What is the worst accidental breakage of a locomotive you have had.

Atlas 080 Aug 7, 2019

  1. porkypine52

    porkypine52 TrainBoard Member

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    Was running on our KSONS NTRAK set up in New Albany IN Library basement. Running a 1st generation Athearn Challenger (4-6-6-4) pulling a multi-car coal train. This was one of the Challenger's with the &@#% MRC decoder. Hit a wrong thrown turnout, caused the engine to jump tracks, the decoder to burp, fry itself (let all that smoke out!) and take a header to the floor. Luckily the floor was carpeted. Didn't really hurt much, just caused me to curse like a sailor, and exclaim "That's it" so much for the %$#@ MRC's. I replaced all of my Challenger's (3 units) decoders with Tsunami sound decoders ASAP! Never looked back and never had another problem.
     
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  2. gatrhumpy

    gatrhumpy TrainBoard Member

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    Fried two ESU Loksound Select Direct Micro DCC sound decoders in an Athearn SD-70. See my thread about that in the DCC section so that doesn't happen to you.
     
  3. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well... those are my DCC nightmares which I have not really experienced YET... because I don't run most of my models in DCC.

    I have over 60 decoders to install (MRC, NCE, TCS)... plus I have well over 100 models with factory installed decoders of all kinds. Since virtually all decoders are dual mode DC/DCC... I mostly test these in DC on straight track without turnouts. I will set up DCC to test the sound equipped models... again straight and no turnouts. The nightmare for me is setting up a fully operational DCC layout and subsequently frying these decoders.

    I am trully one of 'those' old school DC modelers who likes all the effects of DCC but not the potential disasters as noted by many on several threads I've read over the years.

    With as much invested into BOTH DC and DCC locomotives... with many brands and DCC decoders... I have made a commitment toward DCC at some point. I'm sure I will be 'letting out the magic smoke' on a bunch of them in the future... I just hope not to have a fire in the process.


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  4. Run8Racing

    Run8Racing TrainBoard Member

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    Gotta' keep this thread handy for the next time someone asks, "Why don't you switch to DCC ???" Besides having around 300 locomotives, there are many more answers here !!!
     
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  5. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    I started out with a Tech2 DC system...
    [​IMG]

    Even when I expanded my layout into the original THERR Trailer...I was still DC with that Tech2...
    [​IMG]

    When the roof on THERR Trailer caved in with 2 feet of snow on the roof and I made my Hanging HCD Layout. I still had that Tech 2 DC system...
    [​IMG]
    BUT...I also dabbled in DCC with an Atlasmaster DCC System Commander. I bought (1) DCC locomotive....the rest where DC. I found I liked the smoother operation of DCC.

    When we won an insurance claim and bought THERR RV I was able to buy a nice DCC system to run the whole layout.

    [​IMG]

    I dont know that I could ever go back to strictly DC. I am spoiled !!

    You can buy a decent DCC system for the cost of (1) DCC locomotive these days ($175.00).

    If you want to dabble into DCC its possible. If ya wanna stay DC...thats ok too.

    I just cant see bad mouthing either system. They both still work just fine. I am sure there are many DC horror stories out there too.

    JMHO... (y)
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
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  6. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

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    I've had two memorable (and non-DCC) failures...

    The first goes back to 1972, just after I got started in N, with a used Trix F-unit set. Got a new Atlas GP40 from the Whistle Stop Hobby Shop in Pasadena, while I was on vacation in California - in Santa Fe pinstripe. At that time, the instructions were - in all Atlas locomotives - to lubricate with VEGETABLE OIL. So I did. This was really before Teflon lubricants were on the market.

    If you remember the old Roco/Yugo locomotives, the motors ran really hot, and they frequently started fire rings off the brushes on the commutators. Well, that's a recipe for trouble. The vegetable oil kept gumming up, making more friction, increasing heat. So, add more lubricant. Finally, it overheats, gets fire rings, and sets the entire inside of the locomotive on fire - a locomotive grease fire. What was really cool was that the Atlas GP40's had open radiator fans, so real smoke poured out of it. I literally picked up a burning. smoking locomotive off the track, and by the time I could pry the shell off of it, it had melted the plastic out right by the commutator for a nice hole right through the shell. I still have the body shell. If it hadn't been for my reliable Trix unit, I would have given up on N right then and there. Moral: Don't lubricate with vegetable oil!

    Second one was far too recent: I do resin casting, and custom builds. Was building a custom CF7, got the unit entirely done, set up for airbrushing it, and things went horribly wrong, and the paint came out in gobs on the second light coat even after screening it and testing it. Instant surface finish disaster. Well, I should be able to strip it off, tried the usual 91% alcohol overnight dip, that's pretty harmless.... nothing. Didn't touch it. Next up, brake fluid. Oh yeah, that not only worked, it turned the resin shell pretty much into a very real looking train wreck; frame bent, cab warped, complete loss. But the paint was still on it... A complete loss on a custom build, start over. It's a very realistic looking wrecked unit, however.
     
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  7. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    If you dont have a 'deadline' on your layout...it sure sounds like ya need one. A deadline makes for interesting looks and a great conversation piece on a layout. ;)
     
  8. u18b

    u18b TrainBoard Supporter

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    I have two.
    Both not too disastrous.

    I was photographing some custom Atlas GP40s for an article... and one took a tumble out in the yard. Landed right on the rear coupler.
    Bent the pilot in and the rear handrail.
    My heart stopped.... and after I recovered from my disappointment, I just left it since lots of real trains look the same way. I bent the pilot back out a little and left the handrails alone.
    Here it is as it looks now:
    [​IMG]

    The second was more disappointing. Bought a used Athearn Challenger with sound for a steal. Like $150.

    Enjoyed it for a few months. Then burned out the sound decoder. Later found the first run did that commonly (contacts could short out or something).
    Anyway, tossed the decoder, hotwired it for a regular TCS decoder I had on hand. So now I run it without sound.

    One day I'll put a new sound decoder in it, but I no longer have a "steal" if I now have $250 - $300 invested in a used loco.
    -- sigh --
     
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  9. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    I guess you didn't see the service bulletin to get rid of the vegetable oil build-up by running the locomotive through a gasoline bath... LOL...

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  10. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    When I got my first three Challengers of the first run I was excited to show them off at the model railroad club I belonged to. We had just completed some trackwork an N scale layout which had long stretches of straight runs. I took only my DRGW Challenger and about 40 freight cars. The track was Kato Unitrack... but not well secured. There were some tight radii for that Challenger to negotiate. If there was ever a time disaster could strike... that was the time. Radius as small as 11.5 inch, several turnouts for sidings, a Kato double track bridge and 2% grade. The train ran on DC... and met all the 'challenges' presented. That was about 14 years ago... and I have not run it since. I'm not sure if it will even crank-up in DC or DCC at this time... but it was beautiful at that time.

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  11. jlundy46

    jlundy46 TrainBoard Supporter

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    The older I get the more of a klutz I have become. I knocked a N scale Athearn Challenger off my work table (hard wood floor) and it broke the pilot and the piece with the walkway behind the pilot. Luckily it still ran OK. It is on it's way back from Athearn where repairs were just completed. I should put layers of bubble wrap down around my work area.....
     
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  12. jimfitch

    jimfitch TrainBoard Member

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    There is enough bad stuff to read about in world. Why on Earth would I want to read about broken engines. Talk about a downer topic. How about a happy one in stead?
     
  13. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    I find myself lucky that there have not been more catastrophes dealing with my trains.

    There have been a few minor issues with mishandling stuff where little things have broken off and vanished into thin air.

    A couple of those were actually near-miss events... particularly with the Bachmann packaging... which I call the 'Accident Waiting to Happen' plastic cradle and sleeve system. Another manufacturer picked up this harrowing method of packaging... which I detest.

    First... when you take that sleeve off... make sure one of your FOUR hands is beneath the locomotive and tender... or at least over a soft pillow.

    Second, when you are ready to put it back into the cradle/sleeve 'guillotine' make sure have grown another pair of hands to align all the wheels in the cradle properly and centered correctly before attempting to slide the guillotine sleeve... otherwise you WILL shear off something on the tender, locomotive or one of you hands. This packing method has no mercy... I can attest to all of those incidents.

    BTW... don't bother trying to put back the literature squeezed into the cradle. It will certainly not go back in once taken out... at least not without forcing something to break or misalign the loco or tender.

    The system is a great way to display the model in the case... but at what expense it comes at may not be worth it.

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  14. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    I understand... but better to be informed and learn from others experiences... good or bad.

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  15. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    (y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y) Exactly ;)

    It's nice to read I am NOT the only klutz or bonehead when it comes to our hobby. JMO
     
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  16. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    My second worse "accidental breakage" came about when I bought my FVM ES44AC. Beautifully detailed locomotive...and a joy to watch running around on the layout. The first one ran great...untill it came time to clean it. Those wipers that go up between the sill and the frame are a pita to keep straight !!

    The longer you tinker with them...the worse they get ! Matt sent me a replacement locomotive when I mentioned the problem to him. Above and beyond what I expected when I was just looking for replacement wipers ! (y)(y)

    That second locomotive developed the same wiper problems when it came time to clean it. 3 days of fiddling with the wipers and that locomotive now sits on the 'deadline' with the trucks and fuel tank off and cribbing holding it up. :censored:

    [​IMG]

    :censored::censored::censored::censored::censored::censored::censored::censored::censored::censored::censored::censored::censored:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
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  17. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Well said. I'm adding an easy-to-select DCC input to my new DC railroad so when I want to dip my toe into the DCC world, I'll be able to with ease. This is my block control panel.

    2019-07-09 Block Panel Temporarily Wired - for upload.jpg
     
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  18. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    Wow... I'm sure each of those 2 and 3 letter abbreviations require some time to memorize. I had trouble remembering which Atlas Selector to activate a simple 4 block arrangement... and how/when to use the Altas Controller circuit. This is one of the main reasons I seriously began thinking about DCC. But... even DCC has its intricacies and things to learn and remember. I'm problably better off with a 2x4 oval and a 9 volt battery... .

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  19. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Actually, I simplified them on this railroad. OW is "Outside West" (outermost block to the left), IE is "Inside East" (innermost block on the right), VI is "Viaduct", the bottom row of E-Series blocks are all in the Engine Terminal, etc. The system offers quick geographic reference instead of the difficult-to-locate station locations on my previous railroad. I think it'll work well.
     
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  20. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

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    Mine was installing decoders in the brand new GP-60 from Fox Valley. These had so much extra detail! Well as it being the first time I had one of these, I tried as best I could to gently remove the details to install the decoders. Well that was a lost cause. So I broke many of the details and installed the decoder. Replaced the shell and programmed the decoder. Set it on the track and it ran for about ten feet before it came to and abrupt end. This was on straight track! It seems the mechanism seized up big time. I was so frustrated with the whole episode I did not bother to try to put decoders in the other FVM locomotives, just set them all in a box to be forgotten about.
     
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