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Discussion Starter #141
You completely missed the point of my post.....the least expensive is the most reliable. It’s the more expensive stuff that is the problem.
Had we just left well enough alone and stuck to model power we’d have almost no issues.
 

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Michael beat me to it. Been there, done that.

However one facet of this hobby that I enjoy is buying older rolling stock (mostly kits from Roundhouse, Athearn, Accurail, etc.) that you can't find new and "upgrading" it. That means new Kadee knuckle couplers & wheelsets or trucks, bringing the car up to the correct weight, correcting coupler height and so on. Even used RTR stuff is usually far from RTR and needs some or all of the upgrades. When it's all said and done I have as much in a car as if I'd bought NIB.

And even if you do spring for a "better" car - from a rivet-counter perspective - if you buy it on fleabay... caveat emptor.
 

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The Model Power doesn't sound as though it was any better than the rest. Any derailments or uncoupling while in motion is entirely unacceptable.
 

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Discussion Starter #145
Stumpy,

unless it’s something “special” we always but NIB stuff

I have no problem upgrading....if it works.

We have a model power track that the TYCO, and Bachman cars work fine on

we have a TYCO track that TYCO and model power work fine on

We have a Bachman track that model power works fine on but the Bachmann stuff doesn’t.

notice the trend....regardless or track Model Power and TYCO work fine on all of them.
 

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Discussion Starter #146 (Edited)
MichaelE,

1 out of 9 model power cars has issues....the tanker car....and that is due to the truck hanging up on frame. The rest are fine.

TYCO has 1 out of 10 that un couples.

Lionel zero issues

The rest forget about it no consistency
 

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Discussion Starter #148
MichaelE,

no worries it happens.

I should point out that most of the cars that uncouple....Athearn, Roundhouse, ROCO, usually only do it when train stops then starts up again
 

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Discussion Starter #149
So a little more description on track and manufacture.

Outer track is almost all Model Power ( country of manufacture ? ) with exception of two crossings, 1 is TYCO ( country of manufacture ? ) and the other is Bachmann. ( country of manufacture ? ) No issues with TYCO crossing. With Bachmann crossing, Bachmann and Life Like locomotives and Life Like lighted caboose loose power on It. Not so with Model Power Locomotive it works fine. Also has a TYCO power track as the model power connections were not that great. This track works fine.

Inner track is mostly TYCO steel track that is made in Austria with exception of 3 brass sections, also TYCO made in Austria, used simply because I ran out of steel. Plus 2 22” brass curves (needed for layout design) that are AHM made in Italy. And 2 steel straights “Feller Garnet” made in Italy. Used because ran out of TYCO. There are also two TYCO made in Hong Kong straights that came with operations cars. this track works fine.

I do have more TYCO steel and Brass track but it’s made in Hong Kong and I tried to keep as much of that out as possible.

Bachmann track, tried setting up a second table as we also have a Bachmann Train set. This was made in Hong Kong and is a major problem. The cars that cane with this set hate this track and derail. The Locomotive will run on it but also will stop dead in its tracks for no apparent reason. However, put the same locomotive on the TYCO and Model Power track it works fine, put the freight cars on TYCO they have issues but not as bad as when on their own Bachmann brand. Put the freight cars on Model Power track no issues at all.

also have more AHM made in Italy brass track but currently not being used

Also have some Yugoslavia brass track but no idea of brand. Currently not being used

plus I have some of the Feller Garnet track not being used.

now, I’m sure I will get some comments on mixing track brands and steel vs brass. This was done out of necessity and these lines have no issues.

again it’s the Bachmann track that is the big problem as far as track goes and no other brand was mixed in.

All the Bachmann track, Yugoslavia Track, AHM track, and Feller Garnet track were donated by “Grandpa” along with Bachmann cars (except one we bought) and a bunch of Life Like cars and locomotives. The complete life like cars work fine. Many need new couplers and the locomotives need some serious help....lol. This was all his stuff when he was younger. It has been stored away. Everything was cleaned before use.
 

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KGB, sorry to here your frustrations. I hadn't gotten as far as you yet (his birthday is on July and I'm trying to keep it secret... Which means working on it after he goes to bed and keeping it all hidden). Hopefully I don't hot the same snags, but it really seemed like you were doing it right, so I'm a little nervous.

That said, I have all (or mostly) Atlas track and have not had any track induced errors show up yet. Other than a test section were I joined code 83 and code 100 sections. But even that was fixed with some solder and a mini file. So far I've had good luck with a few pancake motor Tyco engines and Tyco rolling stock. All with plastic wheels and basic couplers.

I did end up spending considerable time cleaning the rails on my little test layout and that made a world of difference. How you get it sorted

Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk
 

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I think I'd replace all the couplers with kadee. Replace the wheels with new metal. And buy a new engine with DCC dual mode DC.
 

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$200 and you got a new engine that'll eat those old ones for breakfast. another $50? and you got new couplers and wheels to pull behind it. done and done.
 

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Didn't one of the retail sites have DCC sound locomotives for $99 close-out? Who was that?

I nearly bought one myself just because they were so cheap.
 

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train world. also claimed those particular items were DCC Esu -- didn't say the kind/version. There's still a lot of specials in HO there. I'd check modeltrainstuff at least as well. But sure for $100 I bet you can find DCC sound, dual mode, some LEDs... it'd be pretty nice.
 

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I drifted away from the is conversation for a while, and may have missed something, but did you end up getting a NMRA standards gauge and a truck tuner?

I think what you're finding is that building a layout on used gear is entirely possible, it just requires a bit of work along the way. The tools I mention above -plus a KD coupler height gauge- are just about essential to getting reliable operation out of used and vintage cars.

I view with some skepticism the idea that you need new trucks for these cars. A truck tuning (and maybe wheels) should be more than adequate. New metal trucks will cost you more than the cars you're buying.
 

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Unfortunately, I have to agree with MichaelE. 95% of your frustration comes from buying cheap, second hand stuff, a lot of which probably ended up on eBay precisely because it WAS junk.

You have been given good advice about what to buy -- but you missed the caveat, which is that for the most part, we're talking about stuff that is new within the last decade. Part of your frustration stems from the fact that not only are you remembering how frustrating it was in the '70's, but that's largely because you insist on buying stuff from the 70's. Age isn't going to make it work any better than it did before.

There are several keys to avoiding frustration in this hobby:
1) Buy quality equipment to start with. Maintain it properly. Honestly, if the best equipment on your layout is from Model Power, then you have acquired a lot of junk.
2) Buy good quality track and turnouts, and lay it flawlessly. And that does, in fact, mean flawlessly. Keep it scrupulously clean.
3) Upgrade any and all substandard parts: couplers, trucks, wheelsets, motors, gearing, etc.

Many of the behaviors you report in your rant can be attributed to poor track work and electrical connections. Many others can be explained by garbage trucks, wheels and couplers.

Not counting the 70's, when I was a teenager, I have been in this hobby for 22 years. I too learned some hard lessons about using crappy track and equipment. I don't have any of that stuff any more. Some of it I sold and donated, but most of it is just in the landfill. My son started into the hobby 13 years ago, at the age of 4-1/2. Because I learned my lessons, we made his layout with top quality track and turnouts, and bought him good equipment. And we've rarely had a moment of downtime.

You don't need to spend an arm and a leg in this hobby, but you can't expect to do it on the cheap, either. I guess I contributed to the problem by trying to help you make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. No longer. Take your own advice and run that drone attack, or do a Hiroshima simulation. Then do your homework, get some quality stuff, and make a layout that you and your son can enjoy.
 

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Discussion Starter #160
Vette-Kid

thanks you,

I wish I could have done it your way, unfortunately his trains are mostly gifts so he gets them and wants to see them run. I just feel bad for the little guy because I’ll tell him I have to set it up and test it out. Then I’ll do that and things seem fine. Then hours later or next day when he’s ready for the reveal all he’ll breaks loose and I’m like WTF I had you working and now this. Thankfully he’ll just move on to race track or his power wheels, but I hate letting him down.

His initial set, the Model Power , did have some track issues at first, but ever since trading out the track joiners with TYCO it’s had zero issues.
Speaking of TYCO, it’s a combination of new and used and outside of some rough wheel sets, the preform fine, the TYCO stuff has been for the most part fine. Yes one New car has a coupling issue but I can deal with 1 out of 10. The transformer was working great at first but somehow our shop gremlin got inside it and now it will suddenly not work or even work when in the off position....lol....pretty sure a disassemble and clean will help that out. Or at least I’ll chase the gremlin out of it.

The point ia we asked earlier for brand grading and the Model Power snd Tyco were rated as worst or at the bottom. The thing is though they are the least problematic. It’s the “higher quality” stuff that has the issues.
Maybe the Model Power and Tyco stuff is more tolerant and the other stuff is too sensitive...idk
 
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