Repairs and Servicing 00 odds and ends

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STEVIEBOY1

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A colleague of mine very kindly recently gave me a load of his old 00 locos, carriages, wagons and a couple of Old Duette contollers. (Grey Silver Colour, just like the one I had in the late 1960s/early 1970s.) They were stored in a tea chest in his loft for many many years.

I tried the locos out on my layout and some did come to life, but one did not, I will take them to Janes Trains in Tooting as the chap there said he can look them over and effect any repairs that may be required, howver he can't do the Controllers. I am wary of just plugging them into the mains without a qualified electrician testing them and making sure they are safe.

Does anyone know of any model shops or similar in the South West London/Middlesex Borders that may be able to do this?

Thansk Steve.
 
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John Webb

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The controllers could be checked by any electrician who has equipment that can do "Portable Appliance Testing" (PAT). This will confirm that the mains insulation and also the earth connection to the casing are all OK. It will not check that the controller works properly to give an output - but that could be checked by connecting it to one of the working locomotives.
Hope this helps,
John Webb
 

STEVIEBOY1

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Thank you for this info Mr. Webb. I shall see if I can find an electrician who may be able to do a PAT.

By the way, on the main Duette, there are some slide switches. Does anyone know what they are for and how they should be best used, if the controller is ok; One is High or Low Resistance, the other for Half & or, Full Wave Switch?

There are also two sockets at the side, one is 12 V DC which I presume is for things like signal lights or for powering a single slave unit. ? the other is 16 V AC, would that be for automatic points etc?

Thanks Steve.
 
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DelW

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From memory of many years ago, the high / low resistance switch was to cope with variations in locos - if one ran too fast, use high resistance to slow it down, or if too slow, use low resistance to speed it up, the idea being to keep the normal running speed within the central part of the control knob's range of movement. I don't recall the half wave / full wave switch or its possible purpose.

The 12v DC output allowed control of a second loco via a simple rheostat (variable resistance) which didn't then need a mains transformer - Triang used to sell such an item at about half the cost of a complete controller. The 16v AC output was indeed for motorised points and signals.
 

DaleCooper

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Full wave - positive and negative half cycles of the AC voltage are rectified to give a DC output

Half wave - either the positive or negative half cycles, but not both, of the AC voltage are rectified to give a DC output which effectively provides half the power of full wave.
 
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bangor-toad

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Hi there,
If you're not happy / confident about testing the mains controllers yourself I'd suggest not using them at all. If they are what I think they're analogue control for one train at a time. Old equipment / controllers were designed to give a variable voltage which is what current new (non-digital) controllers do.

You can buy a new controller system that does this very cheaply. Probably less than the cost of getting someone to check out what you've been given. A quick glance at e-bay has basic Hornby controllers for £15 or you could get a new Gaugemaster one for £40.
These sorts of costs are probably less than or equivalent to getting someone to look at the old equipment. Unless there is a sentimental reason for using the older stuff I'd not bother and replace it with new stuff with a warranty.

Cheers,
Mr Toad
 

DelW

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If you're concerned about electrical safety, plug each controller into the mains via an RCD adaptor, as any earth fault or short circuit will trip the adaptor immediately. You can also continue to use them via the adaptor in case a fault develops over time. If your house wiring uses circuit breakers rather than fuses you will have similar protection from them, but it can be a pain resetting clocks and timers if you trip out a ring main.

These adaptors are widely sold for use with garden and DIY equipment to avoid injury in case of cable damage.
 

DaleCooper

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If you're concerned about electrical safety, plug each controller into the mains via an RCD adaptor, as any earth fault or short circuit will trip the adaptor immediately. You can also continue to use them via the adaptor in case a fault develops over time. If your house wiring uses circuit breakers rather than fuses you will have similar protection from them, but it can be a pain resetting clocks and timers if you trip out a ring main.

These adaptors are widely sold for use with garden and DIY equipment to avoid injury in case of cable damage.

There's a bit more to electrical safety than using an RCD. It is very important to check the condition of the cable and plug as well as making sure it is fitted with the correct fuse. Something as easily overlooked as a missing strain relief clamp could prove dangerous. If you have any doubts do not use it. As mentioned above you're probably better off with a new unit which will probably have a more sophisticated control circuit rather than a plain rheostat, be more efficient and run cooler.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Further to that, if the earth strap inside the unit was disconnected for any reason (these things can and do happen) then the case could become live without tripping the RCD.
 

STEVIEBOY1

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Thank you for all your replies.. I took the locos into Janes Trains yesterday and they were really helpful, hopefully they will be better by the end of next week. As fro the old controllers I was given, I think I shall do as you all say, be very careful with them and perhaps get a couple of new ones which should be safer.
 
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