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Offline Bilge Rat  
#1 Posted : 07 January 2022 22:51:46(UTC)
Bilge Rat

United States   
Joined: 21/09/2020(UTC)
Posts: 5
Location: Nevada, Las Vegas
I've come across a couple of failures with my 67014 transformers. One of them totally stopped working on the rail (0 volts) although the accessory connection was still outputting 12 volts. The other no longer reduced the output to the rails when the dial was turned down (every train is an express!). I was able to open the first up and bend the metal connectors down for better contact and it worked for awhile, but it failed again later. I've got a rather large layout and need 4 controllers working for the track and would really like to find an alternate transformer that is more reliable. Barring that, suggestions on what might be needed to make these work again/better.
Offline Zme  
#2 Posted : 08 January 2022 05:08:15(UTC)
Zme

United States   
Joined: 02/10/2013(UTC)
Posts: 459
Location: West Texas
Hello hope all is well.

Sorry to hear about your controllers.

I have not heard about any defects or issues with this version. Although I don’t have experience, I have heard the units with the transformer wall plug are not as good as the ones which have a regular wall plug. I wouldn’t even know what the shortcomings are, perhaps a search of the forum might be helpful. I have been using the older style for years now without problems. I also have some of the even older blue case ones and they seem to work okay also.

I know this might seem crazy, but perhaps just going over your connections and wiring might be a place to start. Sometimes the connection right on your track comes loose. Or the connector track fails. Are your wall sockets okay. I always use a surge suppressor to be certain. Multiple surges might be useful. Perhaps something might be zapping your electrical system and you don’t even realize it. From time to time professional electricians can help you find any problems. I was surprised how they helped me and solved a few things I did realize were problems.

I cannot recommend an alternate controller because I have heard the real good ones made in England are not imported here. I am sure there are other controllers out there. Perhaps Model Power or Model Rectifier have something which would work, you have to watch your voltage limit of 10 volts. Maybe someone here could make a recommendation.

It is frustrating when something which should be simple and basic stop working. I hope this was helpful. A large z layout would be interesting to see.

Take good care.

Dwight
thanks 1 user liked this useful post by Zme
Offline Toosmall  
#3 Posted : 08 January 2022 07:21:02(UTC)
Toosmall

Australia   
Joined: 26/07/2021(UTC)
Posts: 116
Location: Sydney
I have 1 each of the two more recent versions but really haven't used them. The original blue ones have never skipped a beat.

Is your mains voltage good quality. I have a 3.0kVA UPS & the alarm in it is very regularly triggered due to various mains voltages. Never ran my layout through it for better voltage.

I run all my accessories of a cheap transformer so the Marklin controllers (6) are solely for the trains. Never had an issue running a ICE with its two engines.

If you have a DC clamp meter check current. Or get a panel meter & wire it in, or at least a plug arrangement. You will see what going on. You need some data.
Offline Mman  
#4 Posted : 08 January 2022 11:46:53(UTC)
Mman

United Kingdom   
Joined: 23/05/2021(UTC)
Posts: 157
Location: England, Guildford
DB3127FB-CF54-4264-9A42-7E01762296C3.jpegI too have some of these white controllers with wall plug transformers but have never used them - they came in sets.
I use the old brown ones mostly and a couple of the blue ones. Only problem I have had is with one of the blue ones where the ‘push and release to trap the wire’ terminal for ‘b’ wouldn’t hold the wire. This was due to aging plastic inside the controller which allowed the back of the connector to be pushed back when the outside bit was pressed to put the wire in. That involved opening the controller and doing a repair with a piece of plastic cork from a wine bottle.
Since in my working life I was licenced to work on circuits up to 750v dc and 650 v ac I was safe doing this.

Living in the UK I also have one of Gaugemaster’s fine Z multi controllers for when I complete my permanent layout.
It has been rued in these pages before how they are not available for 110v so no point recommending them.
I also have a couple of Rokuhan controllers which are fine with their locos and with the newer Märklin motors that have the low current consumption ‘can’ motors, they are nice to use but keep tripping when you try running older 3 pole Märklin because the current drawn is too high for them.
See what blue controllers are available on the used market - with the usual caveat that electrical safety should be checked by a competent electrician before employing used mains electrical equipment.
ChrisG
8D9977F1-A62E-4067-817E-1B654297785B.jpeg
Offline Poor Skeleton  
#5 Posted : 08 January 2022 14:00:26(UTC)
Poor Skeleton

United Kingdom   
Joined: 09/10/2015(UTC)
Posts: 410
Location: England, Cambridge
Originally Posted by: Bilge Rat Go to Quoted Post
I've come across a couple of failures with my 67014 transformers. One of them totally stopped working on the rail (0 volts) although the accessory connection was still outputting 12 volts. The other no longer reduced the output to the rails when the dial was turned down (every train is an express!). I was able to open the first up and bend the metal connectors down for better contact and it worked for awhile, but it failed again later. I've got a rather large layout and need 4 controllers working for the track and would really like to find an alternate transformer that is more reliable. Barring that, suggestions on what might be needed to make these work again/better.


I have a 67014 controller and have opened it up to inspect the circuit, so I have a reasonable idea of how these work (though no experience of failures, unfortunately).

The controller is based around the LM317 voltage regulator IC. These are pretty robust but can fail if abused for long periods of time. Usually they'll fail short circuit (i.e. stuck at full speed) so this might explain your second failure. The LM317 is a three pin device, so replacing it would be relatively straightforward if you feel up to giving it a go.

The speed is set via a resistor network (unlikely to fail) and a rather crude selection switch built into the knob with matching contacts etched onto the PCB. You may find that re-tensioning the contacts and giving everything a good clean (I'd recommend WD-40 Contact Cleaner (not regular WD-40) if you can get hold of it) will get things back up and running.

It's a very simple circuit and if you know anyone who's au-fait with electronics they'll likely be able to get to the bottom of the problem pretty quickly.

Hope this helps


Chris





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Offline Bilge Rat  
#6 Posted : 08 January 2022 19:06:49(UTC)
Bilge Rat

United States   
Joined: 21/09/2020(UTC)
Posts: 5
Location: Nevada, Las Vegas
Gonna add a bit of general info here.

The layout is under construction and is 6'x10'. The term large is used because I have completed a 4'x6' layout and it runs smoothly. However, it has the older (30+ years) blue controllers. Both layouts run off the same circuit of the house (though not at the same time since the little one nestles under the larger layout thanks to some custom tables). Both have good quality surge suppressors which haven't been tripped. My large layout is designed with a small light that is always on when power is supplied to the transformers (I manually turn off the power at the suppressors when not in use) - this was added after the first failure as a just in case option.

When a controller has failed, switching to another controller does not fault the new one, even though all other things are the same (train position, switch settings, etc.).

All track power is currently provided using the Marklin feeder tracks. I will be soldering in more power but I'm not yet at that phase of work.

I constantly check the operation of the track with a test train (especially since it has a bunch of slopes) and the only problem I've had is when an engine straddles a break and the polarity didn't get tripped properly for the new section -- I have two "passes" where the dual tracks merge and use older 8947 relays to alter polarity (they rarely fail). These failures have never occurred near the time of the transformer failures.

My electronics knowledge is limited. I can do simple soldering, know what volts/amps are and how to measure, can do simple maintenance on my engines, have adjusted the flanges on my relays to get them to work better. So not great, but not totally clueless. On the other hand, my son-in-law has a solid background in all those things, and has helped me but we aren't sure since our one fix failed with time.
Offline Bilge Rat  
#7 Posted : 08 January 2022 19:11:14(UTC)
Bilge Rat

United States   
Joined: 21/09/2020(UTC)
Posts: 5
Location: Nevada, Las Vegas
Originally Posted by: Toosmall Go to Quoted Post
I have 1 each of the two more recent versions but really haven't used them. The original blue ones have never skipped a beat.

Is your mains voltage good quality. I have a 3.0kVA UPS & the alarm in it is very regularly triggered due to various mains voltages. Never ran my layout through it for better voltage.

I run all my accessories of a cheap transformer so the Marklin controllers (6) are solely for the trains. Never had an issue running a ICE with its two engines.

If you have a DC clamp meter check current. Or get a panel meter & wire it in, or at least a plug arrangement. You will see what going on. You need some data.



Yes, grabbing more data seems to be a key factor. I'll have to run a comparison on all the transformers of this type and see if I can see any differences between them.
Offline Bilge Rat  
#8 Posted : 08 January 2022 19:15:38(UTC)
Bilge Rat

United States   
Joined: 21/09/2020(UTC)
Posts: 5
Location: Nevada, Las Vegas
Originally Posted by: Mman Go to Quoted Post
I too have some of these white controllers with wall plug transformers but have never used them - they came in sets.
I use the old brown ones mostly and a couple of the blue ones. Only problem I have had is with one of the blue ones where the ‘push and release to trap the wire’ terminal for ‘b’ wouldn’t hold the wire. This was due to aging plastic inside the controller which allowed the back of the connector to be pushed back when the outside bit was pressed to put the wire in. That involved opening the controller and doing a repair with a piece of plastic cork from a wine bottle.
Since in my working life I was licenced to work on circuits up to 750v dc and 650 v ac I was safe doing this.

Living in the UK I also have one of Gaugemaster’s fine Z multi controllers for when I complete my permanent layout.
It has been rued in these pages before how they are not available for 110v so no point recommending them.
I also have a couple of Rokuhan controllers which are fine with their locos and with the newer Märklin motors that have the low current consumption ‘can’ motors, they are nice to use but keep tripping when you try running older 3 pole Märklin because the current drawn is too high for them.
See what blue controllers are available on the used market - with the usual caveat that electrical safety should be checked by a competent electrician before employing used mains electrical equipment.
ChrisG


I am leaning towards getting some older mini-club transformers if I experience more failures, especially since my older ones (like the leftmost in your image) run great.
Shame the Gaugemaster controllers are not available here.
Offline Poor Skeleton  
#9 Posted : 08 January 2022 22:29:59(UTC)
Poor Skeleton

United Kingdom   
Joined: 09/10/2015(UTC)
Posts: 410
Location: England, Cambridge
Originally Posted by: Bilge Rat Go to Quoted Post

I am leaning towards getting some older mini-club transformers if I experience more failures, especially since my older ones (like the leftmost in your image) run great.
Shame the Gaugemaster controllers are not available here.


I have "cloned" the Gaugemaster design for my own control console and I'm very happy with the performance. Having looked at the circuit, I see no reason that they wouldn't work just as well on a 60Hz (US) supply. I'd certainly suggest you look at getting one of the four controller products in conjunction with a 115V-230V step down transformer. I'd be very happy to act as intermediary if you're tempted by that idea!

As you have some electronics expertise at your disposal, I'd also be happy to share the details of my controller - building a fair track controller would really not be a major undertaking!

Please let me know if I can help.

All the best


Chris


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