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DCC system for a Bachmann C-19

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DCC system for a Bachmann C-19
Posted by BLT_BY_LIONEL on Friday, April 2, 2021 2:28 PM

Good afternoon all,

I purchased my Rio Grande LGB 2063 switcher last year as a first engine to get aquainted with garden railroading.  Well, I'm hooked.  It's been a great litttle workhorse but I've been thinking of getting a full sized engine and finally decided on the Bachmann C-19.  Luckily you guys talked me into R3 curves so this wont be an issue. 

I just oredered it today from Star Hobby in Maryland. I want to have sound and DCC control for it but have never ventured into the digital world before.  They were very helpful and mentioned Phoenix, NCE, Digitrax as a few options.  Does anyone have any recomendations on a DCC control system and decoder that are compatable with the C-19?  Videos I've watch make it seem installation would be easy since theres already a speaker and pigtails for the decoder.

Thanks in adavnce!

John

PS: Sorry for the radio silence regarding updates on my garden railway.  We had a rough winter in New Jersey and just got back to work on the railroad, so I'll have more updates soon.

 

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Posted by Postwar Paul on Friday, April 2, 2021 4:27 PM

Wow, that's fantastic! what a neat engine! I've seen  and photographed the 2 C-19's out here in So Cal at Knott's, love 'em! Put up some pictures when you get a minute!

I haven't done any Dcc, so can't help with that, but I'm sure there are many that can advise.

very cool!

Paul

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Posted by BLT_BY_LIONEL on Friday, April 2, 2021 9:37 PM

Paul, you're lucky to have those engines near by.  From what I've read, there are only 3 left in existence.  Can't wait for it to arrive... I'll definitely post pictures.

I just checked the listing on the site where I purchased the engine and they mention Soundtraxx Tsunami 2 4400 as a compatable sound decoder.  I'm assuming this decoder also controls the engine motor as well as sound?  Soundtraxx doesn't list any compatable DCC systems though.  Being a conventional control operator, this is all new to me.

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, April 2, 2021 10:57 PM

Paul,

 

Welcome back!  What this "winter" of  which you speak? Big Smile

 

Sorry, DCC is outside of my experience.  I am unable to advise or even hint at ideas.

 

Eric

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Posted by Greg Elmassian on Saturday, April 3, 2021 12:11 AM

See if you can find a QSI Titan, plugs right in, period.

Have one in my garage right now.

Fantastic sounds, many features, etc.

There are still some around.

 

Greg

Visit my site: http://www.elmassian.com - lots of tips on locos, rolling stock and more.

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Posted by Postwar Paul on Saturday, April 3, 2021 9:47 AM

Walter Knott had the foresight to purchase 2 C-19's in '52 when the RGS shut down. And many passenger and freight cars, as well as a galloping goose. And business car" Edna". It's quite the collection! My favorite part of going to Knott's! The C-19's are fitted with beautiful sounding chime whistles!

Paul

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Posted by BLT_BY_LIONEL on Sunday, April 4, 2021 6:41 PM

Thanks for your input guys.  I couldn't find the QSI decoder so I went with the Soundtraxx Tsunami 2 4400 model.  I was able to listen to some sound samples and liked what I heard.  The soundtraxx youtube account showcased operation with three DCC systems: NCE, Digitrax, and MRC.  I looked around and picked a 5A/8A Diogitrax starter kit.  Theyre in the mail and should arrive this week.

The C-19 arrived yesterday and its a beautful engine.  I've been having issues running it, however.  The grades that my 2063 LGB switcher had no issue with 4-6 cars are giving it fits with 2-3.  I leveled out one spot that was particularly troublesome but the engine turns itself off after a while... I'm assuming this is some amperage related cutoff built into it?  I've also noticed that hills and R3 curves combined are double trouble for this engine.  I'm realizing I may have to make some serious alterations to the roadbed and track plan (less grade, more R5 curves).

Has anyone had the issue with bachmanns turning off and taking a few minutes before they'll start up again?  I oiled all the areas the manual told me to and the motor itself was lubricated in the factory.  It wasn't the transformer because my other engine worked fine when I was troubleshooting.

It's a little frustrating seeing my little switcher work beteer than the big steamer worth 3 times as much.  I'm going to contact Bachmann this week to see what they have to say.

Thanks,

John

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, April 5, 2021 2:41 AM

John,

 

There is nothing more heartbreaking than a new piece of equipment that doesn't work as expected.  I have a low opinion of B'mann engineering (visually, their models are stunning!) from my own limited experiences, but I will reserve judgement until you hear back from them.  It may be operating as designed and protecting itself as you suggest.

 

My opinion of their engineering aside, I will give credit to their service department.  B'mann did honor their warranty when our railtruck proved to be a lemon, but it cost me a pretty penny to ship the model to them.  The thing was out of production, so they replaced it with an equivalently priced model (a little 2-4-2) and they were gracious enough to send the 'truck back for static display (it has defied multiple repair attempts).

 

Keep us posted!

 

Eric

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Posted by Greg Elmassian on Monday, April 5, 2021 11:41 AM

Too bad you did not ask for opionons on the Tsunami, it is not a great decoder and it is plauged by problems of overcurrent and overvoltage trips.

You may have to go to a bit of effort to find the QSI, I'll program it for you for free if you find a used Titan.

The problem is there are very few plug and play that work well... Also I cannot recommend the TCS wowsound, nor the new Phoenix plug and play.

 

Greg

Visit my site: http://www.elmassian.com - lots of tips on locos, rolling stock and more.

 Click here for Greg's web site

 

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Posted by Postwar Paul on Monday, April 5, 2021 5:25 PM

John,

sorry to hear about the issues. I've had great experiences with Bachmann service, they" hooked me up", and I'm sure they'll take care of you. If it were not not new, you could try to troubleshoot, but Bachmann service should be the first place to turn.

Out of curiosity, I'm wondering how many amps this engine is drawing? 

If it is drawing excessive amperage, 2 scenarios come to mind:

1. Mechanical binding, overloading the motor

2. faulty components in the electronics. ( I had an LGB engine that was running perfectly, other than drawing 4 amps! Had to replace the lighting board, now draws only .4 amps)

Work with Bachmann, I'm sure they'll make it right!

Paul

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Posted by Greg Elmassian on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 1:42 AM

Sorry, misread your post, looked like the loco was having issues with the Tsunami, but it appears that the stock loco has issues.

 

I like paul's suggestions.

 

Greg

Visit my site: http://www.elmassian.com - lots of tips on locos, rolling stock and more.

 Click here for Greg's web site

 

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Posted by BLT_BY_LIONEL on Sunday, April 18, 2021 12:09 PM

Ok,

So after a lot of work and a humbling reminder of my poor mathematic skills, I figured out the problem.  The grades that I thought were 1.5-2.5% were actually 3-5%.  I'm surprised that my little LGB switcher was able to pull 5 cars up those grades.  I bet the traction tire was hating me the whole way, though.

I spent a good week ripping up track and chipping away a rocks and roots to get a 1% grade (1/4 inch over 2 feet) in one direction and a short climb of 2.5% in the other.  The less steep direction of travel is my primary one anyway because most of my turnouts are facing towards the approaching train which makes for less issues splitting the point.

The C-19 runs great on the real 1% grade, pulling 7 LGB cars without any stallouts.  The Tsunami sound decoder was easy to install with bachmann's plug in adapter with pigtails to screw into the decoder.  Soundtraxx's service depart was helpful with questions on the connections.

Thanks for all your input.  Greg, if this decoder does give me issues, I'll restart my search for a QSI one.

John

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Posted by Postwar Paul on Sunday, April 18, 2021 6:22 PM

John,

that's fantastic! Your experience is similar to mine: the space where I am building my current garden line , the " Swiss-Colorado ", is in a back corner of the yard. I originally thought the area was flat, but is in reality on a slope. Not only is my main line tracks almost constantly on a curve, but also is either going upgrade or downgrade. And counter clockwise is the easiest climb. I have to always consider train lengths, and engine capabilities!

Glad you got it worked out!

Paul

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Posted by Postwar Paul on Sunday, April 18, 2021 10:45 PM

Also,

problem points make for intersesting operation!

On one hand, everyone would like a smooth running railroad that can run unattended. But what about Cerro Summit, or Cumbres where D&RGW would routinely have to " double the hill"( break the train in half, and make two trips upgrade with half the load). 

Case in point: my previous garden line. It was originally flat with long straightaways. I could " highball". This line existed for 12 years, and eventually tree roots grew under the track in two spots, creating two very short, stiff grades.

The LGB engines accepted the challenge, and handled the trains smoothly and reliably. But, was somewhat boring!

Some of the other brands struggled with the hills, and it was quite riveting to see if they would actually make it! Sheer drama! This is visual interest, and can be a very good thing indeed! 
Drama is good!

Paul

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Posted by BLT_BY_LIONEL on Monday, April 19, 2021 2:17 PM

Very true, Paul.  Eventually I will install DCC in my 2063 so I can run double headers or use it as a rear helper up that grade.

Unrelated to operation... one thing I've noticed and I was aware of it prior to buying the engine is the scale issues between my existing 1:22.5 stock and the 1:20.3 engine. 

Looking at narrow gauge railroad photos, the LGB and Bachmann boxcars actually look like the little 25-30 foot boxcars seen on the DRGW.  The engines were noticeable taller than those compared to the larger 40 foot boxcars we usually come across.

The issue is my LGB passenger cars.  They dont look exactly "right" being dwarfed by the C19.  The only 1:20.3 passenger cars I've come accross on my initial search are the accucraft cars.  Theyre beautiful but expensive.... also since the C19 is a smaller engine in reality, they may dwarf it.  Do you all know of any other options that would look like narrow gauge passenger cars?  Whats your opinions of accucraft?

 

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Posted by Postwar Paul on Monday, April 19, 2021 5:55 PM

John,

I like Accucraft, but I only have their N.G. Freight cars. They are huge! They are correct scale wise in proportion to the track gauge. I imagine the passenger cars would be ginormous, being that the real ones were 50 foot long, approximately.I also suspect they won't handle R3, or at least not well. Bachmann's passenger cars are about 19 inches in length, and longer than LGB's. The height and width may not look correct, you would have to put it up against the engine to see.

As far as Accucraft, the 1:20.3 freight cars are huge, and my R3 seems to be the absolute minimum they can handle. One idiosyncrasy: these cars were very tight initially, and needed " break in", just like a locomotive! The axles Needed oil and break in to roll freely, and the couplers as well. The couplerswere too tight initially, and would sometimes pull the adjacent car off the track, not pivoting easily on curves. Just oil and break in resolved everything, very free rolling now. I like their cars, but metal trucks and wheels, very heavy to go up grade.

Try a Bachmann and see, or bash or build.

Paul

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 3:09 AM

John,

 

That's fantastic!  Better, the solution, albeit labor intense, was free!  I had a bunch of niggling little track issues early on, and after months of handwring on what solution to buy, I finally found all I needed were some greenie-weenies and a plumber's level.  I still replace rail joints with clamps, but close observation and a bit of elbow grease saved me many, may dollars!

 

Speaking of points, turnouts, and challenging track, I've been trying to get a little chassis to work on my railroad. Check out the wear on this frog:

 

Yes, this 40 year old turnout has a groove worn into the frog!

Eric

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Posted by Postwar Paul on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 7:22 PM

John,

when I started in G, I bought Bachmann's kits. Back then, the passenger cars were about$25. I'm sure 2 or 3 times that now. But inexpensive, and fun to build. Easy " shake the box" kits, and you can letter them any way you want!

Paul

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