Heljan Class 33

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6412
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Heljan Class 33

Postby 6412 » Mon Jan 03, 2022 12:51 pm

Hi, I’ve just got a new class 33 and need to fit a DCC Decoder but can’t seem to be able to get the body shell of to install it. Looked on YouTube but either the removal is glossed over or hands are in the way. Anyone got any hints how to get the body off?
Thanks

Bigmet
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Re: Heljan Class 33

Postby Bigmet » Mon Jan 03, 2022 1:48 pm

All the Heljan twin bogie models I have looked at have body shells that clip onto the main chassis block casting in some way. There are usually fairly shallow detents in the cab door area of the 'full width' models such as the 33 (I have the very similar 26/0, which probably shares the same chassis block casting). Slips of card or pieces of plastic sheet can be useful, to hold the bodyside away from the block all around while easing them apart so that the two will separate. A finger nail or a blade to ease the bodyside away from the block is the way I do it, just work your way around the model. It's typically easier once the body has been off and replaced a couple of times, and you will be able to slip the body on and off more readily.

Mike Parkes
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Re: Heljan Class 33

Postby Mike Parkes » Mon Jan 03, 2022 8:24 pm

The newer Heljan 33s are pretty tightly fitted and a thin blunt item is needed to start to move the body shell upwards from the chassis, then use chopped up store cards / credit cards (or similar plastic pieces) as appropriate. On the subjet of decoder they can draw quite a current and the decoder should be appropriately rated.

RFS
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Re: Heljan Class 33

Postby RFS » Tue Jan 04, 2022 9:26 am

I would recommend a decoder with 1A output and also overload protection. I have 3 class 33s and all run perfectly with the Lenz Standard+ decoder which meets both requirements.
Robert Smith

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SRman
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Re: Heljan Class 33

Postby SRman » Wed Jan 05, 2022 1:25 am

I agree with all the points raised above: the newest releases from Heljan seem to have very tight-fitting bodies that take quite a bit of effort to get off, initially. Earlier examples were easier.

RFS raised the point about using a decoder with 1A capability (or more): I recommend this for all Heljan diesels, as their power draw is higher than the usual from Hornby or Bachmann. Having said that, most of the Heljan diesels have excellent haulage power, and will pull the side out of a house!! I mostly use ESU decoders with them (LokSound or LokPilot), but have a couple with Lenz Standard+, or Zimo MX600. All of those are high quality decoders and can cope with overloads without letting out all their magic smoke (the stuff that keeps them working when it is kept inside :wink: :lol: ).

I did fit a SoundTraxx Econami British diesel sound decoder into Heljan's 'Lion' model (D0260), as it is a model I wanted sound for but don't use very much, and I would not trust a Hornby TTS decoder to deal with the power requirements of the Heljan loco. I chose the class 47 engine sounds but used a different horn - all selectable on these decoders. The only issue with that one was that there is a blue LED on the decoder that lights up whenever there is power there, and it shone through the translucent white plastic of Lion's body. I had to add a bit of duct tape under the roof where the light was.

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Metadyneman
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Re: Heljan Class 33

Postby Metadyneman » Wed Jan 05, 2022 10:36 am

I agree with SRman, the newer versions are more difficult to remove but the same method of removal applies to them all, i.e. bits of card down each of the sides more or less in line with the bogies.
I have quite a few Heljan 33s all of which bar one are fitted with Bachmann 36-553 decoders and these are more than adequate for Heljan locos (basically a re badged ESU decoder). The 36-553 is now discontinued and has been replaced with the 36-566 (Re badged Lokpilot Standard) which allows more functions but is still more than adequate and the extra functions are not required as the 33 only has one lighting function. Pride of place in my fleet goes to a BR blue liveried 33/1 with a Loksound V4 decoder and Legomanbiffo sounds.
A bargain is something you really don't need at a price that's completely irresistible!!

Bigmet
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Re: Heljan Class 33

Postby Bigmet » Wed Jan 05, 2022 1:32 pm

Metadyneman wrote:...Bachmann 36-553 decoders and these are more than adequate for Heljan locos (basically a re badged ESU decoder). The 36-553 is now discontinued...

There's a happy memory from the past. Bachmann launched themselves in DCC with this decoder, and the 21pin equivalent 36-554, among their offerings. Could initially be obtained for £9, which was a steal, especially for 21pin which had availability like rocking horse droppings at the time. For the centre motor with flywheels twin bogie diesels from all of Bachmann, Heljan and Hornby, they delivered performance matching the Lenz Silver and Zimo MX63/64 which were in the £25-30 range at the time. They have been completely reliable, and I have managed to find a couple s/h since they were discontinued.

(Sadly the feedback control was too coarse for steam locos with lower mass drivelines, even once optimally adjusted there was still a lack of smoothness at dead slow; and the inertia simulation had too small a range for steam as well, only 0-63, where the Lenz and Zimo offered 0-250. Can't have everything...)

6412
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Re: Heljan Class 33

Postby 6412 » Wed Jan 05, 2022 6:18 pm

Thanks for the advice and hints, have managed it with the aid of a cut up store card. Have installed a Rails decoder which they recommended.

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inoffapost
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Re: Heljan Class 33

Postby inoffapost » Fri Jan 07, 2022 3:32 pm

I also just bought one of these and had the same problem. Seems like you solved it.
I had a package of mobile phone screwdrivers and tools for prising a mobile open. I found that the extreme corners of the bodyshell, by the front footplates were the easiest to tease up and then using the prise tool or a storecard you could ease the shellup.

My question to you is, how the hell can you fit the couplers without damaging any of the detail parts in that area. I'm finding it impossible to insert them. Does anyone have a solution? I just cannot compress the notched ends sufficiently to get the things inserted. Why oh why do the most basic things have to be made soooo difficult.

6412
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Re: Heljan Class 33

Postby 6412 » Fri Jan 07, 2022 3:45 pm

inoffapost wrote:My question to you is, how the hell can you fit the couplers without damaging any of the detail parts in that area. I'm finding it impossible to insert them. Does anyone have a solution? I just cannot compress the notched ends sufficiently to get the things inserted. Why oh why do the most basic things have to be made soooo difficult.


I haven’t inserted mine yet but will be interested in seeing any comments regarding this. Agree that on this model nothing seems easy!

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inoffapost
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Re: Heljan Class 33

Postby inoffapost » Fri Jan 07, 2022 4:14 pm

OK. Success.
Various tweezers didn't work. The tines on the couplers are 'short' as it were and I was unable to generate enough pressure to pinch the tines sufficiently together to get them to fit.
I just found a pair short handled blunt scissors. Sounds dicey I know but being blunt they were not going to snip through the tines and they enabled me to get sufficient pressure on the tines to just get them inside the opening.I could then release the scissor pressure and just push them home.

From what I've seen so far this Heljan appears to be a fine piece of kit. Lovely runner and quiet too. I haven't got sound, that's something for the future. I wanted a BoBo loco to see how it compares to the Coco's and for my layout and I think I prefer it. Even though I've remodelled everything to R3 curves my 66's just don't change direction as I hoped. Way too sensitive. I've had to bank curves and ease approaches to points to stop leading or trailing axles slipping off and each of my 3 class 66's had a different trait and would derail at a different place for a different reason!

I've only just started with the hobby again (after 50 years) so it has taken some time learning from the mistakes I've made! From the off I had a Roco BoBo diesel and it has been the best performer of all. Doesn't fit to my layout theme but I should have learned from that. So I shall forget my plans for Class 37, 47, 58 and 60's and stick to Heljans earlier 'Cromptons' and Class 26's!

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inoffapost
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Re: Heljan Class 33

Postby inoffapost » Fri Jan 07, 2022 5:14 pm

Oh, and this is a useful bit of info which I found on another thread that I wished I had found before I tried running the thing with some wagons and wondered why it was suddenly slipping of track when it hadn't done so before.......

"IIRC you will have to decide which end you want to fit the coupling to, or both because you will have to trim back the pipework as it will interfere with the movement of the coupling. There is a pocket attached to the out end of the bogie which the supplied coupling pushes into."

Bigmet
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Re: Heljan Class 33

Postby Bigmet » Fri Jan 07, 2022 6:08 pm

inoffapost wrote:...how the hell can you fit the couplers without damaging any of the detail parts in that area...

This is a regular problem with current Diesel and Electric traction models. The 'customer base' demands full detail fit, such as the various danglies on and around the bufferbeam; but this is frequently incompatible with a RTR coupler mounted at the standard height of an NEM coupler pocket due to fouling.

The owner has to decide on the compromise they will make, ranging from don't fit anything, (applies to 99.9% of D&E traction which is kept unused by collectors that dominate this market sector) all the way to we maniacs that run them on layouts pulling trains who perforce fit couplers.

Personally if fitting a Kadee knuckle coupler I carve the model as required to put it through the drawhook position (not the Kadee (HO) standard height) where it doesn't foul anything, exactly as the real couplers don't.

If fitting a tension lock or other coupler in the NEM coupler pocket, then it's hack away or bend fouling detail until there is no fouling causing derailment on or after curves.

inoffapost wrote:...From what I've seen so far this Heljan appears to be a fine piece of kit. Lovely runner and quiet too... I wanted a BoBo loco to see how it compares to the Coco's and for my layout and I think I prefer it. Even though I've remodelled everything to R3 curves my 66's just don't change direction as I hoped. Way too sensitive. I've had to bank curves and ease approaches to points to stop leading or trailing axles slipping off and each of my 3 class 66's had a different trait and would derail at a different place for a different reason!

I've only just started with the hobby again (after 50 years) so it has taken some time learning from the mistakes I've made! From the off I had a Roco BoBo diesel and it has been the best performer of all. Doesn't fit to my layout theme but I should have learned from that. So I shall forget my plans for Class 37, 47, 58 and 60's and stick to Heljans earlier 'Cromptons' and Class 26's!

All the OO BoBo centre motor mechanisms I have had to look at thus far from Bachmann, Dapol, Heljan and Hornby have been sweet and quiet runners with excellent traction; as they should be considering it's 50 years or thereabouts since Athearn came up with this style of drive for American HO, so there's been plenty of development, from which we now get to to share the benefits.

The CoCo mechanisms based on the same centre motor drive template are equally satisfactory on straight track, but often have problems on curves, due to greater overall length and greater bogie length than the BoBo layout; this can typically be rectified if prepared to 'fettle' the mechanism: the one definite exception the Bachmann Deltic which has wheels that foul the bodywork on set track R3 (and quite possibly R4, not tested), it's a long machine and the wheeltops are inside the bodywork if a scale wheel diameter is used as Bachmann have done (Accurascale are going to fix this on their competing release by using the compromise of undersize wheel diameter).

Mike Parkes
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Re: Heljan Class 33

Postby Mike Parkes » Fri Jan 07, 2022 6:35 pm

Its a case of trimming the bufferbeam fittings as neccessary to fit the couplings. Some may just have the loco on a roundy-roundy layout so only fit one coupling Personally I prefer details to be ready fitted and the user left to remove what will be a problem for their couplings / curves. Hornby apparently having issued the W1 with steps half way down the running plate which caused many purchasers problems are now not going to fit them and leave them to the purchaser to fit, but many will not know if they will be a problem without fitting them.

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SRman
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Re: Heljan Class 33

Postby SRman » Sat Jan 08, 2022 2:48 am

Regarding the Heljan couplings and buffer beam details: I cut most of the detail pipes off flush with the base of the buffer beam, leaving any towards the outer edges uncut. I don't use the Heljan tension lock couplings. Although they are nice and fine, they are cranked downwards, which can cause problems with coupling to other stock. I use Bachmann short tension lock couplings for most Heljan diesels, but just a few 33/1s have Kadees fitted for push-pull work with the Kernow 4TC units.


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