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I am Officially Hooked

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I am Officially Hooked
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, April 6, 2008 9:14 AM

First...Thanks to everyone on this site for the help and information.....

 I did it...I converted to DCC last night and you guys were right...WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG!!

After reading many many many posts on the subject...what to do..how to do it..which system to buy...I finally purchased a Digitrax Zephyr and a couple of decoders yesterday and locked myself in the basement.

I jumped in with both feet flailing. I installed a Digitrax DH163AT in my Athearn SD40-2 along with replacing the cheesy headlight with real lights and installing a reverse light as well. It took some time since this was my cherry, but it all worked out and I did myself proud I should say.

The Zephyr hookup was easy...too easy. Set up a program track, hooked everything up to the mainline and I was running. I played around with some CV's and got the headlights doing all kinds of neat stuff! I was acting like a 5 year old at Toys' R' Us! My wife said she has never seen a grown man go so crazy over a pulsing light on a toy...oh well....it's only just beginning dear!!

 I took the plunge and I'm glad I did. For those still debating (like I was for 6 months)...go ahead and go DCC, you wont regret it. Now if I can figure out how to put a decoder in my Spectrum FM H16-44 "Baby Trainmaster".

Which brings up my questioning of this model number. The box says FM H16-44 Baby Trainmaster...but sourses say there was no -44 babyTM...it was FM H16-66, and the H24-66 was the Trainmaster....is Bachmann wrong?

Sorry so long,

John

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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Sunday, April 6, 2008 9:39 AM
 TwinDaddy66 wrote:

Which brings up my questioning of this model number. The box says FM H16-44 Baby Trainmaster...but sourses say there was no -44 babyTM...it was FM H16-66, and the H24-66 was the Trainmaster....is Bachmann wrong?

Who cares? You have it, stick a decoder in it and run it. Digitrax has decoders that are small enough to fit in just about anything. If you just want to control the speed, direction and turn the headlight on and off I recommend the DZ125. If it can stand up to an Athearn BB loco, and I can assure you that it can, it will most definately run a Bachmann loco. If you want realistic Effects like ditch lights, mars lights, strobes then the DZ143 will do the job. It's current rating is 1.25 amps, 2 amps peak.

Running Bear, Sundown, Louisiana
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Posted by NeO6874 on Sunday, April 6, 2008 9:55 AM

IIRC the FM H16-44 was a 4-axle roadswitcher that did share some features with the trainmaster line (the H24-66 and the H16-66) in the earlier production runs, but these similarities got cut later on to cut costs in producing them. 

The baby Trainmaster was the H16-66, because it was a 1600HP prime mover in the TrainMaster series, as opposed to it's 'bigger brother' the H24-66

-Dan

Builder of Bowser steam! Railimages Site

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Posted by loathar on Sunday, April 6, 2008 10:14 AM
Glad to hear your happy! I just switched about 6 months ago and I'm having MUCH more fun now!Smile [:)] Now go watch some Youtube videos of trains with sound decoders and you'll want those too.
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Posted by tstage on Sunday, April 6, 2008 10:46 AM

Congratulations, John! Sign - Welcome [#welcome] to the wonderful world of DCC! Approve [^]Thumbs Up [tup]  And I'm glad you're happy with your Digitrax Zephyr.  It will be a very good DCC system for you.  And you can easily expand and build upon it - if and when your layout grows. 

John, I know exactly what you're saying about turning into a 5-year old.  It's been over 3 years now since I converted to DCC but I'm still amazed how much fun it has added to my own MRRing experience.  No regrets for me...even now that I'm 8. Smile,Wink, & Grin [swg]

Tom

http://www.newyorkcentralmodeling.com

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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Posted by Paul3 on Sunday, April 6, 2008 11:26 AM

Yes, Bachmann is wrong (there's a shocker).  The H16-44 is not the "Baby Trainmaster".  A lot of people call it that because they don't know about the H16-66.

Paul A. Cutler III
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Posted by gandydancer19 on Sunday, April 6, 2008 11:31 AM
You think your hyped up now, just wait until you install your first SOUND decoder!!!  LOL.

Elmer.

The above is my opinion, from an active and experienced Model Railroader in N scale and HO since 1961.

(Modeling Freelance, Eastern US, HO scale, in 1962, with NCE DCC for locomotive control and a stand alone LocoNet for block detection and signals.) http://waynes-trains.com/ at home, and N scale at the Club.

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Sunday, April 6, 2008 2:03 PM

Me too.  I was like a little kid again.  I'd been out of the hobby for 40 years, and 3 months or so earlier, I'd set up some trains and started a layout.  I found myself with a bit of spare cash and bought into DCC.  After half an hour of smiling and playing like an 8-year-old, I powered down the DCC system and ripped out all the DC stuff.  Then I brought DCC back up, and I've been happy ever since.

Don't spend too much on decoders until you've tried one with sound.  After that, for me anyway, they all have to be sound.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, April 6, 2008 2:09 PM
Oh yes...sound is next! After checking out sample videos on You Tube and Joe's site, I gotta have sound......which is why I posted my other questions separately for sound decoder advice...
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Posted by jamnest on Sunday, April 6, 2008 4:12 PM
If you want to really improve things, take the next step.  Get a Digitrax MS-100 or USB-Locobuffer, depending upon your coumuter ports and download Decoder Pro (free).  Decoder pro will make programing your decoders a breeze; and you can also use your personal computer with Decoder Pro as additional throttles for your Digitrax system.

Jim, Modeling the Kansas City Southern Lines in HO scale.

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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, April 6, 2008 4:21 PM
I was looking at that too. What interfaces the computer and the Command unit? Serial cable and what else......?
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Posted by tstage on Sunday, April 6, 2008 5:10 PM

John,

It depends which DCC system you get.  Digitrax and NCE (except for their Power Cab) have a RS-232 port on their systems.  The NCE Power Cab now has a USB interface available (purchased separately) for connecting to a computer.

Although I haven't had a chance to use the JMRI Decoder Pro software yet, I have seen it in action and look forward to using it - i.e. whenever I get me USB interface for my Power Cab.  The fact that it's versatile, powerful, FREE, and well supported is a real plus.

Tom

http://www.newyorkcentralmodeling.com

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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Posted by jbinkley60 on Sunday, April 6, 2008 5:28 PM

 TwinDaddy66 wrote:
I was looking at that too. What interfaces the computer and the Command unit? Serial cable and what else......?

Keep it simple, just get the Locobuffer II USB.  Plug a Loconet cable in one side and the USB cable in the other.  Loconet will carry the comamnds to the comamnd station.  Works like a champ.  You'll then want to go to the JMRI website to get Decoder and Panel Pro.

http://jmri.sourceforge.net/

 

Engineer Jeff NS Nut
Visit my layout at: http://www.thebinks.com/trains/

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Posted by jamnest on Sunday, April 6, 2008 6:54 PM

I use an old Pentium III PC with Windows 98 to run Decoder Pro.  I was going to toss it out as Microsoft no longer supports Windows 98.  I re-formatted the hard drive and installed the windows 98 that came with the computer; donloaded current edition of JAVA (free) and Decoder Pro (free).  This computer has a serial port and I already had a Digitrax MS-100.  When the computer dies, I will need to get a USB-Locobuffer. 

For Digitrax Systems you plug a Loconet cable into the USB-Locobuffer.  Your Decoder Pro/Computer communicates through your Zepher (in my case Digitrax DCS-100) to your programing track and to the layout.  Rather than use CV codes on a DT-400 or your Zepher command station Decoder Pro uses drop down windows for you to select the decoder functions you want.  Decoder Pro converts these selections to CVs and sends them to your Command Station then to the decoder on the programing track.  Decoder Pro allows you to save the file for each locomotive.  Sometimes some of my decoders start acting weird.  I just take the loco to the programing track; fire up Decoder Pro; and re-write all of the saved CVs back to the decoder.

Jim, Modeling the Kansas City Southern Lines in HO scale.

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Posted by Texas Zepher on Sunday, April 6, 2008 7:15 PM

 TwinDaddy66 wrote:
I did it...I converted to DCC last night and you guys were right...WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG!!
I never did the "wait" thing.  I discovered the wonders of command control right at the beginning with the CTC-16 (about 1979).  I instantly saw the advantage of not having all the complicated wiring and having to continually flipping block switches just to keep my throttle in contact with my train.   So having that revelation the instant I first saw the system, I am truely curious, as to why others such as your self do wait.  Do you not believe all the other people that post messages similar to the one that you just posted?  I am not trying to be condesending or smart-alecky, I am truely puzzled with the situation.

I understand the financial aspect, I understand the fleet of 300 locos to covert aspect, but I don't understand the waiting-to-see if it is something I really want. 

The Zephyr hookup was easy...too easy.
That has been my battle cry for years now.  Everyone tries to make it so !@#$92##$@ complicated with all this mountain out of mole hill talk out spewing of their great knowledge of power bus, power districts, "DCC friendly" turnouts, which-what is best.....blah de blah.    Hook two wires from the DCC unit to the track and run the trains. 

Which brings up my questioning of this model number. The box says FM H16-44 Baby Trainmaster...but sourses say there was no -44 babyTM...it was FM H16-66, and the H24-66 was the Trainmaster....is Bachmann wrong?
I am guessing a reference you are using is the 2nd Diesel Spotters guide about page 337.  The text on that page would lead one to believe what you have said.   First let's back up a bit and review FM diesel numbering nomenclature.  It is easy   Hxx-yz.
H = hood unit. 
xx represents horse power or 10 = 1000hp, 16 = 1600hp, 24 = 2400hp, etc. 
y represents the number of powered axles
z represents the total number of powered axles

So an H16-44 is a hooded unit with 1600hp riding on 4 axles which all are powered.

Now, back to the particular reference from page 337.  Notice it says "Units built from 1954 through 1958 have a "Baby Train Master" car body.  So the name came about after the Train Master came out in 1953.  Also reading between the lines here there were H16-66s built that were NOT "baby trainmasters".  I don't believe it was ever an official designation of the company for any particular unit.  I thought that after 1953 all hood units that had both a long and short hood got the nick name of baby train master if they had the wrap-over-from-the-top grills at the end of the long hood.   Notice page 336 of same book.  There is a photo of an H16-44 that the caption even says "with the boxy Train Master Lines".  There are H16-44s both with and without these wrap-over grills. 

In my opinion, Bachmann is no more incorrect calling the unit a baby train master for having these grills than any one who has ever mentioned a Phase for an EMD F unit. Nick names and designations are just used by people (and in the EMD case almost entirely model railroaders) to generally and easily classify units.

Edited - to fix the error noted in the post below.

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Posted by NeO6874 on Sunday, April 6, 2008 8:24 PM
 Texas Zepher wrote:

...So an H16-44 is a hooded unit with 1600hp riding on four axle trucks of which all are powered....

 

Maybe I'm being nitpicky, but I thought that the H16-44 was a B-B locomotive?  Did you mean it has four axles total, with all four axles powered?

-Dan

Builder of Bowser steam! Railimages Site

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Posted by Texas Zepher on Sunday, April 6, 2008 10:25 PM
 NeO6874 wrote:
 Texas Zepher wrote:
...So an H16-44 is a hooded unit with 1600hp riding on four axle trucks of which all are powered....
Maybe I'm being nitpicky, but I thought that the H16-44 was a B-B locomotive?  Did you mean it has four axles total, with all four axles powered?
Heee hehe, yes that is what I meant.   Four axles total not per truck.   Boy, I need to talk to those fingers and have them type the right words....  
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, April 7, 2008 12:39 PM
 Texas Zepher wrote:

So having that revelation the instant I first saw the system, I am truely curious, as to why others such as your self do wait.  Do you not believe all the other people that post messages similar to the one that you just posted?  I am not trying to be condesending or smart-alecky, I am truely puzzled with the situation.

 

I've only been back in the game for a year. Call me slow, but I had no idea what DCC was or what it entailed financially or technically. I'm not one to jump into something without researching what I'm about to jump into.....

 

 Texas Zepher wrote:

I am guessing a reference you are using is the 2nd Diesel Spotters guide about page 337.  The text on that page would lead one to believe what you have said.  

 

Never heard of the Diesel Spotters Guide......guess I'd better get one..... I actually saw that difference pointed out on the web somewhere..I can't recall where I saw it. I was just wondering if it was a typo on the box it came in or something....

 

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