Model Train Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello all, real world railroader here looking for some advice. I have no model train experience, but I would like to setup a simple oval around the Christmas tree. I received a Bachmann HO scale ES44AC (NS 8102) as a gift several years ago which I would like to use. I'm a little overwhelmed trying to figure out which controller and track I should purchase to go with this locomotive. I only plan to set it up under the tree so I don't need anything too fancy, what would you recommend? Besides some track and a controller, is there anything else I will need? Thank you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
890 Posts
A quick search found this, is this your loco?

If so, what I would recommend is a bachmann EZ-Command controller and the bachmann ez-track nickle silver HO track.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
890 Posts
I poked around a bit, and if you buy the controller and track seperately it's going to cost you more than if you buy a kit like this: https://www.amazon.com/Bachmann-Industries-Valley-Electric-Locomotive/dp/B00BFCXJ2S/ref=sr_1_1?crid=888UYR7GR7US&keywords=bachmann+ho+train+full+sets+dcc+sound&qid=1575246995&sprefix=bachmann+dcc+ho+train+set,aps,168&sr=8-1

You can also find the stuff on ebay, but you probably want to get it pretty fast.

ADDED: Actually, you could probably get the track to make an oval (12 peices of 18" diameter curves, and 4 straights, and you'll need a rerailer/power track.

Curves: https://www.amazon.com/Bachmann-Trains-Snap-Fit-Radius-Curved/dp/B0000CGB3B/ref=pd_bxgy_21_img_3/130-6638915-9842246?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B0000CGB3B&pd_rd_r=91fbff13-1931-4de9-a44c-d822d5159ee3&pd_rd_w=HxNCr&pd_rd_wg=Gbqrm&pf_rd_p=09627863-9889-4290-b90a-5e9f86682449&pf_rd_r=VBG8PNBE4BY21HW3Q8SQ&psc=1&refRID=VBG8PNBE4BY21HW3Q8SQ
Straights: https://www.amazon.com/Bachmann-Trains-Snap-Fit-Z-Straight/dp/B0000CGB3F/ref=pd_cp_21_1/130-6638915-9842246?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B0000CGB3F&pd_rd_r=48d1725b-663a-4872-a674-5b4f5ea57a04&pd_rd_w=dyWHt&pd_rd_wg=0R5Tb&pf_rd_p=0e5324e1-c848-4872-bbd5-5be6baedf80e&pf_rd_r=8ZFBAHH2R9296VM0KE43&psc=1&refRID=8ZFBAHH2R9296VM0KE43
Rerailer: https://www.amazon.com/Bachmann-Trains-Snap-Fit-Straight-Terminal/dp/B0006N7414/ref=sr_1_2?crid=2RY7SQF888HNR&keywords=bachmann+ez+track+ho+scale+rerailer&qid=1575247941&s=toys-and-games&sprefix=bachmann+ez+track+ho+scale+re,toys-and-games,141&sr=1-2
EZ-Command: https://www.amazon.com/Bachmann-Industries-Command-Dcc-Controller/dp/B01ECBM5A0/ref=asc_df_B01ECBM5A0/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=278144423463&hvpos=1o2&hvnetw=g&hvrand=13154792934155935887&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9007555&hvtargid=pla-574337748452&psc=1

Search around and you can probably find the stuff cheaper, or if you have a local hobby/train store they may have the track in bulk.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thank you for the great reply, Tom! That is indeed the locomotive I have. I found a website called Model Train Stuff that has everything you listed for a cheaper price than Amazon. I'm also going to pull the trigger on a single coal car for now. I can see how this hobby can get expensive real fast! Thanks again and I'll report back once I have everything set up :smilie_daumenpos:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
890 Posts
Awesome! Glad to help. I had trains as a kid, and now I just run a holiday layout around the tree. I'm probably into it for 2-3 grand, so yeah, it adds up fast:)

The stuff I recommended is to get you up and running quickly, but if you want to expand past an easy oval be sure to come back and ask questions and the more knowledgeable guys can help point you in the right direction.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,162 Posts
Bachmann EZ-track turnouts vs Kato Unitrack turnouts

Hello all, real world railroader here looking for some advice. I have no model train experience, but I would like to setup a simple oval around the Christmas tree. I received a Bachmann HO scale ES44AC (NS 8102) as a gift several years ago which I would like to use. I'm a little overwhelmed trying to figure out which controller and track I should purchase to go with this locomotive. I only plan to set it up under the tree so I don't need anything too fancy, what would you recommend? Besides some track and a controller, is there anything else I will need? Thank you.
Haystack;

I'm going to, possibly, disagree with the advice you have been given about going with Bachmann EZ-Track, depending on your personal long-term plans. First if you feel that all you will ever want to do with model trains is a simple loop of track, and no "turnouts" (model railroad term for track switches) then using Bachmann EZ-Track will work out OK.
However, if you think the model train bug will ever bite you to include any turnouts, either in the christmas tree layout, or perhaps someday, in a bigger, more permanent, train layout, then I would not go with Bachmann track at all. Bachmann's EZ-Track turnouts came in dead last in a field of seven common brands of commercial turnouts, based on quality and reliability. The rankings are just informal, but I suggest you read the attached file "All about turnouts" if you intend to get any. The info comparing brands is near the end, so you could skip all the earlier part, if you choose.

For a christmas tree layout on the floor, "roadbed" track like Bachmann EZ-Track, or the much better quality (especially the turnouts) Kato Unitrack, will keep the actual track a bit off the carpet, or wood flooring. This helps prevent the locomotive from attracting carpet fibres, and/or floor dust into it's motor and gears. The same job can also be done (much cheaper) by spreading an old bed sheet above the floor and below any track of your choice. This includes "non-roadbed" sectional track, which is much cheaper than roadbed track. If you have a local hobby shop/train store, or a traveling train show in your area, you can buy Atlas sectional track and Peco's excellent (#1 ranked) turnouts, for a whole lot less than roadbed track. Ebay also sells these same items cheap.
I'm not familiar with the Bachmann "EZ-Command" controller (I use the NCE "Powercab") but either one, or any brand of DCC controller should work well for you.
Sectional track does not lock together like roadbed track. Rather, the rail ends just slip into rail joiners and depend on friction to stay together, unless nailed, or glued, down on a permanent layout. The track sections will stay together fairly well, but a piece of scotch tape, or duct tape, across the section ends,on the bottom of the plastic tie strip, will hold the sections much more firmly together.

good luck, have fun;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment All AboutTurnouts rev 5.pdf
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
890 Posts
With that said you can get Kato track 'kits',

Like this: https://www.amazon.com/Kato-USA-Model-Train-Products/dp/B0058G3Z1W/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1JLTEK966IHG9&keywords=kato+unitrack+ho&qid=1575316719&sprefix=kato+uni,aps,119&sr=8-1

Or this: https://www.amazon.com/Kato-USA-Model-Train-Products/dp/B00A348RGW/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1JLTEK966IHG9&keywords=kato+unitrack+ho&qid=1575316719&sprefix=kato+uni,aps,119&sr=8-2

As for the controller, the Ez-command fits the 'not too fancy' requirement from the first post, and it's very easy to run a train and will control the basic sounds with a single button. If (and when) one wants to program CVs, I use a NCE Powercab starter set which runs around $175.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
890 Posts
It should be OK, but it's DC (it appears). Your loco is DCC... which should run on DC, but you won't get the bells and whistles... literally and figuratively :)

To give a quick explanation, DC is simply a voltage applied to the track and depending on the polarity the train will go forward or backward, and faster or slower. DCC uses a modulated wave to send digital signals to a computer in the loco.

It's totally up to you, and at this early stage there are a lot of choices to make.

And, as Traction fan hits on, the EZ-command is a 'controller' where the NCE is a 'programmer', to put it in the simpliest of terms. You may be able to program very simple things with the Ez-command, but if you want to get into the meat and potatoes you will need a 'programmer'.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
890 Posts
Oh, and Haystack, be aware of the size of those kits. It looks like the HV1 kit uses 28" radius curves, so it may not fit on a sheet of plywood, to give you perspective. The HV5 kit says it will fit in 4x8. Just be aware of what you're buying and be sure you have room for it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,162 Posts
Programer and controller

It should be OK, but it's DC (it appears). Your loco is DCC... which should run on DC, but you won't get the bells and whistles... literally and figuratively :)

To give a quick explanation, DC is simply a voltage applied to the track and depending on the polarity the train will go forward or backward, and faster or slower. DCC uses a modulated wave to send digital signals to a computer in the loco.

It's totally up to you, and at this early stage there are a lot of choices to make.

And, as Traction fan hits on, the EZ-command is a 'controller' where the NCE is a 'programmer', to put it in the simplest of terms. You may be able to program very simple things with the Ez-command, but if you want to get into the meat and potatoes you will need a 'programmer'.
Haystack;

While what Tom_C says above is quite true, it occurs to me that since you are not experienced with model trains, you might not understand some of what Tom is saying. The Bachmann EZ-Command, and the NCE powercab are both controllers in that either one will control your locomotive's speed, direction, and built-in sounds. The Bachmann is not a "full featured" controller that can itself be programed, and can program locomotives. The NCE does both. It controls the speed, direction, lights, and sounds of your loco, and it is "full featured", so it can program a locomotive. I was a little concerned that, being new, you might think a "controller" and a "programer" were two distinct and different pieces of hardware. The Bachmann is the exception actually. Nearly all DCC controllers can also program. By the way, programing. hooking up, and using, an NCE powercab is very simple. Everything is in one compact, hand held, unit. Hook up consists of attaching two wires from the controller to the track. The printed directions make programing the controller easy.
So what do you program? Not much, unless you want to, but there are plenty of options available. The simple start up involves programming your locomotives ID number into the controller. Most of us use the number shown in the number boards on the locomotive. If you're only going to run one locomotive, even that little bit of programing is unnecessary. All locomotives come with the same factory default ID number, (I think it's 03) The only reason to program in any loco ID numbers is to route the control signals to the right locomotive when you have more than one.
Some sound decoders have lots of different sounds that you can choose from. Which prime mover, horn, air pump, brake squeal, coupler clash, etc. sound do you want. There are lots of options for starting speed, maximum speed, Etc. Etc. ad infinitum. I've never bothered changing any of those, because I never needed to. Other guys like to tweak the performance of their locomotives to the max.

As Tom says, it's up to you. If you just want to circle the christmas tree, I suggest keeping the loco you have, picking the track you prefer plain Atlas sectional track, Kato Unitrack, Bachmann EZ-Track, whatever you like. I also suggest going with the NCE Powercab controller. It will do everything the Bachmann controller can, plus a lot more. It's made in the USA instead of China, like Bachmann, and it is well supported by the manufacturer. The prices are close, so why not get the better one? It will do a fine job of running your christmas loop, and if you later decide to go further, it will be able to handle that too.
If you have any more questions? Just ask. we will be glad to help.

Have fun;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
890 Posts
Yep, Yep, and Yep.

To make it even more complicated, I use a ez-command to 'run' my train and I use the NCE to program my train... I could do both with the NCE, but the ez-command is super easy to use and if your kids or grand-kids punch any buttons they won't (can't) do any harm, other than turning the speed up to 100. :)

Anyway. As you can see, your choices are infinite. Merry Christmas.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
687 Posts
If you plan to keep it a simple circle and old analog control (no sound/lighting).. as much as I never cared for the 3 rail O gauge stuff, like Lionel, I'd store the Bachmann engine and do buy Lionel 3 rail track and trains, as they are rugged enough to not be affected by things on the floor or pine needles...You will need an AC transformer which Lionel also makes.. Smaller trains if not attached to a board and are on a rug, are too susceptible to all kinds of intrusion and interference. The Lionel are big, bulky and heavy and less susceptible to harm...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
890 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
201 Posts
Thank you for the great reply, Tom! That is indeed the locomotive I have. I found a website called Stuff that has everything you listed for a cheaper price than Amazon. I'm also going to pull the trigger on a single coal car for now. I can see how this hobby can get expensive real fast! Thanks again and I'll report back once I have everything set up :smilie_daumenpos:
Expensive real fast ? Welcome, more like skyrocketing ! A single coal car, lol, is just a prelude to a shopping spree. Trust me. You will see. Tell me about it, a thousand dollars here, a thousand dollars there, so it goes. But don't worry, you're on the right track. I say who dies with the most trains wins but I practice everything in between.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top