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Model train repair shop

MPB Model Supplies carries out model train repairs at our shop in Droitwich.

In our model railway workshop we operate a booking system. When you bring your item in for repair we will give you an estimated completion date. Please make sure that you leave us your name and contact details with your item. Each model railway repair will be accessed by our engineer and you will be given a repair estimate before we proceed.

We carry out the following in OO9, OO, O, and Garden Railway sizes:

  • Servicing of locomotives and rolling stock
  • Replacement of broken parts where new (or second hand) parts are available
  • Fitting of DCC Decoder Chips
  • Programming of DCC Locomotive Addresses
  • Customisation with working lights, smoke, sound
  • Layout wiring of portable layouts brought to our premises

Mechanical and Electrical Servicing

Locomotives are particularly sensitive to dust and this can be picked up into the mechanisms and motors. Carbon brushes are also prone to wear on older style motors, and power pickups can corrode over time. All these things can be put right with careful servicing.

It is advisable to have locomotives that have been in storage for any length of time serviced before first use. A quick servicing check list would be:

  • With a soft clean paint brush carefully remove any visible dust on the body and chassis
  • Check for slight movement forwards and backwards in the wheels by hand, in a locomotive with coupling rods some movement is expected.
  • Check the condition of electrical wiring, pickups, and suppressor components
  • Check wheel centres for signs of cracking or movement on the axle
  • Check the motor and gears for signs of wear
  • Lubricate any dry moving parts with appropriate plastic safe oil
  • On a rolling road operate the locomotive gently, if electrically powered, the motor should not get hot
  • Once you are satisfied that the locomotive runs ok on the rolling road then try a light engine run on your layout, if that is successful, add rolling stock gradually.

Common problems

  • Perished traction tyres
  • Worn or missing motor brushes
  • Bent pickups
  • Poor tender to loco connections on tender drive locomotives
  • Bent coupling rods or valve gear
  • Life expired suppression capacitors
  • Dirty wheels
  • Broken or missing detail parts

Replacement model train parts

Within the first 12 months of ownership it is best to return your model railway items for repair or replacement under warranty.

Outside the first 12 months we can repair model and garden railway items using replacement parts where available, or, we can try to repair the original parts providing we have all the bits.

With some models it is possible to replace older worn out parts with newer equivalents.

New brushes for motors cost a few pounds, to import a motor from America for a Bachmann USA model recently cost £35.

Fitting of DCC Decoder Chips

Any form of digital model railway control system requires a special control chip or 'decoder' for each locomotive, rolling stock, or accessory to be controlled digitally.

DCC stands for Digital Command and Control and is the universal standard for digital control adopted by multiple manufacturers.

The system works by broadcasting encoded control messages uniquely addressed to individual decoders drawing power from the digital controller.

DCC ready locomotives and rolling stock

These are items where the manufacturers have designed the models to work with analogue DC controllers or with digital controllers when a decoder is fitted.

It is a case of fitting the model with a decoder that uses a matching connector, either 6 pin, 8 pin, next18, or 21 pin. Some models like the Bachmann double fairlies come with the speaker fitted, others will also require a speaker to be installed for DCC Sound.

On locomotives with lighting fitted most models will have enhanced lighting control under DCC Control.

None DCC ready locomotives and rolling stock

These models require more work involving re-wiring and possibly alterations to the body or internal construction in order to connect the decoder and physically secure it in the model

None DCC ready locomotives tend to be older locomotives which brings the added challenge of converting engines which are often worn and tired.

DCC Sound fitting for locomotives and rolling stock

There are three major components that have to be right for the best possible sound:
  1. A high quality sound decoder
  2. Speakers
  3. The correct sound files

We recommend and fit the ESU Loksound range of decoders, they have a long established track record and a range of sizes and power ratings

Using cheap speakers will give poor results, you need a speaker that can handle a wide frequency range with an air tight speaker enclosure for enhanced bass.

Wherever possible sound files recorded from real prototypes should be used. The decoders use high quality digital recordings to reproduce the sound of the locomotives in action. Each class of locomotive has a unique sound profile. Some sound files available use poor quality recordings or simulated sounds.

Programming of DCC Locomotive Addresses

By default new DCC decoders come with the default address of 3. This means that you select locomotive number 3. With multiple locomotives you need to assign unique numbers to them to control them individually. We offer a programming service where we can set the address for you while you wait.

Customisation with working lights, smoke, sound

It is possible to add extra details such as working locomotive lamps, flickering firebox effects, smoke units and carriage lighting to your models.

Please contact us for a quote

Flickering firebox

This involves making small cuts around the firebox doors to let the glow filter around the edges, or, removal of the fire doors to simulate the firebox doors in the open position.

ESU decoders have a 'firebox flicker' function that varies the firebox lighting dependent on the loco performance for a more realistic effect

Lighting

DCC Concepts is one manufacturer that produces miniature LED locomotive and train lamps. These are permanently attached to your locomotive with very fine copper wires and can be fitted to both analogue and DCC controlled locomotives

Smoke

The most common OO Gauge retro-fit smoke generators are made by Seuthe, and they perform best in DCC fitted locomotives where they can be provided with the full voltage.

Seuthe smoke generators have a small heater element that vaporises the smoke fluid. Getting the precise amount of oil is crucial or they wont create the smoke effect.

In larger scales fan assisted smoke generators can be used to syncronise exhaust chuffs to puffs of smoke

Layout wiring of portable layouts brought to our premises

We have had customers with small OO9 layouts who have asked us to wire up their points and track to appropriate controllers.

This has proved successful, so we are pleased to offer this as a service to all our customers

if you have a model railway in OO9, OO, or O gauge that can be carried by one person, or comes in easily managed sections, our workshops can wire your points and track for you.

It is best to carry out the wiring before you add any ballast or scenery.

If you would like us to work on your locomotive please get in touch
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