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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here I go with yet another question about a Bachmann product.

I have my sights set on one of the new Bachmann Class 108 DMUs. I'm sure it's a good model, but I'd still like to know:

1) How many wheels are driven? Just one bogie? (I'm assuming that this is the case, judging from the photos.)

2) How many electical pick-ups are there? (I'm assuming, eight: both bogies of the power car???)

3) Is there a flywheel in the drive mechanism?

If you'll permit me a mini-rant here (I'm not singling out this forum!)... I'd really like to see those three issues (in particular the first 2) addressed in every review of any manufacturer's motive power. I'm amazed at how I can surf the web for an hour for this info, and in some cases, quite literally be educated about a particular loco's: buffer height/shape, air vents, rivet count, etc... BUT NOT be informed about the number of pickups and drive mechanism details. To overseas guys like me who've only recently got back into the hobby, info like this is in many cases is the deciding factor about a purchase.

For example, I've noticed that some Bachmann steam locos have extra pick-ups in the pony trucks, or "leading wheels", while others to not. Needless to say, my 2-6-2 with pickups on 8 wheels is a bit better that my 2-6-0 with only 6 pick-ups.

Thanks for listening


-MAS
 

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QUOTE (maas @ 20 Jun 2007, 08:39) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>1) How many wheels are driven? Just one bogie?
The bogie under the guards compartment is the only powered bogie

2) How many electical pick-ups are there? (I'm assuming, eight: both bogies of the power car???)
The power car has pick ups on all axles because of the lights and motor the unpowered car has all axles powered for lighting only
3) Is there a flywheel in the drive mechanism?
yes there is a flywheel on the motor

Some reviewers will state where the drive system what it is how many pick ups
-MAS
 

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QUOTE (maas @ 20 Jun 2007, 09:39) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>If you'll permit me a mini-rant here (I'm not singling out this forum!)... I'd really like to see those three issues (in particular the first 2) addressed in every review of any manufacturer's motive power. I'm amazed at how I can surf the web for an hour for this info, and in some cases, quite literally be educated about a particular loco's: buffer height/shape, air vents, rivet count, etc... BUT NOT be informed about the number of pickups and drive mechanism details. To overseas guys like me who've only recently got back into the hobby, info like this is in many cases is the deciding factor about a purchase.

For example, I've noticed that some Bachmann steam locos have extra pick-ups in the pony trucks, or "leading wheels", while others to not. Needless to say, my 2-6-2 with pickups on 8 wheels is a bit better that my 2-6-0 with only 6 pick-ups.
You make a very good point MAS. I have the same complaint, also being originally from overseas...there is an obsession with every external aspect of a model but concern for the internal workings is often lacking - perhaps many modellers are resigned to it performing poorly and don't worry about it much? If a manufacturer were to read a thread they would come to the conclusion that getting the exterior perfect and ignoring the mechanism inside would please many people. If people don't ask or demand or even expect better on the inside then it is unlikely things will improve here in the UK. Look at the dreadful Hornby Pendolino with appalling DCC, complemetary bucket of spanners and a wobble.

In Europe it is expected that a new model will have drive on all wheels, pickup on all wheels, a decoder prefitted that works, or a normal slot to take the decoder choice of the user, at least one flywheel, directional headlights and probably directional rear lights, and often an option to buy a version with DCC sound preinstalled - before worrying about the outside!!

I am quite happy for the exterior to be not quite perfect as long as it can actually pull a prototypical length train and captures the essense of the real thing - why buy an A4 if it can only manage six coaches on the level and four on a gentle slope? Hardly the performance of a powerful express locomotive...

Goedel
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
"Some reviewers will state where the drive system what it is how many pick ups"

Yes... I am aware of this. However, my point is that this is not always the case, and when it is, it is not always easy to find the reviews.

Thanks for all of the info


-MAS
 

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QUOTE (goedel @ 20 Jun 2007, 02:32) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>You make a very good point MAS. I have the same complaint, also being originally from overseas...there is an obsession with every external aspect of a model but concern for the internal workings is often lacking - perhaps many modellers are resigned to it performing poorly and don't worry about it much? If a manufacturer were to read a thread they would come to the conclusion that getting the exterior perfect and ignoring the mechanism inside would please many people. If people don't ask or demand or even expect better on the inside then it is unlikely things will improve here in the UK. Look at the dreadful Hornby Pendolino with appalling DCC, complemetary bucket of spanners and a wobble.

In Europe it is expected that a new model will have drive on all wheels, pickup on all wheels, a decoder prefitted that works, or a normal slot to take the decoder choice of the user, at least one flywheel, directional headlights and probably directional rear lights, and often an option to buy a version with DCC sound preinstalled - before worrying about the outside!!

I am quite happy for the exterior to be not quite perfect as long as it can actually pull a prototypical length train and captures the essense of the real thing - why buy an A4 if it can only manage six coaches on the level and four on a gentle slope? Hardly the performance of a powerful express locomotive...

Goedel

Yes... well, as I've said before, I would NOT have returned to the UK modelling scene if I hadn't, by chance, seen one of the Bachmann Class 26's up close. In other words, felt the weight of the model, and saw that this was the first British outline model I'd ever seen with the "continental"/"US" standard (far superior) pick-up/drive system.

-MAS
 

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The Pendolino aside (and this was declared to be a special case when Hornby announced it) all new 21st century tooling 4mm RTR from Bachmann , Hornby and Heljan , as well as some late 90s stuff has decent mechanisms. There are very few 4mm items now that aren't DCC Ready with socket

Centre motor/dual bogie drives and a minimum of 8 wheel pick up would be a an minimum spec for a diesel loco, and a loco mounted motor, with decent pick up , standard for a kettle. Hornby use 5 pole as standard for all new generation kettles , and frequently fit tender pickup. Bachmann may not be quite so generous but do use a decent 3 pole loco mounted can . Not all new generation diesels have lights , but I'd be surprised if we saw another diesel or electric released without them

It's striking the way the huge mechanical improvement in OO RTR (includsing the fitting of wheels to a decent wheel standard)n has been largely passed over in silence. Especially by some of the more aggressive critics who have been very ready to bawl out a manufacturer over the exact profile of a cab roof or the precise radius of the corner of a cab window ("Retool it!!") but quietly ignore the vast difference between the running of a Lima pancake with limited pickup and a Bachmann or Heljan centre drive mechanism.

It's been a big boost to the hobby yet credit hasn't been given where credit is due. I almost wonder if some folk take the line "if you can't slag it off , don't mention it"

The 108 , as noted , has a single driven bogie with a proper motor built into the chassis (big solid metal block - no pancakes here) and all wheel pick up on the powered vehicle, and is DCC Ready . It runs beautifully : I've not attempted haulage trials since a DMU need only move itself

The Bachmann 2-6-0 is presumably either the 43xx or the N ? The 43xx is inherited tooling I think , the N is about 10 years old now , though still very nice

I know the old Farish N gauge models were probably the weakest British RTR , mechanically, and some of them are still out there , but in 4mm we have indeed "never had it so good" mechanically.

Its just a question of when the manufacturers get round to sorting out/replacing the older models in their ranges. Hence in assessing a model , one of the first questions would be how long has it been in production ? If it came out in the last 8 years (a bit longer with Bachmann) you should be fine. But if it was first released in 1962 , like the Hornby B12, or 1979 like the Hornby Cl29........
 

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QUOTE (maas @ 20 Jun 2007, 09:39) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>If you'll permit me a mini-rant here (I'm not singling out this forum!)... I'd really like to see those three issues (in particular the first 2) addressed in every review of any manufacturer's motive power. I'm amazed at how I can surf the web for an hour for this info, and in some cases, quite literally be educated about a particular loco's: buffer height/shape, air vents, rivet count, etc... BUT NOT be informed about the number of pickups and drive mechanism details. To overseas guys like me who've only recently got back into the hobby, info like this is in many cases is the deciding factor about a purchase.

For example, I've noticed that some Bachmann steam locos have extra pick-ups in the pony trucks, or "leading wheels", while others to not. Needless to say, my 2-6-2 with pickups on 8 wheels is a bit better that my 2-6-0 with only 6 pick-ups.
I am similarly disappointed that reviews do not systematically go through the drive: motor, drive line to axle, reduction ratio, number of driven wheels, chassis design, pick-ups from wheelback to motor; then performance out of the box, after some running, with DCC , covering minimum speed capability, tractive capacity, max speed, max current draw running and stalled, noise output. The last straw was when a mag review contained the phrase 'it stopped working'. No attempt to discover the problem cause, or to analyse and rectify it. So no more mag purchases for me, given the increasing content on line. At least on line, anyone offering a review can be asked questions about what has been omitted!

Regarding pick-ups, Bachmann used to do a very good job on carrying wheel pick-ups on their split chassis steamers. But the current (much superior) chassis design is driven wheels pick up only. Hornby go to the trouble of pick-ups on tender wheels. But in practise I don't detect any loss of reliability between with/without carrying wheel and/or tender pick-up in addition to driven wheels (DCC layout, all live frog, n/s track); and experience in reliability engineering has me keeping performance records for each of my locos. Provided each pick-up wiper is adjusted to always remain in contact with the wheelback, what definitely helps running reliability are all soldered connections from pick-up to motor, sprung driven axles, flywheels, choice of tyre material.

Something that very definitely affects both Bachmann and Hornby locos, is assembly quality (cannot comment on Heljan or Dapol as neither have yet made products that interest me). The base design of their mechanisms are variable, in the range marginal to very satisfactory, but assembly quality is often deficient. Deficiencies include poorly aligned pick ups, foreign material in mechanism, no lubricant in moving parts, excessive lubricant, 'dry' soldered joints, poor contact between surfaces of components designed into the current path, over and undersprung axles. All these deficiencies are readily overcome with a little time and attention, and can make a world of difference to performance. Would it be asking too much of a person paid to write a review to give an 'as received' and 'as optimised' comparison?
 

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Have you guys considered writing your own reviews?

Doug has asked for people to contribute reviews to the forum and other than Gary and myself no-one else seems to have taken him up on that. Every reviewer has his own priorities in his review and if you feel that there is an area which is not being covered then why not fill that gap? I decided to do Continental reviews because this is an area which has little English language coverage and when I wanted to buy this type of product there was little information available, so I figured that it would be helpful for other people with a similar interest. Maybe you could do reviews that focus on your area of interest?
 

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Bachman class 108 DMU has four power pickups in the drive coach and four in the trailer coach.
The trailer coach pickups are used for lighting only. Pickups in the class 108 are of a new design and more robust - easier to replace when required.
 

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review?

ok........the Bachmann # 108 is streets ahead of the old Tri-ang DMU in virtually every respect....apart from the older model's unintentional built-in sound effects!

the # 108 is the first britsh dmu I have had bought me since...oooh....the 1970's?

and what an advance it is on those far-off models?

[in those days' I despaired at ever achieving an acceptable appearance with what was, for my layout, an essential piece of stock.........and often gazed longingly at the efforts of Anbrico......launched even further into despair at their price tags!]

the # 108 is extremely quiet by comparison.....although it seems to work better in one direction that the other!

I put this down to a northern hemisphere phenomenon....no doubt in Australia the opposite happens?

the lighting is excellent, coming on to almost full brightness as soon as the controller is twitched [Ihave in the past made my own constant lighting...using diodes,etc]

I find the destination boards somewhat too bright though......and would appreciate a selection of destinations!

For me, an important criteria is 'how well' the trailer car tracks when being shoved.

my young son is liable to borrow stuff to run, so I tested the units on his tightest curves.....real flange squealers in places......and on a reverse curve over a baseboard joint...with no ill effects.

all I need now is noise and smoke!
 
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