Pentroller repairs

chrisyates
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Pentroller repairs

Postby chrisyates » Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:05 pm

Folks

Our S4 Group now has at least four Pentrollers that, in the immortal words of Monty Python, are late, and need repairing. Does anyone have any suggestions as to where or who can handle repairs? They seem to be beyond the ken of normal mortals, but we would rather get them back into service if possible.

Thanks in anticipation.

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Jol Wilkinson
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Re: Pentroller repairs

Postby Jol Wilkinson » Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:19 pm

I too would be pleased to find someone willing/able to repair Pentrollers as I have a handheld in need of attention.

I believe Stewart Hine no longer is able to carry out repairs but perhaps might be willing to provide service data to a suitable qualified person.

Jol

JFS
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Re: Pentroller repairs

Postby JFS » Tue Mar 25, 2014 9:00 pm

I too have a late Pentroller (but still have two good ones!).

I understand that the issue is not only the expertise - a number of the key components are now obsolete and thus no longer available. Needless to say it is these which give up the ghost.

The Pictroller is probably the best alternative - it is not perfect (especially on small Portescaps) but it is a LOT better than most of its competitors.

And you can buy three of them for the price of an ebay-Pentroller!

Best wishes,

martin goodall
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Re: Pentroller repairs

Postby martin goodall » Fri Mar 28, 2014 12:14 pm

I recently replaced my panel-mounted Pentroller with a panel-mounted PICtroller (having previously replaced my hand-held controller in the same way).

It fitted neatly into the same plastic box (originally from RS Components, IIRC). Malcolm had warned me that the plate might (unintentionally) be very slightly larger than on the Pentroler, but it snapped into place with no more than a firm push. It might, however, be a bit difficult to lever it out again if I ever need to get inside it in future. I took the precaution of wiring up the feeds before snapping it into the box. The only minor problem was that the terminal block is located in a slightly different position compared with the same component on the Pentroller, so I had to substistute slightly longer wires - no more than five minutes' extra work, if that.

I have not yet fine-tuned the settings, and at present my hand-held PICtroller seems to give better control over 'iron-age' motors than the panel-mounted version, but it is too early to say whether or not a bit more tweaking of the setting screws might resolve this. The PICtollers certainly seem to be an improvement over the Pentrollers, good as those were in their own right.

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Hardwicke
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Re: Pentroller repairs

Postby Hardwicke » Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:27 pm

One of my Handheld Pentrollers seems to have developed a fault. It worked over the weekend on Forge Mill Sidings after a memory lapse meant the leads for the main panel Pentoller were mislaid within the baseboard. I don't think it was interfering but at home, connected to the 16v ac output of a Duette all I get is the red fault light. Does the large control knob come off with a little force? This Pentroller is a S/H one I bought a few years ago.
Builder of Forge Mill Sidings, Kirkcliffe Coking Plant, Swanage and Heaby. Still trying to "Keep the Balance".

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kelly
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Re: Pentroller repairs

Postby kelly » Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:44 pm

If any of those who are looking for Pentroller repairs are members of MERG, posting there might garner more help perhaps?
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Paul Townsend
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Re: Pentroller repairs

Postby Paul Townsend » Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:29 pm

Hardwicke wrote: Does the large control knob come off with a little force? .


Pentrollers I have seen use a small screw (seen through a hole in the side of the knob) to attach the knob to its shaft.

AFAIK Stuart Hine has never released his circuit publicly so repairs are much harder than one would wish. Also some components are obsolete so unless you have an electronics archive they will be hard to source.

I am currently working on one for a friend but its fault symptoms are quite different to yours so this is probably irrelevant.

All the help I can offer is to suggest you send it to me and I will give an estimate of cost of repair.
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Alan Turner
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Re: Pentroller repairs

Postby Alan Turner » Thu Mar 22, 2018 3:25 pm


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Paul Townsend
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Re: Pentroller repairs

Postby Paul Townsend » Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:35 am

Alan Turner wrote:This might help: http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index. ... entroller/

regards

Alan

Thanks Alan for that which I know about and have downloaded a while back.
At a quick glance one can be deceived into thinking it includes the Pentroller circuit, which it doesn't.

The author has done a decent job of analysing how Pentroller worked and gives lots of useful info including PCB layout diagrams and waveforms. However the circuits shown are his own design to MIMIC Pentroller performance.

While this article is helpful for an experienced electronics engineer it does not per se represent a service manual for Pentroller itself. I imagine the author was reluctant to infringe Stuart's copyright.

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David Thorpe
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Re: Pentroller repairs

Postby David Thorpe » Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:48 am

For those looking for an alternative DC hand held controller, the Varipulse from the USA appears to be highly thought of:
http://www3.sympatico.ca/kstapleton3/851.HTM . It's also available in kit form.

DT

Alan Turner
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Re: Pentroller repairs

Postby Alan Turner » Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:19 pm

Paul Townsend wrote:
Alan Turner wrote:This might help: http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index. ... entroller/

regards

Alan

Thanks Alan for that which I know about and have downloaded a while back.
At a quick glance one can be deceived into thinking it includes the Pentroller circuit, which it doesn't.

The author has done a decent job of analysing how Pentroller worked and gives lots of useful info including PCB layout diagrams and waveforms. However the circuits shown are his own design to MIMIC Pentroller performance.

While this article is helpful for an experienced electronics engineer it does not per se represent a service manual for Pentroller itself. I imagine the author was reluctant to infringe Stuart's copyright.


yes but the SG3527A is clearly at the heart of the circuit and that's the one which is obsolete. Although I did find reference to it on Mouser.

regards

Alan

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Hardwicke
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Re: Pentroller repairs

Postby Hardwicke » Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:28 pm

I got inside and nothing appeared burnt which is good. The fact that the red fault light comes on indicates probably a fault in the connections. There is no output from the Pentroller.
Builder of Forge Mill Sidings, Kirkcliffe Coking Plant, Swanage and Heaby. Still trying to "Keep the Balance".

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Hardwicke
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Re: Pentroller repairs

Postby Hardwicke » Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:41 pm

I might have found the problem. A strand from one of the AC leads was touching the earth (spare) tab on the socket connector. I'm soldering all leads securely now.
Builder of Forge Mill Sidings, Kirkcliffe Coking Plant, Swanage and Heaby. Still trying to "Keep the Balance".

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Hardwicke
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Re: Pentroller repairs

Postby Hardwicke » Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:45 pm

Nope. Still a red light and no output.
Builder of Forge Mill Sidings, Kirkcliffe Coking Plant, Swanage and Heaby. Still trying to "Keep the Balance".

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Hardwicke
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Re: Pentroller repairs

Postby Hardwicke » Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:54 pm

There are 3 more components hidden. They look like resistors.
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Builder of Forge Mill Sidings, Kirkcliffe Coking Plant, Swanage and Heaby. Still trying to "Keep the Balance".

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steve howe
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Re: Pentroller repairs

Postby steve howe » Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:47 pm

Would it be worth contacting Malcolm Smith sales@malcolmsminiatures.co.uk originator of the Pictroller?

it might be that substitute components are available to replace those obsolete ones in the Hine design. As Malcolm was intimately involved in the design of the control systems at Pendon he would seem to be a likely source of advice.

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Rod Cameron
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Re: Pentroller repairs

Postby Rod Cameron » Tue Apr 03, 2018 12:41 pm

JFS wrote:The Pictroller is probably the best alternative - it is not perfect (especially on small Portescaps) but it is a LOT better than most of its competitors.

And you can buy three of them for the price of an ebay-Pentroller!


Pictrollers seem to be £65 - do Pentrollers go on Ebay for £200?!
Rod

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Tim V
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Re: Pentroller repairs

Postby Tim V » Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:41 pm

It was when I had yet another Pentroller failure that I weighed them in and went DCC.

Good riddance. There are better methods of control out there.
Tim V
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Jol Wilkinson
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Re: Pentroller repairs

Postby Jol Wilkinson » Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:01 pm

The handheld Pentroller shown differs from the one I had a problem with. I think Stuart Hine may have changed the pcb design at least once. Mine had a small IC on the soldered side that had burnt out, apparently a resistor array although I couldn't identify it as the makings had gone. I contacted Stuart for advice and he kindly sent a replacement. That didn't cure it entirely as there was also a dry joint when I fitted it. Nigel Cliffe sorted that and adopted it for the N&S AG's Coldfair Green layout.

I still have another but that is not often used as we have four others for London Road, two of the large twin knob type with throttle and brake controls and two of the simpler, single knob panel mounted type. They are all mounted in plastic boxes for hand held (both hands) use. The single type are the most popular with the operators and have been most reliable although one needed a replacement left/off/right toggle switch replacement (probably through being dropped several times).

Tony Wilkins
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Re: Pentroller repairs

Postby Tony Wilkins » Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:28 am

Jol Wilkinson wrote:The hand-held Pentroller shown differs from the one I had a problem with. I think Stuart Hine may have changed the pcb design at least once..

Hi Jol.
You are correct about that. When I had Green Street at CLAG, we used hand-held Pentrollers among others. I had two and another member of the group subsequently purchased a third. We had problems with them failing. The output was protected by a fusible resistor that went open circuit under short conditions. Although this could be replaced it was a bit of pain. When this happened to the newest one we discovered that, like yours, it had an IC which had blown. We never did find out what it was, so it is still dud as far as I know.
Regards
Tony.

Enigma
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Re: Pentroller repairs

Postby Enigma » Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:34 pm

Am I right in thinking that the same situation applies to ECM Compspeed Rambler controllers? I have 3 which are duff, even one I bought NOS at the Manchester Ex. 2016 still in its sealed box. I really used to like the push button method of control which was great on a shunting layout.

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Flymo748
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Re: Pentroller repairs

Postby Flymo748 » Thu Apr 05, 2018 4:53 pm

Tim V wrote:It was when I had yet another Pentroller failure that I weighed them in and went DCC.

Good riddance. There are better methods of control out there.


However I find mine perfect for a test track/rolling road on part built chassis and completed locomotives when used for running in or debugging purposes.

I always "chip" a model as virtually the last step in the process, and it's handy to have a clean, compact controller on hand for testing. That way I can determine if any issues are mechanical/electrical/electronic, in that order.

YMMV,
Flymo
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grovenor-2685
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Re: Pentroller repairs

Postby grovenor-2685 » Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:57 pm

Enigma wrote:Am I right in thinking that the same situation applies to ECM Compspeed Rambler controllers? I have 3 which are duff, even one I bought NOS at the Manchester Ex. 2016 still in its sealed box. I really used to like the push button method of control which was great on a shunting layout.


Given that the most expensive part of a controller is the case, perhaps replacement PCBs for these various controller styles would be worth producing?
Regards

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Tim V
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Re: Pentroller repairs

Postby Tim V » Thu Apr 05, 2018 6:12 pm

Flymo748 wrote:However I find mine perfect for a test track/rolling road on part built chassis and completed locomotives when used for running in or debugging purposes.

I always "chip" a model as virtually the last step in the process, and it's handy to have a clean, compact controller on hand for testing. That way I can determine if any issues are mechanical/electrical/electronic, in that order.

YMMV,
Flymo

Actually, with the feedback facility on the Pentroller, not a good choice.

I use a pure DC - no feedback controller for testing purposes. Much better for isolating problems.
Tim V
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Flymo748
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Re: Pentroller repairs

Postby Flymo748 » Thu Apr 05, 2018 6:39 pm

Tim V wrote:
Flymo748 wrote:However I find mine perfect for a test track/rolling road on part built chassis and completed locomotives when used for running in or debugging purposes.

I always "chip" a model as virtually the last step in the process, and it's handy to have a clean, compact controller on hand for testing. That way I can determine if any issues are mechanical/electrical/electronic, in that order.

YMMV,
Flymo

Actually, with the feedback facility on the Pentroller, not a good choice.

I use a pure DC - no feedback controller for testing purposes. Much better for isolating problems.


Good point, but I have a Pentroller (working!) already and wouldn't have the faintest how to produce/buy something equivalent which delivered pure DC. You'd never think I had an A-Level in Physics ;-)

Cheers
Flymo
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www.5522models.co.uk


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