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31  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.
32  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.
33  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Peco Switches on: June 07, 2017, 10:41:15 PM
The Electrofrog turnouts are set up, already, to deal with the polarity.  You must,  however gap the rail past them if they are part of a roundy-round or passing track.  If they are in a reverse loop, you wire as always, with gaps and a turning section.  You must have power feeders before the turnout, as well.

You do not need gaps for ladder tracks or if they are not in the roundy-round.  The only exception would be if you add power jumpers beyond the turnouts.  There is an old book out there by Linn Westcott, How to Wire Your Model Railroad that tells you how to wire if you use metal frog turnouts.  The book is very old, but it will tell you how to wire properly.

If you use the Kato UNITRACK or B-mann E-Z TRAK, the manufacturers of those already have gapped the turnouts, as necessary, so, unless you have a reverse loop, no gapping or extra wiring is necessary.   If you have a reverse loop, you must, of course, have the isolated turning section.  Sadly, the E-Z TRAK does not lend itself well to the use of insulated rail joiners.
34  Discussion Boards / N / Re: N scale radius on: May 31, 2017, 01:07:07 AM
Read Spookshow's writeup.

I read it.  It appears that the mechanism is binding on those curves.  The cars are eighty-nine feet long, which is something of which I was not aware.  No wonder they need a nineteen inch radius curve and even that one ain't the best.
35  Discussion Boards / N / Re: N scale radius on: May 29, 2017, 09:12:25 AM
19" minimum radius required, for that set.

It requires that broad a curve?  I am not disputing what you state, I simply find it curious.  I would not buy an Acela nor would I run one, as it is far out of my era.  Still, the nineteen inch radius piques my curiosity.

I would concur that an 11,25 inch radius would be far too sharp for any passenger cars other than shorties.  An 11,25 inch radius curve works out to just shy of twenty-one inches in HO, which puts it near the mid-point of the "sharp" category.  Passenger cars seventy feet or more, especially if they have body mounted couplers, do not do well on "sharp" or even "conventional" (twenty-four to thirty inch radius in HO, thirteen inches to just over sixteen, in N).  I have gotten away with running full length passenger cars on Kato 13,75 inch UNITRACK (just over twenty-five inches in HO) which is toward the low end of "conventional".  They look pretty silly.

They will not run on a seventeen inch curve, -eh?  A nineteen inch curve works out to just under thirty five inches in HO, which puts it solidly in the "broad" category. 

When I learned this curve business, I was in HO.  At the time, those in the know were teaching us rookies that unless you wanted to run brass, almost anything would run on a thirty inch curve (just over sixteen inches, in N).  Brass was far beyond my means as a high school student, even though I did have jobs in high school.  When I saw how some of the brass locomotives of that era ran, anyhow, I was glad that I was not tempted to save my quarters for one.  In fact, when I see how some of the current N scale brass runs, I will not spend my  money on it.

To Original Poster:

B-mann does sell E-Z TRAK in nineteen inch radius.  Atlas sells SNAP-TRAK in nineteen and a half inch radius.  Kato has an equivalent, but I forget the exact radius, now.  If you use the Atlas, you must use some sort of roadbed.  If you are going to try to mate the Atlas and B-mann or Kato, you must shim the cork or the track, as the B-mann and Kato track do sit higher than does the Atlas on cork.  Mind you, I am not panning the B-mann or Kato track.  Both serviceable.  I use them on my pike, as I use Atlas SNAP-TRAK and FLEX-TRAK, Kato UNITRAM and PECO.
36  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Durango & Silverton won't run new out of box x 2 on: May 16, 2017, 09:47:07 AM
If, indeed, this is the problem, you might also want to get some track cleaner fluid, dip a Q-tip into it and slop some on the armature of the motor where the brushes are. (it is the narrow, copper colored shaft toward the "front" part of the motor)  This will help to clean the gunk from it.  Failing track cleaner, some seventy-one per-cent rubbing alcohol should do the trick, just take care  not to slop any onto the painted surfaces of the model.

Another thing to check is to make sure that the stiff wires in the drawbar (the shaft that connects tender to locomotive) are clean and making proper contact with the split post on the back underside of the locomotive.   If they are not, you  might have to clean the contact post and stiff wires.  If you try to bend them inwards, DO SO VERY CAREFULLY.  Those wires are delicate and break/come unsoldered easily.  You might try taking a small pair of needlenosed pliers and gripping the stiff wires at their base before you pinch them inward.

If there is no split contact post on the back underside of the locomotive, you have an even older version of this.  Instead, there are two brass tabs that contact the drawbar.  You might have to clean those and bend them up from the bottom, slightly.  You can improve the contact further by making sure that the contact tabs on the front tender wheelset are making proper contact with the drawbar.  It is best to disassemble the tender truck to do this, but, if you do not think that you can get it back together, you might get away with loosening the screw and pushing up on the tabs.  Do not loosen it too much and take care that you do not pop the tab/wiper out of the truck.
37  Discussion Boards / N / Re: 0-6-0 Driver Size on: April 29, 2017, 09:08:10 AM
I recall measuring the drivers on the MDC 2-8-0 many years back.  They scaled out to forty-eight inches.  I can not find my calipers, right now, so I can not be sure, any more.  Athearn now sells the same locomotive.  If I can find my calipers after I get back from the Nationals game, I will measure them, again.  The 2-8-0 in question does have both middle pairs of drivers blinded.

Those things had various wheel arrangements, including an 0-8-0.  I do not know if the dimensions of the MDC/Athearn locomotive might match some of the Winans.  I would expect not, as the MDC/Athearns are 1880s power.

Still, if my measurement was correct, the MDC/Athearn drivers are two to three scale inches closer to the Winans drivers.
38  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Bachmann older Spectrum ABA F7 video on: April 17, 2017, 07:53:25 AM
Nice weathering jobs on the power and rolling stock.
39  Discussion Boards / N / Re: will a bachmann 2-8-0 N scale run on 8.5 radius track? on: April 13, 2017, 10:34:52 PM
My B-mann 2-8-0s often climb on nine and three quarters and will sometimes derail.  They always climb and derail on anything sharper.
40  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Old N 2-8-2 with Vanderbilt Tender on: April 06, 2017, 12:29:51 AM
B-mann sold this in some versions as a 2-8-2 and some as a 2-8-0.  It is really based on a Reading Company I-9 or I-10 (I forget which), which was a 2-8-0.

A while back, I did a test fit to the chassis of what was then a SPECTRUM 2-8-0.  It looked like it would go, but would require more than a little work.  If you want to keep the shell, you could do that.  You would have to give up the Vanderbilt tender, though, as the newer 2-8-0 does require the all wheels live tender.

While the gear ratios were pretty good, the constitution of the gears was not the best.  They tended to crack.  The motor was not the best, either.

I would buy the B-mann 2-8-0 and run it as it is.  If a 2-8-2 you must have, I would buy a Kato USRA heavy or Model Power USRA light.  Several of the MP USRA light 2-8-2s do come with Vanderbilts.  The Vanderbilt that you get on the MP is based on an SP Vanderbilt that it ran on eight wheelers, moguls, some consolidateds and some ten wheelers.  In truth, though, the MPs are best when you swap out the stock tender for the B-mann SPECTRUM tender.   If you do not want to do too much work, buy a later run of the Kato 2-8-2, as it has the traction tyre driver and all of the details installed, already.
41  Discussion Boards / N / Re: ballasting n gauge on: March 31, 2017, 10:00:19 PM
You are going to get some on the ties.  It happens.  If you look at prototype track, you will see ballast on the ties.  Unless you have high piles of it on the ties, do not worry too much about it.

The way that I do my ballast is to do it in sections of three to six feet.  I put tape on the tops of the rails.  You must, of course, cut down the tape, as all that you want to do is cover the rails.  You do not want too much overhang/excess tape.

Next, I put a line of Elmer's™ or whatever white glue that you choose, down the middle of the track and on each side.  Next, I spray the glue lines with water.  I let the glue lines spread out, then I pour some ballast in a shaker and shake it on the places where I sprayed the glue.  I let it dry, then take a brush and brush  up the excess.
42  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Are these shells interchangeable? on: March 31, 2017, 10:36:54 AM

My mileage has, indeed, varied.  I was finding that if I left the drawbar on the slopeback as it was, the drivers were not making proper contact with the track.  When I did the surgery that Spookshow and others have described to the chassis and flipped over the drawbar, the problems disappeared.  When I left the slopeback as it was, there were derailments, stalls and poor pulling power.  When I made the changes, all disappeared.

I see that you mentioned MBK.  If B-mann's Forum rules will permit discussing dealers and vendors..............................If Original Poster is buying on FeePay, he might note that there is a seller there, Favorite Spot, who sells large quantities of Bachpersonn.  He knows his Bachmann, so if you use the "Ask Seller A Question" feature, he can tell you if it is the new version with the new motor, the new version with the old motor or the old version period.

There were some split frames issued with the old motor.  They were, indeed, a markéd improvement.  I was running one for some time until the tube that held the drivers split on one driver pair.  The tubes appear to be the same on all versions, so I simply must get out one of the old ones and cannibalise it.

There does seem to be some improvement to the one live truck on the stock tender, but it still creates too much drag for my purposes.  In addition, my experience with half wheels live tenders is not the best, while my experience with all wheels live tenders is excellent.

The newest version with the smaller motor is, indeed, a real winner, once you swap in the SPECTRUM tender.  The "prairie" that you received with the older motor is not bad.

If you want to see what can be done with the split frame with the old motor, Skipgear posted his work on one.  He upgraded a Baltimore and Ohio locomotive.  One thing that he did to cover the back of the motor was add a curtain.  B&O ran any USRA locomotives, including the
0-6-0.  It also ran USRA light 2-8-2s and 4-6-2s.  While Model Power has issued them in N, and MRC has taken over the line, MRC did not address the problems in the MP construction methods adequately.  In addition, many of the details are cast onto the locomotive.  I have seen the HO versions of those that B-mann has issued and hope to see them in N.  I am convinced that B-mann could do a better job.  In addition, the B-mann HO versions have high or center mounted headlights, per the practice of the given road.  While all roads received the locomotives from 1918-1920 with center mounted headlights, when a given road rebuilt the locomotives, they moved the headlight if such were the practice.  Thus, the B&O moved all headlights to the high position.

The MPs with a B-mann SPECTRUM tender run very well.  In fact, adding the B-mann tender addresses all of the runnability problems.  The swap is not difficult.

Miranda's Maxim as explained by ke:  "The poor performance of many N scale steam locomotives is almost always directly attributable to poor electrical contact".
43  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Are these shells interchangeable? on: March 30, 2017, 10:09:15 PM
ACTUALLY, all is not lost.  If you buy the version in the plastic box with the newest motor (not sticking out the back of the cab), you can take off the locomotive shell that comes on it and swap in the Christmas locomotive shell,  You can then do the tender shell swap as I outlined above.  The swap is easy, as there is a screw in one of the sand domes that holds the locomotive onto the chassis.  B-mann has not changed that in all the years that it has sold this thing.
44  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Is there a way to tell, (buying on the net) if a Xmas0-6-0 is split frame on: March 30, 2017, 10:04:35 PM
Are you buying it on FeePay?  ....from an e-Tailer?....from B-mann?

Depending on who is selling it, he might or might not know. 

You really can not tell unless you look at it.  If the  motor is not sticking out the back of the cab, it is the newest version and decidedly split frame.  Do be aware, though, that the last ones issued with the motor's sticking out the back of the cab were split frame, so if the motor is sticking out the back of the cab, you can not always be sure.  If it is one that has the motor's sticking out the back of the cab, if you flip it over and look carefully, you will see frame halves.  If you look at it from the cab end, you will see a split metal contact post for the drawbar.  If you see that, it is a split frame.  If you do not see it, it ain't.
45  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Are these shells interchangeable? on: March 30, 2017, 12:34:42 PM

The Spectrum Short Tender frame measures 2.104in.
The Spectrum Slope Back Tender frame measures 1.801in.
check out what the Spook says about the conversion;

If you choose to use the Spectrum Slope Back, then no modifications, other than slightly closing the gap on the tender wires lokie side, are necessary.

Unlike the USRA 0-6-0 that Bachpersonn sells separately, the Christmas Train Set USRA 0-6-0 actually comes with the correct USRA short tender.  Funny thing is that according to someone who would know, not even any of the USRA 0-6-0 copies left the erecting shops with slopeback tenders.  This same person told me that he never saw a photograph of an original or copy USRA 0-6-0 with a slopeback.  Some roads either modified the coal bunker on the USRA short tender or fitted another tender with a narrow coal bunker to them.  This improved the crew's vision to the back.

I suspect that Original Poster wants to upgrade his locomotive but retain the Christmas shell.  Thus, he wants to swap out the stock tender chassis for a SPECTRUM tender chassis.  To do that, he should follow the quoted poster's advice and check out Spookshow's website for a brief and good description of what to do.  Several have stated that if you do the SPECTRUM swap on the slopeback, you need not do the modifications.  I respectfully disagree.  It has been my experience that you must modify the slopeback chassis and flip the drawbar.

To answer the Original Poster's question:

I found an old stock USRA short tender and a SPECTRUM.  In order to remove the stock shell from the chassis, you must undo the screws holding the trucks.  The SPECTRUM shell pops off the chassis.  Thus, the first difference is that there are two poles cast into the tender shell on the stock, which the SPECTRUM lacks.  On the stock tender, the stirrups are cast onto the tender shell; on the SPECTRUM, they are cast onto the tender chassis.  

When I tried the test fit, the stirrups on the stock shell did get in the way.  Be that as it may, it appears that the stock shell will go onto the SPECTRUM chassis.  I deduce this because if you slide the shell slightly forward, it will go down on one end.  The other end, where the stirrup gets in the way, sits up.  It appears that if you clip the stirrups from the stock shell, it will go onto the SPECTRUM chassis.  I was somewhat less than willing to try clipping the stirrups from mine, but, likely I will do it in the future, as the stock shell with which I was doing the test fit is lettered for the BALTIMORE AND OHIO Railroad.  While I do have some SPECTRUM tenders so lettered, if I do enough swaps on the USRA 0-6-0, I might need it.  

Another thing that might be necessary would be to shorten or clip altogether the poles cast into the inside of the shell of the stock tender.  Despite all of this, I did note that the fit was rather loose.  Thus, if you picked up the tender by the shell, the chassis would fall out.  I would shy from gluing the tender to the chassis, but perhaps Original Poster could wrap some tape inside the shell or find a place to pin or screw  the shell to the chassis.

It looks like it will go with a minimum of work.

EDITORIAL NOTE:  I went upstairs and got out my parts/bashing donor bags and boxes.  It appears that I have more than a few of the stock tenders.  Further, I have several packages of the Gold Medal brass stirrup sheets, thus, I ever I need this particular tender shell and it must have the stirrups, I can replace the stirrups with something from the Gold Medal sheet.

I took a stock tender shell and clipped the stirrups.  It will fit.  The fit is quite loose, so Original Poster must come up with a way to secure the stock shell to the SPECTRUM chassis.  If you are going to leave the shell as is, you must cut down the poles on the stock shell, slightly.  Even then, stock shell is going to sit funny on SPECTRUM chassis.  If Original Poster only wants it for a Christmas Train and is not too touchy about how the shell sits on the chassis, all that he need to is figure out how to secure shell to chassis.

If, however, Original Poster wants a better looking locomotive, he should compare the SPECTRUM shell to the stock shell.  What he will observe is that there is a bar, which represents part of the underframe that would be on the prototype, that is cast onto the stock shell.  On the SPECTRUM tender, the underframe bar is on the chassis.  Thus, for a better appearance, it will be necessary to trim that undeframe bar from the stock shell.  Note that on the stock tender, the chassis fits inside the shell, while on the SPECTRUM, the shell goes onto the chassis.  This can be accomplished with a fresh, sharp eXacto™ blade, a metal straight edge and a VERY HIGH DEGREE OF PATIENCE AND CARE.   Once Original Poster trims the underframe bar from the stock tender shell, said shell will seat properly onto the SPECTRUM chassis.  In addition, Original Poster will need to cut down the poles cast onto the inside of the stock shell even more.  Still, Original Poster must come up with a way to secure the shell to the chassis, as the stock shell sits loosely on the SPECTRUM chassis.
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