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Messages - Ralph S

This is great news.   I can now keep this old analog (my work horse) version and perform that conversion to DCC.   My work bench isn't there yet, but this one will be added to the mountain of maintenance updates already in my cue.

Thanks for the images on just how it should look.
General Discussion / Re: Bachmann DC controller problem
September 17, 2023, 04:43:18 PM
Sorry, guys, my wife made me go on vacation, so I didn't catch this one.
Terry, The two controllers (power supplies) that you have, can you provide the model number of each one.   

The reason I'm asking is that Bachmann doesn't do a good job on distinguishing the DC controller, their DCC controller (if there is such a thing), unless it's the DCC command controller.
I've jump through hoops, just like you just did, trying to keep these controllers (power supplies) straight.  I'm going to surmise that both of your power supplies have the same model number, and they are DC only, not AC as you mentioned.

Bach Man if you're reading this, please provide your take on this too, if any.

P.S. your video (U-tube) was pretty good, I've gotta learn how to do that. ;)
HO / Re: Old rolling stock coupler
September 02, 2023, 02:05:56 PM
QuoteDesert Rose used to have some illustrated tutorials on coupler conversions, but they seem to have been taken down.

Yea, I was putting those tutorials to good use, until they disappeared.  I'm thinking there was a copyright issue.   But does anyone know where or what pamphlet/book/magazine that it could be found on?
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. 
Well, since no one responded with anything to share, I'll fill in my research on this B-line construction equipment.

I found to my surprise that Bachmann dabbled in producing some construction equipment in HO scale sometime way back when I was still a workaholic or still in school.  It took me awhile to decide whether to purchase this model scraper because I really thought that Bachmann did not produce or go into an agreement with Shinsei to market this model of equipment.  In other words, I thought it may be counterfeit merchandise using the Bachmann name.

So, on a self-imposed dare, the model I purchased is "the scraper" which is quite unique.the back and side of box
It has working parts which wasn't expected,

with the bucket closed
with the bucket open

and finally, it's actually a Mitsubishi model
There you have it. 
I now have for my layout, a Mitsubishi and Caterpillar scrapers.  I don't know of any other HO scale scrapers.  I know that John Deere, Case, Komatsu, Terex and K-Tec actually manufacture scrapers but I haven't seen them in HO models.   

(By the way if you want a closer look just click on the image)
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?

General Discussion / Re: Adding a DCC Sound Decoder
July 19, 2023, 09:18:40 PM
This is great news. 
The last train club I visited (back in 2022) had locomotives idling on opposite ends of the layout (it was a very large layout, maybe 25 ft from one idling locomotive to the other idling one).  Didn't know that you could stop the idling sound after a certain period of time.  Thought all locomotives went into idle mode when placed on the track.  Probably reason why I only have one DCC with sound locomotive currently.  My Bachmann controller doesn't have a function to have it stop after a period of time.  It's basically on or off. 
HO / Re: Wiring crossover turnouts
July 19, 2023, 08:49:07 PM
First make sure that the EZ track connections to the DCC switch track are made up correctly.
The DCC crossover as you may already know has two connection points for the movable section of the track.
This track one movable section is broken, rivet failed
You can get more details from this forum message:
"EZ Track turnouts NO power on inside rail" Started by wfletcher, February 16, 2023, 10:56:40 AM

In the image (see above), that movable section may not be electrically connected to the fixed portion of the track via the rivet.  Either both rivets or one rivet is not passing current to the movable section of the track.   Using a voltmeter, you may be able to determine if voltage is applied to the movable section.  Another way is to test the resistance of the movable connection to the fixed connection.  A high resistance or even a little resistance other than zero resistance indicates an issue with the movable section of the track.   Note that this is just one possible issue with the switch track.  Other problems could be dirty track, frog issue due to a long locomotive, warped rails causing the locomotive wheels not making rail contact, to name a few.

Hope this helps.
QuoteHas anyone else noticed this, or does anyone know if there is an expected difference of quality in the track which comes with starter kits vs. purchased track? Or, was there a change in the manufacturing process at some point?

From what I read (up to #5), I couldn't conclude that your question was answered.  So, for what's it's worth, here's my answer.
A little background is in order.  I first started my track with Atlas, when Bachmann came out with their EZ-track, I fell in love with it.  Now all of my track is EZ track, including all switches and turnouts. (Exception that I will be using a three-way switch not by Bachmann in the near future.  Bachmann doesn't make a three-way switch).    I use Atlas (previously Bachmann used Atlas track too, in my opinion) for short connections when Bachmann EZ doesn't quite fit the way I want my layout to function.  I have both the Steel and Nickel-Silver. 
Now to answer your question. 
The black Steel track I haven't seen any issues with quality, only that the black spring connectors will fail (break) more often than the grey Nickel-Silver connectors.  I don't have a root cause or contributing factor for that occurrence, but that's my experience.  I've bought both the starter kits and the purchased track via packages and have not noticed any observable differences.   I did have one exception, that I haven't been able to pin down.  On one of my grey Nickel-Silver switches, the rivet broke, there was no rust on the rivet, but it seems to have been an incomplete rivet before it was installed onto the track.  That's my only event that I can safely say was a problem.   Before it totally failed, I thought it was a frog issued in the track.

If there was a change in the manufacturing process, only Bachmann can answer that.

Hope this helps.

By the way, having the sound of the track vibrate and be noisy isn't an issue with my layout.  I don't use plywood.  All of my layout is on foam , and I do not tie down the EZ track to the foam except in curves.  To me, that's the plus behind the EZ track, all of the track will move if you move the track.  It stays together pretty well.  As for the sound, I believe the foam that I use absorbs most if not all of the track noise, if any.  I'm sure the wood/plywood doesn't absorb track noise as well as foam. 
First off, additional information is required in order to safely answer your question.
1.  What is the voltage requirements of the billboard(s)? 
2.  Are you expecting to connect power from the rails or separate power (recommended).

Note that different manufacturers of billboards will have different specifications on how to power/light them. 

And yes, DCC is not applicable from the information you provided.
General Discussion / Re: Adding a DCC Sound Decoder
July 19, 2023, 06:32:33 PM
This is great information but here's a word of wisdom.  Since you have one locomotive with only DCC, it's only a matter of time before you will want to add another locomotive.  Therefore, think about adding another locomotive that already has DCC and sound.  It could be the same locomotive or you might want to shake things up a bit by obtaining a different locomotive.  Just note that that question of wanting two locomotives will eventually emerge whether or not your train layout is large or small.    This will save you in the long run. 

This was observed and quoted in a prior forum message and I took it to heart. 
QuoteQuote: ...You model a steam shortline so you don't have to deal with a room full of diesels idling, including those on the other end of the railroad that is supposed to be a hundred miles away.  The cumulative effect can be maddening, and certainly doesn't sound like a real railroad anymore.  A little sound goes a long way. 
This was good advice to me, so I responded that I kinda like the idea of having only a few engines with sound, since all of my layout will be in the same room.  Like it was stated "...having to deal with a room full of steam locomotives (diesels in my case) idling, including those on the other end of the railroad, i.e., across the 16 x 20 ft room (layout) that is supposed to be a hundred miles away" makes sense to me.  Let alone the added cost of the high price sound decoders. 

In short, unless you really want to delve into sound installation with your one locomotive, really give it a thought to just buying another locomotive already equipped with DCC and sound.

Hope that helps.
HO / Re: Plans for future streamliners?
July 07, 2023, 05:05:20 PM
There needs to be a clarification made.   The steamers, I agree moved us from horse and carriages to the modern era of diesels.   That's a fact of history, that cannot be downplayed.  (That's why the steam engines will be in my model museum, I'd like to keep that side of history on my modern layout). 
It's a fact, that steam engines have lots of moving parts that one can see, whereas diesels, the only moving parts visible are the wheels.   Steamers have that high pitch sound of the steam escaping, where the diesels have that deep pitch moan (causing me to say that there's pin-up power there).
A diesel like the D9 or D11 caterpillar bulldozer or better yet any of the modern diesel locomotives around today have that deep sound that vibrates your body to the bone.  The sounds of those basically fascinate me, then watch them actually move mountains of train cars, or tons of overburden, ...too cool.    I shouldn't divulge this, but I also love the diesel exhaust smell, which steamers don't have.  (By the way, diesel or natural gas buses though are a nasty smell).     

The closest that I've gotten to steamers (besides the model versions) is the steam engine at Disneyland, when we took the kids to the Grand Canyon and the one that (don't know if its's still in service) steamer around Stone Mountain in Georgia.  Frankly, I envy those who have been able to ride up front in the cab of a steamer.  I've only been in the cabs of diesel locomotives, and frankly would have loved to have been able to drive one.  The only Diesels I've actually driven/operate are the earthmovers, mining equipment, and diesel power generators.

As for modern diesel music, this is my inspiration;    and

lastly, my favorite....(this is not an endorsement, I like the music, which the jingle does not have a complete version yet).

Quote...The aura and romance of the railroad went away with them.  And it's pretty obvious that I'm still crying for them.
As with any change there comes something new.  The railroads romance is still there, as indicated in the last u-tube link (above).   I'll probably be where you are when diesel locomotives are removed and the entire locomotive is powered from batteries or solar panels.

So until then, keep on steaming or dieseling!
General Discussion / Re: Replacing wheels
June 29, 2023, 02:52:45 PM
Good info.
...But what are the 31-inch wheels for and what do they normally fit.  Way back when I was younger, I brought these 31-inch wheels (still in their unlabeled package) to place on my train cars (they are metal wheels).  I bought them thinking they were the freight car versions along with 36-inch wheels also. 

HO / Re: Plans for future streamliners?
June 29, 2023, 01:47:43 PM
QuoteWere you a locomotive engineer?
No, but I worked closely with Diesel engineers, locomotive mechanics, electrical technicians, I&C technicians, civil engineers, Miners, electrical, electronic and nuclear engineers, etc.  Basically, I was the Facility/System engineer making sure that logistics, parts, planning, scheduling, operations, safety, all worked as planned.  Not to mention the reliability, QA, and inventory folks who always presented the headache... thank goodness I'm retired now. 

My model railroad, will have all of the above where, I'll be the quintessential goto guy and have the final say on where the railroad will go, where the mining will go, where the nuclear plant will reside, what electrical power will be used, where the farm is located, how the town/city is laid out, where the roads go, etc.  I think you get the picture.   I love diesels they're needed to build anything large.  Steamers know that answer.
QuoteIs there an easy way to tell if they are DCC equipped?

That's one of the good issues that I like about Bachmann.  If the locomotive is DCC, Bachmann stamps on the bottom of the fuel tank "DCC on board" indicating that the locomotive has DCC.