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1  Discussion Boards / N / Re: couplers (again) on: February 13, 2017, 12:30:56 AM

I have been in N-scale since 1978.  My big changeover to knuckle couplers was 17 years ago.

After my big MT purchase, I tried most knuckle coupler types and brands on the market.  I didn't pay much attention at the time as to what brands performed well with each other, and what didn't work at all.

2  Discussion Boards / N / Re: couplers (again) on: February 10, 2017, 10:04:56 PM

For years, all operating N and HO knuckle couplers were made by Kadee (and later Microtrains in N scale).  This was because Kadee and Microtrains (originally two divisions of the same company) held the patents for this design.

Then, in 2000 (IIRC), these patents expired and a flood of similar designs hit the market.  In 1998, I purcheased 300 pairs of MT couplers to re-equip all my N-scale equipment.  For smooth, reliable operation, I think these are still the best. I was very pleased to see the clones become available, but if I run into problems with a clone, I will replace it with an MT.

Not all the clones are compatible with each other.  Some are too ,large or too small.

3  Discussion Boards / N / Re: bachmann n turnout switches on: February 10, 2017, 09:51:50 PM

I have a large N-scale railroad with about 60 power switches, half being Bachmann and half being Atlas.  The switch controls for both kinds are similar.

The power to activate the switches is uncontrolled AC.  It is sourced from the accessory terminals of the power pack (the red wires connecting the power pack to the switch controller.)  On the small Bachmann power packs, it is the spring-loaded terminals atop the power pack.  This power feed attaches to the left side of the switch controller, see the illustration on the card the switch comes in.

It is likely you have more than one power switch.  If so, a whole series of power switches controls can be powered by "ganging" them together.  The power input side (left side) of one controller can be attached directly to the power out put (right side) of the one to the left of it.

Each powered switch is activated by a solenoid motor geared to a rack that moves forward or backward to move the throwbar to move the points of the switch.  There is a three-wire harness that runs from the bottom of the switch controller to the switch.  The solenoid is AC.  The center wire is a common return, the outer two determine the polarity (and therefore the direction of travel) of the solenoid.  If the switch throws in the opposite direction desired, simply unplug the three wire harness from the controller and turn the plug over and reconnect it.

Notice all this circuitry applies to changing the route through the switch.  Power to the track is something else entirely.  The Bachmann switches I have used are power-routing.  Atlas switches are not power routing.  They use a simplified design without the rack and pinion design.  Bachmann switches automatically cut power to their solenoid after being activated.  Atlas switches do not.  Therefore, Atlas switches can only be momentarily activated without burning out the solenoid.  This is normally not a problem if you are careful not to leave th control button down too long.

I hope this answers your question.

4  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Tinkering with the Baby Trainmaster on: December 23, 2016, 03:31:51 PM
I think we should lighten up on Johnathan.  He did a good, neat job of installing those lights.  It is a good beginning electronics project, much like my addition of directional lighting in my locomotives that did not already have it.

If there needs to be a lesson in this, it should be to do at least a little research into the prototype of what you are modelling.  As far as I know, all FM locomotives have side-by-side exhaust ports if they are using FM engines.

Let's keep a little Christmas Spirit here.

5  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Passenger Car's on: November 03, 2016, 12:50:50 PM

I have no desire to get into an argument here.  There is a lot of junk sold at train shows. This is why that stuff must be subject go close scrutiny before purchasing.

But there can be real bargains found at train shows, mostly in the form of new-old-stock, maybe in out-of-production road names.  These items are new, but maybe not the latest design.  Generally, these things have been around someone's hobby shop for awhile, and are sold at a discount.

A second-hand hobby shop?  I've never seen one of those, but I'd check it out.

6  Discussion Boards / N / Re: trouble with my dda40x on: November 02, 2016, 12:21:41 AM
I would have to see your loco to know for sure, but it may be something as simple as removing the problem motor from the frame and turning it 180 degrees and replacing it in the frame.  When dual motors run in opposite directions, it is a symptom of reverse polarity.

It sounds like the previous owner had the motors out of the frame and didn't get them re-installed correctly.

7  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Passenger Car's on: November 02, 2016, 12:11:25 AM
You should be so lucky out here to even find a yard sale with any model trains.  I suspect yard sale trains would probably be cheap items to begin with, and likely to have been worn out.

On the other hand, I have bought some very serviceable items second-hand at hobby shops or at hobby shop displays at train shows.  The hobby shops have reputations to protect, even with second-hand items.

8  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: EMD GP10...Possible Market Idea?? on: November 01, 2016, 11:59:01 PM
Early in this thread, it was commented that a GP10 was not a standard production model.  That is the reason there are so many variants.

The early Geeps, GP7 and GP9, turned out to be the most easily modified locomotive ever.  Have an early Geep and want 500 more horsepower?  Hang a turbocharger on it.  A 1500hp GP7 becomes a 2000hp "GP20".  The UP did this using AirResearch turbos before EMD offered the GP20.  They were called "Omaha GP20's" because they were converted at UP's Omaha Shops.

Want 2000hp units, but don't want the low-speed reliability problems of turbos?  Install 645 power assemblys on the 567 engines.  A power assembly consists of a cylinder, cylinder head, and piston.  645 (cubic inch displacement) power assemblies will fit on an engine designed for 567 ones.

So you have at least two ways to build your own 2000hp Geep.  Consider electrical and control upgrades and you can have all kinds of homemade GP20's.

I have driven a lot of Milwaukee Road "GP20's" although Milwaukee never bought a factory GP20.  They built them using 645 power assemblies.  Many roads would have called them GP10's.

The clean, simple lines of the early Geeps lend themselves to easy kitbashing.  Both GP7 and GP9's were available new with dynamic brakes as factory-installed options. While the blisters may be difficult to remove, they are easy to blank out.  Short hoods are easy to chop, and it is not difficult chop the hood so it slants like a GP18 or GP20 hood if that is desired.  It is not difficult to even remove the cab for a B unit.

When I have chopped up a Geep, it works best to model a specific unit, simply because there are so many variations.

9  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Bachmann Streamlined Pax Cars (w/EZ-mate coupling) on: October 04, 2016, 03:24:31 PM
It seems odd to me that Bachmann's very good streamlined full dome car isn't compatible with their new streamlined cars.

10  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Bachmann Streamlined Pax Cars (w/EZ-mate coupling) on: October 02, 2016, 12:13:29 PM
I have no experience with these cars, but passenger cars with body-mounted couplers are incompatable with passenger cars with truck-mounted couplers.  Truck-mounted couplers are the industry standard for N-scale passenger cars.

I have converted one passenger car with body-mounted couplers to truck-mounted couplers, with less than satisfactory results.  Very short head-end cars with body-mounted couplers will work with cars with truck-mounted couplers.

If the truck pivot is close enough to the end of the car, trucks with mounted couplers might be used.  Underbody details may need to be moved or cut away to provide swing clearance.

11  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Bachmann 2-8-4 Sand Dome Removable? on: October 02, 2016, 11:53:17 AM
All other factors being equal, a 2-8-4 should produce greater tractive effort than a 4-8-4, because it has more weight on drivers.

12  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Bachmann dome car color question? on: September 20, 2016, 11:38:49 PM

You could of course do that, and that was an option I considered.  I chose not to do that, because the dome would still be wrong.  Note that the windows on the Budd domes are longer than they are tall.  The Pullman-standard dome windows are taller than they are wide.

I noticed that the seats in the dome in the photos are upholstered in fabric, not the vynal I remember.  I suppose the cars were re-upholstered in vynal to make them easier to clean.

These were very impressive cars.  On the Milwaukee Road, the dome area was open to all passengers.  On the Great Northern, this area was reserved for first-class passengers.

13  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Bachmann dome car color question? on: September 20, 2016, 08:22:47 PM
The Milwaukee full-length domes (as used on the UP) were built by Pullman-Standard and had smooth sides.  The Bachmann cars are models of the Budd-built cars used on the Santa Fe and were stainless steel with ribbed sides.

Because of the lack of Pullman-Standard full domes in N scale, I had to use Budd domes to represent these cars.  I took the same approach you are using.

I used to ride the Milwaukee Road cars quite often in Milwaukee Road service.  As I recall, the floor in the area under the dome was a dark green vynal tile.  The seats were upholstered in red vynal.

I do not recall the floor covering in the lower area.  I think the seating in the lower lounge area was upholstered in red or orange vynal.

These models are quite versatile, and are a better choice for production than the Pullman-standard car.  In addition to the Santa Fe, they are appropriate for AMTRAK, Great Northern, McKinley Explorer, and Royal Gorge.  Use rooftop air conditioners for the latter two.  Also, I kitbashed one with a Con-Cor smooth side diner to make a SP 3/4 length dome.  I shortened the "glass" dome and spliced it into the Con-Cor roof.  I shortened the Bachmann seating area under the dome and built new framing from plastic strip.  Wider plastic strip was used to blank windows in the lower portion of the car as appropriate.

This car should be painted for the train you plan to run it in.  I painted mine in the orange/red/black Daylight scheme.  It could also be painted UP yellow/gray for Cities service, or silver with a red letterboard for Golden State service.  It could also be painted in an early AMTRAK scheme.

14  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: HO scale logs, homemade or otherwise on: September 20, 2016, 04:27:16 PM
Willow twigs have smooth, tight-grained bark, and are pretty straight.

15  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Model Railroad Season Down South on: September 20, 2016, 12:58:06 PM
When I lived in the South (Mississippi)  model railroad season was a year-round thing.  Here in western Nebraska, it is mostly a cold-weather activity, although I buy equipment year-around.  The reason is not so much the summer heat, but the fact that warm weather brings so many outdoor activities that compete for time.

My model railroad has a rather narrow focus, which restrains my tendency to buy anything that appeals to me.  It features mostly passenger operations on a major western hub terminal (Denver) in the 1960's.  Three major railroads (CB&Q/C&S; D&RGW; UP) and two minor players (RI; MP).  No BN, no AMTRAK.  Milwaukee Road equipment in passenger pool operations with UP.   Both standard and streamlined passenger cars.

I have tried to keep everything on the layout to be period-correct.  I have found automobiles to be the easiest way to date the era of a model railroad.  Rather than try to build an exact replica of the locale, I try to make recognizable scenes using available structures.  I have found Walthers Cornerstone structure kits useful.  My Denver Union Station is a combination of their Union Station (actually a model of Omaha's CB&Q station) with annexes kitbashed from two Heljan brick country stations.  Walther's backshop is a near duplicate of D&RGW's Burnham Shop backshop (and includes decals for Burnham Shops).

My model railroading has kicked into gear for the season. I have a good collection of books about prototype operations there that has helped me immensely in creating trains and a sequence operation that mirrors actual operations in the mid-1960's.

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