Model Railway Forum banner
1 - 1 of 10 Posts

· In depth idiot
8,797 Posts
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?
1 - 1 of 10 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.