Model Power 2-8-2 Questions

WM183 Nov 8, 2018

  1. WM183

    WM183 TrainBoard Member

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    Hi folks.

    The newer runs of Model Power light 2-8-2s look really nice; however, I have heard some issues concerning electrical pickup and running, and I also have a few general questions, if anyone can answer them. I am looking for some light USRA mikes, as I want to model a NYC H6, but the only other ones in N are the decades old Atlas/RR things, and the rare (and out of my price range) Key/Yulim brass. So:

    1) Many folks say to swap to a Kato or Bachmann Spectrum tender. Is this a difficult conversion? Is the model power loco split frame, and just a matter of attaching pins to the frames like Kato/Spectrum uses, or something else?

    2) Are they terribly hard to convert to DCC?

    3) Are they quiet?

    4) How do they perform through No. 6 turnouts (Kato/Atlas)?

    5) I have heard the couplers are odd adjustable things; can they be converted to MTs?
     
  2. Espeeman

    Espeeman TrainBoard Member

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    Hi WM183,

    Can't answer all of your questions but I do have two of them and will comment on what I've experienced so far. Mine are both DCC and sound equipped from the factory. I am quite happy with the way they run and they are every bit as smooth as my Kato GS4. They pull better than any sound equipped diesel I have up a 2% grade. I know they will pull at least 23 cars up the grade but I don't know what their limit is as I mostly run 1st and 2nd gen diesels and have never really put these Mikes to the test. They will manage #6 turnouts with ease and I have had no issues with them running through the #4 turnouts in the yard. They are nearly silent when I turn the sound off. As far as electrical issues, I have had none. I can turn them on and leave them to run for periods of time with no issues. I would definitely replace them is they were lost. Others may have had different experiences with this brand but mine has been great. Most of what I run is Kato, Atlas, BLI, IM so I am used to having high expectations and I have to say I was nicely surprised with these two units.

    Hope this helps :)
     
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  3. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

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    I run 2 of the older ones on my road. Conversion to DCC of the first issues was a bit intensive but not impossible. I did convert to Bman tenders for better pickup. It wasn't very hard to convert to MT couplers. It is also my understanding that the new ones with sound do come with better tenders.

    These things pull like a horse! Either of mine will outpull everything else on the road except for my 2-8-8-4 by Bman!

    Go for it, in my opinion.
     
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  4. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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  5. WM183

    WM183 TrainBoard Member

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    Could you explain how you did so, and how difficult the mod is, perhaps?
     
  6. WM183

    WM183 TrainBoard Member

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  7. papahnash

    papahnash TrainBoard Member

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    I purchased the new version with sound. I had problems with power pickup through my Kato Double Crossovers. I replaced the tender chasis with a Bachmann USRA medium and modified the inside corners of the original shell to fit. The draw bar height did not match up with the new tender so I drilled and tapped for a coupler screw, installed it from the bottom making a draw pin. It now runs and sounds great and is one of the best pulling locos I have.
     
  8. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

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    What papanash did. I removed the Bman pocket, filed the surface flat, drilled and tapped a hole(00-90) and installed a MT 905 Nn3 coupler. Have to file the pocket base a little bit to get the coupler up away from the rail enough.
     
  9. WM183

    WM183 TrainBoard Member

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    Ok, I am a bit confused. Did you change the coupler, or the tender? I have been told that changing tenders on these to one with all wheel pickup helps a lot?
     
  10. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

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    On mine, which are older ones without all wheel pickup, I changed to a Bman tender. The coupler fit the Bman as described. On the Model Power tenderit was a similar procedure. I will try to find a picture.
     
  11. Hansel

    Hansel TrainBoard Member

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    I just converted an older Model Power American 4-4-0 tender so that I could get better pick up using a Bman slope back tender. The engine comes with 4 wires going to the tender. I figured out which wires go to the left side pick up on the Bman tender and which wires go to the right side then I soldered the wires to the pick ups. I reused the drawbar coming from the engine to pull the tender and had to drill and tap a hole for a screw. I also cut out some of the front of the tender so that the wires had a place to go.


     
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  12. brokemoto

    brokemoto TrainBoard Member

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    Miranda's Maxim as explained by ke: "The poor performance of many N scale steam locomotives is almost always directly attributable to poor electrical contact".

    I am not a DCC user, but my experience with power that the factory equipped with these so-called "smart" or "dual mode" decoders dictates that this goes double for DCC. If the non-decoder equipped power with a flywheel hits a dead spot, it coast over it until contact is re-established then continues. If decoder equipped power, flywheel or no, hits a dead spot, it coast to a stop until the decoder re-sets; then continues on its way.

    The tender on the MP USRAs is only half wheels live. The B-mann or Kato substitution is a must. Funny, it does appear that MRC did learn its lesson from the USRAs, because the eight wheeler and mogul both have all wheels live tenders. I have one of the "smart"/sound decoder equipped eight wheelers. Rarely does it stall, despite the presence of the traction tyre.

    For DC use, the conversion is simple, especially if you get a later issue B-mann SPECTRUM tender, as it has the prongs already in place. For DC use, all that I need do is wrap the locomotive wires around the outer two prongs then solder. For someone who has two right hands when it comes to use of a soldering iron, this is easy. I do not even melt the plastic. When you have two right hands when using a soldering iron, melting plastic will make you shy from most soldering jobs. If you are going to do the DCC, I would expect that with the later issue B-mann SPECTRUM tender, all that you would need to do is plug the decoder into the prongs.

    The surgery to the locomotive to accommodate the B-mann or Kato tender, is, as others have described, minimal and simple. Do take care either to remove or insulate the stiff wires in the drawabar if you are going with the B-mann or Kato drawbar. I have retained the MP drawbar and added an MT coupler screw to the tender. This does require a minimum of surgery to the tender as well as a washer on the front truck so that the tender does not look like it is jacked up. You can sand down an MT washer or fashion your own from thin styrene.

    I have both kinds of the USRA lights, the older MP eight wheelers and moguls with upgraded tenders and the latest issue of the eight wheeler. All will creep through Kato, Atlas, Peco, Shinohara and even B-mann E-Z TRAK number fours or sixes without stalling or derailing. If they do stall, it is due to the track's being dirty rather than a problem with the locomotive. A quick application of the track eraser, of course, addresses the problem. The Kato and B-mann frogs seem to get dirty faster than the other ones. The Atlas have plastic frogs, thus I do not have too many of those on my pike.

    If you use the B-mann tender, the MT conversion is easy.

    My MRC/MP Pacific is noisy. Other than the sound, the eight wheeler is not. I have an older MP eight wheeler that I did upgrade. It IS noisy. MY MP/MRC was one of the early MRC issues, thus it did not have sound or a decoder. It had the half wheels live tender. It stalled so frequently, as did the older MPs, that I had to upgrade to the Bachpersonn SPECTRUM. Fortunately, B-mann issued its SPECTRUM tenders in Baltimore and Ohio.
     

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