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Topics - Ralph S

I've run into a problem that needs clarification.  My search for decoders to modify my existing DC diesel locomotives (no steam locos on my list).  I ran into different models of decoders.
A) Mobile decoders
B) Motor decoders
C) Sound decoders

I have several Bachmann Decoders Model 44916, and 44914 but there is no mention of which decoder they are.  I assume currently that they are B) motor decoders.   I am also assuming that A) mobile decoder and B) motor decoder are the same.  But are they?

So can someone please inform me of the differences between the three decoders mentioned.  Google and this forum's search didn't help with a decent (common sense/layman's) answer.
Okay, Here's the question.
 I have this very good Switcher, but I've moved my layout to DCC. Has anyone any experience converting this very short switcher from DC to DCC?   If so, can you inform me that there is enough room under the cover/in the chassis to support installing a DCC decoder?  I've contemplated using an N scale decoder, but unsure if that would fit too.

If there isn't enough room, which I suspect, then does anyone know what hobby store, manufacturer that makes this model in DCC?   Bachmann's 2023 catalog doesn't have this model in analog or DCC. 
I've come to a dilemma that maybe some different perspectives can help.
I've collected over the years quite a few incandescent lamps, that is, from train signals, billboards, street to building lighting.     I've also collected a few (not many) of the LED lighted buildings and billboards.  The power supplies to them is not an issue that I can see so far.   Problem is some incandescent lamps do not look as realistic as the LED versions.  I also thought about just using the incandescent lamps in the Plasticville and other buildings only.  This way you don't see the lamp only the light from that incandescent lamp.  Therefore, make all of the train signals, streetlights and all other outside lights LED's.

After looking at Sheldon's images (Sheldon's Layout started by Grumpy468, July 07, 2020, of item 158- Jan 21, 23 12:26:06 am, image 5) of the LEDs on his street, the incandescent lamps that I have are vintage 1950's looking large and quite dull.  They are more park lighting than street lighting.  I kinda like the downward facing lights from the poles, the incandescent lamps shine everywhere.
Sheldon's illuminated streetlights.   (Believe that these are LED's) 

So, which is better, use both as mentioned above, or totally move all lighting to LED?

Does anyone have any history on the Bachmann B-line?   I ran across several unique construction vehicles, supposedly 1/87 scale, that has the Bachmann label.   I've never heard of these and did a search on this forum and found no information regarding the "B-line of vehicles.

Then I did a search on "Google" and found this:  "Bachmann sold at least two series of die-cast models made by Shinsei Kogyo under their B-line label.  Shinsei's H.O. Haulers were sold as B-line Truckin' models, the Shinsei Mini Power models as B-line Cranes.  (I will provide the link to this info if requested, don't want to infringe (I believe) upon this forums code of conduct).

Anyone have any additional history? 
As I was working on my layout I began contemplating where to locate my train museum.  The museum will hold the steam locomotives and some old diesels (all analog).  My track is all DCC and I thought about all the "Dummy locomotives" that I have.   Since I can run several DCC loco's together, in the middle, or at the end of the train or trains.  I thought about placing dummy diesels in the museum but that will take up too much space.   I did think about having decorative locomotives (dummies) siting around the layout on some siding, but I can use the DCC locomotives to do that too.  Therefore, I'm wondering is there a need to have "dummy locomotives" anymore.

Why would anyone want or need to keep the dummy locomotives if the DCC layout can handle all locomotive variations?
In another discussion (old), I found that there are two types of transfer tables.  The one that I am familiar with and have purchased is the Bachmann DCC round table (46298).  Then the discussion went to a transfer table.  After searching god old "google" I found a transfer table.

I kinda like this transfer table....couldn't find similar Bachmann version.  Don't think Bachmann makes'em.   Below are the images of the transfer table and the turntable.   Question: Is there such a thing (apparatus) in real life of this transfer table or is the transfer table only in HO modeling ?  I haven't been successful in finding actual images of a real transfer table, like what is depicted in the image below.
If this transfer table is actual, what's its main purpose, since the roundtable is for basically turning the locomotive back to a forward pointing position.

What I really like is it looks to take up less space than the roundtable.
From a earlier query from Mr. Yard Master I have another question. 

Will the EZ command Plus (44933) work with the discontinued EZ command walkaround companion (44908) and the EZ command walkaround controller (44907)?

The reason I ask this is the PLUS doesn't address whether the older discontinued walkaround will also be supported by the new Plus..., that is, backward compatible.  I'm hoping you'll say "Yes", cause I have several of the older EZ controllers and walkarounds.
Looking for advice on mating Fleischmann track with Bachmann EZ track.

The Fleischmann track has a roadbed, and I was wondering if it would be an easy connection.
Reason, the Fleischmann has a 3-way turnout where Bachmann doesn't.   I can save approx. 27 inches on my layout by using a 3-way turnout instead of using Bachmann's individual 2- turnouts.
I've asked this question before, but didn't seem to get a clear answer. 
So this time I've found a Bachmann GP30 (DC, analog) that I could purchase, but want to determine if I can replace that shell and place it on the GP7 (DCC + sound) before I put down any money on it. 

If that doesn't work then would the GP30 shell be swappable with the FT-A (DCC) chassis?

I don't have the GP30 yet, and don't want to purchase it until I can determine if a DCC chassis is compatible and will fit on either the GP7 or FT-A chassis.

I'm open to other suggestions, and any ideas.  But basically, trying to keep within my existing locomotives without moving to purchasing entire new locos. 
Can someone clarify the assessable address for EZ Command Plus (Model 44933) uses?

Here's my dilemma: I am thinking about purchasing this new model, but I can't seem to get any info on whether this Plus version of the controller can use more than one loco road number or if it can handle at least two numbers for the loco.

My current controllers are EZ Command (model 44932 and 44901) access to the locomotive is by its last number, i.e., usage is the 'last' number of the locomotive's (road number).  So, for my BNSF Loco #2264 it's DCC address would be "4".  For B&M #1575, it's DCC address is "5".

Before I purchase, if I purchase, based on everyone's response to: Can this Plus model (44933) only addresses its locomotive by its last loco number or can it handle the entire locomotive number like other controllers?

PS> Thanks you Bachmann for putting this forum back on-line.
General Discussion / DC/DCC dual operating engines
June 29, 2021, 06:24:50 PM
There was one post (Bachmann DCC on DC « on: April 02, 2010, 01:33:03 PM ») regarding the Bachmann controls but what I researched was the engines with OEM decoders that are dual mode and will run on both DC and DCC.

Question is: Is there such a thing as an engine that can operate on DC and/or DCC without all the separation or engine humm, and overheating issues.  Is Bachmann going to build these type engines in their line of products?  Or are the other engine manufacturers to do that? Or is this somebody's fantasy/dream of a new engine?

Also it would be of some help if someone could explain this dual mode decoder since I may be confused about this dual mode operation of an engine. 

If this is possible, the old DC power and new DCC power would get a hefty boost from consumers.
A question from another post came to me and I wanted to respond to it, but in that post the answer would not pertain to the original topic.  So I added this topic to respond (hope that doesn't upset anyone).

Quote(Taken from:  Re: DCC walk around companion controller « Reply #15 on: June 27, 2021, 04:14:58 PM)

Ralph, I am a bit confused as to why you think the Smart Interface would preclude you buying new DCC locomotives, or why you seem to think your DC locomotives can't be converted to DCC. I am thinking you don't have a full understanding of what DCC is. First of all, converting most DCC locomotives to DCC is as simple as adding a decoder. On older locomotives you may have to modify the wiring in such a way that the chassis is not used as a ground, like in a blue box Athearn. The motor must be isolated from the chassis, once this is done it is a simple matter of hardwiring a decoder in locomotives that do not already have a DCC socket. For somebody who has expressed a desire to reverse engineer as much stuff as you have on this board, that should be second nature. As for specific recommendations for decoder installation, many decoder manufacturers offer tutorials on installing decoders into specific locomotives. My experience has been that while these tutorials are gears toward that company's products, decoders are standardized enough, especially the ones you hardwire, that you can install anybody's equivalent decoder using the tutorials. Good decoders can be found online for $20-25, economy ones for around $15.

It should be noted that while the Smart Interface would be a big improvement to the utility of EZ Command, It wouldn't add to the inherent weaknesses of the system, namely the limited slots available for locomotive addresses, the limited current capacity of the system, and the inability to do any decoder programming other than an address change. As I read the documentation, it would, however, allow the use of multiple cell phones as additional controllers. In theory, it would allow the use of up to 9 cell phones as controllers, each one controlling a different address. But by that time, you would have inevitably exceeded the current rating of the EZ Command, especially if you are running sound equipped locomotives.

Before I answer the queries, I would like to ask, about those DC and/or DCC compatible engines that can operate in either mode.  I'll be posting a question in this regards, unless someone else has already posted that question.  So... in response to the quote above,

Actually, I haven't given it a thought, that is, converting the 4 DC engines over to DCC.  One of the main reasons is probably due to the fact that over the course of my experience, I have not been successful taking stuff in a small box and remove stuff/equipment/components from one size box and redesign it to continue to fit in that same box.   Our lustrous automotive engineers have the same problem.  They change the components within the engine compartment.  (When I was a kid, my dad had me inside the fender and beside the engine replacing parts). Nowadays that same car engine has so many parts, you now have to take other parts out in order to get to/find the part you want to replace, let alone the fact that a small kid can't even sit inside the engine compartment of a car today.  (Sorry, did it again, got off the subject.)
So in short, adding a DCC decoder to the DC engine electrically is easy, but getting those additional parts back into the engine (i.e., engine case and chassis) would be my Achilles heel.

As for the smart interface, it might seem simple today (for others), but I guess I'm still after that pass that so enthralled me when I was a kid.  That simple throttle, that simple reverse button, not having to look at the controls, but have eyes on the engine and cars, and not the controller.  The new controllers one has to look at the controller to make sure you have pressed the correct button for the train one was supposed to be operating.
I haven't ventured into the sound equipment yet.  But I don't see EZ Command being outrated (current capacity) due to my complicated track design (see Post:  Re: 2 EZ Commands?  Reply #18 on: May 27, 2021, 08:30:05 PM)

I'm kinda like Bachmann, I want to keep controls simple,  cause I want the simple to operate the complicated and complicated parts I like designing for, and believe me, it won't fit in the box :(.
General Discussion / Bascale bridge redesign
May 27, 2021, 09:45:47 PM
Has anyone tried to extend the length of a bascule bridge?

I have a doorway that I want my train line to cross.  I've seen the different designs where:
1)    Place a section piece of wood that can be pickup and moved out of the doorway path.
2)    Where a section of wood has been hinged on one side of the doorway and the other side swings into and out of place.
3)    Another similar section of wood (holding the train track) that is hinged and lifts up or down to allow passage to and from the doorway.
4)   Where a section of wood and track crosses the door pathway and you just have to bend underneath it to get to and from the train layout.

Well, (hope noone steals my idea) and places it on U-tube before I do. 
But here it is in a nutshell.   

I want to take a bascule bridge (motorized version) and lengthened it to accommodate the Bachmann (HO 99415) 36 inch EZ track.   I have noticed that this track is pretty sturdy in its own right, and adding the support structure that lengthens the bridge could enhance my doorway path where entering and exiting can be much more fun and enjoyable.   I understand that the added weight of the extra length of the bridge- I would have to counter weight at the ballast of the bridge.  Basically equalize the weight of the track and the weight so the bridge motor only sees equalized forces going up or down.

The biggest issue I will have is stopping the train before it enters the bridge if someone wants to open the bridge, and prevent someone from opening the bridge if the train is already on the bridge or approaching it.   I am a novice in train signaling and motion delays so any advice would be helpful at this point in time.  I have knowledge of time delays but trains run at different speeds and a time delay could timeout and cause a train accident.

And Yes. If I get it to work I'll venture onto U-tube and start a new experience.   :D   
Hopefully someone can answer this DCC question, since I don't have any specs on either system...yet.
Can anyone one tell me if the Bachmann 44932 DCC controller (or the 44902) work with MRC AD491 Walk Around Handheld controller?

I've had previous luck in dissecting the DCC controllers and obtaining valuable information, although not in my favor in this forum.  Hopefully I can get support in this question, which entertains mixing two different manufacturers components.   Since Bachmann discontinued its walkaround 44907, I'm still working on reverse engineering their simple DCC controller to create my own walkaround controller, when I came across the MRC AD491 controller.   
Any information that you can provide regarding the above question will be greatly appreciated. 
The F-7 & F-7a  normally numbered 307 I want to swap the shells with some other diesel shell.
Or would it be easier to sell the F-7 and F-7A DCC and buy different models. The reason is- these engines ( I have four of them) work so very well, I'm not good at re-painting, and they are getting confusing as to which one I'm working with. Also buying the shells would be cheaper than replacing the entire engine. Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated.
Question.  If you have two train sets (both identical DCC train systems), can the two train sets be connected via the train track and not cause the EZ controllers to fail, since both are pulsing square wave DC with a continuous 1 amp on the tracks.  Similar to AC systems, I could devise a synchronizing circuit, where both pulses from each EZ controller are timed exactly the same.  Basically I'm looking at whether anyone has tried this with success minus the synchronizing circuit to connect two train systems where the tracks are connected without adverse issues.. 

This is related to a previous post: Can two (2) EZ Command Controllers Work Together? 
Here is the scenario:  Two kids wanting to run their own trains.
Problem:  I read the last discussion (2013) and its reply stated to obtain the Walk around companion controller (Model 44907), then I read that the Walk around companion module was discontinued (2016).
Question:  The last discussion didn't go into detail so I'm presenting that detail.  If I connect two EZ command control centers (Model 44901):  One as the main connection to the track and power supply, then connect the other command control center without connecting the power or connection to the track can this support operating two trains where each kid can control their own train from each control center?  Basically providing an individual controller similar to the walk-around companion which currently I can't seem to find.
I have a simple question, I am converting my rail system from DC to DCC.  I've purchased the DCC locomotive Bachmann model, but the price was right on this new model DCC locomotive.  I do not want it's shell, a Santa Fe shell.  Is it possible that the shell from my DC locomotive (BNSF) replace the shell of the DCC locomotive?  Both locomotives are the same GP 38, and both were made by Bachmann.  In short, only a shell swap from DC to DCC.  Would there be any interferences with DCC body with a DC shell?