Looking for assistance maybe

gcav17 Aug 11, 2016

  1. gcav17

    gcav17 TrainBoard Member

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    A friend of mine has an S scale collection that I eould like to help get up and going for him. He does not have much in the way of money, but I do have some things he can maybe use.
    So one question is what are some limitations that come with s scale? What are minimum radiuses that are allowed? Can it be converted to DCC ? I do not know if it's two or three rail. (Or if 3 rail exists in s scale for that matter). Could I use the same power pack for s scale as I do in n scale?

    All these silly questions.. I am assuming I know some of these answers already. But I still need to ask...


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  2. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    S scale is approximately the scale of Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars. It has been around since time immemorial, like O, and like O, there has been some variety over the decades. Curvature always depends on equipment. No O scale should ever be able to negotiate a 31" diameter curve, but some of it does. Figure radii about a third wider than for HO models of the same equipment. I've never heard of three rail S. This does not mean there is no such thing, however. If you can't find any labels which say, look at the bottom of the locomotive trucks and see if there is a roller wheel or wiper in the middle. Provided it's DC, not AC, it should be amenable to DCC, but the current draw for old locomotives might be more than modern DCC systems can provide. A.C. Gilbert trains were made which ran on both AC and DC, so you'll have to tell us which he has.

    Provided they are DC trains with DC motors, your power pack will work, but depending on what it is, it might not move trains very fast. If they are AC trains, you could re-motor them with DC motors and run DCC. But check the value guides and make sure you don't have something rare and desirable before you make serious, irreversible modifications.

    You may have some other considerations before you buy track, too. I've never done S, but I know Lionel O from that period tends to run flanges huge enough that modern, realistic track could leave the flanges riding on the ties. Look things like that over carefully before you invest.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2016
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  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Is this S scale or S gauge (tinplate)?
     
  4. gcav17

    gcav17 TrainBoard Member

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    See now, there ya go...... I am guessing here because I have not seen any of it yet. That's why I asked all these questions. I forgot about tin plate. When I get a minute to look, I will let you alll know more..

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  5. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    Also, see if you can find a manufacturer of the trains....
     
  6. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Gene- Pictures would be good, too!
     
  7. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    It would actually be really cool if it was tinplate. You might also be able to find some deals on track. [edited to remove non advertiser retailer reference]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2016
  8. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Resources from your local TCA [ http://www.traincollectors.org] chapter might be a help. I've been a to a few of their public shows and see a lot of S Scale.
     
  9. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    Sure, tinplate is cool. But there's liable to be a real problem converting to DCC if this stuff is old enough to use tinplate-era technology. On modern plastic-framed locomotives, it's easy to isolate the motor and run its feed through a control board.

    But back in the day, when home appliances were made of metal, designers tended to run one side of the circuit through that metal. It's like your car, where just about everything electrical has one side of its circuit run through the steel structure of the car. This saves carmakers a mile or two of copper wire per car--and why not? The metal is there. Well, once upon a time, model trains were made of metal, and they were designed with the same mindset. When the motor housing is an integral part of the same frame which holds the wheels, and it's metal, why wouldn't you let that structure carry one leg of the electricity? After all, the way you reverse the power is to reverse the polarity of the whole track in a DC system--and the technology to do anything else was nonexistent.

    To run DCC you have to wire the motor through the board, and the board reverses the polarity to the motor without the track itself ever reversing in polarity. If you can't isolate the motor from all of the wheels, you can't run DCC. Of course, it's always possible to isolate that motor. But depending on how old this equipment is, you might find you have to work like a beaver to do it. And like I said earlier, if you have some rare and valuable stuff in there, modifications that major might well have a major effect on your ability to get a good price for it later.
     
  10. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Here is a website that you might find helpful.
    http://sscale.org/

    When it comes to S Scale:
    Wider curves are the best curves.
    Newer track options available are the best options.
    Newer train equipment will give you the best performance.
    Getting away from the old AC options for train operations and going to DC or even DCC will be better.

    The older stuff is fun to play with but a nightmare to operate. Frustrate, frustrate, frustrate.

    Now I'll bet you have more questions.

    Not a problem.

    Just glad to helpl
     

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