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16  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Spectrum Master Railroader Series 2-8-0 Consolidation Steam Loco (DC only) on: October 07, 2017, 10:19:00 AM
The tender is not part of the "drive system", but it is a major component of the electrical pick up. 

On the B-mann 4-4-0, as well as th  MDC/Athearn 2-8-0 and 2-6-0, the tender is part of the "drive system" in that the motor is in the tender and is connected to the locomotive by a drive shaft.  The 4-4-0 is the only B-mann steam in current production that has a motor in the tender.
 On all B-mann steam that is currently in production, the tender is an important part of the electrical pick-up. 

The USRA 0-6-0 even has a tender that is live, but only half of the wheels on that one are live.  In fact, swapping out the stock tender for an all wheels live B-mann tender gives you a much improved locomotive.

I give a second to Spookshow's recommendation that you make sure that the headlight is not lighting when you put it onto the track.  If it does light and the locomotive does not move, the problem likely is in the locomotive.  The usual culprits on that are either a locked up mechanism or dirt in the motor that prevents the brushes from making proper contact with the armature.
17  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Spectrum Master Railroader Series 2-8-0 Consolidation Steam Loco (DC only) on: October 06, 2017, 10:41:13 AM
I am assuming that it is electrical problems rather than the mechanism's being locked.

The key component for electrical contact for this thing is the tender.  All contact surfaces must be good or this thing will run erratically, at best.  

The first thing to do is make sure that there is no accumulated wheel crud on the tender wheels.  Take care not to mistake the rubber traction tyres on some of the drivers for wheel crud.    If there is wheel crud on the tender wheels, get rid of it.  Scrape it with a jeweller's screwdriver then use some track cleaner.  While you are looking at it, make sure that all axles are seated properly in the trucks and that the needlepoints are making proper contact with the phosphor bronze contact plates in the truck frames,

The next thing to do is to make sure that drawbar is making good contact with both the split contact pole on the bottom of the locomotive under the cab.  Separate the tender from the locomotive.  You can do this by twisting the drawbar to the side then lifting it over the contact pole and away from the locomotive.  Make sure that the contact pole on the locomotive is clean.   A few swipes with a sanding rod (you can buy them at art supply stores or hobby stores--they look much like rectangular pipe cleaners) will do it.  You will observe that there are two stiff wires in the drawbar.  Make sure that they are clean (again, a few swipes with the sanding rod) and that they are making proper contact with the contact pole on the locomotive.  Bend them in slightly and gently.

If you have a magnifying lamp or Optivisor«, it will help for this part.  Turn over the tender.  Make sure that the stiff wires are making proper contact with the contact posts on the forward truck.  The stiff wires in the part of the drawbar bend out in a funny looking hook.  Two things tend to happen, here.  The first is that the hooked part is not spread out enough to contact the posts on the forward truck.  To rectify this, you must unscrew the forward truck, take it from the tender, remove the drawbar and bend out the hooked part gently and slightly.  This is an opportunity to make sure that the stiff wires on this part of the drwabar are clean, as well.  Clean them if they are not.  

The other problem that occurs is when the hooked part is bent out too far and it winds up outside the contact posts in the truck.  The stiff wires should contact inside the posts on the truck, not outside.  Again, it will be necessary to remove the front tender truck, remove the drawbar and bend in the stiff wires gently and slightly.  Again, make sure that the stiff wires are clean and take remedial action if they are not.

You must take care to remember which side was up on the drawbar, as you must put it back the same way when re-assembling.  A scratch in the plastic or a piece of tape will work to mark which side is up/down,  In addition, when re-assembling, take care that the hook part of the drawbar goes inside the contact posts on the truck.  At this point, put the thing back onto the track and see if it will run.  

If it will not, your problem likely is inside the tender.  On some of these, the tender shell is a friction fit onto the chassis.  Look carefully for the separation line and gently pry off the shell.  There are some of these where it is a snap fit, so you must part the shell slightly toward the middle.  Then, there are some where the deck and coal bunker come out.  You can tell this one by looking on top of the water tank and seeing if there is a gap between the sides of the tender and the water tank.  If you have this one, you must remove the back coal board.  It is not glued on very well, so you can work it off.  You will see a slot in the back of the coal load.  Stick a jeweller's screwdriver into it and gently work out the coal load/tender deck.

If you will remove the weight, you will see two contact strips on the floor of the tender chassis.  B-mann secures them to the floor by melting some plastic nubs.  These things can come  undone, which will cause the contact strips to bend up and not make proper contact with the trucks.  If this has occurred, you can re-secure them with a piece of styrene and a Micro-Trains coupler screw.  Cut a piece of styrene to lay across the floor and pin down the contact strips.  Take a pin vise and drill a small hole in the middle of it.  Line up everything, then drill a tap hole in the tender floor with the pin vise.  The last part requires much patience and care, as the floors of most of these tenders are a soft metal, so you want to avoid breaking your bit.  Take your sweet time on this one.  Anchor the bit as far as you can into the vise.  Once you have tapped the hole, screw your new retainer plate onto the floor of the tender deck.  Take your time with this one, as well, as the screws are soft and can warp or break as you screw them into it.  In fact, you might want to have a few extra, as if the screw starts to warp or break, you might want to back out the thing and start with a new screw.

The all wheels live tender on this thing is a sine qua non.  In fact, some modellers, in an effort to make this look like a Southern Pacific C-class, have tried to affix the Model Power Vanderbilt to it.  That tender is only half wheels live.  Almost to a man, they reported that it ran poorly on a half wheels live tender, if it ran at all.

Try the drawbar first.  If that does not address your problem, check inside the tender.  If that does not address your problem, you  might have a problem in the motor.  The thing does stick out the back of the cab, so you might get away with putting a Q-tip soaked in Life Like track cleaner on each side of the motor, but you might have to take off the shell from the locomotive.  That is not the easiest thing to do.  It is a snap fit.  It has been some time since I did it, but I seem to remember that you must part the cab sides and the ash pit and slide up and forward the shell.  Perhaps someone who has done it recently can comment on this.
18  Discussion Boards / N / Re: derailments on: September 29, 2017, 08:50:03 AM
I do not know much about either of those locomotives, as the prototypes are far too late for my era.

The points on some Atlas turnouts do not always align properly, so you might have to check that.  Sometimes the plastic frog casting is a bit off, as well.

Those are four axle locomotives, so the nine and three quarter curves should not be a problem. Still, the shorter locomotives tend to have fewer problems on those curves.  B-mann sells an NW-2, as does Kato.  Atlas sells an SW-1500, an S-2 and a Baldwin yard switcher.  B-mann also has an ALCo S-4 and GE 70 and 44 tonners.  Those might suit you better.  Walthers does sell an SW-8/SW-9/SW-1200, but if you are having derailment problems on the turnouts, those are not for you.  Those things do not like Atlas switches as it is.

I am assuming that the locomotives have body mount couplers.  Do the cars have body mount or truck mount couplers?  If the cars have body mount, that could be another cause of derailment, especially since you mention that it is the aft trucks that derail.   Truck mounts on the cars lower the possibility of derailments on sharp curves, but, if the locomotives have body mounts, it still could cause derailments.

Do the locomotives derail when running light or just when coupled to rolling stock?
19  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Are the leading 4 wheels supposed to ride on the rail or flop around? on: September 29, 2017, 08:41:48 AM
I am assuming that you refer to the B-mann nineteenth century eight wheeler as opposed to the Atlas nineteenth century eight wheeler or Model Power late nineteenth/early twentieth century eight wheeler.

What version do you have?  Did it come in a set or did you buy it separately?  If you bought it separately, did it come in a plastic or cardboard box?

If it is the plastic box version, you should not be having any problems with it.  The plastic box version is that latest version.  B-mann made a host of corrections to it that significantly upgraded the quality and performance.  There are some very late cardboard box versions that also have major improvements.

The older versions had their problems and varied wildly in performance.

For now, make sure that all of your track joints are aligned properly.  Misaligned rail joiners are a common cause of derailments, especially of pilot trucks on steam locomotives.  Make sure that the points of the turnouts are aligning properly.  Picking points and frogs is another not uncommon cause of steam locomotive pilot trucks' derailing.

Make sure that all wheels are in gauge.  Out of gauge wheels are a common cause of any derailment.

Did you buy this new or used?  If you bought it used, check the pilot wheels for accumulated wheel crud.  Wheel crud will cause derailments, especially on rough track joints, points and frogs.

Another possibility is to flip over the pilot truck.  The pilot truck on some B-mann 4-6-0s likes to derail.   There is no consistency to this, it just seems to happen on some of the locomotives, but not all.  Many have reported solving this problem by flipping over the pilot truck.  Another possibility is that the spring is missing or the screw that holds on the pilot truck is too tight.
20  Discussion Boards / N / Re: derailments on: September 28, 2017, 11:04:06 AM
Are these B-mann turnouts or another brand?  If B-mann are they E-ZTRAK or older?  B-mann does not sell nine and three quarter curves in its E-Z TRAK line, so I am assuming that your track is a different brand, or, if it is B-mann, it is the older track that B-mann no longer sells.  Are your turnouts #4, #6 or something else?

You try to avoid putting a turnout immediately after a curve.  You try to put a straight section between the curve and the turnout.  Unfortunately, many of us do not have the space to do that..

You do not specify what prototypes you  are running.  If you try to run six axle diesels over those sharp curves, particullarly the modern prototypes, you will get derailments.

In order to give you a helpful answer, we need more information.
21  Discussion Boards / N / Re: N Scale Alco FA-2 on: September 15, 2017, 09:47:25 AM
If you consider that:

1.  Walthers has not issued the Life Like in some time.
2.  The LL metal frame supposedly is not an easy conversion
3.  The plastic frame LL might be an easier conversion, although its flexing wires that are soldered to pivotting trucks tend to come unsoldered.
4.  Most of B-mann's latest issues have had a factory decoder

It might actually sell.  I do wonder if a B-mann with a factory decoder would be the stump puller that either LL is. 

B-mann might want to consider offering an FPA-2.  Several US roads and the large Canadian roads had them.
22  Discussion Boards / N / Re: N scale GE 70 tonner- Rahway Valley RR. on: September 06, 2017, 09:41:45 PM
B-mann sells a red 70-Tonner. so you could buy the red one, paint over the stripes that are not there, then look on some of the decal sheets and see if you can get the striping that you do want.  The lettering might be more difficult.

B-mann does not sell a green 70-Tonner, so you would have to strip something for that one and re-paint.

It is not difficult to get the shell off the power chassis.  The hard parts are:

1.  Getting out the glazing.  Bachpersonn uses some super stick glue to keep the glazing in the cab,  When you try to take it out, is discombobulates.  You can use Microscale's Mikro Kristall Kleer to re-do the windows.

2.  Getting the railing to go back once you get them out.
23  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Minimum Radius on: August 26, 2017, 08:11:25 AM
PECo sells plastic frog nine and three quarter turnouts.  They come in a package that looks like a large matchbook.  I forget the stock numbers of the things.  Most PECo turnouts come in a flat, long, rectangular box, but the referenced turnouts come in a different package.

B-mann no longer sells nine and three quarter track.  The sharpest curve that it sells is eleven and one quarter. 

Most of the Bachpersonn four axle diesels will operate on nine and three quarter track.  The smaller steam, the ten wheeler, mogul and USRA 0-6-0 will operate on nine and three quarter.  The 2-8-0 and anything larger do  not operate well, if at all, on nine and three quarter.  I have some industrial trackage on my pike that is nine and three quarter.  The 2-8-0 s will operate over some of it, but on some of it, they climb and derail.   

The Kato 2-8-2 will operate on nine and three quarter.  It does not like it, but it will run.  What is funny is that Bachmann's 4-8-2s and even the 2-8-8-4 will operate on the eleven and one quarter.  They do not like it and they do not look that good doing it, but they will run.  I do not have any of B-mann's 4-8-4s, so I do not know what they will do.
24  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Minimum Radius on: August 24, 2017, 09:53:30 AM
Even if you are using the "matchbook" PECo turnouts, the B-mann F-units will traverse them.  Every four axle diesel that I have tried on those will run.  I have seen even one or two six axles traverse those turnouts.  Every diesel with four axles that I have tried traverse the "small" radius PECo turnouts easily, as well.  More of the six axles will traverse the PECo "small" radius  turnouts than will traverse the "matchbook" turnouts.
25  Discussion Boards / N / Re: N Scale Bay Window Caboose on: August 06, 2017, 10:20:26 PM
I will take it as it is in N, erase the NYC reporting marks and number and replace with P&LE (leave the freight car red and the black oval NYCS herald). 

Sadly, B-mann often skimps when it comes to N.  As you can see in the advert, most of the bay window cabooses are full body.  The NYC is the only one advertised with the smaller bay window.  Thus, I suspect that when this comes to N, we will receive only the full body height bay window, which does not work for NYCS.
26  Discussion Boards / N / Re: available ,unlettered &painted models on: July 26, 2017, 08:48:11 AM
I am surprised that you can use brake fluid to remove the lettering, only and not damage the base coat of paint.  Every time that I have used brake fluid, it has taken off all the paint.  The one exception is the B&O "powder blue" and grey paint jobs on Rivarossi passenger cars.  It takes some serious scrubbing to get off all that paint.

You do have to be careful with brake fluid, as well, because it can turn the plastic brittle.  Life Like shells do not stand up well to brake fluid.  Some Kato will, some will not.  Some B-mann will, some will not.

I use a plain, old eraser to remove lettering.  I am very careful and patient about it.  To be sure, there is a slight smudge, sometimes, but since I apply glossy coating before I apply decals then apply a matte coating afterward, you must look with a magnifying glass to find the smudge.

In some cases, I will remove the whole paint job and start again.  Usually, ninety-one per-cent alcohol works well for that.  There are some that are more stubborn and are >made of stronger stuff!  For those,  I do use something else.  Any more, if I do use brake fluid, I let it sit only a short time, then scrub, put back in for a short time, scrub and repeat until the paint all comes off the surface.  Brake fluid is toxic, so I use rubber gloves.  I scrub the shell several times using soap and water.  After I am finished, I wash my hands several times with soap and water.
27  Discussion Boards / N / Re: A correction is needed on the HO-SCALE N.C. 4-4-0 . on: July 24, 2017, 09:06:17 AM
In 2013, Atlas released its N scale eight wheeler in Northern Central.  The tender on that one reads NCRR.   The Pennsylvania got control of the Northern Central right around the beginning of the Civil War.

Hurricane Agnes washed out most of the railroad in 1972, by which time Penn Central had been bankrupt, so it could not afford to replace it.  Some track around Baltimore exists and part of the Baltimore trolley line runs on it.

I have one of the Atlas issues.  I run it with either the Athearn/MDC Overtons or, if a freight, with an Athearn PRR caboose.  Neither are accurate either for PRR or Northern Central, but that is what is out there.  I do not know if anyone sells decals for Northern Central.  I have not seen any.  The paint schemes on the Athearn/MDC passenger cars are not accurate for the era, either, but that is what is out there.

If I compare that Atlas issue to the B-mann latest issue (in the plastic box) my experience is:

1.  B-mann wins on reliability.  It stalls less frequently.  Do keep in mind that you should operate neither on plastic frog switches.  The things are just too small and will lose proper contact.

2.  B-mann wins on pulling power.

3.  Atlas wins on appearance.  The B-mann is an upgraded, but older design, hence some of the details are a bit clunky looking.  Most of the upgrades that B-mann has done to its involve mechanical upgrades.  Which brings us to....................

4.  Atlas wins on smooth running (as long as it maintains contact, that is, see #1).  B-mann has upgraded its version of this.  If you compare the latest version (plastic box) to the earlier versions, there is a markÚd difference.  Still, there is a bit of a wobble in the B-mann that is not present in the Atlas.  The Atlas slow speed is a little better (when the Atlas keeps contact, that is, see #1).  Mind you, the B-mann slow speed control is still good, but the Atlas is slightly better.

You should use metal frog switches if you plan to run either of these (or the Atlas 2-6-0).  All three are small, so they will not maintain contact as reliably as will larger power.
28  Discussion Boards / N / Re: N Scale DoodleBug. Lights on no power on: June 20, 2017, 11:00:58 PM
Still only one truck drive?

My original issue doodlebugs would pull six RR HWs, on RR trucks, up a one per cent grade at forty SMPH.  The newer one will pull only three.  Still, three is far beyond what the prototype would have done.

The trailer coach lists for something on the order of sixty or seventy bananas.  I am glad for the four axle paired window coach.  I can use them on B&O trains.  I would like to see some single window four axle coaches.  MT is supposed to be doing a single window coach based on a NYCS prototype.  While NYCS did have some six axle HW coaches, most of them were four.  I like the idea of a NYCS prototype, as I can use it on P&LE trains.  Microscale has a NYCS passenger sheet, that includes P&LE and P&E lettering.

Most modellers are going to run these things either singly, with one coach or one head end car.  You might get a few who will run it with coach and head end car or two head end cars.    You might get a few ATSF modellers who will run it with freight cars, as ATSF did have some doodlebugs that worked branch lines in Kansas that did pull a few freight cars here and there.
29  Discussion Boards / N / Re: N Scale DoodleBug. Lights on no power on: June 18, 2017, 08:09:03 PM
Brokemotto! When you removed he decoder, were you able to salvage the led light, on the decoder? If not, were you able to match the color?

I did not even try, I just put in another light.

It does sound strange that you do not fry all of the decoder, but, the thing lit up and would not move.  When I took out the decoder and
re-wired, the thing moved and the lights that I wired in lit up.
30  Discussion Boards / N / Re: N Scale DoodleBug. Lights on no power on: June 18, 2017, 09:14:08 AM
I do not use DCC.  I have fried the decoder on two of these, so I simply took out the thing and re-wired.  Much like the 4-6-0, the 2-6-0 and the GE industrial power, the thing runs better on DC without the decoder.

I have two of the factory decoder equipped as well as several of the older ones, without the decoder.  When I fried the decoder, the lights would light, but the motor would not run.  When I took the things apart, I applied power to the motor poles and it ran.  From my experience with the steam, I decided that I had fried the decoder.  As soon as I took out the thing and re-wired, they ran and ran much better.

These so-called "smart" decoders, ain't as smart as the manufacturers would have you believe.  This does not apply simply to Our Host's decoders, this applies to "smart" decoders across the board.  I have fried BLI decoders on DC, as well.   Atlas was going to build their locomotives with a factory decoder but with a micro switch that you would change to run either on DCC or DC.  To be sure, that would have added cost to the power, but, it may be the way to go until someone can come up with a truly "smart" decoder.
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