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September 17, 2019, 06:46:45 AM
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16  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: G scale Climax locomotives on: May 18, 2018, 07:54:51 PM
Yes, the "DCC Ready" loco will run like your other traditional analog DC locos. What's happening with the DCC-equipped loco is that the decoder needs a certain voltage just to function. In many cases, this is in the neighborhood of 6 volts, but it may be more. Once the decoder gets this requisite voltage, it wakes up and creates a baseline zero voltage line to the motor. It does not all of a sudden feed that 6 volts to the motor. In the case of many decoders, once the decoder "wakes up," it feeds voltage to the motor in a more-or-less 1:1 relationship to the additional voltage going to the decoder. For instance, if you feed 7 volts to the decoder and the decoder needs 6 volts to function, it will feed 1 volt to the motor. 10 volts will send 4 volts to the motor, etc. The upshot is that with most decoders*, at any given track voltage, the DCC-equipped loco will run slower than a non-DCC-equipped loco.

The Climax has the plug-and-play socket in the tender, so if you want to run your loco on analog power, check to see if there's a "dummy plug" in the box that came with it. You can pull the decoder and replace it with the dummy plug to run your loco on regular DC. You will lose your sounds, though.

Later,

K
17  Discussion Boards / On30 / Re: Max Voltage on: April 30, 2018, 01:09:46 AM
You'll be perfectly fine using 14.8 volts. That having been said, I use 11.1 volts in all of my On30 stuff, and am not wanting for speed at all. If you need a bit more, but space is an issue, use a step-up voltage regulator. Pololu sells a variable one that will go up to 24 volts.

Later,

K
18  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Wire size? on: April 06, 2018, 01:18:05 AM
I probably wouldn't use anything smaller than 24-gauge wire for large scale installs for anything that's carrying power from batteries or to the motor. You can use smaller stuff for the lights and sound, down to 30-gauge. I use 24-gauge on the majority of my installs. My battery connector leads (the same ones used by Aristo, USA, etc.) are 22-gauge.

Later,

K
19  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: amperage draw for large scalle 2-8-0 outside frame on: March 17, 2018, 05:22:42 PM
If you're looking for something reliable and long term, I'd probably get something that will give you around 20 volts at 3 amps minimum, 5 amps would be better. You can get away with less (I ran my large scale stuff on an old HO power supply for our first few years) but a power supply is one of those things where it pays to spend the money to get a good one.

One thing you might want to consider--some flavor of wireless control. Revolution Train Engineer, Bridgewerks, and RailBoss (G Scale Graphics) all offer a trackside control unit which you can control remotely with a handheld controller. Prices and functionality vary, but all are rated for at least 5 amps.

Later,

K
20  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Spectrum Scale G new locomotives. on: March 15, 2018, 07:08:20 PM
That would be welcome news, but I wouldn't hold my breath. The Western Maryland was standard gauge, so a true WM Shay would have to be all new tooling in a scale (1:29?) that Bachmann has yet to do much in. From what I've heard from Bachmann reps at recent shows, something with new tooling is not in the cards anytime soon.

Having said that, can you imagine the excitement a 1:29 3-truck Western Maryland Shay would bring to the hobby? I'd bet it would have as much impact as the original 1:20 2-truck Shay had when it first came out. The 1:29 market is a lot bigger than the 1:20 market right now, and they're starved for new products.

Later,

K
21  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Adding decoders to G Big Haulers and Spectrum on: February 25, 2018, 03:16:46 AM
Depends on the loco and the loads it's going to pull. My suggestion - run the train on regular (analog) track power and use an ammeter to see how much current the loco is drawing while running under normal operating conditions. That'll give you an idea of what your loco draws. You're going to want a little extra headroom "just in case."

My usual large scale practice is to use a decoder rated at 4 amps or greater. Soundtraxx, TCS, ESU, Zimo, and Massoth all make sound decoders rated for at least 4 amps for large scale. Prices will range from $130 - $220 give or take. For small locos like 0-4-0s or locos which will not be pulling long trains, you can look to use boards rated for 2 amps and save a little space as well as money.

Later,

K
22  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: 3 Truck Shay to wireless (dead rail) on: February 22, 2018, 03:24:56 AM
The Bachmann DCC decoder that came with the Shay is a motor/sound decoder. It was manufactured by Soundtraxx specifically for the Bachmann Shay. It's based on the "Tsunami" sound system that Soundtraxx made, and you'll sometimes hear of the Shay's decoder referred to as the "Quasi-nami." It was a good (for its time) DCC decoder, though it could not handle track voltages north of 21 volts. Large scale DCC users tend to use track voltages between 20 - 24 volts, so the stock board was frequently removed and replaced by other boards. If you're running this decoder in a wireless environment, then you should be fine. The Shay runs quite well on 14.8 volts, so you'll be nowhere near pushing the decoder into over-voltage fault.

Here's a link to the list of CVs for the Shay decoder, from Soundtraxx's web site.

www.soundtraxx.com/factory/images/bachmann/pdf/fn3_3_truck_shay.pdf

Later,

K
23  Discussion Boards / On30 / Re: What is the prototype for the 2-6-0? on: February 17, 2018, 09:14:28 PM
The Tsunami2 gives you something like 60 whistles and 9 or so different chuffs. You'll find one in there that sounds appropriate to your ears. I've read the mogul is based off of a Colorado & Southern mogul. Here's a link to a YouTube video of C&S #9 running on the Georgetown Loop RR.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfxmBEqMLRw

With the number of chuffs available, speaker selection, and EQ settings, you can tune the decoder to be pretty close to this prototype if you'd like, or you may find you like something completely different.

Later,

K
24  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Tie down chain for Skeleton Log car 98490 Large Scale on: February 17, 2018, 09:04:34 PM
Micro Mark has some:

https://www.micromark.com/Miniature-Chain-for-Model-Work

Later,

K
25  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: 45-ton engine truck wiring on: February 13, 2018, 11:22:52 PM
Look at the four pads as points on a compass. Wire North to East, South to West. Voila! If it runs backwards compared to your other trains, wire North to West, and South to East.

Later,

K
26  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: DCC in the DCC ready Porter and 2-4-2 on: December 28, 2017, 11:55:02 PM
I know the latest 0-4-0 Porter has mechanical chuff triggers on the axles. I don't know about the 2-4-2, but I'd think it would given both locos got similar drive upgrades when they were re-released.

Having said that, depending which DCC decoder you use, you may or may not have the option of using a chuff cam. The latest decoders from Soundtraxx (Econami and Tsunami2) rely on BEMF calibration to control the chuff rate. It's pretty darned accurate, too--much better than older generations of that technology.

Later,

K
27  Discussion Boards / On30 / Re: On30 2-8-0 with DCC Do I have to remove the old DCC to install DCC with sound on: December 08, 2017, 01:09:13 PM
Depends on the specific set-up in the 2-8-0. Mine was DCC equipped, with the DCC decoder plugging into an NMRA standard 8-pin socket on the main board. I simply removed the stock DCC decoder and plugged in a TCS WowSound into that same socket. TCS makes an adapter cable for this. Simplest DCC installation I've ever done. Up and running with the new board inside of 5 minutes with no soldering required.

My 2-4-4-2 which I just finished had a different arrangement. It had the decoder built into the main board, with a 21-pin interface for adding the sound module to the locomotive. For the price of the sound module, I could get a full TCS decoder, so I pulled the factory electronics and installed the TCS decoder in its place. The connections on the stock board were labeled, so it was very easy to re-connect things to the TCS. That took about 30 minutes total.

Later,

K
28  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: What happened to cause the downturn of the large scale market sales? on: November 21, 2017, 12:06:32 AM
(Norman, sorry I totally spaced your e-mail...)

First, it's not just large scale. The hobby across the spectrum is down. If you look at magazine subscription numbers from 15 years ago to today, they're down about 60% or so, even more. New product releases from the manufacturers have been limited compared to years past. (Bachmann had very few "new" HO items this year.) So it's "not just us" that's seeing a slump.

The question remains, though, what's behind it, especially in large scale? In many ways, the there's a lot to be said for the theory that the 2nd-hand market is slowing new sales. There are a few reasons for that. First, in the "golden age" of large scale, I think manufacturers may have over-produced. The reason is simple--the more models you produce, the more you can spread out the cost of tooling, thus keep the cost per item low. I don't know that manufacturers necessarily misjudged the market, but I think they weren't counting on the selection available segmenting the market to the extent I think it did. In the days of LGB, we bought what they made because they were the only game in town. Enter Aristo, USA, Bachmann, etc., and folks now have the ability to follow their natural tastes in railroading prototypes instead. The result of this is that there were many models bought at fire-sale clearance prices added to collections but never run.

Fast forward 20 years. Manufacturers have realized they need to shrink their production runs, and prices increase in response to the fewer number of models produced. (To say nothing of general increases in production costs.) So, what is being produced is being produced in smaller numbers at higher prices. That right there depresses your market. You've also got all these "new-in-box" items from collections hitting the market as their original owners sell off their collections. These are competing with these new products from the manufacturers, at much lower prices. While I do think the market is a bit smaller than it was a few years ago, I also think that the younger folks coming into the hobby (folks my age and younger) are much more tech savvy, and used to navigating sales in a digital world. They're able to find these 2nd-hand gems just as easy, if not easier than finding a brick-and-mortar hobby shop from which to buy.

Having said that, I wonder if we're not actually headed back to where we were in the late 80s in this hobby. For the most part, there was only one manufacturer (LGB), so folks did a lot of kitbashing, supported by a good number of cottage industries. Today I think we're ripe for a nearly identical situation, except it's not so much that there's one dominant manufacturer, but a handful of very quiet ones. There's no lack of inventory, but folks wanting new stuff or to modify what they have are looking to small suppliers for 3D-printed parts, etc. Maybe I'm putting something of a Pollyanna-ish spin on things, but it's better than not having anybody supplying anything. I don't so much see it as the hobby "shrinking" as much as it is just reconfiguring to fit with the times. I think the pendulum will ultimately start swinging back to where the manufacturers feel safe bringing new stuff to market again.

Later,

K



29  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Sound Systems for Bachman G Scale steam train sets on: November 20, 2017, 09:01:35 PM
I would echo Joe's recommendation for the Revolution system. The receivers come pre-loaded with sounds, and the transmitter will control up to 50 locos at one time. (Probably overkill for what you're doing.) But for $100 for each receiver, and that controls sounds, lights, and motor, you're not going to beat that. You can also buy a USB interface and program new steam sound sets onto the receivers. Check with your dealer; they may be able to do this for you as well. Otherwise, I believe each decoder comes with the same default sound, so both of your locos will sound the same.

Later,

K
30  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: C-19 Decoder on: October 24, 2017, 01:51:03 AM
Soundtraxx has discontinued the 4-amp Econami in favor of the 4-amp Tsunami2. The minimal price difference between the 4-amp Econami and the 4-amp Tsunami didn't warrant continuation of both products. The Tsunami2 has a very similar form factor, but many more features. I've played with the 2-amp Tsunami2, and definitely find it much more flexible than the Econami. I haven't had a chance to install the 4-amp Tsunami2 yet, but I've got a project on the workbench which is slated to get this board.

Later,

K
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