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Author Topic: Reliability of Dapol, Farish, Peco & Gaugemaster  (Read 476 times)

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Online Chris Morris

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Reliability of Dapol, Farish, Peco & Gaugemaster
« on: July 02, 2018, 08:06:56 am »
I'm reflecting on my layout after a most enjoyable couple of days exhibiting at Exeter model railway show.

The layout has now had 15 full days running at exhibitions plus quite a bit of running at home. At exhibitions there is always at least one train moving, often more. Most of the trains are 7 or 8 coaches or over 20 wagons long, some are of course shorter. The usual fleet consists of about 20 locos, the layout has two Gaugemaster controllers fed by a Gaugemaster power supply. All the track is Peco and I have 16 points all changed with Peco solenoids and powered by a CDU bought off Ebay. The layout is dc, I rely on point blades to conduct power and have not connected power droppers to every piece of track. I reckon the layout has completed over 100 hours heavy use at exhibitions and travelled about 800 miles in the back of the car. I know other layouts have done much more than this.

So far the Gaugemaster controllers and power supply have been un-noticed as they just work without any issues. I had to replace one point which had a blade come loose early on; I suspect this was due to my heavy handed cleaning rather than any fault in the manufacture. Other than that the points and motors have again given zero problem save for needing the odd bit of contact cleaner on the blades. I reckon the total number of point changes carried out must be around 25,000.

The locos and stock have also been very good. The only problem so far being a blown capacitor on a Dapol Western. This happened when I was cleaning the wheels using an old H&M controller for power so it could have been that I over-stressed it a bit. This was very easily fixed and did no permanent damage. I am impressed with the performance from these very small and delicate mechanisms. I have had to carry out the odd tweak of pickups here and there but my recollection of exhibiting a couple of 00 layouts back in the 1980s is that I had quite a bit more tweaking to do on locos then than I have done with these N gauge locos. My biggest problem seems to be losing buffers!

In conclusion I feel I must say very well done to all of the manufacturers mentioned above for producing such good products.

Offline Bealman

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Re: Reliability of Dapol, Farish, Peco & Gaugemaster
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2018, 08:36:05 am »
That is indeed good news. My own layout has Electrofrog points which rely on blade contact.

Now I'm looking at restoration, it may not be as hard as I thought!

I'm dead interested to know how you replace points at an exhibition, though. I assume it was a fiddleyard point, not one ballasted on the scenic section?  :hmmm:
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline GrahamB

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Re: Reliability of Dapol, Farish, Peco & Gaugemaster
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2018, 09:08:02 am »
I've used Gaugemaster for over twenty years. In all that time I have had one failure. This was at home and a CDU decided to try to set light to the control panel.

Despite it's age I sent it back to Gaugemaster who honoured their lifetime guarantee without question. Sadly they were unable to say what had caused the problem as the unit was too badly damaged but did suggest a inline fuse might prevent it happening again.

Generally my locos have worked very well. I tend to find that they are reliable from the word go and make it to shows or they're not and get returned quickly. Any problems during the show tends to be caused by dirt. On two day shows I'm very sad and spend the Saturday evenings cleaning the wheels ready for Sunday.

Offline daversmth

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Re: Reliability of Dapol, Farish, Peco & Gaugemaster
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2018, 09:17:31 am »
 I have 13 lococs, 12 of which are Fariish lococs or dmus. I have had to replace 5 of the motors in about an 18 month period, one was done under warranty on a new loco. So my experience of reliability is rather different.

Evertyhing else on the layout has worked with no problems, ie electronics, point motors etc, apart from the expected need to clean point contacts from time to time.

Online Chris Morris

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Re: Reliability of Dapol, Farish, Peco & Gaugemaster
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2018, 09:26:13 am »

I'm dead interested to know how you replace points at an exhibition, though. I assume it was a fiddleyard point, not one ballasted on the scenic section?  :hmmm:

Yes it was in the storage sidings. The point failed on the Saturday during the day. I managed to pin it in one direction in order to keep going. I purchased a new one during the day from a trade exhibitor and fitted it in just a few minutes after closing on the Saturday.

Offline Bealman

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Re: Reliability of Dapol, Farish, Peco & Gaugemaster
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2018, 09:28:45 am »
Cool! Good job! :thumbsup:
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Reliability of Dapol, Farish, Peco & Gaugemaster
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2018, 10:15:42 am »
It's quite refreshing to read the OP as I thought from the title it was going to be a 'which is best?' type thread. I attend quite a few shows each year and am thankful there are those willing to display their efforts to us all. We all castigate layouts that have nothing running/operators talking amongst themselves but I suspect the majority of running problems are not down to the locos/rolling stock but other gremlins of an electrical or track origin

Online njee20

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Re: Reliability of Dapol, Farish, Peco & Gaugemaster
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2018, 10:28:06 am »
I have 13 lococs, 12 of which are Fariish lococs or dmus. I have had to replace 5 of the motors in about an 18 month period, one was done under warranty on a new loco. So my experience of reliability is rather different.

That is very odd indeed. I've got about 50 locos/units etc, roughly 50/50 Farish/Dapol split, and have had probably double that that have passed over my layout and been sold on, and I've never had a motor fail in a Farish model.

Like Chris I've found reliability to be generally excellent, if a little inconsistent at times. I'm very philosophical about these things though, stuff does wear out/fail, it's not the end of the world.

I've also been party to Gaugemaster's excellent warranty, and returned a 30+ year old controller to them which was repaired without question, marvellous service!

Offline Fardap

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Re: Reliability of Dapol, Farish, Peco & Gaugemaster
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2018, 10:32:09 am »
I have 13 lococs, 12 of which are Fariish lococs or dmus. I have had to replace 5 of the motors in about an 18 month period, one was done under warranty on a new loco. So my experience of reliability is rather different.

Evertyhing else on the layout has worked with no problems, ie electronics, point motors etc, apart from the expected need to clean point contacts from time to time.

Would it be worth checking the controller output voltage as maybe this is too high for the motors, that is certainly above average number of failures I would have thought?

Online austinbob

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Re: Reliability of Dapol, Farish, Peco & Gaugemaster
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2018, 01:32:30 pm »
I have 13 lococs, 12 of which are Fariish lococs or dmus. I have had to replace 5 of the motors in about an 18 month period, one was done under warranty on a new loco. So my experience of reliability is rather different.

Evertyhing else on the layout has worked with no problems, ie electronics, point motors etc, apart from the expected need to clean point contacts from time to time.

Would it be worth checking the controller output voltage as maybe this is too high for the motors, that is certainly above average number of failures I would have thought?
Not very likely I would've thought. You have to knowingly increase the voltage by the control knob so if you turn it too high you might notice the excess speed of the loco...
 :beers:
Size matters - especially if you don't have a lot of space - and N gauge is the answer!

Bob Austin

Offline Fardap

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Re: Reliability of Dapol, Farish, Peco & Gaugemaster
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2018, 01:39:22 pm »
I have 13 lococs, 12 of which are Fariish lococs or dmus. I have had to replace 5 of the motors in about an 18 month period, one was done under warranty on a new loco. So my experience of reliability is rather different.

Evertyhing else on the layout has worked with no problems, ie electronics, point motors etc, apart from the expected need to clean point contacts from time to time.

Would it be worth checking the controller output voltage as maybe this is too high for the motors, that is certainly above average number of failures I would have thought?
Not very likely I would've thought. You have to knowingly increase the voltage by the control knob so if you turn it too high you might notice the excess speed of the loco...
 :beers:

I was thinking more DCC as there are various o/p voltages available - selectable on some for N or 00?

Online njee20

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Re: Reliability of Dapol, Farish, Peco & Gaugemaster
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2018, 01:41:33 pm »
Not very likely I would've thought. You have to knowingly increase the voltage by the control knob so if you turn it too high you might notice the excess speed of the loco...


A failure rate of near 50% isn't likely either, I'd expect 'outside influence' too!

Offline daversmth

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Re: Reliability of Dapol, Farish, Peco & Gaugemaster
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2018, 02:43:50 pm »
 Appologies to the original poster of this thread if it seems like I have hijacked it. :sorrysign:

The controller is DCC.

The controller uses a 15v dc supply which is regulated down to 12v on the pcb.
I just measured it, and it is 12v.

I haven't lost a motor for a few months now so hopefully that will continue.

My layout runs using a computer script, so speed is being ramped up and down in small steps ( 30 steps in 3 seconds), for smooth accelerating or slowing down, but I do not see that would cause motors to fail. I am just pointing out what maybe unusual about my set up.

I know I could set momentum in the decoder and issue just one step,  but precise ramping using the computer gives me more accurate control over the speed . I have no spot position sensors, only block occupancy detectors, so I have to calculate when to stop a train at the end of a block based on its speed, and therefore need predictable control of that speed. The trains are roughly the same length as one occupancy block in some cases, so I need accuracy to prevent overrun or the back end of the train remaining in the previous section. That is why I use the computer to control the speed predictably instead of the decoder momentum setting.


Offline Les1952

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Re: Reliability of Dapol, Farish, Peco & Gaugemaster
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2018, 08:31:45 pm »
No major reliability issues with any of these despite the amount of hammer they get - a loco on Hawthorn Dene runs well over a mile in the course of a 2-day show.  However Union Mills motors seem good for between 25 and 35 miles before they give up the ghost.

I will add a couple of general points-

I prefer Modelex hand-held controllers to Gaugemaster for analogue for one reason only - the Modelex gives you a positive indication of a short, which is a different one to that for no power (red light vs no light at all).   Gaugemaster give the same indication - the light goes out. Troubleshooting becomes a tad more difficult as a result- hunting for a loco derailed or  sitting over a section join for five minutes to find someone has tripped over the power cable and pulled the plug far enough out to lose power but not far enough to see it is out.........

There is no golden bullet in going Continental or American - in truth I have done both and I don't rate the stuff more reliable than recent DapFarBach kit.

OO gauge is ust as dodgy as N - indeed I have more issues with dirty rails on my OO "No Place" than on N-gauge Hawthorn Dene, though the tiny wheels on Furtwangen Ost's tramcars were in  a league of their own.  People curse the overscale flanges on N but trackholding is in my experience as good if not better in N than OO.

Les
« Last Edit: July 15, 2018, 08:33:01 pm by Les1952, Reason: improve sense. »

 

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