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1  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Colour matching Bachmann boxcars on: July 18, 2007, 09:51:51 PM
Well, the answer to the question for ET &WNC is "Polly Red Oxide".  The undecorated, Rio Grande etc are different colours. They go on a LOT lighter than they dry, so don't add something to darken it a bit, like I did... Smiley
2  Discussion Boards / Large / Colour matching Bachmann boxcars on: July 07, 2007, 10:49:10 PM
I have several Bachmann Big Hauler ET &WNC "wood" boxcars that I intend to "lease" to  another railroad... Smiley Does anyone know which Polly Scale or similar paint is a close colour match to the red/brown bachmann paints their boxcars (and are they all the same base colour? eg ET &WNC same base as Rio Grande etc. )
3  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Who paints brass track...? on: July 01, 2007, 08:51:55 AM
Llyn, that sounds like a plan then... I'm in Southern Ontario, so we've got similar climates.  Now to try and get the yard work done so I can start laying it.  Laid it out on the ground yesterday to see if my plan actually fits in the yard, and by golly, it mostly did, AND I actually ordered enough track with the right curves (220 ft) (TrainLi benders look nice but I can buy a lot of track for the price of one...).
Not looking forward to all the hand shoveling in clay soil tho, its been a dry summer this year so far (nice otherwise)  Angry
4  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: I need help locating my 3 truck shay on: July 01, 2007, 08:35:01 AM
Matthews is very slow to respond to emails, and not very communicative when he does.   I had an order with him for a mfg out of stock item (Aristo "shipping in June") which he eventually just cancelled. No explanation. He's got a couple of items up on Ebay currently under G-whiz - send him an Ebay note...
5  Discussion Boards / Large / Who paints brass track...? on: June 25, 2007, 09:15:03 PM
I'm trying to decide if I want to go to the trouble of painting my stock of USA brass track before laying it (I know, keeping the paint off the top...).  Local rail around here in service is mostly a medium dark chocolate brown, combo rust and oil.  I do paint my N gauge and it looks better for it,  but I dunno - lot of painting for the G... Krylon camo brown looks about right.  I can see from the bit of LGB that I have that it would darken up, but the Aristo and USA don't look like they would anytime soon... Comments?
6  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: New connie arrived, but.... on: June 25, 2007, 08:20:27 PM
Following up on this thread... Bachmann via Bridget has indicated they will replace the damaged truck, no fuss, no muss, so kudos to them! 
7  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: new locomotives on: June 15, 2007, 09:47:36 PM
       all very profound,  but the bottom line is no matter how complicated we make things,  manufacturers are really unable to service those items that do fail.  Many found out the hard way with the 3-truck Shay when they were shunted between Bachmann and Sierra when their sound system failed.   Bachmann was the only supplier of the sound board as it is unique to Bachmann.  Purchasers believed that they were buying a Sierra sound board,  not a corruption of Sierra technology.

Being unable to service is the consequence of either a bad business decision, or economies of scale that simply didn't allow for sufficient reserve for the product issues.  I can't speak directly for Bachmann about the Sierra situation, but the experience is consistent with designing a product using third party expertise to to value add certain features within a target price point/manufacturing/distribution cost.   I would guess that customers were buying a Sierra sound board (don't own one myself), just not a Sierra retail board, but one custom engineered for Bachmann by Sierra, and likely to meet a lower price point for the overall package as compared to installing a retail package.  I have no knowledge where the boards are installed (or even made), but an engineering trade-off may have had to have been made if the boards had to be shipped to the manufacturing plant in China for installation by "unskilled" assemblers, or the cost of installation of the board separately into units arriving from offshore factored into the final pricing.  I doubt Bachmann has released the sales figures - its difficult to know if the overall satisfaction of the combo unit is better or worse than has been experienced within the range of satisfaction of some unhappy users.   

      It seems to me that you are stating that a fully sound/DCC equipped factory supplied locomotive is going to be more reliable than a consumer 'optioned' model.  This I find a little difficult to swallow.  I do not want DCC on any model.  If a sound unit is supplied then I want it to be a quality sound board,  not a manipulation of another manufacturer's technology.

 That is, or is expected to be, the situation in an properly engineered and executed loco within a certain price context, simply because the manufacturer has considerably more control over the design and compatibility factors in the product's manufacture.  Sometimes, the engineering doesn't get done. Reliability is higher, generally,  when the match-up of components has been carefully and properly done.  What has been eliminated are the variables of installation, and product performance due to unit variation. Of course, it doesn't always work out that way.  But from a manufacturing perspective, the failure variables of an in-house match-up can be better known, costed and accounted for, all of which is important to the company's bottom line during the product life cycle. Additionally, the value-added component that you install yourself and configure and set-up (assuming you want sound too), on a priced comparison is worth more at the manufacturing level, usually, than what the comapny is offering, not necessarily because they are trying to cut corners, but because the marketable price distribution requires a lower production cost than what your homebrew equivalent would be.   

     Today's hobby is certainly more user 'ready to run' mentality and with the increase in complexity,  the 'modellor' (for want of a better word) is no longer able to rip a loco apart and do what he wants to it.  The production standards set by the current 3-truck Shay lead me to believe that with increasing complexity will come increasing unreliability.  Is this the route that modellors have chosen or are manufacturers trying to compete with the computer technology world of ipods, mobile phones, computer games, etc.?  It seems more of a technology ego-based trip for manufactuers and a downslide for the end-user.

All of the above, I would say.  Reliability in the face of complexity is always a cost/benefit trade-off, and this is very difficult for manufacturers.  The most reliable product in the world is of no use if you can't sell enough of them to cover the cost to make them, so there are always value point decisions to be made based on the best guess marketing can come up with on who will buy it, and what it will cost to support the sales during the market cycle.  The exceptional interest in sound-mimic locos should be enough to convince you that that is where the market demand is indicated.  The part of the market that pays the bills (and its not the forum members here...Smiley continue to be attracted to funny noises and bright lights, in everything, and thus it has become the technology maker's nightmare to find the right mix for what is an increasingly short market cycle.  You'll note Bachmann's MSRP prices on their product website, and you'll note the huge difference between it and what customers frequently pay.  The MSRP is normally calculated to accommodate the manufacture, distribution, sale and support of the product during its life cycle, and leave a healthy enough margin of return on investment to absorb the indirect cost of doing business along with the direct.  But customers are not paying the MSRP, so products are often short cycled to move inventory at the expense of reserve profit.  Good deals for you and I, but not good for R&D - the part that gets you the better, more reliable product.

I agree with you that the plain unit should be the fundamental sales unit, to which you add the kits you want.  For Bachmann, however, I expect the bigger market in the shay, for example, wants a a no-fuss wannabe mimic that's plug and play.  Ultimately you have to ask yourself - what am I prepared to pay for the unit in the form I want, and can the manufacturer fund the production run from what I want?  For hobbyists, those two things often don't coincide, so in order to supply the hobbyist, the mass market has to pay the bills, and it frequently doesn't want what you want, at the price you're willing to pay.
8  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: new locomotives on: June 15, 2007, 07:10:19 AM
One of the significant business decisions for Bachmann in this dcc or no debate is  warranty liability. Offering a loco without their own supplementary electronics, but intended to accept aftermarket equipment is devilish difficult to stickhandle from a cost control basis. If the marketing intention is offer a high end product with state of the art (always relative to price point), then the manufacturing decision has to centre around a stable product with as a low a mean-time-to-failure as can be reasonably achieved for the market value.  High warranty costs mean no profit, or a return on investment so far down the road as to not be an appropriate investment at all.

This is the danger of offering a bare-bones model, equipped with plugs for other things.  Few companies are willing to make the investment to exhaustively test all of the possible combinations that consumers might come up with.  Making simple warranty statements that your warranty is void if you do this or that, is not enough protection in most places. Legal wrangling over whether or not the combo didn't work, and whose fault the damage is, is very costly.  The computer industry learned this the hard way, and is why you get no help usually when you've mixed and matched.

The optimum situation would be a model with an electronics package that is independent of motor systems (ie not integral with the motor system), coupled with a design that gives room and board or plug access, and GOOD documentation as to the wiring and electrical characteristics of the motor system that is plug and play for the dcc users.  This model could be sold both with and without the electro package, and the package could be an option.  The key is engineering forethought for acccessibility.

  From a marketing/manufacturing perspective, the difficulty is how clear is your crystal ball - how many combo units will be sold, how many plain, how many add-on kits.  Add-on kits from your own house add A LOT to the support cost of the product, because you don't get to train the installers.  Most of these products are sold at deep discounts from MSRP - that means there's no extra cash for hand holding, and the offshore manufacturing deals that make it all possible have little provision in the business plan for fall back on the manufacturer to fix the current line -they can only retool for the next runs.  If the first runs return no investment, there may not be subsequent runs.

The reality for the makers of plug and play DCC trains is they are building for an entirely different market than most of you guys - In most hobby areas where modern computerized electronics are coming in, most buyers want ready to run - they have neither the knowledge, skills or time to be bothered messing with the hardware - they just want it to run reliably.  Same logic as currently exists with the family car- not many of us anymore spend much time under the hood if we drive anything made since 1990.

Then end result is fast becoming "disposable" hardware with a higher price point.  Meade did it with their ETX series telescopes and its happening in the ham radio area, and the current state of the radio control hobby reflects exactly the same thing.  The sad reality is the hobby tinkerer is no longer a viable market - the hardware sophistication has outrun the competence of most consumers.
9  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: New connie arrived, but.... on: June 02, 2007, 08:05:53 PM
The bolster on the front truck fractured where the screw enters its tube at the end of the bolster.  What I'm thinking is that the screw is a bit long for the molded hole, and when reefed in too tight pressures the end of the bolster and it fractures.  It fractured cleanly in 2 places - I was able to glue it back together with a quality CA, and re-assemble the frame and bolster.  I have more "gluable" areas around the end of the bolster I can re-inforce  if I need to.  The frame itself turned out to be fine.   If Bachmann can get me a bolster piece then I can salvage the truck easily.  I went around the rest of the trucks and the eased the tension on the frame screws a bit, and oiled the mounting pins lightly to relieve the stress from the screw.   So far so good.   Tore the loco down tonight and checked out the motor, which was mostly fine, and have loctited the driver counterweights, and generally snugged up screws wherever I found them.

The Greensville & Crook's Hollow Short Line might have another puffer running yet!
10  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: grading question on: June 02, 2007, 02:37:30 PM
2% is 2% as I figure it.  2% of 680 scale in. is 13.6 scale in. rise.  2% rise in 300" is 6".

Equivalencing scale: 680/300=2.266    13.6/2.266 = 6.001 inches in 300 in.
11  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: New connie arrived, but.... on: June 02, 2007, 02:20:47 PM
The boiler front friction fit can  be fixed with a piece of electrical tape around the inside edge of the piece that came out... #7's has been held on that way from the beginning.

Hopefully there'll be a new tender in your future...

Matthew (OV)

The tape trick might work - it took quite a bit, but that might be preferable to having to install retaining screws.   I've glued the broken pieces of the bolster back together and so far they're holding up - If Bachmann will send me a few truck parts, its an easy fix.   I've managed to take much of the warp out of the tender chassis - the problem is created because the tabs at the back of the coal bin need to be fully seated on the chassis - the tabs have a slot in them and if they don't slide fully onto the chassis it has the effect of buckling the chassis up into the coal bin when you screw down the front posts, and the plastic takes a bit of a set.
12  Discussion Boards / Large / New connie arrived, but.... Update: happy to report, Bachmann supports on: June 01, 2007, 09:10:31 PM
My new 2-8-0 Connie arrived today, but... front truck on the tender has a shattered bolster   Angry,  both dealer and Bachmann notified, so I guess I get to see what service will be like.  The truck looks like a previous repair attempt had been made, but the carton appeared factory sealed still... Hrrmmph.

Updates:...  The loco has issues as well...   The front boiler plate (switch unit) won't stay in the boiler tube.  This appears to be a friction fit, with no, er, friction. It was loose in the bag when I unpacked it.  One of the switch wires was broken off, and all of the wire soldering is cold - I've since fixed that but I will have to go back and reflow those connections, and I am going to install a pair of grub screws to hold the plate in place.  I tried some lazyman tricks of a couple beads of hot glue to add some friction, but that was less than satisfactory, so it appears the answer will be the "engineering solution".

The base plate of the tender is warped and will have to be annealed to straighten it.  Makes the tender look like it was parked on a boulder for too long and the ends sagged.  A couple of metal bars across the speaker mount holes might pull it back straight.

   Reading through the advice given in this forum (thank you!) I can see with a flashlight that the two side screws that hold the gear case together are also absent entirely, so it appears I'm going to have to do the teardown to examine the case. A general review of all screws appears to be in order.  I've snugged up the counterweights (they weren't bad over all).

Any other things to look at, better now than later?

While I'm greatful to Bachmann for producing these models, some basic QC during assembly would be nice...   Wink
13  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Control Master 20 on: May 16, 2007, 09:05:59 PM
Locos are a Aristo C-16, 2-truck shay and a USA Alco  -  Only a couple of cars (so far) have power. I can run multiple feeders if necessary, and was thinking of at least two depending on how it runs, initially.  Not a lot of rolling stock yet. Based on the playing around I've done with an MRC HO power pack  (tech4) I believe 5A should be plenty as I can at least run the engines on a short bit of test track with the tech 4, and its only an amp at best.  The alco draws the most, especially with smoke on.

Edited to add: Damn Ebay - apparently I own a BM Connie now too  Sad Grin
14  Discussion Boards / Large / Control Master 20 on: May 16, 2007, 07:29:56 AM
I'm putting together a modest DC layout (150-200 feet) running only one loco at a time, and looking at straightforward power supplies - The control master 20 looks suitable, but is 5A enough, and is this unit reliable enough?  I'm not overly excited with MRC (have several smaller scale gear including a prodigy express) but the price is right for now...  Good, bad and the ugly?
15  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Greetings from a new 2-truck owner on: May 05, 2007, 10:40:43 PM
Yes, I pick it by the beam ends, not the fragile bits.  My rant had to do with the fact that a heads-up from Bachmann in the packaging would have been appreciated.  Once I got it out of the foam and had a good look at it, it became more apparent how it needed to be handled.  Interesting that they seem to not have parts, yet offer a "limited" lifetime warranty...  At any rate, I'm busy freelancing it at the moment, while waiting for track to arrive...Smiley
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