Moving right along

posted Aug 12, 2011, 8:51 PM by Randall Hammill   [ updated Aug 19, 2011, 7:19 AM ]
Over the last two days I've been working on figuring out the status of my motive power. There have been a number of issues that I wanted to address since Chris and I have been making progress laying track.

The Atlas S-2 has some sort of bind in the rear truck or gearbox. We didn't disassemble it yet, but that's where the problem lies.

The P1k RS-2 doesn't run at all. We tested the motor and that works, so once I replace the board with a DCC sound decoder that should be OK.

The Athearn RS-3s (I have five of them) all run differently, none of them well. I had read about the 'Six Fix' on the Atlas forums. Jim Fix found that if you shortened the brushes by about 1/3 that took care of any running issues. Sounded simple enough except for, 'what's a brush?' Between Chris, Pete, Dick and I we figured it out. Chris performed the minor surgery, and wouldn't you know it, it worked! I'll do each of the others as I install decoders.

The Atlas HH660 stalls frequently. This is also related to the fact that I couldn't get any locomotive up the helix without stalling. I cleaned the track well and this has taken care of the issue altogether.

So motive power looks like it will be OK, and now that the helix was working I figured I might as well see what I can pull up it.

HH660 - about 8-9 cars plus caboose.
L-1 - 10 cars plus caboose.
RS-3 - 9 cars plus caboose.
Atlas RS-1 - 17 cars plus caboose! (Maybe more, that's the length of my longest staging track so I stopped there.

Dick insists that the biggest factor on pulling power is weight. I haven't added any weight to any locomotives yet. But I'm optimistic that if one locomotive can pull 17 cars, then I can add weight to others to at least come close. The L-1s and the R-1s need to be able to pull a sizeable train. Of course, starting in 1947 the L-1s are replaced by FA-1/FB-1/FA-1 sets, and all three are powered so those should be just fine.

On a side note, at one point the leading driver on the L-1, and at another point the leading truck derailed. Neither stopped the locomotive or seemed to interfere, but I'll have to watch it go up the helix more closely to see where and why that's happening.

Overall I'm pretty happy with the progress. I know there's room to add weight to the steam locomotives, and I'm OK with a relatively short train for a single RS-2 or RS-3 locomotive, because the longer trains will be double-headed. Plus, I haven't tuned any trucks or wheelsets on the cars yet either, so I'm guessing that will help performance too.