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Author Topic: Faller vs Tomytec systems  (Read 526 times)

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Faller vs Tomytec systems
« on: September 12, 2018, 11:31:12 AM »
4a. Re: Faller v Tomytec car systems.
  From: Noel Leaver <n.leaver@btopenworld.com>
  Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2018 12:53:47 BST

For example: They are similar but there are big differences! Facts like
comparing, power source, Pick up procedure, Chassis shapes, length
adjustment capability, Suitability for fitting British models, types of
running surfaces, fixed road system to fitting to existing layout, turning
circles, can bus stops be fitted to own layout? or confined to fixed road
system, Traffic light system of both compared, Need for and time to charge

I am intending doing a follow up article on the Faller covering additional
vehicle conversions and some additional experiences, which will cover some
of those items.

However, despite having chassis from Faller, Tomytec (the latest version
with rechargeable using USB socket), and KK Producja I have no experience of
some of the areas you mention because they would never be relevant to me. In
particular, I would never use any of the fixed track segments for the same
reason that I would not use settrack on the scenic part of a layout - I want
the flexibility of being able to curve the road how I want. And it is far
cheaper! For that reason I would not use a commercial traffic light system,
if we needed one we would use servos and our own electrics probably based on
an Arduino. Similarly for a bus stop.

It is not difficult to add a buried wire to an existing layout (which can
also be used for Tomytec), we have just done this for the brewery loop on
Wickwar. Trying to use the road segments would need major surgery.

Some comparisons between Tomytec and Faller (interestingly Faller now sell
the Tomytec chassis as part of their range):

* Turning circle for Faller is 3" radius though 3.5" is safer, Tomytec will
manage about 2" radius.

* Faller chassis can be fitted into many lorries and busses including those
with the front wheels very near the front bumper and a low bonnet
(particularly if you use a button cell in place of a rechargeable). The
Tomytec will only fit busses and coaches with a flat front and the front
wheels set some way back from the bumper - that is, most modern coaches but
not a lot of older ones.

* The Faller is slightly better at negotiating bumps in the road surface,
though that just means you need a bit more work getting it smooth for
Tomytec. The Tomytec is in general more reliable at following the road - the
Faller does tend to get a bit stiff after a time and need cleaning else it
will fail to steer properly. The tyres on the Faller are easy to push partly
off the wheel when handling which also affects steering until repositioned.

* The latest Tomytec chassis is adjustable, though it is not difficult to
lengthen the Faller chassis by cutting and gluing. Or you can separate the
steering and front wheels and glue this to be body and mount the rear axle
and mechanism separately.

* The magnet in the Tomytec steering arm is set up for a wire more deeply
buried than the Faller one, and if used on Faller track sticks to the road
and stops proper movement. However the magnet can be adjusted so it works by
pushing it up in the plastic holder (you can also buy replacement weaker

* The stop mechanism is essentially the same between Faller and Tomytec,
though you may need to fiddle a little with the magnet position/strength to
get it to work with all vehicles (in fact different Faller vehicles behaved
slightly differently after changing bodies I found and needed to be tested
individually). The Tomytec on curves tends to track further inside the wire
than the Faller, so a stop magnet on a curve needs to be slightly further in
for Tomytec though you can manage to position a magnet to work for both.

* The Faller only has one speed, the Tomytec has 2 speeds governed by
another magnet - this can I believe be used without affecting Faller.

As to how long they will run for that depends on a number of factors. The
Faller lorries will do 2-3 hours continuous running when new. The Tomytec
are I think slightly better. However, the Faller batteries seem to lose some
capacity over time, I've not had my Tomytec lose enough to comment.

In practice used at an exhibition but only running for say 15% of the time
both will manage a full day but will need recharging for the next day.

The duration is very dependent on the weight of the body. Mine with metal
Oxford Diecast bodies struggle and have much shorter running times (bit over
an hour), partly more current but also they cease being able to get up hills
when the battery is part discharged.

On several of my vehicles I've replaced the rechargeable with a button cell
(the older Tomytec use cells as well). This is partly because trying to
recharge half a dozen vehicles on Saturday night at an exhibition is
difficult (and you need several special chargers for Faller, though the
Tomytec uses USB which is easier). Changing a battery is easy though and
takes less than a minute. The other reason is that the cell is significantly
smaller so can fit in vehicles that would not take the rechargeable. Most of
mine use a standard AG13 cell, these don't last as long as the rechargeable
in a vehicle with a standard body but will do about 5 hours on our layout
used intermittently, so 3 cover a 2-day exhibition. I've tried several types
and chemistry, Duracell and other premium ones are slightly better but not a
lot, silver oxide cells are not use as they cannot support the high drain,
similarly the Zinc/air cells are no use. In practice I use the cheapest ones
that can be bought on eBay in packs of 10 or 20.

On one coach with a Faller chassis there is space for a AAAA battery, and as
this has a heavy metal body it did not last very long on a button cell, but
the AAAA battery will last more than a day at an exhibition. But it will
only fit in only larger coaches else I would use these for everything.

I tried fitting 2 cells in parallel in a Faller vehicle, but found that they
lasted not much longer than a single cell, the extra weight used up much of
the extra power.

I've found it quite easy to build "points" by having a short gap in the wire
of less than 1 cm with 2 wires beyond, and a small magnet under the gap
(below the ply road surface) that can be moved a mm or so side to side (by a
servo in our case) so the steering arm is attracted towards the wire to be

Provided vehicles are moving in a fairly straight line they will pass over
other steering wires in the road, similarly will go over railway tracks.
Problems can arise if you try this on the exit of a curve and the steering
may not have centred itself properly.

It is very easy to build a test track with a buried Faller wire on say a bit
of ply 15" x 8" to try all this out.

I was going to include a photo of a the flatbed lorry but I don't seem to
have one, and it is currently in our clubrooms. I'll take a photo later in
the week.

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