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Old 06-30-2020, 03:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Hello & First Engine?

Hey there everyone! I am a devout N Scaler, with experience in HO & O. I have a workshop that is a lofted barn cabin, and am seriously considering a G Scale train loop up in the lofts and running over my workspace I LOVE the sounds of trains running and the larger the scale the better, so G it is!


I am however working on a budget.


Older Aristocrafts - how durable are they? For just a 'runner' will it fit my needs? Is sound quality that much inferior to newer locos?


I *may* go with a European setup as I notice locos cheaper here in the US, but I'd ideally like an ATSF Warbonnet, wish there were more Southern 'tuxedo' paint schemes in G, that is what I collect and model.

Also, I have a refurbished Lionel ZW post war transformer, for a 28' simple loop, any chance I could use it for power?

Researching track and couplers, but any advice most appreciated.


Thank you!


Lee

Last edited by LeeinNC; 06-30-2020 at 03:11 PM.
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Old 06-30-2020, 04:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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First of all, welcome to large scale. Second, the ZW is a fine transformer for Lionel O gauge trains, but its AC power and not DC that G scale trains use. So forget that idea. For your first engine...Do you want a diesel or a steam engine? LGB did the ATSF warbonnet in thier F units but its not a cheap model. In fact, none of the GOOD locomotives are cheap. But with some smart shopping you can get a good deal in the current market. The USA brand diesels are nice but a bit fragle, especially the handrails. Aristocraft are also good diesels but very little parts support yet as that company went belly up and Bachmann's parent company in China got the tooling. LGB are the top of the pile for drive and overall robustness, but that comes at a higher price. Bachmann does an awsome little 4-6-0 ten wheeler that we all call the "Annie" short for Aniversery. It has model side rods and a very good gear box set up that took Bachmann a few years to figure out. Its easilly converted to onboard battery power with plenty of room for sound. Sound, especially stuff from Phoenix is awsome! If your going to do an outdoor railway. I highly recommend looking into onboard battery power VS a transformer and track powered operation. Cleaning track and dealing with rail joints that decide to quit conducting power gets old very fast. Battery power eliminates this completely. They you have the dark side....live steam locomotives. I myself run battery powered locomotives from LGB, Bachmann, Kalamazoo and USA. Then I have live steam from Pearse and Bowande. I use LGB brand track with some Piko brand mixed in. Mike
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Old 06-30-2020, 04:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Here is a video of my raised railway(I am almost 50, got tired of kneeling to work on the railroad).I am running our Pearse 0-4-0 live steam switcher which is RC controlled. Enjoy!
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Old 06-30-2020, 09:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Get the USA Trains F7 coming out soon or a used F3.... run forever, parts are available. Aristo out of business so no repair parts, and the power pickup on their 2 axle trucks is terrible, although the original 2 axle ones were better, but again no parts although Bachmann does sell replacement motor blocks ( 2 axle only).


Sound systems are not usually good stock, USAT they are optional, they used to use Phoenix, don't know what the options are, buy yourself and add in, not difficult on DC, but you will need track magnets to trigger horn and bell, or go some kind of remote system.


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Old 07-01-2020, 07:47 AM   #5 (permalink)
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With some parts, you can use the AC transformers from Lionel. You need a full wave bridge rectifier to convert the AC to DC, and then a large filter capacitor, 10,000uf at 25 WVDC or more plus a DPDT switch to reverse the engine polarity. For indoor layouts this will work quite nicely and keep your cost down.
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Old 07-01-2020, 09:24 AM   #6 (permalink)
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LeeinNC,
Welcome to the forum, I am also in NC and about 1/2 step ahead of you in G gauge railroading. I am a longtime "S" gauge modeler, but wanted a little outside train layout.
I have posted a few pictures of my progress to date. Layout is roughed in, and have run some test laps.
I have a new Bachmann 2-8-0 in shipping. Next decisions are about DCC, or just a simple remote sound & control system.
George
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Old 07-01-2020, 10:07 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I stand by the idea that less electronics on outside railways is the way to go. With Onboard battery RC with or without sound. DCC needs very clean track, bigger engines need expensive transformers from places like Bridgewerks. Its not like HO scale with lots of options for transformers or entry level DCC systems that can handle the Amps that get involved in large scale. By eliminating track power, one vastly simplifies even the smallest layout. I use a palm size remote control unit from RCS, it comes from Australia. Works with both my live steam and battery powered models. It links to common and inexpensive DSM2 receivers or there are specific receivers if your going to run a sound board such as the ones from Phoenix. Rarely do I ever run more than one locomotive at a time, so I use the same palm transmitter for ALL of my engines. It just links to each engine when I power them up. RLD hobbies over in Illinois is an expert with battery RC and can sell you what you need or even install it for you, including the sound. Give Robbie a call! Mike
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Old 07-02-2020, 07:22 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Well mike, I do NOT have squeaky clean track all the time, in fact my DCC track without any cleaning after winter is over runs my train with no problem. What I do is to never rely on just the engine for power pickup and most of my engines have the pickup shoes. Newer decoders have supercaps so they go over dead spots with no problem.


Never have to replace batteries nor do I have to remember to charge them. My LGB mogul supercaps are over 20 years old.
Each of us runs our power source of our own choice and live with the advantages and disavantages of our choice. With 30 engines DCC and DC track power works awesome for me.
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