Falcon Heavy

John Fitton

Falcon Heavy

Postby John Fitton » Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:49 pm

Having installed the golden spikes over the weekend my double track, double deck railway is now open for continuous roundy roundy (?) running. My longest train so far is the Electric Scot with 12 cars weighted to NMRA standards, about 6 - 7 ounces per vehicle, and my ruling grade is 2% (1 in 50 if you are English) and curvature is 3 ft absolute minimum. My Helmann Falcon out of the box with Ultrascale wheels weighed 575 grams, and could only manage 10 cars up the grade, so it was time for extra lead. Fortunately even without having to remove all the DCC nonsense and with just 100 grams of lead it can now manage 12 cars, and that includes a 180 degree curve on the start of the 1 in 50 grade. There is bags more space so I think a total all up gross weight of 1 kg is possible, and the thing should be able to romp up the hill. It will be a struggle to get my AC electrics loaded with lead to that weight, so I will have to talk to the right people about getting some fully depleted uranium I think. The Falcon performs very well out of the box, with the exception that it has a Bachmann motor now.

My class 15 was rather light out of the box but with a good load of lead it can pull my 8 car Queen of Scots pullmans, each loaded to 7 ounces, up the same grade quite easily. I use 7 grm lead weights for wheel balancing, soaked in acetone for a couple of hours to soften the self adhesive strips, and I secure in the body shell with 15 minute 2 part epoxy. All cars have either MJT or brassmasters compensated bogies, with all bearings lubricated with labelle.

JF

billbedford
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Re: Falcon Heavy

Postby billbedford » Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:56 am

Why have you added weight to your coaches? making them as light as you can, commensurate with having the compensation on the bogies working, especially as you are expecting your locos to drag your stock up a much steeper than typical incline.

Seems to me that there is some 'when all else fails hit it with a bigger hammer' type thinking going on here....
Bill Bedford
Mousa Models
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Philip Hall
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Re: Falcon Heavy

Postby Philip Hall » Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:10 am

I'm with John here as far as weight of carriages is concerned. One of my pet hates is to see rakes of carriages effectively loose coupled, instead of gangways and buffers in contact as they should be, and I have found the easiest way to achieve that is for the stock to be weighted to at least 180g, helping to ensure that wheels stay on the rails whatever the buffers etc may be doing. I also like to see locomotives coupled to carriages in the same way, so that the train moves as a whole; this is rarely seen even in P4.

One of the best running layouts I have ever seen is Trevor Pott's 'Churston', where all the above criteria are met, and trains move around solidly without a trace of shimmer or wobble. To see a Castle starting a train, with just a trace of controlled slip, is quite something. It has to be said that some of his carriages weigh up to 250g but then he doesn't have to worry about 12 car trains, 7 or 8 being the maximum.

Philip

John Fitton

Re: Falcon Heavy

Postby John Fitton » Thu Nov 20, 2014 11:21 am

I weight them for solid running and good road-holding, Bill. I like the NMRA standards and I think there is something satisfying about the roll of heavier cars - remember how nicely Hornby Dublo cars used to run?

As far as Phillip's comments are concerned, I agree entirely about the loose-coupled appearance of trains. I use Kaydee couplers throughout, but there is still some slack. One of my railway friends has flex gangways for his stock, and they really assist in taking up the slack, as well as reducing sprious uncoupling.

Always have to wash hands after handling lead of course, although I think my IQ has asymptoted to an end of life value by now!

JF

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Will L
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Re: Falcon Heavy

Postby Will L » Thu Nov 20, 2014 2:19 pm

Philip Hall wrote:I'm with John here as far as weight of carriages is concerned. One of my pet hates is to see rakes of carriages effectively loose coupled, instead of gangways and buffers in contact as they should be, and I have found the easiest way to achieve that is for the stock to be weighted to at least 180g, helping to ensure that wheels stay on the rails whatever the buffers etc may be doing. I also like to see locomotives coupled to carriages in the same way, so that the train moves as a whole; this is rarely seen even in P4.


While agreeing whole heartedly with Phil's thinking on the performance of coaching stock, I do find this idea gets translated into a strait "it will be all right if you put in enough weight" argument. It is the whole relationship between weight, suspension, couplings, buffer/corridor connection springing etc. that eventual dictates success or otherwise. Depending on how you achieve your results there will be an optimum weight, but if your layout requires long trains on significant gradients you might do better to go for making sure the other factors are working for you first, rather than weighting heavy by default to begin with.

John Fitton

Re: Falcon Heavy

Postby John Fitton » Thu Nov 20, 2014 3:59 pm

Will,

You are right, there probably is an optimum weight. According to the NMRA standards they did in fact research this and have come to the same conclusions, through tests, and it is upon that that their recomendations are based. I may have to reset some of my weights though according to how much lead I can put into a class 86 though!

I just weighed my Heljan class 15: 500 grams, and it can pull 8 pullmans up 2%.

John.

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Will L
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Re: Falcon Heavy

Postby Will L » Thu Nov 20, 2014 7:01 pm

John Fitton wrote:You are right, there probably is an optimum weight. According to the NMRA standards they did in fact research this and have come to the same conclusions, through tests, and it is upon that that their recomendations are based.


The NMRA standard is an ounces per vehicle inch formula, (i.e. not a single recommended weight). it is calculated in round and distinctly chunky imperial measures, and is primarily based on the need to haul long rakes round sharp curves reliably. Although they also recognise a bit of weight improves other running qualities they do make the point that over weighting a vehicle is counter productive. There standard is most mostly applied to wagons with small 4 wheel trucks, centre buffer/couplers and deeper flanges(!). I think our lives may be a bit different with outside, preferably sprung, buffers and corridor connection's all affecting the amount of weight we need. Also kit built brass coaches tend to be quite heavy (typically 200 gram + on Knutsford) compared with re wheeled RTR stock, and what weigh you need to go to may depend a lot on what mix of coaches you run.

That said the 2 ounces per axle for a standard 4 wheel wagon may people use is generally in accordance with their recommendation for an S gauge wagon. Interestingly an similarly sized HO would be 1 ounces per axle while not being a great deal shorter! They don't actually do a recommendation for OO or P4.

I just weighed my Heljan class 15: 500 grams, and it can pull 8 pullmans up 2%.


Getting involved with springing has taught me just how dependant chassis performance is on how well the driven chassis distributes the weight.

dal-t
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Re: Falcon Heavy

Postby dal-t » Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:02 pm

John Fitton wrote:It will be a struggle to get my AC electrics loaded with lead to that weight, so I will have to talk to the right people about getting some fully depleted uranium I think.

JF


You don't have to make yourself light up at night to get more weight to the (cubic) inch. Tungsten is nearly twice as dense as lead, and readily available in mouldable putty form from fishing tackle outlets.
David L-T

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David B
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Re: Falcon Heavy

Postby David B » Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:20 pm

We should not be slaves to the NMRA 'optimum'. What are the negative points of having too much weight, and how much is 'too much' ?

My own view is that one needs a certain minimum weight to give some 'solidity' to running and here the NMRA suggestions seem a perfectly reasonable guide or starting point. These suggestions have been round a while now and there are more models running more freely these days with pinpoint bearings. If long trains are being run, the cumulation of weight is more important than for a layout where shorter trains are run. If one wishes to model hills and humps, that is something else to take in to account though a weighty loco would be useful.

There is a danger that people get hung up with this rather than trying things for themselves. I try to ensure a minimum of 25g per axle / 50g per 4 wheeler but frequently exceed this by perhaps 50% or so and frankly am not aware of any problem, but then I don't run mammoth trains. I do feel that the ride is better and perhaps that is due to using Bill Bedford's nice suspension units which I like, in spite of those detractors who claim springing is unnecessary. For weight, I use sheet lead which cuts to shape easily and can be fixed with a dab of No More Nails or even solder.

I have one 4 wheel wagon that weighs 225g which I concede is excessive, but it does run beautifully, nay majestically and if you look closely might even see the track give a bit, just like the prototype!


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