American Z Line SD70, SD70M, SD75M, SD75I

zfuture Apr 5, 2014

  1. ztrack

    ztrack TrainBoard Supporter Advertiser

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    Dave,

    We have been test running these like crazy. I REALLY like how these run. I did test them with the first run of SD70s from AZL and found the speed matching to be very close. As always, a little break in goes a long way, but I am picking out samples to add to my own roster!

    Yes, AZL addressed the coupler. The design is changed so the coupler no longer snaps on. The prevents the coupler from popping off. It is rigid now which is nice. Downside, you have to cut of the coupler to snap in the plow that is included. The plow does have a coupler. But it is more for show. It may be able to be used if curves are quite broad. This is also true for the GP9s.

    Rob
     
  2. DSZ&N

    DSZ&N TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Rob that's great news cant wait to get my hands on them :)
     
  3. Ajayrav

    Ajayrav TrainBoard Member

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    Rob, One of the issues I had with the initial run of the SD70s was they were pretty loud, compared to the GP7s. Given that the GP30s are also dead quiet, is the new run significantly quieter than the old run.

    Thanks,
    Ajay
     
  4. zfuture

    zfuture TrainBoard Member

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    Noise:
    I ran 7 SD70 prototypes Sunday and they are smooth and quite like the GP30 and GP38-2. These were true prototypes and not part of the production run that Rob Kluz is testing at the moment. I expect the production run to be better and from what I am hearing, it is. Rob made an important point that I had forgotten. The couplers are now firmly fixed to the truck. Let us say that you want a realistic looking front for your new SD70. Then simply cut off the front coupler and install the front plate which has a dummy coupler. Some versions also has the snowplow included in the front plate assembly. If you later regret cutting off the coupler, replacement trucks with couplers will be available for sale.
     
  5. Ajayrav

    Ajayrav TrainBoard Member

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    That is great to hear... Guess a couple of UP 'flag' units will have to go on my 'want' list.

    Ajay
     
  6. ddechamp71

    ddechamp71 TrainBoard Member

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    Quite broad curves? That means which value, in your opinion? Mine are 14" / 35 cm radius and I'm wondering. If I can use the locos the same ways as I use my 1st batch of SD70M, ie with couplers on snowplows, I'm probably gonna give in...;)


    Dom
     
  7. shamoo737

    shamoo737 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Dom, I change out the azl for the mtl and it allows for tighter radius.
     
  8. ddechamp71

    ddechamp71 TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you John, but in my opinion AZL's road-switchers are better than MTL's. Closer to prototypical shape and size, which are important in my opinion. Even if I do love my MTL Geeps and SD40s... Furthermore, as nobody knows what MTL considers about these, seeming focusing only on the F7s, I prefer considering products that really are under care and development rather than those which look like in abandonment status.

    So I'd like to know if the new batch of SD70s behave the same than the initial releases. On mine I stuck snowplows in place and screwed a MTL coupler on, and all works perfectly on my curves. I'd just like to know if it's the same with last release, including standard cabs.

    Dom
     
  9. shamoo737

    shamoo737 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    That's a big mystery. Looks like nobody wants to give a review. I will eventually get some, but I don't want a IC.
     
  10. PuppySnacks

    PuppySnacks TrainBoard Member

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    New AZL SD70 Overview:

    Chassis comparison [top to bottom / left to right]: SD70m, SD75i, "new" SD70:
    20140419_130916.jpg 20140419_130835.jpg

    New SD70 board with LED lighting: *apparently the new board is no longer compatible with a TCS z2 decoder and will now only accept a Digitrax drop in?; will need relamped to correct LED lighting to prototypical bright yellow*
    20140419_125312.jpg 20140419_124946.jpg

    New SD70 front pilot/plow install: *shell was missing pilot/plow mount hole; use a #78 drill bit to install* **ACe shells fit tight on new chassis as pictured**
    20140419_164450.jpg 20140419_134719.jpg xx20140419_134741xx.jpg xxx20140419_160046xxx.jpg
    **About this new front coupler & pilot/plow install: anyone correct me if I am wrong here...but how I am understanding this is that for those of us who want a prototypical appearance, at least for our lead unit in consist or for single unit operation, we now have to void any type of warranty through this type of installation? I'm not 100% sure because AZL does no include any type of paper work/instruction/warranty information with these units...

    Operation: I broke in my unit for about 40 minutes; 20 minutes forward / 20 minutes in reverse. It took about 10 minutes at 8v to get that new grindy noise to quiet down a bit into curves and through curves [the shell will amplify any noise]; quiet runner through straight away's; consistently takes 195mm radius all day long.
    20140419_124038.jpg 20140419_124351.jpg
     
  11. shamoo737

    shamoo737 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks for review Arnie. It's really helpful on my decision to get one.
     
  12. eit27

    eit27 TrainBoard Member

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    Here are my findings on the new SD70. I too experienced much with what Arnie has already posted. After the unit broke-in it was better but still a little sluggish.

    After closer inspection, here is what I found. The unit is packed from the factory with a really thick grease that appears to cause some drag.

    IMG_20140420_063344_526.jpg IMG_20140420_063356_709.jpg IMG_20140420_063404_700.jpg IMG_20140420_063634_159.jpg IMG_20140420_064524_931.jpg

    After cleaning the factory applied grease, I applied an appropriate amount of NG Jel Gear Lubricant. The unit is seems to be more free now and run better.

    If you take the board out, pay close attention when re-installing. Th board is a tight fit and you have to pay close attention to the motor tabs on the board. They are easily bent if not careful.

    All in all, I'm happy with the unit. Just need to find a way to quite it down with the shell installed. I will try to put some Kapton tape between the chassis and the shell to see if that helps.
     
  13. ddechamp71

    ddechamp71 TrainBoard Member

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    As it looks like to have many changes between "Block 1" and "Block 2" series, just one question: is the center axle of every truck an idler, or is it powered?

    Dom
     
  14. eit27

    eit27 TrainBoard Member

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    Dom,

    The center axles are like previous, they are not powered.
     
  15. Loren

    Loren TrainBoard Supporter

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    Holy shades of Marklin!!!! Reminds me of the 'goop' that freezes up with age, though I doubt this lube material would do that. It does seem like all that gear grease would cause drag. Why is it so often that if a little is good, then more is better? Thanks for sharing, excellent info from you guys.
     
  16. Garth-H

    Garth-H TrainBoard Supporter

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    In your view showing the old and the new versions of the light board I still see 6 solder tabs on the new board, so when you say that a Z2 can not be connected is that an assumption on your part or is that detailed in the AZL documentation . The reason I ask is I prefer TCS to Digitrax and if I had looked under the hood of this engine I would be trying to connect a Z2 to it.

    regards Garth
     
  17. eit27

    eit27 TrainBoard Member

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    Garth,

    I do not know 100% about the board not being compatible, however, on the older boards the six solder tabs were bridged by the bronze tabs. You had to remove those in order to DCC. If those tabs were removed, the engine would cease to run on DC until bridged back.

    So on the newer boards, I would have to take a guess, when the board was designed, there is an internal bridge designed into the boards now.

    We will have to let someone from AZL chime in to confirm.
     
  18. PuppySnacks

    PuppySnacks TrainBoard Member

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    1. Yes, that is an assumption on my part...hence why I stated "apparently" [as far as one knows or can see] and ended it with a "?".
    2. You assumed it's "detailed in the AZL documentation".....again, there is no documentation included with these.
    3. Everything Ed mentioned above.
    4. An assumption, on my part mind you...is that AZL has some sort of new agreement/contract with Digitrax since the release of the GP38-2 and has changed the board for this reason?
     
  19. RobertAllbritton

    RobertAllbritton TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Guys,

    Believe it or not, I do not have all the answers for the new run of SD70 / GP9. While I was a part of the specification, production, and delivery team I have NOT seen a production locomotive yet. (hint hint Mr. Kluz) What that means is that while I know what I told the factory to do, I don't know if they actually followed orders or went rouge on me.

    Thick Grease: This was an issue in previous runs. I requested that they NOT use thick grease. It APPEARS that they failed to follow direction. This should NOT be a long term problem amusing they used the same grease as last time - we have a 5 year old sample of it and it has not dried out one little bit, so no fears of the dreaded Marklin sticky oil. Good news is that it should work its way out of joints over time and the loco should perform better and better as time goes by.

    PCB: I have NOT seen a production sample, but I changed the design a bit: I got rid of the clips that electrically connected the solder pads on the old design and replaced them with a thin PCB trace between the pads. Those clips would work their way lose and produce a DOA locomotive. If your handy enough to solder onto the PCB, you should be able to handle an x-acto knife to cut 4 little PCB traces. As soon as I get one I'll trace down the solder pads and put a tech note up on the AZL web site. The TCS Z2 will still work just fine in the new chassis.

    No Documentation: It is comming on the AZL web site. Getting the factory to print anything in ingrish is a nightmare.

    DCC: Yes, the design of the PCB was changed to be 100% compatible with the Digitrax DZ123Z0. We do not have an exclusive with Digitrax. Anyone is welcome to make a PCB to our size, but so far only Digitrax has matched words with action. Feel free to lobby TCS or anyone else you please. I would be happy to help them.

    Coupler: Yes, you have to cut off the couplr box from the trucks to get the snow plow in place. This WILL NOT VOID your warranty, but might impact your resale value down the line. We have PLENTY of replacement trucks for sale.

    Parts: Full line of parts for sale to support the model. The only part we do not sell is the shell.

    Undecorated: Yes - they are comming

    Chassis without shell: Complete unit - it is coming. Makes it easier to drop in DCC your locomotive OR replace a damaged locomotive from our previous generation. A replacment chassis will be only a little more than a motor, so this may be an easier solution for some than doing a full tear down to replace a motor.

    Things that have changed:
    1) The split frame - now has clips instead of screws. (factory did this without asking, but it works perfectly fine)
    2) The electrical pick up on the frame (not so much on the trucks)
    3) Their is now a universal joint between the motor and worm gear (used to be a nylon tube)
    4) The worm gear now has two bearings on each end (original design had the same, but we had to remove one in the field because it was too tight)
    5) New 7.5mm motor is being used instead of the 8mm Faulhaber (great performance at a fraction of the price - this is the main reason we could reduce the MSRP of the locomotive)
    6) New PCB as mentioned above.
    7) Coupler pocket now molded into the trucks.


    Cheers
    -Robert
    AZL
     
  20. shamoo737

    shamoo737 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Who is this Robert? :D
     

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