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Re: Tenshodo D51

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  • Garth
    While this is a good review of the engine from your experience with Marklin engines I feel it really does not take in to account the details that have been
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 29, 2010
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      While this is a good review of the engine from your experience with Marklin engines I feel it really does not take in to account the details that have been provided here and on various other Z-group sites from the manufacturer.

      Tenshodo recommends the engine be run in the range of 0 to 6 volts. When operated in this range the engine is not a speed demon. There are great advantages to using a 12vdc motor and limiting it to operating in the range of 0 to 6 vdc. Hardly ever overheat the engine, low current drain etc. There are some disadvantages also. You need a very good transistorized controller to get away from the Marklin and other transformers which use a wire wound core to vary the speed of you engine. Using this type of controller gives you very poor control at low voltage output and the linearity is not there so at the bottom end each winding you add jumps the voltage considerably while at the upper end the changes are very small by comparison. While with a transistorized throttle you can make this little devil crawl so slow you can hardly tell it is moving.

      Tenshodo also states that this engine does not operate reliably on Marklin Curved Turnouts. This engine unlike the Marklin engines has all driver on the rail and with 16 wheel pickup it is fairly forgiving of rough trackwork but the rigid frame can produce poor results on curved track that is not smooth or flat or poorly assembled and held down on a train board. Yes our diesels with handle this type of track work but many steamers not just this one will not do well on this type of track. I use the Japanese and Micro Trains roadbed track and switches and on this system the performance is flawless. I have done 3 shows now 5 or 6 hours each with no derailments except those caused by small hands creating earth quakes of large magnitude derailing Z as well as N scale trains at one show.

      When used with DCC by creating a speed table you can get very fine control with DCC also.

      Using a Joeger throttle and a 9vdc battery at the last show after 6 hours of running double headed the battery level had gone down from 9.1vdc at the start to 8.8vdc after six hours of steady running.

      As a fan of Japanese N-scale locomotives and a narrow gauge fan I guess I have a greater knowledge of the size of this locomotive compared to its larger standard gauge cousins. In N-scale the eye gets fooled when we compare the Narrow gauge engines of Japan with our own because there is a scale difference. 1:150 for Japanese N scale versus 1:160 for North American N-scale. This was not done with this engine. It is true to scale at 1:220 and as such it should really be running on 4.85mm track for 42 inch gauge. When this engine sits beside its Marklin cousin the difference is quite noticeable and if we could find a picture of a standard gauge engine USRA Mikado and D51 the difference would be the same. So to me it is not toy like. It has finer detail than its Marklin cousin, It has 16 wheel pickup and all 8 drivers are on the track not just 4 as on the Marklin Engine which in my book makes it more toy like in appearance and performance.

      I guess I am more used to the Japanese Pictograms. It shows how to pull one coupler out of the box on the truck and push the other into it for the change from Mini Rapido to fixed knuckle coupler. The front coupler just clips over the frame of the front truck and the rear truck of the tender the coupler there just pulls out and the other version just has to be pushed in. Make sure the knuckle is aligned properly.

      Yes I am unabashedly a fan of this loco and with several in the stable I am very happy with it, its performance and looks. I have a pair of standard type D51's with feed water heater on the top of the smoke box working on my logging railroad where with 36 logging cars and a caboose they looks quite at home. All the cars have metal wheel sets installed except for the caboose.

      I also see the Nn3 crowd already have modified it to power a K27 2-8-2 and a C16 2-8-0. I am sure we are going to see some conversions in Z soon also.

      As is obvious some of us love this little beauty and others are not as impressed. So it is obviously a case of what is in the eyes of the beholder.


      --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, "rgminutillo" <rgminutillo@...> wrote:
      > I've been examining and running mine for a few days now. A few random observations:
      > Speed: It runs faster than most of my Marklin engines at the same voltages. It does low speed well, but just a little change in voltage causes a large gain in speed. It's a real racer.
      > Pickup: Yes it has power pickups in the tender and in the loco so theoretically it should handle less-than-perfect trackwork and switches better. You can't prove it by me, however, and I have lots of less-than-perfect trackwork to test it on. In particular it's having a lot of trouble stalling at prototypical speeds at an old choppy Marklin double-throw crossing on one of my layouts, a crossing that my better Marklin Mikados and Pacifics handle OK. Now I know it's a crummy switch to begin with, and mine is old and dirty, but still, my Marklins handle it better. Weight, perhaps?
      > Appearance: I know it's a fighting word to some, but I have to say that the Tenshodo looks more like a toy to my eye than a Marklin does. It's certainly smaller, and the shiny driving rods look both flimsy and out-of-scale at the same time. I'm just talking about subjective looks here; no measurements were harmed in the production of this opinion.
      > Couplers, I can't figure it out from the illustratiuon, but it looks like you can swap out both the front and rear couplers. If anyone could verify that I might have a go at removing the squarish coupler on the tender and installing the spare knuckle. I'm using the (sort of) knuckle coupler on the front of the loco and, once you get it hooked up, it seems to work OK.
      > Value: No problem; worth the money I think, and a welcome addition to our arsenal of locos. After all, I need something to work with while I wait (and wait, and wait) for my RDCs...
      > RGMinutillo
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