My Micro Trains F7 Upgrades

davejones Jul 6, 2020

  1. davejones

    davejones TrainBoard Member

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    I've had 2 old beater MTL F7's for a few years now and have finally decided to do something with them.
    First up was wheel wipers. Handcut from 3thou hard phosper bronze sheet and based on the Chenier ones.

    Inspired by this old thread:
    https://www.trainboard.com/highball/index.php?threads/zelatory-repower-mode-for-mtl-f7s.80411/
    Next was to replace the old school motor with 12volt coreless motors. I drew up and 3D printed some motor mounts, milled a small part of the chassis, turned up a couple of brass flywheels. The flywheels have silicon tubing pressed into them that holds them onto the motor shafts and also the worm shafts in the chassis.
    Motors (0816D - 12V Coreless Mini Motor 8 x 16mm (Dual Shafts), Adapters and silicon tube came from here:
    https://tramfabriek.nl/motors.html

    IMG_20200706_142719.jpg IMG_20200706_142748.jpg IMG_20200706_142254.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
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  2. davejones

    davejones TrainBoard Member

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    A video of one running Here:
     
  3. davejones

    davejones TrainBoard Member

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    I have a couple of TCS Z2 decoders that should be arriving this week. I reckon one will just about fit in the space under the motor.

    The F7 weighs only 1gram less after the motor conversion.
    Has a slightly lower top speed (still higher that scale top speed) compared to stock F7.
    Great slow speed running.
    Pulls just as hard as stock F7.
    Still sounds like the stock F7 but about 1/3 the volume.

    Still to come is some form of LED lighting.
    The part I'm not really looking forward to painting and decaling the shells.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
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  4. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    Nice work, that might be the best I have ever seen the MTL F7 run!
     
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  5. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    That runs really nice, especially at low speeds!

    Great job!(y)
     
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  6. JoeS

    JoeS TrainBoard Member

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    Whenever I see something like this I often wonder why wouldn’t MT upgrade the pickups. Not even the motor but the pickups? Because that alone makes a huge difference. Now add the motor and you got a winner. Well done!
     
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  7. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    They updated the shell, adding separate horns and window glazing, but called the update good enough, after all people still buy all of them.

    AZL said they were going to do an F7 but it might have been a ploy to scare MTL into not doing a better mechanism because the ROI might be too long if competing with an AZL F7. Either way, the MTL update stopped after the shell.

    Even Marklin didn't bother to produce an F7 mechanism, instead they just made an F looking shell to slapp over some other mechanism already on hand. Their shell somewhat resembles the 4 foot longer FP7, but the trucks don't resemble anything I have seen.

    For love of god or country you cannot buy a decent F7 to this day in Z, you have to instead modify something, and the MTL seems the easiest starting place.

    PS: Over the years you may have seen me use the term "SLAPP" thinking I misspelled slap, but I assure you they have different meanings. Slap mean to "put or apply (something) somewhere quickly, carelessly, or forcefully." "Slap an updated shell on and we can unload a butt ton of those old coffee grinder motor mechanisms!"

    When I say slapp, I am adding with insult or injury to the above meaning... "Slapp an updated shell on and we can shove a butt ton of coffee grinder mechanisms down their throats with a toilet plunger!" See where I'm coming from? :D
     
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  8. JoeS

    JoeS TrainBoard Member

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    I guess that’s the thing. The shells that are redone look just fantastic! The horns the window glazing the shape of the nose. I truly appreciated what they did. Not even asking for a new motor. Just the pickups...that would have made it even better.

    That said Noise aside...an AB pair will run without a stall and pull anything with B units powered.
    I guess it’s same complaint with marklin steam. Those AZL tenders are just fantastic! Attach one to a marklin steamer and next thing you know you got a stall free runner.

    In Z pickup is just about everything...
    Again davejones once again...most excellent work!
     
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  9. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    I've got two of the revamped Western Maryland F7s that look beautiful but run so bad ( the truck on the A unit used to kick sideways and derail on straight track) I shoved a couple of old chassis underneath when running them at shows

    Classic quote from a show visitor stood in front of Republic Steel as they ground past " they sound great, how did you fit a sound unit in something so small?"

    I've got a Marklin BR86 2-8-2T that burned its motor up and am in the process of milling the chassis to fit a coreless motor and you've inspired me to do an an F7 next

    thank you

    Kev
     
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  10. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the motor link !!! I ordered a lot of variants, shipped within 2 hours !!! It will 2-3 days to get here. Better than the USPS.
     
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  11. shortpainter

    shortpainter TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the link to the motors! I've been looking for about year to find the right motor for the GE 44 tonner that I've been working on. Tramfabriek has a motor that is 6mm x 15mm that handles 12 volts. Every other motor I found only takes 3.5 volts. This is great. They are the only ones that offer a 12 volt motor because they special order them from China just for us model railroaders. I'm amazed by the other obscure items they keep in stock.

    https://tramfabriek.nl/motors.html#!/~/
     
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  12. ddechamp71

    ddechamp71 TrainBoard Member

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    Awesome result !!!:D:D:D

    Dom
     
  13. davejones

    davejones TrainBoard Member

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    Still waiting for the decoders to arrive.
    In the meantime I have run the F7 for about 10 hours now - mostly pulling 22 40foot cars. Motor never looks like getting even the slightest bit warm with extensive running at any speed. At the same throttle settings the coreless powered loco uses about 120mah less than a stock one. Happy with that.

    Trying to work out how to change the headlight/s to LEDs and found this post from about 4 years ago by eaelec :
    https://www.trainboard.com/highball...running-improvements.81959/page-2#post-958939
    I'd like to do something similar but wired to the decoder. I have no idea where to start so.... anybody have any idea what components to use and where to get the pcb etc?
     
  14. davejones

    davejones TrainBoard Member

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    TCS Z2 decoder fits under the coreless motor - just. Plenty of room for wiring.
    Milled small grooves on both sides of chassis to run power and lighting wires.
    Runs nicely on DCC so I'm very happy.
    Painted the chassis but still to do is the LED lighting and a paint job on the shell.
    IMG_20200718_110928.jpg
    Dave
     
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  15. davejones

    davejones TrainBoard Member

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    Painted the shells. This is my first attempt at custom work on a loco shells and first time use of an airbrush. Reasonably happy with the results
    Filled and shaved the lower headlights. Painted using Tamiya acrylics and Pasche single action airbrush. Drew the decals and had them printed by a local company. Clear coated with Tamiya semi-gloss clear. Glazed using Kristal Klear.
    IMG_20200727_122343.jpg
     
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  16. LWR21

    LWR21 TrainBoard Member

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    That turned out really well. Nice work.
     

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