nothing connected to them unless your going to use them for controlling indicator lights/LEDs.

2069  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Acela tracks on: October 02, 2010, 01:17:07 PM
The track screws by Atlas-O (P/N 6094) work very well. That are a #3 screw 1-/18in long, and can be driven with a #1 Phillips screwdriver. They come 48 to a pack, and you only need 1 per track section.

Just drill a 1/8in hole through the track and into the plywood and they'll go in quite easily. They are a black oxide color, so blend into the ties very well. If your LHS doesn't carry them, you can get them from Walthers, Horizon Hobby, and several on-line retailers.

As someone else mentioned, you should let your switches and crossings 'float'. As long as the 'glad hands' are adjusted properly, there shouldn't be any problems with them getting caught on a screw head.

2070  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: Minimum Radius for LS Thomas/Annie/Clarribel? on: February 11, 2010, 09:21:03 PM
Problem solved.

I cut the truck swivel stop pins off the bottom of the cars, and they track through the R1 curves just find now.

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