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Author Topic: BACHMANN Spectrum 2 8 0 Loco N scale Loco - 81772  (Read 4581 times)

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« on: December 08, 2009, 11:15:56 PM »

I'm new to Bachmann Steam Locos and was just wondering if this model has all wheel pickup and drive to that it negotiates plastic insulated frogs.  Does it have traction tires?

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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2009, 11:09:04 AM »

The Bachmann SPECTRUM 2-8-0 has all drivers live on the locomotive and all wheels live on the tender.  One driver pair has traction tyres. 

This is one of the best pulling N scale steam locomotives out there.

Sometimes, the stiff wires in the drawbar do not make proper contact with the contact post on the underside of the locomotive, right underneath the cab.  To correct this, bend in the ends of the stiff wires.

This locomotive requires a long break in time.

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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2009, 04:48:41 PM »

Thanks for your reply. Are there any comparable locomotives without the traction tires?  I was looking at the 4-8-2 but I think it is a bit long for my layout.

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« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2009, 08:47:24 AM »

There are N scale steam locomotives out there that lack the traction tyres.  The problem with the lack of traction tyres is that the things will not pull very much.

Bachmann sells two 4-8-2s in N scale:  a USRA heavy and a USRA light. 

Earlier issues of the USRA light 4-8-2 had a traction tyre problem that severely compromised the pulling power.  It seemed that the tyred driver pair was not making proper contact with the rails.  A shim addressed the problem.  My understanding is that Bachpersonn corrected the problem in subsequent issues.

The USRA heavy 4-8-2 is a winner.  It is a good runner, a pretty good puller and comes with a smart decoder, so that you can operate it on DC or DCC.  They have traction tyres, but the all wheels live tender and the other live drivers provide enough electrical contact.

There have been, of late, several nicely running large steam locomotives that lack traction tyres.  The Life-Like/Walthers Van Sweringen 2-8-4, the LL/WKW USRA 2-8-8-2 and the B-mann USRA 2-6-6-2 amoung them.  They are all anemic pullers.  Supposedly, WKW has re-issued the USRA 2-8-8-2 with the tyres, and it is supposed to be  pretty good puller.

Those are the larger locomotives.  If you want the smaller or average sized steam without the traction tyres, there are some out there.

Model Power sells a very late nineteenth century/early twentieth century 4-4-0.  It runs very nicely.  The pulling power is anemic, but what do you want from a 4-4-0?  It is a 'modern' eight wheeler.  Its weaknesses are the 1970s construction methods:  the tender has only half the wheels live and contact wipers provide the electrical transmission.

Supposedly, the initial issues of the MP 2-6-0 also lacked traction tyres.  I have never seen one without them.  It suffers from the same weaknesses that does MP's eight wheeler.

MP sells USRA light 4-6-2s and 2-8-2s.  There are versions with and without traction tyres.  I have never seen any with the  tyres, but, supposedly, they are out there.  They are probably the best pullers of the steam that lacks tyres, but they are still not the best pullers.  Like the eight wheeler and mogul, they run very nicely, but they do suffer from the 1970s construction methods.

The initial issues of the Kato USRA heavy 2-8-2 lacked traction tyres.  The Kato mikado has been the standard against  which many still measure all N scale steam.  Without the traction tyre, it, too, is not the best puller.

The MPs and the Kato might be more like what you had in mind for size, if you must have no traction tyres.  One thing that does improve the performance of the MPs is swapping out the stock tender for an all wheels live tender.  Bachmann does sell the USRA Standard tenders separately as part of its SPECTRUM line.  They are all wheels live and have needlepoint axle pickup, which is the current standardof manufacturing.  This requires  a bit of work, but it is not difficult.  Some have found the USRA switcher tender more appropriate for the MP eight wheeler and  mogul, which B-personn also sells as part of its SPECTRUM line.

Also worth considering are the Athearn nineteenth century 2-6-0 and 2-8-0.  These have traction tyres and the motors are in the tenders.  A driveshaft connects the motor to the locomotive.  These are probably the best operating out-of-the box steam in N scale.  The same has been said about Athearn's challenger and big boy, but I can not agree/disagree, as I do not have either of those.  These are copies of the old MDC releases that are based on 1880s prototypes.  Athearn sells them in color schemes appropriate to that era, as well as those more appropriate to the 1870s and 1860s.  If you see the old MDCs at a show, you are safe buying them.  Athearn did make some improvements to the MDCs.  They added MicroTrains couplers fore and aft and Athearn's paint schemes are nicer.

I may have left out one or two items, inadvertently.


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« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2009, 03:02:26 AM »

This locomotive requires a long break in time.

How long? I just got two of 'em. They look real good, I'm hopefull they will do well. But as of the break in not so much.


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« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2009, 09:32:10 AM »

Mine have required  a minimum of three hours.  I spent six hours breaking in one.  It will creep at a steady ten SMPH on straight DC, five on a MRC 2500.  It is not necessary to do all of the breaking in at one sitting; in fact, it may be better not to, lest the motor overheat from constant running, especially if you are using a pack that has pulses at the lower speeds.

I do not use DCC.  I usually use an MRC 2400 when I break in locomotives.  It has an ON-OFF pulse switch, so I turn it OFF.

A well broken in SPECTRUM 2-8-0 can creep every bit as well as the Kato 2-8-2.  The B-mann is a better puller and looks every bit as good.  The difference is that the Kato has consistent performance across the board, while the Bachpersonn does show some variance in performance specific model-to-model. 

One thing that is consistent about the B-mann is that it consistently has better contact than does the Kato.   A Kato will stall from time to time, while the B-mann rarely stalls.  This is, of course, after you make the adjustment in the stiff wires at the locomotive end of the drawbar.  Out of the box, the stiff wires at the locomotive end of the drawbar, on the B-personn, do not always make proper contact with the contact pole on the locomotive.  It is easy to correct this problem.  Simple separate the tender from the locomotive.  Pinch in the stiff wires at the locomotive end of the drawbar, reassemble and put onto track.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2009, 09:39:49 AM by brokemoto » Logged
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