Locomotive running problem

Discussion in 'General Information' started by Graeme, Feb 9, 2020.

  1. Graeme

    Graeme Full Member

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    I have a Bachmann Spectrum loco that I want to use on my new layout but when I test ran it, it ran forward with jerky/stalling movements indicating no power being applied.
    First thought was dirty track so I cleaned it but while a bit of improvement the loco still did not perform well.
    I then looked at the wheels and pickups and they were filthy so I cleaned them with Metho to get rid of all the rubbish. While I had it apart I cleaned the contacts between the pickups and the internal electronics and greased the drive cog, still not much better. The plated tread coating on the wheels is worn as well (copper showing on one wheel).
    I then took another loco and ran it over the piece of track and that went quite well forward and backward with no jerkiness at all.
    I then tried to run the troublesome loco backward and it ran very well but when direction was reversed the jerkiness/stalling returned like there may be a binding issue with the forward direction.
    Can anybody give me a clue as to where I should look next?
    NOTE; All my locos including this one have been in storage for over 10 years, so probably are in need of a good service.
     
  2. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    I would make sure all wheels are making proper contact with the rails.
    Some suspension set ups sit very flat and consequently the slightest variation in the track, in other words if the track is not dead flat, will mean one wheel may be lifting slightly.
    It`s very hard to see this I must say. Locos with a good amount of compensation do not suffer from this.
    I would also make sure the pick ups are making good contact all around. Sometimes they appear to be fine, but if you push the axle all the way to one side, you may then see the other side has a gap between the wheel and the pickup.
    I would also check all wire soldered connections in case there is a loose one or a dry joint.
    :cheers::tophat:Gormo
     
  3. mikejh

    mikejh Full Member

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    I don’t know the particular loco you are working on but I have had the same problem in the past, my problem was the wheel pickups on one side the where through the wheel the axle bearing to the chassis, the axle bearing gets contaminated with dust, fibers and oil creating erratic contact.

    Cheers Mike
     
  4. paul_l

    paul_l Staff Member Administrator

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    Hi Graeme

    Try connecting direct to the motor and running in both directions, if it runs smoothly then its as Mike suggests problems with the pickups, however if it still appears to be binding, take the motor out and try slowly running the loco over some track to see if you can detect the tight spot. As the plating is starting to come off, the loco may well well have had a lot of use, and the motor may well also be worn.

    Paul
     
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  5. Andy_Sollis

    Andy_Sollis Full Member

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    Also if it’s not a can motor, look at the cleanness of the commutator and brushes. Clean them. Oil any bearing (if it is a can motor.. is it double ended? If so oil the shafts at both ends, oil the gear train if it has gear towers from the drive down to the wheels. And also ensure there is some lubrications on the axles them selves.
    All the above advice also applies.

    although the copper showing on your wheels is a little concerning? I’m wondering if the nickel is corroding and that’s where the bad pick up is occurring.

    andy
     
  6. Graeme

    Graeme Full Member

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    I checked all the wipers on the back of the wheels and they were all making contact when the wheels were moved from side to side.
    Next I had another look at the wheels and even though I had scrubbed them with a toothbrush dipped in metho there was still black rubbish on a couple of them, so I scrubbed again and used a ink pen eraser to shine the bits I could get to that and polishing the rails again with a cleaning block improved the performance.
    I am a bit hesitant to dismantle the loco but may have to do so.
    The loco is an 0-6-0 Bachmann spectrum tank shunting loco.

    There are 3 other locos 2 of which run well on the 'mainline' (a Shay and a 2-8-0) while the 3rd derails on a curve all the time, it is a 4-8-2 that Bachmann recommend operate on min 22" curves and I am convinced that the curve it derails on has a smaller radius (the curve is infront of the corner mountain). I have 3 options available (1) pull out the offending curve and reconfigure it (2) put in a loop that has a 22" curve at a lower level that the present curve (real estate is a bit of an issue) and (3) sell it and use the funds to but some DCC decoders. I did consider joining the local model train club but the fees are $4/week whether you are there or not plus an annual fee which in total adds up to over $200/year, not worth it just to run 1 loco I'm afraid.
     
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