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Re: [HOn3] Tale of woe - new hobby needed

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  • eabracher@aol.com
    In a message dated 6/3/03 3:58:31 PM, boone@aloha.net writes:
    Message 1 of 28 , Jun 3, 2003
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      In a message dated 6/3/03 3:58:31 PM, boone@... writes:

      << Ken: Try Sn3, or On3...they run like a dream - even cheap locos on
      crummy layout..and you don't even need a pro to work on one - they
      run great as delivered...well, most.
      >>

      Another mistake...........Jim Vail would not have this view.

      eric
    • rgshon2@aol.com
      Sorry to hear of you loss. My suggestion, learn how to do it yourself. Get an old PFM or WSM K-series and do some work on it. Not realy cheep, but not
      Message 2 of 28 , Jun 3, 2003
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        Sorry to hear of you loss.

        My suggestion, learn how to do it yourself. Get an old PFM or WSM K-series
        and do some work on it. Not realy cheep, but not expensive either. Once you
        have mastered the skills, you can than take pride in the fact that you put the
        sound in the engine.

        John V


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Philip Floyd
        Ken, Chalk it up to experience...put one expensive DP K-27 up on a viewing shelf with an honourable consist behind and go back to enjoying that not too
        Message 3 of 28 , Jun 3, 2003
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          Ken,
          Chalk it up to experience...put one expensive DP K-27 up on a viewing shelf with an honourable consist behind and go back to enjoying that "not too perfect" layout...:>)
          Phil
          It's the trains......

          mrbnf <mrbnf@...> wrote:
          Ken,

          A sad story indeed. Sorry to hear of you woe...

          Big Al from Cal



          Kenneth Ault wrote:

          >Here's my story -
          >
          > Lot's of expensive HOn3 brass locos running poorly on an
          >admittedly not perfect layout (not perfect, but the result of a LOT
          >of work).
          >
          > Bought a VERY expensive DP K-27 which, out of the box, ran
          >perfectly on the not perfect layout!!
          >
          > Sent VERY expensive DP K-27 to a PROFESSIONAL to have DCC decoder
          >and sound installed. (I have installed DCC and sound in several
          >other locos, but wasn't willing to take the chance with this one).
          >
          > VERY expensive DP K-27 came back with PROFESSIONAL installation.
          >Now runs like SH*T on not perfect layout. Derails and shorts out
          >with fractions of a millimeter defects on turnouts - due to VERY
          >slight changes in suspension of trucks. VERY EXPENSIVE loco
          >couldn't tolerate disassembly and reassembly even by a professional!
          >
          > Lesson learned - HOn3 is pretty, but much too finicky - need NEW
          >HOBBY.
          >
          > Any suggestions?
          >
          > Ken Ault
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >HOn3 list web pages are:
          >http://www.railwayeng.com/hon3/
          >http://groups.yahoo.com/archive/Hon3/
          >http://groups.yahoo.com/files/HOn3/
          >
          >
          >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >



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        • Boone Morrison
          ... Yea, Eric, but we know Jim is a retired professional mechanical engineer....and this fellow may not be so inclined. Heck, if Jim has a bad runner he
          Message 4 of 28 , Jun 3, 2003
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            >In a message dated 6/3/03 3:58:31 PM, boone@... writes:
            >
            ><< Ken: Try Sn3, or On3...they run like a dream - even cheap locos on
            >crummy layout..and you don't even need a pro to work on one - they
            >run great as delivered...well, most.
            >>>
            >
            >Another mistake...........Jim Vail would not have this view.
            >
            >eric

            Yea, Eric, but we know Jim is a retired professional mechanical
            engineer....and this fellow may not be so inclined. Heck, if Jim has
            a bad runner he RE-DESIGNS the darn thing!! :-)

            Aloha, Boone

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          • Michael Bauers
            ... Replace missing insulating washers would be my first thought. I ve heard of models that ran very well until the one reversed wheel set on it got in the
            Message 5 of 28 , Jun 3, 2003
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              Kenneth Ault wrote:

              >Here's my story -
              >
              > Lot's of expensive HOn3 brass locos running poorly on an
              >admittedly not perfect layout (not perfect, but the result of a LOT
              >of work).
              >
              > Bought a VERY expensive DP K-27 which, out of the box, ran
              >perfectly on the not perfect layout!!
              >
              > Sent VERY expensive DP K-27 to a PROFESSIONAL to have DCC decoder
              >and sound installed. (I have installed DCC and sound in several
              >other locos, but wasn't willing to take the chance with this one).
              >
              > VERY expensive DP K-27 came back with PROFESSIONAL installation.
              >Now runs like SH*T on not perfect layout. Derails and shorts out
              >with fractions of a millimeter defects on turnouts - due to VERY
              >slight changes in suspension of trucks. VERY EXPENSIVE loco
              >couldn't tolerate disassembly and reassembly even by a professional!
              >
              > Lesson learned - HOn3 is pretty, but much too finicky - need NEW
              >HOBBY.
              >
              > Any suggestions?
              >

              Replace missing insulating washers would be my first thought.

              I've heard of models that ran very well until the one reversed wheel set
              on it got in the position to short out.

              A wheelset that acquired an out of spec check guage will also short in a
              live track switch, maybe you have one you aren't aware of? Have you
              checked the gauge of all the wheelsets?

              Is some sort of detail near those trucks unobtrusively bent and doing
              the shorting by being where it shouldn't be?

              I was at Radio Shack just yesterday and was very inpressed by the high
              quality and low prices of digital display hand held electrical test
              meters. I have more than a couple I've bought over the years and think
              they are essential test and service gear for the hobby workbench and
              mobile layout tool kit. One of those will easily help you track down a
              short .

              --
              Regards,
              Mike Bauers
              Milwaukee, USA
            • jnj1097
              VERY expensive DP K-27 came back with PROFESSIONAL installation. Now runs like SH*T on not perfect layout. Derails and shorts out with fractions of a
              Message 6 of 28 , Jun 3, 2003
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                VERY expensive DP K-27 came back with PROFESSIONAL installation.
                Now runs like SH*T on not perfect layout. Derails and shorts out
                with fractions of a millimeter defects on turnouts - due to VERY
                slight changes in suspension of trucks. VERY EXPENSIVE loco
                couldn't tolerate disassembly and reassembly even by a professional!

                I'm sorry to hear that... IMO, a "truly" well designed and well built mechanism should NOT have such problems! A well constructed locomotive SHOULD be able to withstand repeated disassembly and assembly WITHOUT special tools, techniques, incantations, spells, etc... If it all "works" only a "certain" way then it's not worthy of its "expensive" price tag...

                JeffB



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • carl barna
                Problems do exist in HOn3. A VERY famous NG modeler who lives in the DC area used to model in HOn3. I once asked him why he switched to Sn3. He said that
                Message 7 of 28 , Jun 3, 2003
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                  Problems do exist in HOn3.

                  A VERY famous NG modeler who lives in the DC area used to model in HOn3.

                  I once asked him why he switched to Sn3.

                  He said that during an open house for the local NMRA, the HOn3 train went into a tunnel and never came out. The next day he decided to switch.

                  I decided to model in Sn3 because of what he told me. I never had an engine that didn't run just fine out of the box.

                  A lot HOn3 locos I've seen have to run at an unprotopically fast speed -- IMHO -- to keep from stalling out. They also sound like washing machines with a few bad parts.

                  I do think that HOn3 geared engines run much better then their rod engines. Don't know why that would be, but that's what I've seen. I'm really surprised at how well my little $150 MDC shay runs.

                  Cheers!

                  Carl Barna
                  Arvada, CO




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                • Rick C Shoup
                  Carl, now I know why he switched. He never would tell me. My EBT HOn3 ran well but as has been said here you gotta have good trackwork w/o twists or low spots.
                  Message 8 of 28 , Jun 3, 2003
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                    Carl, now I know why he switched. He never would tell me.

                    My EBT HOn3 ran well but as has been said here you
                    gotta have good trackwork w/o twists or low spots.

                    Regards, Rick Shoup
                  • Bill Uffelman
                    ... On30 8 )) Bill Uffelman
                    Message 9 of 28 , Jun 3, 2003
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                      >
                      > Kenneth Ault wrote:
                      >
                      > >Here's my story -
                      > >
                      > >SNIP

                      > > Lesson learned - HOn3 is pretty, but much too finicky - need NEW
                      > >HOBBY.
                      > >
                      > > Any suggestions?


                      On30 8>))

                      Bill Uffelman
                    • Mike Bauers
                      ... I ve found over the years that almost no train hobbyists use electronic or tv tuner cleaner/conditioner. That stuff literally lets run stuff that otherwise
                      Message 10 of 28 , Jun 3, 2003
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                        carl barna wrote:
                        > Problems do exist in HOn3.
                        >
                        > A VERY famous NG modeler who lives in the DC area used to model in
                        > HOn3.
                        >
                        > I once asked him why he switched to Sn3.
                        >
                        > He said that during an open house for the local NMRA, the HOn3 train
                        > went into a tunnel and never came out. The next day he decided to
                        > switch.
                        >
                        > I decided to model in Sn3 because of what he told me. I never had an
                        > engine that didn't run just fine out of the box.
                        >
                        > A lot HOn3 locos I've seen have to run at an unprotopically fast
                        > speed -- IMHO -- to keep from stalling out. They also sound like
                        > washing machines with a few bad parts.
                        >
                        > I do think that HOn3 geared engines run much better then their rod
                        > engines. Don't know why that would be, but that's what I've seen.
                        > I'm really surprised at how well my little $150 MDC shay runs.
                        >

                        I've found over the years that almost no train hobbyists use electronic
                        or tv tuner cleaner/conditioner. That stuff literally lets run stuff
                        that otherwise refuses to operate.

                        It's as beneficial to an electrically operated model as remembering to
                        lube it every several months. Just wetting a Q-tip with plain old Radio
                        Shack tuner cleaner and passing it over every part of the electrical
                        path will make a not used for 20 years model run like it was factory new.

                        I've done just that to swap meet buys like the all zamac electrical path
                        vintage Athearn Lil' Monster. As bought and then lubed, the motor and
                        wheels would only move a quarter turn and stop.

                        The wipe with the electronic fluid and it ran like any well tuned model
                        should....... and it is far from a high quality, high tech model. It
                        just can run like one if you know of the proper way to 'shop' one.

                        If you're not doing this sort of treatment to your small models, then
                        your electrical path elements will work just as poorly as if you
                        don't properly lube the mechanical parts of your models when that is needed.


                        --
                        regards,
                        Mike Bauers
                        Milwaukee, Wi, USA
                      • mark.kasprowicz@tiscali.co.uk
                        Ken, I have converted one of these myself and found it no different to any other loco in fact it was slightly easier than some. Only the front truck has to
                        Message 11 of 28 , Jun 4, 2003
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                          Ken,

                          I have converted one of these myself and found it no different to any other
                          loco in fact it was slightly easier than some. Only the front truck has
                          to come off to access the front screw. The back truck doesn't need to be
                          removed at all. I don't have mine in front of me but if you think it might
                          help to compare the settings on both I'll gladly comply. I have to say that
                          mine runs as it did before the conversion. I've converted a few more since
                          then and am at work at the moment but I think the DP is the one with the
                          sub frame which hold the drivers in place and also to which the front truck
                          is attached. Have a look there - it might be the problem.
                          Mark Kasprowicz
                          Oxfordshire England
                        • brian_budeit
                          ... installation. ... Ken, While erics suggestion of a lawsuit is a bit extreme, have you discussed these problems with the fellow who did the installation? i
                          Message 12 of 28 , Jun 4, 2003
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                            --- In HOn3@yahoogroups.com, "Kenneth Ault" <aultk@m...> wrote:
                            > Here's my story -
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > VERY expensive DP K-27 came back with PROFESSIONAL
                            installation.
                            > Now runs like SH*T on not perfect layout.
                            >
                            > Ken Ault


                            Ken,

                            While erics suggestion of a lawsuit is a bit extreme, have you
                            discussed these problems with the fellow who did the installation?
                            i think anyone considering themselves a "pro" and taking money for
                            this type of work would take the engine back and look into what you
                            are having a problem with. Give him another call.....before the suit.

                            From what you have said, the loco is part of the problem; rough
                            trackwork is compounding the problem? Yes, fixing track problems is
                            very frustrating, but even a perfect loco is going to behave badly on
                            bad track. Work on this, even to the point of one trouble spot at a
                            time, and quit for the night.

                            hon3 still has a lot to offer, don't give up just yet.

                            brian b
                          • Pete Doty
                            I have found in my limited experience, that most HOn3 operational problems have to do with rough handling. Squeezing the rods may slightly bend them give the
                            Message 13 of 28 , Jun 4, 2003
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                              I have found in my limited experience, that most HOn3 operational problems
                              have to do with "rough" handling. Squeezing the rods may slightly bend them
                              give the loco a slight "lope" while not making a major difference in the
                              overall performance. And each "handling" of aforesaid loco can cause these
                              precision instruments to get a little more out of whack. That is why they
                              are packed in foam. Even a slight ding to the pilot truck might cause the
                              gauge to be out of whack. Just imagine what a shipping service could
                              potentially do!!!!

                              Do we really have to be master mechanics???

                              Pete Doty



                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • Jim Vail
                              ... OK - enough is enough! The Division Point HOn3 K-27 s are well designed and good running locomotives - some of the best I have run. I have had 3
                              Message 14 of 28 , Jun 4, 2003
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                                >VERY EXPENSIVE loco
                                >couldn't tolerate disassembly and reassembly even by a professional!
                                >
                                >I'm sorry to hear that... IMO, a "truly" well designed and well built mechanism should NOT have such problems! A well constructed locomotive SHOULD be able to withstand repeated disassembly and assembly WITHOUT special tools, techniques, incantations, spells, etc... If it all "works" only a "certain" way then it's not worthy of its "expensive" price tag...
                                >
                                OK - enough is enough! The Division Point HOn3 K-27's are well designed
                                and good running locomotives - some of the best I have run. I have had
                                3 different ones running on my layout - and I've got lumps and bumps,
                                kinks and sags, curved turnouts and crossovers - and they have all run
                                fine over the whole layout. And I've had my personal DP K-27 apart -
                                and it went back together without problems - and with no special tools.

                                So Ken, take your time and investigate slowly - its probably a minor
                                problem once you find it. Try running it without the tender (if the
                                pickup system wasn't changed), or try running it with a different tender
                                (if the pickup system was changed to conventional). Try running it with
                                the pilot and trailing trucks removed. Try running it on the bench.
                                Eventually you'll find the problem.

                                One thing for sure - changing scales (or hobbies) isn't going to help.
                                And neither is "bad-mouthing" the locomotive!

                                Jim Vail
                              • grandefan1
                                Perhaps Sn3? ... decoder ... installation.
                                Message 15 of 28 , Jun 4, 2003
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                                  Perhaps Sn3?


                                  > Here's my story -
                                  >
                                  > Lot's of expensive HOn3 brass locos running poorly on an
                                  > admittedly not perfect layout (not perfect, but the result of a LOT
                                  > of work).
                                  >
                                  > Bought a VERY expensive DP K-27 which, out of the box, ran
                                  > perfectly on the not perfect layout!!
                                  >
                                  > Sent VERY expensive DP K-27 to a PROFESSIONAL to have DCC
                                  decoder
                                  > and sound installed. (I have installed DCC and sound in several
                                  > other locos, but wasn't willing to take the chance with this one).
                                  >
                                  > VERY expensive DP K-27 came back with PROFESSIONAL
                                  installation.
                                  > Now runs like SH*T on not perfect layout. Derails and shorts out
                                  > with fractions of a millimeter defects on turnouts - due to VERY
                                  > slight changes in suspension of trucks. VERY EXPENSIVE loco
                                  > couldn't tolerate disassembly and reassembly even by a professional!
                                  >
                                  > Lesson learned - HOn3 is pretty, but much too finicky - need NEW
                                  > HOBBY.
                                  >
                                  > Any suggestions?
                                  >
                                  > Ken Ault
                                • Edward L. Loechler
                                  ... This was my experience as well. I could get the HOn3 section of my layout to run fairly well (Shays mostly), especially with perfectly clean track and
                                  Message 16 of 28 , Jun 4, 2003
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                                    Ken wrote a tale of woe, which concluded:
                                    > Lesson learned - HOn3 is pretty, but much too finicky - need NEW
                                    > HOBBY.
                                    >
                                    > Any suggestions?

                                    This was my experience as well. I could get the HOn3 section of my
                                    layout to run fairly well (Shays mostly), especially with perfectly
                                    clean track and loco wheels, plus everything fine-tuned. But the
                                    HOn3 portion has always been much harder to keep running smoothly
                                    compared to my HO portion.

                                    My solution? My HO line is a fictional shortline, and I have small
                                    locos, short trains and mountain scenery. It ain't HOn3 (sigh--I
                                    love the narrow gauge), but it feels like one, and I pretend it is.
                                    (And, hey, it is called the "Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette!")

                                    If this is not good enough, go to a junkyard and get one of those
                                    mirrors that says, "Objects closer than they appear," (which makes
                                    "objects" look smaller) and look at your HO trains through one of
                                    those.

                                    Ed
                                  • Philip Floyd
                                    One thing for sure - changing scales (or hobbies) isn t going to help. And neither is bad-mouthing the locomotive! Jim Vail Jim,you hit it on the head!
                                    Message 17 of 28 , Jun 4, 2003
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                                      One thing for sure - changing scales (or hobbies) isn't going to help.
                                      And neither is "bad-mouthing" the locomotive!

                                      Jim Vail

                                      Jim,you hit it on the head!

                                      Phil...It's after all...the trains:>)


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                                    • Payne,Brett
                                      Guys, While a precision built model such as this should run like a watch. You can t guarantee that the professional who disassembled it and put it back
                                      Message 18 of 28 , Jun 4, 2003
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                                        Guys,
                                        While a precision built model such as this should run like a watch. You can't guarantee that the "professional" who disassembled it and put it back together again, got it all back together in the right order - or with every screw and washer in the correct place.

                                        I suggest a call for help to the importer might provide some guidance. Or of you know someone who is REALLY good with mechanisms they may be able to find a misplaced insulating washer, bent detail, or something else causing the problem.

                                        Rgds
                                        BrettP

                                        -----Original Message-----
                                        From: jnj1097 [mailto:jnj1097@...]
                                        Sent: Wednesday, 4 June 2003 10:12 AM
                                        VERY EXPENSIVE loco couldn't tolerate disassembly and reassembly even by a professional!

                                        I'm sorry to hear that... IMO, a "truly" well designed and well built mechanism should NOT have such problems! A well constructed locomotive SHOULD be able to withstand repeated disassembly and assembly WITHOUT special tools, techniques, incantations, spells, etc... If it all "works" only a "certain" way then it's not worthy of its "expensive" price tag...

                                        JeffB
                                      • dllarson@swfla.rr.com
                                        ... I ve been disappointed by Professionals about half the time I ve used them. Fortunately, never with any item as expensive as the DP locomotive. But I m
                                        Message 19 of 28 , Jun 4, 2003
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                                          > >VERY EXPENSIVE loco
                                          > > couldn't tolerate disassembly and reassembly even by a professional!
                                          > > Lesson learned - HOn3 is pretty, but much too finicky - need NEW
                                          > > HOBBY.
                                          > > Any suggestions?
                                          > >

                                          I've been disappointed by "Professionals" about half the time I've used
                                          them. Fortunately, never with any item as expensive as the DP locomotive.
                                          But I'm nearly to the point of either doing it myself or leaving
                                          "well-enough" alone. That means until I get the experience or confidence, I
                                          may not run a certain locomotive as much as I would like to. HOn3 is often
                                          frustrating but I haven't yet gotten to the point of flushing all I've
                                          invested and changing to Sn3 or larger. If I was a better mechanic, I'd sell
                                          out and buy a speeder to ride the real railroads!
                                          Dennis
                                        • Mike
                                          ... It sure is a good thing that you didn t pay the professional any money until you were satisfied with the work, a guy could get burned otherwise.
                                          Message 20 of 28 , Jun 5, 2003
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                                            >> >VERY EXPENSIVE loco
                                            >> > couldn't tolerate disassembly and reassembly even by a professional!
                                            >> > Lesson learned

                                            It sure is a good thing that you didn't pay the "professional" any money until
                                            you were satisfied with the work, a guy could get burned otherwise.
                                          • mark.kasprowicz@tiscali.co.uk
                                            Message 21 of 28 , Jun 5, 2003
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                                              << And I've had my personal DP K-27 apart - and it went back together without
                                              problems - and with no special tools. So Ken, take your time and investigate
                                              slowly - its probably a minor problem once you find it.>>

                                              Jim is totally right. This is not a complicated loco to take apart (and
                                              put back together) for DCC and Soundtraxx installation. The only subassembly
                                              that has to be removed (from memory) is the front truck for access to the
                                              the front boiler screw*. It's also a very robust model. Unless the 'pro'
                                              has been utterly careless with this loco, this is probably going to be a
                                              simple reassembly fault. I woke up this morning thinking 'has the guy put
                                              the front truck on upside down?' because that's the only thing I can think
                                              of that could possibly be reassambled incorrectly. There again that would
                                              possibly induce a straight short.
                                              Ken, if you've installed DCC in other locos, this is no more difficult than
                                              a Westside or PSC model - the only thing holding you back is the price you
                                              paid, not the complexity of the job.
                                              Mark Kasprowicz
                                              Oxfordshire England
                                            • Jim Hamblin
                                              ... (clip) Just had to put my two cents worth in this discussion...equipping any locomotive with DCC and Sound may give completely different running
                                              Message 22 of 28 , Jun 5, 2003
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                                                > >VERY EXPENSIVE loco
                                                > > couldn't tolerate disassembly and reassembly even by a professional!
                                                > > Lesson learned - HOn3 is pretty, but much too finicky - need NEW
                                                > > HOBBY.
                                                > > Any suggestions?
                                                > >
                                                (clip)

                                                Just had to put my two cents worth in this discussion...equipping any
                                                locomotive with DCC and Sound may give completely different running
                                                characteristics than those of a DC engine. Since DC is a "straight" or
                                                square-wave current, a short signal interruption is not typically noticed by
                                                the engine and it will continue onward with at most a slight change in
                                                speed. DCC is sending "packets" of data, and an interruption of the packet
                                                means that the decoder must now wait until another packet meant for it is
                                                received. Dirty track, dirty wheels, uneven track, etc, may cause these
                                                interruptions, and the engine typically lurches forward over the track when
                                                this happens.

                                                Another item of concern may be the actual decoder used. If the decoder is
                                                part of the sound module from Soundtraxx, these are of an older design, and
                                                sometimes do not operate well with the newer small motors. The newer
                                                decoders from Digitrax and others contain "supersonic" features for better
                                                operation of these motors.

                                                I would first check to see if the decoder is a Soundtraxx "all in one"
                                                decoder/sound board, or if the installer used both a decoder and a
                                                Soundtraxx sound module...and I would be sure to test it on a straight,
                                                clean piece of flex track for starters. HOn3 is not the problem....the same
                                                will hold true for Sn3, On3, or 1;20.3....dirt is the biggest enemy of DCC.

                                                Just my two cents worth.

                                                Regards,

                                                Jim Hamblin
                                                Smokestack Hobbies
                                                smokestack@...







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