Aug 13, 2013
Gonna have to get me one. I only do 3-4 car cuts in Lucky Penny Yard anyways
You won't be disappointed. When's the Atlas S-2 due to hit stores???
Yes, the wires move around as the trucks pivot. Not an optimal design.
"Not an optimal design."
Mark, that may qualify as a under-statement!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Seems like B'Mann is trying to catch up with MRC's 1960's era technology!!!!!!!!!!
After the testing and dissatisfaction with the pulling power on any type of slight grade I finally got around this afternoon to taking the shell off mine and doing some serious examination as to where I could shoehorn some weight in the form of Tungsten putty. Found a lot of small spaces that could take some very thin rolled tubes and a few thin flat spaces. So I now have the putty all over de place, tucked here and there. While apart I also got rid of the boxing glove and replaced with MT 1015s. Just a tad low with the gauge so I may go back and file some off the top of the coupler box on the loco later. Just for the heck of it I broke out my Arnold S-2 to compare weights. I think I have increased the weight some but not up to the S-2 for sure. Heading downstairs now to break out my scale and weigh the two. Then at some point I will set up the test track again to see what improvement I made if any.
And a quick postscript. The Arnold S-2 weights in at 3.5 oz. The S-4 is just one half oz. lighter now at 3-0 oz. Probably should have weighed it before the weight added but I didn't so I don't know where I started at but I am sure considerably lighter.
A straight out of the box unmolested S4 weighs 45grams or 1.58oz. So you about doubled the weight.
John, can you show where you shoehorned in the weight? Thanks. GF here this weekend, but was still filing top of loco coupler box to get Z905 to gauge height. Would not want to use a moto-tool on this.
I slid a flattened piece of Tungsten in front of the front gear tower (long hood) so that it did not mess with the truck rotation. Managed a small ball of putty on each side of the cab roof so that it did not block the light or interfere with the cab placement. Then I rolled very thin pieces of putty and shoe horned them all around under the circuit board. I had a 9 volt battery to test at each stage to make sure I did not mess up the electronics or cause a short. Last I rolled some more pieces and placed them on either side of the can motor at the bottom and made sure they did not interfere with replacing the shell. Can't do any photos as the loco is currently running around the test track with 14 cars which is an increase of 4 more cars from yesterday. I again tested at the 2% grade and managed to double my count from yesterday to 6 cars from 3. Currently running to check for any overheating that might be caused by the Tungsten putty around the motor base and any overheat issues due to increased weight. Been running now for about 40 minutes with no overheating issues pulling the 14 cars.
I was thinking about double heading this with my old Arnold S-2. However it decided not to play and went into coffee grinder mode. Was last lubed and run a week ago and there is no ballast on the test track and it ran fine then. I am afraid this old beast is probably going to be sitting out behind the engine house in the weeds. Time to go to Mark's site and see how the body come off this since I can only manage to get the front of the long hood loose and the cab off. But the rear seems welded on. I guess this is a good reason to put a new S-2 on my birthday or Christmas list.
A small update. Now have it up to 19 cars running on my 11 inch radius test track section. About an hour of running and just slightly warm. Even though I took some of the blackening off the wheels yesterday and it continues to break in I think it might improve by one more car for possibly 20 as the mechanics wear in and the blackening wears off more. But that is about all I am going to be able to do with this loco.
After a little more break-in, it was time to put this thing to service type trials. The first one was to put it onto Kato street trackage. It will take the curves, it will clear the turnouts when they are set to main. It will clear the innermost turnout when set to diverging. Sadly, when the outer turnout is set to diverging, it stalls as it crosses the diamonds. I wonder if it is doing this because the wires soldered to the trucks are inhibiting their pivotting. This thing is about as long and has about the same wheelbase as the Kato NW-2 and LL SW. They will operate through all the Kato street turnouts with no problem. Everyone will please note that I stated that they are about the same, not exactly the same.
It earns the anemic puller brickbat. Eight loaded cars and Kato caboose on a 1/2 per cent grade send this into full slip. It will pull five and the caboose up that slight grade.
Now, I am using it as the Nopedale switcher, a job that the Atlas Baldwin is currently doing. As the Nopedale switcher, it need enter the Kato street trackage only to spot the morning train's express car behind the Nopedale depot. It must clear the outer turnout on the street trackage. So far, it is doing allright. The magnetic coupler WORKS . It is an excellent creeper.
It does appear that the flexing wires soldered to pivotting trucks is going to be a dealbreaker. I wonder why B-mann got away from the 'sticky-uppy things', as Spookshow puts it. I await the Atlas S-2.
Thanks John. I think I still have some of that old A-Line lead putty, but know I have Tungsten discs here somewhere. Where did you get Tungsten putty? RC car site?
Making quick progress with removing material from top of coupler boxes with chisel blade in X-acto. Would prefer to screw and glue Z905's in place. But then I have to notch frame ends. Anyone do a teardown yet?
Some of the places that cater to Pinewood Derby folks carry it. And just about any serious fly fishing supply has it a lot cheaper than the Pinewood dealers and more for the money. Also can be found on the internet especially the sports sites that are big into fly fishing. It is used there for a quick small weight that can be molded streamside.
My MT 1015s set just a tad too low so I will have to go back and file some off the top of the coupler box to raise them. Not much though since they have stayed coupled during all the testing.
Went to the Bachmann Zoo and picked up a Zebra and a Tiger for entertainment purposes... LOL
From this pic, you can see why I want to change SP to D&H. Funny how the proto is not consistent with handrail paint itself. Have the High Ball Graphics decals.
Has anyone gotten the cab glass out, without losing the paint?
I can only speculate as to why Bachmann designed the S-4 the way they did. Perhaps the can-style motor precluded them from going with a traditional split-frame design (and the accompanying truck/chassis wipers)? In any case, I never did care all that much for Bachmann's wiper system either (I just don't like flimsy/bendy metal wipers). Ultimately, soldered wires may turn out to be more reliable (at least in the short run). And FWIW, Con-Cor (Zephyr, etc) and BLI (EMD E's, etc) still use soldered truck wires and I've never actually had any problems with any of the wires coming unstuck on those models.
As far as the wires inhibiting truck pivot, Bachmann does hedge their bets by stating right up front that these run best on 11.25" curves or broader. It seemed like an odd caveat when I first read it, but now it makes sense (given what we know about the wires). FWIW, mine runs just fine on 9.75" curves, which should be good enough for most people.
I have to agree on the flimsiness (is there such a word?) of the Bachmann 'sticky-uppy things'. I have considered that a weak point on various otherwise excellent Bachpersonn models. My S-4 will take the curves on the Kato street trackage (which is like six or seven inches). It does have problems on some of the turnouts, though. I do not have the BLI or C-C Zephyr. I do have the C-C Gallopping Goose, but I forget if it has soldered wires. My old LLs had that. The wires came undone on more than a few of them. I had a BL-2 that I had painted for a non-historic. I was using it as a station switcher, which meant that it was getting quite a bit of work. It was performing well at this task. The slow speed was excellent, it was not stalling and the pulling power could not be beat. Suddenly, it started to stall frequently. Disassembly revealed the problem. Eventually, I got tired of re-soldering. I wound up using a pair of LL SWs.
Mine was doing allright as the Nopedale switcher. It seemed up to the task, even the required pulling power: the most is four passenger cars (B-mann sixty-five foot, MT RPO, Wheels of Time short baggage car) as well as two box cars (the express car that operates on the morning passenger train and the LCL car-the freight house and the Postal Facilities are on the same spur, so I must shuffle them around as trains arrive and depart). It has started to stall enough to be annoying. Initially, it was not doing that. The industrial section where it operates has PECo matchbook switches. The stalling is inconsistent, so I am still blaming it on the wheelblack. This thing IS finicky when it comes to less than sparkling clean freshly erased track. The frequent stalling comes and goes.
The thing that impresses me most is the creeping. It is the BEST creeper that I have seen. The smooth creep is unmatched, even by the Atlas Baldwin, which up until now, I had thought was the best creeping yard goat in N scale. Overall, I still give the Atlas Baldwin the best N scale yard goat designation, but the B-mann's creep is much better. You can tell when an N scale locomotive, even a diseasel is struggling to creep or is creeping somewhat less than smoothly. This thing is unmatched in its creepiness. I am using an MRC 2800 on this one.
If one looks at the wires of old they were basically stiff to some extent thus if the solder joint wasn't that great it usually came loose. The Concor Alco C-636 was notorious for that and my old one has had almost all the solder joints redone and I have had a few others. The newer thinner and much more flexible wiring, like seen between newer steamers and tenders has almost laid that problem to rest. That said there still needs to be enough slack in the wires to allow full motion without placing strain on that solder joint.
Having mine apart at the worktable yesterday allowed me a close up look at the truck wires and it appears from mine that enough slack has been allowed to allow the truck full range of motion without any strain. And the testing that I did through the 8 and 9 inch radius part of my test track bears that out. That said however I did expect to see a much finer wire than what I saw being used. I fully had expected to have seen the same wire as used on decider equipped tenders. Instead this is a larger, and appears vinyl coated wire. That to me does seem to foretell a possible problem years later, when like all vinyl plastics this stuff eventually dries out and loses its flexibility.
Having said this I certainly would not rush to replace these wires since I don't see the aforementioned issue possibly rearing its head until about 8-10 years down the road when the effects of cleaning and degreasing compounds have their wicked way with the wire coating as people get rid of old built up gear lube and replace with new.
Right now I would be more concerned with some the lousy brass I have seen coming out from over there especially the thinner stuff being used for wipers and contact strips. I have had a recent experience with a batch of new tenders having that substandard brass. Lack of strength and corrosion present when the box was opened new. The brass wipers may go before the wires. And this is not an issue strictly confined to Bmann.
Having said all this I will go out on a limb and say that I expect this loco to last me for the remaining time that I am in N scale and can still see and handle the stuff. The loco is a reasonably well designed loco and performs well enough for folks without any serious grades and only shoving cuts of ten cars or less. As I have said before I am on the more extreme end of modeling as I basically have had a logging line with a water level mainline that happens to run through it and the new layout will be no different. Tight switching, curvature, and grades of 2% limiting consists unless double or triple headed.
Will I get another? Probably not as I just filled out the Alco roster and its performance will probably keep it down on the level, even with the improvements, switching Lyle yard or the Astoria docks.
One more thing, this locomotive does go through Kato #4s without even a bump.
I got out my old Arnold S-2s. They look allright coupled cab-to-cab or nose-to-nose. The Arnold is faster, but the speed is not so much different that you could not get away with operating a Bachmann and Arnold together. The slow speed is not bad, but that comes from just running them back and forth a few times. You can tell that the Arnold is trying to push the B-mann faster, but it just will not go. The Arnold is not as smooth, not even close, as the B-mann at creeping speeds. In fact, I wonder how I was happy with it for all those years.
Had the same idea with My Arnold until the discombugulation of both truck gear sets last night. All four axle gears and all the idler gears decided to fail at once due to the dreaded split gear syndrome. However for the two or so laps they did around the test track they did look good when you ignored that ugly open faced pilot. And I made the decision not to try and rebuild the S-2 Due to age and not worth the frustration and slight expense. I will wait for what I expect to be a much better Atlas release in both performance and appearance. I also tried running it with a couple of the SW series and came to the decision that the extreme speed differences do not make it operationally effective. I also tried running a few of my other small switchers in a pusher role with the S-4 in the lead. Due to the speed difference I had about six derailments when the trailing speedster managed to literally push the cars off the track and one pull apart with the helper in the lead.
The Bmann S-4 will not move any faster no matter what and in my opinion other than an Atlas Shay it just doesn't match anything else out there. I have nice slow speed on the Shays and never run them more than about 20 NSMPH anyhow to keep from disintegrating the drive trains. So I could see this on the logging line with a Shay pushing at slow speed. The 44 and 70 tonners also have slow speed and may be a better choice at double heading but will still run away at full throttle.
Just my opinion but the only other loco out there currently that will run well with the S-4 is another S-4.
Do my eyes deceive me, or did a manufacturer finally make n scale diesel trucks with brake shoes recessed back around the wheels that they are intended to grab on to? Looks like it from the pics in this thread. If so, then way to go Bachman. Shame on you still Atlas and Kato. This small detail adds greatly to the 3D realism of the model. It's high time n scale diesels benefit from trucks with proper relief. I hate seeing the brake shoes in the same plane as the sideframes and sticking out past the platform steps at either end. Maybe this is progress.