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1  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: DCC train set on: April 24, 2018, 09:46:48 PM
The switch motors will work on either AC or DC. Traditionally, they are wired to the AC terminals of a power pack, but if you have one with constant DC terminals you can use them as well. The important thing is to NOT use the variable DC terminals.
2  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Bachman HO DCC onboard locomotive on: April 16, 2018, 08:39:48 PM
most likely whoever owned it before turned off analog conversion. If you have a dcc system you can turn off the ability to run on straight dc. I often do this with mine because sometimes a momentary short on DCC will trick the decoder into thinking it is running on DC track. Since DCC has full power on the rails at all times, this results in the locomotive taking off at full speed with no ability to control it. Disabling analog conversion will prevent this from happening.

If this is the case, you have two options.

1. find somebody who has a DCC system and ask them to enable the analog feature. You will be able to run on DC, but it will take about half throttle before the locomotive begins to move.

2. remove the decoder altogether. If the decoder is a plug in type, there should be a dummy plug in the box that you can plug into the receptacle in place of the decoder. If the decoder is hard wired, you'll have to rewire the locomotive.
3  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Movie train production on: April 15, 2018, 06:16:06 PM
What about this one, Unstoppable.....


Locomotives were borrowed from several sources. The runaway used two AC4400CWs from Canadian Pacific. There were two sets of these, painted identically down to the road numbers. The blue SD40-2 Denzell Washington ran was one of three borrowed from Wheeling and Lake Erie. The two grey locomotives that rolled over and caught fire are the last SD40-2s built, in 1986, for Mexico. At the time of the filming, they were owned by W&LE but not yet repainted from the grey paint they wore in Mexico. Last, the locomotive that pulled the excursion train full of school children was a GP11 borrowed from Allegheny Valley that they bought from Illinois Central. Most of the scenes in the movie are locations within 150 miles of Pittsburgh, including the bridge at Stanton (Bellaire, OH) the site of the rollover accident (Emporium, PA) the main yard at Brewster (Rook, PA though W&LE has a yard in Brewster, OH) and the location where they finally stopped the runaway (Martins Ferry, OH)
4  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: My Engine can only pull 2 car up hill? on: March 31, 2018, 01:19:32 PM
The Bachmann FT hasn't used traction tires in many years. As a matter of fact, traction tires on one of these is a good sign there is a cheap pancake motor drive inside that only powers one truck. I stay away from those. What you have is a much, much better engine.

I agree with the others, your grade is way too steep. The Bachmann trestle set has been calculated to give a grade of between 5 and 6 percent. I don't have figures for those grades, but I do know that on a 4 percent grade your locomotive will pull about 1/6 what it will on level track. Your grade is steeper, so your pulling power is even less.
5  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Buchmann EMD GP 7 on: March 21, 2018, 09:04:04 PM
Don't know much about the n scale gp7s, but when I got my HO gp7 a few years back, it would pull 12 cars up a 4% grade through 18r curves. The only problems I had with it were derailments due to the bolster screws being too tight. After I loosened them, it ran fine.
6  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: 2 EZ Commands? on: March 17, 2018, 09:38:33 PM
Maletrain is mostly right about EZ app. But the description of EZ App vs other "Bluetooth" control is a little confusing.

On DCC the command signals to the locomotives pass through the rails and are thus susceptable to dirty track. The "bluetooth" control  these systems use merely passes a control signal from your cell phone to a command station which then puts that signal on the rails for your locomotive to read. Thus, it is not REALLY bluetooth control at all.

EZ App sends those control signals directly to the locomotive via bluetooth. The control signals do not pass through the rails and are thus less susceptable to corruption and degradation due to dirty track or loss of contact. An EZ APp locomotive will still draw its power from the rails, but since  the control signal is not passed through the track it should be more tolerant of dirty track.

EZ App was developed in a partnership with Blue Rail Trains, who offer bluetooth boards that can be added to any locomotive that is DCC ready. They also sell conversion kits to run locomotives off battery power, which could have some really interesting applications.
7  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Insulated joint and gaps on: March 17, 2018, 09:25:46 PM
Most switches come with the frogs already insulated. On some, the frogs are plastic which itself acts as an insulator. Others use a metal frog which is insulated from the surrounding rails. There is often a provision for metal frogs to be powered in some way if you desire. This is accomplished by a set of contacts that throw at the same time as the switch itself. the contacts may be built into the switch itself, or use an external relay that is wired in parallel with the switch motor.

The advantage of a powered frog is that the locomotives  with short wheelbases that tend to stall on plastic frogs will run smoothly through a powered frog.

I know some of the HO EZ track switches have frogs that are powered internally, but don't know which ones off hand. Likewise all HO Atlas custom line switches have a metal frog that can be powered by an external relay.

8  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: recommended 8 pin decoder for s2/s4 dcc ready locomotives on: March 17, 2018, 06:02:15 PM
Almost any decoder manufacturer offers them with 8 pin plugs. I've had good luck with Digitrax DH153/165 series decoders. They are reasonable priced, and have back EMF which acts as a sort of cruise control and enhances low speed operation. The real S2/S4 locomotives were speed restricted to about 40 mph due to their trucks, so good low speed operation is what you want.
9  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: bus wiring on: March 17, 2018, 05:57:19 PM
Don't let it overwhelm you. We were all beginners once. And no matter what anybody tells you, this hobby is way too big for one person to completely master. Just concentrate on learning the basics you need to get things up and running. Once you do that, you can concentrate your energy and money on what interests you most.
10  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: 2 EZ Commands? on: March 17, 2018, 08:17:39 AM
Re: crossing the gap between sections powered by different EZ commands. As alluded to, this could cause a short. I'd like to amend that to it WILL cause a short. The DCC waveform is a form of AC. The "polarity" is constantly changing. Unless the waveforms of the two command stations are perfectly in phase, which is highly unlikely, they WILL short.

There is another way to run two trains that I haven't seen mentioned here. EZ App trains will run off the power supplied by the EZ command, but are controlled by Bluetooth. You could run one train with EZ command on DCC, and another on EZ App by your cell phone or tablet.
11  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: bus wiring on: March 16, 2018, 08:20:04 PM
As a general rule. the DCC bus is a larger wire size, maybe 12-14 guage, than the feeders, 18 guage or smaller. If you are soldering the feeder wires to the rail, you will find the larger guage bus wires may be larger than the rail itself, especially in N scale. At any rate, soldered feeders with large guage wire will look out of place, and the smaller guage will be less obvious.
12  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: 2 EZ Commands? on: March 15, 2018, 09:33:26 PM
Yes, you can do that. Be sure to maintain the polarity of the rails when you connect the power cables between the rerailers. Otherwise you will get a short and possibly damage your command center. If you understand how to use a muilimeter, you can use it to test the wiring BEFORE you power anything up.
13  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: About this layout on: March 14, 2018, 08:25:51 PM
mrmel, please disregard the part of bbmiroku's post about one pack running multiple trains. You got some bad info there.

The layout as shown is designed for running two trains independently using traditional dc control. To do this, you need two separate power packs, one for each train.  The track is divided into electrically isolated blocks, and enough of them are provided in the plan that you can have two trains running the outer loop at the same time.

On dc, each block can be connected to only one power pack at a time. This is accomplished through the use of electrical switches, which are usually SPDT with a center off position so that power can be killed to any block if necessary. throw the switch one way, and power pack A controls the train, throw it the other way and pack B is in control. Because anything in a particular block is controlled by whichever pack is connected to it, you will want to have only one train in any given block at a time. To run two trains in a given loop, you will need at least three blocks, one for each train and one that is vacant. As your trains move around the layout, train one will move into the vacant block, leaving an empty block behind it. Train two then moves into this block, leaving a vacant block for train one behind it, and so on. As you run the trains, you will be flipping the block switches between pack A and B and vice versa depending on which train is where. It sounds more complicated than it is.

The plan also recommends cutting gaps in both rails to isolate the blocks. This is unnecessary. As long as all gaps are in the same rail (outer or inner, it doesn't matter) you can use the other rail as a common return. This is called common rail wiring, and is greatly simplifies things. The common rail is connected directly to BOTH power packs, the gapped rail is connected to the block switches, one switch per block.

The link below illustrates the common rail wiring better than i can describe it.
14  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: February 22, 2018, 11:01:30 AM
A couple of comments here:

First regarding the water colour. Model Railroader likes to paint the centers pf their bodies of water black. To me this is unrealistic. I live within spitting distance of several large rivers, and most of the time these are either a murky green as Len has described, or a muddy brown. I would experiment with the colour starting with an olive green shade and add various combinations of greens and lighter browns until you find something that looks right.

With regards to the backing to uncouple, this is entirely prototypical. Having worked in both the railroad and trucking industries, i can tell you that you can't release the couplings if they are under tension. With railroad couplers, you need to put some slack in the couplings, but not too much or theknuckles won't swing open when you pull the cut lever.

Kadee really hit on something all those years ago when they first made the magnetic knuckle coupler. Not only do they look like the real thing, they operate the same. They became the modeller's choice, and when the patents expired others were quick to offer their own versions as well. Better yet, manufacturers started using thses designs as their defaault coupler. To me, that, and the upgrading of the drives in the locomotives, are the two biggest advances in model railroading in recent times.

15  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Do other companies locomotives run with Bachmann Controllers? on: February 16, 2018, 10:55:45 PM
You should be able to run any locomotive equipped with a DCC decoder. If your Kato is not equipped you'll have to convert it yourself. Most of the time it is as simple as plugging a decoder into a socket, but not always.
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