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Thread: Locomotive recommendations

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    Default Locomotive recommendations

    First the Atlas SD24 decided to stop responding to dcc commands. Then one of the bogies on the Centram locked up. Only thing I have running is an Athearn bulldozer F59. So I'm looking for recommendations on a DCC friendly 4 axle loco.

    Need try my hand at installing a decoder...would be nice if it just plugged in without soldering. How much should a guy spend on ebay? Maybe a better way to ask the question is what is the Toyota Camry of DCC friendly locomotives?

    Would like to get JMRI up and start learning how to build trains. If I can get one to work I'm sure I'll be looking to buy more. So it should be easily found in multiple numbers online. At this point my layout direction is more towards passenger trains but I really just want a solid running train. Thxs.

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    You have a lot of options in a lot of eras. For 4 axle engines it is hard to beat the Atlas GP38/GP38-2/GP40 lineup. Solid runners with tons of DCC options.
    Karl

    CEO of the Skally Line, an Eastern MN Shortline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rook View Post
    First the Atlas SD24 decided to stop responding to dcc commands.
    That issue can often be resolved by resetting the decoder to factory defaults. There should be a manual included with the locomotive. If it's a Digitrax decoder, dial in CV8 with a value of 008. If it's NCE, CV30 = 002.

    A decoder is a microprocessor, and like other computer, it can hiccup. A reboot usually solves the issue.

    If you have control of the lights, but not the motor, check the contacts on the frame. If it's not responding to any commands, try address 03. But more than likely it's lost its address and needs a reset. Happens occasionally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jpwisc View Post
    For 4 axle engines it is hard to beat the Atlas GP38/GP38-2/GP40 lineup. Solid runners with tons of DCC options.
    Yep, probably the most-reliable and obtainable N scale locomotives produced to date. Easy to add a decoder if you get a "DCC Ready" version.

    You don't hear a lot about them, because like most Atlas locomotives, they just work well and no one has a problem with them.

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    You might be interested in the Fox Valley Models GP60. In addition to being nicely detailed and a smooth runner, installing a decoder is extraordinarily easy. Instead of needing a complete light-board swap like most N scale diesels, you just plug it in to a six-pin socket.

    I'll third the Atlas geeps as well. Decoder installation on those isn't quite so elegant but they are still very nice models.

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    Thank you all. Found a pair of new GP38-2 with consecutive road numbers $83 each, DN163AO for $26, and they offer either MT1015 or 1016 couplers $9. Which coupler length should I get...short or medium? $118 seems like a fair deal? Kinda got myself talked into these just to be done with it.

    These must have pulled passenger trains somewhere along the line? What kind of passenger cars would they use?

    Quote Originally Posted by dwwojcik View Post
    You might be interested in the Fox Valley Models GP60.
    Those Fox models will be one to try soon! I'm a sucker for a strobe even if it doesn't light up lol. Mike Fifer video review is very positive! About the same price as the Atlas too. I didn't realize some parts need to be installed. If I buy a couple of these and a couple GPs, and a couple P42's I should be set for awhile Then I'd need storage

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    That issue can often be resolved by resetting the decoder to factory defaults.
    Appreciate you opening that door. How do I know which to reset the loco or the powercab? Working on getting JMRI up because I dislike small displays like on the powercab. Believe it is the NCE factory equipped decoder. Also will running my dc stuff straight off a 9v wall wart cause problems? Don't have a powerpack lol.

    Quote Originally Posted by jpwisc View Post
    You have a lot of options in a lot of eras.
    That is part of the problem the product assortment in this hobby is overwhelming...and then you can't find the color or the number you want. Modern would be my era. Am tempted by this deal....they are 4 axle but the body is a little longer I believe. I wouldn't know what to offer?

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Kato-Amtrak...MAAOSwARpdIqJd

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    Short couplers are best for the GPs.
    Karl

    CEO of the Skally Line, an Eastern MN Shortline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rook View Post
    Believe it is the NCE factory equipped decoder.
    If you can control other locomotives with the PowerCab, then that's likely not the problem. Next logical culprit would be the decoder, so dial in CV30, then 002, enter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rook View Post
    Found a pair of new GP38-2 with consecutive road numbers $83 each, DN163AO for $26, and they offer either MT1015 or 1016 couplers $9.
    Just checking - those GP38-2s have knuckle couplers on them already right? You certainly can (and some people prefer to) install MT couplers instead of Atlas' version of knuckle couplers, but I ask because if the locos have rapido couplers on them, that is a sign that they are likely older, pre-DCC locomotives that will be considerably harder to install a decoder in.

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    Yes Accumate according to the description. Will try those first thxs.

    I only have the one dcc engine

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    You could always go with a personal favorite of mine, the MP15
    Did someone say whitcomb?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Intermodalman View Post
    You could always go with a personal favorite of mine, the MP15
    I'm just looking for an excuse. Maybe do a little tradin'!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rook View Post
    These must have pulled passenger trains somewhere along the line? What kind of passenger cars would they use?
    There is only one example I can think of, but it's a good one. The Long Island Railroad used unmodified GP38-2 locomotives to pull some of its commuter trains for many years. I'm not an expert on the LIRR but the cars appear to be fairly standard lightweight coaches. An NPCU converted from an old Alco FA or EMD F-unit would bring up the rear to provide hotel power to the train and allow push-pull operation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    If you can control other locomotives with the PowerCab, then that's likely not the problem. Next logical culprit would be the decoder, so dial in CV30, then 002, enter.
    Did not work as far as I can tell. Glad you got me to try it though! Getting the "can't read cv" message of death. I've never assigned my cab an address as I only have one. Another locomotive to test with would be nice. Sent an email yesterday to TopHobby and tried calling today but no response. Back to ebay

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    The "can't read cv" is the message you get when the powercab is plugged into the wrong port on the pcp panel. Was able to set the cv but 6247 still sits. If I jab at it with my finger it flickers and tries to stumble a half inch or so then nothing. Not giving up just need more time...it's interrupting other activity.

    On the bright side the guy at TopHobby picked up the phone today so I dropped $500 on a loco and 4 passenger cars.



    Quote Originally Posted by dwwojcik View Post
    There is only one example I can think of, but it's a good one. The Long Island Railroad used unmodified GP38-2 locomotives to pull some of its commuter trains for many years. I'm not an expert on the LIRR but the cars appear to be fairly standard lightweight coaches.
    What would be an example of an available (in n scale) lightweight coach? Sorry but I'm still new at this. I have a couple bi-level coach's coming but I can't see them riding behind a GP. Did buy a GP38 with dcc installed before I was able to connect with TopHobby. Set up a couple ebay searches for some preowned units.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rook View Post
    What would be an example of an available (in n scale) lightweight coach? Sorry but I'm still new at this. I have a couple bi-level coach's coming but I can't see them riding behind a GP. Did buy a GP38 with dcc installed before I was able to connect with TopHobby. Set up a couple ebay searches for some preowned units.
    Check out Spookshow's list of pretty much all N scale passenger cars past and present. http://www.spookshow.net/passenger/passenger.php The models most similar to the LIRR coaches are in the "Smoothside Streamlined" category.

    There are actually numerous examples of geeps pulling trains of Bi-level coaches. Tri-Rail, Alaska Railroad, Southern Pacific, and Virginia Railway Express to name a few.

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    They are expensive but check out Rapido Trains
    https://www.rapidotrains.com/n-osgoo...ey-coaches-2nd

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotian_Huntress View Post
    They are expensive but check out Rapido Trains
    Still trying to understand the nuances between the different manufactures. Doubt many people realize how complicated this hobby can be. Why do you like Rapido? I see many listing for Arnold brand locomotives but they don't get discussed (either positive or negative) much. Edit...The detail on those Rapido cars looks amazing.


    Quote Originally Posted by dwwojcik View Post
    Check out Spookshow's list of pretty much all N scale passenger cars past and present. http://www.spookshow.net/passenger/passenger.php The models most similar to the LIRR coaches are in the "Smoothside Streamlined" category.
    That helps. Thxs!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rook View Post
    Still trying to understand the nuances between the different manufactures. Doubt many people realize how complicated this hobby can be. Why do you like Rapido? I see many listing for Arnold brand locomotives but they don't get discussed (either positive or negative) much. Edit...The detail on those Rapido cars looks amazing.
    Rapido Trains is not Arnold Rapido, the defunct creator of n scale - they are a Canadian company that prides itself on detailed models - particularly undercarriage details. They operate on a pre-order system through Local Hobby Shops in Canada, the United States and I believe the United Kingdom. Once they get enough commitments they will build the models to that amount with some extras but once production is underway pre-orders usually close. They occasionally do re-runs for popular models but in the interim the can be found on Ebay (also known as the Evil Inlet for various reasons), although what seems to be at significantly higher prices.

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    There's also Arnold/Hornby, which released a couple of supposedly quite nice models a few years ago and never followed up. I wonder if we'll hear from them again.

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