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4291  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Still run your Old rolling stock? on: April 23, 2009, 11:22:13 PM
the tyco and ahm stuff, like most train set equipment from the 1970s, were truly dismal performers. and yet.....i still have some around. with a little investment to replace the wheelsets and the truck mounted couplers you could make some nice running cars out of them. some of the stuff they had was truly unique, like the 60' hi cube boxcar, or its little brother, the standard height 60' boxcar. ahm had a model of a tie car, sort of a bulkhead flat with a bar cage along the sides. or the 6 dome tank car. all of these i would consider upgrading simply because of their uniqueness.
and back in the days before the bowser cabooses, the old tyco streamlined caboose could be kitbashed into a reasonable model of a pennsylvania N8 class caboose.....

metal wheels and body mounted kadees make a world of difference.
4292  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Big Engines, small curves on: April 23, 2009, 11:12:49 PM
i would not use the snap switches or any other switch with an 118" radius curve as part of a crossover between your two loops. why? well unlike most switches, the curved route maintains that 18" curve all the way from the points to the end of the switch. using two of them in a crossover is like making an 18" radius s curve with no straight between the opposing curves. this is a HUGE mistake as explained in any book on track planning.
no wonder your 2-8-4 has trouble with that crossover.

numbered switches, even #4, have a short section of straight through the frog, and thus avoid the s curve that wreaks havoc on your equipment. any number of switch will be a major improvement, the larger the number the better. but even if you are short on space, using a #4 crossover will use up only slightly more room than what you now have, and you'll like the decrease in derailments that will result.
4293  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Trackplanning on: April 23, 2009, 05:21:01 PM
atlas has a number of layout plans covered in their books, of which previews are available on their web site. they also have a free track planning software you can download and play around with.

http://www.atlasrr.com

i wish bachmann would have a track planner like this for ez track.

that said, i find that i can usually come up with better ideaqs on my own rather than following somebody else's plan. other layouts are nice for inspiration, but there is nothing like designing and building your own.....
4294  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Lighting the Rolling Stock on: April 22, 2009, 09:17:27 PM
i don't know if there is a commercial lighting kit available for this set, but they are not that hard to make yourself. this is especially true if the layout you are running this train on is equipped with dcc.

check the model railroad sites for constant intensity lighting circuits.....

http://www.railserve.com
4295  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Light wiring on: April 22, 2009, 04:50:17 PM
the resistor needed would be determined by the current you want to flow through the light bulb. what is the current rating of the bulb? how about the light function of the decoder? the lowest number of the two will be the determining factor.....

the appropriate formula is ohm's law,
basically voltage = resistance (ohms) x current (amps)
the voltage you would use would be the decoder output minus the bulb voltage.
current rating was covered above.

ohm's law transposed to determine resistance thus becomes:
voltage divided by current = resistance.

4296  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Straighting the curves on: April 22, 2009, 04:42:10 PM
the 18" and 22" curves atlas makes are designed to be as close to 9" as possible and still have a reasonable number of pieces peer circle (12 for the 18", 16 for the 22")......if you are trying to figure out a grade, 9" per section is a reasonable estimate.
4297  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Bachmann decoders not responding to Digitrax controller on: April 22, 2009, 01:13:30 AM
my setup is a 1k ohm resistor soldered to the rails of the programming track, with test leads connecting it to the zephyr. the test leads might be the problem, i will have to try a more permanent connection.

i was unaware of blast mode. since my layout still has the dc block switches, isolating all other locomotives is not a problem, i can simply turn off track power to any section that has a locomotive in it. i purposely left the dc wiring in place for ease of troubleshooting, and as a backup if anything ever happened to the zephyr.
4298  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Controlling Track Power on: April 21, 2009, 06:46:26 PM
atlas makes a series of electrical components to do just what you want to do. there is one called the selector, which also has the provision for a second power pack. using the selector, either of the packs can control any track connected to it. the selectors can also be ganged together to control as many tracks as you wish. instructions are included in the package. atlas also has a wiring book for their components which i think does a much better job of explaining wiring a layout than any of the kalmbach books.
4299  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Bachmann decoders not responding to Digitrax controller on: April 21, 2009, 12:24:52 PM
I tried the 1000 ohm resistor on my programming track with the pr3 and it didn't make any difference.  I used JMRI and also tried the soundloader software on 3 different engines with bachmann decoders.  It would write to them but not read.   I'm going to change them out for digitrax decoders.

Scott

this has certainly been my experience with the dcc onboard locomotives. the 1000 ohm resistor may work sometimes, but it is not reliable. i have not heard of any other workaround. you'd think bachmann would have come up with something but nobody here or anywhere else can tell me anything other than the 1000 ohm resistor.....

i have a friend do all my programming  for me on his nce system. once programmed, the locomotives work fine.....
4300  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: ez command on: April 20, 2009, 11:13:59 PM
are you absolutely sure it is decoder equipped? dcc ready is not the same as having a decoder inside. that buzzing you are hearing sounds to me like a dc locomotive on dcc powered track.
4301  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: train wheeles on: April 19, 2009, 04:56:44 PM
most should be 33. the 100 ton hoppers may use 36, because that's what the real ones use.
4302  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Convert hook and loop to knuckle coupler on: April 17, 2009, 10:02:01 PM
i am assuming that the hook and loop couplers on the hogwarts set are the same ones used on the thomas cars? if so, i don't think that the coupler you  linked to would do the job. however, you may be able to take a standard HO car and add a hook and loop coupler to one end of it. i don't have any of the hogwarts cars to look at but you mentioned they are truck mounted couplers. the thomas cars i have are all body mounts, and it would be difficult to add a knuckle coupler to one of these.

it would also appear that the coupler height on the hook and loop type couplers is not as critical as it is with knuckle couplers, so i would use a standard ho boxcar modified with one of these:
http://store.bachmanntrains.com/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=30

you will have to carefully cut off the original coupler mounting, and drill new screw holes for the hook and loop but with a little patience you could get it to work. we used cars like this with a horn hook on one end and a kadee on the other before knuckle couplers became standard. they come in handy when you need to mix your equipment
4303  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Tracks Ahead on: April 17, 2009, 09:44:39 PM
tracks ahead has been on the air on pbs for many years now. i believe it is sponsored by kalbach publishing (model railroader) and walthers.
4304  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Cheapest Scale/Gauge? on: April 17, 2009, 09:42:21 PM
you can think of it another way. the manufacturer(s) who made the $20 locomotives that lasted an hour is/are no longer making them. they either went out of the train business, or upgraded the quality of their line. put out junk to-day, and you get roasted alive by the serious model railroaders. some companies are still trying to live down the reputation they got 30 years ago.....

in both n and ho, the overall quality of the stuff out there is light years ahead of what it was. knuckle couplers and metal wheels are pretty much standard now, just a few short years ago they were both aftermarket upgrades.....
4305  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Cheapest Scale/Gauge? on: April 17, 2009, 07:56:12 PM
HO used to be the cheapest, but in the past 10 years or so, N scale has them beat.
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