Life-Like Proto 2000 USRA 0-8-0 Switcher

Discussion in 'Product Review Forum' started by Omber, Feb 16, 2007.

  1. Omber

    Omber New Member

    Hello, I'm a new member to the Gauge and I love steam locos above all others :)

    I recently bought the Life-Like 0-8-0 USRA switcher. It is liveryless with Norhtern Pacific logo on it.

    The loco comes in a box with manual, and a foam holder for the loco and tender. Loco is stored in a plastic box that fits to it to prevent it from moving and breaking. The tender just slides into a separate spot in the foam. This loco is part of the Heritage Collection made by Life-Like before they were taken over by another company (cant remember the name :p). Another interesting inclusion is a booklet about history of this locomotive class. The model is Ready-To-Run with support for DCC but no sound system.

    The loco itself is highly detailed though made with plastic. It couples with the tender using a 6 pin power connector that doubles up as the actuall coupler. Two wires from pickups in the loco go to the tender, which houses the DCC unit and from it two wires go back to the loco - one for the motor, the other for the front light. The tender is equipped with a light aswell.

    It goes to say that the detail is really incredible - moving cylinder parts and some of the valve work are made from metal, unlike the rest of the loco which is plastic. There is an incredbile ammount of various details in pipes and such things around the boiler. I think I was most suprised to find that the tender's trucks had metal chain restrainers (minature metal chain connected to tender and trucks) so that they wouldnt turn too far.

    The engine runs great a average to high speed but when run at creeping/slow speed it seems to have dificulty moving or it's moving faster and slower in a cycle as if the motor had hard time moving the gears smoothly (could be my old power pack - need a new one - any reccomendations ?!) It must be noted that only one axle recieves power from the motor - it is then transported using the horizontal bar to the other 3 axles. Also it must be noted that the loco does not have have any tires and it had dificulty climbing some of the grades I have (Bachmann EZ Track Bridge Set - its basically several risign and lowering piers for that EZ Track of theirs) while towing only 4 boxcars.. still this is a yard switcher and it should mainly stay there.

    This is a good loco, and Im rather happy with the purchese even with the little problems its has its very fun to run.


    This is the best picture I've been able to find and unfortunetly I dont have a camera :(

  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Glad to hear that it is working for you, so to speak. I have the 0-6-0 version lettered for Canadian National (although it looks more like a GT or even CNor loco).

    The 0-6-0 was a flawless performer on DC. I now have a Soundtraxx decoder in it (the DSD-LL080LC, I think), and I have to admit that the performance is NOT quite as good as it was.

    The DC performance was so good thanks in part to pick-ups on the tender trucks, which I believe the 0-8-0 does not have. You used to be able to purchase a kit to add them, or simply buy the 0-6-0 tender and swap them. I don't know if the "new owners" offer this or not. I have had very little luck getting anything out of them related to this engine.

    My one other complaint - and I think it holds true for the 0-8-0 given your description - is that there is no way to store the engine in the box once the tender is attached. And it is not easy to disconnect it, as the clips are on the top and bottom of the connector, rather than on the sides hamr

    My 0-6-0 has a similar capacity, and in fact can only move about 12-15 cars on smooth and level track too...

    Thanks for the review! :thumb: :thumb:

  3. Omber

    Omber New Member

    You are correct the tender does not have pickups, all power is draw through loco's wheels. As to uncoupling the tender and the loco the connector seems to be a little loose and makes pulling it apart easy (never had it uncouple in operation though).
  4. msowsun

    msowsun Member

    The latest version of the Proto 2000 0-8-0 does have tender pick-ups and traction tires as well.

    Walthers Part # 920-31589, p. 42 Walthers 2007 HO Scale Reference
    HO scale, $250.00, sold out at Walthers
    This product is on-sale today for $89.98


    * Now with Loco & Tender Electrical Pick-Up
    * Improved Tractive Effort - Now With Traction Tires
    * Weighted for Maximum Tractive Effort - Pulls 60 or More Cars
    * Nickel-Silver Plated RP-25Wheels
    * Operating Cab Windows and Meticulously Detailed Cab Interior
    * Tender Coal Bunker Style as Appropriate to Road
    * Slow Speed Less than 3 Scale Miles Per Hour and up to 59 Scale Miles Per Hour Fast Speed
    * 10-Page History Booklet & Certificate of Quality
    * New Roadnames & Numbers
    * Limited-Availability
  5. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic


    That's a beauty of a loco... but it should just creep along at low power. What type of power pack are you using? On a pulse throttle, my buddy's 0-8-0 will creep from tie to tie so slowly that you have to look carefully to see it's moving!

    Try running it forwards at medium speed for 15 minutes or so, and then the same length of time backwards. It could just be there's a burr on a gear that will come off with breaking-in. If it's still got the hitch in it, call Walthers, they're very good with customer service, and should repair or replace it for you.
  6. Omber

    Omber New Member

    This power pack is from a very old model RR set (I think it was Bachmann, pre-EZ track, prooly more then 7 years old now) ... the other two locos I have have the same issue .. you have to crank it up to 40% for the Loco's to start moving (otherwise you just hear a buzz as its trying to move but not be able to do it), and they go rather quick then (except the 0-8-0 - prooly lower greared)..
  7. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Aha. I wondered about that. Those trainset packs really don't do well at anything below mid-throttle. Instead of gradually increasing the track voltage from 0, they start at about 1.5-2 volts, and go up from there. They also really don't have much in the way of fine control... they're not quite on-off switches, but they come close! :D
  8. Omber

    Omber New Member

    Well payday is tomorow .. Im considering that Bachmann DCC controller .. looks cheap and seems it'll do the job (one train running on a single-track mainline, two standing on sidings..)

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