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1  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Knuckle couplers for Bachmann Amfleet cars on: July 31, 2011, 10:51:06 AM
Very good information - thanks for relating it here. 

I have six of these cars and have always hoped a way to modify the coupler would be devised, and this method seems about the best.  I too think the rapido-style couplers are fine between the consist of cars...I'd just like to modify the HHP8 couplers and one coupler on the lead and one on the rear coach for appearance sake.  Bachmann did a great job of styling these coaches, there's a lot to like, but the couplers really should be changed to some sort of knuckle design.  It's my hope that the HHP8 and Amfleet couplers could be swapped out with a knuckle style coupler and be included in the newer production runs, or sold aftermarket for change out. 
2  Discussion Boards / N / Re: n scale passenger cars? on: August 22, 2010, 06:34:52 AM
ConCor makes an array of n scale passenger cars in various railroad names that are reasonably priced.  They look and run fair, which is to say, the fixed knuckle couplers can be problematic depending on your track, they sometimes come uncoupled from other passenger cars or engines, and the fit and finish of the cars are not up to the higher standards of Kato, Walthers, InterMountain or Rapido Trains.  The Concor cars lack the detailing of these other manufacturers, have no lighting, but are the least expensive.  So if cost is your primary concern, check your local hobby store for Concor cars.  

Unfortunately, Bachmann only makes three different railroads that I know of (Amtrak, Alaska, Santa Fe) and the cars are the same style (high domes) except for their AmFleet cars, which look good but don't run well unless you modify them (see other threads on this topic).  If you're modeling Santa Fe, give consideration to ordering a high dome observation car from Bachmann.  They're the only maker I know of for that particular car and it was used quite a bit in many of their Santa Fe "named trains" through the years.  Also, if you find a Bachmann set (Amtrak, Alaska, Santa Fe) you could paint and decal the cars whatever railroad name you like (assuming that railroad used the high dome cars).

If you really want to run a better looking nscale passenger car, you could spend a little more money for a Kato or Walther's passenger car.  Both perform and look good, have lighting kits available, and are only a few dollars more than a Concor car.  IMHO the top looking cars would be the Rapido and InterMountain cars.  They look great, have a lot of extra detailing, but are more expensive.  I have cars from all the manufacturers I've mentioned (except InterMountain) and frequently mix cars from the various manufacturers together in one consist.  Most of the time, the color shades are slightly different between the car makers, and to me that adds some interest to the string of cars.  Plus, I've found that some of the cars just run better coupled in a certain order because of the tight radius turns of my track.  

You can view most of these nscale passenger car products on any nscale internet retailer website you visit.  The prices vary little from website retailer to website retailer, but sometimes you find some "specials" where you can save a few dollars on a particular car.

Hope this helps!
3  Discussion Boards / N / Re: N Sacle EZ Track Turnouts on: August 12, 2010, 05:52:19 PM
To improve their reliability...there's some previous threads about filing certain areas on the rails to prevent derailments, as well as some coloring and ballasting ideas if you choose to.  Check 'em out!
4  Discussion Boards / N / Re: N gauge 'track troubles' on: June 05, 2010, 10:59:05 PM
I found it best to gently file down a very small amount the the switching rails so they lay flush when the switch is "thrown".  I also gently rounded the top edge of all the corners of the rails and frogs.  And I forgot to mention to gauge the rails themselves.  It is very possible that one or more rail is askew just enough to cause problems for cars transiting the turnouts.

Good luck!
5  Discussion Boards / N / Re: N gauge 'track troubles' on: June 04, 2010, 09:44:31 PM
With those Bachmann EZ turnouts, it's a good idea to gently file the 90-degree angled edges of all the track pieces.  (I think if you do a search on derailments on this forum you can find some good ideas to get those turnouts to work well.)  There can be some metal burrs that are there, and sometimes the angle or thickness of the metal can cause the derailments.  If more than one car is attached to the consist there's obviously more weight pulling on each car as they traverse the turnout.  So any wheel problem or track issue will cause one or more cars to jump track more easily than if just one or two are in the consist.

Also, check the gauge of your wheel sets, making sure they're all the same gauge.

Finally, make sure the tracks align correctly when the switch is thrown.  If there's a gap, no matter how small, that can cause a derailment.  Make sure the rails are set correctly.

Hope this helps!

6  Discussion Boards / N / Re: DD40AX digital control on: February 28, 2010, 08:33:15 AM
If you don't have a 1k resistor, just add enough length to your programming track and place a lighted passenger car on the rails with the DD unit (which is what I did on my Zephyr system).  Your Zephyr  system should be able to "see" the decoder and program a new address.
7  Discussion Boards / N / Re: N Amfleet cars and HHP loco on: February 20, 2010, 06:11:14 PM
I had tried a small experiment of stringing black thread between the poles, and although it looked pretty good, it only looked good for a week.  After that, any dust in the room, carpet fibers, and anything else floating about seemed to land on the thread and ruin the effect.  I hope to use a monofilament fishing line and see how that goes, but getting the right color is tough.  Still, controlling the height of the pantographs would be a better choice, then plant the poles where needed and hope someone comes up with a great Nscale-friendly wire system.
8  Discussion Boards / N / Re: N Amfleet cars and HHP loco on: February 16, 2010, 01:52:14 AM
Got another HHP8 today...with two engines pulling, and all my Amfleet cars modified in the same way to allow the wheels to turn as best as possible under the friction of the metal lighting tabs, I was able to pull six cars.  That seventh car just wouldn't allow the dual engines to move the train at all without significant wheel slippage.  I guess my only option now is to remove the metal tabs to reduce the overall friction on the axles.  It's a shame since the lighting of these cars is really done nicely...but I'm at a loss to see another option if I want to pull a seven car string.  As a comparison, one Athearn FP 45 can pull ten Kato El Capitan cars without any trouble at all on my layout.  Clearly, Bachmann needs to look at their lighting design and make some modifications.  The cars look great and have a nice lighting effect...but way too much friction for the matching engines to overcome.
9  Discussion Boards / N / Re: N Scale Acela Express on: February 03, 2010, 08:11:19 AM
As much as I'd like to get this set...I've read it just won't run with curve radii less than 19"...is that true?
10  Discussion Boards / N / Re: N Amfleet cars and HHP loco on: January 06, 2010, 02:48:19 PM
I tried somewhat unsuccessfully to utilize the Kato catenary poles but without any wiring above on my first layout.  I hope to use them again on my current layout build, but only on certain tracks.  (I realize they are not quite like the poles and transmission lines that Amtrak runs under. 

My biggest problem was the tension of the HHP8's tower pushing too strongly on the thread I tried using to recreate the wire look.  So I'll try to limit the upward movement of the HHP's tower and use another wiring component...possible fishing string...rigged from pole to pole.  Sure, I could use real wire (a very thin wire) but worry that one errant hand movement by me or my young engineers in the family would bend the wire enough that I'd need to splice it out and replace it all too frequently.  So I'm looking for something that has a little "give" but enough tension for the HHP's tower to ride under.
11  Discussion Boards / N / Re: N Amfleet cars and HHP loco on: January 02, 2010, 11:04:08 PM
Doing a quick search yielded several pictures of two HHP's pulling the Amfleet cars, but this was certainly the exception to the norm.  Still, either one at each end or two pulling from the front together would solve the problem well enough. 
12  Discussion Boards / N / Re: N Amfleet cars and HHP loco on: December 31, 2009, 09:53:06 PM
Good for you...I'm thinking about doing the same thing.  I really like the lighting effect on those AmFleet cars, but the HHP8 sure has trouble pulling anything more than two cars.  I could get another HHP8 for the extra tractive effort, but you really don't see Amtrak using two of those units together much.  But if there's pictures out there of Amtrak using two HHP's...please post 'em.  Gives me a "prototypical" excuse to pick up another HHP8. 

I tried all the other mod's except modifying the coupler...but really didn't get a substantial improvement in performance.

13  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Hallmark buildings suitable for "N"? on: December 07, 2009, 05:41:21 PM
I'm not sure which buildings you mean, but many people use the "two foot" rule, meaning if it looks good to you at two feet then use it.  The real question is how "prototypical" you want your layout or scenery to look...if a slightly oversized or undersized building works for you - then use it.  If you're striving for more scale dimensions, then a little measurement of the Hallmark buildings might be in order.  I've found that mixing and matching buildings in Nscale from various manufacturers can work depending on where and how you use them.  It seems that manufacturers 1:160 scale isn't always the same...though they're supposed to be.  I tried to stick with one building manufacturer to keep the same "look" and dimensional scale throughout the layout, but I also used slightly larger buildings in the front of my layout and slightly smaller scale buildings at the rear to give the illusion of depth and distance.  Maybe those Hallmark buildings would work well close up, or mixed in with other buildings to add some style and variation.

Whatever you think looks good - I'd encourage you to use.  It's your scene and your layout. 

(And I'm going to check into these Hallmark buildings too...thanks for the tip!) 
14  Discussion Boards / N / What's Next On The Drawing Board? on: October 20, 2009, 08:49:02 AM
Ok...the DD40 is released...the 44 Tonner is released...what's next on the Nscale production line Bachmann?  Seems like there's a trend of making engines that no one else has done in quite a while.  Maybe a UP Turbine in Nscale?  A high hood GP30?  Or even a Genset model? 
15  Discussion Boards / N / Re: dc to dcc on: October 14, 2009, 10:00:13 AM
The short answer is "yes" but it depends on how the engine was made and if it is "dcc ready" or not.  I am no dcc expert, but if the engine was not made for dcc to be added in the future, and the motor isn't isolated from the frame, then it is more complex to add.  For those engines that are "dcc ready", it takes only a few minutes to install a dcc circuit board.  In general, almost all Kato, most newer Atlas, the newer Athearn, and some LifeLike (Walther's) engines are DCC Ready, which is to say they can quickly and easily be converted from dc to dcc.  Some of the newer Bachmann engines already have dcc installed, but I've read adding dcc to their older Nscale engines is challenging but possible. 

There's some excellent websites that discuss DCC operations and necessary materials, as well as some good books on the subject.  A quick search should bring up some of the better known.  Digitrax, TCS, NCE and MRC make most of the dcc circuit boards and all have their own websites that give a lot of good information on converting dc engines to dcc operation.

We're in the middle of converting all our engines from dc to dcc.  Some are easier to convert than others.  But fortunately, there's plenty of good information out there on how to accomplish the conversion.

Good Luck!
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