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| | |-+  Help Need HO Scale Steam Locomotive that steams and whistles
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Author Topic: Help Need HO Scale Steam Locomotive that steams and whistles  (Read 64557 times)
Woody Elmore

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« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2014, 08:05:30 AM »

I think that Martha should think about how to keep the track clean because that smoke oil does leave a residue.

I wish her luck with her Christmas layout (Christmas? I just put away the 4th of July bunting I display on my front deck!)
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Doneldon

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« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2014, 07:20:46 PM »

Martha-

I'm delighted to hear that you ordered a 2-6-2 and are excited about receiving it. The 2-6-2, or "Prairie" locomotive is my favorite, with the 2-8-2 "Mikado" a close second. The Prairie was, in some ways, an unfortunate design. It was immensely popular because it was one of the first locomotives with both a pilot truck (the first 2) and a trailing or pony truck (the last 2). Prairies did good work with both freight and passenger trains, meaning they could pull hard and they could pull fast. The front truck allowed the loco to track smoothly, making for a comfortable ride and reduced damage to both loco and track; the rear truck allowed a larger firebox which meant more heat which meant more steam which meant more power. The unfortunate part was timing. Steam locomotive engineering (design, not operation) made several rapid advances just as Prairies were being put out. This was the shift to the so-called "super steam" era and it meant that Prairies popularity and versatility were quickly overshadowed. They continued to run for decades, but only in local service, on branch lines and on smaller railroads.

Still, you'll have a handsome and versatile steamer. The front coupler on the Bachmann Prairie is for looks only but that shouldn't be a problem for the railroad you're running. Enjoy your new motive power!

Regarding the scented oil for the smoker: I'm already on record as strongly discouraging you from using the smoker so I won't go into that big explanation, but I will say that I don't think scented oil will work in the smoke unit. The reason is that scented oil is formulated not to produce visible smoke. Thus, you may get the scent but there won't be anything to see. The smoke is pretty wispy, at best, and even then only when the locomotive is running at high speed (equals high voltage). Smoke fluid is a mixture of mineral oil and glycerin which is why there is a visible vapor. I suppose you could try to blend in a little scented lamp oil (this has kerosene which is more flammable than smoke fluid) but I urge you to generate your olfactory effects with an appliance designed for that purpose. Scented oil in the loco's smoker might be a fire hazard.

Now, sound. You don't ant the Modeltronics item you mentioned because the "Stack Talk" you mentioned is the name of a product line, not a sound generator. The item you described is actually a locomotive light circuit which is part of the Stack Talk line. I'm not familiar with the steam train music module so I can't comment on it. On the other hand, the MRC Sound Station is an excellent product and the current eBay prices are truly excellent. I believe you will be happiest with this, even though it will cost more than $10 or $15. A low-price alternative to the MRC 312 would be one of the battery-powered New Brite train stations (most or all are Christmassy). They are available on eBay for not a whole lot. (See     http://www.ebay.com/itm/111440492161?_trksid=p2060778.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT     for example at about $18 if no one else bids.) My last idea is a good one but I don't know if it's still a possibility. Several years ago I purchased a half dozen little sound gizmos which made whistle, bell, chug-chug and "All aboard!" sounds. They were hand held and cost about $5.95. I found them at a sort-of train store, meaning it was geared to the Thomas the Tank Engine set much, much more than serious model railroaders. I don't know if these things are still around. I haven't seen them for quite some time but then I haven't been on the lookout for them, either.

As for the shimmying and irregular performance, I'll bet you have one or more of three problems. One, your rails might not be tightly connected, especially if the track sections have been assembled and disassembled several times. Rail joiners can get a little loose and sometimes a rail is on top of a joiner, not actually in it. The fix is to double check track joints and section alignment. You might need to replace loose rail joiners (tightening them has never worked for me) and/or add a tiny bit of conductive lube in the rail joiners. Two, your track and/or pick-up wheels might be dirty or oxidized. This is especially likely to be a problem if you have brass rail as brass oxidizes easily and the oxide is non-conductive, but any rails or wheels can get dirty. Clean the parts with a track cleaning eraser (cheap at any hobby shop), Wahl Clipper Oil or denatured alcohol. You can discourage new oxidation and dirt by putting a tiny (as in about one-tenth as much as you think is way, way too little to make a difference) bit of Wahl Oil or Conduct-A-Lube on your rails and wheels, after cleaning. Third, and last, you might find it helpful to add several additional track feeders but I would try the mechanical and cleaning activities first. At any rate, you should have at least somewhat better experience with the Prairie than your dirty diesel. (Sorry. My bias is showing.) I'm pretty sure it has a flywheel, which makes for smoother operation and fewer problems with electrical continuity, and a longer wheelbase than a diesel so it might be able to "bridge" the occasional dirty or dead spot.

Well, I've talked to you more today than to my wife (well, she's out of town with her dragon boat team so I haven't talked to her at all yet) so I'll finish up. I hope I've helped with the issues you mentioned in your most recent post.
                                                                                                         -- D
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Martha


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« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2014, 08:31:20 PM »

Thanks for all the advice. Once I get my new "baby" home and the layout dragged out, cleaned up and try it out (mechanically) then I will try the oil. If I have to run it at high speed, I doubt I will be able to use it. Seems the diesel if run at sorta high speed derailed, flew off the layout on to the middle of my living room floor. after hours of messing with it to get it back to working order, I don't go too fast with it. I am pretty sure I have the radius's too tight. Any how, once it try this Steam loco out I will know whether or not I purchased the right loco. My gut feeling is I have. Sound. the MRC is creeping way up there and not feasible for me or my layout to pay that much. The small battery operated hand held makes 4 different steam loco sounds looks more like it. Then again. for the few times I will actually use sound. I could just record it on a tape recorder and play it when I want sound. My problem is control! I get these ideas in my head and run with them. The only person I am doing this for is ME. It's nice to have people oh and ahh over it but in reality it's for me. I don't need a fifty dollar sound system or a new Dcc or what ever they are now called controllers. I have the old fashion turn it this way forward and that way backwards. Now if I had a larger home and a room dedicated to this....... yeah I'd be addicted to it. This is what I'd be going for! LOL http://www.miniatur-wunderland.com/exhibit/video/4-minutes-wunderland/ now this is some serious model railroading in my opinion.
I am going to do all the suggestions with the track. I did buy new railer's last year but not sure if I used them on all the track. I also think stuff had accumulated on the track as I kept adding more "stuff" to the village. I tried to clean it, but can't reach all the track where I finally had it set up. So I now know more than I did last year and can't wait to dive into it.
Doneldon I had to laugh your comment about talking more to me than wife. Dragon Boat races, never actually did them but did cheer on my co-workers at the time, in Laughlin, NV. I will take into advisement all your have said about the oil, no scented oil, I think it would be novel to see a whiff of smoke come out of it from time to time.
Will keep you all up to date as things progress at Jamestown. oh my "baby" has been shipped, in Wisconsin right now and should be here early part of next week!
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Martha


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« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2014, 12:05:28 AM »

My "baby" arrived today! She's beautiful, well not sure if it's a he or she. But something that pretty must be the female gender. This steam loco compared to that old diesel is like night and day. I am so surprised how quiet it is. I am having track problems, but several things are probably to blame, been stored for months, track needs to be clean. joiners tightened or replaced. I tried the oil but since it derails more often than stayed on the track today, I just gave up on it. No sense trying when I know the track needs work. Sorry to say the whole layout frame work came apart and now I have two sections. Top and bottom to put back together. That's okay. There were things I wanted to redo anyhow so made it easy since it all fell apart. Doesn't speak well of my construction capabilities! I guess I have to figure out how to attach the stiff foam top part to the wood supporting it. I used dry wall screws but they just pulled thru. any suggestions?
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jbrock27

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« Reply #19 on: August 24, 2014, 08:14:59 AM »

Martha, your foam, is it the white kind that when you break it, leaves little white "beads" around?  The best way to secure it to the wood is to use an adhesive meant for foamboard that comes in a tube and is applied using a caulkng gun, but something tells me that you likely don't have a caulking gun available to you.  If not, you may be able to use a white glue like Elmers or Tacky glue that can be found at craft stores.  The other possibility might be Elmers Wood glue.  Do you have any scrap pieces you could try first?

Some more thoughts on the track aside from the joiners I mentioned earlier-is it possible the places you are having derailment issues are from not having the track properly connected together where 2 sections meet?  What I mean is particularly where curves meet straights.  Are you trying to make curves too tight and therefore each rail is not joined squarely and this is creating abnormal angles where the 4 rails (2 on each section of track) meet?  When this happens, the outside rail shows it the most and there is a gap between it and the rail it is supposed to be joined against, as well as an unnatural "angle" being created there. 
Sorry if you answered or provided this before, but what radius curves are you using? Re: WAHL clipper oil on the rails-this can be used to clean the rails as well as keeping them clean.  I used a makeup Q-tip with some oil on it to clean the rails. I run the wet Q-tip on the rail head and use each side of the Q-tip till it's black.  You will need a few Q-tips on hand.

I watched your other YouTube videos-very nice family!  I can understand why you miss them.  I have some familiarity with Upstate NY.
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rogertra


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« Reply #20 on: August 24, 2014, 10:29:31 AM »

Martha, your foam, is it the white kind that when you break it, leaves little white "beads" around?  The best way to secure it to the wood is to use an adhesive meant for foamboard that comes in a tube and is applied using a caulkng gun, but something tells me that you likely don't have a caulking gun available to you.  If not, you may be able to use a white glue like Elmers or Tacky glue that can be found at craft stores.  The other possibility might be Elmers Wood glue.  Do you have any scrap pieces you could try first?


If the foam being used is the white kind that crumbles into little white ball then do NOT use it!!!  It's the worst possible kind of foam to use as it has little to no structural strength.

Any of the numerous magazine articles and on line videos about using foam for model railroads will tell you to use the hard pink or blue extruded foam insulation board, preferable two inches thick or thicker.  Personally, I don't use it as it's only fire rated to be used as wall insulation behind drywall and is not fire rated for use in the open, no matter how popular it is for model railroad construction.



Cheers

Roger T.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2014, 11:21:52 PM by rogertra » Logged

jbrock27

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« Reply #21 on: August 24, 2014, 12:50:20 PM »

I don't disagree w/you Roger when it comes from starting from scratch, but have you watched Martha's video of her layout?  If this is the kind of foam she has, she has already used it as the base to set up her Christmas layout.  I don't think she is trying to dismantle it and start over, just make some adjustments/improvements to what she has accomplished so far.
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Doneldon

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« Reply #22 on: August 24, 2014, 10:24:07 PM »

Martha-

Like the other posters, I can't endorse the white Styrofoam. However, it's not worth rebuilding everything just to get rid of it. If you feel you need greater structural strength, just glue it to a piece of two-inch pink or blue foam, or a piece of five-eighths-inch plywood. (Get the cheapest you can find as it won't show. Avoid particle board but OSB is fine.) If the layout is smaller than 4'x8' you can get away with half-inch sheet goods.

You can find a few kinds of adhesive caulk in squeeze tubes which don't require a caulking gun. The material is more expensive this way but it allows you to avoid buying a specialized tool like a caulking gun. On the other hand, most home centers sell a couple of kinds of caulking gun, at least one of which is bound to be a cheapie. I've seen them for as little as 88 cents which will allow you to buy gun size tubes at a price that makes tossing the gun out economical.

Let us know if you want some ideas and material suggestions for transforming your shiny new Prairie into a cheery Christmas locomotive. It's not hard to do.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      -- D
« Last Edit: August 27, 2014, 10:57:43 PM by Doneldon » Logged
Martha


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« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2014, 11:25:26 PM »

I should had been more descriptive in the foam category. It is 1" extruded foam. The pink panther kind. It's really nice stuff. I used it for them platform and for ice mountain and the train tunnel and the big mountain things I built to go on the platform. It is foam and I didn't think about gluing it on. The wood frame work is 1 by, not for sure 1 by 1.5 or 1 by 1. basic soft wood cheapo wood. I did buy glue to use with this type of foam to glue down some things. Not all glues work well with foam and the last thing I wanted was "melting" foam. Seen it happen with my foam fishing bobbers any how. I will use the glue I have and I already know I need to buy more 1 by wood and this time I think I will spend the extra and get oak. That cheap crap that is bent,  buckled and as straight as Route 66 on the backside of Oatman, AZ. isn't' worth the few bucks it cost. Oak will give me better support, see I am trying to keep the weight to a minimal. I have to move this around, store it and drag it back out. I don't have the luxury of making this a permanent figure in my apartment. I also know I need to bring the support post out as this cantilevers out the front edge of my entertainment center. I doubt I just explained that very well. Caulking guns who the heck designed them? That is one "tool" I can't use. It's such a simple design but for the life of me. either the caulk is oozing out after I have stopped applying it (and released the handle) or it won't come out at all. I just buy the caulk/glue in tubes, cut the tip off and have at it. I still haven't gotten to the track yet. I need to drag out the stuff I have stored, extra track, rail joiners etc and see what I have or don't have. Now my mind is thinking I need rail bed for the track. Right now it was just glued down to the foam. Not sure why I think I need it but I am not sure if it will make a difference in the way the track lays on the platform. I know there is pro and cons on that subject and would love to hear your opinion on it. Can't think of any other questions or concerns at this time. Eventually I will have this all worked out. I just can't wait to get my "baby" up and running. Thanks again everyone for the help.
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jbrock27

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« Reply #24 on: August 26, 2014, 05:03:44 PM »

For a roadbed under your sectional track you can use cork (Midwest product) or foam roadbed (Woodland Scenics) product.  Each has its proponents; both can be secured to a base board using white or tacky glue.  An adhesive caulk can also be used.  For what you have, a full package is probably going to be overkill.  I have purchased cork for use on my newly designed layout but have yet to start working with it.  I secured foam board to a half inch plywood base.  I got the right adhesive (had a good caulking gun so that is what I used) and am very pleased with how the foam board glued to the plywood.
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Martha


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« Reply #25 on: August 26, 2014, 05:23:06 PM »

Thanks for input on road bed. I will check it out. I need to "sandwich" my platform between the foam and a stiff something, right now using stiff cardboard just not big enough to cover the whole layout, so I need to investigate something else. Reason for "sandwich" is to hide all the wires I have. Remember I am the nut job who likes lights, the more the merrier. And I finally have all the lights wired for quick release connections. I wish I knew electronics and electric wiring. I know there has to be a better way to run all the wires to one power connector. Not to a power bar like you would for your computer, printer, etc that needs power. But a power strip? Heck I don't know what its called but I see at hobby lobby they have a power strip that you connect miniature house electrical to it. has several pin type plug ins and you can buy the wire with the pins attached. Guess there is a positive and negative side for each electrical thing you want to run power to. Half of my lighting has power adapters that I think reduce the power down so it doesn't burn out the tiny lights? see not even sure if that is correct. I don't know how to use an ohm meter and would that even help? See just too many questions on that subject. I will just keep the wiring they way I have it. At least it's hidden. Well off to Home Depot to get me some supplies!
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jbrock27

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« Reply #26 on: August 26, 2014, 05:50:05 PM »

You're welcome.   I remember the lights, but not the nut job part.
If you post your specific questions about your electronics here, you will get help. Lots of electrical wizards out there, I am just not one of them and probably would go insane if I had to account for all the lights that you have utilized Cheesy
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jward


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« Reply #27 on: August 27, 2014, 09:51:44 AM »

Martha,
jonathan, he of the b&o steam engines, would be the one to ask about lighting. he has extensive experience with this,

my advice would be to learn how to use miniature led's instead of bulbs. they generate no heat, thus won't melt plastic building or lampposts. they also last almost forever if properly installed.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
rogertra


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« Reply #28 on: August 27, 2014, 11:29:39 AM »

Martha,
jonathan, he of the b&o steam engines, would be the one to ask about lighting. he has extensive experience with this,

my advice would be to learn how to use miniature led's instead of bulbs. they generate no heat, thus won't melt plastic building or lampposts. they also last almost forever if properly installed.

Excellent suggestions.

Cheers

Roger T.

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Doneldon

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« Reply #29 on: August 27, 2014, 11:10:56 PM »

Martha-

You'll get more strength for less money if you buy larger pieces of fir/pine/spruce than if you stick with small one by oak lumber.
The oak will be harder to work with than the others, too. You'll have to drill for everything, even nails, because the small caliber
oak will split if you don't. Go to one of the self-serve lumber yards like Home Depot, Lowe's, Menards or Rout 83; you'll be able
to look at the wood and select nice warp- and twist-free pieces.
                                                                                                -- D
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