Compatibility of different manufacturers

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by stanC, Jun 26, 2007.

  1. stanC

    stanC Member

    After checking the different suppliers of HO locomotives on the WEB I am confused as there are some suppliers who supply systems that are not compatible with others. Can anyone help with a table or link to a site that compares the different systems and if possible a price range as this also seems to vary a great deal.
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    That's a lot of different info! Can you be more specific about what you are looking at?

    As a general rule, most North American HO manufacturers' products will work with others. E.g. Bachmann locos will pull Atlas cars on MicroEngineering track powered by Digitrax DCC with a Lenz decoder in the loco.

    Beware of compatibiility of products made for the European market. And AC and DC equipment are definitely NOT compatible - i.e. you cannot run an AC loco on a DC system.

    Hope that helps - tell us more about what you are planning...!

  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Stan: Rolling stock made to NMRA standards are supposed to work together. From this we do exclude much European prototype stuff (especially the English) and certainly Marklin's 3-rail AC.
    -couplings may not match, but there are easy concersions to either Kadee or X2f style.
    -wheel flanges may be too deep for finer rail sections.

    -DC and DCC are not totally happy with each other. DCC systems are supposed to be compatible (barring extensions) but control systems often are incompatible.
    -Longer cars and locomotives are not happy on sharp curves.
  4. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Most American company locomotives and rolling stock is compatible with each other to a certain extent. Since virtually everything is now made in china, I can't say American made, but American named importing companies. In the case of dcc the only thing that is interchangeable is the decoders. The NMRA wrote the standards for dcc so that all decoders would be compatible with all systems. If you install a dcc system on your home layout, you need to pick a system and stick with it. By making the decoders universal, it allows me to install a decoder in my locomotives to use on my home layout and then take those same locomotives to a club or a friends layout that has a different dcc system and still run my locomotives on his layout.

    The main areas where rolling stock runs into compatibility issues is with copupler height, and it usually isn't very difficult to make the proper adjustments to get coupler height where it belongs.
  5. stanC

    stanC Member

    Thanks for the information. It was the manufacturers that was confusing rather than the DCC or AC or couplers .For example Marklin will not run with other suppliers. I would like to know if there are any other HO suppliers that cannot be interchanged because of their system. This will help when searching on E bay for example.
    Thanks again for the help
  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Again it depends. Some Marklin products are compatible with what most people in North America run. But some of their products are meant for the European market, where AC power is more common. Same goes for Bachmann. So you can't simply rule out an entire manufacturer. You'll need to look at the specifics of the particular product you are considering.

  7. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    I think all HO released under the Marklin name is AC 3-rail. Their DC 2-rail products are released under the Trix name. Marklin isn't compatible with anything else that I know of, but Trix is. I don't know of any other manufacturers that are fundamentally incompatible.

Share This Page