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Author Topic: New DCC Locomotive  (Read 4050 times)
Darpa_knows

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« on: January 22, 2010, 12:33:33 PM »

My son received a HO scale Bachmann DCC commander set with the Union Pacific GP40 DCC locomotive for Christmas. From 1st use, the loco has made a fairly load buzzing/humming sound (much like a noisy transformer) when power is applied. Our Hobby shop ordered a replacement GP40, but it was actually noisier, so we kept the original. My son has a Bachmann DC SD40-2 (which we run simutaneously on channel 10) which is very quiet and produces little to no noise, especially compared to the GP40. Is this normal for Bachmann DCC locomotives? My son would like to buy one more DCC loco, but I'm hesitant to let him purchase another Bachmann.

Thanks,

Darp
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ABC
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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2010, 04:19:44 PM »

Typically it is the analog DC locos that make a buzzing noise when running on DCC or digital layouts.  I've never experienced any problems with my DCC locos being noisy or buzzing. Is it possible that you got somehow got the locos confused or incorrectly identified the source? Or you just had really bad luck with those 2 locos.
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Darpa_knows

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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2010, 06:05:48 PM »

It is the Bachmann DCC GP40 (Union Pacific logo) that is the noisy one. It is the loco that came with the DCC digital commander set. The Bachmann SD40-2 is a DC loco that he had before receiving the DCC set for Christmas. He used to use the SD40-2 on an old Life Like track. From your comment it sounds like the DCC loco should not be making the noise. Is there any way the DCC controller could be causing the problem? It has to be connected correctly, since there is only the red wire to connect to the terminal track. Like I stated earlier, the DCC GP40 has made the noise from the 1st time we used it.

Thanks,

Darp
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orangeman

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« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2010, 07:49:58 PM »

I have the same set which I recently purchased for the grandchildren when they come visit. I haven't had a train set before but I haven't noticed any unusual loud humming noise. But there is a little hum when just starting the loco at very low speed.

BTW, my local train hobby shop recommended I set up my layout on a ping-pong table which is 5' x 9'. That way you can accommodate the 22" curve track which they say is necessary for passenger cars.

This same hobby shop said there was "free" computer programs on the net that allows you to design your own layout. Your son might have fun with that. The one I found was by anyrail and has several track systems in their program including the Bachmann EZ track which comes with the set we both have. They limit you to 50 pieces out at any given time. If you want more, then buying the program is not that outrageous given the overall cost of this hobby<g>. But beware that these computer programs are very exact and that there is a little fudge and wiggle room when assembling a layout. This was pointed out recently to me by the author of Bachmann's HO layout booklet.

I recently ordered some more track to expand my setup. I found the best prices and inventory at trainsetsonly.com. I ordered from them and received the shipment 3 days later!!  Having said that, a friend recommended e-bay. I checked and there were even better deals there but not one source that had everything I wanted. In the interest of time and convenience i went with trainssetsonly.com. Be careful on websites. I found a really great deal on one website but there was no street address or telephone # given if there were problems. Forget it.

One dilemma I had was the DCC controller not supporting any remote turnouts (44561 and 44562). So I went to e-bay and found a HO power pack reasonably priced.

Since I have a wood shop in the basement I have constructed a fire house and and loco maintenance facility. I used "Model Builder" to print out some siding (with windows and utilities) and roofing on matte photo paper which I attached with spray adhesive. Had some trouble with Model Builder at first but they are very accommodating in helping via e-mail and phone.

Good luck.





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Cody J


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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2010, 10:11:19 PM »

As Orangeman had said about the track planning software: I use Right Track Freeware from Atlas.

http://www.atlasrr.com/righttrack.htm
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CSX Mt. Storm Subdivision- Freemont, West Virginia

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Darpa_knows

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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2010, 11:42:21 PM »

Thanks for all the feedback. I'll checkout the layout programs. We're sticking with a 4'x8' for the 1st layout and plan to keep it simple, but we'll probably expand or remake into a larger one later.

As for the Bachmann GP40 DCC loco: My hobby retailer again swapped it out for a new one (thought maybe 3rd time would be the charm) but this one also has a fairly loud hum. While we were there, my son found an Athearn GP40X on sale which we bought, along with a Digitrax decoder. The new Athearn is very quiet, especially compared to the Bachmann. I'll be hesitant to buy another Bachmann DCC ready loco in the future.

Darp
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BestSnowman


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« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2010, 11:47:40 PM »

The noise is most likely coming from the decoder in the GP40, they generally quite down a little after being broken in but some of the noise will stay the same. I've got two of them myself and my dad has one and they all generate the same noise at varying levels.

The only way to really get rid of it is to replace the decoder with a non-Bachmann decoder though I wouldn't suggest that a beginner do it however since you'd have to take out the whole lightboard and either find a replacement or hardwire everything. That said if you can live with the noise, there is likely not anything wrong with it.

It appears that this problem is bigger on the lightboards with built in decoders than the non-lightboard decoders.
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-Matthew Newman
My Layout Blog
ABC
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« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2010, 11:58:15 PM »

Why don't you try breaking it in thoroughly. Also, the DCC locos with the decoder built in to the board are not representative of all Bachmann HO locos. In my experiences, they had nothing but quality products. However, the loco you have is an entry level locomotive and is only worth about $30. If you buy a Bachmann Spectrum loco you will not be disappointed, they are very smooth and quiet.
If you don't mind, how much did you pay for the Athearn GP40X that you bought with the Digitrax decoder? Comparatively, if you go on ebay and shop from "The Favorite Spot" (with whom I've had nothing but good experiences) you'll find great deals. They have Spectrum steam locomotives for under $40, and Spectrum diesels for under $30 at auction.
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Darpa_knows

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« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2010, 01:11:20 AM »

Best and ABC,

Thanks for all of the valuable info. My son likes the Bachmann GP40 and we will continue to use it as is. I'm glad you were able to let me know that the hum is normal. I do realize that it is a lower end item.

The Athearn GP40X was a clearance item priced at $45, the Digitrax decoder was $25 (after using a store coupon). If you have any recommendations for reliable web vendors I would appreciate it.

Darp
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ABC
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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2010, 01:43:29 AM »

Here check this link out. This dealer is always selling tons of Bachmann HO trains...
http://stores.ebay.com/THE-FAVORITE-SPOT_HO-SCALE-TRAINS_W0QQ_fsubZ2QQ_sidZ13534603QQ_stickyZ1QQ_trksidZp4634Q2ec0Q2em14?_sop=1&_sc=1
And "buy it now" items
http://stores.ebay.com/THE-FAVORITE-SPOT_HO-SCALE-TRAINS_W0QQLHQ5fBINZ1QQ_fsubZ2QQ_scZ1QQ_sidZ13534603QQ_sopZ1QQ_trksidZp4634Q2ec0Q2em309
If you look, for less than $70 you can get 2 Bachmann Spectrum locos (with DCC on board).
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Dannyboy


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« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2010, 08:20:04 PM »

 Huh?  eBay is no deal for track; at least not for Lionel fastrack. By the time you add their freight charges you're above retail in many cases. I've found a number of better resources such as wholesaletrains.com and modeltrainstuff.com.

My local dealer gives 20% off every day on Lionel track, and I bought my On30 track from him too at a discount.  Try 'em....Google "New York Central Toys and Trains"...good guys!
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