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1  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Small Turntable Needed on: February 27, 2008, 12:44:49 PM
You are trying to model a very small turntable.  I understand that you are trying to fit it into your shelf layout but it is going to consume a great deal of space.

A 5" turn turntable would represent 67'.  A 6" turntable such as the Peco is roughly 80'.  Before you spend alot of money or time I would compare your current engines to a 5" section of straight track. 

Remember the bridge in the turntable rotates, so you will need clearance on each end to be able to rotate the bridge.  You will also need space around the turntable to sink the pit and run tracks.  Not to mention a roundhouse, coaling tower, ash pit, water tower, etc...

If you are only running small motive power, swithers or older 4-4-0 type engines then you may be able to get away with such a small turntable, but modern steam and early diesal will probably require a 9 - 10" bridge.


2  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: smoke liquid on: February 12, 2008, 05:45:17 PM
I would think the only reason to make your own smoke fluid would be to save money. 

I'm just not sure of how much raw material you would have to buy and test before coming up with the proper mixture that would smoke without igniting.

As others have posted, you will not want to use a smoke unit often enough to warrant the effort required to mix your own.  Buy a bottle from your local hobby store and use that.  It lasts a long time and requires a lot less effort.

3  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Large Controler VS regular controller on: February 11, 2008, 05:08:38 PM
Although these look similar, there are very distinct differences. 

They both use the same Wall Transformer, but they are rated at different Amperage outputs.  The Large Scale controller is rated at 1 AMP vs the Regular controllers .75 Amp. 

The Regular controller has AC output spring terminals.  These are used to power track accessories, such as remote swicthes.  So the Transformer converts the house hold 120 volt AC to DC, and the controller converts the DC into a fixed AC output, as well as variable DC output to the track.

The components in the Transformer and  Large Scale controller cannot deliver enough power to provide both AC and DC current.

The Large Scale controller can not be used with the Bachmann DCC E-Z command module because of the chance you will overload the E-Z command controller by running the LS controller at the full throttle delivering 1 Amp of power.

There are probably users here that may have more exact voltage/Amp ratings that differentiate these products. 

4  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Need help on standards on: January 14, 2008, 11:34:00 AM
Before you attempt  to make your own track gauge for 45MM/#1/Large Scale track.   

Aristo-Craft makes one that includes a level to not only check the track and wheel gauge, but checks the track for level as you go.

The gauge can be found at most Aristo-Craft retailers, and is on their site.
The Aristo-Craft model number is 11906.

5  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Digitrax Zephyr? on: January 14, 2008, 10:36:22 AM
Based on your posts it appears that you have two DCC locos that are experiencing problems so I would rule them out (for now).

I would disconnect the Zephyr and connect a DC power pack to the track.  Remove all locos and cars.  Then use a Volt-Ohm Meter to test the track for loss of power, loose connections, and/or shorts.   

I would specifically test to make sure that your switch does not cause a short when it it switched.  Your posts indicate that this is an intermittent problem, so something must be changing while you are running locos.  It may be a loose wire or rail connector, or it may be when you change your switch position you introduce the probem.

If you cannot find any problems with your track work or wiring then I would contact Digitrax for suggestions. 

6  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Rotary switch on: December 20, 2007, 09:45:12 AM
Let's start at the begining. 

You are building a RoundHouse. Are you going to use a Turntable to route the engines to the stalls?  If not how are you going to route the engines to the stalls?

If you add a Turntable to your layout there would be no need for a rotary switch.  You would power the rails leading to and from the truntable and use the turntables drive control to route the engines to the desired track.

You are already running DCC so you could handle multiple engines in the yard/roundhouse without the need to create 'blocks' to isolate the sections of track.

As for the rotary switch itself.  You should not need more then 2 AMPs to run HO trains.  If you do then your DCC decoders would overheat.  Of course there would be nothing wrong with using a switch that has a higher AMPerage rating.  Although the higher the rating the bigger the switch.

A double pole switch will control two sets of contacts so it would control two curcuits at one time.

I'm sure that someone else on the Forum has more experience with DCC and using turntables that provide more info.  I use my turntable with DC and a series of single pole switches to select a segment of track to control.

7  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: EZ-Track passing siding. on: December 20, 2007, 08:13:44 AM
Hey Gene,

Bachmann makes an E-Z Track Expansion Set  #44594 that has every thing you need to add a siding/passing to an existing E-Z track layout.

Here is a link to there products page

You can find this at many of the online stores as well local hobby shops.  But if you can't find this set at least you will have a list of track peaces that you can purchase individually.

My wife bought this to expand her DeWitt Clinton set.

Happy Holidays
8  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Drag on curves - knuckle versus hook and loop couplers on: December 18, 2007, 10:57:32 PM
I run my Bachmann cars on 4' and 5' diameter LGB track without any noticeable drag.  However I don't have any cars with plastic wheels.

If the metal wheels on your 'working' cars are the same width as your plastic ones try switching them and see if that makes a difference.  Plastic wheels are notorius for causing problems.  And Metal wheels generally roll smoother then plastic.

I'm not the biggest fan of Bachmann couplers but they do work. 

If you are not concerned with being prototypical, then the hook and loop couplers will work better for running trains/cars on small diameter curves.  I find that they are easier to couple and uncouple and they stay connected better.
9  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Acceptable track width on: December 18, 2007, 10:35:01 PM
The short answer is no 1.740" (44.196mm) is not acceptable.

All G/large scale track is based on #1 gauge standard of 45mm inside rail width.  This standard originates in Europe and has not changed or will not be changed by the NMRA.

However, the NMRA is attempting to incorporate this standard into its Standard Pratices and Recommended Procedures for our (modelers) benefit. So using their chart in Standards 3.2 the minimum width between the rails is 1.766" (44.85mm). The maximum width is 1.793" (45.5mm).

So now you need to determine why your track is not within the standards.  You will need to make a compas to check the curve/radius of the individual rails of your track to determine which rail(s) are bent incorrectly.  Once your know which rail is causing problems you will need to correct the radius.

You may want to check to make sure the rails are not twisted or leaning.  The rails may have to correct radius at the bottom but the rail head may be leaning in towards the opposite rail causing your space between the rails to be reduced.

10  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Start out with DCC? on: December 18, 2007, 02:41:19 PM
My 5 year old (daughter) and I love to run trains together.   And we love to take the old steam engine excurions as well.

But I know from pratical experience that kids just want to play and have fun running trains.  And the analog sets are great for that.  Remember to keep it simple. 

Based on your desires, you are going to start with a small layout.  And you want to expand as your son gets older.  And you are looking into purchasing one train at this time.  This does not sound like a good candidate for DCC.  Not that you need lots of track or multiple trains to use DCC but you definitely don't need DCC to run one train at a time on a single track layout.

My daughter loves the buildings, cars, people etc that go with the trains.  So much so that I find them all over the house.   This christmas she will be getting some of her own people so I may keep mine on the layout.

She also has no trouble working the control for the DC trains.  She can start, stop and change directions with ease.  I'm not sure she would be able to do this with a DCC control. DCC requires her to select a train and then select a function. 

Start small and simple and work your way up as your son grows in age and ability.  If the trains become hard to use or beyond his capabilities then he will opt for something else.

And most importantly with a 5 year old.  They need adult supervision.  Although trains are pretty safe, they still require electricity and have small parts and are difficult to handle. 

Enjoy Christmas! And spend the holidays and the rest of the year playing trains with your son.

11  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Big Hauler Annie sound ? on: December 18, 2007, 12:33:05 PM
The sounds that are made by the Big Haulers is very basic.  It produces 'chuffs' as the engines moves and a short fading release of steam 'chuff' when the engine stops.  If you run at full throtle/power the sound will cut out.

If you want realistic steam engine sounds (chuffs, bells, whistles) then you will definitely want to add a decoder to your engine.   This will not only give you better sound, but you will also have more control over the sounds.

12  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: New 2-8-0 Consolidation on: December 13, 2007, 11:19:23 AM
I purchased a Bachmann spectrum loco about a month ago and as best I can remember there is a line on the exploded diagram that basically states:

To prolong the life of the model varying the speed and direction and never run at top speed.

This not meant to be a direct quote, but by following the above you should get a long service life from your loco.

13  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: setting up semi permanant layout on: December 11, 2007, 03:20:39 PM
I created a layout in N scale that is placed on a 2" thich foam insulation board from Lowes/Home Depot.  The lay out is a 5x5 L and is about 3' deep.  It is leaning against the wall in my garage right now.  I currently use 4 of the inexpensive plastic saw horses to support the layout when I want to run the trains.

My intention is to make a hinged mount against the wall and fold the layout up against the wall when not in use.  The only draw back to this is I'm limited to how high I can build mountains and buildings.  And everything has to be firmly attached to the layout when moving it.  I already lost one engine that hit the concrete.

I know we are all tight on space, but you will have to stack and store your layout so you may actually find it easier to just stand the layout up.  The foam board with a complete layout is very light and easily managed buy one person.
14  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: First time train buyer NEEDS HELP! on: December 11, 2007, 02:58:38 PM
The are a couple of train stores/hobby shops in your area. 

J B's Train Depot  is at 34 West street in Annapolis.

M. B. Klein in Baltimore.  They have a web site

You can also check the SAM's club.  Every year they feature a Large Scale Christmas train set that is produced by Bachmann.  These look great under a tree and are inexpensive. Currently the Sam's Club site lists these as available online only, but some of the Sam's stores have them in stock.

If you have your heart set on the B&O, then you will be narrowing down your choice of scale (size) and availability. 

Good luck with your search.

15  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Advice--Durable Lasting Train set for 6 year old, what you your recommendations? on: December 11, 2007, 02:30:07 PM
Ok, one more opinion. 

My daughter is 5 and runs my trains all the time.  I have G scale Bachmann and LGB under the Christmas tree that she plays with all the time.  Although she has trouble placing the engines and cars on the track by herself she has mastered running the trains.  She knows not to place anything on the track and she must stop the train before switching directions.

And I absolutely love 'playing' trains with her.  I'm sure your husband would enjoy spending time with his son doing the same.  He will get to play with some cool toys and build a lifetime of memories.

Regardless of what train you purchase for your son (G or O scale) he will still need some superivision.  Remember that trains require electricity so you may not want your 6 year old plugging in the power pack.  I beleive this is the reason for the minimum age on train sets.

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