Dapol Class 73 Running Issue & Lighting Fix
Dapol Class 73 Running / Lighting Issue – Fix
One of the latest locos to join the fleet is Dapol’s Class 73 in GBRf livery. Now, this model was picked up in a sale by one of the big box shifters at a bargain price, however, the pleasure of having saved a few pounds in the sale quickly turned to disappointment with the loco running very poor straight from the box. The usual process of checking that the track is all clean, track power supply is good etc was carried out. It quickly became that the locomotive model had issues that needed sorting which isn’t good for a brand new model.
Of course, the model could have been sent back to the shop or the manufacturer which I think most folk would have done in this case. However, I was aware that there were some issues that surrounded this model which was from the first batch of class 73 OO scale models that Dapol released. Dapol have since made some improvements to sort these issues out on later batches released of the class 73.
The two well-known issues are power pick up issues & if converting to DCC, the headlights not operating in the direction of travel (this light issue only affects DCC users). We’ll take a look at the DCC light issue fix first.
The DCC Light Fix
This one Dapol will repair for you if you’re not confident in doing your self. First, unscrew the body screws & lift off the body. See the supplied instruction sheet that comes with the model for more info on body removal.
As you can see in the photo on the right are two wires at the DCC decoder socket end of the PCB board (one red wire & one black wire). Now you can either change the CV settings on the decoder to correct the headlights (which we’ll look at in a future article) or swap the wires. We’ll swap the wires. You’ll need a soldering iron to carry out this quick fix.
Unsolder both the two wires arrowed in the photo right. Then resolder the red wire onto the tag where the black wire was & resolder the black wire on to the tag where red wire was.
In the second photo right, you can see that both wires have been swapped over & resoldered to the PCB board. This corrects the headlight running issue on DCC.
With the bogie moulding removed I could see straight away that the brass wiper contacts were not making contact with the brass axle bearings. So the next job was to pop the wheel sets out.
Fixing the Poor Running Issue
The poor running I suspected as mentioned by other modellers was down to the pickups. So to fix this, both bogies need to be removed. There two side clips & a rear clip that hold the bogie onto the gear tower. Carefully prise the two side clips & the rear clip away (be careful here not to break them) to release the bogie moulding. The two area’s marked in the circles show excess lubrication, which got me thinking that the model has been over-lubricated at the factory.
With the wheelsets removed it was quite apparent the pickups were out of aliment & not making contact also the pickups had been covered in lubrication grease.
Using a Q tip/cotton bud, all the contacts were cleaned with Deluxe Materials Track Magic to remove & clean the contact wiper strips & the outer faces of the brass bearings on the wheels.
On the wheel axles, it was found they too were covered in grease!! A small amount of Track magic was put onto the wheel axles as well as inserting Track Magic into the inside faces of the brass bearings, to clean them out. Any excess grease was also removed from the inside of the bogie mouldings & where the brass bearings clip into the gear tower. A small amount of Peco Lectro lube was applied to the brass wiper pickups where they make contact with the brass bearings.
Next job was to re-aline the brass wiper contact strips. This was done by carefully using a flat bladed screwdriver placed under the brass wipers, & bending them back straight & upwards. This was done on all eight brass contact strips.
Additional extra brass pickups could be fitted at this point, but with being on DCC another option is to use a DCC decoder with a stay alive unit. I’d fitted a standard 21 pin 4 function decoder so this was swapped out for one with a stay alive unit (DCC Concepts Decoder). The stay alive unit has a capacitor which stores power, & if the loco runs across a section of track: ie dead section on point work, dirty track etc, will provide a short burst of power over the dead section. Thus improving running.
Refit the wheels & make sure the contacts are all sitting properly on top of the brass bearings. Carefully refit the bogie mouldings. Before the body was refitted a test run was conducted to make sure all was okay. All appeared to be looking good, so the body was refitted & running in period was then conducted for around an hour. The loco being run light engine at slow to medium speeds in both directions during the running in period to bed everything in.
This fix has sorted the running issues, & now the model runs superbly. Hopefully, if any of you are having running issues with your class 73 model this fix may just sort it.