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8043 Excavator - Lego update


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#1 tomacwhite

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 03:01 PM

I got a call from a very kind and friendly lady at Lego UK today, and this is what I was told.


- The Lego designers in Denmark are aware of the problems with the Excavator
- They have pulled 50 (fifty) models from storage and built them. ALL 50 had problems
- At first the models work OK, then the performance drops over time (as with mine and others)
- They think it might be transmission related but are not 100% sure
- Problems were not noticed during design phase
- Not a high population of users have complained about problems (I guess that doesn't mean they don't have issues, just not reported them)
- They think it could be a bad batch of models

- They hope to have full results in 7 days
- There will be a redesigned model with fixes, hopefully within a few months (3~ months)


I have been given a full refund on mine now which is great news. I am taking mine apart tonight and sending it off. I have to say Lego have been very good about this situation and they are working very hard to trying to solve the problems. For now though, I'd rather have the money back until it is fixed.


Hope this helps.

#2 roamingstudio

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 03:33 PM

And it seems to have been pulled from the TLG S@H websites. So too late to buy the early version one unless you get it from other sources...

#3 Conchas

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 03:34 PM

I've told that I'd do some tests here, and I did a lot. Just took me some more time to finalize them, than I was expecting.

I do not want to enter into much details now, because I think LEGO should announce their official conclusions first.
However among some faulty motors, I've notice an increased deterioration of motors performance with continued utilization.

The only advice I can give you now, is that if you experience problems lifting the boom, try to use a different motor in that place.
However be always careful. Never allow the motor to stall!

Since the Excavator has multiple DOF it is too easy to get the Boom motor stalled, while some other function (Dipper, or Shovel) is still running.
Also notice that due to the mechanical construction and forces involved, the internal clutch from the LAs never gets triggered, so the stress under stall conditions is always applied over the M-motor which will likely trigger the internal thermistor.

I've done all my measurements with the Excavator powered by a Train Speed Regulator (4548) to have constant 9V supply.
To clarify the suggestion given here, I call your attention that the connection requires a custom power cable or some similar artifact, since the PF converter cables route the GND/9V into C1/C2 PF lead, which won't power the PF Receivers.


PS: @tomacwhite
It is not necessarily a case to ask for a refund. The parts are still worthwhile. :classic:
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#4 OneSnowTrooper

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 03:47 PM

View Postroamingstudio, on 18 August 2010 - 03:33 PM, said:

And it seems to have been pulled from the TLG S@H websites. So too late to buy the early version one unless you get it from other sources...

Yep your right, about 1,5 hours ago I was looking at it in the S&H Netherlands shop, now it's gone.
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#5 Noworries

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 04:20 PM

Glad i didnt buy it saturday. Bought 8053 instead...

Hope they get out a better version soon :(

#6 shimon

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 04:21 PM

now what about the people who already bought this set will they get the parts for the future modification for free?

this is really sad ive lost 2 motors they barely rotate and its enough to put a finger for them to stop..

now i need to spend like 120$ to modify it..

any solutions??

#7 tomacwhite

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 04:24 PM

View Postshimon, on 18 August 2010 - 04:21 PM, said:

now what about the people who already bought this set will they get the parts for the future modification for free?

this is really sad ive lost 2 motors they barely rotate and its enough to put a finger for them to stop..

now i need to spend like 120$ to modify it..

any solutions??

Do what I did. Contact Lego and get a refund.

#8 rgbrown

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 04:26 PM

View Postshimon, on 18 August 2010 - 04:21 PM, said:

now what about the people who already bought this set will they get the parts for the future modification for free?

I've emailed them to ask about this ... I have an unused one in my suitcase (with no box -- I'm travelling). I'll let you know when I hear back. I don't want a refund, as I live in New Zealand, and I do want the excavator, and it will be much more expensive there than I paid for it in the USA

#9 shimon

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 04:40 PM

why do lego need our 8043 used parts?

i sent a letter at customer service now.

just for evidence we can take a picture of us with the set why sending all the other parts?
TLG really should compensate  the people somehow..

for me buying this set was a big effort, i saved money the whole summer

but then anyone seeing this can send a letter to them without having it

i still like the 8043 it has a great design, just sad for those motors

Edited by shimon, 18 August 2010 - 04:41 PM.


#10 rgbrown

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 04:52 PM

View Postshimon, on 18 August 2010 - 04:40 PM, said:

why do lego need our 8043 used parts?

i sent a letter at customer service now.

just for evidence we can take a picture of us with the set why sending all the other parts?
TLG really should compensate  the people somehow..

for me buying this set was a big effort, i saved money the whole summer

but then anyone seeing this can send a letter to them without having it

i still like the 8043 it has a great design, just sad for those motors
Give them the benefit of the doubt for now  :classic: Everything I've heard says that TLG customer service is very good.

By the way I'm amazed at the extent to which your excavator has killed your M-motors. That's pretty impressive.

#11 Jurgen Krooshoop

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 04:53 PM

View PostConchas, on 18 August 2010 - 03:34 PM, said:

I've told that I'd do some tests here, and I did a lot. Just took me some more time to finalize them, than I was expecting.

I do not want to enter into much details now, because I think LEGO should announce their official conclusions first.
However among some faulty motors, I've notice an increased deterioration of motors performance with continued utilization.

The only advice I can give you now, is that if you experience problems lifting the boom, try to use a different motor in that place.
However be always careful. Never allow the motor to stall!

Since the Excavator has multiple DOF it is too easy to get the Boom motor stalled, while some other function (Dipper, or Shovel) are still running.
Also notice that due to the mechanical construction and forces involved, the internal clutch from the LAs never gets triggered, so the stress under stall conditions is always applied over the M-motor which will likely trigger the internal thermistor.

I've done all my measurements with the Excavator powered by a Train Speed Regulator (4548) to have constant 9V supply.
To clarify the suggestion given here, I call your attention that the connection requires a custom power cable or some similar artifact, since the PF converter cables route the GND/9V into C1/C2 PF lead, which won't power the PF Receivers.


PS: @tomacwhite
It is not necessarily a case to ask for a refund. The parts are still worthwhile. :classic:
So I guess I didn't play long enough with my stock-8043 to experience problems. I'm more of a builder than a player. And it seems that the M-motors used for lifting the boom is the problem. Which makes me one of the few persons with a correctly working 8043, after I did some modifications myself. I´ve played much more with my modified 8043 than the standard one (cause it´s much more fun), And I believe that it´s performance doesn´t degrade over time. So I´m wondering if TLG will update the design with an XL/motor.

#12 tomacwhite

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 04:56 PM

Could they put an XL motor in for the Main Arm lifting, and use that for slewing the superstructure? It would require more complex gearing, but its possible surely? Because having one M Motor for one track and one XL for the other track would not be good for balance. Unless 2x XL Motors and 2 M Motors? 1x XL for Main Arm, 1XL for Boom, then Left and Right track use an XL motor each. Slewing might not be balanced then though for keeping it still with tracks spinning 360 degrees under it.

#13 allanp

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 05:10 PM

You know I really didn't like the use of LAs in this set but it is always sad to see sets having to be recalled or customers having to be refunded.  :sad:

Somebody asked the question why do TLG ask for the used parts back. Well I assume it is probably the only way to prove that a) you actually own an excavator, b)that you had problems with it (if you were asking for a refund) and c) by examining the pieces they could find out exactly what was causing the problem. Not sure if reusing the parts in other sets would be feasable (you would have to pay someone to examine every part for wear) or within their policy.

Edited by allanp, 18 August 2010 - 05:11 PM.

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#14 shimon

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 05:11 PM

View Posttomacwhite, on 18 August 2010 - 04:56 PM, said:

Could they put an XL motor in for the Main Arm lifting, and use that for slewing the superstructure? It would require more complex gearing, but its possible surely? Because having one M Motor for one track and one XL for the other track would not be good for balance. Unless 2x XL Motors and 2 M Motors? 1x XL for Main Arm, 1XL for Boom, then Left and Right track use an XL motor each. Slewing might not be balanced then though for keeping it still with tracks spinning 360 degrees under it.

this will be a hard modification
id love to use Jurgen Krooshoop's mod but i need 120$ for the parts
TLG wont just add parts because the prices will be too high i think they will just expand it ( make the structure bigger
that way many XL's will be put and the original bucket wont look so funny
what do you think?

View Postallanp, on 18 August 2010 - 05:10 PM, said:

You know I really didn't like the use of LAs in this set but it is always sad to see sets having to be recalled or customers having to be refunded.  :sad:

Somebody asked the question why do TLG ask for the used parts back. Well I assume it is probably the only way to prove that a) you actually own an excavator, b)that you had problems with it (if you were asking for a refund) and c) by examining the pieces they could find out exactly what was causing the problem. Not sure if reusing the parts in other sets would be feasable (you would have to pay someone to examine every part for wear) or within their policy.


i understand that but i think a person can just take an image with a note near his set
because it sound like a waste the 8043 has tons of great technic parts and TLG has 100000 other excavators so what does this 1 matter?

Edited by shimon, 18 August 2010 - 05:14 PM.


#15 Jurgen Krooshoop

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 05:13 PM

View Posttomacwhite, on 18 August 2010 - 04:56 PM, said:

Could they put an XL motor in for the Main Arm lifting, and use that for slewing the superstructure? It would require more complex gearing, but its possible surely? Because having one M Motor for one track and one XL for the other track would not be good for balance. Unless 2x XL Motors and 2 M Motors? 1x XL for Main Arm, 1XL for Boom, then Left and Right track use an XL motor each. Slewing might not be balanced then though for keeping it still with tracks spinning 360 degrees under it.
I think that would be possible. The most logical would be 2x XL (for driving L + R, lifting boom + Dipper) and 2 x M (one for gear-swith + bucket). The gearing can propably be changed to accomedate this. The biggest problem though will be fitting the battery-box inside. I don't think they will use the 8878 for this one as I did (way to expensive). The side-effects during slewing will not be solved by this however. This is a mechanical consequence of transferring 2 drivetrains through the turntable. As far as I know the only solutions for this are: more gear-reduction in the chassis or a seperate Battery-box, motors + receiver in the chassis.

Although using an XL for lifting the boom is the only real solution I know to the boom-lifting-problem, I have my doubt that TLG will use XL's in the future because of the cost. I hope they will set me wrong in this. By the way the original 8043 is full of price-comprimises: only M-motors, a gearbox instead + 4 motors instead of 6 motors...

Edited by Jurgen Krooshoop, 18 August 2010 - 05:21 PM.


#16 Conchas

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 05:19 PM

Definitely the addition of an XL-motor, assuming we will rest with 4 motors and a (2x3+1) configuration, would require a lot of changes.
Namely because the motor lifting the boom is shared with one of the tracks and they shouldn't go unbalanced.
Only the addition of a XL-motor itself, in the construction available, would require significant changes due to the limited space and connections available.

Guess that before releasing the model, TLG designers have developed multiple solutions before chossing the final one. It is not unexpectable that some of the involved XL-motor(s).
If it would be the case, that could help to have an alternative official solution quite faster. Hopefully...

Time will tell us.
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#17 allanp

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 05:26 PM

Quote

i understand that but i think a person can just take an image with a note near his set
because it sound like a waste the 8043 has tons of great technic parts and TLG has 100000 other excavators so what does this 1 matter?

Yeah, i could be wrong but the option of inspecting the problems parts in the search for a solution could be valid.


The problem with a picture is that you could borrow a friends excavator. I know it's unlikely and sounds a bit daft but then the excavator is quite costly to buy (and presumeably to produce) and it would be very easy for me to borrow someone elses instead of paying for one my self if I were that way inclined (sadly some people are).


Any who, I can't see TLG adding an XL motor or anything like that. I imagine it will be the smallest and simplest change possible, like increasing the gear reduction slightly or weakening the clutch in the LA so that it protects the motor or adding a rubber band to help the LAs lift the boom. There are many relatively small things they could do really but then adding a rubber band or increasing gear reduction does not prevent the motor stalling, it only helps slightly to prevent it.

Edited by allanp, 18 August 2010 - 05:34 PM.

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#18 shimon

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 05:41 PM

View Postallanp, on 18 August 2010 - 05:26 PM, said:

Yeah, i could be wrong but the option of inspecting the problems parts in the search for a solution could be valid.


The problem with a picture is that you could borrow a friends excavator. I know it's unlikely and sounds a bit daft but then the excavator is quite costly to buy (and presumeably to produce) and it would be very easy for me to borrow someone elses instead of paying for one my self if I were that way inclined (sadly some people are).


Any who, I can't see TLG adding an XL motor or anything like that. I imagine it will be the smallest and simplest change possible, like increasing the gear reduction slightly or weakening the clutch in the LA so that it protects the motor or adding a rubber band to help the LAs lift the boom. There are many relatively small things they could do really but then adding a rubber band or increasing gear reduction does not prevent the motor stalling, it only helps slightly to prevent it.

you are right, but then i prefer having mine as it is instead of sending parts because its just waste of time
but for me i can prove it by asking the bricklink seller or just printing the transaction (the address and the name are written)

@Conchas this would definitely solve the problem but it just wont fit in the current dimensions of the model
because even more gearing will be needed ( we still have 4 motor that must operate 6 functions)

#19 Zblj

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 05:42 PM

Maybe they will just add more gearing?

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#20 Conchas

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 06:00 PM

More gearing won't solve the problem with the customer expectations.
You may eventually save the motor (if gearing down is taken to the required extent), but then the lifting time will increase again considerably.
An it won't be in favor of playability neither be acceptable.
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#21 Blakbird

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 06:12 PM

If you have an existing 8043, keep it. The few copies out there prior to LEGO's modifications will be collector's items! :classic:

Also, I don't think cost was the reason for not choosing XL motors. On the LEGO Education site, an M motor is $7.99 and an XL motor is $9.99. The price is not very much more. I would guess that space inside the model was a bigger reason for choosing M motors.

I would guess that one of the biggest costs of whatever modification TLG makes will be the instructions. They have very large printed instructions manuals that may end up changing significantly. The cost of printing the instructions is not trivial and the old copies may be useless. If the mods are minor enough, they might be able to just put in a few addendum pages like they've done in the past.
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#22 CP5670

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 06:15 PM

Interesting development. I guess it's a good thing I held off buying this set.

For what it's worth, I have had one M motor essentially die out after some very light use. It barely turns at all and there seems to be something blocking it inside. It's not from this set though (I got in 2008) and TLG sent me a replacement some time ago. My other M motors have had no problems.

Quote

More gearing won't solve the problem with the customer expectations.
You may eventually save the motor (if gearing down is taken to the required extent), but then the lifting time will increase again considerably.
An it won't be in favor of playability neither be acceptable.

The model does seem to lack enough gear reduction though from what I've seen in the videos, at least on some of the motors. I think that would certainly improve it.

The M motors should be good enough as long as they are sufficiently geared down (and don't have additional problems of their own). At one time, the best motors we had were the 9V geared and ungeared motors, and people were building similar kinds on functions on MOCs back then. The M motors are much more powerful than those older motors.

#23 allanp

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 06:16 PM

View PostBlakbird, on 18 August 2010 - 06:12 PM, said:

If you have an existing 8043, keep it. The few copies out there prior to LEGO's modifications will be collector's items! :classic:

Also, I don't think cost was the reason for not choosing XL motors. On the LEGO Education site, an M motor is $7.99 and an XL motor is $9.99. The price is not very much more. I would guess that space inside the model was a bigger reason for choosing M motors.

I would guess that one of the biggest costs of whatever modification TLG makes will be the instructions. They have very large printed instructions manuals that may end up changing significantly. The cost of printing the instructions is not trivial and the old copies may be useless. If the mods are minor enough, they might be able to just put in a few addendum pages like they've done in the past.

Good point about the instructions but I would also say that the $2 difference between motors is also not that trivial when you consider the numbers in which these sets are produced.
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#24 rgbrown

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 06:18 PM

View Postshimon, on 18 August 2010 - 05:41 PM, said:

you are right, but then i prefer having mine as it is instead of sending parts because its just waste of time
but for me i can prove it by asking the bricklink seller or just printing the transaction (the address and the name are written)
The obvious solution for TLG is to get you to send your instruction booklets back in exchange for the new parts and new instructions (if indeed they release new instructions)

That would also make the collectability of the existing instruction books even higher!

#25 shimon

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 06:18 PM

its kind of a weird thing.
when i first saw the design video of 8275 there were many kids playing with the models
why didn't they do it with 8043?
the faultiness would have definitely come out then before it has reached worldwide production.



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