One reason I like O gauge is there are so many options. I put in an 027 loop and run my older Lionels on it, my My Marx plus my hybrids.  I had several On3 cars and put Lionel trucks and couplers on them plus the newer Marx plastic cars  look OK behind an older Lionel engine. You look at AF, Marx and On3 cars and they are comparable in size. Look at a real mixed freight on the rails and the cars are different sizes. I have several "transition" tenders, cars and couplers that I use.  A  Lionel hook coupler  will fit in a slot on a Marx scissor coupler. Lots of options.

I look at it this way. S gauge has its advantages and so does O.   Last may I bought the S Gauge PE set from a forum member. Now I am some what hooked on S. Only real issue is finding CB&Q, BN and GN engines.  Operating system is the other issue. I prefer DCC but Lionel's engines are Legacy so they would have to be converted. As for space, current layout in O uses 080 curves. The equivalent in S would give me long sweeping curves that would be prototypical.

AM has some engines that I would like to get but don't understand the difference between AC and DC.

Since I have a Z4000 dose it mean that I need to get a different transformer?

Are AC (Lionel) engines capable of running on DC? (MTH AM) Current plans are to build a new O layout and either incorporate S for perspective or build an S layout in the current location.

Track capability is another issue.   Is AF compatible with MTH?  

Yes lot of questions but S is doable for me. Now if I can find a correct F3 or F7s and the Empire builder both feet will be off the fence.

US Army retired

Suncoast Regional Coordinator 

First Florida  Chapter of the MVPA HAZMAT SME(RID,DOD,IATA,ADR,CFR 49)  

 

suzukovich posted:

I look at it this way. S gauge has its advantages and so does O.   Last may I bought the S Gauge PE set from a forum member. Now I am some what hooked on S. Only real issue is finding CB&Q, BN and GN engines.  Operating system is the other issue. I prefer DCC but Lionel's engines are Legacy so they would have to be converted. As for space, current layout in O uses 080 curves. The equivalent in S would give me long sweeping curves that would be prototypical.

AM has some engines that I would like to get but don't understand the difference between AC and DC.

Since I have a Z4000 dose it mean that I need to get a different transformer?

Are AC (Lionel) engines capable of running on DC? (MTH AM) Current plans are to build a new O layout and either incorporate S for perspective or build an S layout in the current location.

Track capability is another issue.   Is AF compatible with MTH?  

Yes lot of questions but S is doable for me. Now if I can find a correct F3 or F7s and the Empire builder both feet will be off the fence.

The Legacy code in Lionel American Flyer is DCC compatible since December 2012.  These locomotives will operate straight out of the box on conventional AC, Legacy, TMCC, DCC and conventional DC (although can be fussy with certain DC power packs.)

All of AM's locomotives have a DC motor.  AM's AC locomotives have an electronic 3-position reverse unit installed that converts AC to DC and controls Forward, Neutral, Reverse. 

Conventional AC operation only off any AC transformer, be it Lionel, MTH or MRC.  Their DC locomotives will only operate off of a conventional DC power pack.  If command control is desired, it's up to the used to install the system of his preference.

We're still waiting on locomotives (F3's) from MTH to determine the capabilities.  MTH bought the former S-Helper Service product line.  These old SHS models are a sample of what they look like:

CP UP F3A-B 1402A 1402Br

MTH S-Trax and Lionel's S Fastrack can be made to play together with minor modifications:

Track 031012 1rTrack 031812 2rTrack 031812 3rTrack 031812 4rTrack 031812 5r

Rusty

 

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Michael Hokkanen posted:

I asked the very same question when I got started.

Go to any hobby shop, website, or magazine ad, and check out the available stock of  trains and accessories for O and S gauge.

Note that minimum turning radii for each are very similar as are prices.

The answer should become apparent.

 

 

I hear ya.

Rusty Traque posted:
suzukovich posted:

I look at it this way. S gauge has its advantages and so does O.   Last may I bought the S Gauge PE set from a forum member. Now I am some what hooked on S. Only real issue is finding CB&Q, BN and GN engines.  Operating system is the other issue. I prefer DCC but Lionel's engines are Legacy so they would have to be converted. As for space, current layout in O uses 080 curves. The equivalent in S would give me long sweeping curves that would be prototypical.

AM has some engines that I would like to get but don't understand the difference between AC and DC.

Since I have a Z4000 dose it mean that I need to get a different transformer?

Are AC (Lionel) engines capable of running on DC? (MTH AM) Current plans are to build a new O layout and either incorporate S for perspective or build an S layout in the current location.

Track capability is another issue.   Is AF compatible with MTH?  

Yes lot of questions but S is doable for me. Now if I can find a correct F3 or F7s and the Empire builder both feet will be off the fence.

The Legacy code in Lionel American Flyer is DCC compatible since December 2012.  These locomotives will operate straight out of the box on conventional AC, Legacy, TMCC, DCC and conventional DC (although can be fussy with certain DC power packs.)

All of AM's locomotives have a DC motor.  AM's AC locomotives have an electronic 3-position reverse unit installed that converts AC to DC and controls Forward, Neutral, Reverse. 

Conventional AC operation only off any AC transformer, be it Lionel, MTH or MRC.  Their DC locomotives will only operate off of a conventional DC power pack.  If command control is desired, it's up to the used to install the system of his preference.

We're still waiting on locomotives (F3's) from MTH to determine the capabilities.  MTH bought the former S-Helper Service product line.  These old SHS models are a sample of what they look like:

MTH S-Trax and Lionel's S Fastrack cane be made to play together with minor modifications

Rusty

 

Exceptional reply.  Thanks.

Rusty, Mark, Thanks for the answers. That was a huge help for me. So for command and control DCC I will need to  go with DC and no issues with Lionel correct? AC, I would be able to upgrade to DCC in the future? The S Gauge PE that will run also on DC?.   Looks like I am off the fence.

US Army retired

Suncoast Regional Coordinator 

First Florida  Chapter of the MVPA HAZMAT SME(RID,DOD,IATA,ADR,CFR 49)  

 

suzukovich posted:

Rusty, Mark, Thanks for the answers. That was a huge help for me. So for command and control DCC I will need to  go with DC and no issues with Lionel correct? AC, I would be able to upgrade to DCC in the future? The S Gauge PE that will run also on DC?.   Looks like I am off the fence.

For any Legacy equipped Flyer built after 2102, DCC will work.  As far as conventional DC goes, things are a little muddy.

I have been able to run an earlier locomotive (the Y3 as a test) on conventional DC, but, and it's a big but, it depends on the DC supply.  It ran well on an ancient MRC Controlmaster X from the 1970's, but had problems with a Bachmann Spectrum and MRC pack from around 2000.  Lionel worked with several people to try to get universal conventional DC operation with Legacy electronics, but apparently not all DC powerpacks are created equal.

I don't have a PE set or a Berkshire to test, but it's my understanding that the FlyerChief electronics will accept a constant 12v-16v DC as a power source.

I know it's confusing.   With Lionel and MTH developing their proprietary systems early on instead of going to DCC standards, it can get confusing pretty fast.  Both companies have had to "back into" DCC to market to scales other than O, MTH for HO and Lionel in an attempt to capture some of the S Scale (not traditional Flyer) market.

Watch that first step off the fence, it's a lulu!

Rusty

Mark and Rusty,

AM has some engines that I would like to get but don't understand the difference between AC and DC.

AM engines come in both versions. AC engines have an electronic reverse board installed so the engines will respond to a F-N-R-N-F command from sequencing an AC transformer like most postwar engines did. DC versions operate on a strictly DC power source like most HO engines do. Direction is determined by a switch on the transformer.

Just looking at American Models website. I see you either order DC or traditional AC. What do the majority of S users/ hobbyist today do? Scale ? Or HI rail with AC motors or HI rail with DC motors ?

George

Seacoast posted:

Mark and Rusty,

AM has some engines that I would like to get but don't understand the difference between AC and DC.

AM engines come in both versions. AC engines have an electronic reverse board installed so the engines will respond to a F-N-R-N-F command from sequencing an AC transformer like most postwar engines did. DC versions operate on a strictly DC power source like most HO engines do. Direction is determined by a switch on the transformer.

Just looking at American Models website. I see you either order DC or traditional AC. What do the majority of S users/ hobbyist today do? Scale ? Or HI rail with AC motors or HI rail with DC motors ?

The DC can motor is universal nowadays in S.  Lionel hasn't used an AC motor in Flyer since the 1980's. Traditional Flyer from the A.C. Gilbert company are, with a few exceptions, AC motored.

Here are the basic internals of an American Models diesel locomotive:

rAM T&P 121814 004

This is their GP9, scale wheels, DC only.  It will just sit there and hum if AC (or DCC) is applied.  Eventually, the motor goes up in a puff of smoke under AC.

A DC Hiral unit would look the same, except the wheel flanges would be deeper and an A/F compatible coupler would be mounted. 

An AC unit would have a circuit board that converts AC to DC and circuitry for the cycling reverse mounted on the motor with double-stick foam tape.  The AC locomotives allow a folks with traditional American Flyer railroads to run AM locomotives with no modification.  An AM AC locomotive will run on DC, but reversing can be temperamental at times.

Lionel/Flyer uses two DC can motors, one above each truck.  This is the rear motor of their ES44 locomotive, equipped with scale wheels and couplers:

ES44 Misc 032215 002

The Legacy control boards are mounted between the two motors.  The rear board controls the sound volume, smoke on/off, program/run switches and provides a connection for the rear headlight.  This is a "smart" locomotive.  The code programmed on the Legacy boards detects the power being applied and runs the locomotive accordingly. 

Scale guys (like me) use DC, DCC or both.  I have an MRC DCC system connected to my block toggles and can select either conventional DC or DCC operation.  I run my American Flyer SD70's and ES44 with my DCC system.

I set up a loop of S-Trax track on the floor occasionally to run my AC trains.  I use an MTH Z4000 for conventional AC or an old TMCC system if the loco has either Legacy or TMCC guts.

S Test 122415 004

Rusty

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I operate S gauge high rail. I buy most of my American Models engines as High Rail DC because they are the least expensive. I then convert them to TMCC/Railsounds with the ERR boards to operate with the Legacy system.

I kept one AM steam engine and one diesel as stock AC high rail with the AM sounds. I operate them on my Christmas layout with the MRC O27 Dualpower supply. The walk around handhelds have whistle and bell buttons that work the AM sounds. Those buttons on the handhelds also operate the whistle and bell on Lionel Legacy engines. The whistle button when pressed 3 times in quick succession will also initiate the crew talk on a Legacy engine.

Tom

As I review all these comments this seems like a popular topic needing some discussion.  Some enterprising fellow should write a book about the pros and cons.

BTW, this is all leading me to think I should attend the big train show near Baltimore in October.  Its not too far from me and would probably be informative.  Could even wait and purchase some items there.

I bought some Fama track (since S gauge track was not available where I live) and tried tried to run American Flyer S gauge trains on Fama track. I found out the wheels touch the rail-chairs. After removing some plastic of  the rails chairs it worked, but that is of course not a nice solution; but it did work:

So Fama and American Flyer are not compatible. I assume more scale like S gauge trains can run on Fama track.

Regards

Fred

BTW: Maybe this question could better be shifted to the S forum: https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/forum/s-scale-trains

The original post by FOXER55 referenced O gauge versus S gauge.  It evolved into discussion of O and S scale and curve diameter, etc. 

O gauge includes O27 gauge with 27 inch diameter curves and looks best with gear about 20% less than O scale.  A win win especially when considering the ready availability and lower cost of everything O27 gauge.

Charlie

If had to start over again, I would pick S hands down. But my parents "started" me with Lionel so O is where I stayed; plus some Athearn HO at a later date. I enjoyed both (still do).

Later Gator,

  Dave

 

Here comes a Yankee with a blackened soul,
Heading to Gatow with a load of coal.
......Anonymous U. S. pilot during the Berlin Airlift

When Gilbert came out with "S" gauge after the war, I was loved the scale look as opposed to what Lionel was offering at the time in an equivalent price range., so I switched. In a few years, cars, girls, and marriage ended the train romance until the late '80s. When I got back in, I found that some very nice looking trains were being made in O gauge and that S gauge had fallen pretty much by the wayside. So O became my scale, though I still think S is the right size. Of course, if I had unlimited funds and space O Scale two rail would be my ideal layout.

I got into O gauge 3-rail and Flyer about the same time a decade or so ago. I have a small collection of Flyer locomotives that I'm slowly fixing up, but old Flyer collectability, limited S products and Flyonel new pricing have kept the S side down in my case. I lean heavily towards the O gauge secondary market and don't have any brand loyalty.

Firewood

 

"Nice try, Lao Che!"

sncf231e posted:

I bought some Fama track (since S gauge track was not available where I live) and tried tried to run American Flyer S gauge trains on Fama track. I found out the wheels touch the rail-chairs. After removing some plastic of  the rails chairs it worked, but that is of course not a nice solution; but it did work:

So Fama and American Flyer are not compatible. I assume more scale like S gauge trains can run on Fama track.

Regards

Fred

BTW: Maybe this question could better be shifted to the S forum: https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/forum/s-scale-trains

JIMJ, Fred, I added a comment on a new track compatibility thread at https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...e-track-alternatives

Firewood

 

"Nice try, Lao Che!"

Rusty Traque posted:
Firewood posted:

 but old Flyer collectability, limited S products and Flyonel new pricing have kept the S side down in my case.

Bingo.  That's what keeps S scale from taking over the model railroad world...

Rusty

If you think the Flyonel prices are high, check out their O gauge prices.

ACSG Carolinas Division

NASG

I have to say, if I was coming a newcomer into the hobby, then just by looking at the latest Lionel catalog and comparing their 3-rail Fast track and their S-track, there would be tremendous incentive to go with S; the 2-rail track is realistic-looking and speaks "model railroading." But, when comparing actual diameters of the tracks there's not much difference in the small curves (O-36 vs. 40" in the S).

If you want to run scale GG-1s, or scale anything, then try with all options available to increase the track diameters to the maximum possible. IMO, such beasts look much better on curves >100" in diameter. This usually necessitates an around-the-room layout or modules.

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