Author Topic: Rapido N-Scale FP9A Wheel Gauge Issue  (Read 3549 times)

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w neal

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Re: Rapido N-Scale FP9A Wheel Gauge Issue
« Reply #60 on: October 09, 2021, 01:24:53 PM »
0
Indeed.
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Dwight in Toronto

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Re: Rapido N-Scale FP9A Wheel Gauge Issue
« Reply #61 on: October 15, 2021, 09:13:22 AM »
+1
It took a few days for my request to join the board to be approved, but here I am with my first post.

I took delivery of two Rapido FP9A locos when they were hitting mailboxes a few weeks ago (CP maroon/script). Like everyone else, I had been looking forward to finally seeing their unequalled detail, and of course, they were remarkable indeed.  I was also excited to finally see my 10 car Canadian set being pulled by the correct locos, BUT, Performance-wise, not so remarkable.

First off, let it be known that these are my first sound-equipped acquisitions.  Both locos were very closely speed-matched right out of the box, and my NCE Powercab easily performed the back-to-back consisting.  However, as soon as they were put in consist mode, the prime mover sound would disappear.  Pushing F8 had no effect.  Despite plenty of sophisticated support from a few highly experienced folks on the LokSound user group (and no response from Rapido), the issue remained unresolved.  Long story short, one day while breaking in the consist, I noticed on the instruction sheet that F4 is supposed to toggle “air compressor”.  When I pushed F4, nothing happened, but 30 seconds later, the prime movers fired up!  I could then turn F4 off, and the engines kept sounding until shut down with F8.  To get them back on again, F4 must first be turned on, then F8 toggled on, etc.  I have no idea why this is, and although serendipitous, at least it’s a solution.

Other problems:
- erratic, hesitant, jerky operation and occasional “dead on the track” instances with one loco … the one that came with traction tires factory installed (the other loco came without tires installed); having to give a $380 locomotive a little finger-push “kick in the a$$” is unacceptable
- occasional sudden reprogramming of loco address to some inexplicable 4 digit value
- inability of a single loco to pull the 10 car set alone (rubber tires or not) around a simple, level oval of Kato sectional track with 12 3/4” curves, and this is AFTER extensive work to improve the rollability of the coaches (including warranty work done by Rapido the day after I got the coaches in Spring 2021 … I live 20 minutes away from their office/warehouse)

As much as I truly, genuinely want to embrace and support Jason and the boys at Rapido, and as much as I appreciate them producing beautiful museum-quality models, I feel that at the price points they command these products should perform as wonderful as they look.  Unfortunately, in my experience, they have fallen horribly short in this regard. 

The deplorable rollability of the coaches was my biggest disappointment.  Even after all the corrective work, they are still nowhere near as free-rolling as my other rolling stock.  A single Rapido FP9A easily pulls my 12 car Kato Morning Daylight all day long, but can’t manage the 10 car Canadian without spinning it’s wheels.  The lighting in the cars flickers, the end -of -train lighting flickers to it’s default “off” condition in moments, a couple of coaches tilt inwards on those 12 3/4” curves, seemingly wanting to “clothesline”, and occasionally they derail. 

Just a disheartening and disappointing experience all around thusfar, and as I say, at this price point, nowhere near expectations.  However, appearance-wise, they really are that special that I’m compelled to keep ‘em, and keep slogging away at trying to fix ‘em.  It’s just so unfortunate that I should have to.

Apologies for the long post.


w neal

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Re: Rapido N-Scale FP9A Wheel Gauge Issue
« Reply #62 on: October 15, 2021, 09:44:37 AM »
0
No apologies needed sir. I enjoyed reading of your experiences and thank you for the tip. We all share your frustration on this matter. As you say, for the money paid, very frustrating. I would add that its very hard to blindly preorder something without seeing them in the flesh first. I really enjoyed their turboliner and dash8s. I hope that their future releases are of this better quality.
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Dwight in Toronto

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Re: Rapido N-Scale FP9A Wheel Gauge Issue
« Reply #63 on: January 10, 2022, 11:21:35 AM »
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Well, after roughly 3 months of trouble-free running with my two-loco FP9A consist pulling a ten-car Canadian passenger train around a simple 15’ oval of Kato Unitrack (I am “between layouts” atm), one of the locos gave up the ghost today.

No idea what happened… one minute they are rolling along at a moderate/intermediate speed, engine sounds emanating wonderfully.  And then, suddenly and inexplicably, nothing. My NEC PowerCab shut down as per short circuit detected.  The system tried the automatic reboot, only to pop the internal breaker again.  Tried each loco independently - one continues to work fine, the other is causing a short.

Just received a return authorization form from Rapido - I’m reluctant to remove the shell, let alone try to troubleshoot one of these fragile, detailed little locomotives, so back to Rapido it goes. Luckily, their office is a 20 minute drive from my home.

I’ll report back what they find; will take a few weeks I’m sure.

thomasjmdavis

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Re: Rapido N-Scale FP9A Wheel Gauge Issue
« Reply #64 on: January 10, 2022, 11:50:38 AM »
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@Dwight in Toronto

In your post from October (up above on this page) you mentioned having issues with erratic operation and stalling with one of your locos.  I assume that you found some solution at the time, since in your post earlier today you mention several months of smooth operation.  But I am wondering - is the loco that failed today the same loco that had problems "out of the box"?
Tom D.

If you don't know what it is, don't throw it out.

Dwight in Toronto

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Re: Rapido N-Scale FP9A Wheel Gauge Issue
« Reply #65 on: January 10, 2022, 02:16:23 PM »
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Thomas - no, the loco that failed today was the one that worked well from the get-go. 
The one that was erratic had been delivered with the traction tires wheelset installed. Swapping out those rubberized wheels for the steel set from the supplied parts bag eliminated the shoddy performance.

thomasjmdavis

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Re: Rapido N-Scale FP9A Wheel Gauge Issue
« Reply #66 on: January 10, 2022, 05:41:06 PM »
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Thanks for the response, Dwight.  I hope Rapido repairs your loco promptly.
Tom D.

If you don't know what it is, don't throw it out.

peteski

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Re: Rapido N-Scale FP9A Wheel Gauge Issue
« Reply #67 on: January 10, 2022, 05:43:32 PM »
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An electrical short in a model is fairly easy to troubleshoot, but I agree that Rapido should be made aware of the problem and make good on it (even if it is a hassle to ship the model back).
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Dwight in Toronto

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Re: Rapido N-Scale FP9A Wheel Gauge Issue
« Reply #68 on: January 10, 2022, 06:25:16 PM »
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Hey Peteski, always nice to hear from you.

Yes, normally I would have no reservations about removing the shell and having a good search in and around the wheel pickups, track power leads to the decoder etc.  But a preliminary attempt to get into this Rapido model was met with stubborn resistance, and I didn’t want to push my luck. Plus, if it ended up looking like a decoder fault, it would have had to be sent back anyways.  Rapido’s office/warehouse/service facility is a twenty minute drive from my house, so returning items is easy for me!

Dwight in Toronto

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Re: Rapido N-Scale FP9A Wheel Gauge Issue
« Reply #69 on: January 16, 2022, 02:55:34 PM »
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I was hoping to drop off that faulty F9 at Rapido’s back door, but was told that their shipper/receiver doesn’t want to see anybody show up at their loading dock until this omicron wave recedes - they asked me to hold off for a week or two.

In the meantime, I watched another good video by Grant Eastman (Southern Alberta Railway), part of which demonstrated how to remove the shell from these locomotives. His technique worked like a charm, so I got in there and had a good look around. I didn’t do anything other than peak and poke a bit.  Nothing looked out of sorts, so I put the chassis on the track and fired up the PowerCab.  For whatever reason, the loco did NOT cause a short, and was fully operable. I put the shell back on, made up a simple consist with the sister F9, and things have been running fine since (touch wood).

So, I just don’t get it.  As nice as these locos look, along with The Canadian passenger cars, the whole kit & kaboodle just seems to be so much more finicky and frustrating than the non-sound Kato models I have been running up to this point. I’m between layouts, but I honestly don’t know if I’ve got the fortitude to construct another pike, only to end up pulling my hair out over temperamental equipment. Gonna have to dwell on that some, I guess.

I’m going to let the train accumulate some extensive running time while I wait for Rapido’s shipper to re-open his loading dock, just to see if things will act up once again.


nkalanaga

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Re: Rapido N-Scale FP9A Wheel Gauge Issue
« Reply #70 on: January 16, 2022, 03:18:37 PM »
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Maybe it has a compressed air starter for the prime mover?  Those used to be on some diesel engines (I don't know about railroads), since all they needed was a tank of air.  Thus, no electrical equipment was needed, everything was mechanical.

Or maybe the programmer wasn't thinking straight.
N Kalanaga
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peteski

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Re: Rapido N-Scale FP9A Wheel Gauge Issue
« Reply #71 on: January 16, 2022, 06:29:51 PM »
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A short inside of a model locomotive which will trigger the circuit breaker of the DCC booster to shut it down (what modelers call a "dead short") is likely caused by some sort of mechanical contact (rather than a fault of electronics inside of a decoder).  It appears that removing the shell also jiggled whatever caused the short, fixing the problem.  It might never fail again.
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