American Z Line AZL EMD GP30s Are Here!

ztrack Aug 19, 2011

  1. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Please use a Private Message when the retailer is not a TrainBoard advertiser.
    Thank you.
     
  2. ztrack

    ztrack TrainBoard Supporter Advertiser

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    Mark, no problem. I was unaware of that policy.

    If anyone needs the name of the retailer, drop me an email at:

    ztrack@aol.com

    Rob
     
  3. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    oh yeah, with ease ! I'll redo the pix with proper lighting, wire colors and parts same orientation by this weekend.
    .
     
  4. animek

    animek TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Jeff, those pictures showing the wires patterns are surely very helpful, (Specially when the right wire is connected to the right position or course:bear-cute:)
    I then keep a library of those pictures in each appropriate loco folders.

    Ben
     
  5. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    This could also be moot as AZL is working on a drop-in decoder. However, as I see it, I would only work with this new motor mechanism (e.g. 'Going forward in production") and not be compatible with prior GP7 or SD70. I haven't popped the cover off the RDC to compare PC boards. This weekend.
    .
     
  6. ztrack

    ztrack TrainBoard Supporter Advertiser

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    Jeff the RDCs and the GP30s use the same PC boards.

    Rob
     
  7. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks, that will make a write up easier.
    .
     
  8. minzemaennchen

    minzemaennchen TrainBoard Member

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    Got mine!

    Finally my GP30 has arrived too!
    Here my review with all pro and cons, I hope AZL is taken my critics to improve the design, it has really potential to become a really good Z model.

    First look, great looking loco, placed on the track: nothing. The same as with so many others, the circuit board was dislodged. Even everything was checked prior to distribution according to Rob, the attachment for the circuit board is not fit for parcel shipment. There are hooks attached to the plastic clamps holding ther chassis halve together, but they are not high enough to prevent this. Circiuit board back in place and the loco shows it's great running characteristic, much better than the GP7, the whole drive train (apart from the trucks I guess) is different, the 7.5mm motor works well, I think the biggest improvement is the separation of the driveshaft from the wormshaft and therefore some propper bearings for the wormgear to ensure the right spacing to the trucks. The shell has very fine engravings, very realistic and also an improvement to the (reference) GP7. The printing is excellent too, with multi-colour barcode, warnings, red tank caps and gauge and manufacturing plate. The railings are not up to the same quality standard, the end bits are bend wrong and painted very thick with some white paint that doesn't stick on at all. Looks like somebody tried himself out with liquid paper. Boy, that can be done much better without much effort. The good news are you can easily remove the paint paint and do it yourself better.
    I don't know if it's only my loco, but the signal horn was glued on with excessive amount of glue. I removed it and found the pin of the signal horn was missing/ broken off and this looks like a quick fix.....hmmmm.
    Not an issue for me, but 2 pilots would be appreciated by lots of others.
    Forgot: the loco is in all dimemsions correct to the prototype! Very good! And the price is also much improved in comparison to the GP7 :thumbs_up:
    Overall a good first shot with some potential for improvement.
     
  9. animek

    animek TrainBoard Member

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    Hey Jeff!
    How are those decoder installation pictures coming along?

    Ben
     
  10. BurlingtonRoute

    BurlingtonRoute TrainBoard Member

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    Gerd, I can't wait to see you do a CB&Q repaint of this engine. GP-30 was the star of their fleet.
     
  11. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    Not coming. It's not easy (the RDC was easier, it had room). First, you need to remove the coils from the bottom of the PC board to make room for the Z2 decoder. You can remove the Capacitor (condensor) also as the DCC motor drive does not require them. Next, the LED's are connected to the frame, like the SD70 and RDC rather than a 'common' so that it can be referenced to the typical Blue +Volts wire. This causes some issues. You really need to either change one LED polarity or play with the SMD resistors to solve this.

    Don Fedjur will do all the cuts, components and compilation for a very low fee.
     
  12. pmx

    pmx TrainBoard Member

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    Finally had an opportunity to try out my new NYC GP30, with Thom and Ellen of Midwest Haulers, at the Indy GTE.

    To echo the others, this is great looking loco, with fine details. But like the others I placed it on the track and nothing. Well almost nothing only the forward LED. So while the circuit board wasn't dislodged it wasn't making good contact with the motor leads. The design between the contacts from the board to the motor contacts is similar to that used for the truck pickup, the edge of one contact brushing against a broad surface of the other contact. IMHO, this is fine for the power pickup in the trucks but not so good for the board-to-motor. So after adjusting both the board and motor contacts I was able to get the GP30 to run in both directions, until I attempted to put the shell back on. After playing with things a bit longer it seems that the shell was putting just enough pressure on the lower part of the frame to cause the board-to-motor interface to loose contact. Eventually we got past this and the unit show itself to be a fine runner.

    So while I really like the look and some of the mechanics are improved, I'm a bit apprehensive about the reliability of the unit after transport. I know Rob said this is the same circuit board that is in the RDC, I'll just have to see if the contact interface is the same, as I've not had this issue with my RDC.

    ~Paul E.
     
  13. RobertAllbritton

    RobertAllbritton TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Guys,

    Sorry some folks are having problems with the GP30 circuit board (PCB) we are experiencing our own frustration with this element of the Locomotive. So far, 99% of the problems with the GP30 revolve around the PCB, and how it makes contact with the locomotive frame and motor. If you have problems, here are a few things you can try:

    1) The PCB was made the exact width of the locomotive shell, so when you remove the shell if you apply any backward pressure it increases the probability that the PCB will get pushed back and dislodge from the frame - sometimes it gets stuck inside the shell! naughty circuit board! No big deal, just use a small tool to gently remove it from the shell.
    2) There are two bronze tabs that go from the PCB to the motor. Sometimes these get a little bent out of shape. They should be at about an 85 degree angle to the PCB (not quite up and down, just ever so slightly pointing towards the rear of the locomotive) They also should be at the same angle. *VERY* gently apply pressure to bend these, but stabilize their solder connection to the PCB because this is a very thin circuit board and can be easily damaged.
    3) There are two bronze clips on either side of the PCB. These were designed so if you want to add a DCC decoder, you can remove the clips and it will isolate the motor from the wheels from the lights. There are solder points where you can connect the wires for a DCC decoder and you're off to the races! If you are running DC (normal) power, those clips tie the power together so the locomotive runs and the lights go on. Sometimes those clips can lose contact, so if your locomotive is not running, try GETNLY touching / pinching those clips to see if that’s the problem.
    3a) given that the coils on the bottom side of the PCB take up most of the room where the DCC decoder would go, we will probably eliminate the bronze side clips once the drop in decoder is made available.
    4) On very rare occasions, the motor itself rotates a little in the frame and it loses contact with the motor tabs. With the PCB out, look down and if the motor is out of alignment, gently rotate the motor to center for better contact. Don’t worry about the tabs shorting our on the frame: there is some clear tape on both sides of the frame with the motor connections are made that will prevent short circuits.
    5) If all else fails, contact Rob Kluz ztrack@aol.com and he will give you a hand.

    We have found the GP 30 needs about 30 minutes of running to break in, but after that, it is a supper runner and Godzilla like puller. I measured about twice the tractive force compared to my MTL GP35. When you're breaking it in, please run it in BOTH DIRECTIONS and BOTH LEFT AND RIGHT TURNS. That will help the gears set up better.

    Once the PCB makes good contact, I've had zero problems transporting it. I think UPS, FedEx and the Postal Service bang these boxes around quite a bit with all their sorting machines. I know I dont sit there and whap my locomotives across the table all day long, but I'm sure if I did, the PCB would probably come lose. I trust you guys are kinder to your Z scale trains than the U.S. Postal service.

    One last note, we do provide a 90 day warranty, but that’s there in case we break it. If you break it, we will do what we can to help, but we have to determine who was responsible, and then decide if we can repair it, or replace it. In other words, be GENTLE when you're making adjustments to the locomotive. They all ran perfectly well when they were shipped out of our distributor (we know because we test every single GP30!) so if something happened between here and there; it’s probably a very minor adjustment that is needed. If you are getting out your 2 ton press, chances are good that you are about to make a minor problem into a major one!

    Enjoy!
    -Rob(A)
    AZL
     
  14. Loren

    Loren TrainBoard Supporter

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    [QUOTE... Hi Guys, I trust you guys are kinder to your Z scale trains than the U.S. Postal service. QUOTE]
    Enjoy!
    -Rob(A)
    AZL

    That is an understatement regarding the postal system. I've seen postal workers on the back loading dock throwing priority boxes over 10' trying to make 3 pointer baskets into the loading bins. They laugh when they miss. Makes me want to perform major brain surgery on their heads......without anesthesia.
     
  15. rvn2001

    rvn2001 TrainBoard Member

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    I've seen postal workers on the back loading dock throwing priority boxes over 10' trying to make 3 pointer baskets into the loading bins. They laugh when they miss. Makes me want to perform major brain surgery on their heads......without anesthesia.[/QUOTE]

    That's exactly why an experienced shipping clerk (like me) is so important to manufacturers and distributors. I had a package that I packed that was in a Fed-Ex plane when it crashed. They suggested we re-ship the item and they would return what, if anything, was left after their investigation. My package came back pretty crushed but the merchandise inside was in perfect condition.....anyone need an unemployed experienced shipping clerk :tb-biggrin: ?
     
  16. Z_thek

    Z_thek TrainBoard Member

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    Interesting... I'm just wondering, how these evil postal workers know, the packages need to be dropped, shaked and played with, contains AZL GP30 locomotives. Yes, it's weird. The same USPS delivered thousands of Z-scale locomotives (including many other AZL models) without affecting their performance. I'm really puzzled... :0)
     
  17. Fred Ladd

    Fred Ladd TrainBoard Member

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    This is a true Story-- and I will not name the guilty party- to protect his inosense... I had a Z package mailed from OREGON-
    It arrived while we were up in New England. On the box was printed- "MUST BE KEPT FROZEN". On arrival home I could not find the package- until my wife opened the freezer and there it was----Our neighbor read the box and put it in the freezer.
    All was in good shape and I got some pretty cool cars.
     
  18. markm

    markm TrainBoard Supporter

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    Rob,
    I received my GP30 ready to run right out of the box and am overall quite happy with it. But your comment about the size of the PCB the same as the shell concerns me. I don't have much experience with plastics, like the shell, but PCB material has a very bad habit of expanding by 10 mils or so due to changes in temperature and humidity. I suspect sitting in a hot UPS truck could have the same effect on the board as drop-kicking the shipping box across the room.
    BTW: while I'm happy with my unit, you ought to look into changing the LED you're using: way too blue-white, although I can fix that with the right paint. Also, I'd would be nice to have gotten instructions (or at least a parts list) in the bottom of the box.

    Mark
     
  19. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    All 3 of mine came with the pc boards detached. No big deal for me as I had to DCC them anyways. I just used a bamboo skewer to pop the boards out of the shell, and slid them back on the loco real easily. Then I held the mechanism upside down on a 9v battery and tested they operate fine.

    I desoldered all components off the backside of the board, then soldered the used 1.2K SMT resistors to the negative lead of each SMT LED, and left the copper tabs on over their numbered contacts.

    Next I peeled the wrapper off the TCS Z2 decoder, desoldered the blue wire, and soldered the orange and gray wires pointing backwards on the decoder then cut and soldered the other end of the orange and gray wires to the motor tabs.

    Now I reinstalled the AZL light board, and 4 wires poke out underneath. I soldered the white and yellow wires to the other side of the SMT Resistors, and the black and red to the copper tabs and I am done! Shell fits just fine!
     
  20. RobertAllbritton

    RobertAllbritton TrainBoard Member

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    Lajos,

    A friendly tip: American postal workers are a bit edgy these days. Everyone is on their backs, and they are talking about slashing thousands of postal jobs and eliminating Saturday delivery. Its easy to understand how they are a bit up tight about losing their jobs in a bad economy. If they find out you have called them "evil" it might provoke them, and then...

    well...

    they might just "go Postal" on you. ;-)


    (Sorry, I couldn't resist!)

    Best,
    -Rob(A)
    AZL
     

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