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4351  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Tech Question on: March 15, 2009, 12:30:32 PM
on split frame locomotives, the frame halves must be insulated from each other. on bachmann units this is accomplished by a metal screw thascrews into a plastic housing which is seated in the frame. there is also a plastic washer which fits between the frame halves. if you are shorting, then one of the plastic pieces is probably missing. if it is the washer, you may be able to use fibre washers from kadee as an easily available substitute. if the plastic housing is missing, you'd have to go to bachmann for parts.

if neither of these is missing, then i'd try taking the locomotive apart, and checking the frame halves assembled without any other parts, then each truck. in each case, you shouls read infinite ohms between the sides. not that on a truck you willl read a between the wheels on the same side, as they are normalls in contact with the same rail.
if none of these reads a short, you probably have a bad motor.
4352  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: SW900 Scraping Bottom on: March 15, 2009, 12:52:04 AM
Dear Mark,
I've never seen a Bachmann SW, but I hope the airhose tip works!
Have fun!
the Bach-man

would there be ANY chance of a sw900 or sw1200 from bachmann in the future?
4353  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Tech Question on: March 15, 2009, 12:45:10 AM
say you have 12 volts applied to the track. using a voltmeter you can measure and prove for yourself that the voltage difference between the two rails is 12 volts. the wheel pickups transmit this voltage to the two halves of the frame, with minimal losses. you can thus place the locmotive on the track, and using the same voltmeter, read approximately 12 volts between the two halves of the frame. this is more than enough to light the headlight. the headlight is in parallel with the motor, and we know the voltage difference between the two rails is what causes the motor to spin and move the locomotive.
4354  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: best type of track on: March 14, 2009, 12:06:20 PM
If you’re using dissimilar rail type, I would caution soldering them together at the rail joints, but that is for another thread.

Does this mean different code rails - 70 to 83  or does it mean nickle silver to brass for examples? In addition, do you advocate soldering them together or NOT soldering them together?

no, there is no problem soldering different sizes of rail together that are made of the same metal. just make sure that the tops and inner edges of the rails are aligned.

as for different types of metal, i haven't had any problems with soldering them together brass (which i have used for sidings) and nickle silver. the brass requires cleaning and flux for the solder to work. steel is VERY difficult to solder to, and using flux tends to rust the rail. btw, i only use rosin type flux. the acid flux used to solder pipes is no good for model railroad use.

i have heard that different metals joined together can cause corrosion due to a small electric current between the metals, but this is getting into chemistry and physics here. aluminum was notorious for corrosion when joined to another metal, and aluminum wiring which was used in houses and some diesel locomotives was a known source of fires.
4355  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Sound decoder for GP 35 on: March 14, 2009, 08:12:17 AM
if you do decide to install a sound decoder, the one you are looking for would have sounds for an EMD 567engine with turbo. while not exactly prototype, an EMD 645 with turbo, sometimes called "EMD second generation" is a passable substitute.
4356  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: best type of track on: March 14, 2009, 08:07:13 AM
HO tranis can run reliably on as small as code 55, about half the size of code 100. my dad has been running on code 83 and 70 for over 30 years with no major problems.
4357  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Why doesn't Bachmann have DCC on board early hood units on: March 13, 2009, 09:22:42 PM
they do have an early hood unit, the fairbanks morse h16-44. but it doesn't come with dcc. hardwiring a decoder in one of these is very simple though. i have done 3 so if i could just find one in new haven paint......
4358  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: New layout design on: March 13, 2009, 09:18:58 PM
one thing i would do that i haven't seen anybody else mention is i would add a small yard for your cars. it would go rather well with your turntable and roundhouse
4359  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: best type of track on: March 13, 2009, 09:09:26 PM
if you have the time and patience to do it. handlaid track is the best. but any track you lay is only as good as what you lay it on. the best track in the world will do you no good if you have a weak foundation.

nickle silver rail is better than brass or steel, it ocnducts electricity better, and is much easier to solder to.
4360  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Wiring Question on: March 10, 2009, 11:42:31 AM
wow bob, you think like i do.....

my old layout was designed for dc, and when i converted to dcc i left the dc wiring in place. the block switches were worth their weight in gold because whenever i had a problem i could easily isloate it without shutting the whole railroad down. it flies in the face of all the conventional wisdom about dcc simplifying things, but it is true. dcc often uses blocks, they simply call them power districts.

about the only concession i made to dcc was to eventually rewire the layout using heavier wire, 18 guage replaced 22 guage.

i would also recommend, since dcc is much more finicky about momentary interruptions in power supply, having feeders to the track no more than 6 feet apart. in dcc, redundancy is a good thing.....
4361  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Bachman DCC Decoder Installation on: March 09, 2009, 07:54:35 PM
on the pickups from the trucks. YES!! most locomotives on the market to-day pick up power off both trucks. dcc is alot more sensitive to disruptions of track power, whatever the cause. the power pickups on both trucks was always a good idea, with dcc it is a must!!! while in theory it is possible to run dcc off one truck, in practice one truck pickup will cause you problems eventually.

as for the replacement wheels, they are just that-wheels. athearn wheels have stub axles that the axle gears press fit on. you reuse the athearn axles and simply replace the wheels. it is very simple, twist off the wheels from the axles, twist the new ones back on. the only tool you need is an nmra guage, something you probably already have, and should get if you don't have one.

please note: some older proto2000 and stewart, and walthers diesels use athearn copycat drives, and athearn parts can be used on these engines.
4362  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Disable DC function on DCC engines: on: March 09, 2009, 11:33:52 AM
i don't know how disabling the dc function would make a locomotive run smoother......

on some dcc systems when you power up the layout some decoders will power up the locomotive at full throttle. nothing like a runaway to liven theings up. disabling the dc function prevents this from happening.
4363  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Double Whammy on: March 09, 2009, 11:29:16 AM
i have a couple of spectrums that do the same thing. the squeak isn't in the gearing, it seems to be coming from the motor bearings themselves. i would put just a drop of the labelle oil on each motor bearing. there are two, located where the shft leaves the motor frame, on e on each end.
4364  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Bachman DCC Decoder Installation on: March 09, 2009, 11:23:57 AM
some notes from my experience with older (1975-1995) athearns......

first, it is unnecessary to remove the prongs on the bottom motor clip if you switch the clips. use the top motor clip on the bottom and vice versa. then all you will need to do is cover the bottom clip with electrical tape. i had many athearns so i had a spare clip to keep everything together.

about the motor brushes and springs.... the motor brush is shaped to fit around the spinning part of the motor. getting the brush out of this alignment will detract from the performance of the locomotive, so be very careful of the alignment of the brushes. on some athearns, the top of the brush has a little slot in it so that you can align it with a screwdriver. the slot should be in line with the motor shaft.

athearn wheels are sintered metal. as with the rest of the athearn pickup system, it works well on dc bot is finicky on dcc. you may want to replace the wheels with nickel silver ones from nwsl or jaybee. the pickup from the trucks to the motor uses a metal clip from the top of the motor to the tops of the trucks. don't try to modify the clip. solder directly to the contact bars on the top of the trucks. the trucks also use the pivot point on the frame and a hole in the truck bolster for the other side of the circuit. this pivot point is another weak link in the circuit when using dcc. you may want to bypass it by soldering directly to the metal plate in the truck that picks up power off the wheel bearings.

note that athearn's electrical contacts in the trucks are of a metal which is not easy to solder to. before attempting to do this, completely disassemble the trucks and use a couple of alligator clips as heat sinks so that you don't melt the plastic parts of the truck. an alternate method would be to drill and tap those contact plates to accept a small brass screw, and solder your wires directly to the screw.

as far as adjusting cv's goes. if your decoder supports speed tables, you can tweak those to get your locomotives to run together. i did mine by timing the locomotives over a 6 foot (2 lengths of flex track) section with a stop watch, calculating the speed difference as a percentage, then adjusting the speed table of the faster locomotive by that percentage. you always want to match your locomotives to the slowest one that you intend to use in a consist.

the athearn dcc conversion isn't the easiest if you want good reliable performance. but if you have the time and patience, you can make a decent  dcc locomotive out of them.
4365  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: zephyr on: March 08, 2009, 06:10:01 PM
i have seen the zephyr advertised in a number of places for around $150.

unless your locomotives are dcc equipped, you'll want to pick up a couple of decoders as well.

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