Getting back into it; Civil War era

MVP Jun 6, 2018

  1. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

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    If you're running on regular DC, most of the problem comes from too high a starting voltage being issued from the pack to these essentially micro-sized motors. You can control that by putting BIG (like rollaids-sized) big resistors of 10W or 25W across the terminals, that will do the trick. I put 35W across my old HO throttlepack to get control where I wanted it.
    https://www.westfloridacomponents.com/R036/25W+5+ohm+10%+Wirewound+Power+Sandblock+Resistor.html
    On my Hickory Valley portable layouts (straight pure DC), I have an additional old MRC rheostat set on the input right on the module itself to 'dial up' the resistance so I get the control range I want. These are typically in series rather than across the terminals.
    I picked up a Golden Dual Throttlepack at a yard sale just to get another couple of those for $10.
    I tend not to use pulse at all to run these; I have a transistor throttle on the large ATSF layout but I dial down the input voltage (with a rheostat) so that it still works but the pulses are much milder; the locomotives run much cooler and quieter.
    If you're running DC into a DCC chip locomotive on dual mode, the performance usually sucks, and WARNING WARNING WARNING... many of the dual-mode decoders cannot handle pulse power input in dual mode, only straight DC. I blew a Bachmann decoder doing that.
    Stay on straight DC if you're running dual mode. If you have a programming track for DCC that you can tinker with the CV's, there's usually one for the minimum starting voltage on DC that's issued to the motor in dual mode. Somewhere.
    I did a bunch of TCS decoder installs on my Climax kits, and the last ones with dual-mode decoders had such horrible performance.... well, that's why I'm still in pure DC or DC with transistor throttles on my little guys. I thought it was just my own ineptitude, but tech support at TCS couldn't help, and neither could my DCC master friend Lee Weldon.
    The real problem that I've had with dual-mode decoders is that when there is a stall, they have to go through a sensing routine to determine where the power is coming from, prolonging the stall into the hesitation range. The smaller and lighter the locomotive, the worse the problem gets. The older TCS chips that didn't have dual-mode sensing didn't have this problem.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2018
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  2. MVP

    MVP TrainBoard Member

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    That's a ton of good info that I was completely unaware of. The Gen. Haupt has an ESU 53664 LokPilot Nano Standard. After the first few times trying pulse, I gave up, figuring it just wouldn't happen. Now I know why, and won't be trying it again. I hope I didn't f-up the decoder. Even with the problems of trying to go DCC with these smaller engines, I'm going to keep down that path. I wonder if for now I can adjust the decoder for that minimum starting voltage. But if not, I can live with it for now.
     
  3. MVP

    MVP TrainBoard Member

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    I just got an order of MTL wood frame trucks and the simulated link-and-pin couplers. The plan is to convert all the Bachmann CWE cars, with enough leftover trucks/couplers in case I ever need more. I recall seeing the trucks and couplers advertised as being compatible with the Bachmann cars, but maybe I misread it. When I tried to simply swap out the trucks, they didn't fit over the existing frame. Instead of drilling out the MTL trucks--which would thin them out and harm the structural integrity--I took a hand file to shave down the screw holes on one of my old cars as a test. I went all the way down to the base, but as you can see in the second photo, it still wasn't enough! The car still rides high compared to the stock Bachmann car and the MTL car.

    Before I proceed with a dremel tool to get these down to the right height, let me ask: Is there another way? Or is this normal kind of stuff when adapting stock items to my needs?

    The first pic is of the old Bachmann frame that I filed (top) and the stock/new Bachmann frame (bottom) to compare.

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  4. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member

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    I went ahead and filed the bolsters down a little more leaving a larger flat spot and it lowered the car to the same level as the MT cars.
    DSC_0001.jpg
     
  5. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member

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    Oh, in case you are wondering what is going on with the brakeman, sometimes they used a "club" to get leverage to set the brakes.
    club.jpg
     
  6. MVP

    MVP TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks! Wanted to make sure I wasn’t doing something dumb. Also, what’s the best way to body mount the couplers (on the old ones that had truck mounted), since the Bachmann cars are metal?
     
  7. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member

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    I drilled and tapped holes for mounting screws into the metal floors. I believe the couplers came with pockets from MT. These are simply coupler pockets for the Z scale body mount couplers.
    IMG_4063.jpg
     
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  8. vince p

    vince p TrainBoard Member

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  9. MVP

    MVP TrainBoard Member

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    Couple updates. While I’m not nearly ready to build the big one, I’ve been antsy to get something done that can run trains. So I got some foam boards, plaster cloth, cork, and a small wood kit depot the other day, and started a 3x3 layout. Nothing specific. Rural overall and generic era so we can run both the 19th and 20th century trains. Please don’t have too much fun at my expense. I’m aware of all the mistakes I made. The gap between rails in the last two pics is pretty glaring. But even with the poor pickup on those engines, the gaps didn’t cause a problem. I cleaned up all the old track—30-yr old code 80–and bought new rail joiners. It’s surprisingly solid. I actually forgot to take a wide pic of the whole thing as it stands now. Will do that later. I just need to start working on the landscaping and a few more buildings. The reason I went with the large rolls of cork is because I don’t want the track raised too high above the surrounding terrain. I want that “old track” look. IMG_1316.JPG IMG_1317.JPG IMG_1319.JPG IMG_1320.JPG IMG_1318.JPG IMG_1321.JPG IMG_1322.JPG IMG_1323.JPG
     
  10. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    Hey, ANYTHING to get the juices flowing and to actually START!
     
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  11. urbanex12

    urbanex12 TrainBoard Member

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    While the Civil War isn't my era of choice, its nice seeing people with layouts set in other times than the transition era and the present. We don't see many people doing pre-30s or so in N scale. I'm very curious how this will turn out.

    One suggestion, you may want to look into adding a new roof onto that station to conceal the slots for the tabs on the side walls to attach to.
     
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  12. MVP

    MVP TrainBoard Member

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    Moved around some rooms in the house, meaning I finally have a room for the layout! So I got paint and scenery, and went to work. I’m further along than the final photo shows, but I’ll have another update soon. I tell ya, seeing the ground cover going down really boosts the morale. I also picked up a bunch of 1860 passenger cars and another engine for super cheap. They need some work, and I ordered all new trucks from shapeways. Getting them fitted with the new trucks and link and pin will look great. IMG_1417.JPG IMG_1420.JPG IMG_1421.JPG IMG_1422.jpg
     
  13. BALOU LINE

    BALOU LINE TrainBoard Member

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    Nothing like some ground foam to make it feel like progress. You'll be adding horses and soldiers soon!

    Sent from my SM-T113 using Tapatalk
     
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  14. MVP

    MVP TrainBoard Member

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    Another update coming soon. Among the highlights:

    -Added more scenery, incl trees, bushes, some ballast, etc.
    -Converted passenger cars to link & pin.
    -Got new 3D printed trucks for p-cars.

    I also ordered tungsten putty to add weight to the engines. The Atlas engine in particular is very underweight. I'm hoping to fill the cab with putty and add a layer to the tender. Should be here next week.
     
  15. MVP

    MVP TrainBoard Member

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    The ballast didn’t turn out how I wanted. I’m going to make the rest of it look more like a dirt/ballast mix, as ballasting back then isn’t what we think of now.
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  16. urbanex12

    urbanex12 TrainBoard Member

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    Looks great! I love the angle in the last photo. That will look amazing once you get a backdrop in!
     
  17. vince p

    vince p TrainBoard Member

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    If your still interested in this pm me.

    New in case tested with 9 volt runs never been on track.
     

    Attached Files:

  18. MVP

    MVP TrainBoard Member

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    Update and video time!

    The Atlas 4-4-0 P.R.R. 1610 pulling a load of 13 freight cars, a mix of U.S. Military R.R., Manassas Gap R.R., and Pennsylvania R.R. (latest editions! Should have a Georgia R.R. arriving today). The key to a smoother run is weight. I recently added about 1.5 oz of tungsten putty to places like the pilot truck, cab, and tender under the wood load. There's only one or two spots it hesitates, but that's probably because I didn't clean the track in over a week. The layout is progressing along nicely, albeit slowly. I'm only showing the parts of the layout that have (at least some) scenery, and all of it will be improving on a continuous basis. This accounts for about 3 months of work.

     
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  19. hoosiersojer

    hoosiersojer New Member

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    Love that video, MVP!
    I too, have chosen the Civil War as my modeling era. I have collected quite a bit of MicroTrains rolling stock, some sets and four Atlas 4-4-0's. I have about seven Bachmann Jupiters, I've picked up at various train shows for dirt cheap. (Plan to rework them all, eventually.) Unfortunately, I have yet to get a layout up.
    I enjoy your progress reports.
    Oh! And just a heads-up...MicroTrains has just announced the release of their 26ft CW era boxcar as an undecorated car! Pretty excited about that.

    ~Kevin
     
  20. Rich_S

    Rich_S TrainBoard Member

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    I know it's not N scale, but have you guys seen Bernard Kempinski Civil War USMRR Layout?

     
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