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Offline Mman  
#1 Posted : 10 June 2021 18:30:49(UTC)
Mman

United Kingdom   
Joined: 23/05/2021(UTC)
Posts: 78
Location: England, Guildford
I’ve had the project of building on the 8930 Toporama on the back burner for a while and am in the process of collecting the track, signals relays etc. The miniclub SET leaflet from 1985 that I have shows the circuits for using the ‘circuit tracks’ and the 8940 semaphore signals with the power switching capabilty so you can run two trains on the outer track with them being stopped and started automatically. Trouble is that so far all the circuit tracks with the double throw switches (8539, 8589) that I have don’t work. The 8940 signals worked as signals but the switching circuit to the isolating rails didn’t. The signals were easy to rectify by removing the bases and cleaning the contacts but the circuit tracks can’t be dismantled in the same way.

Any body have any tips for cleaning the contacts of the 8539/8589 circuit tracks?

I am also hoping to install catenary and contact wires and I suspect that that will throw up more challenges!

Not all of the components are available new, some of the Miniclub things that I bought from ebay are not as described - the term ‘good condition’ has proved to be meaningless.
In England there seems to be just one Märklin supplier of new stock but they don’t keep much in stock and everything is ‘top dollar’.

Chris
Offline danmarklinman  
#2 Posted : 11 June 2021 11:17:48(UTC)
danmarklinman

United Kingdom   
Joined: 18/10/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,271
Originally Posted by: Mman Go to Quoted Post
I’ve had the project of building on the 8930 Toporama on the back burner for a while and am in the process of collecting the track, signals relays etc. The miniclub SET leaflet from 1985 that I have shows the circuits for using the ‘circuit tracks’ and the 8940 semaphore signals with the power switching capabilty so you can run two trains on the outer track with them being stopped and started automatically. Trouble is that so far all the circuit tracks with the double throw switches (8539, 8589) that I have don’t work. The 8940 signals worked as signals but the switching circuit to the isolating rails didn’t. The signals were easy to rectify by removing the bases and cleaning the contacts but the circuit tracks can’t be dismantled in the same way.

Any body have any tips for cleaning the contacts of the 8539/8589 circuit tracks?

I am also hoping to install catenary and contact wires and I suspect that that will throw up more challenges!

Not all of the components are available new, some of the Miniclub things that I bought from ebay are not as described - the term ‘good condition’ has proved to be meaningless.
In England there seems to be just one Märklin supplier of new stock but they don’t keep much in stock and everything is ‘top dollar’.

Chris


Hi Chris, your better of using 7244 relay. Those old relays never lasted very long, before the dirt got to the contacts. I’ve been using a 7244 on my automatic signal for some time and it’s not failed!!
I also had Z in the past. Dan also from England
Marklin and Piko era 4 SNCB , Marklin wagons
Wiking model car Fan
Faller fan including car system
Instagram: marklin1978
Wiking fan
Offline Ricinport  
#3 Posted : 14 June 2021 13:47:29(UTC)
Ricinport

Portugal   
Joined: 14/01/2021(UTC)
Posts: 46
Location: Faro
Hi Chris

I was looking at building the latest Marklin Z project that's detailed in their insiders club magazines 2021.
It's a pretty design small format with automation to run a number of locos I suspect like your 1985 project.

Frustrations from my current Z build over the last few weeks have dampened my enthusiasm for building another complex project in Z.
I seem to spend a great deal of 'wasted' time from cleaning track to fiddling with locos.
The latest Marklin layout will be tricky to keep clean easily and the locos even when new need constant attention.
I can see that there's as much time spent in trying to get Z running as there is in actual running.

Last weekend I added a second oval of catenary to my Z layout. Fiddly isn't the word and it tested my patience to the limit.
Once finished it looks rather impressive and the locos seem to run better with catenary than with rails.
However if you then want to run a non-pantograph loco on the rails and the track needs (what seems like continual) cleaning the catenary greatly hinders this.
Also with catenary just placing a loco on the track becomes a chore.

Ebay
I'm new this year to model railways and having chosen Z I looked to Ebay to try and reduce set-up costs a little. Ebay has been pretty much a total disaster.
I've bought loco's, rolling stock, track the lot. All described as from good to 'buttery' and nearly all of which disappointed.
The latest purchase a Z gauge Marklin rolling road for silly money isn't fit for purpose.
Everything I've purchased comes with the price ticket of a luxury brand but the quality new and used doesn't justify the tag.

I've also not been that impressed with Marklin's customer service.
A steam loco purchased from Marklin website that cost €235 arrived faulty.
I sent it back on the 28th March. Theoretically it will arrive back to me today, 14th June. Over 2 and a half months later.
Most emails I send them don't get replies. Those that do show no pattern of continuity and no-one seems to know what another is doing.

I purchased a Marklin Z gauge turntable that is erratic in function.
It should have gone back but I fear it will either get lost in the process or that it will come back in the same 'glitchy' state.

It's not just Marklin. I've purchased AZL items with similar problems and dissapointments.

My latest adventure into DCC Z gauge is another story all together. Don't even think of going there. Z gauge and DCC aren't yet compatible.

That said I am enjoying my new railroading hobby and I've learnt a lot and even amazed myself at a new found ability to meddle with small things relative patiently.
Model railways aren't a cheap hobby and Z scale is particularly costly.
I'm looking at this long term as a retirement pastime in a couple of years so before I get further (I've already spent over €10k on Z in 6 months) I'll likely now stop throwing money at Z and move over to N gauge.

At least here in Europe there are plenty of Z suppliers through Germany and into Spain.
In the UK suppliers are few and far between.
Hattons run some used items and there is a regular seller on Ebay called gardenerJane. But the UK prices are hugely inflated from any supplier.
I would definitely not be further pursuing my Z habit if I was going to retire in the UK.






Offline husafreak  
#4 Posted : 15 June 2021 15:55:39(UTC)
husafreak

United States   
Joined: 09/04/2019(UTC)
Posts: 343
Location: California, Bay Area
I have had experiences like yours and can sympathize. But I only know Z scale and what it costs. Not relative to other scales. But if we are to help one another in our pursuit of Z then your post:

“It's not just Marklin. I've purchased AZL items with similar problems and dissapointments.

My latest adventure into DCC Z gauge is another story all together. Don't even think of going there. Z gauge and DCC aren't yet compatible.”

Is not too helpful (for me). Could you give specific examples so we can learn from them? I hope you don’t mind. I have found this scale very rewarding, maybe too much problem solving but again, I can’t compare it to other scales. While not everything I bought worked right out of the box it has all been fixed, everything I own works. Buying new or from a dealer you trust gives the best chance of a perfectly working item but is more expensive, eBay from unknown sellers gives the best chance of acquiring a “needs work” item for a good price. But then you or your mechanic will need to fix it.

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Offline husafreak  
#5 Posted : 15 June 2021 15:58:57(UTC)
husafreak

United States   
Joined: 09/04/2019(UTC)
Posts: 343
Location: California, Bay Area
Mman, sorry to go “off topic” like that! I don’t want to derail your thread. But I have no suggestions other than hopefully here you can get the advice from people who have owned the products.
Offline Mman  
#6 Posted : 15 June 2021 18:00:28(UTC)
Mman

United Kingdom   
Joined: 23/05/2021(UTC)
Posts: 78
Location: England, Guildford
I had Märklin HO from the mid 1990s and had to return the first digital loco under the guarantee which took many months to get repaired, the next one (V188) that went wrong almost went out of guarantee whilst the shop in Marlow and the importer in Ford argued over who should send it back to Göppingen. I gave up HO reluctantly since we no longer had room for a permanent layout and it was extremely difficult to actually buy anything. At that time the then importer always seemed to have lots of Z available so I moved into Miniclub. For the last 20 years I have been steadily acquiring a lot of Z but so far the only permanent layouts have been large and small briefcase ones from Noch. These taught me two things: Miniclub does not like gradients or 145mm radius curves. Hence I like the idea of the 8930 Toporama with neither of those. The only two locos capable of climbing gradients seem to be the Märklin G4 and a Rokuhan German outline loco which has traction tyres.
Apart from a 2018 insider V80 (88803) all my locos and railcars run well on both Märklin and Rokuhan test tracks. The V80 is abysmal, it has the modern can motor but will barely move. I did not discover this until after the receipt went awol so returning this is not possible. I don’t experience trouble with dirty track - on the large briefcase layout I have had various locos running for relatively long periods up to a couple of hours at a time and, yes, they get hot! What about the track cleaning wagon, is this effective?
The Flying Hamburger can barely move (wheelspin) - it is a pity the powered bogie wasn’t the central Jacobs Truck.

I thought that the Rokuhan controllers would be ideal since they are electronic and have internal batteries but the Märklin locos draw more current than Rokuhan ones and they keep tripping out. I have a variety of the Märklin controllers from the small starter set ones to the large Märklin/Seimens ones and all are good at their jobs.
The older 3 pole motored locos are definitely the liveliest and most unpredictable, the 5 poles are smooth but the juries out on the can motors atm.

I tried N gauge many years ago intending to supersede the Hornby Dublo 3 rail that I was running in the 70s and early 80s but the quality then was appalling which put me completely off that system. About 15 years ago my youngest son had an N gauge railway with Fleischmann and Minitrix stock which worked well enough but it didn’t hold his interest.

So, yes, Miniclub is demanding and high maintenance but that is the challenge and part of the enjoyment. A 1980’s Miniclub catalogue lists digital locos - why did these not make it to market? Reports of DCCed Miniclub sounded positive but others don’t have that experience I read on these pages.

Interesting to read of other people’s views on and experience of Märklin Z, I look forward to much more.

Chris
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Offline Ricinport  
#7 Posted : 15 June 2021 18:33:04(UTC)
Ricinport

Portugal   
Joined: 14/01/2021(UTC)
Posts: 46
Location: Faro
Mman - that's quite a history of model railroading.
If you discount a small HO Hornby oval I had as a very young child my railroading history starts January this year :-)

I can see that purchasing in the UK is problematic.
Have you tried purchasing from Germany I've linked below a couple of suppliers that discount Marklin's RRP's.
On top of that they offer a points based incentive.
I've spent fair amount with them already.
Whilst through Brexit it's not so smooth to purchase from the UK into the EU I understand purchasing into the UK from the EU is less problematic as the UK doesn't bother checking anything (less the sheople find out the truth of their decision).

I was rather 'green' when I designed this first layout of mine and gradients are a problem.
However I've been rather taken with the USA style of diesel loco and they prototype best in at least a pair which circumvents the slippage problem.
It doubles the cost but we're not exactly in this scale for the economics of it.

I agree that high maintenance and challenge are rewarding factors. Just a bit frustrating at times.

If/when we get DCC factory fitted there will be a lot of happy Z scalers.

https://www.modellbahnunion.com/

https://www.modellbahnsh...?hersteller=Märklin
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Offline husafreak  
#8 Posted : 15 June 2021 19:04:42(UTC)
husafreak

United States   
Joined: 09/04/2019(UTC)
Posts: 343
Location: California, Bay Area
Man, Wasn't there a review of the 88803 V40 in Trainini recently? Is that the one that naturally runs unusually slowly? I'll have to look back....
I have a Noch Cortina (who doesn't?) with gradients and 145 curves. I believe I will install the track and run it ASAP based on your observation. I need to see for myself... Luckily I do have the Rokuhan loco you refer to! BTW Rokuhan locos with their controllers is a great system, a poor mans DCC with the ability to turn the lights on and off while stationary and great performance. But introduce other manufacturers locos and you might have issues like tripping or locos that you can't throttle to a stop.
I haven't even considered trying catenary power for Z. I took one look at it and decided a man has got to know his limitations. At least as a "newbie".
In the end it sure sounds like we have all had very similar experiences and it kind of depends on the mood we are in whether we finish a Z session thrilled or thwarted!
Offline Mman  
#9 Posted : 15 June 2021 23:17:58(UTC)
Mman

United Kingdom   
Joined: 23/05/2021(UTC)
Posts: 78
Location: England, Guildford
Thank you for introducing me to Trainini, I was able to look at a couple of editions but didn’t find a review of the V80, but I cannot access specific issues.
Chris
Offline Bahner  
#10 Posted : 16 June 2021 01:07:13(UTC)
Bahner

United States   
Joined: 18/11/2017(UTC)
Posts: 137
Location: California, East Bay
.

Edited by user 17 June 2021 12:23:16(UTC)  | Reason: Deleted - Off Topic

Offline husafreak  
#11 Posted : 16 June 2021 03:24:54(UTC)
husafreak

United States   
Joined: 09/04/2019(UTC)
Posts: 343
Location: California, Bay Area
760F7254-1F86-4F3D-9702-46C3DD559B24.jpeg

The V80 was reviewed in the December 2020 Issue. It can be downloaded under the magazine tab under Issues 2020.
Offline Zme  
#12 Posted : 16 June 2021 07:45:54(UTC)
Zme

United States   
Joined: 02/10/2013(UTC)
Posts: 377
Location: West Texas
Hello. I hope all is well.

I have been watching this topic and can see it has become very interesting.

Regarding the Toporama project, last year there was a fellow from New York who took up a Toporama project too. He posted his project on YouTube as he progressed with the work. Here is a link for his posts: (this might not be his first YouTube for his project)



I found it interesting and was surprised with the switch control system he added. Check it out, you can see what he finished with. It has been a while since I watched it, but perhaps the system he added also controls stops and starts etc.

I have heard and understand how the switches you are looking at using have an abrupt stop and start character of train controls which everyone seems to criticize. I have some of these also and planned to use them but have yet to move on this idea. Perhaps these would work well for crossing gates or other similar applications. I could not suggest how these could be cleaned. If it is a failure of that little post in the middle, you might try to lightly clean it with contact cleaner spray (WD 40 pro contact cleaner might be considered, or something you find locally). Use a small drop and then work the switch back and forth to see if it can be saved. As a side benefit, I use this spray to clean the track. I made a small cleaning tool out of a wood dowel and fastened a bit of scrape wool onto it. Adding a drop or two of cleaning spray goes a long way, my tip is don’t soak it as your roadbed glue may be released or damaged. Be carefully.

I am getting sidetracked, sorry.



Regarding catenary there are really no shortcuts. There are quite a bit of different components which go into this system and there seems little instructional guides out there. What I can tell you, the catenary poles are made out of non-breakable nylon or something because it seems they will flex and bend in any direction. The attaching wires on the end also seem to be well designed and up to the task. Clipping the lines to the poles is a challenge but as you do more, you will get the hang of it. Myself, I purchased a number of sets just to make sure I had what I thought I would need. I got the small cork pads for under each pole, but I think these could be DIYed if you have some extra cork. I have two train lines and a station yard and I covered it all, working only a few lines of catenary at a time. When I finally finished, I discovered the problem of removing engines and cars from the rails. (Even a derailment or stall can be a problem). This is why others create a staging yard. I don’t have a staging yard, so I removed the catenary from the station yard, just to be able to get to things easier. You can keep this in mind as you work.

Everyone is right, the z scale can be expensive and more difficult to work with, just because everything is so small. I have been interested in z scale trains for a while now, but only in the last three years have I actually worked on locomotive repairs and maintenance. I have had some successes and failures during this time. One common failure I can share, I think my first project was a railbus motor upgrade. I made certain I had the railbus parts diagram which are available from Marklin’s website. Well, of course I dropped the coupler spring and must have stepped on it in my search. (This is why I always suggest adding a small spot of super glue to the coupler post. This makes the spring and coupler one piece. But be sure to let it dry completely because I didn’t and damaged the truck housing when I assembled it with wet glue but that is another sad and expensive story.)

Well back to that spring, of course I didn’t have a spare. I don’t have a Marklin dealer in my town either. I have to mail order most everything (EBay) I had to order replacements and this was a wait. Once I had this part, I put it all back together but when I put it on the track, it would not work. When you are on your own, you just get a sinking feeling, what now you ask yourself. When this happens I put it aside for a time. I study the parts diagram or study similar models and try to discover where I messed up. These are precisely designed and assembled jewels. Overlook something and you might have disappointing results, but keep at it, ask the forum, and you will likely have a 40 year old classic running on your layout too. I have a few and nothing gives you a more satisfying feeling. For certain, they can still surprise, but to see them traveling around your newly completed layout is what it is all about.

So if you feel like you are spending a great deal of time fiddling around, I believe this is part of the train hobby. Layout assembly can be complicated, engine repairs can be real time burners, and all this can be frustrating. I can tell you, from my experience, you can do it all. Just see it thru, have patience. I had to get a magnifying head set, various tools, and even sonic cleaning equipment and things which make the process easier. I believe this could be expected no matter which scale is chosen.

UserPostedImage

Hope this long winded post helps.



Dwight
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Offline Ricinport  
#13 Posted : 16 June 2021 10:57:10(UTC)
Ricinport

Portugal   
Joined: 14/01/2021(UTC)
Posts: 46
Location: Faro
Definitely going off topic now but it was a fairly broad first post and it's good to see activity on the Z forum so I'm running with it.

Nice post Zme.
I'd watched that series of videos on YouTube. One of the first I'd found when starting Z. Almost seems nostalgic already.
Your comments are spot on of course. Railroading in Z is myriad hobbies in one. So much more than just playing with a train set.

I received my 88856 back from Marklin yesterday.
This is the one that was faulty from brand new and sent back the day after purchase in March!
Image attached. It is a very handsome steam loco. Shame it runs like a cheap second hand Ebay purchase.
I only have two steam loco's and it will remain that way, and both will spend far more time on the display shelf than on the track.

It seems the only way to run a steam loco is fast. Anything close to prototypical scale speed and they 'cough and splutter' at every turnout or the slightest anomaly in track connection.
It's a shame because the piston wheel action at such a small scale is a joy to behold when running slowly.

This brand new €245 loco needs a push to start every time.
I thought it needed a run in but in reality it ran best at the start and after 10 minutes was glitching on at least 3 turnouts on my small oval of track. Another test loco ran fine to make a comparison.

I can see that a steam loco's traction system will never have the smooth running of a multi-bogey diesel American loco but to be honest this one is barely fit for purpose.

No matter. It's another lesson learnt in the world of Z.
I will move on. I love the model just enough to keep it as an occasional runner that lives mainly a shelf life.

Today I'm having a day off from work and will likely tidy up the under-board turnout wiring with some new connectors I've acquired.
I need to check for deformed couplers following advice from zscalehobo on the AZL forum.
I've a couple of unopened Z scale models that have been sitting around a while that won't make themselves;
A Marklin 89601 kit of the Kreuztal gantry signal tower and a Kibri viaduct.
I've not even opened a new airbrush Mrs Rick bought me as a birthday gift months ago. That needs trying out.

So much to do so little time. Who even needs locos that run properly! I wouldn't even have time to watch them :-)


88856.jpg
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Zme
Offline husafreak  
#14 Posted : 16 June 2021 16:36:35(UTC)
husafreak

United States   
Joined: 09/04/2019(UTC)
Posts: 343
Location: California, Bay Area
Your 88856 Class 03.10 express loco "should" run fine. Clearly something is wrong and it is surprising that Marklin did not repair it properly. They actually have a pretty good track record for fixing new locos that did not run well out of the package. But not 100%. That is a beautiful machine and Marklin has made a lot of 2' C 1' locos over the years, but I have not needed to work on any of my newer steam locos with bell shaped armature motors and finely detailed valve gear and rods. I did recently have to send a new 88889 back to my dealer twice before I got a smooth running dependable loco. The problem with that one was a deformed part so I could not fix that.
While I agree that the steamers need to run slightly faster to be really dependable on track I have many and they should not need to be pushed around the track or cough and splutter.

You said:
"I can see that a steam loco's traction system will never have the smooth running of a multi-bogey diesel American loco but to be honest this one is barely fit for purpose."

So you might want to try an AZL Mikado. A North American train. I have one and it is a fantastic running steam train. It doesn't like curves, 195 is bit tight, but mine will disprove your theory. Eh, most of my Marklin will too but the AZL are nice and can pull a lot of cars.
Or perhaps consider a Rokuhan BR181 European electric loco. I bought one early on and it helped me remain sane while I was fussing with my early collection of Marklin steamers, most of them old used eBay purchases that required work. They should come with Marklin compatible coupler parts. Mine runs terrific.

Basically saying, seek out some known great runners and tinker with your balky locos only when you feel motivated.
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Offline Mman  
#15 Posted : 16 June 2021 19:47:03(UTC)
Mman

United Kingdom   
Joined: 23/05/2021(UTC)
Posts: 78
Location: England, Guildford
ZME, I found ‘Sunken Mine Railroad’s utubes on building on the 8910 Toporama educational, big question is how to obtain the pin inserting pliers that he used in the UK. Micro-Mark 85282. No one seems to sell them here and the shipping etc from the US begins to make the cost prohibitive. Importing from the US has proved very expensive in the past when faced with customs duties, VAT and the Royal Mail’s handling charges on top. Senders, quite rightly - he said with gritted teeth - put the actual cost on the customs declarations. A piece for a Unimat lathe which was sold to me from a US dealer for about £30 ended up costing nearly £90.
His choice of controls is interesting, but, as with other interests I would aim to stay within the Märklin system. For example decades ago I built a three rail Hornby Dublo layout for exhibition, all points, signals and uncouplers were electric, operated by genuine HD levers, all buildings also genuine so as to recreate something similar to the factory layouts of the 1950s. Hornby Dublo had been obsolete for 15 years when I was doing this which made it difficult to obtain everything especially as this was before ebay. Until recently I was keen on Meccano (Erector in US) but the trend among the adult aficionados was to incorporate electronics and 3D printed ‘specials’ rather than stay within the system and since there is an element of competition in adult Meccano circles not moving with the times reduced my incentive to keep trying. I’m working towards selling the lot to make room for Z!
So, I’m keen to use all Märklin bits with maybe a GM controller if I run the Rokuhan loco as its not very controllable otherwise. I believe these Toporamas were available fully built from the factory with track etc but cannot find the catalogue or source which gave me that idea.
The Trainini is proving to be very absorbing being otherwise starved of Z articles.
Chris
Offline Poor Skeleton  
#16 Posted : 17 June 2021 20:43:39(UTC)
Poor Skeleton

United Kingdom   
Joined: 09/10/2015(UTC)
Posts: 376
Location: England, Cambridge
Originally Posted by: Mman Go to Quoted Post
...big question is how to obtain the pin inserting pliers that he used in the UK. Micro-Mark 85282. No one seems to sell them here and the shipping etc from the US begins to make the cost prohibitive.


It's not that exact model, but a pin insertion tool often pops up on ebay here in the UK. Of course now I've said that I can't find one listed but I saw one a couple of weeks ago. Expo tools do a couple of different sizes https://www.expotools.co...in-Pusher-2mm-75110.html but I'm not sure they're suitable for Marklin track pins.

Maybe this is some help?

All the best


Chris
Offline Zme  
#17 Posted : 18 June 2021 01:48:03(UTC)
Zme

United States   
Joined: 02/10/2013(UTC)
Posts: 377
Location: West Texas
Hello. Maybe time to improvise a bit. I used a micro needle nose plier to press in Marklin track nails.

I used a cork roadbed with Masonite as a base and discovered the nails could not be pressed in. I needed a thicker cork bed or would have to remove the Masonite. To make it past this problem, I trimmed the nails shorter. I don’t think a specialized tool would have helped but maybe it would have.

Turns out, once ballast was added, the track is secure. The shortened nail held the track in place, the ballast took care of the rest.

One side note: I believe the Masonite base acts like a sounding board under the track.

Best wishes.

Dwight
Offline Mman  
#18 Posted : 03 July 2021 22:44:23(UTC)
Mman

United Kingdom   
Joined: 23/05/2021(UTC)
Posts: 78
Location: England, Guildford
Today I made an expensive blunder when renewing the rails on my small test track board which is an oval using 145mm curves. I added a couple of straight switching rails with the tiny plastic pieces that locos strike as they go past to make a contact. When I put yesterday’s purchase from GM (at an attractive sale price) on the board it would hardly move, because, as I could see, the surface of the previously un-used rails needed cleaning. Instead of reaching for my 8802 track cleaning rail bus I used a track rubber managing to inadvertently rub off the tiny plastic bit on one of the switching tracks. I see no prospect of repairing it so I have just gained a very expensive 55mm straight.
The new 2-6-0T loco from the 175 year Württemberg set runs beautifully but at crawling speed tends to stop when it reaches the surviving switching straight which gives me pause for thought about using them.
GM had quite a few bargains in Z but I limited myself to just one this time. 😇
ChrisG
Offline parakiet  
#19 Posted : 04 July 2021 15:56:00(UTC)
parakiet

Belgium   
Joined: 20/02/2017(UTC)
Posts: 95
Location: Flanders!
Originally Posted by: Ricinport Go to Quoted Post


Ebay
I'm new this year to model railways and having chosen Z I looked to Ebay to try and reduce set-up costs a little. Ebay has been pretty much a total disaster.
I've bought loco's, rolling stock, track the lot. All described as from good to 'buttery' and nearly all of which disappointed.
The latest purchase a Z gauge Marklin rolling road for silly money isn't fit for purpose.
Everything I've purchased comes with the price ticket of a luxury brand but the quality new and used doesn't justify the tag.


From ebay I have a more than 66%-70% chance of getting something good. Expensive isn't good and cheap isn't bad.
Once you find a decent seller, bookmark them!
I only buy with PayPal, if something goes bad you can contact them.

I've bought a new steam tank online from a big seller. It literally disintegrated while pulling cars.
Shipping and waiting time hold me to make a decision.

I keep a drawer with al my problem locs. When I have time, I'll look into it.

Sometimes you score on ebay, sometimes you score in retail.
You can do research but.. there are models you just WANT, even if they mean trouble
Offline husafreak  
#20 Posted : 04 July 2021 17:34:51(UTC)
husafreak

United States   
Joined: 09/04/2019(UTC)
Posts: 343
Location: California, Bay Area
Good points, sometimes the hassle is worth it with Ebay items that do not come as new or in good condition. It is always worth contacting the seller if there is a problem! Most are very sensitive to a bad rating and will provide good support if they can.
For instance I bought Marklin C track (HO) from a seller and several sections were broken, seller told me that was "normal" with old C track! As I learned more about this track I realized the "set" of track I was sold was a hodgepodge of sections from different years. So I contacted the seller again about this and finally he agreed to send me replacement track of the newer vintage and some other handy items in return for a good review. Hmmm. I gave the stars but cautioned buyers to make sure what they were getting.
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Offline Mman  
#21 Posted : 04 July 2021 18:41:30(UTC)
Mman

United Kingdom   
Joined: 23/05/2021(UTC)
Posts: 78
Location: England, Guildford
In England I have absolute confidence in gardenerjane2 on eBay for z gauge. All good stuff, some of which is unused, that arrives very quickly and always in top working order. They test run before sending to make sure that everything functions ok and profit goes to a well known worthwhile charity.
I get annoyed when some vendors claim that they have no way of testing what they offer since all they need for most locos is a 9v smoke alarm type of battery to touch onto the wheels to see if they go. Recently I bought a lot of points, slips and track in a large lot which the vendor said was all in working order, not true but the stuff that did work was still made it a bargain so I called it quits. I just won’t give any feedback at all.
In my early Z days I was anxious to get a lot of the early stuff and probably paid over the odds for not all of which worked, paying stupid money for postage from Oz and US. I can be a bit more picky now just going for new releases. There used to be several outlets where I could buy 2nd hand used HO and Z within a 40 mile radius but all now gone, nothing beats inspect before you buy. GM at Ford used to do used Märklin but not any more.
ChrisG
Offline Poor Skeleton  
#22 Posted : 04 July 2021 20:52:51(UTC)
Poor Skeleton

United Kingdom   
Joined: 09/10/2015(UTC)
Posts: 376
Location: England, Cambridge
Originally Posted by: Mman Go to Quoted Post
In England I have absolute confidence in gardenerjane2 on eBay for z gauge. All good stuff, some of which is unused, that arrives very quickly and always in top working order. They test run before sending to make sure that everything functions ok and profit goes to a well known worthwhile charity.


I have also bought a few things from gardenerjane2 - very nice seller - I've also bought from malcrosby7 and norfolkngood with happy results. Generally I don't buy locomotives on ebay - my two 8874s being exceptions both listed as non-functioning. One actually did run, the other had no motor, but both have since been remotored and all is good. I was happy to get a pair of vintage examples and the price reflected their state of repair.

The biggest potential gotcha with rolling stock is the wheels, so if the pictures don't show them to be metal I always ask. I'd never buy a "new" locomotive on ebay. Experience has taught me there's about a 50% chance that a new loco will have a fault of some sort, so it's always better to buy through an authorised dealer.

Cheers


Chris
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Offline Ricinport  
#23 Posted : 05 July 2021 13:51:11(UTC)
Ricinport

Portugal   
Joined: 14/01/2021(UTC)
Posts: 46
Location: Faro
I'm in Portugal using Ebay.es to purchase mainly from Spain and Germany.
I also purchased some more exotic items from an Italian seller recently who was selling his entire personal collection.

I've noticed GardenerJane crop up on the Spanish Ebay site.
Also a few other UK sellers.
I'm amazed at the prices UK sellers are asking (and getting).
Though I note that it's often for more exotic items and generally very good condition.

A lot of the Spanish sellers are dealers selling items and batches of items from collections that they have purchased. Condition is rarely high.

Whilst my experience has been mixed where I have complained of poor condition goods sellers have been quick to rectify a problem.
Paypal is good in this respect, almost based towards the purchaser.

I've just started a new layout in N scale.
I want to pursue the digital aspect of model railroading and it's not really feasible in Z scale.
Having purchased 15 new loco's this year I'll likely be selling some (plus some other Z items) to help finance the N project.
Likely I'll put them on Ebay.es (there is no Ebay Portugal.
In the past I would have used Ebay UK but with Brexit shipping to and from th UK from Portugal is more hassle than it's worth.

An area on this forum to buy/sell between dedicated collectors and Z users would be good.
Offline husafreak  
#24 Posted : 05 July 2021 15:11:02(UTC)
husafreak

United States   
Joined: 09/04/2019(UTC)
Posts: 343
Location: California, Bay Area
“The biggest potential gotcha with rolling stock is the wheels, so if the pictures don't show them to be metal I always ask.”

I wonder when Marklin sold cars with plastic wheels? I was given a bunch that had them when I first started, it was a surprise added expense to convert them.
Offline kiwiAlan  
#25 Posted : 05 July 2021 16:40:52(UTC)
kiwiAlan

United Kingdom   
Joined: 23/07/2014(UTC)
Posts: 6,294
Location: ENGLAND, Didcot
Originally Posted by: husafreak Go to Quoted Post
“The biggest potential gotcha with rolling stock is the wheels, so if the pictures don't show them to be metal I always ask.”

I wonder when Marklin sold cars with plastic wheels? I was given a bunch that had them when I first started, it was a surprise added expense to convert them.


Very early items, especially basic ones and in starter sets had plastic wheels.

I think they realised they weren't reliable and eventually went to all metal wheels.

Offline Zme  
#26 Posted : 05 July 2021 19:40:02(UTC)
Zme

United States   
Joined: 02/10/2013(UTC)
Posts: 377
Location: West Texas
Hello. I have done a bit of research about the wheels

When Mini Club was first introduced the wheels on all wagons were made of black plastic on a metal axle. Soon after introduction, the back of the wheels was trimmed out (see photo) and these wheels were called lite plastic wheels.

UserPostedImage

This makes it easy to identify the older wagons. Unless changed by someone, the solid back wheels were found on the earlier models.

Sometime around 1979 or so, the wagon wheels were all updated to the polished metal wheels. The most current versions have a blackened surface from 2001. Here is other info about this from the Z Insider

Variants

Märklin plastic wheels installed from 1972 to 1979
From 1972 to 1974 as full wheels
From 1973, the novelties were delivered with light wheels
From 1974 to 1979 as light wheels with a recess on the inside
In 1979, the TEE Wagons received 8734, 8735, 8736 and 8738 metal wheelsets to realize interior lighting
From 1979 then metal wheels
From 1989, state railway freight wagons received spoke wheel sets
Dark nickel-plated from 2001

While there were likely many reasons why there was a move away from the plastic wheels, it is possible the black plastic, thru wear, caused a residue on the track surface which interfered with the electrical contact of the locomotives.

Whatever the reason, we all know it is very easy to switch out the wheel sets whenever you want to. If originality is your primary goal, you can make a switch for the polished or blackened ones, but keep the original ones under the nest of your box.

Hope this helps

Take good care.

Dwight
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Offline husafreak  
#27 Posted : 06 July 2021 07:24:12(UTC)
husafreak

United States   
Joined: 09/04/2019(UTC)
Posts: 343
Location: California, Bay Area
That's great, thanks for doing the research. The cars I was given must have been quite old then. Luckily it was easy enough to swap the plastic for metal wheels. Besides the added weight the cars ran smoother with metal. That was how I realized they had plastic wheels, they were wobbling a bit. With North American trains from the manufacturer Micro Trains Line (MTL) we still have that issue. MTL makes great cars but they come with plastic wheels, they are really improved with metal wheels, which can be hard to get sometimes.
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