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Author Topic: bachmann to tyco couplers/controllers  (Read 21684 times)
jjdog33

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« on: December 25, 2014, 02:12:38 PM »

I have a Bachmann overland limited set and recently received a lot of Tyco cars.  The Bachmann has ez mate couplers.  How do i get the old tyco cars to connect to the Tyco?  Also, I have noticed that the controller that comes with the set is, well, crappy, and is only a 1 amp controller.  Does anyone know of a good 5-10 amp controller that will hook up easily to the ez track, that is reasonably priced?
« Last Edit: December 25, 2014, 02:17:19 PM by jjdog33 » Logged
ACY


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« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2014, 02:48:28 PM »

You throw out the Tyco cars unless they are of sentimental value. If of sentimental value, you can replace the trucks, wheels and couplers. Remove the existing trucks, depending on the particular car you will have you will need to determine a good set of replacement trucks. Then glue a piece of polystyrene to the bottom of the car centered at each end large enough to glue on a Kadee coupler box. Then using a drill tap, tap the bottom of the car and styrene for the size screw you intend to use to secure the coupler box. Then assemble the coupler box with a Kadee #148 or #5 coupler. Be sure to glue the coupler box to the styrene and then screw the box in place to secure it. Then purchase 33" Intermountain or your favorite brand 33" metal wheels and insert them into the new trucks and finally secure the new trucks in place with an appropriate sized screw. You can adjust the coupler height by adding washers to the truck assembly or by varying the thickness of the styrene you mount the coupler box to. The total cost of this would be approximately $12-15 per car you want to upgrade. My suggestion is to just throw them out since it is cheaper to buy better rolling stock such as a Athearn Blue Box kit or even a newer Bachmann car at a train show/flea market. You can find fine rolling stock for $6 or so, much cheaper than upgrading a poorly detailed car and more time you can use for scenery or something else.
MRC makes some good power packs but you would need to splice a Bachmann wire to use it with the EZ-track connector. I would not suggest a DCC system since your locomotive is standard DC and is not worth upgrading in my opinion unless you are experienced with installing DCC and good at soldering.
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Len

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« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2014, 03:15:26 PM »

The simplest way to convert your Tyco cars is to order a pack or two of Life-Like knuckle couplers from Walthers. They come in a pack of 10 pairs, item 433-1427, and a pack of two pairs, 433-1436. They are designed as a direct replacement for the small hole horn-hooks used in old Tyco, Life-Like, and other older cars.

This will get you running until you can do some of the upgrades mentioned by ACY, and body mount EZ-Mates or get some newer cars. The bodies on the Tyco's are comparable to older Athearn blue box kits, and Tyco did some paint schemes no one else has done. If you keep the original trucks, you can improve the rolling charateristics using a 'truck tuning tool'. They are available from Micro-Mark and Rixx, and even make the original wheels work better.

Len
 
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If at first you don't succeed, throw it in the spare parts box.
jjdog33

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« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2014, 03:29:51 PM »

my biggest problem is not with the rolling stock, rather with the engines.  I have 3 Tyco engines all of which are much better and more powerful than the engine that came with the overland limited bachmann set.  I definetly dont want to toss those out.  The couplers on the Tyco engines seem to sit slightly lower than the ezmate couplers on the Bachmann rolling stock.
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ACY


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« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2014, 04:54:23 PM »

The simplest way to convert your Tyco cars is to order a pack or two of Life-Like knuckle couplers from Walthers. They come in a pack of 10 pairs, item 433-1427, and a pack of two pairs, 433-1436. They are designed as a direct replacement for the small hole horn-hooks used in old Tyco, Life-Like, and other older cars.
Len, although a much simpler "solution," those couplers are not very reliable in my experience, but your results may vary. And talgo-trucks (truck mounted couplers) generally are a bad idea especially if he has to reverse his train and they tend to randomly derail or uncouple more often than if you do the modifications I suggested.
my biggest problem is not with the rolling stock, rather with the engines.  I have 3 Tyco engines all of which are much better and more powerful than the engine that came with the overland limited bachmann set.  I definetly dont want to toss those out.  The couplers on the Tyco engines seem to sit slightly lower than the ezmate couplers on the Bachmann rolling stock.
The coupler height on the Bachmann rolling stock is either correct or a little low even so making the couplers lower on the Bachmann rolling stock is not an option. To raise the couplers on the locomotives you need to install washers inbetween the trucks and the locomotive body to make the whole body and thus the couplers sit higher. If this is not possible or does not work then the next thing to try would be use a dremel to cut off the existing coupler boxes if they have them or to body mount a kadee coupler box and use over set shank couplers.
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Doneldon

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« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2014, 04:56:04 PM »

jj-

I would probably scrap the Tyco cars unless they are something special.

As for the locos, I'd go directly to Kadee couplers. There's no logical reason to use temporary couplers if you will eventually go to
Kadees. Check the Kadee web site for the couplers you need for your locos. Buy those and install them. They will come with excellent
illustrated instructions.While you're at it, get a Kadee coupler gauge and make sure that all couplers are at the exact same height.
Any deviation will increase the likelihood of unwanted uncouplings.
                                                                                                    -- D
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Len

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« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2014, 05:09:38 PM »

ACY,

While I agree with the sentiment, and have converted many Tyco cars to body mount couplers and better trucks, some folks may not have the $$, or the skills, to do the modifications you suggested. While not in the same class as EZ-Mates or Kadee's, I've found the Life-Like's to hold up fairly well as an interim step. They are definate improvement on horn-hooks, even when backing up using talgo type trucks. Just don't park on a hill, since they do use a plastic 'knuckle spring' that can take a set if the knuckle is held in an open position too long.

Len
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jjdog33

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« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2014, 07:00:38 PM »

Okay, so do the Kadees hook up to the ez mount couplers or do i need to replace those with kadees as well?
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Irbricksceo


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« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2014, 07:43:04 PM »

Yes, they do. Kadee is just a brand, a well liked brand, but a brand. I've used EZ-Mate, Kadee, and Mchenry together with no problems. Sure, the Kadee reputation is that they are better but, in my experience, they all do the job fine on trains of 2-14 cars. I've never had occasion to run longer trains than that and therefore haven't tested.

ACY's suggestions are good if you have the time, money, and ability. However, you do need those things. Its not cheap. ACY has a tendency to recommend spending a fair amount. It is certainly true that cars roll a lot better with newer metal wheels but the Tyco cars do work. I used them for a long time. Plus, In my opinion, detail level is not as important on cars as it is on locomotives.

Remember, a lot of the hobby is subjective, you should do what makes you happy. If you can, by all means, replace or upgrade your rolling stock. They will perform a lot better. However, if you are happy as is, there is no need. You could also just upgrade one car on one side to use as a conversion car. Its all about what makes you happy.

Regarding controllers, for block control on DC, what you have is fine. You would almost never be operating more than 1 or 2 at a time. The locomotives you have could be tricky or not worth it for the DCC upgrade.
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ACY


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« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2014, 10:50:44 PM »

Okay, so do the Kadees hook up to the ez mount couplers or do i need to replace those with kadees as well?
Kadee, EZ-Mate, Accumate, and McHenry are all inter-compatible as long as they are all at the right height. I personally prefer Kadee metal couplers because I tend to run longer trains that often break the plastic couplers or lead to derailments/uncoupling. The Tyco Locomotives won't be DCC ready (motor will not be isolated) and would need quite a bit of work to convert to DCC so I would not suggest doing the conversion. 
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Doneldon

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« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2014, 02:41:20 AM »

Kadee, EZ-Mate, Accumate, and McHenry are all inter-compatible as long as they are all at the right height.

ACY-

I believe the outcome of Model Railroader's coupler test a few years ago was that most knuckle couplers worked pretty
well with one another but best with others from the same manufacturer. This was especially true when coupling on a curve.

Kadees were marginally the best. To me, MR neglected another Kadee advantage: In addition to their "universal" couplers. Kadee
makes dozens of couplers for special applications or when the universals don't quite make the grade.
                                                                                                                                                      -- D
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jbrock27

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« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2014, 11:58:36 AM »

Without a Kadee coupler height gauge jdog you are going to have a much more than needed difficult time getting all the coupler heights to be the same.  So my suggestion is get one first before you start this project.

Brick, I agree with your observation of ACY.
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Keep Calm and Carry On
jward


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« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2014, 12:12:28 PM »

most of us here are biased against tyco equipment. .



but if you want to see what others who don't have this bias have done you may want to checque this site out. it is amazing the lengths some will go to in getting those beasts to run better.

http://www.tycoforums.com/tyco/forum/portal_content.asp?sectionid=6
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
Len

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« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2014, 12:29:52 PM »

If it wasn't for Tyco, I never would have been able to afford getting into HO as a kid "back when" and grow into the better stuff offered by Bachmann and others later. Don't forget, it wasn't that long ago even Bachmann's entry level offerings didn't have all that great a reputation either.

Tyco's car bodies weren't any worse than 'Blue Box' Athearn, the main difference being Athearn offered body mount couplers at an early stage. Personally, I enjoy upgrading Tyco cars to Athearn 'Blue Box' standards, but that's just me. I like upgrading old 'horn hook' Bachmann equipment too.

If that's not where your interests lie, fine. I'm sure there are other aspects of the hobby you enjoy. That's the nice thing about model railroading, there's an "interest niche" for just about everyone.

Len
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If at first you don't succeed, throw it in the spare parts box.
electrical whiz kid

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« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2014, 02:37:03 PM »

Doneldon;
What is a Kadee "universal" coupler?  Are you talking about the old #5s? 
Rich (SGT C)
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