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1  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Where to buy EZ Track??? on: January 18, 2011, 09:04:16 PM
Hey daxdog! You can buy from trainsetsonly.com with confidence. I just ordered some stuff from them through Amazon.
Also check out modeltrainstuff.com. Not sure how they compare on track like the EZ, but they have pretty good prices on other
equipment. Also. I saw several listings on Ebay for large quantities of EZ track. I think they were to bid on. You might give it a look.
There are others of course, as I'm sure you are aware.
2  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Getting ready for first real layout on: January 15, 2011, 09:58:45 PM
Looks like a good like a good layout daxdog. I wish I had had the space to start w/ a layout that large. Should be a good one.
ACY is right. Be careful. I'm new to the complex layout parts too daxdog. But, I plan to convert my DC locos one day.

And, I can say from first hand, recent experience. Watch out for your grades. I have some on my new layout that push 4-5%.
The locos I have do ok with about 5-7 cars, but they do slow a little. And, I have been refining the trouble spots for some time to keep
the locos & cars from jumping. Get your layout benchwork and playwood down after all the figuring. Tack the track temporarily...
AND TEST. Refine. Test. Get it running smoothly before the roadbed goes on and you'll be a lot happier. Roadbed smooths out some
imperfections, but it won't fix all problems.  What is as important, if not more, is transitions from flat to slope or slope to flat,
especially on curves. Good luck!
3  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Need help picking a DCC controller on: January 15, 2011, 09:33:07 PM
I too want the ability to run both DCC & DC, and will get a controller that does that. BUT... I have agree with ACY. If you are just starting out,
go all DCC. Buy only DCC locos. Heck, A lot of Bachmann locos that are DCC aren't too expensive. Sure, they ain't top of the line... They ain't
the bucks you pay for a Proto 2000 or other more detailed loco. But they run on the DCC. They may or may not have sound. As you guys w/
the years experience know... You can get encoders with sound. Preaching to the choir again.

Hope daxdog sees this thread so he sees more of the discussions on DC & DCC. I saw his post about his new layout. I wish I had had the space to start w/ a layout that large. Should be a good one.
ACY 100% right. I'm still green, but thanks to you guys I'm learning fast!
4  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Need help picking a DCC controller on: January 15, 2011, 04:57:41 PM
Yeah. I've seen you advise quite a few people on that issue ACY. Good warning. I've taken note and will heed. It got me pondering how to work with that problem. The toggle switch is a good work around. Of course, I do plan to one day be 100% DCC. I even schemed a fix where
I have a couple of track end pieces that are dead or only hooked up to a DC power pack. You run the DC locos on to the "dead zone"
to park it.  Kind of a jack-leg fix, I know.  And, the wiring on that fix, one could say, is kind of dumb for an all DCC future.
And, being realistic, on my current layout, I probably will never have more than one train (maybe 2 small ones) on the main line,
while switching with 1 or maybe 2 other locos in the yard at any one time.
5  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Need help picking a DCC controller on: January 15, 2011, 03:47:06 PM
Hello ALL. Thanks for the input. Keep it coming if you wish. After much more research on the suggested Digitrax & NCE systems plus more;
I'm still kind of on the fence. Current circumstances had me, at first, wanting to go REALLY cheap cheap. But, I now see that it's pretty
counterproductive to do it that way. So, I'm leaning towards the Zephyr, even though it's a bit more $$ than I first wanted to spend.
I can see it serving me well into the future. And I know I'll want all the "bells & whistles" (and sound & accessory capability one day).
I'll just have to save my pennies for a while.

I'm just at the point of finalizing how to format (block / wiring -wise) my kind of small 5'x8 1/2' HO layout, which may be added to one day.
I have it configured so that there are 2 "main" lines coming through the current layout that just end at the edge of the board now
and serve as small service yard spurs. The main track is a twisted dogbone/figure 8 hybrid or something like that with a small passing
track, a couple of spurs, and a small switchback w/ small service / loading / car storage yards at either end. Not really a "proper" yard,
and the whole thing is a bit cramped. Ya live & learn.

I also have begun planning and buying for an N scale layout that will be a bit bigger at first than what I have now in actual size. So I'll have
lots more room to do a layout w/ more versatility and such.

I've designed & CAD drafted civil & architectural projects, large & small, commercial & residential for others for over 25 years.
It's FUN, challenging FUN to design & build my own world finally for a change.

 BTW... For those who just like to have the knowledge of other systems... The basic 'Model Rectifier C.' system,
the Prodigy Express, does not support DC at all (None of the MRC true DCC systems do). Too bad it is a decent starter and less expensive
than the Zephyr. Also... It's strictly hand held, wired and is able to have wireless added to the system.
6  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Need help picking a DCC controller on: January 14, 2011, 11:57:45 AM
I've been researching DCC controller (systems). From my newbie knowledge level, I sure could use some guidance in choosing a good
starter system. From a past post, I think I more or less know the capabilities of the Bachmann system. The DCC controller with it's own
power pack supports DCC. Link the DCC compatible DC power pack and you can run both with some qualifying factors.

I have 2 more to add to the mix and need expert help and recommendations. Both are from MRC.

Bear in mind too, that, sadly, I'm on a budget. ...Aren't we all... I have a mix of brands of locos - DC & DCC.
And, I plan to convert any newer locos that are capable / good running enough to DCC one day.

First, the MRC Prodigy Express - starter system. It does DCC. Can it do both like the Backmann DCC / DC link up?
Is any better than the Bachmann?

Next is the MRC TECH 6 SOUND CONTROLLER 2.0 w/ optional Tech 6 1203 Walkaround Sound Controller DC.

From reading the instructions from MRC, I THINK this one will run DCC locos in "true" DCC mode.
One site said it was DC only. That baffled me.

Am I correct in my determination that it's DCC?

Where does it fall in the better / worse / recommendation order?

Thanks, Steve
7  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: 'Trains and Locomotives' TV program on: January 12, 2011, 12:22:55 AM
Yeah, I saw that one too. That SP Daylight is one GORGEOUS locomotive! The whole train for that matter.
I do also watch I Love Toy Trains too. Not TOO too interested in the Lionel stuff. Did any of you guys see the, I think,
2 shows on the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago? I really want to get up there one day and see that layout.
8  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / 'Trains and Locomotives' TV program on: January 11, 2011, 02:18:28 AM
Anybody out there watch the tv show on RFDTV called 'Trains and Locomotives'? (satellite only I think) For those interested, but haven't
discovered it yet, it's on Dish Network channel 231. I found it about 2 years ago by accident. It's mainly responsible for my new found
love of steam locos and the era in general. MAN O MAN! Now, I still love the growling of a diesel hauling down the rails, but....
They do mostly shows on steam locos, with a few here and there on diesel. And I must admit that I'm still a bit new to all the nuances
and variations of steam locos, but I'm learning more and more. And, it sure is interesting & amazing to see the shows like the one a couple
weeks ago about a full restoration of Santa Fe 3415, a 4-6-2 Pacific. Or the ones that told the history of the Nickel Plate Road or of
the Grand Trunk Western... SP Daylight ...on and on, to name just a few. I know that I'm preaching to the choir when it comes to you
folks who have been at this for a while.  ...Or a LONG while, and know your stuff - model RR and the REAL thing to boot. Bear with me.
I am pretty new to the more in depth topics. It's all so FUN, challenging and I like it all. Model RR - BIG ones - ALL ABOARD!!!

Steve Jordan
9  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Locomotive drive line slippage plus on: January 10, 2011, 09:11:01 PM
I failed to mention that it was almost new. Been in the box - unopened for over half a year waiting for me to get to the point of running it's
break-in on my new layout. So, until you told me to look at the cup closer Jim; I didn't think it mattered if it was new. I'll most surely give
the Bachmann service a call and hope they'll send me a half dozen. Heck, I'd be willing to pay them a little shipping for the favor.
10  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Locomotive drive line slippage plus on: January 10, 2011, 01:05:31 AM
Forgot to ask a question. To any and all who may know. Does anybody sell replacement cups? I see in the parts department that
they sell complete truck assemblies with what looks like the U-joint cup in question. Too bad they don't just sell cup. My loco is
almost brand new and maybe has 40 minutes total run time on it. And not rough handling either. Leads me to think it may have come
that way out of the box. It was brand new when I bought it.
11  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Locomotive drive line slippage plus on: January 10, 2011, 12:43:04 AM
Thanks for the tip on the U-joint cup split possibility Jim. I looked at it when I took it off, but didn't notice what I now can see
upon closer inspection. I almost need a microscope to see it. It's not too long (maybe 1/16" plus a hair or 2) and it's 90 degrees
off of the slots for the plastic 'drive shaft'  pins from the motor. So, I hope that the cup won't totally break. ...Knowing full well
that it may in the future. I'll clean it up really good to get as much of the grease off as possible and try your fix.
12  Discussion Boards / HO / Locomotive drive line slippage plus on: January 09, 2011, 08:49:18 PM
I did some toubleshooting today and found that I have a problem with a GP 38-2 (Norfolk Southern) loco. Good looking little loco!
At first I thought it was the wheels slipping as it goes up a 3% plus grade. All my other locos can pull at least 4-6 plus cars with only the
usual slowing because of the combo of the grade & cars. I have pretty good transitions and clean track on this layout using the
Woodland Scenics Subterrain system. I'm at the stage of the final smoothing/etc. of the foam risers transitions before laying plaster cloth,
then the track bed and final laying of the track. My first 3D layout... ...other than the single raised bridge w/ piers on a flat layout
many moons ago.

Back to the locomotive problem.
I opened her up and proceeded to clean the wheels and noticed that the back wheels stopped as I put only minor to mid pressure
on them down om my cleaning towel. Turns out that the slippage is occurring at the plastic "U" joint that connects to the metal pin on
the worm gear. Only on the back truck. The front is doing fine. It's just a DC loco, but it's still one of my favorites.

Anyone have a good fix for the problem? As I was writing the first part, a possible fix occurred to me. I was thinking of putting a TINY
dab of liquid electrical tape into the "U" joint hole and let it cure a good bit before I slip it back on the worm gear pin.
Might this work or is there a better fix?

I was looking in the latest Micro-mark catalog. Found a kit with synthetic oil and grease, "Nye" brand, and they say it works much better
than regular petroleum based lubes. Has anyone used this stuff and do you recommend it?
Also... Would any of you recommend using "Bullfrog Snot" on my wheels if I might need a little more traction? Not on all wheels of course,
as it is non-conductive.



13  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Speed controller in the Bachmann 'Empire Builder' N scale set on: January 02, 2011, 06:20:52 PM
Good points DoubleDAZ. I had already flip-flopped back in forth in my mind about the set before I read your post.
I think I'm going to skip it and either find a recommended starter DCC set or maybe, as you said, buy the parts separately.
14  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Speed controller in the Bachmann 'Empire Builder' N scale set on: January 02, 2011, 03:54:25 AM
Thanks everyone for all the info. And thanks Joe for the links, especially the DCC controller instructions pdf. That made it all clear.
I still think I might get that set. It's a decent set for a first dive into N scale. I have a "mid-size" HO layout in progress, and in a perfect
world with a HUGE room, I'd stick to that. But after going to the local model RR club's joint and seeing all the various scales setup,
my wife has shown 'some' interest in N scale. And I want to dabble with 'N' along with the HO scale.

I noticed on another post that a guy had problems with his locomotive from the "Empire Builder" set right out of the box.
I wonder if he got it fixed. Sure hope I don't end up with a fix-r-upper in a brand new set.

I plan to post more on other topics soon - such as the "Woodland Scenics Subterrain system", which is what I used on my HO layout;
my new found fascination with steam locomotives (used to strictly a diesel guy), and many other subjects to see what you guys think
and get some tips & tricks from more experienced model RR guys like you.

Thanks again for the help.
15  Discussion Boards / N / Speed controller in the Bachmann 'Empire Builder' N scale set on: January 01, 2011, 04:43:55 PM
Can someone tell me if the speed controller in the "Bachmann Trains Empire Builder Ready - To - Run N Scale Train Set" is the one
that is DCC compatible? I know that all they offer is the one for HO, N, etc. that is DCC compatible, and the one for large scale that
is not DCC compatible. But, I'm just making sure...  After some research, I'm pretty sure that the loco is not DCC ready, even though
I COULD convert it to DCC. And, yes, I know it has E-Z track (not what I want to end up with in the end).  Still, it's a decent starter set
for N scale. And, I'd like to eventually use some part of this on a larger layout with DCC locos.  Thanks, Steve

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