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Offline husafreak  
#1 Posted : 10 September 2019 19:56:24(UTC)
husafreak

United States   
Joined: 09/04/2019(UTC)
Posts: 64
Location: California, Bay Area
Are those of you running the various eras of Marklin loco’s, 3 pole, 5 pole, and new bell shaped armature, happy with the Marklin controller for them? Smooth running, stops, starts, slow speed capability? Thanks
Offline Artologic  
#2 Posted : 10 September 2019 23:42:10(UTC)
Artologic

Belgium   
Joined: 21/08/2010(UTC)
Posts: 430
Here it depends on the marklin controller, the white one in one piece is great, but the one with the seperate black transformer is really, really bad here...
Haven t tested it on bell shaped armature locos, simply because I don t have any yet...

Kristof
Offline husafreak  
#3 Posted : 11 September 2019 05:33:36(UTC)
husafreak

United States   
Joined: 09/04/2019(UTC)
Posts: 64
Location: California, Bay Area
Thanks Kristof. I'll make sure to look for that difference if i try a Marklin controller. If I understand you correctly they both look the same just one has an internal and the other an external transformer.
Offline husafreak  
#4 Posted : 11 September 2019 06:01:18(UTC)
husafreak

United States   
Joined: 09/04/2019(UTC)
Posts: 64
Location: California, Bay Area
The only one I see for sale now is coming with a black wall wart transformer. In either a 120 or 230V option.
Offline husafreak  
#5 Posted : 11 September 2019 06:28:14(UTC)
husafreak

United States   
Joined: 09/04/2019(UTC)
Posts: 64
Location: California, Bay Area
OK I see two Marklin controllers for Z scale. One is #67271 which plugs directly to the wall. The other is the newer 67014 which uses a wall wart power supply. They both look about the same.
Offline Poor Skeleton  
#6 Posted : 11 September 2019 21:49:40(UTC)
Poor Skeleton

United Kingdom   
Joined: 09/10/2015(UTC)
Posts: 107
Location: England, Cambridge
Originally Posted by: husafreak Go to Quoted Post
Are those of you running the various eras of Marklin loco’s, 3 pole, 5 pole, and new bell shaped armature, happy with the Marklin controller for them? Smooth running, stops, starts, slow speed capability? Thanks


I can only comment on the current controller with separate power supply (although I suspect the speed controller bit is pretty similar to that of the older model).

Anyway, it's a basic constant voltage controller, so slow speed control is poor and even at its minimum setting locos with the coreless motor will be moving fairly quickly. My main criticism is that the control is very grainy - maybe 20 speed settings in each direction so you can't really accelerate trains smoothly.

I don't know what you're looking for, but I'm pretty sure this controller isn't the answer!

Hope that's of some help


Chris
Offline Artologic  
#7 Posted : 12 September 2019 00:25:33(UTC)
Artologic

Belgium   
Joined: 21/08/2010(UTC)
Posts: 430
@husafreak, that s the thing, they look the same, but (except if this is a dodgy one) behave totally different. The one that plugs directly into the wall is quite good, but the one with the seperate transformer is real ****. No decent slow running and very dissapointing in general :-(. If it werent that I got the one that plugs in the wall directly first, I would have thought that z scale runs bad at best and would have left z scale years ago, luckily it wasn t so :-).

@Chris, thats my experience too. They are no good for running trains, a real shame. Maybe you should try to find the older one, I like it better and it "feels" better, my trains run like a treat on it...

Kristof
Offline Carim  
#8 Posted : 12 September 2019 14:06:45(UTC)
Carim

United Kingdom   
Joined: 15/09/2014(UTC)
Posts: 380
Location: London
I hate to contradict everyone but I am using a 67020 & a 67013 and I must report that I am getting reasonable running. The one thing is that Märklin locos are very inconsistent in their performance and I have found that there is no way to predict which ones are going to be really good runners: old or new, 3 or 5-pole. I have run cheap Japanese bogies (use them to power my scratch built trains) and I can get really slow running with them and these Märklin controllers. I haven't yet tried the new Märklin motor but I ordered the new ICE 3 (88715) which has it.

I have an old Gaugemaster 'N' scale transformer that delivers 12v DC controlled and I might try that out on Z, although I am minded to introduce a DC/DC step down converter to bring it down to 10 or 11v DC.

Carim
Offline Artologic  
#9 Posted : 14 September 2019 01:13:15(UTC)
Artologic

Belgium   
Joined: 21/08/2010(UTC)
Posts: 430
Hey Carim,

That s something that I had found out as well, even 2 models of the same type don t always run good, I have one that runs great and one that needs a bit more love and attention to run decently... Like you said, it s so different that it is indeed possible you get decent running out of the ones that don t work well here. Have you tried the older type? I m curious what you would be getting out of that one.

Kristof
Offline Carim  
#10 Posted : 14 September 2019 13:16:22(UTC)
Carim

United Kingdom   
Joined: 15/09/2014(UTC)
Posts: 380
Location: London
Hi Kristof,

Rather than just give an anecdotal opinion, let me do some scientific testing and post the results. You will have to have some patience as I have find some time to get my layout out and set it all up.

Carim
Offline Carim  
#11 Posted : 15 September 2019 01:46:23(UTC)
Carim

United Kingdom   
Joined: 15/09/2014(UTC)
Posts: 380
Location: London
So here is my test data.

I let each loco in the test do at least five laps of my layout first in forward and then in reverse to warm up. Then from a standing start, I got them to run at the slowest speed (without stalling) over a 30cm long flat straight.

Times using the Märklin 67020 contoller:


Model Number, Type, Time (seconds) to complete 30cm run at slowest non stalling speed
81870 , Br 111 , 8.36
88684 , Br 101 , 11.52
88432 , Br 143 , 19.62
88216 , Br 212 , 7.44
88536 , Br 120 , 8.82
88686 , Br 101 , 9.33
8879 , Br 218 , 5.89
8867 , Br 103 , 9.91
88680 , Br 101 , 12.26
88543 , Br 103 , 5.84
88587 , Br 192 , 12.33
88524 , Br 152 , 12.57
88526 , Br 120 , 17.03
88685 , Br 101 , 15.25
8854 , Br 103 , 5.87
8842 , Br 111 , 10.22
8848 , Br 120 , 8.44

Rokuhan Shorty , , 3.96
Plus UP JR485 , , 6.65

- Most models need a kick of power to start and then the power can be reduced. At a lower power setting than the start level, there is a noticeable kick in most locos but they do not move.
- I found that the models ran slower in a clockwise direction than in an anti-clockwise direction (difference roughly 2 seconds on the test stretch) - all the above times
were run in the anti-clockwise direction.
- The two Japanese models need very little power to get going, they run very smoothly and don't stall but they still can't crawl.


After these tests I had a quick go using my Gaugemaster 'N' Scale controller (from the 1980.s).

Model Number , Type , Time in seconds

Rokuhan Shorty , , 4.9
88685 , Br 101 , 47.5

The slow running performance improved for both locos. I could get the Märklin loco to go even slower for a short distance but it stalled before completing 30cm. Surprisingly, the Rokuhan Shorty didn't seem to run as smoothly with the Gaugemaster controller as with Märklin one and I even stalled once or twice. But I was so impressed with the Gaugemaster and the Märklin loco that I am now even thinking about forking out and getting one of their specific 'Z' Scale controllers.

Carim
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Offline husafreak  
#12 Posted : 15 September 2019 06:46:38(UTC)
husafreak

United States   
Joined: 09/04/2019(UTC)
Posts: 64
Location: California, Bay Area
That’s crazy slow for the 88685! Thanks for posting those times, a lot of work for sure.
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Offline Poor Skeleton  
#13 Posted : 15 September 2019 21:31:23(UTC)
Poor Skeleton

United Kingdom   
Joined: 09/10/2015(UTC)
Posts: 107
Location: England, Cambridge
Originally Posted by: Carim Go to Quoted Post
So here is my test data.
...


Thanks Carim,

That's really interesting and quite surprising, though my experience also is that the performance of locomotives is highly inconsistent. Having spent a lot of time disassembling, inspecting, testing and reassembling I have come to the conclusion that the 5-pole motor itself is often at fault, but the gearing itself can also be quite variable and highly sensitive to how tightly screws are fastened.

I'm also surprised that the Gaugemaster controller improves slow running so dramatically - could you let us know which model it is?

Thanks again!


Chris
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Offline Carim  
#14 Posted : 15 September 2019 22:53:49(UTC)
Carim

United Kingdom   
Joined: 15/09/2014(UTC)
Posts: 380
Location: London
There isn't a model number on my Gaugemaster contoller (I bought it in the 1980.s and they don't make it any more) - it is just labelled "controller N/OO" and has two outputs:

- Track: 0 - 12v DC
- Accessories: 16v AC
Total loading 2.5A

I was wondering whether I should put a step-down module on it to limit the DC output to a max 10/11v. But I am not sure whether such a module would smooth the DC wave (which I believe is not what you want for slow running). A good video explaining all this:
I have seen a guy on the exhibition circuit using the GM 12v DC controllers for Z scale; he said that there were no problems with them but I really don't want to risk frying a motor. Maybe I should just spend £120 and order a bespoke Z Scale controller from Gaugemaster.

Carim
Offline Poor Skeleton  
#15 Posted : 16 September 2019 21:31:54(UTC)
Poor Skeleton

United Kingdom   
Joined: 09/10/2015(UTC)
Posts: 107
Location: England, Cambridge
Originally Posted by: Carim Go to Quoted Post
There isn't a model number on my Gaugemaster contoller (I bought it in the 1980.s and they don't make it any more) - it is just labelled "controller N/OO" and has two outputs:

Carim


That's a shame - it would be instructive to fish out a schematic, if possible, and unravel how it works. I suspect it must be a bit "pulse-ey" to give that sort of slow speed performance.

I believe that some of the Gaugemaster controllers are straight DC output and those would be perfectly safe to use with Z gauge providing you're careful not to turn the control above 80% or so. I understand the controller for Z scale simply has a value change which limits the maximum voltage.

As for a voltage limiter, you could just insert four silicon diodes (1N4001, for example) in series with the output to drop the voltage by 2.5V or so. You'll need another four in parallel with those but in the opposite direction if you want to be able to control in reverse as well as forward.

I'll check out the video later and see if it makes any sense to me!

Cheers


Chris
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Offline Poor Skeleton  
#16 Posted : 17 September 2019 23:00:56(UTC)
Poor Skeleton

United Kingdom   
Joined: 09/10/2015(UTC)
Posts: 107
Location: England, Cambridge
Originally Posted by: Carim Go to Quoted Post
A good video explaining all this:


I've watched the video and what the guy says does make sense. The unsmoothed output behaves a bit like a PWM drive so the motor develops more torque at low speed to overcome sticktion. This will result in higher power dissipation in the motor compared to pure DC drive, but not as much as with PWM (at low to moderate speeds, anyway).

So far I've been unable to dig out a schematic for the Gaugemaster controller, but if I do manage to find one I'll report back. I'll see if I can do the same for the old Marklin controller, too. As I own a current Marklin controller, I know it's output is pure DC, so no surprise its performance at low speed is poor.

Cheers


Chris
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Offline husafreak  
#17 Posted : 18 September 2019 04:40:15(UTC)
husafreak

United States   
Joined: 09/04/2019(UTC)
Posts: 64
Location: California, Bay Area
Yes, that video was really interesting. Thanks for posting it. The difference between those two controllers in the video is almost exactly the difference between a Rokuhan (straight DC) and a Snail Speed (PWM) controller. Too bad the GuageMaster is not sold in a 120v version for us in the states. I also like that a singe GM unit can operate two tracks. I have been running a couple of days now with the Medvend Snail Speed controller. It is definitely more realistic in operation than the Rokuhan controller as slow speeds and gradual stops and starts are possible with the efficient bell shaped armature Marklin locos. But I prefer the "handling" characteristics of the Rokuhan controller for any other locos. It's crazy that every controller has its ups and downs. Note that the Morley in the video is praised for its small "walk around" extension, just like a Snail Speed controller! Eventually I may have a chart showing the pros and cons of each brand. It would be a great reference. I ordered an older Marklin #67271 controller with the built in transformer just out of curiosity. I'll compare it to the Rokuhan and Snail Speed when I get it. A panel mount Medvend with a nice smooth pot and large knob might be fun to try as well.
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