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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Did anyone read Chris Leigh's comments on the Model Mail page re: testing loco's on DC before converting to DCC?
 

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QUOTE (poliss @ 7 Jan 2008, 16:12) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Did anyone read Chris Leigh's comments on the Model Mail page re: testing loco's on DC before converting to DCC?

Yes I did indeed. Its something I always do before chipping any loco, if only to save me any hastle of removing a chip from a dud loco to send back. I normally run them for about 5 mins in each direction.

An important rule is that "If its poor on DC, is gonig to be poor on DCC". DCC will give you better, more accurate motot control, but it won't fix a dodgy loco!

Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was thinking that a) it says a lot about quality control and
if the box says dcc ready, then opening the loco to fit dcc can't invalidate the warranty.
When fitting a digital freeview box to a tv, it doesn't tell you to try it on analogue first. (It just says check your postcode for signal strength.)
 

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I do it for myself really. I just don't like the idea of spending time fitting a decoder that I might have to remove 5 minutes later. Also all electric motors benefit from being "run in" slightly. It is possible that when running a motor in it may take more current briefly than a decoder can manage (Although thankfully not very often) that could fry a decoder.

Its not something you have to do, but something that you can do if you want to. I guess its a bit like fitting droppers to ever length of rail. Its a good idea to, but you don't have to. Each to their own! 95% of the time you can probably get away without doing it.

Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It's a bit like running in cars I suppose. Oh wait, just remembered, you haven't had to do that for the last 20 years or so. I think it's about time model railways moved into the modern world. Kids these days want things to work straight out of the box and if they don't they'll find another hobby and railway moddeling will slowly die.
 

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Actually.....getting way off topic here, but you should still run a new car in gently. You are correct in that you don't need to do 5000 miles at 30 anymore, but equally you wouldn't jump into a brand new car and hit 100 on the motor way. I think it comes down to patients. People don't want to have to wait anymore. We are in the age of "what we can get away without doing".

If you buy a dcc fitted loco, then you can't run it in on DC so that rules that out! Most modern decoders should be able to handle a brand new motor. Its jsut than some people like belt and braces. If you don't want to run a loco in first, then don't. 95% of the time you'll be just fine.

Rob
 

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The four Bachmann locomotives that have arrived on our layout this year have all come with the advice to run it in for at least 30 minutes in each direction /before/ converting to DCC. The locos in question were : Ivatt Class 2, A1, Class 66 and Jubilee. This is why I bought a Bachrus rolling road and kept my H & M Duette.

A word of advice on steam locos - turn the locomotive round between forward and reverse. I didn't realise the offside valve gear on the Jubilee had "sprung" loose in transit. Easily fixed but not quite right all the same.

David

I also use moderate revs for the first 1000 miles in a new car, but I don't stick on one rev value. Instead I vary it a bit to prevent the pistons creating marks or whatever for that one setting.
 

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I have done this as recommended with all my recent purchases be it diesel or steam.

I have set up an oval powered by an old DC power supply.

I run the locos as recommended for up to an hour in each direction before chipping.

It paid off last week, as I purchased two Hornby Steamers, both of which failed out of the box. The first one went a short distance than stopped, then went on again, before the power supply tripped out. On taking the loco off the track and giving it a little shake, two bits of plastic fell out. The loco went on to finish its run-in with no more problems.
If I had chipped it first, I think that the excessive current which was enough to trip the power supply would have blown the decoder.
The other Loco also stuttered and stopped, but I could find nothing untoward other than the motor getting hot. So it went back. The replacement worked fine.

I use Lenz chips, and after chipping, I put the Loco straight onto the program track and read all the CV's listed in the book and write down the results. Once I have checked that they are O.K., then I put the loco on the track.

Alan.
 

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While I know this is technically wrong I never check them on DC first. I instal a decoder straight away in a new loco and off it goes. The reason is I just do not use analogue dc at all so I have no controller set up. Mt conventional power pack is used to provide AC power for points and turntables. I can run a couple of wires with croc clips to a peice of track if I have to but I honestly can't be bothered. It's easier to instal a decoder in most cases.

I have only had two problem locos. One Trix bought from E-Bay where some one had taken the wheels of to clean them
and put them back on the wrong way round causing shorts and the Hornby Caledonian Sleeper which it turned out had tiny peices of metal stuck in the gears. I have no intention of starting to check locos on DC either. This isn't ment to be advice just being honest about what I do.
 

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Different things work for different people.

Myself, I run in on analogue, 30mins in each direction on a Gaugemaster rolling road, then check the continuity of all the pickups & then install the decoder. After that at least an hour running in on DCC about half the "normal" running speed with about half the "normal" load.

I also check that all the moving parts are lubricated correctly before use.

Got to agree about the comment that DCC will not make a bad runner any better, it will make a good runner better though.
 

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QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 8 Jan 2008, 22:44) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Different things work for different people.

Myself, I run in on analogue, 30mins in each direction on a Gaugemaster rolling road, then check the continuity of all the pickups & then install the decoder. After that at least an hour running in on DCC about half the "normal" running speed with about half the "normal" load.

I also check that all the moving parts are lubricated correctly before use.

Got to agree about the comment that DCC will not make a bad runner any better, it will make a good runner better though.

*** If you work with DCC all the time I agree its a hassle to set on a DC controller, yet its nice sometimes to be sure you are starting with a working loco... I have a 9volt battery connected to two leads with crocodile clips. I use it to test that the loco will actually run on DC before taking the top off, and sometimes to test a motor before installing a decoder.

It clips easily to any old bit of track or the motor leads, and the clips can also just be touched to wheels (not a bad way of checking pickups) so it is hassle free, and slips out of the way when not in use so the workbench isn't cluttered.

I haven't bothered but.... speed control would be easy to add with a couple of resistors on a rotary wsitch or a simple transistor/potentiometer circuit if needed and the whole thing would still fit in the tinyest of "project boxes" ex maplin (UK) or Jaycar (AU) etc....

Regards

Richard
DCCconcepts
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
If model railways are to thrive with todays younger generation, then all models should run 'out of the box'. There should be no question of 'running in'. Models should have been 'run in' at the factory. All new loco's must be dcc fitted, (with blanking plates provided for the older and old fashioned generation). Todays Playstation youth will expect nothing less.
 

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QUOTE (Doug @ 8 Jan 2008, 14:03) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>What is the "science" behind this advice? Why should it be done?

No science at all Doug - it just works for me, however to add ;

Often, we have found that the coating on some locomotives wheels really needs to be worn off a bit to obtain excellent pick up - so, on St.Laurent we can unplug the DCC controller & plug in an analogue controller (about 15 seconds) & run in/check a locomotive on DC before fitting a decoder. Piko & Roc Hobby locomotives seem to benefit mostly.

Again, as we carry out a certain amount of repairs it's useful to see how a locomotive performs on an actual layout rather than just a yard or two of plain track.
 

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QUOTE (Doug @ 8 Jan 2008, 14:03) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>What is the "science" behind this advice? Why should it be done?

Someone with a more electrical background may be able to provide a better explanation that me, but from my work with motors in the power generation industry the science is as follows:

When a motor is first run, it takes a period of time for the current required to drive it to settle down to a steady level. It takes more current to drive a brand new motor on its first few revs than it will after many hours of running. Over a short period of time the current required falls and levels out. During the period there can be high current "spikes" that could potentially kill a DCC decoder. After a period of time, the motor will settle at a steady current and there will be virtually no more current spikes (Assuming that the motor is of reasonable quality, which all new B and H motors are).

I could go further into the design of the cores and stators, but I don't think thats quite necessary....

Bottom line, running a motor in before chipping will do no harm.

Rob
 

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QUOTE (poliss @ 8 Jan 2008, 14:53) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>If model railways are to thrive with todays younger generation, then all models should run 'out of the box'. There should be no question of 'running in'. Models should have been 'run in' at the factory. All new loco's must be dcc fitted, (with blanking plates provided for the older and old fashioned generation). Todays Playstation youth will expect nothing less.

I don't quite agree here.

For manufactures to run in every loco before it being sold would A) add considerable cost to the product
be against most common industrial practises and C) Some people would complain about their brand new locos not being brand new!

The way the model rail industry currently works is how most industries do now. That is cost is kept to a minimum at all stages of manufacturer to minimise price for the customer and maximise profit for the company. The companies realise that for them to run in all locos would add cost to their product but not value. It is cheaper all round for products to be sold as they currently are. If one has a dodge motor that gets through inspection and blows up a decoder, its much cheaper and better value all round if the said loco and/or decoder are replaced by the manufacturer than the alternative of running in and full testing on all products.

Hope this is useful,

Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Common industry practise is of no interest to the Playstaion generation. If it doesn't work straight away they will go back to their games consoles and model railway companies, rather than maximising profits, will go bust.
 

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The games industry uses the same principles. Far from every game or every console works. Something like 30% of all xbox360's have been returned faulty (Ive had to return two!). Games are the same.

Its sad, but its the way it is. Would you rather pay twice the price for everything and have 95% chance it works or continue the way we currently are?

Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Surely a 30% failiure rate would cost any company far more than it saves in making sure things work. Cost of return, examination, refurbishment etc.
 

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QUOTE (poliss @ 8 Jan 2008, 17:10) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Surely a 30% failiure rate would cost any company far more than it saves in making sure things work. Cost of return, examination, refurbishment etc.

Yep! Exacltly why microsoft games division is yet to make a profit in 5 years. Though its handy when you have microsofts finance behind you!

Rob
 
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