DC Consists

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Pitchwife, May 14, 2006.

  1. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Are there any problems with running an unmatched consist with DC? (and please don't tell me how much easier it would be to use DCC :D :D :D :D )
  2. santafewillie

    santafewillie Member

    I run DC and I only have problems when intermixing certain different manufacturers products. Athearns generally run faster than others. P2K and Kato mix well for me. Not all combinations work...4 versus 6 axles seem to be a greater problem than product line in some cases. One easy way to test is to put the different units on the track separated by about 18" and run them (in both directions) and see if one catches up with the other. 2"-4" over 100 feet isn't enough to be concerned with. I usually put the faster unit in the lead.
  3. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    Willie sumed it up well the only thing i do different is i have MUed athearn with my P2K's by adding a dropping resistor on the athearn unit to slow it down.
  4. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    I was wondering about that, mounting a small potentiometer between the pickups and the motor and adjusting it to match the two (or more) engines. They don't pull much current so it wouldn't have to be a very big (physical) size.
  5. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    As noted, Willie summed it it pretty well. Unless there's a great disparity in speeds, there seem to be no ill effects from running slightly mismatched locos together. One problem that can crop up is where locos start at different voltages. If you can put up with rough starts and stops, some locos will run surprisingly well once they get going. I have an IHC Mogul that starts at a higher voltage than almost everything else that I run, so starting and slow speed running are not very good when this loco is doubleheaded with others. However, at normal track speed, it runs fairly well with a wide variety of other locos.
    I get good to excellent results running any of the following locos in combinations with one another: remotored Athearn switchers, Model Power FAs and FBs, Athearn Mikados, Atlas RS-11s and RS-3s, remotored Athearn U-boats (2 motors each), Bachmann Consolidations, a Proto2000 0-8-0, a remotored older brass 2-6-0, a Bachmann Mountain, and a 50 year old John English Pacific with an open frame motor. As noted, the IHC starts a little later than the units listed, but runs fairly well with most. I also have a remotored and regeared Athearn switcher that starts moving before anything else even knows that the power is on, but it runs too slowly to doublehead with any of the others. It will drag that IHC Mogul, with its drivers not turning, around the layout: not very good for the plating on the drivers, though.

  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Another thing to remember if you are able to run long trains was a tip given to me by a friend who is a member of the La Mesa Model Railroad club at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum. They are the guys who built the model of Tehachapie. Anyway , my friend told me that any locomotive will run with any other locomotive if there is enough weight behind them, and the La Mesa guys frequently run 100 car freights with midtrain helpers & pushers as well as multiple units on the point.
  7. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    That's good to know Russ. One of the reasons I wanted to run a consist is that I've got a bunch of Walthers die-cast deep well cars and I didn't think that one engine alone would be able to pull them up my helix (haven't got it built yet so I can't do any live testing). My main concern was that one engine could be damaged if it wasn't properly matched to the other. If I wanted to do it strictly for appearance's sake I thought that I'd just get a dummy engine.

    That reminds me of a picture posted on a thread some time ago (I don't remember which one) that showed a car's wheel that the brake hadn't released and they didn't catch it until it had been dragged 50 miles. If you've ever seen a steel wheel with a flat. :D :D :D :D

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