Considerations when buying a new Loco (LGB / PIKO / ...)

Greg Elmassian

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Note that the 1st post does specify a 2 truck diesel or electric loco.

Also post #1 does indicate R1 in the yard only, mainline R2 and above.

Guys, seriously, does everyone just read the last post in a topic? Am I in the minority reading what the OP asked carefully and try to answer his question?

Just seems to be somewhat discourteous to the OP.
 

trammayo

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Note that the 1st post does specify a 2 truck diesel or electric loco.

Also post #1 does indicate R1 in the yard only, mainline R2 and above.

Guys, seriously, does everyone just read the last post in a topic? Am I in the minority reading what the OP asked carefully and try to answer his question?

Just seems to be somewhat discourteous to the OP.
When I click on a Posting, it takes me to the unread post/s (assuming I'm following that thread). If I haven't previously read that particular thread, it takes me to the beginning. Even with stuff I don't deal with (the likes of DCC), I do read the posts - even if I'm glad that I haven't gone down that road! But, I suppose, even then, I miss something! But I do believe that the OP deserves that his/her post be read!
 

JimmyB

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When I click on a Posting, it takes me to the unread post/s (assuming I'm following that thread). If I haven't previously read that particular thread, it takes me to the beginning. Even with stuff I don't deal with (the likes of DCC), I do read the posts - even if I'm glad that I haven't gone down that road! But, I suppose, even then, I miss something! But I do believe that the OP deserves that his/her post be read!
Mick, I am read the posts in a similar way to you, and often you forget what was in post#1, especially if subsequent posts drift

Note that the 1st post does specify a 2 truck diesel or electric loco.

Also post #1 does indicate R1 in the yard only, mainline R2 and above.

Guys, seriously, does everyone just read the last post in a topic? Am I in the minority reading what the OP asked carefully and try to answer his question?

Just seems to be somewhat discourteous to the OP.
Greg, you are correct, but most of use humans cannot remember what was in the first post, and are too busy to back through the posts, so thank you for keeping us on track.
 

Paradise

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The Bachmann centre cab is a 1:20 scale loco. The prototype was a standard gauge loco on narrow gauge bogies. That's why it is so humongous.
What about the LGB 2051 loco below. European 1 meter gauge. It came out in several very similar versions over the years. There was a Queensland cane loco that looked somewhat similar but in the typical green and gold.
I noticed you are in Australia. I have a good SH one here I could probably sell seeing I'm mainly into steam. It used to be a display loco in a store and has been in storage since. Give me a PM if interested. :)

iu
 

Paradise

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Post #1 indicates preference for Euro style loco in 1;25 .... but I think I agree this could be done with a little bashing...

But, he wants to buy a loco, not bash one.

This is why I recommended the largish Bachmann loco... I seem to remember accucrafte made a similar loco in 1:20.3 or thereabouts, but I don't think it was a good runner, and clearly not cheap.

Greg

They did and the wheels were always.... wonky. :(
Have you seen one in the flesh Greg? They are huge being a standard gauge loco on narrow gauge trucks. It makes the Bachmann 1:20.3 scale Climax look tiny. Way too big for 1:22 / 1:25.
 

tac foley

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AFAIK, the only LGB two-truck diesel loco designed to 'copy' narrow gauge is the White Pass two-truck in at least three colour schemes - early and late WP&YR and Rio Grande. It looks vaguely Australian or even NZR, if you squint. The LGB version of the F3 is HUGE and 1/27th scale and VERY expensive, and suffers from the sound system being located in the B unit.
 

Greg Elmassian

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Yep, I was trying to present something other than the obvious LGB and Piko which were already in the "running".... trying to suggest any other than the obvious.

As I stated, not much of a choice outside LGB and Piko.

Again, from post #1:

So I'm looking to add a new loco to my layout. Wishlist:
  • Modern-ish Diesel or Electric
  • Twin bogie (with dual motor)
  • Reliable
  • Hook & look couplings
  • Not under-powered - needs to be able to pull 8-10 cars on a mostly level track.
  • Performs well with generic DCC system (i.e. not tied to features from a specific manufacturer's command station)
  • Preference for 1:25 (Euro narrow gauge) over 1:32 (US standard guage) scale
  • Outdoors layout. Trains are parked under shelter, but must be reasonably robust against insects / cats / stray water & wind / small children / ... .
  • Existing yard area makes heavy use of R1 curves, so needs to be able to handle these at low speeds. Mainline contains a mix of (LGB) R2-R5.

Greg
 

Andrew_au

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So, what I've got so far:

Decoders​

People seem happy with the quality of modern LGB decoders (phil2sum), but note that they are not very expandable. Haven't heard much one way or the other about PIKO decoders. People have used both Massoth & Zimo after-market decoders.
  • ABC
    • Modern LGB decoders don't seem to support ABC (auto braking)? (e.g the 20753 and 22062 don't mention it in their CV list or manuals). Almost all locos come supplied with decoder including sound & other loco-relevant functions.
    • Massoth decoders also don't seem to support it from skimming the manual
    • Zimo decoders do. They also support Zimo HLU which is fuller featured but requires custom Zimo controllers.
  • Sound
    • Modern LGB built-in decoders come with a decent range of sounds, but not a lot of flexibility
    • PIKO stock may or may not include loco and/or sound decoders, and appear to sell them as separate items (while most other manufacturers combine the loco and sound decoder in a single item)
    • Massoth & Zimo decoders have very flexible sound configuration. New sound sets can be uploaded, but requires a tool specific to that manufacturer's decoder.
Planning to mostly go with Zimo after-market decoders. Seem to be robust, full-featured, and relatively cheap. Some sound programming support via z21 command station.

Locos​

Choice seems to be mostly LGB or PIKO, with a couple of offerings from other manufacturers. Possibly more options available if I go with US-style/scale (and 1:32) rather than Euro narrow gauge (and 1:25).
  • Everyone happy with LGB reliability
  • Aria happy with both LGB and PIKO. PhilP not so sure about PIKO robustness.
    • I didn't get an answer on PIKO reliability and apparent need to oil inside PIKO gearboxes.
  • Other manufacturers mostly discussed on product by product basis.

Rolling stock​

Didn't discuss this originally. LGB is more expensive out of the box, but often comes with lights and metal wheel sets. PIKO has a cheaper sticker price, but can end up more expensive once upgraded to match LGB fittings.

Any further advice or clarifications welcome.
 
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Paradise

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I noticed the scales mentioned in your posts. I'm not sure where your numbers come from but I thought I should point out some details in case you are not in the know.

European 1 metre narrow gauge as made by LGB and others is 1:22.5 scale. There are some exceptions though.
Standard gauge or Gauge 1 is correctly scaled at 1:32. Live steam, MTH and some Accucraft electrics are also 1:32.
Aristocraft and USA Trains brand standard gauge is modeled in 1:29.
Some of LGB standard gauge locomotives are around 1:27 or thereabouts making them appear larger when sitting next to an Aristocraft.
Piko are around 1:24. There could be other scales they model in too.
Bachmann Big Hauler are around 1:22.5 and 1:24.
Hartland Locomotive Works are usually 1:24.
 

Andrew_au

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I'm not sure where your numbers come from but I thought I should point out some details in case you are not in the know.
Thanks for the clarification. I'd mis-remembered LGB 1:22.5 as 1:25.

Scale is probably the least important consideration for me, but I am trying to steer more towards the Euro narrow gauge styling than the US standard gauge. One concern is that I don't want a hulking big US standard gauge loco that ends up looking like a toy next to some old-style narrow gauge steamers due to being scaled 30% smaller. Another is that, from my perspective, North American styling is recognisably North American to a non-expert eye, whereas Euro styling feels more "generic" (at least until you start reading the labels).
 

LGB333

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So, what I've got so far:

Decoders​

People seem happy with the quality of modern LGB decoders (phil2sum), but note that they are not very expandable. Haven't heard much one way or the other about PIKO decoders. People have used both Massoth & Zimo after-market decoders.
  • ABC
    • Modern LGB decoders don't seem to support ABC (auto braking)? (e.g the 20753 and 22062 don't mention it in their CV list or manuals). Almost all locos come supplied with decoder including sound & other loco-relevant functions.
    • Massoth decoders also don't seem to support it from skimming the manual
    • Zimo decoders do. They also support Zimo HLU which is fuller featured but requires custom Zimo controllers.
  • Sound
    • Modern LGB built-in decoders come with a decent range of sounds, but not a lot of flexibility
    • PIKO stock may or may not include loco and/or sound decoders, and appear to sell them as separate items (while most other manufacturers combine the loco and sound decoder in a single item)
    • Massoth & Zimo decoders have very flexible sound configuration. New sound sets can be uploaded, but requires a tool specific to that manufacturer's decoder.
Planning to mostly go with Zimo after-market decoders. Seem to be robust, full-featured, and relatively cheap. Some sound programming support via z21 command station.

Locos​

Choice seems to be mostly LGB or PIKO, with a couple of offerings from other manufacturers. Possibly more options available if I go with US-style/scale (and 1:32) rather than Euro narrow gauge (and 1:25).
  • Everyone happy with LGB reliability
  • Aria happy with both LGB and PIKO. PhilP not so sure about PIKO robustness.
    • I didn't get an answer on PIKO reliability and apparent need to oil inside PIKO gearboxes.
  • Other manufacturers mostly discussed on product by product basis.

Rolling stock​

Didn't discuss this originally. LGB is more expensive out of the box, but often comes with lights and metal wheel sets. PIKO has a cheaper sticker price, but can end up more expensive once upgraded to match LGB fittings.

Any further advice or clarifications welcome.
My two-bits: Pre-Marklin LGB locomotives (1985 - 2006) quality can't be beat for large scale after replacing the electronics and installing a new DCC/DC sound decoder. Marklin-produced LGB (2007 to date) are also excellent but some of their quality control at the factory is lacking. Since 2014 Marklin stopped using Massoth for LGB locomotive electronics and uses their MSD3 mfx/dcc/analog dcc sound decoders which are good but nothing compares to sounds produced by the ESU 5XL dcc sound decoders..........far superior than Massoth or Marklin-LGB. And to properly set up the ESU 5XL sound decoder, including to install a pulsed Massoth or ESU smoker, you do need to use an ESU LokProgrammer, or find an ESU dealer like myself who will set up the decoder for lights and smoker voltage, set the LGB Buhler motor type, etc.

I've never used Zimo so can't comment on its sound quality. I do have a customer, however, who sent me his three Zimo-decoder equipped LGB locomotives to replace the Zimo's and install Massoth or ESU sound decoders.....this is just one customer that's requested that. I have demos on my Website's Homepage, of ESU 5XLs I've installed into customer LGB locomotives, such as an LGB Uintah and the sounds are amazing: LGB Trains | Old Dominion Railways | Repairs & DCC Installs | United States

I do also like Massoth and sell them and install them into customers' LGB locomotives. But the American Mogul, Uintah and Mikado sound files have chuff distortion at low speed step range........I've complained to Massoth Germany several times but they still haven't fixed them. I recently installed the US Steam Locomotive K27/K28 sound file into a Massoth LS DCC sound decoder he purchased from me and didn't find any chuff distortion, so I recommend using that steam sound file for American steamers instead of the Mogul, Uintah or Mikado files.

I'm also a Soundtraxx Tsunami2 4400 4 amp and 2200 2 amp DCC Decoder dealer. These are also excellent sounding decoders although they are generic steam, diesel, electric sounds installed by Soundtraxx. They do have an amazing 65 whistle options and 12 bell options built into the decoder that you can set with your DCC programming track. These decoders have no reed switch or volume level functions, but you can set automatic sounds such as whistle sounds when starting, stopping, same with the bell, especially helpful for analog operation. In DCC operation, you have full activation control of all the sounds. I use the smaller 2200 2 amp decoders for converting LGB Olomana and Chloe locomotives to dcc/dc sound.

The only downside with the ESU 5XL, if the locomotive is going to operate in analog mode, the reed switch function doesn't work properly on the decoder/sound file, at least for American locomotive sound files. If a customer needs that function, I then recommend using either the Massoth or LGB 55029 Retrofit MSD3 mfx/dcc/analog decoders for installation.

Lastly, please note that the Marklin/LGB factory installed MSD3 mfx/dcc/analog sound decoders have very limited sound adjustments, and you can't install a different sound file on them. The factory "locks" the decoders. However, the LGB 55029 Retrofit MSD3 mfx/dcc/analog sound decoders' are capable of installing any sound file from the Marklin Germany sound library, and there are options sounds like whistles, bells, that can be installed..........in fact you can install your own sound files. I just completely refurbished to like-new condition a customer's Marklin-produced LGB 20280 50th Anniversary Mogul Steamer used in a restaurant's overhead railway with lots of wear on it with the following: New MSD3 mfx/dcc/analog sound decoder which I loaded with the same Silverton Mogul sound file that's installed in the just produced LGB 20283 Silverton Mogul now being shipped to the USA market. Also totally rebuilt the motor block: Flushed clean, new motor, idler gears, carbon brushes, slider shoes. A four wheels sets replaced with new sets with new gears, traction tire. The existing pulsed smoker still works well. You can see a demo video of it operating and the various sounds activated on my DCC Test Stand at: LGB LOCOMOTIVE DEMO VIDEOS | My Site

My two-bits on DCC sound decoders is concluded.
 
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phils2um

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Hi Andrew, since this thread has been brought to the forefront again have you considered the LGB 2095 and siblings? I don't think its been mentioned yet. It would be second hand and you would need to do a decoder install yourself but it otherwise ticks most of your boxes.
 

Gerard

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Andrew,
I hope not too late: one more point of interest. When choosing a second hand loco check the amount of amps the loco withdraws from the rails. I once bought a used LGB Steinz loco from a dutch LGB selling shop as a starting LGB user fully unaware of this important aspect. The seller checked the the engine for me back in the shop saying it was OK. Later it appears that the motor was way too far teared down resulting in a much too high amperage withdrawn from the rails. Apparently the loco had run for years dayly on his shop display....... I had to replace the whole engine.

Gerard