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286  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Hi, questions on designing track layout on: February 26, 2007, 10:28:26 PM
There are a number of good packages out there.  Xtrackcad is one that is downloadable.

I use CADRail, a Windows only program.  It has not been updated in a couple of years but you can create you own libraries with ease of what you want is not there.  It also has a mode to 'run a train' where you can set the length of you cars to make sure yard tracks and passing sideings are long enough for what you want to do.  I beleive that several other programs will do this also.

The one thing I have found is it helps to have a printer that will print large sheets of paper.  My HP 1220 will do up to 13 x 19, and my dad has an Epson that will print 17 x 22.  This will reduce the number of sheets you have to peice together when you go to print out detailed sections of a complex yard or city area.

All the programs have a learning curve, so take your time and work through the 'how to's' so you get the idea of how they want you to do things.

Nathan
287  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Possable new board on: February 26, 2007, 10:54:19 AM
Yes, DCC is one type of command control.  There are many other good ones out there.  The problem could be in that the answers for DCC are not only worng for other command control systems, they migh even cause problems for them.  If there is only one 'command control  board I hope that the people asking the questions would be kind enough to state in the subject line something like 'DCC, System being used, Decoder Brand and ID'  or some thing like that for what ever system they are using.

Nathan
288  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Please give your ADVICE regarding my first Train Show on: February 26, 2007, 12:44:13 AM
Have you talked to the people putting on the show?  Quite often they can let you know what the type of crowd they normally get and what type of questions people will ask.

If there are some common things you did on a large number of the units you will be showing, you might do a little 'hand out' with a few tips of what you did and how you did it to help the people new to the hobby.

You also might reduce the number of items you bring and have a larger area where you are building a new item.  I have done this at trains shows over the years and had people check back several times during the show to look at each 'stage' of what I was working on.  At one show I brought several of the same kit and built each one to a different stage of construction so a person could 'see' the progress.

On of the modelers in the Seattle area worked on a roundhouse only at the yearly train show and people came back every year to check on the progress.  It was a two day show and I beleive it took him four or five years to finish it.
289  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: How to change starting direction? on: February 26, 2007, 12:30:51 AM
Gene,

Try what RAM did and change CV 29, I do not use MRC DCC systems so if any MRC users are avaliable, could they check in on this one.

On my NCE system you can both check what a CV has set and change it.  It also has a 'normal' and 'reverse' that also changes this same CV.

Nathan
290  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Possable new board on: February 26, 2007, 12:06:27 AM
Bach-man,

There are a large number of posts related to DCC in all the boards, to help in reducing the duplication of questions and help requests, could we have a DCC board?  It would say:

DCC: General questions and help area for DCC

Nathan
291  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: How to change starting direction? on: February 25, 2007, 11:18:32 PM
Gene,

Which DCC system are you using?  This will help us determin the best way to look at the problem and how to solve it.

Nathan
292  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale on: February 25, 2007, 08:30:55 PM
Stan,

Thanks for the great information.

Did you happen to get a reading on the 3-truck shay by itself as far as power draw?

Nathan
293  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Bachmann DCC and G Scale on: February 24, 2007, 09:42:51 AM
“Lets look at DC.  You want to run 4 trains, you buy 4 power packs.”

"I  never did that. Even in the old days with block control. Plus, I haven't seen anybody be    able to actually keep track of more than one effectively, two if you're real good, and three?
Do it and I'll engage you in convesation......
Or, as one said.."Really?  I can run several from one.  Maybe mine makes those special volts and amps Stan uses"."

I regulary run two trains with DCC.  If a sceond person is avalable, three or four is no problem.  At a club or group operating seeesion four is easy to do.  At operating sesions on a properly dedigned layout, you can even have a crew for each train.  And you have to watch for 'signals' if they are installed, or watch of other trains, head on's can happen if you do not.

When I run my two trains, one is just  'going on its own' and I am runnig the other one.  At train shows people like to see the trains going both ways on the same track, they don't care if it is DC or DCC.  On a simple loop with four passing sideings  at train shows I regulary run 4 trains on DCC, two each direction.  Yes, I have taken the time to 'match' the locomotives, and even then I have to keep and eye on them, adjusting the spped of one or two of them every so often.  If I have a second person to help, we have run four trains and one locomotive by it self.  I use this one to 'chase' other trains, changing it's direction to change which train it is 'chasing'.

MTS and some versions of the Marklin systems are not DCC.  There are possable problems as a result.

Nathan
294  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Bachmann DCC and G Scale on: February 23, 2007, 08:45:07 PM
Curmudgeon,

The original post was about the Bachmann Large Scale 3 turck Shay running on DCC.

Stan and a number of us use DCC out doors regulary and also have experiance with DC.  We experiance no more or no less problems with DCC on SS, Brass, or NS.  Yes, there is a limitation of 10 amps on a booster.  My Dad and I both have run as many as 6 large scale locomotives off of one 10 amp booster.  Yes, most of the locos only drew 1 amp each.

On our club layout, which is primarly DC, I have connected my DCC system with one 10 amp booster and run 4 trains on one loop that has a 4% grade at one point.  At least one trains was going up that grade while one was going up a 2% grade, one was going down a 3% grade and one was on a level section.  One locomotive drew about 3 amps on that 4% grade  with no other locos on the track as measured on a Tony's RRAmp DCC reading meter.  The peak current for all four locomotives was about 9 amps, 6 amps most of the time because of the grades.

And we do take our locomotives to places that have DC only and run them with no problems.

Lets look at DC.  You want to run 4 trains, you buy 4 power packs.  Some of your trains only need 1 amp, a passenger train with a three unit PA-PB-PA and 10 passenger cars needs about 10 amps.  What size trains you run says how much you spend on a power pack.  There are a number of large scale DC power packs that are well over $200 if you want to spend the money.

Now you do your block wireing.  A simple passing sideing for two trains, one going each direction.  If you use a reasonable quality electric switch to choose which of 4 DC power packs is going to control each block, you can spend between $50 and $100 on the four blocks.

DCC is not the only answer.  DC is not the only answer.  MTS is not the only answer.  Battery with R/C is not the only answer.  Live steam is not the only answer.  Each person picks the 'control' system that they feel works for them.

As for 'youg Stanley',  I know he is youger then me, I am only 61, but then my Dad is 85, got his first train when he was 3, and been 'scale' model railroading since 1953.  We all have spent time wiring DC layouts and DCC layouts.  Age is not the important thing, enjoying the hobby of model railroading, no mater what the scale, is what it is all about.

Nathan
295  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Bachmann DCC and G Scale on: February 22, 2007, 12:06:12 AM
Stan,

Would like to know the results of you test when the weather allows.  I guess there are some advantages to living where you do not see much snow or ice.

Do you have any current draw tests on the three truck as to real world current draw in normal use?

Nathan
296  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Bach Man Engines and 5ft and 6.5 ft diameter curves. on: February 20, 2007, 06:50:54 PM
Wally,

If you don't mind me jumping in before Bach Man can get back to you,  My father and I have both used the various Porter's, Shays, Heisler, and Climaxs on as little as 4 ft.  If you can make larger curves use them.  My dad had a 4-6-0 that will work some times on 4 ft, but your track work has to be perfect.  It prefers larger.  You also might look at the traction equipment.

Just try and avoid 'S' curves, even at passing sidings. 

By the way, my dad did not get into large scale from HO until he was in his 70's.  He got his first train set when he was 3 years old and is going to turn 84 this year and still plays with trains.

Nathan
297  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Overload on: February 18, 2007, 08:35:49 PM
You may have to just do it step by step.  Disconnect the wire at the booster. If that is ok then disconnect all the wires to the track. If you do not have some gaps anywhere on the layout, make a few to divide the layout into smaller sections.  Power up one section at a time.  Once you have found a bad section, disconnect it and check the rest of the sections. 

Then go back to the bad section and make some temporary gaps  to make smaller sections.  It may be a bad turnout, crossing, or even a bad piece of straight track.  I dropped a small nail on the track one time near a frog and it took me several trys to find the problem.
298  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: # Truck Shay-Max DCC Voltage on: February 15, 2007, 06:18:39 PM
If one does read the DCC Standards and RP's I believe you will find that the decoder is required to withstand 24 vols for N or Z scale and 27 volts for the larger scales. Standard 9.1 Page 3 Lines 70 to 72.  If a manufacture does not meet the standard then they need to let the user know.

Most DCC decoders are not designed to run on other then DCC or DC, and a number are designed to run on DCC only.  All the DCC manufactures I have come across state if they can work on DC in the spec sheets they put out.  Running a DCC decoder on MTS has not been something that most DCC manufactures have even thought about, and I am sure that MTS does not worry about how the DCC decoder works, they only care how the equipment they have designed for the MTS system works.  They are two competitive systems and there is no need for either one to 'play nice' with the other.

As for using DCC, I do not use it because it is 'a computer', but because it is one of several available ways to run several trains on one track in different directions at one time.  It allows me to 'run my train' and not worry about controlling power.

The only thing you have to 'set' is the locomotive address.  Most systems allow you to do this with a minimum 'learning curve'.  If you wish to 'fine tune' from that point, then you can take the time to learn how to make the changes on step at a time.

Each system, DCC, MTS, DC, Radio Control, Live Steam has its good points and bad points.  It took me a while to understand how to wire a DC layout when I first got into model railroading.  I found that as I got into more complex layouts putting in the wires was taking up more and more time.  DCC has allowed me to take less time in the building stage and get to running trains.  The same could be said of Radio Control, MTS, and Live Steam.

This does not mean that DC is bad, or wrong, or 'old fashion', just that is one of many ways to enjoy the hobby of model railroading.

Nathan
299  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Who has the best price on the new 3 truck shays? on: February 11, 2007, 11:57:04 PM
There is more to it then just 'low price'.  Several places will give you a 'low price' but get you on shipping charges and 'other charges'.  Sometimes paying a little more at the nearest hobby shop is worth it if they are like several I know that if you have a problem with a new unit within the first 30 days they will ship it back and have it worked on rather then you having to pay the shipping cost.  Twice in side of one week one person I know had two different locomotives he bought go bad inside of the first week and his local hobby shop just gave him a replacement units.

Nathan
300  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Doorbell wire on: February 11, 2007, 09:42:26 PM
SteamGene,

Assumption: HO Scale Layout, one 5 Amp output used on the whole layout, normal draw when running your trains is say 3.5 Amps. This allows for the times that you may have and extra train running or are throwing turnouts and still stay under 5 amps.  If I read what you say right the longest distance from the DCC unit to the end of track is 39 feet.

Run several feeders from the DCC unit to the track, lets say one feeder to each main line on the 26 foot wall, one to each main line on each 17 foot wall and one to each main line on each 9 foot section.  At each yard run a feeder to the lead track, the same to each engine terminal.  Here you could use #16 wire, two single wires each feeder,  one pair #16 'zip' cord each feeder, or one pair #16 'trailer' wire each feeder.  Then a short pair of #18 or #20 wires, lets say about 3 inches long, at the end of each feeder to the track.  It would not hurt to add additional feed points off each feeder pair to each track in the engine terminal or yard.

If you will have more then 3.5 amps normal draw you will want to split the layout into sections with a 5 amp booster for each section, if you main unit is 5 Amps, say one extra booster if you feel that no section would normally see more the 3.5 amps.  Place the main booster along one 17 foot wall and the other one on the other 17 foot wall, splitting the load and running multiple feeders from each one to the areas each serves.

Lets say you want to use a system like the NCE Power Cab.  The power cab it self will not run the layout, but you could use the 3 Amp Smart Booster and several DB3 3 Amp Boosters.  Here you would want to split the layout so that one booster handles the engine terminal, one for each major operating area, and maybe one for a branch line.  Then you could put each booster at the area it serves, running the control buss from the Smart Booster to the other boosters and then running several #18 or #20 wires from each booster to several places in each section it serves.

Nathan
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