Rivarossi Hudsons and DCC Sound

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I have been told by a reseller of digitrax and soundtraxx decoders of a potential prodlem with Rivarossi Hudsons and sound decoders. Apparently this person has seen premature failure of the sprung pick-up assembly spring after a short time when running with soundtraxx decoders. He attributes this to voltage. My thought is perhaps the spring is too thin to adequately hadle the current passing thru it causing premature heat fatigue and subsequent failure. I am unsure of this theory and would appreciate your input. Also is there a source for heavier (thicker guage) springs that may be more apt to handle both the constant current of DCC operation and the added amperage required for sound generation. If you know of a source it would be greatly appreciated. I like my rivarossi hudson and would hate to have to park it in the yard because of this. Thanx in advance for your help and advice

-- Rich Hennessey (rhenness@nycap.rr.com), March 05, 2003



Without taking my Hudson apart or putting sound in it, I doubt that the Soundtraxx units are ruining the pick-ups. 1. The voltage is the same for a given booster set-up and has nothing to do with the decoders at the power pick-ups. 2. Because the sound unit does produce sound and a regular decoder doesn't, obviously it draws a little more current. While Rivarossi may not have "heavy-duty" power pick-ups, I doubt the additional amount of current drawn would ruin the pick-ups.

You didn't say how they were being ruined. Since I doubt they are melting down, it is more likely that they are pitting resulting in failure to pick up power. This is caused by poor contact more than anything. Small size doesn't help - which may be the case here. But I would think the contacts would fail from pitting eventually no matter who's decoder you used. Perhaps a little sooner from one drawing more than another - but failure due to pitting will be inevitable regardless.

The easiest way to solve this is to use ConductaLube. Put a drop of this on your pick-ups where they contact the wheels. You will need to periodically reapply. It is available at your hobby shop.

ConductaLube should be in every modeler's toolbox. If you have a loco with clean wheels, is lubricated, has no mechanical problems, but still won't run, try this stuff on the pick-ups. It will make such a loco leap to life. It should help reduce the wearing out of your Rivarossi pick-ups.

Having said that, you should know that in general, Rivarossi usually has minimal electrical pick-ups. Even the Big Boy, with 16 driving wheels, only uses 4 of them for power pick-up. Your reseller or local hobby shop should sell power pick-ups that can be added to locomotives.

It's almost a law - the more pick-ups you have, the less trouble you will have getting power to your loco.

-- Allan Gartner (bigboy@WiringForDCC.com), March 06, 2003.

Hi Allen, Im just dropping a note that the data on the Big Boy is a little out of date. I am in the charge of maintaining my granfather's locomotive fleet for his model railroad. He has a 1996 issiue retooled Big Boy. It picks up power from all 16 drive wheels. This thing will run on track that would stall any normal locomotive. It is possible that the hobby shop that my grandfather purchased his locomotive from may have installed the extra contacts because it was known for doing stuff like that. But if they did they did such a good job it looks like Rivorossi did it.

-- James Mitich (Challenger@hrp.every1.net.), March 06, 2003.

I have one of those 1996 Rivarossi BigBoys and it doesn't have 16 wheel pickup. It picks up power with only 8 wheels, four on each side.


Loy Spurlock

-- Loy Spurlock (loy@loystoys.com), May 19, 2004.

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