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April 19, 2021, 08:05:37 AM
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Author Topic: Upgrading from GP40  (Read 180 times)
cferrara

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« on: March 04, 2021, 06:24:41 PM »

Question / advice: I'm new to model trains and love it. I recently got an HO starter set (GP40 Rail Chief set) and it's a great starting point. However, like most train enthusiasts, I have a passion for upgrading and going to the next level w/ the set. The train runs fine, but I feel like it's underpowered. In addition to the speed factor, I would like to upgrade the power controller, so that has the essentials, like a power switch. However, with the current set, it's limited to a 16v DC controller and I don't want to do anything that will burn out the motor.

If I wanted to upgrade to a faster one with a more robust motor, could anyone recommend a locomotive that is a notch above the  GP40 loco? Thanks


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jward


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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2021, 09:06:54 PM »

The DC controller you have is just fine voltage wise. You said your locomotive is underpowered. DO you have an upgrade on your layout? If so how steep is it? That will affect the pulling power of your set. If you are merely concerned about speed, the GP40 already runs faster than the real ones do. Do you expect your trains to run like slotcars? If that is what you're referring to your locomotive is definitely not underpowered. It just runs slower (and more realistically) than you want it to. I have several GP40s, and mine run well and pull a decent amount of cars on my upgrades. They perform as expected and are comparable with most of the others in my fleet. raising the voltage on the rails above what the motor is designed for will result in problems and void the warranty on the locomotive.
'
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
rich1998

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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2021, 09:38:38 PM »

Do you have sufficient voltage all over your layout? Check with your multi meter with a loco in each area where the loco seems to slow down.

Rich
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cferrara

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« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2021, 11:11:55 PM »

Thank you for replying and the track is completely level on a basic floating box table with no inclines. I did add an additional 3í of track but that was it and i checked the voltage throughout the track and all is good. I also keep the track clean on a regular basis with very light lubrication for maintenance.

With all of that, I was just trying to get a sense of the landscape of locomotives in the HO scale and upgrade options for the controller. The provided controller is fine but does not have a power switch, so I have to turn it off from the surge protector. To my last post, I do NOT want to do anything that will damage the motor and I agree with you on keeping it true to form. I also can appreciate the value in building it over time as it takes shape-itís constantly evolving.

Thank you for good feedback - you guys are the pros. Wink
« Last Edit: March 04, 2021, 11:44:52 PM by cferrara » Logged
cferrara

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« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2021, 11:21:11 PM »

More for illustrative purposes, hereís an early shot of the table while it was being built. https://www.instagram.com/p/CKjJ4Z1p7uj/?igshid=j4w9uhn4a47v
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jward


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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2021, 12:00:57 AM »

That's a good solid table. You will never regret having a solid foundation for your railroad.

As for the controllers, there are more powerful DC ones available, but Bachmann hasn't made one since they discontinued the SPectrum controller some years ago. You could invest in an MRC one if you want to go that route, but power wise if all you want to do is run one locomotive at a time what you have will do the job. I have a couple of the Bachmann train set controllers, and on mine the on off switch is part of the speed control. Do you hear a click as you start to turn it? If so, it's like mine and the click is the built in on-off switch. Some of these controllers have AC terminals for powering switch motors, some do not. If yours doesn't have those terminals, you will need to find some other way to power the switches, and an upgrade of the controller would be a good idea. BTW, power on these is usually rated in VoltAmps, and should be marked something like 12 Va. or 17Va.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
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