LAMRS Equipment, Reliability

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With the emphasis on cost and reliability, I thought that I ought to describe what I look for in determining if a loco will be reliable in the future. The future is always hard to predict, but there are some things observable in the present that that can be indicators of a possible or likely future outcome.

My background is in spacecraft electronics design, manufacture and troubleshooting. In space, there is often little chance for repair so that reliability is the single most important characteristic. The equipment can be made in such as way as to be not likely to fail, usually at some significant cost and guided by a ton of experience with stuff that did fail. Then this highly reliable equipment is made redundant with identical equipment that can be substituted remotely to cover for equipment that fails anyway.

On a model locomotive, I look for features that my experience shows are inherently reliable (and those that are not) and how redundancy is implemented.

Now to the details of what is specifically important to look for.

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© 2009-2011 George Schreyer
Created 9 Dec 09
Last Updated November 10, 2011