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2656  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A few pictures. on: February 05, 2008, 03:36:18 AM
Your control "console" is interesting, how about some information on it.

Yampa Bob
2657  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Bad EZ track swithces on: February 05, 2008, 03:31:17 AM
Congratulations, you just made the transition from "complainer" to "doer".

Feels good doesn't it?   

Yampa Bob
2658  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Bachmann Switch #5 on: February 05, 2008, 02:24:10 AM
When working out your track geometry , don't think about curves (radii), think about "divergent angles".  Any piece that deviates from a straight line has a divergent angle.  An 18" radius curve piece has a divergent angle of 30 degrees.  It takes 6 pieces to make a half circle, or 180 degrees.   22" is 22.5 degrees, requiring 8 to make a half circle.  (we're talking full pieces).  Obviously a 1/2 piece of 18" would diverge 15 degrees, a 1/3 piece 10 degrees and so on.

While it is true that the #5 has no fixed "curve", it does have a divergent angle.

The divergent angle of Bachmann #5 turnout is 12 degrees.  Geometrically You can return to parallel by using a piece of 33.25" radius part # 44509.  which is also 12 degrees.  The problem with this method is that the spacing will be way too wide.  For the usual parallel track,  you'll have to use flex or cut a radius piece the proper length as previously suggested.  That would be slightly shorter than a 1/2 -18" piece, or a tad longer than 1/2 of a 22" piece.  I don't enjoy cutting EZ track, so I just cut a piece of regular Code 100 snap track and add some roadbed. Cut a bit long, then trim down until the tracks are parallel.

The 12 degree divergent angle is not shown in the Bachmann catalog and is not common knowledge,  but I found a web site that has a divergent degree table for most popular turnouts.  By using a protractor and a straight edge, you can estimate the divergent angle of any turnout. 

For the math whizes, a suitable calculator set to "radians" will give you the length of arc for a specific radii and angle or calculate using geometric formulas.  At my age, that gives me a headache, so I usually just stick on a curved piece and cut at the length that takes me where I want to go.

(Often heard:  "I cut the thing twice and it's still too short" )

Yampa Bob
2659  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Disappointed on: February 05, 2008, 12:19:48 AM
The sides of joints need to be as smooth as the tops, especially on curves. Run a fingernail along the sides, if a joint catches your nail, it will also catch the wheel flange.

Usually there is no weight or down pressure on the trucks, they are free to bounce up and down at every imperfection. 

Two wheel trucks: Pony derails forward, trailing derails reverse.  Why? The pivot point is always behind the truck. The truck wants to turn around so that the pivot is in front, like a "crazy" wheel on equipment.  A poor joint helps it to do what it wants to do naturally.  A little weight on the truck might help.  I agree with Gene about the springs.  On my Connies I removed the spring and added a small block to limit the vertical movement a bit so the flange can't climb over the rail. 

Four wheel trucks derailing:  Probably bad joints as mentioned above or a binding spring.  I have not used Tru Track, but I have found that some integrated road bed track is sometimes out of gauge at the ends, it takes some sidewise forcing to join them.  I had to file some joints on the sides to stop similar derails.

Yampa Bob
2660  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Bachmann EZ Track and Turntables on: February 04, 2008, 10:38:56 PM
The EZ and regular Code 100 tracks are compatible.  Rather than cut your EZ, just add a short piece of Code 100 track (snap or flex) as an adapter/approach to the turntable.  The Code 100 ties will go over the locking tab on the EZ and the rails will join with no problem.

Fill in a roadbed under the short piece with foam or balsa. 

Yampa Bob
2661  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: streams and creeks and rivers, oh My! on: February 03, 2008, 04:32:04 AM
Hi Gene
I will be adding a stream to my layout,  using Woodland Scenics water.  Their scenery manual says to use plaster cloth making sure there are no small cracks or holes, and dry the cloth thoroughly.  There are 5 pages devoted to water effects.

If you don't already have the manual, I would recommend it. 

Here is an article from MRR magazine:

Rick Inglis of the Northern Colorado Model Railroad Club has a 4 page PDF on "Modeling Rivers".  Follow this link, right click on the image and save target  as  "Modeling Rivers.pdf ".


2662  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: OT: Can't upload file to forum on: February 03, 2008, 02:15:21 AM
When I first got into model railroading, I got a lot of help here.  It's nice to be able to help others in return.

Good luck
2663  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Bad EZ track swithces on: February 02, 2008, 04:56:56 PM
Are we in a time warp or what?  On December 31 you posted in the HO section that your problems had been solved, even recommending the same solutions offered here.  A month later you post that you are having problems. 

The link you posted is excellent reading.  That page was written by an expert in the hobby and we should all heed his advice. 

Modelers seem to range from the doers to the complainers.  There is a middle class, who  sometimes sits there with a dumb look which fits me at times.  I have my share of frustrations too.  I think the challenges of model railroading is one factor that makes the hobby so  popular.

When I first set up my temporary EZ track, I had constant problems with one turnout. I couldn't fix it so I just replaced it with the newer Atlas turnout. 

We are all free to make choices.  Terry won't drive Fords, I only drive Fords, not because I like them better, but our Ford dealer provides excellent support and service.

I would bet I could run your loco on my layout all day without a derail.  So you aren't wasting $300, the problem seems to be with the turnouts. If that's the case, then you should complain directly to Bachmann.  All we can do here is offer solutions.  If you choose to just let your $300 loco gather dust, I guess that's your business.

I don't know if Bachmann has plans for an upgrade on their turnouts. Atlas just made several changes which greatly improved performance, but it wouldn't be appropriate to detail those changes here.   
If enough people complain and sales drop considerably then I guess they will do something about it.  They have a toll free number and provide excellent customer service.

I'm not saying we shouldn't complain, only that this  is not the proper place.  Since Bachmann provides this service, I think it is inappropriate (being polite in my choice of words) to call their products junk in the forum.

The topic of EZ switches has been posted Ad Nauseum. I only read them to see if I missed something the first 2,987 times around . :-)   

Good Luck
Yampa Bob 

2664  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Bad EZ track swithces on: February 02, 2008, 02:03:57 AM
With such a highly competitive market, the manufacturers produce the best quality product they can for the price they charge.  They don't make "junk" as you call it.  If they did, they couldn't compete for long.  You can't expect swiss watch quality for fifteen bucks.

Modeling in HO gauge takes a little more tinkering, and a lot more patience.   It took me a long time  to work out kinks in my trackwork, and I still get an occasional derail.   It is a continuous learning process, part of the challenge. 

Filing the points as suggested will do wonders.   As for the front trucks, some say add a spring for down pressure, others say take the spring off.  Most tenders can benefit from a little added weight, and make sure the drawbar isn't lifting the front of the tender.

No need to be embarrassed by your friends.  Just explain that this is a new venture for you and there are some problems.  They will probably be happy to help you troubleshoot and fix the problems.  Asking for their help will make them feel good and once you conquer the problem you will have a great feeling of accomplishment. 

Oh yes, you might want to read your signature line again.  Maybe change it to "If you can't say anything nice about a product,,,etc. etc.  The forum is a place to exchange ideas, not  for "venting". 

Yampa Bob

2665  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: OT: Can't upload file to forum on: February 01, 2008, 02:50:04 AM
Hi Jim
Long time no see. I've been away from the forum for awhile but keeping in touch with Lanny and others by email.   

Thanks for the encouragement.  I feel well qualified to offer image management advice as I spent many years creating animated gifs and cartoons for various websites although my software knowledge is limited to Paint Shop and Corel Draw.  (which incidentally has merged into one super program). I didn't want to elaborate too much on the RTS program as it is a competitor's product, but a general image "course" might be appropriate.  My comments in this section will serve as a "lead in" to a separate topic later.

I'll give it some thought and come up with some simplified procedures.   You are right. a picture is still worth a thousand words in communication.

My first comment is,  anyone who uses a digital camera needs some kind of photo/image managing software.  XP will upload images from the camera and view them but their paint program is limited. 

2666  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: OT: Can't upload file to forum on: February 01, 2008, 01:37:35 AM
I just downloaded T.O.M's ral file from your site and opened in RTS.  I turned off the article numbers, changed the grid color to pale blue, zoom set to 30, saved as .bmp then converted it to a monochrome  .jpg at 360 X 190 pixels, file size only 16kb.  It looks great.

2667  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: OT: Can't upload file to forum on: February 01, 2008, 01:12:10 AM
Yes, unfortunately only as a bitmap (.bmp) which are large files. For those who don't have a high end paint program, the "print screen" you mentioned in the HO section is another good option to save directly as .jpg.  Although not compressed may be large.

I greatly enjoy the pictures in the forum, but many are so large that my slow dialup takes forever to load.  As a Webmaster, I have been managing images for decades, and try to keep any images I upload or send under 50 kb.  I have considered posting a topic on image management, but don't want to step on any toes or be off topic.

Many members are on broadband and don't realize (or have forgotten) how hard it is for us "slowpokes" to view the large images. I live on a ranch, retired, so neither my location or income is suitable for broadband.

I would politely suggest that those wanting to post images here keep the pixel size under 600 X 400 (approximate) and compressed to around 25 to 50 kb.

2668  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: OT: Can't upload file to forum on: January 31, 2008, 10:36:33 PM
The Atlas Right Track Software (RTS)  program saves with the extension .RAL
The file can only be opened and viewed in the program.

There are dozens of image file formats, most only recognized by their perspective program.  Standard image file formats recognized by Windows, Mac, and  browsers are .jpg , .bmp , .gif , and  .png   The JPEG format (.jpg) is probably the most popular since it can be "compressed" to a very small file size.  Digital cameras use the .jpg format.   

The .ral file can be converted into a raster bitmap ( .bmp ) file in RTS.   Open the .ral file in RTS, then click the zoom button to a high number such as 30, making the layout very small.

Click "File, save as", select .bmp in the drop down window, and save to a specific location, such as Desktop.

You now have a .bmp file, but it is very large and uncropped, usually from 2 to 3 megabytes.   If you have a paint program such as Paint Shop Pro, you can open the .bmp, crop off the excess work area, then save as .jpg with a compression factor of about 20 to 30.  The final .jpg will only be about 25 to 50 kb in size.

You can also reduce the image to a more manageable transfer size, such as 504 X 376 pixels (5 X 7.)  For those of us with only dialup, you should keep the size to a maximum of  800 X 600 pixels compressed when sending with email. 

The .bmp can also be opened in MSPaint, (XP or later) then saved as a .jpg.  To crop, you have to select desired area with the rectangle, then copy and paste as a new image.  However the file will be un-compressed and may be too large.

If this process is a bit intimidating, I will be glad to convert your .RAL file to .JPG in a size appropriate for posting here.   I have used Paint Shop Pro for over 10 years to edit my digital images,  and it is an easy process.

Hope this info is not off topic, but the RTS program is railroad related, and I have read other questions about the .RAL files.

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