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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought a used LGB Mikado about 1 month ago. Even though it was used, the wheels and skates had almost no wear and it seemed like it was nearly unused.

I ran it on my layout and my initial impressions were positive. The train looked and sounded amazing. And, while it was a little slow, it was within my acceptable range. However, once I added some cars to it, my respect for the model deminished quite a bit.

My layout is an analogue DC, outdoors and relatively small. It's a stretched 40' oval layout with one end high and the other end low with a 3% grade in-between. I have a 10amp transformer that can provide plenty of power to the train. But, even with only 6 standard lgb boxcars behind the Mikado, it can only climb the grade at about 1 or 2mph at full dial on my transformer. Then, it races down the other end at a break-neck speed.

Some information that is useful to know: Based on my research, this model Mikado is the updated drive train and not the original (problematic) type. The traction tires were replaced when I got the locomotive and I don't see any binding or noticeable issues with the linkages.

I was surprised that this locomotive only has a single motor. Because of the split drive system to allow R1 turn navigation, I assumed they had a motor in each block, but I was wrong. So, this big Loco is only powered by a single motor, which could explain the poor pulling performance up the grade. I expected a locomotive of this size and cost to have better performance, so you could say that I'm not very impressed.

I would like to know if my impressions on this model are typical and expected? Is this "normal" performance for the LGB Mikado? If not, I suspect my motor might need a replacement. But, I'd hate to spend the money on a new replacement motor if that's not the issue.

By comparison, I bought an old and worn USAT GP-9 from an estate sale about 1 year ago and that little guy can pull 12+ cars up the same grade with minor slow down up the grade. I know that it has two powered trucks, versus the single motor in the Mikado. But the GP-9 cost 1/4 what the Mikado did and is a powerful little puller.

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It's a shame to hear that this performance is expected from the LGB Mikado. My layout is in a limited location in my yard, requiring a specific turn to be r2. I could not make my entire layout R3, unfortunately. So, I was excited to get the LGB Mikado because it could handle the smaller radius turns, meaning the Aristo Mikado isn't an option for me.
. It's a shame. Given the cost of the LGB Mikado, I expected more. But seriously, I think my 35-year-old Stainz can pull more load than this thing.
=/
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
One more Mikado-related question for anyone who can answer; Does this come with a DCC decoder built in? I checked the bottom of the loco and I see no decoder sticker, but it's possible it was never placed on this if/when the drive train was updated to the newer style.

The manual mentions something about DCC operations and such and makes it SEEM like a DCC decoder is installed already, but I wasn't sure and haven't taken the locomotive apart yet to investigate. I don't have a DCC layout yet, but it's something I am considering and it would be nice to know if this locomotive had it built in or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
My locomotive has no stickers on the bottom. Nothing. No model #, no decoder sticker, nadda. I got this used, so who knows why it's missing. Maybe the previous owner sent this in to get the drives upgraded and when they put the new plates on, they didn't come with stickers? Who knows. Guess there's no way for me to know without putting the loco on a DCC layout or opening it up...
 
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