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Bachmann trouble

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Bachmann trouble
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, May 15, 2002 11:21 AM
All:

It is not in my nature to "flame" a company but I feel that my recent experience with Bachmann Industries justifies letting others know of potential issues.

BACKGROUND:

I bought a Bachmann HO Consolidation two months ago and was pleased with it. The quaility seemed to be outstanding. Having a DCC system and wanting this engine to be a highlight on my layout, I added a Soundtraxx decoder which required the inside of the tender to be altered.

Yesterday, the engine began making a grinding noise. Instead of opening it up, I contacted Bachmann for technical support and was told to send the engine back with a check for $20.

I questioned sending a repair fee since this engine should still be under the 1-year replacement warranty. Bachmann claims that the alteration of the tender voids the warranty. No alteration of the locomotive itself was done. The motor and gears are located in the locomotive, not the tender.

ARGUEMENT:

Voiding the warranty for an alteration may be legal, but it is bad business and bad customer support to charge a customer for a manufacturer's defect that is not related to any minor alteration.
In the days of DCC, minor alterations are a necessary evil. Bachmann doesn't recognize this and they should not be rewarded for it by gaining the business of DCC customers.

Bachmann had reputation of producing lousy products when I was growing up, but I gave them a second chance with this Spectrum line. They have now blown it. I will continue to buy products made by IHC, Mehano and Athearn for my steam needs.

My recomendation is for DCC model railroaders to avoid Bachmann products until they change to a more DCC-friendly policy.

Davie
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, May 15, 2002 11:30 AM
I would like to add that this is common practise for 99% of all electrical products sold and is made clear in Bachmans Warrenty which I just happened to read over last night.

While I understand that it must be frustrating form a business standpoint it is almost impossible to offer warrenties on products which people can then alter - partly because repairing products to leave them in a working state of repair while trying to understand what people are trying to accomplish is a recipe for disaster. I work in an electric wholesalers and frankly have seen to many altered products in my time to be mad a Bachman -- they expect to receive a prodcut back that fits their specifications and I think it is reasonable to expect that if you alter those specs that they have a right to say "we can't guarantee this will work" -- $20 does not seem bad at all ... considering you are sending back a non-standard altered product....
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, May 15, 2002 12:46 PM
Would it do anygood to restate the problem on the www.bachmann-trains.com without the reply.
click on "ask the Bachmann man"?

Your problem/question seen by all may trigger a modified response.

Nothing to lose.
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, May 15, 2002 1:27 PM
Here's the langauge from MR's June 98 review.
"Even though the locomotive drivers pick up from both rails, the motor is fully isolated and only receives power when both multiwire minature plugs connecting cables are plugged in.This arrangement supports easy installation of a Digital Command Control decorder or other command control receiver in the tender, using a DCC plug that followes NMRA recommendations on the tender's internal circuit board".
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, May 15, 2002 3:16 PM
I appologize that my point may not have been clear.

The bottom line is this: if a problem is related to an alteration, a service charge is appropriate; if ithe problem is from a manufacturer's defect, a service charge is not in order.

Modification of the electrical system by installing a decoder in a non-mechanically connected tender does not lead to defects in gearing. Companies should recognize this and adjust their policies to account for these situations.

To go a little further, there are still few DCC-friendly engines produced. Many companies claim their engines are decoder "plug-n-play" when they really aren't. That makes it necessary to modify products electrically to install a decoder -- even in a "DCC ready" engine.

Companies, including Bachmann, advertise that they have moved their product lines into the DCC compatable world. Yet, these companies don't have DCC-friendly policies.

I want to see companies who want to get DCC customer's business change their policies to reflect the realities of the DCC world -- or the model railroad world for that matter. Many decoder companies, especially Lenz and TCS, recognize this and have goof-proof warranties.

As for the $20 repair cost, an exact replacement can be purchaced for $50. The repair cost isn't such a good deal, especially for a 2-month-old defective engine.

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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, May 16, 2002 8:07 AM
Good Grief!!! Sounds like you are dealing with some minimum wage customer service moron that doesn't know DCC from doughnuts!!!! How much alteration can occur when installing a DCC chipset??? Get to somebody higher up in the organization and state your case. Put it in writing. They can't afford to lose sales over a lousy $20. Take Care and Have Fun...Vic
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Posted by dknelson on Thursday, May 16, 2002 8:18 AM
It seems to me, based just on observation, that DCC seems to be hard on engines. People I know with DCC who operate a lot seem to go through engines, and good ones at that, way too quickly.
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, June 11, 2002 9:00 AM
I baught my first Bachmann GP-35 set about htree months ago and had motor trouble right off the bat. Sent it in so they could replace the motor frame because the mold was bad. Got it back and it still makes niose after I run it any faster then 35 mph for more than ten minutes. i am trying to "break it in" so I agree 100% with you on this. I baught a used SD-35 while my new loco was in the shop and even though it is not picture perfect, I like it better. In the future I will by Kato or some other high quality brand. never again will I buy a Bachmann without try ing it out at the store.Good Luck.
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Posted by greendiamond on Wednesday, June 12, 2002 3:53 PM
Please expound abit on your statement that DCC is HARD on engines. I'd like to know what kind of problems were encountered with which locos, decoders, systems. There is nothing DCC can do to ruin a locomotive which has a properly installed decoder in it.

Thanks.

Mike Tyl
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Posted by BRAKIE on Wednesday, June 12, 2002 5:03 PM
The truth is coming out at long last! Buddy,I really feel sorry for you.Bachmann has no right to charge you unless you fooled with the drive. Wasn't the locomotive suppose to be DCC friendly? From what Charles wrote that must be the case.Surely botchman knew that when they made the tender for mounting DCC,don't you think?

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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Posted by dknelson on Thursday, June 13, 2002 8:29 AM
I am not an electronics guru. All I know is that someone who has DCC (Lenz) installed by a professional is going through engines like they were tissues: Atlas, Stewart, Kato, Life-Like, Bachmann, IHC, brass -- the brand does not seem to matter.
Causes? Beats me. Maybe the higher voltage causes more pitting at contact points from wheel to decoder? Maybe some AC is leaking through to the motor causing it to weaken faster? Maybe the smaller decoders are not up to the job -- amperage issues? Who knows? I don't know the diagnosis only the symptoms.
And from other forums I have reason to think he is not the only one. By contrast by the way, two guys with command control but NOT DCC have no problems whatever.
Dave
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Posted by BRAKIE on Thursday, June 13, 2002 6:05 PM
Kinda like the new SD units from Kato,you need to make some minor adjustmant to keep from frying decoders,if you use DC there is no problems with the SDs,I read this on other forums and on Kato web site.BTW,this not the frist time I have heard of motors failing at a advance rate compared to DC.I really don't think it is from improper installation as some DCC flag wavers would lead one to believe.I also think it is more wide spread then what is truely being told.Could this be from the difference between once a month operation and dailey operation? I don't know.I do know from the many DCC forums there seems to be some problems inherited when one installs DCC.This is a known fact.Could these problems be from improper installation? I don't think so,not all of the problems that I have read about in the DCC forums.

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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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, June 19, 2002 8:11 PM
i ve had a simliar experince with bachmann but they said my warrenty was voild because i bought the engine at a train show (Cosa Valley Model Railroad Club's) from Smokey Mountain Model Railroad Club. My problem was a truck cover was missing, although the thing was brand new box still in srink wrap!
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Posted by greendiamond on Thursday, June 20, 2002 12:29 PM
Dave:

Please pass along my email address to your friend. I'd like to get in touch with him, so I can get the details.

Thanks

Mike Tyl
greendiamond@msn.com
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, June 21, 2002 7:36 PM
Some years ago I bought the consolidation too from a mail order shop in the US. Some of the drivers had non-concentric flanges and some broken detail parts under the tender!

I sent it in to Bachmann UK and got a completely new loco as replacement at no charge. Only costs were the shipping from Germany to Great Britain.
Manfred
Bonn
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, July 1, 2002 2:12 PM
I am not knocking Bachmann, or any other company. But of long experience, for my money Lifelike has the best guarantee. I'm an N-Scaler. I've sent engines back that I have bought at train shows - no questions asked - usually they send me a new engine. I don't have DCC so have no experience in that. Of course Lifelike has no steamers, but an O-6-0. But for later issue diesels they are tops - especially in the lower price line! That's just my opinion. Ole' Greenriver.

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