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@Menards

So like the other 199 people out there I got one of the new Menards SF F3's. Overall a solid model and not much to complain about. Good motors, good paint, good lights, and good sounds. Lighting wise the number boards could use some attention for better illumination. Sound wise the horn could be updated to hold until you let go of the button. Finally it runs really fast on the first speed step. It abruptly starts both due to the lack of flywheels and being wired parallel. I have partially fixed that by wiring the motors in series to reduce the overall speed which reduces the starting speed. Otherwise good model Menards and keep it up.

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Last edited by Sid's Trains
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I'm also one of the lucky 200. As discussed on the original thread, the loco will run down to about 8v on my KW,  which is fine I guess if you are not running any other command/ DCS engines on the same track.  I can vary the speed by leaving the remote on "F" in forward and use the KW handle to reduce the jerky starts. When I bring up the voltage from 0v, the sound comes on at 100% until the radio connects with the remote and it starts to move. Series wiring is a good idea too. I've done that with all of my WbB's and K-line's.

A solid debut for Menards for sure.

Stupid question I guess, but I see many engines like this, which run too fast on the start.  The proposed solution is always to wire the two motors in series.

I would expect that somewhere in the design process, there was an electrical engineer, and some testing of the chassis and motors for these locos.

Question is, then:  Why in the heck doesn't the manufacturer just wire the two motors in series to begin with???

For a person like me, if I have to pay for one of these locos, and then pay someone else another $50 or so to wire it in series, it makes more sense for me to buy a more expensive locomotive instead, that runs well right out of the box.  :-O

Thx,

Mannyrock

@Mannyrock posted:
Question is, then:  Why in the heck doesn't the manufacturer just wire the two motors in series to begin with???

I suspect the reason is that it greatly reduces the pulling power, and maybe that's deemed more objectionable than the fast starts.

I know that some of the K-Line conventional stuff used to have a switch to change from parallel to series wiring for the motors, that was a nice touch.  Of course, that would add to the price, but not that much.

@Mannyrock posted:

Question is, then:  Why in the heck doesn't the manufacturer just wire the two motors in series to begin with???

For a person like me, if I have to pay for one of these locos, and then pay someone else another $50 or so to wire it in series, it makes more sense for me to buy a more expensive locomotive instead, that runs well right out of the box.  :-O

Thx,

Mannyrock

Legit question, but it's a simple fix. I've re-wired all of my Williams locos. Very easy and takes about 15 minutes from shell off to shell back on.

So easy even a (fill in the blank) can do it...

Remember, this is a first cut, and the stated purpose was to expose the warts and quibbles so a future production run could possibly address some or all of them.  Let's see what Menard's does with the feedback on this small run.  It's great to see them doing a locomotive, let's not discourage them before they get out of the gate!

Of course, labeling it the correct F7 would help with the rivet counters as well.

Bob, if you reduce the current in the the motors, you clearly reduce the power as well, simple logic.  As to weather that reduction is sufficient to be a problem in normal operation, that is the question.  Many folks have done serial motor connections and don't complain about pulling power.  OTOH, more than one person has commented about it over the years, so it is a real effect of series connection of the motors.

@Menards

So like the other 199 people out there I got one of the new Menards SF F3's. Overall a solid model and not much to complain about. Good motors, good paint, good lights, and good sounds. Lighting wise the number boards could use some attention for better illumination. Sound wise the horn could be updated to hold until you let go of the button. Finally it runs really fast on the first speed step. It abruptly starts both due to the lack of flywheels and being wired parallel. I have partially fixed that by wiring the motors in series to reduce the overall speed which reduces the starting speed. Otherwise good model Menards and keep it up.



IMG_20210718_144741201_HDR

It doesn't look easy to add flywheels to those motors.  Maybe an RS775 swap out?

John

I suspect the primary reason it jumps is the first step out of the control logic is a higher voltage than is needed.  Truthfully, I doubt flywheels would make much difference.  Swapping the motors is a non-starter unless you have the tools to pull the worm gear, something that is sometimes a real PITA.

A simple fix for the first step speed jump would be a couple of sets of back to back diodes or a bridge rectifier wired to simulate the same configuration.  Put this in one of the leads going to both motors and it will drop the starting voltage to the motors by about 1.5 volts, that probably will make a significant difference.  If you need more, just add more diode pairs.

I suspect the primary reason it jumps is the first step out of the control logic is a higher voltage than is needed.  Truthfully, I doubt flywheels would make much difference.  Swapping the motors is a non-starter unless you have the tools to pull the worm gear, something that is sometimes a real PITA.

A simple fix for the first step speed jump would be a couple of sets of back to back diodes or a bridge rectifier wired to simulate the same configuration.  Put this in one of the leads going to both motors and it will drop the starting voltage to the motors by about 1.5 volts, that probably will make a significant difference.  If you need more, just add more diode pairs.

Actually the sudden stops are more unrealistic and annoying than the jack rabbit starts.  Would the same modification help that as well?  I figured the flywheels would at least allow it coast a little before stopping.

John

Last edited by Craftech
@Mannyrock posted:

Stupid question I guess, but I see many engines like this, which run too fast on the start.  The proposed solution is always to wire the two motors in series.

I would expect that somewhere in the design process, there was an electrical engineer, and some testing of the chassis and motors for these locos.

Question is, then:  Why in the heck doesn't the manufacturer just wire the two motors in series to begin with???

For a person like me, if I have to pay for one of these locos, and then pay someone else another $50 or so to wire it in series, it makes more sense for me to buy a more expensive locomotive instead, that runs well right out of the box.  :-O

Thx,

Mannyrock

I don't mean this literally, but if you don't own a soldering gun you shouldn't be in the hobby.  Also, someone will post easy to follow directions for changing this to series wiring.  It's been done for Williams engines here a long time ago

Alan.

Yep, got a solder gun and have used it for years.

Nope, putting a duty on the customer to rewire and solder a brand new product is no excuse for poor electrical design.

If you bought a brand new ceiling fan, and it ran poorly, and you took it back to the store to return it, would you accept, "Wow.  Don't you have a solder gun?  Just take it apart and resolder the circuits."

I hope you wouldn't.   :-)

Mannyrock

@Mannyrock posted:

If you bought a brand new ceiling fan, and it ran poorly, and you took it back to the store to return it, would you accept, "Wow.  Don't you have a solder gun?  Just take it apart and resolder the circuits."

I hope you wouldn't.   :-)

Mannyrock

If you bought a low priced ceiling fan sold by a hobby shop instead of a hardware store.  It might not be as good as the one sold at the hardware store.

Last edited by RickO
@Craftech posted:

Actually the sudden stops are more unrealistic and annoying than the jack rabbit starts.  Would the same modification help that as well?  I figured the flywheels would at least allow it coast a little before stopping.

Well, if you can control the motor voltage down to the point of mechanical stalling, then you can indeed make smooth stops.

While I don't have one of these to actually look at, what is being described sounds like the first speed step sends enough voltage to the motors to make the locomotive jump off the line instead of slowly start to move.  The same effect would cause you to make sudden stops.  The motor voltage dropping from a point that will sustain a reasonable speed to zero would do what you suggest.

Next, let's consider other factors that might be in play.  MTH PS/3 has a pretty well known propensity to make sudden stops when power is removed running in conventional mode.  Give that these locomotives have flywheels, I suspect that the electronics are providing a low impedance path across the motor(s) when power is removed and creating dynamic braking.  This may also be happening with the electronics of this locomotive when the throttle is closed.

@Mannyrock posted:

Yep, got a solder gun and have used it for years.

Nope, putting a duty on the customer to rewire and solder a brand new product is no excuse for poor electrical design.

If you bought a brand new ceiling fan, and it ran poorly, and you took it back to the store to return it, would you accept, "Wow.  Don't you have a solder gun?  Just take it apart and resolder the circuits."

I hope you wouldn't.   :-)

Mannyrock

Manny,

It's only poor electrical design to you, and perhaps a handful of us on this forum.  To most of us the conversion from parallel to series is not worth all the drama.

And here's the kicker, none of us is in the target market for these things.  They're intended to be an introductory toy for children, and newbies.  All the way back to the earliest toy trains marketed 120 years ago kids, in particular, have wanted them to run fast.  They're toys.

They've generously given out-of-market experts a fairly easy method for dealing with this.  Use it.

Mike

@Mannyrock posted:

Yep, got a solder gun and have used it for years.

Nope, putting a duty on the customer to rewire and solder a brand new product is no excuse for poor electrical design.

If you bought a brand new ceiling fan, and it ran poorly, and you took it back to the store to return it, would you accept, "Wow.  Don't you have a solder gun?  Just take it apart and resolder the circuits."

I hope you wouldn't.   :-)

Mannyrock

I agree that you shouldn’t have to do repairs for manufacturing design errors. I’m really saying that if it comes wired in parallel the path of least resistance would be your soldering iron.
Alan

On the subject of series vs parallel motor wiring, theoretically for a given speed, each motor in the series configuration receives the same power input as it would with the parallel arrangement. Remember that one of the reasons for switching to series is to avoid jack-rabbit starts. The throttle has to be advanced further and for a given speed roughly twice the voltage is applied to the series combination. This results in the same current as each motor saw in the parallel setup with the lower throttle startup. Also, the current load on the control system is halved which is useful in many cases.

Manny,

"And here's the kicker, none of us is in the target market for these things.  They're intended to be an introductory toy for children, and newbies.  All the way back to the earliest toy trains marketed 120 years ago kids, in particular, have wanted them to run fast.  They're toys."

They've generously given out-of-market experts a fairly easy method for dealing with this.  Use it.

Mike

I am amazed at how many rivet counting 3 rail friends (aka "Frustrated 2 Railers" as a local hobby shop owner called them:-) suddenly wanted one of these when they have no use for it and wouldn't run it, upon discovering the limited quantity sold. I do think passing one around and having many operators would provide Menards with greater quality suggestions as I doubt any newbie familes got one. In any case a big thumbs up to Menards for producing it!

Last edited by BobbyD

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