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Author Topic: I'm thinking of buying a Dapol B17. Reviews?  (Read 17763 times)

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Offline oreamnos

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I'm thinking of buying a Dapol B17. Reviews?
« on: June 10, 2011, 09:31:31 PM »
Just a quick question.  Does anyone have any experience with the Dapol B17?  I'm thinking about buying one (Hatton's have a few left in stock) and I really like the way they look but my previous experience with Dapol locos (both kettles and d&es) has left me with a very low opinion of Dapol.  Can anyone convince me to have another go?

Thanks.

Matt

Offline Roy L S

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Re: I'm thinking of buying a Dapol B17. Reviews?
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2011, 12:41:39 PM »
Hi Matt

I have one from the first batch of book-sets. Initially haulage and negotiating pointwork was not great, but backing off the bogie-retaining screw half a turn sorted that out. They are quite smooth running if a little noisy, no doubt due to the 40:1 gearing and consequently high revving of the motor. Slow-running is exceptional.

Mine is not excessively used but has still had probably 10-15 hours of running. During that time it has not missed a beat. They are well detailed to the point of being quite delicate, the valve-gear is particularly fine. There seem to have been reports of a number of failures of valve-gear rivets, how much of that is down to poor assembly or rough handling I would not care to speculate. I am always very careful handling my locos, and should I take them anywhere,  it is always in the original packaging.

So, in conclusion, I think it is a cracking looking model (Even if the paint is too matt for some) which runs very well, if noisily. They are well detailed but do have a feel of being a little "flaky" or fragile, and I suspect would not tolerate much rough handling.

For my money (personal choice here) if you want an LNER 4-6-0 the Farish B1 is a much better finished and engineered model which feels more robust and looks just exquisite.

However If it is specifically the B17 you want, my experience of the Dapol model has been fine.

Regards

Roy

Offline Stevie DC

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Re: I'm thinking of buying a Dapol B17. Reviews?
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2011, 09:15:40 AM »
Hi all,

I find my B17 to be an ok runner, not my best but far from my worst. Haulage wise it isn't up to the level of Farish or Union Mills (what can out pull a UM model?) but will handle 6-8 Gresley's. Detail is great although maybe the cab numbers are a little large. I'd recommend it - in fact I've bought one of Dapol's spare 'chassis' to try and convert into an example with an GER tender!

Roy does like the Farish B1  :evil: :smiley-laughing: and I got one having read his opinions even though its out of period for me. I'm sure I can find something to bash it into though! Speaking of which I've got a potential second use for Dapols B1 chassis...

Offline oreamnos

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Re: I'm thinking of buying a Dapol B17. Reviews?
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2011, 07:49:18 AM »
Just wanted to thank you for the feedback.  I've gone and ordered a B17 from Hattons.  I do think they are handsome engines, but if the model turns out to be a dog I will exchange it for a Farish B1.

Matt

Offline oreamnos

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Re: I'm thinking of buying a Dapol B17. Reviews?
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2011, 12:33:24 AM »
The B-17 arrived yesterday and boy was it a pretty thing.  (Note the past tense.)  Seemed to be assembled really well, too - no finish flaws which I've regularly seen on Dapol locos.  Ran nice and quite, too.

But only in a straight line!  Oh, it still ran quiet on curves, but the front bogie would NOT stay on the rails.  I was running on 11 inch radius.

I've read about this problem before and the solution seems to be to loosen the screw holding the bogie onto the chassis.  I tried many variations on this (a little looser, a lot looser) and nothing worked.  I even tried tightening it a little.  That actually seemed to help as the bogie stayed on the track for one whole circuit of my oval before jumping off!

The problem seemed to be worse running clockwise than anti-clockwise - the bogie stayed on the track longer running anti-clockwise.  So I examined the chassis carefully.  I spent two hours hunched over that little loco!  It seemed that the loco, when viewed from directly above, tended to naturally sit on the rails with its front end shifted slightly to the left relative its back so that it didn't go straight down the rails but rather crabbed along a little sideways like a plane flying in a crosswind.

In any case, I'm sending it back to Hattons, and very disappointed.  I've had it with Dapol.  Every Dapol loco I've ever ordered (5 of them now!) I've sent back because they haven't been built right.  Hatton's had one Farish V2 left, and while I know it's not up to current standards and has its own well known foibles, I've ordered it as the B17's replacement.  I'll keep my fingers crossed.

-Matt

Offline Elvinley

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Re: I'm thinking of buying a Dapol B17. Reviews?
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2011, 07:45:15 PM »
They must be getting sick of all the Dapol locos that are returned to them surely?

Offline Guy

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Re: I'm thinking of buying a Dapol B17. Reviews?
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2011, 06:55:16 PM »
My experience with the B17 has been really good. It pulls 6 Mk1s happily amd goes through my double slips and other points well.

My father though, his B17 lasted less than 2 weeks when it effectively fell apart.

From my experience, quality control seems to be a real problem recently with both Farish and Dapol steam locos, you either get a good loco or a real "dog". It appears that the detail is the emphasis of these manufacturers rather than ensuring that their locos consistently are supplied "ready to run" in a sustainable manner.

Offline Crackerbill

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Re: I'm thinking of buying a Dapol B17. Reviews?
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2011, 05:38:24 PM »
I wish you well in your purchase, but I think you will have to be lucky.  There seems to be a hit and miss business with steam outline locos whether they perform as expected or not.

I returned the B17 I had as it proved to be somewhat wanting.  The looks are great with only small niggles really.  Mine just would not run satisfactorily.  It kept derailing at unexpected moments and would not take any of my points.  Adjustment to the bogie screw improved it slightly but it wasn't the best kid on the block.  Eventually I had to call it a day and returned it.   I bought a class 35 diesel with the money and this proved a very sound investment.   

Offline Paul B

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Re: I'm thinking of buying a Dapol B17. Reviews?
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2011, 02:12:32 PM »
Well I originally thought that my Dapol B17 was a good runner; I bought it from John Duttfields in Chelmsford a few years ago, when the first boxed sets were released, and they oiled the loco according to Dapol's instructions and test ran it for me. It then didn't get any running until last year, when it survived a days running round the Swindon Model Railway club layout back in December, and never missed a beat, although it wouldn't pull more than 4 coaches up the slopes on the layout.

However, please note the word 'orignally' in my first sentence. A couple of weekends ago, I was using the club layout again at an open day at the Swindon & Cricklade railway. The B17 seemed at first to be doing pretty well. However, I was chatting to an MOP when I suddenly noticed that there was smoke coming from the tender of all places! I stopped it and had a look at the loco, but couldn't see where the smoke was coming from, or even see anything that could produce the smoke either, so I put it on again - and again it smoked!  I took her off and didn't run her again.

I haven't had a chance to take the loco or tender apart yet to see if I can find the fauly myself. Anyone had a similar problem and can give me some guidance?  Also, if it has to go back, should I contact Duttfields first (difficult as I now live on the other side of the country) or go straight for Dapol? I am worried as I have had the loco for a few years and don't know whether anyone will want to repair/replace her for me.
LNER (and PKP) fan in the home of the GWR!

Offline Roy L S

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Re: I'm thinking of buying a Dapol B17. Reviews?
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2011, 04:53:37 PM »
Sounds like a rather terminal motor problem to me from what you describe..

Not sure that you are in time to return it for a warranty repair by the sound of it, but Bob Russell at BR Lines now repairs Dapol, and it may be worth contacting him: -

http://www.brlines.com/index.html

Hope this helps.

Regards

Roy

Offline Dr Al

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Re: I'm thinking of buying a Dapol B17. Reviews?
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2011, 05:34:19 PM »
I haven't had a chance to take the loco or tender apart yet to see if I can find the fauly myself. Anyone had a similar problem and can give me some guidance?  Also, if it has to go back, should I contact Duttfields first (difficult as I now live on the other side of the country) or go straight for Dapol? I am worried as I have had the loco for a few years and don't know whether anyone will want to repair/replace her for me.

Warranty repair is one thing, but you are covered under law also for items that have been shipped as not fit for purpose. Your loco should run for more than a few hours before packing up - the motor should be good for hundreds of hours of use and should be able to run through several sets of brushes before wear on the bearings and commutator would write it off (i.e. IMHO the motor should outlast the rest of the loco!!!) , so if you do decide to return it, it's probably worth checking up on the law and politely reminding them of it.

This is becoming a signature problem with this motor though - I suspect that the motor is semi-shorting across it's commutator because the commutator is clogged with soft brush carbon deposits. I've experienced slowing (and high current draw) from several of these motors (In Brits) because of this, and cleaning the comms helped. But it's not easy to do as the comm is essentially sealed. You can either completely strip the motor (not for the feint hearted) or remove the brushes and poke a pin down the hole and try to clean out the comm slots this way.

Another method reported to work (from experienced friend who had a HST that went from drawing 120mA to 300+) is to spin the motor up out of the chassis and spray it with a quick blast of an IPA cleaner or the likes. Apparently it'll smoke like hell at first and then the comm will self clean and performance should improve back to normal. Not tried it - one for use as a last resort.

The more reports of this I hear the more trepidation I feel in buying a Dapol loco that runs this motor (i.e. B17, 67, 66, Brit, 86, 58, HST, Hall, Ixion Manor and presumably forthcoming releases) - I suspect many are being shipped with brushes that are too soft and therefore wear very quickly and produce a lot of stray brush carbon.

I always advocate folk getting a moving coil ammeter in series with their layout. This pre-empts many of these problems - if you can see the current rising above 150mA consistently on these motors (especially if accompanied by slowing) you know your likely heading down the path that will end in a smoke generator. This happens at >300mA (amazingly the dud HST I had ran on this and didn't smoke or burn out despite getting so hot it the chassis block could not hardly be touched).

There have been a lot of reports of Brits, B1s and HSTs slowing or going up in smoke. I suspect they are all suffering the same problem.

Cheers,
Alan
Quote from: Roy L S
If Dr Al is online he may be able to provide a more comprehensive answer.

“We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.” – Dr. Carl Sagan

Offline davieb

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Re: I'm thinking of buying a Dapol B17. Reviews?
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2011, 06:52:15 PM »
a question for Dr al

i had thought about adding an ammeter to my layout but didnt know which one and how to wire it in ???

could you help please :wave:

dave

Offline Dr Al

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Re: I'm thinking of buying a Dapol B17. Reviews?
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2011, 07:02:50 PM »
a question for Dr al

i had thought about adding an ammeter to my layout but didnt know which one and how to wire it in ???

could you help please :wave:

dave


Buy an analogue moving coil meter, rated at either 750mA or 1A ideally (typically the locos draw 100-200mA, older stock up to 300mA, so if you double head then the current consumption can add up, particularly if one of the locos is ailing and drawing more than it should!). Wire on DC by simply connecting in series - i.e. break one of the two wires connecting the controller to the layout and insert the meter across the break.

Meters can be bought fairly cheaply - I bought a second for my second circuit and it cost something like £5 (the first was freebee given to me by a generous friend  :thumbsup: !).

A quick google of 1A meters pulls up something like this, which would do the job fine:
http://www.philipharris.co.uk/secondary/electronics-and-electrical-equipment/meters/ammeter-moving-coil-0-1a-dc/

Best Regards,
Alan
Quote from: Roy L S
If Dr Al is online he may be able to provide a more comprehensive answer.

“We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.” – Dr. Carl Sagan

Offline davieb

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Re: I'm thinking of buying a Dapol B17. Reviews?
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2011, 08:27:54 PM »
thanks for that alan :thumbsup:

will have to go do some shopping me thinks

thought they would have been a bit more expensive so theres a nice suprise :)

dave

Offline polo2k

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Re: I'm thinking of buying a Dapol B17. Reviews?
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2011, 10:19:34 AM »

However, please note the word 'orignally' in my first sentence. A couple of weekends ago, I was using the club layout again at an open day at the Swindon & Cricklade railway. The B17 seemed at first to be doing pretty well. However, I was chatting to an MOP when I suddenly noticed that there was smoke coming from the tender of all places! I stopped it and had a look at the loco, but couldn't see where the smoke was coming from, or even see anything that could produce the smoke either, so I put it on again - and again it smoked!  I took her off and didn't run her again.

I haven't had a chance to take the loco or tender apart yet to see if I can find the fauly myself. Anyone had a similar problem and can give me some guidance?  Also, if it has to go back, should I contact Duttfields first (difficult as I now live on the other side of the country) or go straight for Dapol? I am worried as I have had the loco for a few years and don't know whether anyone will want to repair/replace her for me.

hi there, just spotted this post. I recently had electrical problems in the tender of a B1. See the post in the Surgery forum about the Dapol B1.

In my case there was a burnt out diode which could get hot and cause something to smoke?
Cheers
-Ash-



The only way to guarantee failure, is not to try

 

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