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2041  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Convert Hook and Loop couplers to Knuckle couplers on: January 03, 2015, 09:16:39 AM
Coupler availability isn't the problem with the Hogwarts Express conversion. It's the amount of 'surgery' and modifications involved to get it done.

Much simpler to get one of the coaches MilwaukeeRoadfan261 mentions and make a coupler of 'hook & loop to knuckle' conversion cars using the Bachmann or Kadee NEM shank knuckle couplers.

Personally, I wish Bachmann would start using NEM pockets on the Thomas & Friends, and other European based, locos and rolling stock they're producing. It would make life a lot easier for us folks that keep getting asked to make it work with "American" equipment people already have.
 
Len
2042  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: inclines and train not climbing on: January 03, 2015, 08:16:07 AM
I think the riser/pier set discussion got started because of this line in the original post back in December by Bill, "I have a Bachmann "Jingle Bells Express" set and added track and the graduated piers."

Bill can confirm one way or the other, if he's still paying attention, but my suspicion is he was building a temporary Christmas layout. Not something permanent that might offer better options than using a pier set.

Len
2043  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: inclines and train not climbing on: January 02, 2015, 08:51:39 PM
Jerry,

I gave him the grade based on the measurements provided, the grade formula, and common pier set grades in post #23 above. Here it is again:

Quote
(3.5:" rise/52" run)*100 = 6.7% grade.

The Bachmann 18pc pier set gives a grade of approximately 3.1%, the Atlas set, which as more pieces giving a longer run, is roughly 2.6%. Of course the Atlas set doesn't work very well with EZ-Track.

Based on the "run" number, I suspect he's using the 16 piece pier set that's better being used as a "trestle" to cross a valley than for up and over layouts. The 18 piece set's better for that, even better with the shim modified two set configuration I described.

Len


Len
2044  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: im just a grandmother, please help! on: January 02, 2015, 02:55:30 PM
Doh! Forgot to mention the short possibility.

Quick way to find out. Take the train completely off the track, and make sure there are no pins, needles, etc., laying across the track. If that stops the blinking, there's a short.

If taking the train off stopped the blinking, put the loco on the track by itself to see if it's the problem. If not, try the cars one at a time until you find the one causing the problem.

Let us know what you find.

Len
2045  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: im just a grandmother, please help! on: January 02, 2015, 02:35:18 PM
The magnet is normally for using the uncoupling feature of the EZ-Mate couplers.

If lights are blinking, your controller may be in programming or function mode. Pressing the 'Stop' button should get it out of programming mode and back to normal mode. If that doesn't clear the blinking, press the funtion button to exit function mode.

If the blinking lights stopped, press the '3' button to select address 3, which is the default address from the factory. Turn the throttle up, and the loco should move.

The EZ-Command manual has detailed instructions on how to use the function feature to trigger different sounds.

Len


2046  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Coupler problems? on: January 02, 2015, 02:07:00 PM
My '1860' style cars use medium center shank couplers.

Len
2047  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: inclines and train not climbing on: January 02, 2015, 11:58:49 AM
(3.5:" rise/52" run)*100 = 6.7% grade.

The Bachmann 18pc pier set gives a grade of approximately 3.1%, the Atlas set, which as more pieces giving a longer run, is roughly 2.6%. Of course the Atlas set doesn't work very well with EZ-Track.

If you have the room, one way to ease the grade for EZ-Track is to use two sets of Bachmann piers. Measure the height difference between adjacent piers in a set. Find another use for the tallest piers in one set, then make shims half that thickness of the height difference and put them under the remaining piers of that set. Starting from the tallest regular pier, alternate regular (R) and shimmed (S) piers using the standard spacing. So you end up with: Top of Grade R-S-R-S-R-S-R Bottom of Grade until your level again.

Just remember you run is going to increase quite a bit as the grade comes down.

Len
2048  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: HO NS gp50 on: January 02, 2015, 11:42:12 AM
Ok. Thank you for your reply. I will avoid this loco as it does not fit my needs. Is it safe to say that this locomotive likley has similar issues
http://www.modeltrainstuff.com/Bachmann-HO-EMD-GP40-Con-p/bac-63516.htm


The motor in the GP40 is isolated from the chassis, so installing a decoder is pretty straight forward. It's not "DCC Ready", so a 'hardwire' installation involving some soldering will be required. And the picture at the link you gave shows the loco already has knuckle couplers.

The locomotive is different, but the installation method of whatever decoder you use is pretty much the same as this:

http://www.tcsdcc.com/Customer_Content/Installation_Pictures/HO_Scale/Bachmann/Baldwin_RF-16_Shark/Baldwin_RF-16_Shark.html

Len
2049  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: HO ALCO 2-6-0 Mogul on: January 02, 2015, 11:34:03 AM
It may just need some break in time to smooth it out. It's generally accepted practice to run a new loco with no cars for about 30 - 45 minutes in forward, varying the speed occasionally. Then run it in reverse for the same amount of time. This gives the gears, and mechanism, a chance to smooth out.

If it's still jerky after that, then the running gear may be binding, and it probably does need to be serviced. This is what Bachmann's warranty says about that:

Quote
Items less than a year old are fully covered and will be serviced or replaced at no charge when accompanied with registration card and proof of purchase.

Len
2050  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Convert Hook and Loop couplers to Knuckle couplers on: January 02, 2015, 11:26:07 AM
If the idea is to use the coaches with different locos, there is an alternative solution. Bachmann and Hornby make similar style coaches that use NEM coupler pockets. You might have to repaint it to match, but you could get one of them, and swap out the coupler on one end to make a hook & loop to knuckle coupler transition car. Put it between the Hogwarts coaches and whatever you're using as motive power. Or between the Hogwarts loco and any american type cars you want to pull.

Bachmann makes the 78035 EZ-Mate NEM shank coupler, which appears to have a long shank. And Kadee makes four NEM shank couplers. The Kadee's are: 17 - Short, 18 - Medium, 19 - Long, 2- Extra Long. For passenger cars you'd want either the long or extra long.

Then you don't have to do any surgery to your Hogwarts cars.

Len
2051  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Convert Hook and Loop couplers to Knuckle couplers on: January 02, 2015, 06:12:01 AM
They don't. The Hogwarts Express couplers are mounted talgo style to the truck assembly to allow them to get around 18" radius curves. While similar to the couplers used on Thomas & Friends, they are slightly different.

Converting HE's to knuckles has been done, but it's not a simple project.

Len
2052  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: lighted passenger car problems on: January 01, 2015, 09:11:00 PM
The original post says, "I have a amtrak Passenger car with lights...", which pretty much excludes heavy weight cars. And none of the current production lighted Amtrak cars I'm aware of use flourescent bulbs. They either use one or more incandescent bulbs, e.g., Life-Like, or LEDs, just about everyone else offering lighted cars.

Out of curiousity, who made your cars with the flourescent bulbs? I haven't seen those used in some time.

Len
2053  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: lighted passenger car problems on: January 01, 2015, 05:50:03 PM
The original post says he's running DC, not DCC with sound. And, assuming the wheels are all installed correctly and there's no bare wire touching something, even 8 lighted cars shouldn't overload even a cheaper transformer.

Len
2054  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: lighted passenger car problems on: January 01, 2015, 04:12:21 PM
Even the old Bachmann transformers with the flip-over handle you turned one way for forward, the other for reverse, has enough power to run most locos and 3 or 4 lighted cars.

What the OP is describing is the loco stops running with the lighted car on the track. That indicates a short in the car, which would create an overload condition. The most common source of shorts in lighted cars is a reversed wheel set in one, or both, trucks.

Len
2055  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: lighted passenger car problems on: January 01, 2015, 02:55:26 PM
It sounds like you've got a short in the passenger car. The most common way this happens a wheel, or wheels, are removed an put back reversed from the way they were.

If you look close, you'll see one wheel is insulated from the axle, the other isn't. The insulated wheels all need to be on the same side of the truck assembly. They should be on the opposite side on the other truck assembly. This allows power to flow from one rail, through the lights, then out to the opposite rail.

If one wheelset is reversed, power flows from one rail directly through the axles to the other rail, creating a short.

If all the insulated wheels are where they belong, check the wiring for a bare spot that's touching something it shouldn't. Not as common, but it happens.

Len
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