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  • Topic: Bachmann Spectrum 55 Ton 3 Truck Shay

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    • December 7, 2010 1:36 PM EST
      • Darlington,SC..,
         
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      I purchased a Shay on line about 3 months ago. I didn't run it until my track was finished.
      I finally got the big loco up and did a maiden run across the track, Deadhead at low speed.
      Well on the long bridge it hung up as it exited the bridge, I fine tuned the track a little OK.
      Hung up at the hump. Lowered the hump a little. OK.
      Hung up on switches at yard, adjusted switches. OK. Hung up on straight track east of yard.
      Now wait a minute this is ridicules my Climax ran this with no problems.
      I can't make it all the way around the track.
      This is my most expensive indoor loco.
      Even my cheapie loco runs this pulling the track cleaner on dirty track with no problem.
      Closer look at the Shay, I found that the center truck, the wheels are not rotating under power.
      More CHINESE JUNK!!! This is bad right out of the box.
      Here it is I wanted to run this at christmas and this unit has to go back to the service department.
      I give this loco a 3 out of 10.
      The sound did work, Lights work. couplers untested. pulling power- little or none,

      In contrast I give the little Pico Saddle tank engine a 9 out of 10.
      The only deduction is the cheap plastic side rods.
    • December 7, 2010 2:22 PM EST
      • Spokane Valley, Washington St.
         
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      David,
      Sorry to hear about your shay prollems, but I am not surprised.
      My three truck, I dummied the trailing tender motor block. It made no difference on the pulling power. Besides, it made the batteries last longer.
      Worst case scenario for you, if you don't want to send it back, is to swap out the center motor block for the rear one.
      I realize this is major surgery, but if you have the know-how it's not too difficult.
      A few screws and the entire motor block falls off. Connections for power are made by some phony circular buss.
      I hardwired everything in mine.
      It's sad that just about every Bachmann needs tweaking. If they didn't Barry wouldn't be in business.
      I have made a shelf queen out of my K-27, awaiting Barry's new drive for it.
    • December 8, 2010 4:48 PM EST
      • UK/Ontario/Oregon
         
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      Yup, some folks laffed at me with my tin K-27, but is sure as heck ain't no shelf queen.

      That said, I have all the Bachmann geared locos - three Shays, a Climax and a Heisler - as well as a Connie and an old Annie, and not had any problems with a single one of them. In fact, my three-struck Oregon Lumber Shay got tooked right out of the box, lubed up and set to running right there and then for the duration of an eight hour show, and never faltered once. My first Shay, from the Train Stop in CA back in 1999, has never been worked on once.

      tac
      www.ovgrs.org
      Supporter of the Cape Meares Lighthouse Restoration Fund
    • December 9, 2010 9:24 PM EST

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      Yes, I had the exact same problem with my new three truck Shay. My front truck was missing a solder point on the circular ring and the wire was just sitting there intermittently sending the juice to the electric motor in the front truck. This problem was noted after a battery install and RC conversion by Don Sweet and RCS of New England. It was quite embarassing with my RR buddies over to see the "new Shay" and two out of three trucks had power and quite suddenly the first truck quit. The big loco went nowhere. I sent the engine back to Don instead of Bachmann as I was uncertain if my warranty was voided with the conversion. Don found were the factory forgot to solder a wire and repaired it quickly at no charge. He also walked me through the emotional let down of my first Large Scale locomotive failing immediately after purchase. He too reported this was "par for the course" and frequent rewiring jobs and tweaking were needed on many of the Bachmann Shays. He was quite a lot of help. Here is the Shay months later running like a champ on my Little River Railroad layout. I learned a lot about Large Scale Rail Roading with this electrical glitch and the good folks like Don Sweet out there who can help with problem solving.

      Doc Tom
    • December 10, 2010 6:41 AM EST
      • Southern Illinois
         
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      Good picture.
    • January 22, 2011 5:54 PM EST
      • Darlington,SC..,
         
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      Do you think that the Chinese are as good as a cat to come when called? I mean they are not noted for quality workmanship. I don't know why people put up wit it. I'm quite sick of the crap they send here. I'm going to go over there and punch their leader right in the suck-hole.
      Tom Grabenstein said:
      Yes, I had the exact same problem with my new three truck Shay. My front truck was missing a solder point on the circular ring and the wire was just sitting there intermittently sending the juice to the electric motor in the front truck. This problem was noted after a battery install and RC conversion by Don Sweet and RCS of New England. It was quite embarassing with my RR buddies over to see the "new Shay" and two out of three trucks had power and quite suddenly the first truck quit. The big loco went nowhere. I sent the engine back to Don instead of Bachmann as I was uncertain if my warranty was voided with the conversion. Don found were the factory forgot to solder a wire and repaired it quickly at no charge. He also walked me through the emotional let down of my first Large Scale locomotive failing immediately after purchase. He too reported this was "par for the course" and frequent rewiring jobs and tweaking were needed on many of the Bachmann Shays. He was quite a lot of help. Here is the Shay months later running like a champ on my Little River Railroad layout. I learned a lot about Large Scale Rail Roading with this electrical glitch and the good folks like Don Sweet out there who can help with problem solving.

      Doc Tom
    • January 22, 2011 5:55 PM EST
      • Darlington,SC..,
         
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      David Kapp said:
      Do you think that the Chinese are as good as a cat to come when called? I mean they are not noted for quality workmanship. I don't know why people put up wit it. I'm quite sick of the crap they send here. I'm going to go over there and punch their leader right in the suck-hole. (mouth)
      Tom Grabenstein said:
      Yes, I had the exact same problem with my new three truck Shay. My front truck was missing a solder point on the circular ring and the wire was just sitting there intermittently sending the juice to the electric motor in the front truck. This problem was noted after a battery install and RC conversion by Don Sweet and RCS of New England. It was quite embarassing with my RR buddies over to see the "new Shay" and two out of three trucks had power and quite suddenly the first truck quit. The big loco went nowhere. I sent the engine back to Don instead of Bachmann as I was uncertain if my warranty was voided with the conversion. Don found were the factory forgot to solder a wire and repaired it quickly at no charge. He also walked me through the emotional let down of my first Large Scale locomotive failing immediately after purchase. He too reported this was "par for the course" and frequent rewiring jobs and tweaking were needed on many of the Bachmann Shays. He was quite a lot of help. Here is the Shay months later running like a champ on my Little River Railroad layout. I learned a lot about Large Scale Rail Roading with this electrical glitch and the good folks like Don Sweet out there who can help with problem solving.

      Doc Tom
    • January 23, 2011 3:40 AM EST
      • North Coastal, CA
         
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      David Kapp said:
      Do you think that the Chinese are as good as a cat to come when called?
      David: Basic intelligence tests comparing Americans (mostly whites of European ancestry) to a variety of Asian and other peoples, have found that North America peoples are of superior intellect. The problem is that these tests have mostly been devised and administered by folks of white European ancestry. When the ability and willingness to perform repetitive complex tasks with good precision is tested, Asian peoples are the clear winners (over both cats and other human strains). Still, the Chinese workers are not our slaves, and therefore aren't required ". . . to come when called."
      David Kapp said:
      I mean they are not noted for quality workmanship.
      The reason "they" are not "noted for quality workmanship" is that the (again mostly North American) folks who employ "them" to produce that perfect product nearly universally put dollars first. The fact that we expect 100% perfect quality at the absolute "lowest price, always the lowest price" drives the amount of money the supplier can / will spend to produce a perfect product.
      David Kapp said:
      I don't know why people put up wit (sic) it.
      No one forced you to purchase the locomotive. I know several U.S. model makers who will build you a 'perfect' Shay. Starting costs are in the $5,000 range, and there is still no guarantee that the resulting model will not suffer from a bad solder joint.
      David Kapp said:
      I'm quite sick of the crap they send here.
      Then don't purchase it, or purchase one from another supplier. Why would you purchase a hobby item that is supposed to give you pleasure, then hate it? I'm certain the supplier has a return policy. Send the "crap" back. That will show "them" that we won't put up with it.
      David Kapp said:
      I'm going to go over there and punch their leader right in the suck-hole. (mouth)
      Okay, if that will make you feel better. Personally, I avoid making threats on the internet, no matter how much they might be deserved.
      Tom Grabenstein said:
      Yes, I had the exact same problem with my new three truck Shay. My front truck was missing a solder point on the circular ring and the wire was just sitting there intermittently sending the juice to the electric motor in the front truck. This problem was noted after a battery install and RC conversion by Don Sweet and RCS of New England. It was quite embarassing with my RR buddies over to see the "new Shay" and two out of three trucks had power and quite suddenly the first truck quit. The big loco went nowhere. I sent the engine back to Don instead of Bachmann as I was uncertain if my warranty was voided with the conversion. Don found were the factory forgot to solder a wire and repaired it quickly at no charge. He also walked me through the emotional let down of my first Large Scale locomotive failing immediately after purchase. He too reported this was "par for the course" and frequent rewiring jobs and tweaking were needed on many of the Bachmann Shays. He was quite a lot of help. Here is the Shay months later running like a champ on my Little River Railroad layout. I learned a lot about Large Scale Rail Roading with this electrical glitch and the good folks like Don Sweet out there who can help with problem solving.

      Doc Tom
      Tom: First, thanks for the recent pix of your layout. Looks great. As to your problem with the Shay, I hope we all realize that the loose connection could have been the result of a manufacturing defect, or shipping damage when it went from the factory to you to Don Sweet then back to you. The fact that Don converted the locomotive and obviously tested it without finding the defect pretty much shows that the problem probably occurred during shipment from Don to you, or during the unpacking and setup. Although a possible cause, it's not obvious that it is directly associated with the manufacturing. Still, I hate it when something I bought in good faith doesn't work to my expectations! Happy RRing, Jerry
    • January 23, 2011 6:13 AM EST

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      David,
      did you pay the recommended retail price of $1425.00 or the street price of around $450? It is the consumer who drives down the price of goods, so quality and service suffer as the American manufacturer stipulates a minimum production cost. If you want to blame someone then look in the mirror!

      The three truck Shay has inherent manufacturing faults coupled with a sound decoder system that is apparently no longer made or even available as a spare part. It was custom made by Soundtrax for Bachmann to B'mann's specs. Would I purchase one - a definite NO!

      How many times have locomotive defects been traced to faulty trackwork??????? Why do you have a hump in the track - is that Bachmann's fault?

      In so far as Asian wokers then they have my admiration. I have stripped and rebuilt many Bachmann locomotives and I do it for pleasure, not every day of the week. As Jerry points out, they are assembly line workers who build according to directions laid down in contracts and directions of their North American employers (I know that they work for Chinese companies contracted by American companies).
    • January 23, 2011 5:22 PM EST

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      Tim is right.
      The Chinese can make first rate products of all descriptions. It all depends on the price we are prepared to pay for them.

      As to the 3 x truck Shay. I have never seen one with the DCC sound decoder, however the non decoder version seems to be a vast improvement over the older 2 x truck version. Even if we have to rip out the fitted DCC interface pcb to get a decent battery R/C loco.
      The only criticism I can make is they still use the crappy chuff trigger contacts which are problematic at best in older Shays.
      ____________________________________

      Best wishes,
      Tony Walsham

      Remote Control Systems. www.rcs-rc.com/
        Modern technology. Old Fashioned reliability

    • January 24, 2011 2:14 AM EST
      • Darlington,SC..,
         
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      Well you only see one side of the coin. China is a communist country. That is much different than most of us know about. The workers do as they are told and for the most part don't care about quality. Any way it's for those rich westerners. Here is how it worked. Flood market with inferior cheep products. Put everyone else out of business. Now they have to buy our crap because no one else is making it anymore. And the price I paid for it was less than $300 new in the box, because it wasn't worth even that. And my track ha a slight hump at the top of the hill. That usually happens when the up grade stops then goes back down right away. It got stuck there because the center truck was dragging. If it would have been rotating like it should have been I wouldn,t have had the problem. None of my other loco's had trouble running on my track. Tim it doesn't matter how much I paid for the Shay. If I have to buy Chinese I wont pay full price because their stuff is inferior to everyone else. I don't dislike the Chinese people just their craftsmanship and business practices.
      Tim Brien said:
      David, did you pay the recommended retail price of $1425.00 or the street price of around $450? It is the consumer who drives down the price of goods, so quality and service suffer as the American manufacturer stipulates a minimum production cost. If you want to blame someone then look in the mirror! The three truck Shay has inherent manufacturing faults coupled with a sound decoder system that is apparently no longer made or even available as a spare part. It was custom made by Soundtrax for Bachmann to B'mann's specs. Would I purchase one - a definite NO! How many times have locomotive defects been traced to faulty trackwork??????? Why do you have a hump in the track - is that Bachmann's fault? In so far as Asian wokers then they have my admiration. I have stripped and rebuilt many Bachmann locomotives and I do it for pleasure, not every day of the week. As Jerry points out, they are assembly line workers who build according to directions laid down in contracts and directions of their North American employers (I know that they work for Chinese companies contracted by American companies).
    • January 24, 2011 2:17 AM EST
      • Darlington,SC..,
         
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      They may be but they haven't proven it. The proof is in the punch. They are rated the worst producers. Poor quality, and shoddy workmanship. That's the facts.
      TonyWalsham said:
      Tim is right. The Chinese can make first rate products of all descriptions. It all depends on the price we are prepared to pay for them. As to the 3 x truck Shay. I have never seen one with the DCC sound decoder, however the non decoder version seems to be a vast improvement over the older 2 x truck version. Even if we have to rip out the fitted DCC interface pcb to get a decent battery R/C loco. The only criticism I can make is they still use the crappy chuff trigger contacts which are problematic at best in older Shays.
    • January 24, 2011 2:25 AM EST
      • Darlington,SC..,
         
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      Doc First that is a really nice pic. I don't know what was wrong with it I didn't open it up, I didn't want to void the warranty. There isn't a auth repair center near by so they had me send it to Philly.
      Tom Grabenstein said:
      Yes, I had the exact same problem with my new three truck Shay. My front truck was missing a solder point on the circular ring and the wire was just sitting there intermittently sending the juice to the electric motor in the front truck. This problem was noted after a battery install and RC conversion by Don Sweet and RCS of New England. It was quite embarassing with my RR buddies over to see the "new Shay" and two out of three trucks had power and quite suddenly the first truck quit. The big loco went nowhere. I sent the engine back to Don instead of Bachmann as I was uncertain if my warranty was voided with the conversion. Don found were the factory forgot to solder a wire and repaired it quickly at no charge. He also walked me through the emotional let down of my first Large Scale locomotive failing immediately after purchase. He too reported this was "par for the course" and frequent rewiring jobs and tweaking were needed on many of the Bachmann Shays. He was quite a lot of help. Here is the Shay months later running like a champ on my Little River Railroad layout. I learned a lot about Large Scale Rail Roading with this electrical glitch and the good folks like Don Sweet out there who can help with problem solving.

      Doc Tom
    • January 24, 2011 2:36 AM EST

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      I guess being as how China is the ONLY producer of any consequence nowadays they are both the best and the worst.

      China is not a proper Communist country by any means. It is a Totalitarian dictatorship (and Communist in name only) where, what was a noble ambition by Mao and his cronies to improve the lot of the peasant, was usurped by vested interests and the workers enslaved to produce stuff at the lowest possible cost to satisfy the never ending demand for lower prices by the West.
      The Chinese can produce high quality products. It depends on what you are prepared to pay.
      ____________________________________

      Best wishes,
      Tony Walsham

      Remote Control Systems. www.rcs-rc.com/
        Modern technology. Old Fashioned reliability

    • January 24, 2011 2:38 AM EST
      • Darlington,SC..,
         
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      You should have been with me back in the later part of the sixties, you could have ducked some of their quality to. They live different than people in the west. The only thing most of them like about us is our green backs. The sooner you learn that the better off you will be. I don't believe in test results. You sound like a Asian influence lover, They can do no wrong in your eyes. I had a few DEAD friends that would disagree with you if they were still alive.
      Jerry Bowers said:
      David Kapp said:
      Do you think that the Chinese are as good as a cat to come when called?
      David: Basic intelligence tests comparing Americans (mostly whites of European ancestry) to a variety of Asian and other peoples, have found that North America peoples are of superior intellect. The problem is that these tests have mostly been devised and administered by folks of white European ancestry. When the ability and willingness to perform repetitive complex tasks with good precision is tested, Asian peoples are the clear winners (over both cats and other human strains). Still, the Chinese workers are not our slaves, and therefore aren't required ". . . to come when called."
      David Kapp said:
      I mean they are not noted for quality workmanship.
      The reason "they" are not "noted for quality workmanship" is that the (again mostly North American) folks who employ "them" to produce that perfect product nearly universally put dollars first. The fact that we expect 100% perfect quality at the absolute "lowest price, always the lowest price" drives the amount of money the supplier can / will spend to produce a perfect product.
      David Kapp said:
      I don't know why people put up wit (sic) it.
      No one forced you to purchase the locomotive. I know several U.S. model makers who will build you a 'perfect' Shay. Starting costs are in the $5,000 range, and there is still no guarantee that the resulting model will not suffer from a bad solder joint.
      David Kapp said:
      I'm quite sick of the crap they send here.
      Then don't purchase it, or purchase one from another supplier. Why would you purchase a hobby item that is supposed to give you pleasure, then hate it? I'm certain the supplier has a return policy. Send the "crap" back. That will show "them" that we won't put up with it.
      David Kapp said:
      I'm going to go over there and punch their leader right in the suck-hole. (mouth)
      Okay, if that will make you feel better. Personally, I avoid making threats on the internet, no matter how much they might be deserved.
      Tom Grabenstein said:
      Yes, I had the exact same problem with my new three truck Shay. My front truck was missing a solder point on the circular ring and the wire was just sitting there intermittently sending the juice to the electric motor in the front truck. This problem was noted after a battery install and RC conversion by Don Sweet and RCS of New England. It was quite embarassing with my RR buddies over to see the "new Shay" and two out of three trucks had power and quite suddenly the first truck quit. The big loco went nowhere. I sent the engine back to Don instead of Bachmann as I was uncertain if my warranty was voided with the conversion. Don found were the factory forgot to solder a wire and repaired it quickly at no charge. He also walked me through the emotional let down of my first Large Scale locomotive failing immediately after purchase. He too reported this was "par for the course" and frequent rewiring jobs and tweaking were needed on many of the Bachmann Shays. He was quite a lot of help. Here is the Shay months later running like a champ on my Little River Railroad layout. I learned a lot about Large Scale Rail Roading with this electrical glitch and the good folks like Don Sweet out there who can help with problem solving.

      Doc Tom
      Tom: First, thanks for the recent pix of your layout. Looks great. As to your problem with the Shay, I hope we all realize that the loose connection could have been the result of a manufacturing defect, or shipping damage when it went from the factory to you to Don Sweet then back to you. The fact that Don converted the locomotive and obviously tested it without finding the defect pretty much shows that the problem probably occurred during shipment from Don to you, or during the unpacking and setup. Although a possible cause, it's not obvious that it is directly associated with the manufacturing. Still, I hate it when something I bought in good faith doesn't work to my expectations! Happy RRing, Jerry
    • January 24, 2011 2:55 AM EST
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      Yes I know people are possessed to by the cheapest no matter how bad the quality. If you want the best price, do it on things that are of equal quality. There is a big difference between a Pinto and a Rolls. Or a Yamaha and a Harley. You can't just look at the sticker price. I'm done.
      TonyWalsham said:
      I guess being as how China is the ONLY producer of any consequence nowadays they are both the best and the worst. China is not a proper Communist country by any means. It is a Totalitarian dictatorship (and Communist in name only) where, what was a noble ambition by Mao and his cronies to improve the lot of the peasant, was usurped by vested interests and the workers enslaved to produce stuff at the lowest possible cost to satisfy the never ending demand for lower prices by the West. The Chinese can produce high quality products. It depends on what you are prepared to pay.
    • May 2, 2011 6:36 PM EDT

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      we need bachmann to make locos,, especially in fn3 as for many the accucraft are just too expensive,,,

      i have 10 of them and the faults are so frustrating,,,,, would i buy more,,,, yes,,,, but you can only take so much,,,

      and with prices rising as they are they have to get them right now,,, or they will be left with a lot of leftover stock,,,

      i just cant afford new brass locos,,,,, and im not going to buy anymore shelf queens or anything needing new gears or gearboxes.........
    • May 3, 2011 3:57 AM EDT
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      I have to agree with Dave's comment above. The fact is that NOBODY else in the business makes an electric three-truck Shay except AccuCraft - at around $3500 or so. Sure, there IS an electric Heisler [loads of $$$$ and made by the same company who makes AccuCraft stuff, by the look of it, but sold by another company in the USA] - maybe even a newer Climax, although I haven't seen an older Aster model for sale for quite a while. No self-respecting logging line can do without any of these typical locos.

      In fact, you can buy one of each of Bachmann's offerings for much less than the cost of a single AccuCraft three-trucker - even the [rare] two-cylinder electric Shay is the thick end of $1500, too.

      Of my videos shows on YT shows a long consist of Fn3 rolling stock hauled by a double-headed lash-up of K27s - my AccuCraft tin version in front, and the plastic Bachmann version ahint it - take away my loco, and the whole long train of many mixed cars and loads AND the loco still cost substantially less than my one AccuCraft loco.

      See - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CF8viKjxjYE

      Sure there are the occasional issues on QC, addressed mainly by Dave Goodson, to whom we should all be very grateful, but there are also others, like me, who have so far had no reliability issues with a Bachmann loco, who are glad of the chance to own something that would otherwise not exist, or be out of financial reach.

      tac
    • May 9, 2011 10:50 PM EDT

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      Tac and all:

      The cost is now increasing - Tac is on-target with his observations on cost items. So what is the remedy? Yes, we can refuse to pay and thus don't buy. We can continue to wait until the "new" locos have run their initial consumer rush and the price drops. However, production will be less next time for the "next" new loco. Or will it? What is sure-fire is a remedy for lack of sales which will energize production. My analysis is unless the manufacturers show their large scale products pictorially in a garden setting via the myriad of garden magazines, because public memory of the Christmas time "LGB-in-the-window" is now close to non-memorable, the industry will continue to be a small cadre of older enthusiasts -- not families in the garden.

      Of any company that has the need and option for creative thinking, I think Hartland is the one. Run those little creative ditties among the photo-storied articles in the garden magazines and I think there is a chance for "HOW CUTE!" Cute is a start. I'll take it. I did. We have 400 ' of track and not a single house, station, or any other model RR identifier. No, just a layout among the plants so dinner guests at night ask: "Where did you get that. Is it easy to install? DO you have to bring it in at night? What about the rust? Hmmmm, your kidding, it has been up all these years. If we wanted to do it, would you show us how?"
      And I have -- our neighbor's home with a garden RR. No, there was no interest in a model railroad was their response. They just wanted the animation in their yard. They got it. My family agreed: "Animation, Dad, that's what we want -- not the full model railroad."

      Meanwhile, I'm done. I don't need another loco, another car, another power pack, No wait! There's the people down the block that have an incredible front and back yard stuffed with plants. They are garden fanatics. Yes, they have seen ours. Yet, we are not mainstream -- the people in the garden mags are. Come on, tell 'em manufacturers!

      Selah,
      Wendell

      Wendell
    • May 10, 2011 5:33 AM EDT
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      At the end of this month my pal Broos and I will be setting out our wares at a nearby village 'Garden wander' weekend - we have been given a free paw to set up in the 17th century gardens of the alms-houses in Barnwell village [Google Earth it and see]. These eight alms-houses are occupied by retired local people of standing who are, for some reason, otherwise alone in the world, and are amenable to what amounts to community living in a bunch of houses that were built in 1601. Mind you, we are not talking about 'poor' people here - the buildings are part of the UK's National Heritage buildings list and are worth about $20M.

      All that apart, we have the opportunity of bringing garden railways to a whole new audience, and we'll be running main-line, narrow gauge, steam and electric and real steam, too.

      You are all very welcome to visit us, if you are in the neighbourhood, that is.

      ...and if anybody is coming by from Canada, for goodness' sake bring me a large black and three Boston creams from Timmy's, will'ya?

      tac
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