I was also hoping for a BNSF Heritage II release early on for the ES44s. I know I could get an SD75 but the detail looks so much better on the ES44. Hans or Rob, can you give a timeframe for the Heritage II?
Next production run. We will do a sales analysis at the end of this cycle (Say Q1 of 2018) and if sales are strong enough we would place the next production run order at the same time. Production runs usually take about a year, so you are looking at delivery and distribution about 2 years from now. That assumes that the ES44AC sells VERY VERY well.
What does that mean? If you want a BNSF ES44AC, buy it now. Waiting for the perfect color will take at least 2 years, and maybe 3-4 years.
To Rob : I was speaking about "subjective" speed : even running at a calculated scale speed of 60Mph, the locomotives/railcars seem rather slow. And then I made a test : all my engines start moving with two (new) alcaline AA cells in series.
The perception of speed can be subjective, yes this is true. But the scale speed is accurate.
A jet airplane flying high in the sky may not look fast because it is so small when viewed from a distance - but the actual velocity is more than 500 mph.
About "slipping" : I spoke about this problem in a former topic : I hope that constant 1.6% with curves of R=270mm minimum on a 7m ramp and 7 cars maximum (Six 33' hoppers + caboose, or four 40' box-cars + caboose) should not be a problem ; or should I modify my layout ? When it will be built then it will be too late ! I must say that I tried 2% only on a short straight track (1.2m).
All of our injection locomotive products are designed to function with a minimum radius curve of 195mm (7 11/16")
Since the money apparently doesn't matter then I'll just pay whatever. I like this new system!
(But hey, I already knew you guys don't take criticism well. I should have expected such a response.)
Don't worry though...your dealers will sell all those Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis ES44's they get stuck with....eventually. My money will probably be around in 8 or 9 more years when that happens.
Oh THATS the reason we work in Z scale! Hey Hans, did you know that the reason we chose to spend all this time working on Z scale was because of the Money?!?!? Silly me, I must have forgotten about that part of the plan....
Oh, so the money is optional? Great, I'll triple my order then.
I finished the "break in" for my Budd's and tested them together on a "rectangular" test layout (R 270mm). They run approximately the same speed, and there are no issues with the couplers. Now my problem : I tested at 5v, they seemed to be very slow ... but in fact I calculated that they were running about 60Mph ! What would be a realistic speed for Budds on a local railroad line ? 50Mph ? And for a local, "short" freight train (max 6 cars + caboose) ? 25 or 30Mph, or 50Mph too ?
Thanks for Your answers ...
Our locomotives should start moving at no more than 3.5 volts minimum. Normal operating range for ALL of our locomotives is up to 8 volts (most will run safely up to 12 volts. Those that have a lower maximum voltage than 12 volts are clearly noted in the original packaging.)
If your locomotive needs more than 3.5 volts constantly to operate, it may need an obstruction cleared from the gears and axels. Frequently this is pet hair, of long thin fibers from scenery material that wraps itself tightly around the axels and is very hard to see.
Now I made the break-in for my two GP's (7 and 9) too. I noticed that, with the same voltage (pure DC), they run slower than the Budd's (I would say this is normal, they are dedicated to freight trains). And then with some "improvised" wedges I built a (straight) ramp of about 2% (my maximum will be 1.5 to 1.6%, with a length of 6.5m); 'cab forward' (i.e. traction tyres on the front truck) and with a train of six 33' hoppers and a caboose (one loco at a time), they slowed down but climbed the ramp......! I hope only that climbing my ramps won't make any damage to the locos (after climbing and doing some switching, they will rest for several minutes). On my "flat" layout I didn't notice any rising of temperature after 5 minutes.
1) Because the RDC is a passenger unit, it is geared to run about 30% faster at the same voltage as our other locomotives. Although it would be prototypically unusual, if you want to run a locomotive with the RDC, the best way is to convert to DCC. 2) operations of your locomotives hauling ANY number of cars up ANY grade will not harm your locomotive. Even with the traction tires, the wheels will slip before damage is done to the motor. Note: if you add additional weight to the locomotive, then this may not be true, as the additional weight will cause more traction and strain on the motor than designed. ALSO: if the locomotive begins to spin it's wheels, make changes as soon as practical to prevent this situation. Wheel spin is a design safety to prevent damage, not a normal mode of operation. It is safe for the wheels to spin for 1 minute for every hour of operation, so you do not need to rush to correct the wheel spin.
I try to perform automatic position detection for my hoppers (Full Throttle 33'), so they can stop in the right position at the gravel plant. 1) IR sensors can be "saturated" by daylight ; I measured the resistance of such a sensor outdoors, and found 2KOhm ... even with no direct sunlight. 2) Then I tried to put a neodyme magnet into a car, to use a reed switch. Let it run over a Rokuhan turnout, and You will understand the problem ... . 3) Now another solution I am thinking of is to "graphite" the wheels of one truck with spray for electronics (like for block systems), and use a 25mm detection section. Who used graphite spray on those wheels ? They have an insulating hub on one side only. Because it's rather difficult to remove the paint in case of problem, my question : did You "graphite" the whole surface of the hub, or only draw one thin line between the axle and the external conductive part of the wheel ? I will use a homebrew "voltage divider", detecting 20 to 30K will be no problem. 4) Or simply use a series of insulated sections ? If I power them "in sequence", the locomotive will move each time one section. Two 25mm Rokuhan sections plus the insulator make a length of 51.5mm, the "effective" length of the hoppers is 53.5mm (measured from the front of one hopper to the front of the next one), for a train with six cars this would make a position error of 1cm between the first and the last car (in fact, not a serious matter). 5) Or has anyone another idea ?
Thanks for any answer ...
I use solution #3 for my DCC layout.
Over 300 blocks of computer control that works perfectly.
Spray the paint into a bottle and then brush it on for better control. If you spray too much, some alcohol will thin it down and increase the resistance.
Sorry guys, appears my comment was not as clear as I intended it to be.
I was having a bit of fun with Jeff and trying to hint that the way to improved the SD70ACe was to replace the light pipe with user installed Fiber Optics.
We were not happy with the SD70ACe light pipe design because it is a two part piece. It was done this way to accommodate different configurations of the headlights *BUT* the light has to jump twice in order to work (from the LED to part A, and then from Part A to part B) and this caused a less than optimal solution.
There are no plans to offer a new part for the SD70ACe becuse of the exceptionally high cost of tooling, the long lead time to have the part made, and the skill level needed to replace the light pipe is high and complex. This is not a defect issue: the lights do work - it is a performance issue: we wish they were better.
Removing the existing light pipe on the SD70ACe is much easier than installing a new piece. If you want to improve the lights of the SD70ACe, and you are an experieced modeler, then I think the best way to do that is to replace the provided light pipe plastic with your own Fiber Optic lines.
We do try to improve our products as time goes by, and we did improve the ES44AC locomotives by going back to a single piece light pipe. The light quality of the ES44AC is much better than the SD70ACe. The whole issue was created by us trying to push the envelope as to what can be accomplished in Z scale on a mass manufactured basis. There was a time when lights on locomotives and cars were represented by dots of paint. Now we are trying to make functional ditch lights in incredibly tight spaces. We have come a long way, but progress is never smooth or perfect. We will keep trying to make them better.