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1  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Older Spectrum Passenger Cars Lit? on: January 20, 2018, 03:08:55 PM
I have 10 of the older heavyweight passenger cars. There were not prelit. However, the trucks came pre-wired. Thus, adding lighting is/was a piece of cake. I used LEDs wired in both directions (polarity). Lights stay on in both directions.


2  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Model of a beautiful wooden platform from early 1900s on: January 20, 2018, 07:45:41 AM

Thanks for sharing with us.


3  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Snowplow Project on: January 19, 2018, 08:05:31 AM
No worries, ebt.

I did not remove the smokebox front.  I lifted the whole shell, which was pretty easy as I recall.  I used two 1/2-ounce fishing sinkers.  The sinkers fit easily into the smokebox area. There are headlight wires to be mindful of, but there's enough slack in the wire to work with.  I also shaped some lead and filled the domes, too.  Finally put a small amount of weight under the cab roof.  This greatly improved the pulling power of the Mike.  Also shifted the balance.  The loco is a bit back-heavy when delivered as new. 

The USRA Lights are just too light...  Grin  Once the weight is added, they become really good runners and pullers.


4  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: JINGLE BELL EXPRESS & DCC QUESTIONS on: January 18, 2018, 08:08:46 AM
If it were me, I would buy an 0-6-0 with DCC on board.  Then swap out the shells as you are contemplating.

The locomotive shells can be a challenge to remove, if you've never done it before.

If you decide to do the swap, post again and we can help you with getting the shells switched out.


5  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: What is your locomotive roster? on: January 16, 2018, 06:53:56 PM
Some of us (me included) have WAAAAY too many toys!  Grin

I get the feeling I'll be adding more anyway.


6  Discussion Boards / HO / Split Gear Syndrome on: January 15, 2018, 09:33:46 AM
Decided to open up the trucks on my 44-ton switcher.  In the past, lots of folks have posted about split gears and trouble getting this little locomotive to run well.  Thought I'd get a look for myself.

This is mine:
DSC_1046 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

While it is more noisy than when new, it still runs pretty well. I can't recall exactly, but I think I've had this loco for around 10 years.

To open up the trucks, one can use a flathead, jewelers screwdriver to pop the tab on the bottom plate:

DSC_1038 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

Sure enough, there are little splits along the axle mounts on the gears.  Hope this is a clear-enough photo:

DSC_1033 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

A closer look:

DSC_1041 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

I washed the wheelset with the split gears (whole assembly).  Then, while the axle was inserted, AND with the wheels were properly guaged, I added a drop of CA to each crack and let the CA wick around.

Not really trying to repair the split... Really just adding a stop-gap. I want to prevent the split from getting any larger.  Plus, the CA may also hold the axle in place (no slippage).

I then put it all back together, and ran it around the layout.  Still runs well.  Only time will tell if the CA will prevent the gears from slipping.  So far so good:

DSC_1047 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

On a photography note:

Whenever I use a macro-lens for close-up shots,  the pictures end up grainy.  Dunno why. Perhaps I need a fancier DLSR.


7  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: What is your locomotive roster? on: January 15, 2018, 05:19:34 AM

2 EM-1s
1 USRA 2-6-6-2
2 USRA 4-8-2 Heavy Mountains
2 USRA Light Mikado 2-8-2
6 2-8-0 Connie’s
5 USRA 0-6-0s
1 0-6-0T
1 4-4-0 Standard
1 F-7A
1 F-7B
1 E-7A
2 S-2s
1 F40P
1 Acela (set)
1 44ton switcher
2 H16-44 baby trainmasters

6 Brass locos (steamers)

collection of various locos from Athearn, BLI, Rivarossi, Varney, etc.



8  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Bachmann Spectrum USRA Heavy Mountain 4-8-2 LOCO Question on: January 09, 2018, 12:27:19 PM

It has been a very long time since I worked on my Heavy Mountains.  However, I remember the cab (plastic) is removable from the boiler (metal).  If memory serves, there is some sort of weak glue holding the cab in place. If you are gentle, you should be able to pry off the cab... slooowly.  I don't recall there being a screw that holds the cab on, but I could be wrong about that.

I would recommend taking the boiler off the frame.  You will have to slide the boiler stays out of the smokebox and remove the screw under the cab section.  Refer to the diagram I linked above.

If all that is too much, a good pair of cross-hatch tweezers may provide enough reach to replace the window. 


9  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Snowplow Project on: January 05, 2018, 08:21:28 AM

That is amazing work! 

Will you use a motor with a reduction gear, or another method?



10  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: What decoder is used in the Bachmnn SP Daylight #4449 RAILFAN - GS4 4-8-4? on: December 29, 2017, 05:15:19 PM
Another thought:

JMRI has an “auto detect” feature. At least when using my SPROG it does.

That feature is sporadic in reliability. I’ve had a little luck using it, meaning, I’m not sure how much I trust it.


11  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: maintenance of way (MOW) models on: December 29, 2017, 11:38:29 AM
Well... yes, I have modeled MOW equipment.  I usually run all of the cars at trains shows and the club layout.

Typically, it goes like this:

2 modified Bachmann S2 diesels (sound value).

120 ton crane with boom car (modified flat car).

200 ton crane with another modified flat car.

1 unused modified flat car holding tools, pressurized tanks, ladders and the like.

a couple coal hoppers to feed the cranes.

Scratchbuilt scale tool car to support;

2 scale test cars

A modified bobber caboose.

Sometimes I pull these with a small steamer rather than a diesels.

All these have been modeled after prototypical B&O equipment.  However, I pull all these trains together for fun. Realistically, my train would not look like a typical MOW train.  I just happen to model equipment I've found in photos and I like them.


12  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: What decoder is used in the Bachmnn SP Daylight #4449 RAILFAN - GS4 4-8-4? on: December 29, 2017, 09:32:04 AM

I use JMRI for programming, as well.

Could be wrong, but I would suggest that JMRI has not yet added the GS4 profile to their list, yet.  I can't recall how new this model might be.

You may want to check the JMRI site for an update.  Just off the top of my head...


13  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Merry Christmas! on: December 25, 2017, 01:15:04 PM
Thanks for the awesome shot, Len.

Merry Christmas!


14  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Snowplow Project on: December 23, 2017, 11:39:50 AM
As always, thanks for the comments.

I am thinking of poking around for an oil (or coal) tender to add to this.  No hurry though... may find an old one laying around the club layout.  That's where this car is going.

HA!  I remember how much I loved those puppet shows; supercar & thunderbirds...  I tried watching an episode about a year ago. Funny how time makes the magic wear off some things.  Smiley

I have developed a fondness for MOW rolling stock.  Though I don't try to put together specific trains... Just throw stuff together that I think is cool.


15  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Snowplow Project on: December 23, 2017, 08:28:07 AM
OK... the power resistors and battery connector finally arrived.  Been doing a bit of testing and soldering.

The frame is not metal on this model. I used a penny as a heat sink.  However, the power resistor does not get near as warm as the "regular" resistors, I had previously used:

DSC_0995 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

Here, I panned back to get a shot of the electronics.  Just a bit of insulating and tidying up to complete:

DSC_0992 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

And now, some final shots... Put the snowblower on the front of a train, to run it around, making sure the car tracks alright:

DSC_0996 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

Finally, a couple shots of the motor and headlight switched 'on':

DSC_0998 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

DSC_1000 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

Not gonna prepare a youtube video just to watch a spinning blade, but you get the idea.


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