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1  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Minimum Radius Question Answers on: January 19, 2019, 01:03:18 AM
For those who really want to know how tight a curve their locos can handle, you could always build a "Death Spiral" to test them with...

This is a diagram of one I built years ago using odds and sods of track I had laying around. The curves tighter than the 360mm R1 are actually flex track. It was easier to lay them out in the software as sectional track. The entire thing could be done with flex track. It helps to mark the start and end of each radius, along with it's size, directly on the platform. Each radius is a 90deg turn into the next size. The straight section leading into the 24" radius is to make getting locos on the track easier.

2  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Minimum Radius Question Answers on: January 18, 2019, 06:48:21 PM
The Bachmann "Performs best on radius 15 curves or greater" info for Streetcars and short wheel base locomotives that can run on lesser is because 15 radius curve is the smallest Bachmann manufacturers in HO.

I don't have all those locos to test for actual minimums, and it seems like every time the question gets asked the answer points them to the on-line store to get the answer. That's why I just collected 'Bachmann's Recommended Minimum' curve info. I'm sure the answer to, "How tight a curve can it actually take?", is out there if you look hard enough. But that wasn't the intent of the list.

3  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Minimum Radius Question Answers on: January 18, 2019, 12:01:41 PM
Note that the list is of Bachmann's 'Minimum Recommended' curves, not what the locos may actually negotiate.

That said, the info gained by experience on the trolleys is helpful for those that may be contemplating street running.

4  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Minimum Radius Question Answers on: January 18, 2019, 04:23:25 AM
Hunt - Thanks. Updated the list for those who want to copy & paste into a text file for their own reference.

5  Discussion Boards / HO / Minimum Radius Question Answers on: January 17, 2019, 11:53:14 PM
It seems like, "What's the minimum radius curve for loco XYZ?", gets asked a lot around here. So I went through the current 'On-Line Store' offerings and made a list to put in one spot. Admins, feel free to move to the FAQ area if you think it's appropriate.

Minimum Recommended Curve List for Bachmann Locomotives
Note: Few of these locomotives look good operating on the 'Minimum Recommended Curve'. In some cases the overhang looks completely rediculous, and can result in collisions with scenary. Locomotives look better on curves larger than the 'Minimum Recommended', and will generally operate better due to less side forces on the mechanism.

0-6-0 USRA - 18" Radius
0-6-0T Porter - 18" Radius
2-6-0 Mogul - 18" Radius
2-6-2 Prairie - 18" Radius
2-8-0 Consolidation - 18" Radius
2-8-2 Light Mikado - 18" Radius
2-8-4 Berkshire - 22" Radius
4-4-0 American - 18" Radius
4-6-0 Ten Wheeler - 18" Radius
4-6-2 USRA Light Pacific - 18" Radius
4-6-2 K4 Pacific - 22" Radius
4-8-4 Northern/GS4/J Class - 22" Radius (a.k.a. Niagra/Santa Fe/Greenbrier/Western/Dixies/etc., etc.)
50-Ton 2-Truck Climax - 15" Radius

ALCO FA/FB-2 - 18" Radius
ALCO RS-3 - 18" Radius
ALCO S-4 - 18" Radius
EMD DD40AX - 22" Radius
EMD E7A - 22" Radius
EMD F7A/B - 18" Radius
EMD GP7 - 18" Radius
EMD GP9 - 18" Radius
EMD GP30 - 18" Radius
EMD GP38-2 - 18" Radius
EMD GP40 - 18" Radius
EMD GP50 - 18" Radius
EMD SD40-2 - 18" Radius
EMD SD70ACe - 22" Radius
GE 44-Ton - 15" Radius
GE 70-Ton - 18" Radius
GE ES44AC - 22" Radius

ACS-64 - 22" Radius
GG-1 - 22" Radius

PCC Streetcar - 15" Radius
Cable Car - 15" Radius

6  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Replacing Circuit board on: January 17, 2019, 04:20:00 PM
If you can post pictures of both sides of both boards to Photobucket, Flickr, or whatever, then link the photos here it might help to figure things out.

7  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: What can I get that is DCC - HO scale on: January 17, 2019, 05:47:14 AM
I've never added sound, just straight DCC motor control, to the upgrades I've done. It might be possible with Henry, Gordan, and James, but the trick would be finding space for the speaker.

And if it were possible, I have no idea if custom sound files for the 'Thomas' locos are available to download from anywhere.

8  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: 8 Pin Decoder on: January 17, 2019, 01:02:19 AM
Save your $35 if your not adding sound. The Tech 6 is basically a DC power pack with the added capability of controlling sound decoders when the loco address is set to '3'.

The Tech 6 manual that explains this, if you don't have one, can be found here:

9  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: HO GP40 Motors - Constant Screeching on: January 16, 2019, 05:24:38 PM
These are a bit unusual, but at one time or another I've seen them all.

With the shell off, but otherwise assembled, check that you don't have a truck mounting screw that's too long and rubbing on a drive shaft on one or both ends. Also that there's no metal "flash" on the upper or lower chassis pieces rubbing the drive shaft connectors on the motor. If neither of those is the culprit, try running the motor with nothing connected to it. If it screeches, even after being lubed, you probably have an internal brush holder that got folded under itself. Not much can be done about that, except replace the motor.

10  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: What can I get that is DCC - HO scale on: January 16, 2019, 08:11:49 AM
Here are some instructions for installing decoders in a few 'Thomas' series locos, with pictures, from the TCS site. They show TCS decoders being installed, but the steps would be the same for anyones decoders. When my repair shop was still open, I did a number of these for my customers, but used smaller 'N or Z-scale' decoders rated at least 1 amp.


Henry & Gordan:
(Gordan's name got typoed)


Thomas (2002 Limited Edition):

Others in the Thomas line are similar. Just use a physically small decoder that's rated at least 1 amp.

11  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: New Railroad, sorta (Part II) on: January 15, 2019, 11:06:20 AM
What's the blue bit next to your 'quarry pond'?

A "railfan" wearing blue jeans who ignored the "Flash Flood Area" warning signs while searching for a Darwin Award.

12  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: HO scale RS3 withh DCC on board on: January 13, 2019, 02:02:29 PM
If it's the DCC on board, and not the 'SoundValue', RS3 it uses an 8-pin socket for the decoder. You can replace the decoder with an 8-pin dummy plug and operate straight DC without the voltage loss you're experiencing.

Dummy plug wiring looks like this compared to the decoder wiring:

There may be two pieces of metal in the box, with three prongs on each. If so, they can be used to jumper the socket in the upper and lower corners as shown in the diagram.

13  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Ho block signal on: January 11, 2019, 12:57:22 AM
The simplest way to do it would be with an Atlas #200 Snap-Relay wired per the diagram:

"To DS64" goes to whatever is controlling your turnout, whether it's a basic control button or a DCC turnout controller. With EZ-Track turnouts, the center wire would go to the center screw on the end of the relay. The red and green wires from the signal go to the two screws shown on the relay. The wire with the resistor goes to one side of whatever power supply you're using, the other side of the power supply goes to the screw marked with the "+". The "+/-" polarity of the power supply for your signal may not be the same as the diagram.

You could use a 9V battery to test the hookup before doing anything permanent to the turnout wires. Just connect the signal and battery to the relay and slide the lever manually to see which polarity goes where, and which lamp comes on for each position. A 9V DC wall-wart could be used for the permanent installation.

14  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Ho block signal on: January 10, 2019, 06:17:28 PM
Red-Green-Brown would be a 250 Ohm resister, witha +/- tolerance of 20% if there's not a 4th color band.

15  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: convert DC to DCC with sound on: January 10, 2019, 08:45:35 AM
TCS makes a kit containing all the parts needed to add DCC w/Sound to the Proto USRA 0-8-0 and 0-6-0:

Also available from Walthers as item #745-1920

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