Heljan DP2 warts and all!!!!!!

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Heljan DP2 warts and all!!!!!!

Postby GWR_fan » Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:38 am

I am aware of another thread on this locomotive, but that thread does not highlight issues that may arise when running this locomotive. I purchased two heavily discounted models (original and late livery) from a dealer in Liverpool. Excellent service by the way.

This morning the locomotives arrived in the mail, reasonably well packaged. First removed was the late livery version. A light lube of the axles and onto the test track (R3 curves). As expected the loco derailed. Trial and error with alteration to the buffer beam at extreme ends plus removal of basically all added detailing the loco negotiated a test run around the track without derailing, although it seems that R3 is the limit of its operation as the loco slowed considerably at low speeds when running through the curves. A running-in period commenced while I unpackaged the other loco (cheaper to ship in separate packages due Royal Mail weight limitations).

Removed the original livery loco from its packaging and thought try it out before surgery on the pilot detail. Well, on the track the loco spun the axles on one truck and failed to move one inch. I thought that possibly a flywheel was spinning on the motor axle having experienced that previously on another Heljan product. I reached for the body removal instructions.

Instructions state remove the four screws from under the loco and carefully remove body. OK, four screws hold the fuel tank on, are these the four screws mentioned. Screws removed and guess what, there are four mount screws under the fuel tank moulding. Now do these 'hidden' screws retain the body or do they mount the drive mechanism internally to the cast chassis. will removing these screws cause the internal drive to self disassemble inside the body? Instructions could be much more concise as most at some time will disassemble the drive to fit a decoder.

I removed the four 'hidden' screws and carefully was able to remove the body. first thing noted was the tiny micro plug that carries power from one truck to the circuit board was floating free in the breeze. I reconnected that plug and then placed on the rails. Obviously there was a drive issue as one truck was turning but the other the driveshaft would turn with no load but static when the truck was loaded (truck on the rails).

I carefully removed the cab detail mouldings and circuit board (the stock wires seem thinner than a human hair). Immediately obvious was that the flywheel on the non-commutator end of the motor had been pressed too far onto the motor shaft so that the drive tips on the driveshaft were only just touching the cups on the flywheel drive moulding but when under load they separated from the flywheel leading to loss of traction on that truck. The only recourse was to attempt to move the flywheel outward on the motor shaft so that the driveshaft tips were fully encased by the flywheel drive cup. I was hesitant to do this but as the cost of return postage would be half the cost of the locomotive I had no alternative. The flywheel cup was persuaded to move into an optimum position although I noted a lot of backlash on the motor shaft in the motor casing, piossibly indicating a motor problem as well.

Anyhow the drive was reassembled and tested. It worked perfectly. OK now for replacing the body. I looked for indicating marks to determine the orientation of the body on the chassis but none seemed obvious. By this time I was not impressed with the build quality nor the construction nor the lack of concise directions. It soon became obvious after a trial fitment that the four 'hidden' screws are offset on the body and so the body can only be fitted one way only. Now the fuel tank moulding. Murphy's Law also came into play on this piece as well. The mounting screw locations on the chassis are also assymetric although the mount holes on the tank moulding are symetric. Finally now we are back to the condition the loco should have been when received. I lightly lubed the axles and placed on the rails. Surprisingly with all the added pilot detail the loco negotiated the R3 curves without derailing, whereas the other loco derailed at the first curve with the same detail configuration.

Now to the conclusion, given my experience. Well I have learned how to remove the body so that is important. I have had a lifetime in engineering so had some insight into troubleshooting a defect, so Heljan's poor disassembly intructions and poor build quality did not challenge me too much, although I pity the poor office worker with no mechanical expertise being confronted with these problems. How many Heljan returns to Hattons could have been readily solved inhouse without resorting to returning the item? Could Heljan's assembly regime be imoproved? I have read of other Heljan locomotives being dead on arrival so a simple test run at factory level should surely not harm the company's reputation in the marketplace and avoid the angst and bad mouthing criticism when one receives a faulty product.

Bottom line, would I buy again. A definite YES!!!!!! While not an expert on the aesthetics of the complex body shape of this loco and the need for deeply inset radiatorn grilles, nor the apparently incorrect window cutouts, these are beautifully executed models and for me satisfy a desire I have had to acquire examples for several years. I am aware that these were made some years ago and going on recent productions received the build quality has improved. While initially disappointed with the defects, the locomotives now put a smile on the dial.

for many all this may be telling you how to suck eggs but no doubt there are some not yet exposed to this loco and it may help them should they find themselves at the point of having to work on these drives.

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Re: Heljan DP2 warts and all!!!!!!

Postby Bigmet » Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:18 am

That's worth knowing for me, just in case a friend buys one and has trouble, for which my services as 'loco doctor' tend to be called upon.

My own limited experience of Heljan is an early 47 when Heljan were new to the UK market - and that was fun - and much more recently and in order classes 27, 15, 26/0, 23. All the purchases of these last four types have been fine from the box. Being fairly short BoBo types no curve issues of course.

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Re: Heljan DP2 warts and all!!!!!!

Postby GWR_fan » Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:37 am

my class 23 locomotives were excellent, with good running qualities, smooth performance and a quality build. Only issue on one of my class 128 DMU's was a broken upper locating pin on one exhaust pipe moulding, otherwise perfect.

Only 'gripe' with my class 35 and class 52's was the headcode retention method, otherwise excellent locomotives.

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Re: Heljan DP2 warts and all!!!!!!

Postby D605Eagle » Sun May 24, 2015 4:33 pm

bogies not trucks :wink:

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