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2011  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: options for HO 4x8 track and wiring plans in DC operation on: January 06, 2015, 12:11:22 AM
Considering there's a reason brass track hasn't been made in over 20 years for a reason, yeah, go with nickle silver. Way less work to maintain, and locos don't stall because green gunk is growing on the rails.

I'd suggest pulling the rails out of the brass track and recycling the plastic ties and brass. Or check with your local scrap dealer if you've got a lot. Depending on what part of the country your in, scrap brass is going for $0.85 - $1.55/lb for under 50 lbs.

2012  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: EZ Track Noise on: January 05, 2015, 09:00:17 PM
Having about half a 25lb bag of plaster left over from a project, I just fill the void under the track with plaster and smooth it off with a plastic spackle spreader. Let it set up overnight, and way less noise in use.

2013  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Bachmann 4-4-0 model 28306 sound on: January 05, 2015, 07:26:54 PM
The tender body is the same one used in the sound equiped version of this loco. It already has a space for the speaker in the tender. The sound equiped version uses the Bachmann #10066 speaker, available through the "Order Parts" page.

2014  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Bachmann HO engine #6308 on: January 05, 2015, 07:10:29 PM
Len it is the pancake motor unless it was modified by someone. This locomotive hasn't been made in Canadian National livery since the 1970's.

Ugh! If it's lubed to loosen the motor up, their okay for dragging their own train around in loops. But too much slop in the drive for reliable switching actions with knuckles. Plus one or two extra cars can bog them down.

No CN, but I've swapped some other "ancient", and discontinued, shells I really liked to newer drive mechanisms.

2015  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: bachmann track pack 4x8 on: January 05, 2015, 06:38:24 PM
It's not a case of which way is "Cheaper", but which was is affordable.

If you don't have the $$$ to buy the track pack, but enough to get a couple of packs of curves or straights each payday, it's more affordable to get the track pieces sepately over a period of time. Even though overall the complete track pack may be cheaper.

2016  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Bachmann HO engine #6308 on: January 05, 2015, 06:32:58 PM
The cars are okay, but probably have horn-hook couplers.

If it's the F9 with a can motor, they clean up pretty well, have all wheel pick up, and can pull a fair number of cars. If you run DCC, a hardwire decoder is fairly simple install.

If it's the really old one, with "pancake" motor and drive wheels all in one assembly at the front or back, with only 4 pick-up wheels on the other end, it's probably not worth doing more than giving it a drop of oil on each end of the motor shaft. It will pull the cars that came with it, and maybe one or two more. More than that and you may see smoke start coming out of the motor.

2017  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: bachmann track pack 4x8 on: January 05, 2015, 04:22:04 PM
The 'Madison Central' track plan is available on TWGH web site, as well as several others. It's also in a number of track plan books. So if you're on a budget, you don't have to buy anyone's "Track Pack". Just buy the appropriate track sections as you find them on sale, and your budget permits.

Fleishmann did a track bundle for the 'Madison Central' some time back, but I don't think it's available any more. There are also plans and track lists around for doing it in 'N', 'S', and 'O' scales.

2018  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: New HO 4-4-0 train set won't go on: January 05, 2015, 01:47:12 PM
You can get a stereo mini-plug like the one on the end of the red cable at Radio Shack. With the shell off, plug it into the jack on the speed control and measure the voltage between what are known as the ring and sleeve connectors. The tip connector is not used in this instance. If you read voltage, the red cable is bad, no voltage it's the speed control.

2019  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: bachmann track pack 4x8 on: January 05, 2015, 12:05:12 PM
Michael Gross did a series of "How To" videos for 'The World's Greatest Hobby' folks.

One of which is "Building Your First Model Railroad", included in the #44596 "Your First Railroad Track Pack". Since TWGH isn't affiliated with any particular manufacturer, they did the layout in just about everyone's track system and scale. And at some point, several manufacturers offered similar track packs to build the layout.

The layout itself is based on the "Madison Central", built by Jim Hediger for Model Railroader magazine some years back. Which in turn was based on a layout built by a youth group even earlier.

As 4x8 layouts go, it's a good, basic 4x8 layout, without creating the "spaghetti bowl" effect. There's resonable possibility for operating two locos if you're using DCC. One switching the spurs, the other running the loop.

No idea why the switches are getting bad reviews. They aren't high end, like Shinohara, but they're no worse than other basic solinoid operated switches.

2020  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: planning a new layout / layout tables on: January 05, 2015, 07:17:03 AM
The main limitation is most people can only reach 3ft, and that's a stretch. So you access around at least three sides needs to be factored into your space requirements. It also limits you to 22in radius curves max. Since radius is measured center-to-center, 24in radius would be hanging off the table.

Are you looking to run long trains around, or more into switching operations? If switching operations, you'd be better off to have your local home supply store split the 4'x8' into two 2'x8' or four 2'x4' strips. Use the strips for an around the wall switching layout.

2021  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Rolling Stock question... on: January 05, 2015, 07:09:22 AM
re: "Wheels spinning"

From Roger T's post earlier in the thread:

USE INSTRUCTIONS: FOR PROFESSIONAL USE ONLY. Read all directions and cautions
before use.
Remove cap and apply Rail-Zip to clean cloth, cotton swab, felt pad or sponge. Apply directly to
surface area to be treated. A thin, uniform coating is best.
Do not rub Rail-Zip. Product works
chemically, not mechanically. Allow product to work overnight (10-12 hours) to penetrate and
protect. Optional: Remove any excess residue by wiping lightly with clean cloth lightly moistened
with water.

The guy applied a "thing, uniform coating" to the entire layout. With the result mentioned.

Also not the bit in the instructions about, " penetrate and protect." Rail-Zip was developed in the 'bad old days' of brass track, which is more porous than nickle-silver, primarily to fight the blue-green oxidation brass is notorious for. It's really not necessary for NS track.

2022  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: "Sound Value" Question on: January 05, 2015, 12:48:20 AM
Information like locomotive type, e.g., Berkshire, has to be manually entered in the DecoderPro "Roster Entry Pane".

Instructions are here:

2023  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: options for HO 4x8 track and wiring plans in DC operation on: January 05, 2015, 12:39:45 AM
Kalmbach publishes several books with track plans for 4x8 layouts. Some of the newer books include plans using EZ-Track.

They publish what they call their "Essential Series", which cover just about all the basics of getting started. You can see them at:

They're available at most hobby shops and decent book stores. You can also order them direct or from Amazon.

Clicking on 'books', just above "Essential" on the page above, will take you to the page where other book series are listed.


2024  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Rolling Stock question... on: January 05, 2015, 12:23:43 AM
Rail-Zip was banned at a club I used to belong to. One enterprising individual applied it to the track according to the instructions on the bottle. The result was locos, even with traction tires, just sitting there spinning their wheels. Took a week to get things cleaned up and running again.

If you're going to use R-Z at all, this is one instance where forget the instructions on the bottle. One drop per rail, and spread it with the trains. And not very often at that.

I'll stick to my clean cloth and Brite-Boy for the tough spots.

2025  Discussion Boards / Williams by Bachmann / Re: F3a 20096 on: January 04, 2015, 10:38:50 PM
At this point, since you purchased it new, all I can suggest is contacting Bachmann directly for possible warranty repair.

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