Robin Sundt Echini

Rocket Detective

It was with great excitement that I received the beautiful Hornby model of Stephenson’s Rocket. Having very carefully extracted it from its very tight (and hard foam) packing, I checked it over and was delighted with the detail and the finish.  Having previously watched a couple of reviews, I checked the pickups, which looked OK. I also carefully checked the four wires where they attach to the tender as many reviewers reported that they are fragile and likely to break. All seemed fine.

I put the engine onto the test track and wound the power up to about eight volts but it didn’t move. What did happen was the track LEDs dimmed. Worrying. I switched the track off and put a meter on the DC output, which registered eight volts. Switched the track back on and the voltage dropped right off. That sounded like a short somewhere in the engine to me.

I decided to remove the blanking plate on the DCC socket so that the pickups and the motor would be isolated. I could then check each individually to try to find what was wrong. The DCC socket is in the barrel, so I took the barrel top off as per the instructions. The first thing that I found was a bare wire on the right pickup, although it didn’t seem to be touching anything else.
IMG_6730s.jpg 

I removed the blanking plate and started checking the continuity between the wheels and the “MR” and “ML” wires on the DCC socket. Not sure why they are printed in reverse, but the result was that there was no continuity on the right side. This turned out to be because the engine pickups were not actually touching the wheels and needed to be adjusted. However, the tender wheels were making contact OK.
IMG_6736s.jpg 

Next, I checked the continuity through the motor, which was OK. By putting two probes onto the M+ and M- with 6 volts between them, the motor ran fine, so no problem there.

There are six wires attached to the decoder socket, going from left to right they are 1 & 2 Right Pickup twice, 3 Motor +, 4 Motor – and 5 & 6 Left pickup twice. The wiring for a six pin decoder, which plugs in to the top of the socket, going from left to right is 1 Motor, 2 Motor, 3 Pickup, 4 Pickup, 5 Accessory, 6 Accessory. So, the next step was to check the continuity from one side of the socket to the other. The wire attached to M- should connect to the DCC decoder pin 2 but there was no continuity there. Looking at the back of the decoder socket, there are what appear to be capacitors(?) and there is perhaps signs of heat damage.
IMG_6738s.jpg 

To overcome this, I soldered a short piece of wire between the M- wire and the pin 2 base. Now, I was able to check the continuity from the wheels to decoder socket pins 3 & 4 and from pin 1 to pin 2 through the motor. I also put 6 volts across the decoder socket pins 1 and 2 and the motor ran correctly.
IMG_6739s.jpg 

Next, I connected pins 1 (motor) and 3 (pickup) with a jump lead and also pins 4 (pickup) and 2 (motor).  At last, the engine ran on the track using DC!

Not sure what caused the original problem but something was broken between M- and pin 2 on the decoder socket. With the extra wire installed between M- and pin 2, the engine ran fine on DC.

The next step was to fit the Hornby R7150, six pin decoder, as recommended. With the decoder plug in the socket it was a very tight push fit to get that pair into the bottom half of the barrel. The decoder was wrapped in Sellotape to insulate it and that was an even tighter push fit into the top half of the barrel; then the two halves of the barrel had to be squeezed together!  It took several attempts to get it all squeezed in – but eventually it worked and the engine runs very well – finally!
IMG_6740s.jpg 

This is a delightful little model and well worth all the effort. Getting it in and out of the packaging is a nightmare – the parts are so delicate and the hard foam packing is very tight around each piece – so I shall be getting a padded box so that I can keep it safe and run it often.

All the best

Robin

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Bunkerbarge
Wow! quite a story Robin.  You shouldn't have to go through that performance to get a locomotive working, certainly not at the prices they are charging for this model.

I'm glad you got it working OK but I would still be concerned that you may have invalidated any warranty by soldering a wire into the board.  Hopefully you won't have any further challenges with it.
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Robin Sundt Echini

Hi,
As both Gaugemaster and Hornby said that there are no more available and Hornby has closed its repair section, the only option that they could suggest was a refund. This way I get to keep the model that I ordered and it works! If it breaks again I’ll just have to fix it again. A warranty is no use if the warrantor can’t fix it and it can’t be replaced. 

Hey! It’s just great to have it running and it runs so smoothly! 

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Bunkerbarge
I was tempted but really fancied the early limited edition one.  That was snatched up by the 'collectors' before they were even available though and the only ones now are a stupid price so I won't be bothering with that version.

I'd like to see the first one with a sound decoder in it though!
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Ruffnut Thorston
As far as I know, the only differences between the Limited Edition and the main range versions are the packaging, and the names on the coaches.

Faults with both batches have been reported.

A lot of models have been returned and refunded.

A few managed to get replacements.

Maybe Hornby should sell these as kits of parts?  The return of CKD, or Assembly Packs, for home assembly... 😉😁
Best wishes,

Ruff...
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Robin Sundt Echini
Hi Richard,
It has been done! Check out this video, it shows the sound (complete with birdsong) and the firebox flicker about half way through.

There is a fitting guide on the YouChoos website.
https://www.youchoos.co.uk/Index-Resource.php?L1=IG-ROCKET
Having spent most of yesterday getting it working and being so very careful not to damage such a delicate model, I am not sure I want to rip it apart again!
Regards
Robin
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Bunkerbarge
I noticed the wheel slip before he mentioned it so that caught my eye as a significant challenge. What he didn't say what how many wheels pick up power as I suspect that power interruptions may be a challenge and you would never get a capacitor in it.

What I also found quite noticeable was the crude acceleration compared to what I'm used to.  My own locos start off very slowly and accelerate smoothly in a realistic manner to a scale speed.  The Rocket seemed to take off like a scalded cat and look quite unrealistic.  I'm not sure whether that is as a result of the way he has the decoder parameters set up or whether the decoder is a little basic. I also noticed that the exhaust 'chuffs' do not synchronise with the wheel rotation!

The couplings  don't look like a challenge to me at all and he seems to be making far more of it than necessary.  I use Smith's three link anyway so solid plastic ones look like a doddle to me!

What the video has confirmed though is that for a model of £250.00 with decoder and speaker adding another conservative £120.00 for not far off £400.00 you would be looking at a model with very limited use on the track. And with Robin's experience highlighting concerns with quality control I think I'd rather put my money into something that I can get more use out of.
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Pad-Ply-Pen

With a nod to Ruff (and Julian)
Is this what you would call Rocket Science 

 

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Julian
Pad-Ply-Pen wrote:

With a nod to Ruff (and Julian)
Is this what you would call Rocket Science 



You could make a connection to that term somewhere, if you had a soldering iron.    😇 

Mine was. also, one of the dis-connected ones, sadly and the joints also had a covering that resembled a substance similar to varnish coloured glue, as if an attempt had been made to strengthen the soldered joints.  I have been given a second chance, however, by Kernow Models, which is very fortunate in the circumstances.  I emailed them outlining the disconnection and asked if it would make sense to pack it off to Hornby direct, to save double posting.  They came straight back and said, just send it to Kernow and they would replace it from the second batch, due in soon.  Thanks go to Kernow, once again, for excellent service.

To BB, you may be in with a chance of one of those, if you would like one at the original price, they implied they had some spare, beyond those pre-ordered.

Julian
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Robin Sundt Echini
Hi,
Pickup power comes from all eight wheels, although the way the wires and tender towbar interact the front pair of wheels on the tender tend to lift off the track. However, the pickup has been more reliable than many of my larger engines. The MX648 decoder used in the sound installation specifically mentions the accellerate and decellerate parameters, so I am sure that they will be settable. However, changing those CV settings on the R7150 Hornby 6 pin decoder doesn't seem to make any difference. I have not been able to find a list of supported parameters for the Hornby decoder.
Having said that, the Rocket runs more smoothly that almost all my other engines and, if you advance the throttle one step at a time, it works very realistically.

In fact, it is about the only engine I have that will run consistently at a throttle setting of 2/28; it just inches along.
Truly, it is Rocket Science!
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