Bachmann N Scale S4 - NICE!

TrainGuy Aug 26, 2013

  1. TrainGuy

    TrainGuy Advertiser

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    Hi Guys,
    We received the new Bachmann N Scale S4. Very nice little loco. Pulling is about what you would expect from such a small diesel and came in around 4-5 cars on our flat area. Hills brought it to 3 cars. The decoder in the S4 provides very nice slow speed operation and seems to be better the previous releases. It is not a plug and play decoder so if you really want to change it out there will be some wiring to do. I pulled out our old Arnold N Scale Rio Grande S2 and it is seen in the picture below with the Bachmann ATSF on the left the Arnold in the center and an Atlas MP15 to the right.

    We always like to see what Micro-Trains couplers work on new locos and the Bachmann N S4 takes the MT1015 short or 1016 medium nicely. I added several pictures to show how the coupler install was done. Some minor cutting was needed.

    As always have fun in the hobby

    Vince
    www.TopHobbyTrains.com


    BAC-N-S4-ATSF1.jpg BAC-N-S4-ATSF2.jpg BAC-N-S4-ATSF3.jpg BAC-N-S4-ATSF4.jpg BAC-N-S4-ATSF5.jpg BAC-N-S4-ATSF6.jpg BAC-N-S4-ATSF7.jpg
     
    Atani, Kurt Moose and MikaelB like this.
  2. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

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    I'm going to post my reply to this thread, rather than start a new one...
    I FINALLY purchased one of these little gems! My intention was to have a nice little ATSF switcher to run on the T-Trak modules during set ups...(I try not to run my super detailed Santa Fe Fleet at public shows unless specifically asked to bring a particular train to show and discuss)...so I tend to keep a separate 'show' inventory of power and rolling stock.
    Our T-Trak group (SWARMTrak) operates one line DCC and the other DC; we want to keep one line DC so those that don't have DCC power can participate, we can also accommodate folks who are purchasing and/or considering purchasing a locomotive at the show; they can test and run their engine on our layout.
    Despite Otto's previous pictures on the now closed thread, I still hemmed and hawed about this one and was content to wait until Atlas does their S2 in the zebra stripe scheme. It was only when I saw woo woo woo's price for one of these ($79.95) that I finally said 'what the heck' and purchased one...
    It won't be my last!
    the appearance and performance are outstanding...handrails very nice and thin (as thin, or thinners, than any others out there), detail and paint are very crisp, and performance is fantastic.
    My only 'complaints' are the side windows applied from the outside (whether they are glued or not isn't an issue for me-there are no glue seams or smudges on my example-), but, because they are applied from the outside of the cab, there is a distinctive 'lip' that makes them appear more prominent. My fix for this will be to somehow remove the 'windows', paint the edges black, then re-install them with canopy glue.
    The only other issue, for me, are the large couplers....an easy fix with a swap (I may try to fit MT 905 Z scale couplers)
    I understand the 'less than enthusiastic about Bachmann anything' folks out there, but they have, indeed produced some very nice items in N scale (the 2-8-0 and this one really stand out to me)
    Here are some quick pics on one of the T-trak modules

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Atani, Kurt Moose, JoeTodd and 5 others like this.
  3. Keith

    Keith TrainBoard Supporter

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    Looks to be a nice little unit.
    What road names/numbers are available?
    Have an Arnold Rio Grande unit, plus a couple others.
    Wouldn't mind a new Rio Grande unit, with sound!
     
  4. rrjim1

    rrjim1 TrainBoard Member

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    I own two that I custom painted for LV, very hard to get the windows out! They run very nice, super slow speed, just the way I like n-scale locos to run.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2016
  5. JMaurer1

    JMaurer1 TrainBoard Member

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    I have two Arnold units that I custom painted in SP tiger stripes. I love how the units look, how they run...not so much (I know that NWSL has parts to help them run better but installing DCC creates an even bigger challenge). I have not been looking at the Atlas or Bachmann units because I didn't want to be tempted to buy any...damn you! Look at that SP tiger stripped S-4 Bachmann has...WITH DCC (not great DCC, but already installed none the less). Arbomambo, you should have to pay for at least part of my engine...
     
  6. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

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    I'm not sure which roadnames that Bachmann has done, other than WM, SP, ATSF (I'm sure there are a few more)..
    For sound already equipped, Atlas has done/is doing S2s...already 2 releases with a 3rd announced
     
  7. gdmichaels

    gdmichaels TrainBoard Member

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  8. MikaelB

    MikaelB TrainBoard Member

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    4 - 5 cars on flat area? Do this also applies to the latter models?

    - Mikael
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
  9. Espeeman

    Espeeman TrainBoard Member

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    I have one of the newest ones and it will pull at least 12 up a grade but that's WHEN it runs. I sent the first one back because one of the trucks wasn't supplying power to the decoder and the replacement one doesn't run much better. They look great, are inexpensive, but I don't have much patience for quality issues like this. I get it that there will always be 5%-10% (not sure what the AQL is for mrr industry and anything over 5% seems high) of the lot that is defective but two in a row doesn't do much to build consumer confidence. I considered parking mine in the dumpster but decided to turn it into a prop instead.
     
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  10. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

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    3 years later and mine still runs like a champ... 4-5 hours at a time at shows
     
    MikaelB likes this.
  11. Espeeman

    Espeeman TrainBoard Member

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    I will say this about Bachmann, their Peter Witt trolleys run like a gem! I have two of them and I can make them go annoyingly slow. They don't fizz out over turnouts, either. I wish my S4 ran that good. As far as "looks" I think the S4 is awesome! Just wish it ran as good as it looks.
     
  12. WM183

    WM183 TrainBoard Member

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    No issues with mine so far, though the outdated wired truck sideframes should be updated. That aside, a wonderful little model, and mine pulls 10 cars with no worries.
     
    MikaelB likes this.
  13. IronMan1963

    IronMan1963 TrainBoard Member

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    I have the Western Maryland. It was one of my first DCC engines. Nice little unit.
     
  14. Sharky_McSharknose

    Sharky_McSharknose TrainBoard Member

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    Question - How difficult is it to remove the lettering from one of these? It looks like Bachmann isn't doing any undecorated runs of the S4s. If its an easy job then I think the WM-painted S4 with the lettering and stripes removed could be a good base for a B&M blue S4.
     
  15. MikaelB

    MikaelB TrainBoard Member

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    Only me or are these difficult to program? My Digitrax zephyr and DecoderPro cant read or write to the S4

    -Mikael
     
  16. IronMan1963

    IronMan1963 TrainBoard Member

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    Shoot I am doing it with an antique Atlas Commander. Try running it on a dc track then try to read it. I had to do that with one of my Bachmanns. Could get anything from it till I gave it a quick Dc run. Then I could read it fine.
     
  17. WM183

    WM183 TrainBoard Member

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    Mine won't read either, so... =(
     
  18. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    Does it have one of those inductors on the DCC board or something like that, that interferes with the CV reading and writing?
     
  19. tehachapifan

    tehachapifan TrainBoard Member

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    I seem to recall that this is standard with Bachmann decoders, in that they don't read or program like a lot of others do.

    That said, I agree that their S4 is an absolute gem! Here's my SP unit....

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Sharky_McSharknose

    Sharky_McSharknose TrainBoard Member

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    I received my WM S4 yesterday. I noticed the DCC board does have a pair of chokes on it that look like this, is this what you mean?

    [​IMG]

    I didn't have any issues programming the S4. It runs nice and silently with a Kato DC power pack but it's a little buzzy when running off of DCC. Nothing obnoxious, but noticeable.
     

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