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Sheffie

Not sure if EF510 really good, or C57 kind of bad

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Sheffie

Now that I find myself in the position of owning TWO locomotives, I naturally find myself comparing them. 

 

My first reaction is that the EF510 is just fantastic. It seems to pull away very smoothly, it cruises very steadily at low speeds, and all in all it feels solid and powerful—exactly what you’d want from a freight locomotive. 

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It’s early days, but the EF510 also seems to handle the odd derailed pair of wheels much better than the C57, which feels tangly and fussy in comparison, prone to slowing up rapidly on certain stretches of track whenever running at moderate or slower speed, almost as if it’s being pulled back. Between the 4-6-2 and the 8 on the tender (which apparently pick up the power) it feels like there’s just so much that can go wrong. 

 

So.

 

Did I get lucky with the new loco, or unlucky with the old... or are steam engines always going to be messier and more troublesome... or is it time I took apart the C57 for maintenance?

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katoftw

You also have an older style/tech C57. So it will never be as good as the current produced models.

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Sheffie
59 minutes ago, katoftw said:

You also have an older style/tech C57. So it will never be as good as the current produced models.

 

That's a fair point. So... hmm... if I'm looking at potential purchases, I guess I should be looking for this?

 

 

To be clear, there are really only a couple of models I'm currently considering:

 

Kato's "Series E127-0 Niigata Color (2-Car Set)"

Release Date:Late Aug., 2010  <--- the same era as my C57 :(

https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10116424

 

or

 

Echigo TOKImeki Railway Series ET-127 (2-Car Set)

Release Date:Late Nov., 2018

https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10547723

 

These are very similar (basically the same train, maybe, depending on who you ask) but I rather prefer the look of the first, and I certainly would feel a little better having a Niigata livery train running over the same tracks as the Banetsu Monogatari, since it's plausible to see them in the same area (if my research is correct).

 

But the difference in dates... whoa.

Edited by Sheffie

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katoftw

Yes and no.  Motor chassis/units are very different between SL and DMU/DMU.  Don't go judging them on year of release.

 

Even though you C51 set was released in 2010.  The actual loco was released in 2008, part number 2013-1.  It is the older style with motor in the cab area.  Somwhere around 2012 they got two smaller flywheels and a motor into the boiler area hidden.  And then in 2016, they stripped some weight out of the flywheels and got better slow running.

 

These 2016 changes were discussed in the Kato release set last week or the week before.  Pics of the differences also included.

Edited by katoftw
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railsquid

I'm not familiar with the E127 model, but I'd assume the 2010 and 2018 releases are mechanically identical and nothing to worry about.

 

Steam locos are a bit tricky in N scale for a whole bunch of reasons, e.g. they often have leading and/or trailing bogies with little weight on them (which is why on older designs you often see the leading bogie with wheel treads which would be 30cm wide in real life); getting weight over the driving wheels can be an issue; valve gear complicates things; then there's the whole question of where to put the motor - in the cab, in the body (may need a very small motor), in the tender, in the tender with cardan shaft driving the main locomotive wheels.

Diesel/electric locos and multiple units are generally much simpler to motorize.

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Sheffie

Alright. I wasn’t really expecting simple answers. Thank you both. 

 

Steam locomotives problematic, check. Improvement happens... makes sense. Leading and trailing bogeys... oh dear lord. It’s like their only purpose in life is to fly off the rails given the slightest excuse. 

 

So so if I have money to spare, and I get a chance to buy a newer C57 #180, it might be worth getting the update. 

 

But all other things being equal, I would tend to choose an 0-6-0 or 0-8-0 loco based on my experiences to date. Don’t get me wrong—I still love the appearance of the SL Banetsu Monogatari and I haven’t seen any other passenger coaches I like more. So no regrets. 

 

 

Meanwhile, considering the E127/ET127 choice... if I understand correctly, the design wasn’t so problematic in the first place, so there may be no mechanical difference between the two models. So there may be no strong argument for buying the newer one. 

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Martijn Meerts

I have to say, I haven't had much issues with steam locomotives, with a few exceptions. My Kato GS4 for example didn't run well, which was a production fault, and the MicroAce E10s are a bit wobbly, but that's pretty much the extent of issues I've seen out of the about 30 steam locomotives I have, not counting the really old Minitrix / Fleischmann / Arnold ones.

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Sheffie
Posted (edited)

Further information. I was running in low lighting conditions the other night, and I noticed that when the C57 was pulling up, the headlight also flickered—it pretty much went out completely—which really looks like the problem isn't so much a lack of momentum / flywheels as it is a loss of continuity in the electrical pickup.

 

Now I'm running the EF510 over the same tracks, at a creeping slow pace, looking for any dimming of its lights... and not noticing any such thing. Of course it's possible that it's got an internal capacitor, and I read that it has flywheels, so possibly it's coping with intermittent power loss better all round, but the simpler answer is that it's just got better electrical connections.

 

Now I'm wondering whether I should be trying to diagnose / clean the tender on the SL, or perhaps (following the conversations in the electrical forum) try to install some circuitry to protect it from interruptions in its power supply.

Edited by Sheffie

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katoftw
Posted (edited)

Or just deal with the fact your C57 is all old spec. And not as good as current spec models.

 

You are comparing apples and oranges. If you want all apples. Sell the orange and buy only apples.

Edited by katoftw

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ben_issacs

Folks,

In re the running of various N scale steam loco models, I'm with a local group who do a bit of exhibition work on a fair sized tail chasing layout, we usually run in half-hour continuous segments for each member.

I'm the one who runs more steamers, and note that the locos with a four wheeled leading bogie are more prone to derailments than those with a two axle pony truck.

Thus, C 57, C 59, C 60 And C 62 can sometimes arrive at the back of the layout, having traversed the points at the entrance to the fiddle yard, with the leading bogie axle off the rails.

Conversely, C 11, C56, C 58 and 9600, all with two axle leading pony trucks, don't seem to have this problem.

Also, some of the early elec. locos with leading four wheel bogies, , EF 58 etc., also play up, I've weighted my EF 58, 's and they now work well.

Whether it's possible to put a bit of weight on a four wheeled leading bogie on a steamer may be difficult to do .
Bill,

Melbourne.

 

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Kamome
On 3/2/2019 at 2:14 PM, katoftw said:

Or just deal with the fact your C57 is all old spec. And not as good as current spec models.

Agreed, I have a number of newer Kato SLs

C11, C12, C56, C57, C59, C62, 4x D51s

 

All have no issue traversing pointwork whether single or double pony truck. They also have bright LED headlights which don’t flicker even at slow running.

 

I also have older stock from the late 1990s/early naughties which don’t run as smoothly, need more power to light headlights and always flicker at normal starting speeds.

 

Your C57 is from an older starter set. Compared to what British manufacturers were producing at the same time, it is a triumph. However by today’s standards, it’s not quite up there. I bet it runs better than some of the British N made today though.

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Sheffie
Posted (edited)
On ‎3‎/‎2‎/‎2019 at 12:14 AM, katoftw said:

You are comparing apples and oranges. If you want all apples. Sell the orange and buy only apples.

 

I think the term we're looking for is lemon. (Although perhaps 'lemon' meaning "terrible quality/poor choice/I-wish-I-never-bought-that" is only really commonly used in the US.)

 

And honestly it's a little harsh. At the moment I can accept how it runs. I have two locos on the layout that I prefer to use (plus another one still in its box since Kato decided to release the JRK DE10 as a pair) and I'm okay with having it as a third/fourth option behind the other locos and the E210 EMU (which is much less noisy now that's it's all taped up). The C57 just doesn't run well at low speeds or when reversing over points, and now that I understand more about why that is, I'm okay with it. When it's cruising around with the passenger coaches in tow, it looks fine, and now that the layout has two controllers, it's easy to find a sweet spot for that while I run freight or passenger stuff on the inner loop and sidings.

 

(And possibly when I have a lot more money I will get a modern take on the same loco, and attach the Banetsu Monogatari head-mark to that.)

 

 

Thanks a lot for the feedback, everyone. You've really helped me to put this in perspective, and I appreciate that.

Edited by Sheffie

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katoftw

I understand the term lemon. But you loco isn't a lemon. It is just an older generation loco, not as good as the newest generation locos.

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ben_issacs

Folks, 

Most N scale steam loco leading bogies are pretty light, their main weight is in the metal wheels and axles, nothing much in the plastic frames.

If one can get even a small piece of lead sheet somewhere onto the bogie frame, this can improve the running, or even a light spring. (are they already sprung, I can't remember, and my steamers are packed away?)

Trailing trucks are not so important, they hardly ever derail, and if they do, the next set of points will kick them back on the track again.

And two wheel leading (pony) trucks seem not to derail as frequently as four wheel leading bogies.

Regards, 

Bill, 

Melbourne.

 

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nah00

There's a big difference in SL quality over the years. I have an older (late 90s) Tomix Class 9600 that I run on my layout whenever I notice the cats thinking of jumping up on it again. The awful noise it makes generally deters them for a couple of weeks. 

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