Power for On30 - Zephyr enough?

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by txbonds, Jul 30, 2005.

  1. txbonds

    txbonds New Member

    New to the group and I have a question.....

    I have a digitrax zephyr controller, and have recently aquired a bachmann two truck shay and a bachmann two truck climax. Both are new in the box.

    I tried a simple circular kato track to test out the locos using the digitrax zephyr for power, and the trains both just barely moved around the track. (only one train on track at a time)

    Is this due to lack of power with my controller, gearing of these two loco's, or do I have some other problem?

    If the zephyr isn't powerful enough, what setup should I exchange it for? Will only have two or three loco's on the track on a small setup at some point.


  2. capt_turk

    capt_turk Member

    The Shay and the Climax are geared engines. Their normal prototypical speed is about 5 to 7 mph. Their top speed was around 15 mph. Both models are much slower than other models you are used to. The Zephr, or any other DCC system, has plenty of power for them.

    The prototypes were "very" low geared to pull heavy loads up very(up to 15%)steep grades. Think of them as like a farm tractor. They were not built for speed. They were built for logging, and industries that required the loco to be able to handle very roughly laid track, steep grades, and tight curves.

    I once heard where it was said, that "If a Shay can get a toehold, it can climb a tree".

    I have the Empire builder from Digitrax and use it to run 2 Shays, a Climax, a Mogul, and 2 Porters all at the same time. My amp meter tells me that none of them draw over .3 amps, even with a load.
    When a Shay or Climax was doing 5 mph. it sounded like it was doing a hundred!
  3. txbonds

    txbonds New Member

    Thank You

    That is the information I was looking for. I had started to suspect that was the case, but couldn't really find anything to confirm it one way or the other. I just wanted to make sure I had enough power, and it sounds like I do. I can always add boosters to the zephyr set as needed, but I guess I'm okay for now.

    Thanks again for the reply and answering my questions.

  4. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    You dont need any boosters at this point, but if you feel the need to spend a little money and you are designing a walkaround or a layout that would benefit by your being able to move around some, the DT 400 throttle is very nice.

    Adding a BLI 2-8-0 to your Roster with Quantum sound is also a nice touch.

    Heres a link to a coupon special and an idea on the bargains.They are running low so dont wait too long ;).
    With shipping it ran me about 130.00, quite a bit less than 1/2 price total :)


    900 D&RGW C-16 2-8-0 #268 (round domes), On30, painted in black D&RGW scheme $119.99 $163.99 $269.99

    901 D&RGW C-16 2-8-0 #278 (fluted domes), On30, painted in black D&RGW scheme $119.99 $163.99 $269.99

    903 D&RGW C-16 2-8-0 #268 (round domes), On30, painted in yellow "Bumble Bee" Scheme $119.99 $163.99 $269.99

    904 Rio Grande Southern 2-8-0, On30 $119.99 $163.99 $269.99

    905 PRR #9654 2-8-0, On30 $119.99 $163.99 $269.99

    906 Nevada County Narrow Gauge 2-8-0, On30 $119.99 $163.99 $269.99

    907 Milwaukee Road 2-8-0, On30 $119.99 $163.99 $269.99

    908 D&RGW C-16 2-8-0 #268 (round domes), On30, painted, unlettered $119.99 $163.99 $269.99

    909 D&RGW C-16 2-8-0 #278 (fluted domes), On30, painted, unlettered $119.99 $163.99 $269.99

    910 Holiday 2-8-0, On30, RED (with Optional Santa sound effects)
  5. txbonds

    txbonds New Member

    Thanks for the tip. I checked them out, but think I will continue to wait for the Bachmann Spectrum 2-8-0's to be released. They will have a Little River Logging Co. version, which is the line of my shay and climax. The Broadway engines look nice and seem a great deal for the price with sound included, but are fairly limited on road name to the Rio Grande and PRR.

    It would be nice not to have to buy soundtraxx cards like I'm planning to do, but oh well, I'll wait it out for the spectrum version.

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