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Seep point motor problems


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I've loved railway modelling for some time but always fell at the first hurdle of scenic modelling when applied ballast ruined my points and the railway ceased to function...

 

However the discovery, known already I'm sure of everyone on the forum that seep point motors with switches solved my electrical problems was a revelation! Have now motorised all five of my points carefully testing as I went along, all correct according to the multimeter however after 10 minutes testing one of my motors has developed an intermittent fault with the polarity switch. Extensive testing with the multimeter shows that both wires entering the motor are ok suggesting the problem is in the motor, I have removed the motor from the board where all appeared fine as did it after reinstalling for 10 or so cycles after which the intermittent fault returned. 

 

Can anyone suggest why this may be and suggest a solution to my problem.  Or are seep motors simply that unreliable? 

 

Many thanks

Bodger

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If the polarity switch is the "slidey" spring thing, then yes, they are not reliable.

You might find a bit of cleaning up of the conracts works, but the fact that it is all in the open air is a failing. Far better to have an enclosed switch or a relay,

Ian

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Not the best switches around.  They aren't worth the extra over the version that doesn't have a switch.  It's why some people prefer to attach microswitches or use relays etc.

 

Having said that you've already got them and you want to use the switches.  The springy moving contact strip might benefit from tweaking slightly to give greater pressure.

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5 minutes ago, Dagworth said:

Make sure that the motor is absolutely central under the point, otherwise the switch only gets part way in its travel.

 

Andi

Which means, 100% alignment in both directions. Otherwise it will never work reliably.

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18 minutes ago, Thebodger said:

Well this is disappointing, i hoped unreliable meant weeks or months before failing not minutes can anyone recommend an alternative system that wont break the bank?

Try repositioning the point motor very, very slightly left or right of the rails to (hopefully) allow the moving contact of the switch, (the washer) to make a better contact with the fixed contacts (the PCB tracks).  Not guaranteed to work but worth trying

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I've used Seeps for years without any more than a few minor problems so don't give up!

 

Alignment is key, so if they were working and stopped, it might be worth checking that they are still in position. It's quite a jolt when the solenoid activates so if it's not firmly in place it may move - and it doesn't have to move far to stop the contact.

 

Where I have had problems, a squirt of switch cleaner followed by changing the points half a dozen times seems to do the trick.

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18 hours ago, Michael Hodgson said:

They aren't worth the extra over the version that doesn't have a switch

 

I never knew until now that there is a version without the switch.  There you go, you learn something new every day.

 

I prefer to use latching relays rather than microswitches, which I find fiddly to set up and potentially prone to moving out of adjustment.  A relay fires when the point motor does, no mechanical linkage required.

Edited by ejstubbs
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21 hours ago, ejstubbs said:

I never knew until now that there is a version without the switch.  There you go, you learn something new every day.

 

I prefer to use latching relays rather than microswitches, which I find fiddly to set up and potentially prone to moving out of adjustment.  A relay fires when the point motor does, no mechanical linkage required.

 

Seep do a model PM1 with single pole switch on the PCB, PM2 lacking that switch and PM4  latching, with switch.  I'm not aware of a PM3.  Ideally one is likely to want double pole switch, one pole to wire the frog the other as a feedback to show which position the point is in.

 

The downside of using relays rather than switches directly operated by the solenoid is that should the solenoid fail to operate, the relay will not reflect the actual position of the point.  Of course you may be quite happy with that if they operate reliably.  Of course if you attach more gubbins to what the solenoid has to shift, there is more chance of it failing to operate as reliably.

 

Point indicators on the real railway show 3 conditions, Normal, Reverse or Wrong.  The "Wrong" position shows briefly whilst a point is in the process of moving or not detected as locked fully over.  This last option is mainly relevant to modellers if they use slow-acting motors rather than solenoids.

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On 25/09/2020 at 07:22, Thebodger said:

Well this is disappointing, i hoped unreliable meant weeks or months before failing not minutes can anyone recommend an alternative system that wont break the bank?

 

I have bought some in the past for a friend's layout. I took 1 look at the switches & seeing how crude they are, I took the precaution of buying some microswitches. It cost less for each switch than the difference to have the included switch.

I fitted 5 motors to a friend's exhibition layout then we tested them. 2 of them never worked. I found that disappointing but not really surprising.

It took the 2 of us 35 minutes to fit & align the microswitches. These performed flawlessly for the 6-7 years the layout was on the exhibition circuit.

 

I have heard people report no problems with them. Either they accept failures or the quality has varied over time.

I was unimpressed.

The motors themselves are very current hungry too. I found a CDU essential.

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I made up a wire thingy to centralise the operating pin when fitting seep point motors, ( see pic) which helps, but I agree with the erratic performance of the inbuilt switch. Most of my points are now tortoise, and the remaining seep ones are fitted with microswitches for drop power, and a second one for led indicayion

20180128_133256.jpg

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I've found that due to a general lack of woodworking prowess I have sometimes managed to move the Seep motor while screwing it to the board, mucking up the alignment. I've tried a new idea, using glue gun glue to hold them in place and once that is dry screwing them to the board - although I have left one to see how it fares with just the glue and no screws.

 

Only challenge is getting the glue to flow uphill if you are working upside down on the bottom of the board, but I overcame that by using a strip of wood as a spatula to apply the glue.

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