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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Lifted from the 108 DMU thread, to avoid derailing it further.

QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 21 Jun 2007, 00:03) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Have you guys considered writing your own reviews?
Very much a newcomer here, but have taken part in what might be called the 'reviewing process' on rmweb, and before that similar activity on the BRM site. Now here is the strange thing, and it was what attracted me to reply to Maas' post: there is relatively little interest from most UK forum participants in the mechanism, unless some aspect makes it an immediately problematic runner. The 'screaming' Hornby 08 perhaps the foremost example recently, and before that the difficulties in persuading the Bachmann A1 to pull well. My pet gripes about Hornby steam loco mechs: mechanically inept motor mount; the use of flat surface contacts and the chassis block in the current path, (instead of wire soldered to the pick-up wipers keeping the chassis block dead); the outdated loco to tender coupler; none seem of much interest. Similarly Bachmann's often poorly aligned pick-ups, and use of 3 pole motors. Strange in my eyes, but there it is.

The other problem is that I rarely buy anything newly introduced immediately after release, (although the Bach 9F/BR1F was an exception) and even then there was a delay: by the time my local retailer had the item it wasn't convenient to visit for a week, and then I had no time to really get to grips with it for another week or so. And by that time Doug had his fine review out as I recall - it was a link to it that was my intro to this site - and he had got it pretty much right, and in any case this is a most satisfactory model. Lets wait for the Super D, the only announced model that really has me excited at the prospect; maybe I will have some input to throw into the pot.

So, is there any interest here in a 'mechanisms' focus?
 

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I think the lack of focus on mechanisms is due mainly to the very high standard of mechanisms in the uk. yes there are the odd problem with pickups but they are things that we can generally fix on our own.

These days the standard for a diesel is a central motor driving through cardan shafts and for a steamer its a loco mounted motor. all should have flywheels and be smooth and quiet.

When things do catch our atention is when things dont live up to that default level. for example the pendo has a mechanism which is frankly shocking (i dont care if it can pull a full rake, its still a poor quality mech).

Also you have to bear in find that the motors are far better than they were 10 years ago. we have moved on a generation and its far less of an issue.

he only real complaint i have had was with the bachmann A1 which even after remotoring was still pretty weak and i was still unhappy with it so it went back to the shop.
I have also had voyagers with the wipers bent around the axles and other wipers that were catching on the wheels causing a ticking sound. but apart from the A1 they were all easily solved.

The loco/tender coupling hornby use is a million times better than it was. yes its more fragile but i think its a very good comprimise and as good as it can be without either being perminantly coupled or using little plugs and sockets like spectrum models which dare i say it the ham fisted brits are bound to break in 2 seconds flat and will probably blame hornby for.
They will have to adress this issue however if they want to go along the sound route. i think the tender is a much better place for a decoder but it will mean 4 current paths rather than the durrent 2.

A live chassis is a complete non issue. it is not a problem unless you go doing silly things with DCC and start frying your decoders. the axles are a good pick up and if anything are better than the wipers. i have had pickup problems with dirty wipers but never dirty axles!

I too am waiting for the super D but i want one in LNWR.

Peter
 

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It seems to me (based on our own experience & information gleened from the forums) that pickups are often the cause of defective performance, more so on models from the far east.

It is very easy to check with a meter if all the pickups are OK, but should not the manufactures do this as part of their quality control ? Testing a unit on a circle of track will not check all the pickups, just show that it runs - fine until the purchaser gets home & runs (or trys to) it over some pointwork or a section of less then perfect track.

Personally, I feel that the quality control is not as good as it should be - maybe the principle is financial - "a bit less quality control saves money" so it's cheaper to just churn out more & replace the few that get returned.

It seem to me that quite a lot of people are now prepared, willing (& able) to accept that they will complete the manufactures quality control & adjust things like pickups & back to backs. IMHO this is quite wrong & the manufactures should not be allowed to get away with it, otherwise this will eventually become the "norm". After all, if your new car need things like the wheels reballencing or the headlights adjusted you would not do that yourself - or would you ? I think not.

I may add that in over 30 years of dealing with German & Austrian built models I have only had one locomotive with a defective pickup & solder joint (both faults on the same locomotive)
 

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QUOTE (pedromorgan @ 21 Jun 2007, 09:06) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I think the lack of focus on mechanisms is due mainly to the very high standard of mechanisms in the uk. yes there are the odd problem with pickups but they are things that we can generally fix on our own.

These days the standard for a diesel is a central motor driving through cardan shafts and for a steamer its a loco mounted motor. all should have flywheels and be smooth and quiet.

When things do catch our atention is when things dont live up to that default level. for example the pendo has a mechanism which is frankly shocking (i dont care if it can pull a full rake, its still a poor quality mech).

Also you have to bear in find that the motors are far better than they were 10 years ago. we have moved on a generation and its far less of an issue.

he only real complaint i have had was with the bachmann A1 which even after remotoring was still pretty weak and i was still unhappy with it so it went back to the shop.
I have also had voyagers with the wipers bent around the axles and other wipers that were catching on the wheels causing a ticking sound. but apart from the A1 they were all easily solved.

The loco/tender coupling hornby use is a million times better than it was. yes its more fragile but i think its a very good comprimise and as good as it can be without either being perminantly coupled or using little plugs and sockets like spectrum models which dare i say it the ham fisted brits are bound to break in 2 seconds flat and will probably blame hornby for.
They will have to adress this issue however if they want to go along the sound route. i think the tender is a much better place for a decoder but it will mean 4 current paths rather than the durrent 2.

A live chassis is a complete non issue. it is not a problem unless you go doing silly things with DCC and start frying your decoders. the axles are a good pick up and if anything are better than the wipers. i have had pickup problems with dirty wipers but never dirty axles!
Peter,

'Very high standard mechanisms' followed by a list of problems relating to mechanisms? If by this you mean 'a recent improvement in the quality of UK model mechanisms', that would accord with my experience, but I don't think we are all the way home yet!

How much I agree that models with bogies should be central motor with flywheel drive and pick up on both bogies, as the baseline standard. Sadly that message has still to be fully accepted.

My Bachmann A1's roar along with 15 mk1's behind, one of the best performing UK models, if you know how to tweak it. On the subject of Bach's steamers, again and again people suspect the quartering of the driving wheels as the cause of jerky running. Never in 40 steam model purchases of a wide range of types have I had an out of quarter example: but the vast majority have had pick-ups not in contact with the wheel back. Same applies to friend's purchases. So do I believe that the wheel press tools in the factory are unreliable, or that the hand assembly process does not focus enough on pick-up wiper alignment?

Regarding Hornby's habit of using the chassis block as part of the conducting path. The real pain is the flat surface contacts, which will eventually fail at some point, causing unreliability. It is just so unnecessary, two wires soldered to the wiper strips either side, job done. Hornby clearly know how to do a better job on this, and on the loco to tender connection, as evidenced on the Britannia. But if 'we' don't ask for this better standard to be maintained, we will not get it, is my feeling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 21 Jun 2007, 09:44) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>It seem to me that quite a lot of people are now prepared, willing (& able) to accept that they will complete the manufacturers quality control & adjust things like pickups & back to backs. IMHO this is quite wrong & the manufacturers should not be allowed to get away with it, otherwise this will eventually become the "norm". After all, if your new car needed things like the wheels reballancing or the headlights adjusted you would not do that yourself - or would you ? I think not.

I may add that in over 30 years of dealing with German & Austrian built models I have only had one locomotive with a defective pickup & solder joint (both faults on the same locomotive)
My feeling is that there is enough feedback via returns from the inexperienced, to tell the manufacturers that assembly QA needs attention. It may just be coincidence, but my six most recent purchases, (Brit, 9F, Fairburn;and several more specimens of these types bought by friends) have all been very much better than the past running average. Cautious by nature 'the jury is still out' on this one. My experience of the quality continental manufacturers matches yours for such assembly defects.
 

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QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 21 Jun 2007, 09:44) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>It seem to me that quite a lot of people are now prepared, willing (& able) to accept that they will complete the manufactures quality control & adjust things like pickups & back to backs. IMHO this is quite wrong & the manufactures should not be allowed to get away with it, otherwise this will eventually become the "norm". After all, if your new car need things like the wheels reballencing or the headlights adjusted you would not do that yourself - or would you ? I think not.

I may add that in over 30 years of dealing with German & Austrian built models I have only had one locomotive with a defective pickup & solder joint (both faults on the same locomotive)

Half of me totally agrees with that statement but part of me hates it when people go crying back to the retailer when there is something really very minor wrong with it. i stand there thinking "is this person really that inept that he cant even tweak a pickup-what the hell are they teaching kids these days....."
I agree that things should be right in the first place but i also think that manufacturers should be able to rely on an element of common sence on the part of the end user (that goes for anything not just model railways.) it is amazing to visit other countries and see different standards where exactly that happens. they dont need to fence off railways because people are not stupid enough to walk across them!

The mech on my roco loco's are very good but i dont think this idea that continental loco's are not fragile is true. my new steamer and my electrics are just as fragile as my electric loco's. The mechanisms in them are really a matter of taste. i would be just as happy if my new steamer had a loco mounted motor and no tender drive. and my electrics all suffered from the same PTFE grease overkill that my bachmann diesels do and still needed to be stripped and cleaned in order to cure the stiction problem.

QUOTE (34C)Peter,

'Very high standard mechanisms' followed by a list of problems relating to mechanisms? If by this you mean 'a recent improvement in the quality of UK model mechanisms', that would accord with my experience, but I don't think we are all the way home yet!

I would hardly regard what i said as a list of unreliable loco's. for the record here is my list.
! A1 that i was just not happy with the pulling power. (i understand that part of the problem was the springs on the bogies were too strong but at the time i was not in the mood and it was a very expensive loco.)
A bachmann warship with split worms after 5 years good service. this was easily solved with new worms sent by bachmann.
A voyager with a burnt out motor after some rather excessive running buy a young member of my former club.
A J72 with a mainline chassis that has burnt out more times than i care to remember.

QUOTE (34C)My Bachmann A1's roar along with 15 mk1's behind, one of the best performing UK models, if you know how to tweak it. On the subject of Bach's steamers, again and again people suspect the quartering of the driving wheels as the cause of jerky running. Never in 40 steam model purchases of a wide range of types have I had an out of quarter example: but the vast majority have had pick-ups not in contact with the wheel back. Same applies to friend's purchases. So do I believe that the wheel press tools in the factory are unreliable, or that the hand assembly process does not focus enough on pick-up wiper alignment?

I have never had any problems with quatering modern bachmann steamers but Spectrum models i find paticularly poor and even my very expensive bachmann china QJ needs a tweak.

QUOTE (34C)Regarding Hornby's habit of using the chassis block as part of the conducting path. The real pain is the flat surface contacts, which will eventually fail at some point, causing unreliability. It is just so unnecessary, two wires soldered to the wiper strips either side, job done. Hornby clearly know how to do a better job on this, and on the loco to tender connection, as evidenced on the Britannia. But if 'we' don't ask for this better standard to be maintained, we will not get it, is my feeling.

This is the first time i have ever heard of anyone having a problem with the chassis contacts. for ages i thought it was a problem with my old A4 but when I soldered a wire from the chassis to the motor bypassing the (at the time) very poor loco coupling the problem was solved.

I think we are asking for this new standard to be maintained especially with diesels but the problem is that we cant force manufactures to do as we ask. the pendo mechanism if frankly shocking buy todays standards but we asked for a higher spec model and i was under the impression they had agreed to deliver a higher spec model. unfortunatly it never materialised (or if it did then i hate to think of twhat the "low"spec model would have been like!!)

Peter
 

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Talking about reviewing problematical loco mechs, any opinions about the Hornby type 7 motor?

I have stuffed my "Lorna Doone" with 40 grams of lead to increase the traction. But this horrible motor... Just 3 long clerestory coaches and 4 with great pain.

This motor is the very weak (it's just too cheap) spot of a few Hornby items and I think it's the reason why they have reverted to rubber tyres in 1 or 2 cases.

By the way, does anyone know of a good replacement motor that is a direct fit?

Leen.
 

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QUOTE Talking about reviewing problematical loco mechs, any opinions about the Hornby type 7 motor?

I have stuffed my "Lorna Doone" with 40 grams of lead to increase the traction. But this horrible motor... Just 3 long clerestory coaches and 4 with great pain.

This motor is the very weak (it's just too cheap) spot of a few Hornby items and I think it's the reason why they have reverted to rubber tyres in 1 or 2 cases.

It really is amazing how Hornby get away with this!

Lack of pulling power also an issue with Class59 and Class73. OK not the top end of the Hornby spec but not exactly inexpensive either (compared with Vitrains 37 for instance)

Spot on DB50. Iam convinced we are Hornby and Bachmanns Quality Control.

Russell
 

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QUOTE (sandringham @ 22 Jun 2007, 02:20) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Talking about reviewing problematical loco mechs, any opinions about the Hornby type 7 motor?

I have stuffed my "Lorna Doone" with 40 grams of lead to increase the traction. But this horrible motor... Just 3 long clerestory coaches and 4 with great pain.

This motor is the very weak (it's just too cheap) spot of a few Hornby items and I think it's the reason why they have reverted to rubber tyres in 1 or 2 cases.

By the way, does anyone know of a good replacement motor that is a direct fit?

Leen.
I really wanted the new Caledonian single but it's the same loco as Lorna Doone with different paint on. I am reluctant to get it after hearing this and other similar stories. Hornby do seem a bit hit and miss with their steam models.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Regarding the Hornby Singles: this is a 'revival' of an old product, which in its' original form depend on magnetic attraction to the old type plated steel track to give it some pulling power. Single driver locos are difficult to obtain good traction from in model form as it is, and Hornby do not appear to have done anything to this item beyond put a current type of motor in it. Regarding the type 7 motor, it is actually not a bad unit, provided it is used with a high enough reduction gear ratio. I only have one of the type in the J94: the gear ratio and small wheels deliver satisfactory performance.

To make one of these Hornby singles a working proposition for a larger train, what Leen has done with extra Lead ballast is probably the way forward, provided that reasonable balance can be achieved around the driven axle. It is often advantageous to remove any manufacturers ballast and replace in Lead, as this typically has 70% greater density. Also bear in mind what these types pulled in express service: loads of 150 tons were typical for a single, a typical train might be four bogie carriages and a couple of six wheelers. The move away from the Single in the UK was to handle trainloads that these types could not deal with reliably in all weather conditions.

As for Hornby's reintroductions of ex-Lima diesel types using a power bogie, my hope is that the ViTrains operation acts as a wake up call. If Vi can provide what should now be the baseline 'central motor with flywheel drive and pick up on both bogies' from a European design and manufacturing facility, then the same must be possible from China based manufacturing. Hornby had to redesign to incorporate their mechanism; a rework job comes to much the same thing whatever type of drive you elect to put in. And the central motor style drive is simpler in production in some respects, the bogies are identical units for example, instead of requiring two different types, motor mounting is position tolerant because the drive is flexible.

As others have observed Hornby really need to get on with the branding, to differentiate the models in their range from the toys, so that expectations are properly set. I wonder whether they have realised that they need three divisions: Railroad for the out and out toys, 'Standard' for much of their range, 'Premium' for the modeller oriented products (all-new tooling introductions since 2000 - it is now a respectable number of items).
 

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QUOTE (34C @ 22 Jun 2007, 08:53) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Regarding the Hornby Singles: this is a 'revival' of an old product, which in its' original form depend on magnetic attraction to the old type plated steel track to give it some pulling power. Single driver locos are difficult to obtain good traction from in model form as it is, and Hornby do not appear to have done anything to this item beyond put a current type of motor in it.

"Magnahesion" used to give the singles good traction as I recall. The "cures" as far as I can see would not be either practical or for some people acceptable ;
1) Traction tyres on the drivers - there would be problems with tyres of this size not causing uneven running & in any case too many ppl would not like them.
2) Drive the third axel as well - could be done with the correct gearing - expensive & again may not be acceptable to some ppl.
3) Extra weight, maybe metal body - problem is all extra weight also puts extra drag on 1st & 3rd axels !
4) Tender drive - again may not be popular.
5) Remember the Kitmaster motorised wagon ? - maybe let's not go down that one !

Not an easy one.
 

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i think the singles are 1 area where tender drive is actually quite a good idea. but it would have to be a very good tender mechanism. not the ringfield junk we used to have.
The problem is not just traction but motors that are small enough to fit into the boiler of a loco tend to be very high revving. for a single you need a low reving high torque motor, which tend to be of the larger variety.

Peter
 

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The trouble is that the Hornby range now has more strata in it than your average archaeological site

QUOTE How much I agree that models with bogies should be central motor with flywheel drive and pick up on both bogies, as the baseline standard. Sadly that message has still to be fully accepted

For new tooling , I'm sure this message and this standard have been accepted. There are only 2 exceptions in post 1999 developed models from all ranges (both 4mm and 2mm) .

One is the Bachmann 108 , where drive is to a single bogie with 8 wheel pick up - though in a Modernisation Plan DMU filling the body with mechanism a la the 158/170/Voyager would be very intrusive , and we're talking about a 2-3 car DMU after all. The drive is well engineered and running of the 108 is in my experience superb, - you simply do not need to hang 15 coaches on the back of the thing. Mechanically I have no complaints with this mechanism and it would be fine for further 2-3 car DMUS, and quite possibly for the 4-CEP

The other is the Pendolino , where we were told explicitly at the time it was announced that this would not be a high spec model , as it was for the trainset market and built down to a price. In fact Hornby have done a bit better than was feared, overall, but the big area of compromise and corner cutting is the mechanism , no doubt about it

All Bachmann diesels since the revamped 46 in the early 90s meet baseline standard. All new Hornby diesels from the 50 and all Heljan diesels meet baseline standard. All Dapol and Bachmann-developed N does so as well. Almost all are DCC Ready and most have lights.We're now arguing about 6 axle drive and 12 wheel pickup DCC Ready with lights as baseline standard.

In steam engines, DCC Ready loco driven with a good can is standard. Hornby have fitted 5 pole cans with gearbox drive since the Merchant Navy in 1999 and tender pickup is normal for them

The probelms arise with the older stuff , some of which is very old indeed. The Dean Single, Caley Single and B12 date from the early 60s and were designed for the X04. They can't take the Ringfield tender drive, or the new 5 pole motor built into the chassis , and the only other seperate motor Hornby have in house is the cheap Type 7 can

Then you have the older locos from the late 70s to the mid 90s , using the pancake Ringfield - things like the B17, Unrebuilt Patriot, 28xx, 29, 37, 35, HST and all the electric locos (86, 90, 91,92). Plus the old 0-6- 0Ts (J83, Jinty, 27XX, J52). Plus the cheapy 0-4-0Ts

Then there's the Airfix /Dapol inheritance - finer bodies than Hornby of the same period but similar mechanisms with 3 pole tender drive eg the 4F , 56, 155, terrier, J94 . They've revamped the 14xx so it does actually work..

Then there's the Lima inheritance , recently reissued with a mimimum warmover in the form of 2 new motor bogies to replace the Lima 4 and 6 wheel pancakes which do not meet EU regs. These are at least 5 pole units and now have 8 wheel pickup and are DCC Ready , but they lack adhesion and are simply not adequete for a loco , though fine for a DMU if used with adequete weight . The 6 wheel version is a serious mistake.

Hornby's a real curates egg of a range now. They've made a start replacing the older locos (A3, A4, black 5 , Britannia , 08, and new 56 are all upgrades of existing models ) but there's still a long way to go. I assume there will be at least one replacement loco in next years new tooling , and possibly 2 . Surely the B12 must be replaced in the next 2 years?? Surely they need a new Castle and a proper Pannier tank?

pedro:QUOTE I would hardly regard what i said as a list of unreliable loco's. for the record here is my list.
! A1 that i was just not happy with the pulling power. (i understand that part of the problem was the springs on the bogies were too strong but at the time i was not in the mood and it was a very expensive loco.)
A bachmann warship with split worms after 5 years good service. this was easily solved with new worms sent by bachmann.
A voyager with a burnt out motor after some rather excessive running buy a young member of my former club.
A J72 with a mainline chassis that has burnt out more times than i care to remember.

A1 - Product recall for replacement motor.

Warship. - Inherited from Mainline: 1980s model

Voyager - Normally an excellent runner

J72: - Inherited from Mainline : one of their launch models in 1979

Bachmann have few inherited models - basically the ex Mainline split chassis affairs and it looks like they are getting round to revamping them. The Scot and Jubilee were announced this year and I suspect the split chassis LNER stuff (J72, B1, V2, V1-3,) must be next in line

The issue isn't the standard of the mechanism in new models - its the big chunk of "legacy" models tooled up in the 20th century, and how quickly Hornby in particular can replace them with models to current standards

Looking at the list , and assuming 3-4 new locos from each manufacturer each year, logically about half the new Hornby locos from here on in should be retooled versions of existing models in the range (say 2 per year). Anything less and it will take from here to eternity to sort the range out. This has one benefit - it stops the range growing too much. It has already reached the point where it muct be a struggle to find enough production slots to keep everything in continuous production

And the next few years could be very expensive if you have apple green tendencies
 

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QUOTE (pedromorgan @ 22 Jun 2007, 12:42) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>i think the singles are 1 area where tender drive is actually quite a good idea. but it would have to be a very good tender mechanism. not the ringfield junk we used to have.

Peter

Should be possible (albeit, at a prices) for example the tender drive mech fitted to the FLM DRG 13, although a 4-axel one has a small Fulhabour (spelling ?) motor & flywheel & has good traction, although with traction tyres, which probably won't be acceptable. Personally, if I wanted one & wanted it to perform I would not care how, as long as it performed.
 

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QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 22 Jun 2007, 13:23) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Should be possible (albeit, at a prices) for example the tender drive mech fitted to the FLM DRG 13, although a 4-axel one has a small Fulhabour (spelling ?) motor & flywheel & has good traction, although with traction tyres, which probably won't be acceptable. Personally, if I wanted one & wanted it to perform I would not care how, as long as it performed.

I quite agree with you - it's why I am putting European mechs in some of my locos.

Regards

John
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
QUOTE (Ravenser @ 22 Jun 2007, 13:12) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The trouble is that the Hornby range now has more strata in it than your average archaeological site
That's why I feel they need three divisions; Railroad, Standard and Premium to help customers understand what they are getting.

QUOTE And the next few years could be very expensive if you have apple green tendencies
Certainly hope so. I just wonder who will grasp the B1/B17 opportunity. Two dated models (the B1 still with a respectable exterior admittedly) with prototypes that have a lot in common. A careful loco drive chassis design with the brake detail on the keeper plate would mean that the same chassis block, fitted with the appropriate wheels and other detail, will go under both types. Design the chassis really carefully, and it can also be used in a J50, J6, N2, K2, V1/3, as it has the standard 7'3"+9' Doncaster spacing.
 
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