American Z Line AZL Mikado first impressions & DCC'd

Carlsbad92009 Jul 21, 2013

  1. ZFRANK

    ZFRANK TrainBoard Member

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    I do not yet have any experience with the Mikes....
    But, if the sound has an electrical origin, it should also be there when the motor is not coupled to the locomotive gears. Could still be the gears. I would return the locomotive to your dealer to claim warrenty. ..although the root cause would be interesting to know...
     
  2. ztrack

    ztrack TrainBoard Supporter Advertiser

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    Chris,

    I have not head that sound before in our test running. But I think what is exasperating the sound is that the track is laid straight on MDF. This is causing the noise to resound. Some gear noise is very common with these locomtoives. There are a lot of moving parts! But let's try this first.

    Remove the drive train between the locomotive and tender. Now apply power. The can motor will spin up. This will determine if the noise in the motor or the drive mechanism. Likely it is the drive mechanism.

    Put the drive shaft back in place. I have found reseating the drive train can do wonders. I do a little twist of the locomotive and tender. Turn the loco towards you while turning the tender away, then reverse. This just gets the universal joints aligned.

    Now test run. 'Noise' is not a warranty issue. The real key is in the running. How is it running? We have found that these locomotive require a break-in period. The longer they run, the better they are. They will run smoother and the gear noise may diminish. It is amazing the difference over time.

    Let us know how it goes.

    Rob
     
  3. Garth-H

    Garth-H TrainBoard Supporter

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    I would be interested in knowing what power supply you are using, and if you have tried a battery powered controller, I get the distinct impression the coreless motor is coging due to pulse power at a low frequency , it is something I have seen in coreless motors before, they do not like pulse power at low frequencies and they growl and if left long enough on pulse power will heat up. I know this engine will run fine on controllers with constant lighting as I ran one for almost 6 hours at Atlanta on a Rokuhan RC002. no heat just steady smooth running with no noise at all.
     
  4. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    Are the drivers slightly mis-quartered?
     
  5. zscaler

    zscaler TrainBoard Member

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    How much running time/ breaking in do you recommend? 5 or 6 hours? Varying the speed and direction of course.
     
  6. Curn

    Curn TrainBoard Member

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    I too have noticed a significant sound difference with my Mikado depending on what DC power supply I am using. With the Snail/Medvend controllers it sounds almost as loud as a MTL F7. With the Rokuhan RC002, it is whisper quiet.
     
  7. Chris333

    Chris333 TrainBoard Supporter

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    In the video I was using a MRC tech2 2800. I have also tried a Zthek controller with a 5V power supply and with a 9volt battery. Nothing really changes. Also when it is running laps the speed will seem to vary. Was running a AZL GP7 with the same controllers.

    The track is mounted to 1/8" hardboard that is mounted to 2" foam. I'm sure that helps the sound echo a little in the video.

    When I run the motor without the drive shaft it is vary quiet, but it also has no load this way.
     
  8. Chris333

    Chris333 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well apparently after running about 5 laps straight out of the box the wheels were all very dirty...

    Here is an update. Using the MRC controller here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_l6eKTdy9-s

    It runs much better now, but you can notice a little bit more chatter going forward than in reverse. Is this just a DC coreless motor thing?
     
  9. Chris333

    Chris333 TrainBoard Supporter

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  10. RobertAllbritton

    RobertAllbritton TrainBoard Member

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    Based on my ears, the Zthek controller was much louder than the MRC. Based on that, I think this is mainly a controller issue. As said earlier, these motors will work on pulsed power, but they sound and run much better on pure DC or very high frequency pulse power.
     
  11. Chris333

    Chris333 TrainBoard Supporter

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    I really think it was a case of torque and ultra low speeds. I figured from the motor shaft to the wheels is a 12:1 ratio while a N scale Bachmann 2-8-0 has around 45:1 ratio. Now from what I read coreless motor have a lot of torque, but perhaps it isn't great enough with such a low ratio. For what it is worth I swapped out the motor for a Maxon 8x16 and didn't get much better results. I then brought out the big guns and put in a Faulhaber 8x16 with a 4:1 gearhead. I don't think there is much difference between a Faulhaber, Maxon, or the AZL motor, but when you add the gearhead the total locomotive ratio goes up to 48:1.

    The gearhead screws on to the motor and just about doubles it's length so I had to mill out a small amount of the tender weight. Also the AZL motor is 7.5mm so I had to file the retaining clip down a little:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I'm very happy with how it runs now:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCQLXASR0wk

    Usually I would complain about things like this, but I am just so happy to finally have a great US steam locomotive. I will say that I do not expect an expensive gearhead from the factory. However adding more gear ratio would have the same effect. Adding more gears would probably mean raising the worm up and then I do not know if the motor would be in-line with it. So who knows if it is possible in such a small area.

    This is what the inside of a planetary gearhead looks like:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/ErieChris333/NScale#5156889092633592594
    In this case the motor has to spin 4 times to get the output shaft to spin once. I'm sure we all know how locomotives run better at faster speeds. This way the motor is spinning faster at lower speeds.


    ...And for a boiler weight I bought e-bay 200932607881.


    Anyways. Thank you for producing this locomotive! Oh and how about a Berkshire next? : )
     
  12. FrenchieZ

    FrenchieZ Permanently dispatched

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    So... the electrical noise has mostly disappeared with the installation of a better motor.
     
  13. Chris333

    Chris333 TrainBoard Supporter

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    I wouldn't say better motor, I'd say better gearing. If I could attach the gearhead to the stock factory motor I'll bet it would run just as good.
     
  14. ztrack

    ztrack TrainBoard Supporter Advertiser

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    Wow that gearhead is impressive.

    Question, is your Mikado staying CB&Q or getting painted for Erie?

    Rob
     
  15. Chris333

    Chris333 TrainBoard Supporter

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  16. ztrack

    ztrack TrainBoard Supporter Advertiser

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    Excellent! I can't wait to see photos when you are done. I would like to see an Erie version released by AZL. It is a classic fallen flag!

    I love the shot with lime buildup on the side. Nothing like the hard water from around the lakes!

    Rob
     
  17. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    Nice work Chris. One of the things people may not know about gearhead motors is they are far more effective than flywheels at storing kenetic energy. In other words, they have natural momentum built in.
     
  18. minzemaennchen

    minzemaennchen TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Chris,
    Impressive slow motion, and lots of torque I guess, a real puller. Looking forward to see your Erie version. I can't wait for my heavy Mike, but I will leave it as CB&Q, but with more details and as late 50 version with oil tender.
     
  19. Loren

    Loren TrainBoard Supporter

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    It's nice to see yet another modeler asking for a Berkshire. Rob K is also drooling at the prospect of a Berkshire someday. I join with hoping Hans has something great up his sleeve before we all turn too old to care.
     
  20. minzemaennchen

    minzemaennchen TrainBoard Member

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    Yes, a budget Berkshire would be nice too, the ultimate model Chris has already created. I wouldn't mind getting more injection moulded steamer from AZL, they did lots of brass design work already, why not replicating them in plastic? Would attract to totally different audience, incl. me.
     

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