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2056  Discussion Boards / Williams by Bachmann / Re: Loose pantographs on WBB GG1 on: April 08, 2011, 10:47:52 AM
Have you tried replacing them with the Lionel insulator, PN: 6902332P07?? A reproduction of the PW GG-1 insulator is also available from Olsen's Toy Train Parts, PN: 2332P-7B. Both are $0.50 each plus S&H.

2057  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Decoders for Diesel EMD FTA&B units on: April 03, 2011, 05:35:23 PM
You're welcome. The TCS site has quite a bit of helpful installation information. Even if you can't find info on the exact loco you're trying to do, you can often find one that very similar.

2058  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Decoders for Diesel EMD FTA&B units on: April 02, 2011, 11:09:23 AM
Instructions with pictures for doing the FT-B using a TCS T-1 decoder can be found at:

The FT-A should be very similar.

I like the TCS decoders because the instructions are written for real people, not DCC 'geeks'. Also because it's fairly simple to asign 'Back EMF' to a Function button to turn it off when MUing and back on when you're not.

2059  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Correct size wheels on: March 31, 2011, 05:18:02 AM
In general freight cars, including a 36ft open hopper, use 33in wheels.

Some modern freight cars have 28in wheels to help with vertical clearance issues, e.g., container carriers running double stacked and special purpose flats carrying tall loads.

There are a couple of odd ball exceptions, but normally passenger cars use 36in wheels.

2060  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Grades & track length on: March 30, 2011, 08:05:15 PM
Woodland Scenics has a .pdf file at that has the grade charts from their Subterrain Foam Riser incline sets.

It shows it takes 12ft to get 4-1/2in vertical clearance from the table top, which allows for roadbed, track, bridge structure, etc., with a 3% grade.

This stuff's a bit pricey, but it works as advertised if you're looking for a sloping hill effect rather than using piers or trestles to get a grade.

2061  Discussion Boards / Williams by Bachmann / Re: Power Compatibility on: March 30, 2011, 07:46:02 PM
The short answer to your question is yes. As long as the Power Master is set for "conventional", your Williams locos will operate exactly the same way as your Lionel conventional locos.

If you forget and leave the switch in "command", as soon as you hit the boost button your conventional locos will take off like a rocket when they get hit with 18V.

But I suspect you already know that, since you're already switching between TMCC an conventional modes.

2062  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: ATLAS MASTER COMMANDER on: March 27, 2011, 09:43:36 AM
The Atlas Commander is old technology, long out of production, but...

Old as it is, I still find the forward/reverse direction buttons easier to use for doing the "Kadee shuffle" than most other throttles. Which is handy when switching cars in a yard or industrial area, so I keep one around just for that purpose.

I think one of the local hobby shops still has a couple stashed away. I'll check if you're interested.

2063  Discussion Boards / Williams by Bachmann / Re: Pre War 2 position reverse units on: March 25, 2011, 12:30:07 PM
Olsen's Toy Train Parts has repro headlight parts for prewar 'electrics'. There are two basic headlight shell types for the 252, the "SH" style and the "NH" style, depending on when in the production cycle it was made. The other parts are pretty much interchangable.

If you type "NH-", without the quotes, in the Search by Part Number box you'll get a list of the NH bits and pieces they carry. This includes an NH-11KIT with an NH shell and everything else needed to replace a missing headlight assembly. For the SH style they only have the cast headlight shell, and an SH-2KIT with an SH shell and the other parts included in the NH-11KIT.

If these units ran on DC, you could just wire the lamp 'hot' connections to the brushes with a diode in line. That doesn't work so great with AC power. You might be able to adapt the Constant Light PCB from the Lionel RS-11 for directional lighting. the part number is 620-8553-805. Cost is $12.50 plus S&H from Lionel. You can order on line from Lionel's web page. Go to customer service, order replacement parts. Change the search box to "Part name or number" and enter the PN without the dashes.

If you click on the picture icon next to the 'add to cart' quantity you can see a picture. The two 2-pin connectors are for the front and rear lamps. The 3-pin is for the power and return connections. If you search for 2-pin/3-pin harnesses you can find connectors that work. Or you can pull the white plastic pieces off the PCB and connect directly to the pins using wire wrap or soldering.

2064  Discussion Boards / Williams by Bachmann / Re: Pre War 2 position reverse units on: March 23, 2011, 09:57:01 PM

Unfortunately "Greenberg's Lionel Prewar Trains Repair and Operating Manual" is out of print, and has become something of a collectors item in it's own right. Used copies in good condition sell in the $290 - $325 range.

Many of these prewar units used a green bulb on one end and a red one on the other to indicate the forward and reverse ends. Both were normally lit all the time, and it would probably be considered a major modification to add directional lighting.

2065  Discussion Boards / Williams by Bachmann / Re: Pre War 2 position reverse units on: March 23, 2011, 03:55:19 PM
According to my "Greenberg's Lionel Prewar Trains Repair and Operating Manual", the reverse unit shown in your picture can be wired several ways. Looking at the reverse unit from screw side, with the handle vertical,  the most common configuration is:

(A) Top Right Screw - P/U Rollers
(B) Bottom Right Screw - Motor Brush
(C) Bottom Left Screw - Field Winding
(D) Top Left Screw - Motor Brush

The brush wires most always be opposite each other, e.g., either A/C or B/D. If the motor runs opposite the way you want it too for a particular handle direction just swap the brush connections.

2066  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: passenger car lighting on: March 20, 2011, 09:24:39 PM
You could aso use one of the LED passenger car lighting kits from Miniatronics. They have a circuit on the PC board that keeps the lights on at half brightness for up to 3 minutes for station stops, and generally stops flicker if the pick up is installed correctly.

Out of the box the circuit board fits 85ft cars, but can easily be cut down with a razor saw for shorter cars. I've used them in Con-Cor, Athearn, and Rounhouse 'Old Timer' cars.

There are two part numbers. PN 100-ICL-01 is labeled 'flouresent' on the box, and the LEDs produce a white light that I guess is supposed to represent lighting on modern cars. Personally, I prefer the PN 100-YCL-01 kit, which uses YellowGlo LEDs that produce a warmer light.

2067  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Digitrax on: March 20, 2011, 09:13:16 PM
I'm really curious about this, as I've been using DH123's in my old Athearn locos for years and never had a problem. If you find out what happened please let us know.

2068  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: E-44 revisited on: March 18, 2011, 01:36:41 PM
Most of the differences between the E-44 and EL-C/E-33 can't be seen, e.g., motors, rectifiers, controls, etc. The most noticable external difference is the use of two single arm pantographs on the E-44, versus a single dual arm pantograph on the EL-C/E-33. Other than that  there are only some minor cosmetic differences between the car bodies of the E-44 and the EL-C/E-33.

2069  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: how can you make tyco train cars better looking ??? on: March 18, 2011, 08:15:49 AM
For anyone interested in some background on Tyco and what they produced, this site has quite a bit of useful info:


2070  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: how can you make tyco train cars better looking ??? on: March 17, 2011, 10:50:28 AM
if you want to get away from the shiny plastic look, repaint them. who needs a shazam boxcar anyway?.......

Many of the old Tyco cars actually have reasonably accurate paint schemes. In fact, there were a couple I've never seen anyone else do. And it's easy enough to strip, paint, and reletter the few that aren't.

Some new trucks, body mount couplers, a bit if dull-coat, and some weathering can result in some nice cars for the layout. If you want to get real fancy, there are books around, and articles on the web, on superdetailing 'Blue Box' Athearn freight car kits. The same techniques would apply to old Tyco cars.

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