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1  Discussion Boards / N / Re: EZ Turnouts and Atlas Snap Relay on: January 22, 2018, 12:55:20 AM
Is there a reason that you must use the Atlas relay instead of the Bachpersonn?
2  Discussion Boards / N / Re: New style couplers on: January 19, 2018, 11:29:32 AM
You have several choices.

B-mann sells dummy knuckle couplers that will work with any of them.

Go to the Micro-Trains website, look at the conversion tables and you will see what to use for your equipment.  The MT 1133 is almost universal for the older B-mann.  You can use 1134 for sharper curves, as the 1134 is simply a long shank version of the 1133.  If you use those couplers, buy the MT coupler tweezers.  They make working with 1133/1134 easy.

Red Caboose sells Unimates, that work with almost all knuckle couplers.

Kato sells different styles of knuckle couplers.  Some work better than others.

If you get hold of some older MDC rolling stock, they come with a knuckle coupler for which you can swap out the Rapido.  Those couplers are not the best.  You get unwanted uncouplings frequently with those.
3  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Problem with Left Hand Switch on: January 13, 2018, 10:17:33 AM
When you mentioned couplers, you suggested another possibility:  are the coupler trip pins catching on the rails of the turnout?  I have seen this problem less on B-mann products that have whatever-those-knuckle-couplers-are that Bachpersonn uses.  This problem occurs frequently on Micro-Trains and Accu-Mate couplers (Atlas, for one, uses Accu-Mate couplers).  

The fix on the MTs is not hard:  you either move up or bend up the trip pin so that it will clear the rails.  Bending it is usually the better solution.  If you simply move up the thing, the part that sticks out of the top of the coupler may foul the shell of the car and cause derailments.  The trip pins on the Accu-Mates do not take well to moving or bending.  Usually, that causes them to pop out, which does not hamper their performance.

The Bachmann coupler trip pins do not take well to bending or moving, either.  In fact, you must take care NOT TO LET THE TRIP PIN POP OUT of those couplers.  If you do, the whole coupler discombobulates.  Break a leg on getting that external spring back into place.  Ask me how I know this.

It is unusual that the trip pin on the B-mann couplers fouls the track, but it does happen.  It happens far more frequently with the MT or Accu-Mate.  If you do not want to replace the B-mann coupler, you might get away with taking a pair of rail nippers (I have a beat-up pair I use for purposes such as this) and VERY CAREFULLY cut off a small piece from end of the trip pin, so that it clears the track---IF this is your problem.

You should convert your equipment to knuckle couplers as soon as you can and, henceforth, as you acquire any with the Rapido couplers, you should convert them as soon as you determine that they are satisfactory and do not need to be returned for defects.  The manufacturers have been getting away from the Rapidos for some time, now.   The MT website has a conversion chart for almost everything.  B-mann does sell some dummy knuckle couplers that will fit into the coupler pockets of most equipment that has Rapidos.

The GE U-boat is an older locomotive, so I wonder how much more performance you will get out of it.  Those older things can be quite noisy (the usual term applied is "coffee grinder") and the slow speed control on most of them is not the best.  The power that the manufacturers have put out since the mid-1990s is far better.  One of the posters to your topic, Spookshow, has a website that will tell you anything that you want to know about almost any power that is out there or has been out there.  There is also an encyclopedia of rolling stock.  Spookshow has rendered, and continues to render, a great service to this hobby and to N scale by his maintenance of his site.  He has gone as far as to dismantle new (and pricey) power just so that the rest of us could see how it went together.  All Honour to him always for services rendered to N scale.
4  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Problem with Left Hand Switch on: January 09, 2018, 10:09:24 AM
If you run it the opposite direction, does it derail when it comes to the other facing point turnout?  Does it simply derail on the one when it is facing point, or both?

Does it jump at the points, the frog or when it gets the the piece of track attached to the turnout?

If it is jumping at the facing points or frog of one turnout, but clears the other when the points are facing, the problem is somewhere in the turnout.

The other thing to check is to make sure that your rail joiners are not misaligned.  Misaligned rail joiners is not an uncommon problem with
B-mann or Atlas sectional track.  If it is jumping at the joint between the diverging track of the turnout and the section of track joined to it, often the problem is a misaligned rail joiner.  Sometimes, the section of track is defective, but this is the least frequently occurring problem with this particular brand of track.

I have some of these cars.  The couplers are body mounts, but they clear the turnouts on my pike, which actually does use some of the turnouts that are in your photograph.  The problem is not turnouts too close to a curve, either.

Another possibility is out of gauge wheels.  You can order a test gauge from many places on line.  If the locomotive is clearing, I would not touch the wheels on it.  You can check the wheels on the cars and adjust with very little trouble.
5  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Problem with Left Hand Switch on: January 08, 2018, 11:09:06 AM
Does the locomotive derail, also?

What locomotive is it?

What kind of cars are they?

The curve of that turnout is supposed to match the B-mann11,25 inch radius curves, so it is a bit sharp.  Do you have the turnout right off of a curve?  Sometimes that will do it.

The locomotive could be pulling the cars off the track.  If the locomotive is larger and the cars have body mount couplers, that could be doing it.  If you are running passenger cars that are longer than sixty five scale feet, that could be the problem, as larger cars do not like those curves.  Make sure that the points are securely up against the stock rail.  Usually, the machine will throw the switch properly, but if you are throwing it manually, sometimes the points do not align properly.

Do these things derail at track speed, only, or will they derail even at slow speed?

There are places on my pike where I have these things, but trains go through the diverging only at slow speed and with not many cars.  I run cars from a variety of manufacturers.  I do not run passenger cars through them.  The only six axle diesels that I run through them are a pair of older Atlas/Kato SD-7s.  Those locomotives are tolerant of some pretty sharp curves and trackwork that is less than professional grade.  The only steam locomotives that I run through them are 2-8-0 or smaller.  Other than that, I run four axle diesels.
6  Discussion Boards / N / Re: True-Scale couplers on: January 07, 2018, 12:08:08 PM
The only one available that is assembled is the 905.  You might have to make alterations to the locomotive to get it to fit.  Take care that you do not foul the pilot truck with the coupler box.  The Z scale will mate with the N scale knuckle couplers of the various manufacturers, although better with some than others.

The conversions on the Athearn/MDC passenger cars are easy:  1023s (N scale).  All that you need do is cut or file a portion of the lip on the underside of the end platforms, tap your hole and screw on coupler and box.  The height is correct, assuming that you do nothing to the trucks and bolsters.  I have done a body mount on perhaps one or two Athearn/MDC freight cars and I forget what I used.

The MT True Scales are fairly new animals, which is why I  suspect that you can not get the box to fit.  I suspect that MT will take care of its own products, first, then start with those of the other manufacturers.  Back in the day, MT sold only couplers and frieght cars.  They have gone far beyond that, now.

I like the B-mann mogul.  I have two.  It is a shame that the big steam sells better than the small-to-average.  You would think that with most home layouts' being smaller and having tighter curves, the small to average steam would sell better, but it is the big ones that sell.  Of course, if you are running nineteenth and early twentieth century equipment, the small stuff is all that you can use.
7  Discussion Boards / N / Re: True-Scale couplers on: January 05, 2018, 10:47:43 PM
These things are fairly new.  I suspect that MT simply has not gotten around to determining what fits what or even manufacturing diverse couplers and boxes to fit the products out here.

You might simply have to buy some of the MT True Scale and fiddle with them a bit.

They do look a bit clunky on B-mann's smaller power as well as the Athearn/MDC nineteenth century power.  Many have used MT's Z scales.  I have done that with a B-mann 2-8-0 and a couple of MDC 2-8-0s and 2-6-0s.
8  Discussion Boards / N / Re: locomotive's on: December 28, 2017, 10:03:21 AM
It is difficult to tell, from your description, what is the problem with the 2-6-2.     If you bought the thing new, you could send it back to B-mann for warranty repair/replacement.

For the 0-6-0, it would depend on what version of this that you have.  Did it come in a plastic or cardboard box?
9  Discussion Boards / N / Re: New to N scale on: December 27, 2017, 10:15:31 AM
Could be a weak joiner? I don't know if Bachmann sells those ala carte, try replacing the offending curve with a different one.


It could be a misaligned rail joiner.  That is not an infrequent occurrence with the B-mann track (or Atlas or PECo, for that matter--Kato seems to be the only one resistant to it, but it can happen even on UNITRACK).  If you will check the joints on the offending track, make sure that the rail joiner is properly fitted to the next section.

Weak joiners do happen on B-mann track, but less frequently than they do on Atlas.  One of the problems with the B-mann track is that the joiners are affixed so tightly that if you try to get it off to insulate or isolate a section of trackage, you wind up ruining the track piece.  If I must have a gap in the B-mann track, I use two pieces of Atlas sectional (or two short pieces of flex) and put the plastic rail joiners between the two pieces of Atlas.  I suppose that you could file a gap in the middle of the section, but I always have shied from that.

I have found a few malformed sections of B-mann track, over time, that caused stalls and derailments.  I purchase a little more than I need in case I must swap out an offending section.  Swapping out an offending section for a fresh one always has addressed the problem.  Further, I have encountered this only on the eleven inch sections.  The straights, turnouts and broader curves have not shown this problem.
10  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Specification for Track Radius on: December 23, 2017, 10:06:59 AM
The thing might run on a nine and three quarter curve, but it does run better on thirteen inches, or better.  It also looks better.

Nine and three quarters is about equivalent to an eighteen inch radius curve in HO
Thirteen is about equivalent to a twenty four inch radius curve in HO
Sixteen is about equivalent to a thirty inch radius curve in HO.

The way that I learned steam in my HO days was:

Anything eighteen inches or less and you were restricted to six drivers or smaller, but no Pacifics (4-6-2) or Hudsons (4-6-4).  The more under eighteen inches that you went, the more restricted it got.

Eighteen inches (nine and three quarter) allowed six wheel switchers and smaller; Prairies (2-6-2) or smaller; ten wheelers (4-6-0) or smaller, although some really high drivered ten wheelers might not run.

Between twenty four and thirty (thirteen to sixteen), you could run Pacifics and Hudsons, as well as consolidateds (2-8-0) and mikados (2-8-2).  You might get away with smaller drivered Santa Fe s (2-10-2) and decapods (2-10-0) as well as smaller drivered Berkshires, such as some ATSF or P&LE types. Any articulated up to a USRA 2-6-6-2, likely would operate.  Any larger articulated required something over thirty inches (sixteen inches).

Over thirty inches, (sixteen), you could run almost anything, although Big Boys, Challengers and Baldwin Centipede diesels looked better on thirty six inches (nineteen and one half) or greater.

For the sharper curves, (nine and three quarter), B-mann sells a USRA 0-6-0, a mogul (2-6-0) and a ten wheeler (4-6-0).  There is also an 1870s eight wheeler.  The 0-6-0 also has a Prairie version, but it is really a USRA 0-6-0 with pilot and trailing  trucks added; it is not a "true" Prairie type.  The mogul and ten wheeler are excellent locomotives.  If you get a later issue of the eight wheeler, it is pretty good.  The switcher can be made into a winner by swapping out the stock tender and substituting a B-mann SPECTRUM tender.

For something between thirteen and sixteen, B-mann sells the Pacific that you have, as well as consolidated, and a
 USRA 2-6-6-2.  The consolidated will operate fine on eleven inch curves.  Some  have stated that the consolidated will operate on nine and three quarter, but mine are all inconsistent on that radius curve.  Some of them will climb and derail.  I do not have the Pacific,  I have the consolidated and it is excellent.  In fact, the B-mann consolidated is STILL one of the yardsticks against which all N scale steam is measured.  The other is the Kato mikado.  I have a first issue 2-6-6-2.  There were problems with the first run of these things, but I understand that B-mann has addressed those problems in subsequent issues of this one.  I do not run anything that large, any more, so I have not bought any subsequent issues.

B-mann has a B&O 2-8-8-4 and a Van SWeringen Berkshire for the larger curves.  I have the 2-8-8-4 but not the Berkshire (2-8-4).  I bought the 2-8-8-4 only because it IS B&O specific.  It is an excellent locomotive.

I might have omitted one or two.
11  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Will adding a DCC tender to DC Loco work? on: December 15, 2017, 09:31:22 AM
When B-mann first issued these tenders separate, it appears that they did not have the circuit boards.  I have a few that do not.  Later versions of them do  have the circuit board.  Although I am still in the Dark Ages and do not use DCC, I prefer those with the boards to improve my Model Power and other steam engines.  It is far easier to wire those equipped with the circuit boards to the MPs, or any other steam engine that you want to improve.  If you solder the wires from the locomotive to either or both of the outer two pins that protrude from the circuit board, you will have proper contact between tender and locomotive.

The above, of course, applies mostly to non-B-mann steam engines.  It does not apply to the USRA 0-6-0 (or its 2-6-2 version), as the contact wires in the drawbar touch the split contact post on the locomotive, thus there is no need for wires.  You can use the circuit board equipped tender on B-mann power (or any power, for that matter), if you want to run DC, only.  As Spookshow indicates, you must do some work if you intend to use it for a DCC locomotive.
12  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Can a F7-A diesel locomotive be convered to DCC on: December 13, 2017, 10:10:06 AM
The shells from all three versions of this are interchangeable.  When Generation Two of these appeared, I simply bought another road name and put my B&O shells from the PLUS version onto them. When the DCC versions appeared, I bought yet another road name and swapped those shells, again,  for the B&O.

If you find one cheap in another road name, but it and swap the shells, if you find the DCC conversion too daunting to do it yourself.

I do not use DCC myself, but the decoder equipped F-7s run better than do Generation Two.  The decoder on B-mann power is dual mode.
13  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Track power on: December 10, 2017, 10:54:09 PM
It was a short and it did involve the EZ track connectors

The cords for the switch machines also go either way.  You might switch it to diverging and nothing happens, but when you switch it to main it goes to diverging.  The remedy is the same:  flip over the plug.  Take a piece of tape and mark the "up" side.

One thing that I like about Kato products is their "idiot proof" construction.  Many Kato products only go together one way.
14  Discussion Boards / N / Re: N scale Thomas on: November 21, 2017, 09:25:55 AM
Thomas the Tank Engine ain't something about whose scale I would be too worried.

Tomix sold a Thomas with Clarabelle and Annie many years back.  I have it.  Supposedly, it is not easy to find it and it is out of production.  There may have been some other pieces, as well,    There was some complaint about gears' splitting or something like that, but I can not remember, now.

It is something that is good to have at public N-Trak shows, as it will draw the children and the parents with them.  Before the Tomix set appeared, I made a Thomas from a bubble stuff toy and an old Atlas 0-6-0T chassis.  I put N scale wheelsets on Clarabelle and Annie toys and there was my Thomas train.  To the trained eye, it looked awkward, but the children did not notice it.  All that they saw was Thomas.  You did have to set the throttle on high to keep the thing running, but, again, the children did not notice the difference.

B-mann does sell Thomas in other scales.  I would have a hard time believing that it could not sell it in N scale.  I would expect that the licence is good for any scale.  I suspect that it has not appeared in N scale because you do not want to give small children something that small as there are hazards involved and it would break more easily as children tend to be ham-handed.  That is not a criticism, mind you, it is just the way that things are.
15  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Why not make various shells for same mechanism? on: November 06, 2017, 11:11:54 AM
Many of these locomotives that people are requesting actually exist, still, so in addition to the plans, there are actual prototypes from which someone can take measurements.
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