Stewart Hobbies F7's

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modelbob

Administrator
#1
Found an A/B set at a price I like.

They're online so I can't test them or even look at them...

Anyone familiar with this brand? How is the detail on them and how do they run? How would they compare with Athearn and other similar brands?

I'm pretty sure they're not set up for DCC out of the box (anything that is tends to say so in really big letters all over the place, the ad didn't mention it at all...). Are they DCC ready or even DCC compatible?
 

sushob

Entrepreneurial Teen
#2
I'm partial to Stewart products too. That body came out of our molding machine :) . If it's recent, it was probably handled by me. Bowser/Stewart is starting to produce DCC ready versions, but this is probably an older one. I don't have any, nor have I run any, but I've heard people (or rather read) that they are similar to Kato, and are very quiet. Detail is good...I happen to have some various parts laying around. Mine are a bit beat-up and dirty, but you get the idea.

Here's a thread on Trains.com
http://www.trains.com/community/forum/topic.asp?page=2&TOPIC_ID=18400
 
#3
Stewert is certainly one of the better brands out there, if you can get a set at a decent price, go for them. The only downside? They usually have a noticeable seam on the nose. Otherwise, they run like a dream and look great.
 

modelbob

Administrator
#6
> The originals sold for the $80+ range per powered
> unit. Later Stewert F's were more spendy.

Original? Later? How do I tell which is which, and what's the difference between them?
 
#7
Well, if it's new, as in just came from store shelves, it's a later run, and probbly has the Stewart built drive, which is actually *better* than the Kato drive. (Yes, I actually said better than Kato, this is the rep that drive has.) Also, all the FT's are "later" and home built. If the model has been on the shelves a few years it's one of the "earlier" ones with a Kato drive. I would assume you could tell what drive it was by either popping the shell or turning the engine over at the least. But it doesn't really make much diff, they are both excellent.

To put it another way, it's like saying "earlier Athearn blue box GP38-2's were about $25, later ones were more expensive." The models are essentially the same, regardless of how high the prices got jacked later. AFAIK, the reason the prices went up is because the Stewert built drive is USA made, versus the slightly less expensive Japanese built Kato drive. (Even older Stewert locomotives used Athearn motors and drive trains, but these were never used in the F's. They *were* used in Stewert's now discontinued line of U boats, Baldwins, and RS3's.)
 
#8
I talked to the Stewart folks at Timonium about the time they were bringing out the new versions and they said they were designed to run with the older Kato locos. I have both, but the new ones have DCC, so I don't run them together. I love them - they really run sweet.

Detail Associates makes a detail kit for both the A and B units that adds a lot to the appearance of the loco. It's not difficult to do, if you can drill holes, you can add the details.

George
 

modelbob

Administrator
#9
> I have both, but the new ones have DCC,

Is that factory installed or did you install it? Does it have sound? Seems like a natural to put in a sound system with speakers in the B unit... It wouldn't even be that unprototypical to run them as a pair all the time, since the hassle of disconnecting all those MU cables and the later re-connecting them means that real crews weren't very likely to cut off the A unit to switch for example, they'd use the pair, even if they didn't really need the extra power.
 
#10
Well the ones I was looking at were under $100, so they seemed a great deal.

Too bad the seller insists on only using Priority Mail to ship them. At a cost of over $30 to get 'em to Seattle, they suddenly aren't such a great deal any more. :( I just can't understand the shipping costs. For that kind of money he could send the overnight and still save me some bucks.

Meanwhile, he's lost a sale as I found somebody else who's selling the same thing for about $105, but his shipping is only $5 or so, so the end cost to me is about $110, not $130.
 
#11
modelbob said:
> I have both, but the new ones have DCC,

Is that factory installed or did you install it? Does it have sound? Seems like a natural to put in a sound system with speakers in the B unit... It wouldn't even be that unprototypical to run them as a pair all the time, since the hassle of disconnecting all those MU cables and the later re-connecting them means that real crews weren't very likely to cut off the A unit to switch for example, they'd use the pair, even if they didn't really need the extra power.
I bought them from Tony's Train Exchange with a Soundtraxx decoder and speaker in the dummy B unit. I added a brass drawbar between the A and B units since they're wired together. I built a special box to hold them.

They sound good. When I run them at the club the volume is OK, but when I run them at train shows with our local module group the surrounding noise makes it difficult to hear the locos from any distance. The speaker (1") is mounted in the shell and sends the sound out the bottom around the front truck. I want to get another speaker and plugs to mount in another B unit so I can switch shells between two railroads (B&LE and PRR). I'd also like to try a second speaker in the shell and see if this improves the volume.

George
 
#12
> I bought them from Tony's Train Exchange with a
> Soundtraxx decoder and speaker in the dummy B unit.

OK, and I've heard good things about Tony's Train Exchange from other modelers as well.

So... Bob wonders on over. Lessee... Stewart F7's, he wants $99 for the A & B set, not bad, not much more than the best price I've seen so far. OK, so far so good.

And he wants and extra $200 :eek: for a Soundtraxx Tsunami (bet they're wishing they'd picked some other name about now...)

Uh, next question, what's a Tsunami and most of all why is it worth $200?
 
#13
I guess you have to hear one and then make your decision about it being worth it or not. To me diesel sound is nice, however for steam it's mandatory. Once you run a steam loco with sound you're hooked.

By the way the Tsunami (I agree about the choice of a name) isn't out yet. It's been in the delayed mode for some time and I haven't heard when it will be available.

George
 
#14
> I guess you have to hear one and then make
> your decision about it being worth it or not.

Unfortunately, I found this one online (at Tony's Train Exchange) and hearing it in person isn't an option...

> To me diesel sound is nice, however for steam it's mandatory.

I totally agree, I think it will definitely make an incredible difference. My main question is whether the exhaust changes based on load.

Here's the DCC setup I'm waiting for... You have a small control system like those used for train simulator. You control the train with reverser, throttle, and air brakes. The DCC figures out the load on the train (using back EMF? voltage and current draw? Microscopic gyros and gps? Whatever, just do it...:)) It then reads the throttle and reverse settings and adjusts the speed and sound accordingly.

> Once you run a steam loco with sound you're hooked.

I run steam locos with sound all the time. (They're just not in HO scale. ;))
 
#15
modelbob said:
>
Here's the DCC setup I'm waiting for... You have a small control system like those used for train simulator. You control the train with reverser, throttle, and air brakes. The DCC figures out the load on the train (using back EMF? voltage and current draw? Microscopic gyros and gps? Whatever, just do it...:)) It then reads the throttle and reverse settings and adjusts the speed and sound accordingly.
I have two steam Soundtraxx systems and two BLI steam locos and there's no adjustment for the load on these. It sounds like a feature that should be introduced in future models.

George
 
#16
> I have two steam Soundtraxx systems and two BLI steam
> locos and there's no adjustment for the load on these.

I was hoping there would be... Here's my problem, I'm quite familiar with how steam should sound. Not only does the volume increase and decrease based on the load, it actually changes pitch and duration, sometime sounding very crisp, with a distinct cut-off (often called "a good bark") while other times being a bit mushy, and or rising and falling fairly smoothly. You can tell an awful lot about where the throttle and reverser are set just by the exhaust.

I'd certainly like get something close to that on the model. Asking for the cut-off to be right too is probably a bit much for the current technology but at least having the volume change is a good start. I'd be willing to design some grades into my layout that would show off this feature, if it's available.
 
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#17
modelbob said:
> I bought them from Tony's Train Exchange with a
> Soundtraxx decoder and speaker in the dummy B unit.

OK, and I've heard good things about Tony's Train Exchange from other modelers as well.

So... Bob wonders on over. Lessee... Stewart F7's, he wants $99 for the A & B set, not bad, not much more than the best price I've seen so far. OK, so far so good.

And he wants and extra $200 :eek: for a Soundtraxx Tsunami (bet they're wishing they'd picked some other name about now...)

Uh, next question, what's a Tsunami and most of all why is it worth $200?
The $200 includes him installing the decoder into the loco, and doing all the right wiring and such. Not to mention the cost of the speaker.. Decoder itself is around $140-$150.

The Tsunami is the latest iteration of their top sound decoders. It replaces their old DSD sound decoders. Lots of improvements.

Kennedy


Kennedy
 
#18
George D said:
I have two steam Soundtraxx systems and two BLI steam locos and there's no adjustment for the load on these. It sounds like a feature that should be introduced in future models.

George
I don't think you should have that kind of load on a steamer. When the guy opens the throttle, the chuff is dependent on the driver speed. If train isn't moving, you shouldn't get any chuffing.

For diesels, that's a different story. Notching up, you should hear the PM rev. One guy said he set the Accel rate at like 45; that way when you increase the throttle, the sound goes up, but the motor delays. Can do the same for Decel, but maybe not that steep.

That guy said it worked well, though I haven't tried it yet.

Kennedy
 
#19
HaggisKennedy said:
The $200 includes him installing the decoder into the loco, and doing all the right wiring and such. Not to mention the cost of the speaker.. Decoder itself is around $140-$150.

The Tsunami is the latest iteration of their top sound decoders. It replaces their old DSD sound decoders. Lots of improvements.
Thanks! That's exactly the kind of stuff I wanted to know!
 
#20
HaggisKennedy said:
I don't think you should have that kind of load on a steamer. When the guy opens the throttle, the chuff is dependent on the driver speed. If train isn't moving, you shouldn't get any chuffing.
OK, I don't know DCC but I do know steam locos. :)

The chuff RATE is dependent on speed. Ignoring my pet geared locomotives for the moment, on just about any typical steam locomotive you will get 4 chuffs per revolution. No more, no less. Spin the wheels and you get a flurry of chuffs that sounds like a solid roar. Stop and you'd better not hear anything except for the blower, air pump, etc.

However... The chuff VOLUME is not dependent on speed. It depends on the throttle and the reverser (johnson bar, cut-off) settings. I have demonstrated this fact to many a railfan. I can markedly change the volume of the exhaust, without changing speed (in the short term at least) by moving the reverser.

Let's say I'm in the station. Heading in one direction you'll either hear a soft chuffing, moderate chug, or on rare occasions a loud barking, as I pull out. Just how loud depends on the load and just how much of a hurry I'm in.

Same train, same station, other direction.... I open the throttle momentarily, if at all, to "get 'er rolling" then use the brakes. You won't hear any exhaust at all, because there is none, since we're drifting. There is no steam going to the cylinders, thus none coming out, so no chug to be heard.

Same train, same speed, but different direction and grade and so widely different volumes. That's how it works in real life. How hard the engine is pulling determines how loud the exhaust is.

On the model, by load I meant current draw. I presume that would relate to the amount of work the engine is doing and ROUGHLY correspond to the volume of the exhaust (but not the frequency and rate, the speed determines that...)
 



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