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N scale durability?

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N scale durability?
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, October 26, 2001 9:55 PM
I am thinking of adding a model train, N scale around the edges of my music store. I would like to use N scale because the celings are only 8' and I don't have much room. I kind of want it to be small and cute. My question is, can the tiny engines take going around a track 11 hours a day? Or will they overheat? Anybody have any experience with this?
Thanks,
Doug
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, October 26, 2001 10:20 PM
The closest experience I have to that kind of continuous operation is running trains on our club's NTRAK layout. I've had locos running non-stop for seven hours a day for two days with no problems. I don't think the problem will be overheating, especially if you use a quality loco by either Atlas or Kato. The problem you're more likely to encounter will be the motors wearing out. This could be avoided by putting the layout on an adjustable timer that would allow you to run the trains for every other hour. If you buy two locos and alternate them every week, that would also extend their operating lives.
Just something to think about.
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Posted by thirdrail1 on Saturday, October 27, 2001 9:48 AM
I have operated a Life-Like E6 for 7 hours straight with no problem on a layout with no grades and a train that did not really tax its pulling power. It no doubt would have operated for 11 hours with no problem. However, on my layout that I take to shows, I generally alternate motive power hourly, since I have steep grades and put in the train as many cars as two locomotives can handle. In your case, if it is not too much of a problem, I would have two trains, and switch which one is running every hour or so. Keep in mind though, that the small motors used in DC powered trains, such as N or even HO, use commutators and carbon brushes, so the motor brushes WILL wear out. In many cases, it is then easier to replace the motor in N scale. It would not even attempt to run a display layout like you are contemplating with anything other than the latest Kato, Atlas, or Life-Like Diesel locomotive models (within the last 2 years) - anything else simply wouldn't stand up.
"The public be ***ed, it's the Pennsylvania Railroad I'm competing with." - W.K.Vanderbilt
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, October 30, 2001 4:04 PM
Another thing to concider is that the average life of the brushes on a N scale locomotive is about 200 hours.
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Posted by mnwestern on Wednesday, October 31, 2001 3:52 PM
I've been modeling N scale for almost three years and have a small portable layout that I take to shows. Trains will run pretty constantly there for 5 to 7 hours. I don't think you would have a problem with a new Kato, Atlas or maybe even LifeLife Proto locomotives. You will need to clean the track and wheels on a somewhat regular basis.
But my other thought is that even with only an eight-foot ceiling, if the layout is suspended a foot down at 7 feet, it might be difficult to see N scale trains running over you head. You will probably be able to see them if you stand back, but then you'll be farther away and they will be difficult to see because of that. You might consider HO for this reason, and again, Kato, Atlas and LL Proto locomotives should work fine.
Our club installed a G scale at the ceiling of a local Burger King and when it is above you several feet away, it doesn't look nearly as big as it does at eye level or lower. You shouldn't run into the problem we sometimes have there with greasy air getting the track and wheels so dirty that the cleaning car has to run practically once a day.
Hope this helps.
T
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Posted by BRAKIE on Wednesday, October 31, 2001 4:36 PM
As far as durability goes in Ho,Should he go that way,I highly recommend a athearn engine as these engines are built tough and they can stand-up to the constant running that he requires.I am sure the life like would stand-up also.Both athearn and life like shares about the same drives.Personnly,I would hesitate on the atlas and kato.I just don't think they would stand-up to that type of running,from my pass experience with a atlas RS-11.To me the kato is still unproved on their durability,on that type of running.I own athearn,atlas,and life like,and no katos,as of yet. the guys that I know that have kato don,t run them!

Larry

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“Shut one’s eyes tight or open one’s arms wide, either way, one’s a fool.” Flemeth-the witch of the Wilds.
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Posted by mnwestern on Thursday, November 01, 2001 2:42 PM
Larry,
You might be right about some of those earlier Atlas like the RS-11. I have one, and it appears the brushes wear easily and get the commuter dirty quickly. I think the newer ones are probably fine. I still think HO is the way to go just because it will be easier to see when you are standing below. When you are looking up, N scale isn't very high and would need to be very close to the edge of the shelf to see it.
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Posted by BRAKIE on Thursday, November 01, 2001 4:12 PM
Terry:I agree with you on this.He should use HO.the atlas RS-11,in question,did not stand up to a three day open house,No,it was not ran all the time,the motor burnt out!!!My other RS-11's like you said had a bad habit of bushes wearing out under normal running contitions.I finally got fed-up and sold the fool things.My newer atlas engines doesn't seem to have that problem as of yet.I just got two of their GP-7's,and haven't ran them yet.Now, my athearn engines has never given me any problems regardless how much they are ran.Some of these units are 10 years old and still run well with normal maintenance.

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

“Shut one’s eyes tight or open one’s arms wide, either way, one’s a fool.” Flemeth-the witch of the Wilds.

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