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Right Away

EMUs in Multiple - Synchronizing Running

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When operating EMUs in multiple (or for that matter any multiple consist) it is a given that no two motors will hardly ever perform identically "out of the box."  There is generally a very small degree of pushing and/or tugging imparted between units which is not always evident as they are coupled. However, would any member care to advise whether or not this disparity would have a detrimental effect on the gearing and mechanisms over time. 

 

My particular interests are with the Hornby Southern EMUs, all fitted with Lenz Standard decoders and having identical CV values powered by a Lenz 100. Running the units uncoupled shows the degree of variation in speeds etc. Adjusting the CVs of each unit individually would be the obvious answer but to get 4 units running practically the same may take forever! 

 

Is there a way of performing POM in multiple consists?

 

 

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1 - systematic approach to speed matching, using the 28 step speed table.  Yes its slow to do it.   A computer interface for programming should speed this up.  The settings in most decoders can be done in POM.    Do it once, and its done.   Start with the slowest running unit as the reference one.

 

2 -  turn down the BEMF influence in the decoder, that will reduce the pushing/pulling in the units, and even out the running.   US layouts with lots of diesel locos in consists often turn BEMF off completely to achieve this (I'd not go that far, because it has some negative control aspects, but some do it).

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I agree with Nigel's advice above. Take the time to sort them all out and match them as closely as possible.

Having said that, I seem to have been lucky in that just about all of my similar units run well together without having had to tweak them. That's Hornby's 2 BIL and 2 HAL units, plus a resin 'Tin' HAL using Hornby 2 BIL chassis, 2 x Hornby 5 BEL units, and also Bachmann's 4 CEP and MLV units and 2 EPBs. The ones that have needed tweaking and careful matching have been the Hornby 4 VEP units, but with care I have even been able to mix those with the Bachmann units.

Other units I have had no difficulties with matching were two Siemens units, two class 350s with vinyl overlays to make them into 450s both with LokSound v3.5 decoders. There is a third 450 unit but without sound - I have an ESU decoder in it to make matching easier.

That's the major trick, using the same decoders wherever possible with units expected to run together. It is much easier to adjust them when they have the same control characteristics. I could also mention the class 150 and 153 units (Bachmann and Hornby, respectively), that can be run very successfully within their classes, but may eed a lot more work if I ever try to run them in mixed formations.

I have happily run up to four units together (within the compatible groups) without them fighting each other - five in the case of the BILs and HALs.

Edited by SRman
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Posted (edited)

Thanks Nigel and SRMan.

My units are HALs and BILs. Yes, they are all pretty similar in running characteristics, all with identical decoders. When in multiple (2 or 3 units as a rule) they run OK; just that there was this noticeable buffing on occasions which I wondered if over an extended period might exacerbate wear in the gear trains. 

Some may say I'm being over fussy - they're probably right!

 

Edited by Right Away

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1 hour ago, Right Away said:

Thanks Nigel and SRMan.

My units are HALs and BILs. Yes, they are all pretty similar in running characteristics, all with identical decoders. When in multiple (2 or 3 units as a rule) they run OK; just that there was this noticeable buffing on occasions which I wondered if over an extended period might exacerbate wear in the gear trains. 

Some may say I'm being over fussy - they're probably right!

 

 

I also have a number of HALs and BILs fitted with Lenz Standard+ decoders running on a Lenz LZV100 system. With some of the units, I had issues with jerky slow running resulting in quite a bit of buffing when running in multiple. The problem was the interference capacitor: there's one on the side of the motor bogie, and once all units had this cap snipped out, all trace of jerky running disappeared. 

 

However you do need to keep the wheels clean: one unit with dirty wheels gets a prod from its mate(s) when it would otherwise stall, which can show up as buffing. 

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3 hours ago, SRman said:

Other units I have had no difficulties with matching were two Siemens units, two class 350s with vinyl overlays to make them into 450s 

Could I ask which overlays you used please and were they easy/reasonable/a complete b-tch to apply.

 

I have looked at the Electra Rail Graphics and there are quite a few I would like to have a go at.

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Thank you RFS. 

 

Is it possible to remove the motor bogie without removing the body? 

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39 minutes ago, Right Away said:

Thank you RFS. 

 

Is it possible to remove the motor bogie without removing the body? 

 

Unfortunately not! After my experience with the first pair I bought, I was able to do the snip at the same time as fitting the decoder with subsequent purchases. 

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15 minutes ago, royaloak said:

Could I ask which overlays you used please and were they easy/reasonable/a complete b-tch to apply.

 

I have looked at the Electra Rail Graphics and there are quite a few I would like to have a go at.



Hi: it was the Electra Rail ones. They can be a bit fiddly to apply, and I found that a bit of hand-finishing was also required. they still make the livery change much easier than trying to do the complex liveries oneself. In my case, it was considerably cheaper to buy two class 350/1 units while they were selling at reduced prices (less than £100, and being overseas, minus VAT on top of the reduced prices) than buying the 'proper' Bachmann class 450 when it came out. Then adding the £35 for the overlays still kept the overall price down to between half and two-thirds that of the 450.

Going back to the BIL/HAL combinations, I did video some of them running (I also standardised on the Lenz Standard+ decoder for these units). This is actually quite an old vid, having been done 5 years ago. Newton Broadway has progressed considerably since I took this. The jerkiness is in the video, not the trains. 

 


or (at risk of boring everyone) this one from 2018:
 



Specially for royaloak, the two class 350/450 conversions, before I had matched them, so there was a small amount of 'fight' between the units. The mismatch between the LokSound v3.5 and v4 was what prompted me to swap them so that both units ended up with v3.5 versions, supporting what I (and others) have suggested about using identical decoders to make the speed and behaviour matching that much easier.
 



For the majority of my multiple units, I use Kadee couplings on the unit ends, which are much more rigid than the old tension-lock types, and actually seem to help with balancing the units' behaviours. I think the tension-locks can accentuate any 'hunting' between units, where the Kadees limit the slack.

 

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Posted (edited)

Superb, thanks for the prompt reply and the video, very effective so it likes like I will be ordering some shotly, probably 153 and 159 ones as I have amassed a few of both lately.

 

 I didnt know whether to put a like, a thanks or an informative on your post, oh decisions decisions.

Edited by royaloak
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FWIW I run a pair of Bachmann 2EPBs fitted with TCS chips and they run well together without any DCC chip twiddling

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10 hours ago, royaloak said:

Superb, thanks for the prompt reply and the video, very effective so it likes like I will be ordering some shotly, probably 153 and 159 ones as I have amassed a few of both lately.

 

 I didnt know whether to put a like, a thanks or an informative on your post, oh decisions decisions.



Apologies if I am taking us off-topic here: the 153 vinyls take quite a bit of work to apply simply because of all those external rivets on the models (nothing wrong with ERG's overlays). Adam suggests using a hair dryer to heat the vinyl to get it to sit properly over the rivets and bumps and ridges in the sides, and that worked well for me, having done two of them (the blue and pink ones in the photo). Incidentally, these all have TCS decoders fitted.

29359532087_2cdf4db9e4_b.jpg
P_20180827_165000_vHDR_On by Jeffrey Lynn, on Flickr

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Just a final follow up to my OP.

Having spent some time adjusting the CV's on all units (all matching values), multiple running is now very good; any disparity is negligent.

When initially reading the values of the decoders it transpired that some settings on a couple of units were not those originally set. I must assume that whilst programming another locomotive (POM) sometime beforehand, I'd scrolled to the wrong address and inadvertently altered the EMU's decoder. Duh!

 

Anyway, thanks for all your help guys.

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On 12/07/2019 at 10:45, SRman said:

I agree with Nigel's advice above. Take the time to sort them all out and match them as closely as possible.

Having said that, I seem to have been lucky in that just about all of my similar units run well together without having had to tweak them. That's Hornby's 2 BIL and 2 HAL units, plus a resin 'Tin' HAL using Hornby 2 BIL chassis, 2 x Hornby 5 BEL units, and also Bachmann's 4 CEP and MLV units and 2 EPBs. The ones that have needed tweaking and careful matching have been the Hornby 4 VEP units, but with care I have even been able to mix those with the Bachmann units.

Other units I have had no difficulties with matching were two Siemens units, two class 350s with vinyl overlays to make them into 450s both with LokSound v3.5 decoders. There is a third 450 unit but without sound - I have an ESU decoder in it to make matching easier.

That's the major trick, using the same decoders wherever possible with units expected to run together. It is much easier to adjust them when they have the same control characteristics. I could also mention the class 150 and 153 units (Bachmann and Hornby, respectively), that can be run very successfully within their classes, but may [n]eed a lot more work if I ever try to run them in mixed formations.

I have happily run up to four units together (within the compatible groups) without them fighting each other - five in the case of the BILs and HALs.

 

 

Interested in the comment - I've found Bachmann 150s and Hornby 153s to be more or less mutually incompatible. The 153s run fine with each other (same decoders used throughout) but were completely mismatched with a 150 - the couplings parted after a couple of feet and the units proceeded down the layout at completely different speeds

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Ravenser said:

 

 

Interested in the comment - I've found Bachmann 150s and Hornby 153s to be more or less mutually incompatible. The 153s run fine with each other (same decoders used throughout) but were completely mismatched with a 150 - the couplings parted after a couple of feet and the units proceeded down the layout at completely different speeds

 

Yes, these units have completely different mechanisms with different characteristics; for a start, the Bachmann 150s have quite a low top speed, unlike the Hornby 153s. I haven't matched my 153s to any of the 150s myself. It can be done, but will be fairly laborious, but once the first 153 and 150 are matched, you can save the settings and apply them to the other similar units, then fine-tune each of them after that. 

As I said, I haven't matched any of my 150s and 153s to each other, but I have done something similar with Hornby 4 VEP units to match Bachmann 4 CEP units. It took a while, with lots of to-ing and fro-ing, but I got there in the end. Once done, it remains set that way, so it is worth doing in the long term.

To ease the process, I tend to use JMRI Decoder Pro software on my computer to program the speed curves when dealing with such different motor characteristics.

 

p.s. In the case of multiple units, it is easier to deal with just the motorised vehicles when speed matching. Again, any fine-tuning can be done afterwards when they are loaded with their remaining carriages.

Edited by SRman
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