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Messages - railtwister

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Bachmann's new E-Z App HO locomotives became available this past December, and I bought an Alco RS3 to try the system out. I liked it so much that I ordered a second loco a week later (this time an EMD FT). For the month of December, my HO modules were set up at a local library for my club's Holiday display, so I had a limited opportunity to play with them, first using my iPad, and then with my new iPhone 5s. The large screen of the iPad was great for showing the system to others, but I found I liked the iPhone a bit better, since since it was easy to control my trains using just one hand. I really like this system, and I think it has great potential (watch out DCC!). BlueRailTrains, the developer, has partnered with Bachmann to bring this product to fruition, Bachmann will sell train sets and locomotives with E-Z App boards factory installed and ready-to-run, while BlueRailTrains will offer user-installed boards to convert existing locos. Right now, the app for Apple's IOS is available (free on the App Store), with the Android app to be available in early 2016. The first separate boards are also scheduled for release in early 2016, I'm anxiously awaiting those.

Right now, the sound is produced in the control device, but the boards have a port for options like an on-board sound circuit, as well as solder pads for onboard battery power. I think there are many great possibilities with this system for the future, and I'm more exited than when I got my first DCC system way back in 1993.

For more info, see the BlueRailTrains.com website, or check out Bachmann's site to see which RTR locos and road names are available.

Bill in FtL

2
Welcome aboard! / Re: New to the forum
« on: December 03, 2014, 01:13:41 AM »
Hi Hans,

Welcome to the group, though it's been rather inactive lately. I guess many of us have become too busy with our daily lives to post much about our modeling activities. Hopefully things will pick up since it is now the season for model trains...

Bill in FtL

3
DCC And Electronics / Re: Point Control Systems
« on: August 10, 2014, 10:30:22 AM »
I am in the process of trying out some mini R/C servos rigged as switch machines using servo controllers (Singlet II) from TAM Valley. So far, the results are promising, and the switch machines are much smaller than the Circuitron Tortoise machines I have in other parts of the layout.

Bill in FtL

4
DCC And Electronics / Re: Micro Engineering turnout wiring
« on: August 10, 2014, 10:24:41 AM »
It sounds as though you turnout may have a bad jumper connection to one of the rails leaving the frog, which is not unheard of on commercial turnouts. Checking the turnouts first with a meter can help eliminate surprises like this after the track is down. Fixing it with a jumper wire shouldn't be too tough.

Bill in FtL

5
DCC And Electronics / Re: Lenz Set 100
« on: August 10, 2014, 10:18:37 AM »
Recently, I have had the opportunity to set up my HO standard gauge modules at a local museum in conjunction with a second club that I am a member of. The club that my modules were originally built for is now about 50 miles away (I moved), and I am hoping to generate some local interest in HO modules closer to my new home. The old club has been using Digitrax since converting to DCC in the late 1990's, but I am also involved in an On30 modular group that operates with Lenz, so I have complete systems of both brands of DCC.

For my current setup at the museum, I decided to use the Lenz system, mainly because I seem to be better able to remember how to use the LH-100 push button throttle to run the locomotive. For some reason, I find the LH-90 "Knobby" throttle harder to remember how to use, even though I prefer the knob for controlling the trains. Overall though, I prefer the Lenz system because it seems easier to use.

All that was needed to effect the change from Digitrax to Lenz was to make up a new wiring harness using wire and two Cinch-Jones connectors to connect the Lenz LV-100 booster to the HO modules. The change was so easy that I also made a second cable to hook up an old MRC 2400 DC power pack as a backup, just in case. That turned out to be a good idea, because some visitors (and also other club members) brought in some old DC trains to see if they could run on the layout. Switching power sources takes less than a minute, and is quite easy.

Bill in FtL

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HOn3 General Discussion Forum / Re: D&rgw #50 diesel
« on: August 27, 2013, 03:55:02 PM »
Good luck with those stripes!

Bill in FtL

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Hi Blake,

In a quick glance, I see a couple of problems, but these are just my own observations. First, your layout is 66" wide, which means it will be a long reach to get to any tracks near the middle of the layout, especially in the yard, since that's a likely place for derailments.

Also, it looks like your yard is under and in the middle of the helix, which hampers accessibility for both the yard and the helix. It might be better if you could put the lower yard on the other end of the layout, away from the helix.

Plus, it seems to me like you have crammed too much track into your space, which will make it look more like a busy standard gauge railroad than narrow gauge.

Bill in FtL

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Layouts And Layout Construction And Design / Re: Alamosa & Antonito
« on: August 25, 2013, 07:51:13 PM »
Hi Herman,

Sorry for the belated reply. Have you tried Google Maps or Google Earth to get an aerial or satellite view of the yard? Of course that won't do you much good if you are only interested in how things looked 50 or 100 years ago. For that info you might try the NMRA library in Chattanooga. They may have some copies of insurance maps from the time period you are interested in.

Bill in FtL

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DCC And Electronics / Re: NCE PowerCab System Upgraded to v1.65
« on: August 22, 2013, 07:59:25 PM »
Hi Fred,

I stand corrected regarding the power output of the new v1.65 PowerCabs. I could have sworn I read the power output was bumped up to 3.0 amps on the new system, but I guess I must have been confusing it with the new, less expensive Twin system, which has a 42 watt brick instead of the P114 wall wart, which is not a bad deal either, as long as you don't mind the console style controls. Still, even with the 2 amp output, the new PowerCab should be good for the average home layout (especially if that layout happens to be N or HOn3/HOn30 scale), and the various upgrades included in v1.65 are welcome additions.

I second Raton Man's comment about wanting to hear more about FREEMO HOn3...

Bill in FtL

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DCC And Electronics / NCE PowerCab System Upgraded to v1.65
« on: August 12, 2013, 04:02:08 PM »
I have only recently been able to get access to any info on the recent v1.65 upgrade that NCE has made to their entry-level PowerCab System, and it looks like they have addressed the main reason I had for not recommending the earlier v1.28 over the Zephyr. The new PowerCab system now can accommodate an extra throttle for a total of four, the main PowerCab master throttle plus three secondary throttles (at throttle addresses 3, 4, & 5).

As it turns out, the v1.28 actually was able to handle two extra throttles (addresses 3, & 4), but the use of three throttles was undocumented, since NCE only advertised the PowerCab as being able to handle the master throttle plus one secondary throttle (at address 3).

The power supply has also been bumped up slightly to 3A, which should be OK for small to average size home layouts, especially in N and HOn3, but it may be taxed somewhat if you are running all 4 locos with sound decoders. Remember, however that this is an entry level system.

NCE users are generally enthusiastic about the NCE systems, so the extra power and throttle capability is sure to be welcome. If anyone here is using the new PowerCab v1.65 system on your layout or modules, let us know how you like it.

Bill in FtL

11
Here is a pic of the new layout design.

Did you remove the url for the pic?

Bill in FtL

12
One of these days ill buy a DCC system. Seems a little odd that i havent when i work in elctronics and electrical engineering.  ::)

Hi Batey,

Not odd at all, especially if you are between layouts. Both DCC control and Sound are advancing at a rate that it would be a foolish expense to buy now if you can't run it on an active layout today. If your stuff is in storage, then it makes perfect sense to wait until you can actually use it before you spend that money. Better you should spend the money on locos, rolling stock, or structures, because they are less likely to be out of date by the time you get your layout underway. Now, if I could only do as I say...

Bill in FtL


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HOn3 General Discussion Forum / Re: New Section Thought's
« on: May 28, 2013, 01:50:41 PM »
I would suggest an additional section be added titled "Models" that could cover locos, rolling stock, and structures. If it takes off, then it could be subdivided into sections under those three headings. In the meantime, it would probably best fit into the general discussion heading, and leave the Layouts and Construction section for just layout design and construction discussions.

Just my 2 worth,

Bill in FtL

14
Hi Greg,

Are you involved in any model RR clubs in St. Pete?

Bill in FtL

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Hi Mark,

Not much can eat up real estate like a roundhouse, since it needs a turntable to be justified, and it's shaped like a fan, the wider it gets as you get farther away from the center of the turntable. Second biggest space gobbler is a Wye, due to the approach legs needed. Why not consider a light maintenance facility with just a small two parallel track engine shed and a few sidings for sand & coal loading, water tower, and perhaps an ashpit. It should all be able to fit on a shelf, and if you still have any space, add an open siding alongside the engine house, maybe with an overhead crane and some wheel storage.

Or start with something simple like a stock pen and/or maybe an old wooden grain elevator with a couple of sidings coming off the main line, which would also fit on a shelf. Colorado NG moved a lot of both cattle and sheep up into the high country for grazing in the spring & summer, then back down in the fall.

Another idea is a siding with an oil loading platform for those tank cars. Chama's yard had one at one end, down just a bit and across from the coaling tower, water tower and sand house, so this could be done as an additional shelf (or module). Think of things that can be optimized for easy portability.

Bill in FtL

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