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 Need some 'technical' help with a loco.

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
brucet Posted - 02/02/2019 : 8:51:33 PM
OK so I'm not the sharpest tool in the draw when it comes to locos!!!

I have a 'cheapie' 2-6-0 Bachmann Mogul. I installed a sound decoder in it. It ran very well, apart from some loping. Now after a few months of happy running I decided to paint it. Yeah yeah yeah. I know. When I reassembled it it still ran well until it hit the frogs on my ME turnouts. I have pulled the loco apart and checked all the turnout frogs. But look as I may I can't find a solution. As soon as the middle driver hits the frog the loco stops. Stalls/shorts as the sound quits and lights go out. This is at speed step 1. Maybe I'm expecting a bit much. But it never stalled before I painted it.
So what may have changed that I've over looked? No paint on wheels. My Peco points aren't an issue. Just the ME ones in combination with the 2-6-0. (BTW. My Shay does exactly the same thing). It seems as though the pickups aren't sufficient enough.

15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
brucet Posted - 02/15/2019 : 8:28:32 PM
FWIW. I gave up and did some other stuff around my layout. Fun stuff.
But then I got brave and got out the shovel and fired up the boiler. Got a good head of steam and hit the throttle. Ran like a dream!!!!!!!!

I got my graphite stick out and gave the turnouts a good working over. Maybe that did the trick. Maybe not.

The temp and humidity have also dropped a bit here. So there may have been a rail gap close up a bit. (We are in the sub tropics so humidity can be an issue. Just up the road they had 80 inches in 12 days and that affected our humidity).

Who knows. Aint model railroading fun?

Until next time.

brucet Posted - 02/08/2019 : 03:47:32 AM
Yup I hate electronics and mechanics. So it's a strange hobby I'm in. But!! But without the electronics and the locos it would be a strange hobby indeed.

I've been in the hobby since the late 50's. In all that time I've never been able to get my head around the technical side of the hobby.

But sometimes I just get pigheaded and need to 'fix' something. That 'something' often ends up being a headache!!

I think I'll take up watch repairs!

k9wrangler Posted - 02/08/2019 : 12:27:41 AM
Itís amazing how much time and aggravation we put ourselves through assuring ourselves that Model Railroading is Fun.

I donít think iíve take a steam engine apart. Scares me. Bruce youíve just verified my fears.
brucet Posted - 02/07/2019 : 11:09:19 PM
A bit more info. I removed/lifted the boiler off the mechanism. When it stalls I only have to touch the front driver very lightly. (I lightly push inward on the left side with a tooth pick). And I get contact and it's away again. This happens on turnouts and straight track. The turnouts are just exaggerating the issue.
So it's a contact issue with the front drivers. I can see the Soundtraxx decoder. The blue light goes off. Occasionally the red light will flicker but I put that down to arcing or track issues. It's very momentary.
I've checked the contacts and clearances. Seems to be no issue there.
Has anyone heard of shorting/loss of contact with thee locos? It also has a lope which may, or may not, be related.

This is a $100.00 loco and it's causing me no amount of heartache. It ran so fine until I stripped it and painted it. But for the life of me I can't track down what is causing it to stop.

Wife thinks I should fork out the money for decent locos in the first place. But being a natural scrooge I like to save money. Maybe not a good idea.


Reg Barron Posted - 02/06/2019 : 7:43:07 PM
I would try powering the frogs of the ME turnouts before spending money to replace them. The Peco turnout frogs are already powered. I would also do a continuity test on all the wheels with pick ups.

Not all sound decoders come with caps that power both the motor and sound, some are sound only and thus won't help a loco go thru a dead frog.

Reg Barron
brucet Posted - 02/06/2019 : 12:57:50 AM
John it's a driver only pickup mogul. The more I look at the turnouts and where the loco is stalling the more I think it has something to do with the frogs being to shallow. When the loco wheels goes through the frog the loco is trying to pick up other drivers. The same symptom as the shay!

Long term I think I'll be replacing the ME turnouts rather than modifying all my loco just to run through the ME turnouts.

kewlbrew Posted - 02/06/2019 : 12:00:10 AM
Are you using driver pickup only? Or, are you using driver and tender pickup? I agree that the power pickup has been compromised somehow. The other aspect is the directionality of the issue. That points to the loco drivers not maintaining contact properly - either at the rail or with the pickups on the wheels (maybe both). With your shay, the pressure whisker contacts on the trucks are notorious for breaking contact as the loco wiggles as it moves or as the trucks adjust to track irregularities. Hardwiring the truck pickups will help correct that behavior. For the mogul, if it's driver only, consider adding tender pickup. I question the capacity of the capacitor you're using. You may want to consider something with more uF @25vdc.

brucet Posted - 02/03/2019 : 10:06:24 PM
Thanks Jim. If it was a bit of stray paint then you would think it was be an issue elsewhere around the layout!

Besides, I have already checked that.

BurleyJim Posted - 02/03/2019 : 9:43:47 PM

Any possibility that a little paint migrated to a pickup contact on the inner side of one of the wheels? Probably no pickup on the center drivers of that 2-6-0. I'd look for some paint residue on the contacts.

brucet Posted - 02/03/2019 : 8:55:29 PM
Thanks everyone.

I've done a number of tests.
First I ran every one of my locos every which way through the turnout I'm having issues with. (All 5 of them!!) My 2-6-0 stalls when facing one direction both forward and reverse. But not if I turn the loco. My Shay just refuses to go through 50% of the time regardless of direction etc. My Heisler works like a dream so no issue there. My little 4-4-0 works fine. Although it's never been a champ at slow speeds. And my custom made doodlebug using a HO Kato mech is the world champ at performance.

So conclusion. - The ME turnouts are toooooo sensitive for locos that have any sorts of issues. So I either replace the turnouts or the locos. (I have 6 ME turnouts and 5 Peco turnouts). Peco never have an issue. The ME turnouts all take it in turn at causing some sort of heartache. Yes the ME look just dandy. The Peco look 'ok' when painted and weathered. But because the Peco never play up I'm not looking to hard at them so I don't notice them!

Plan A is to install Soundtraxx CurrentKeepers in the problem locos. If that doesn't work, after a lot of cursing, I will replace the ME turnouts. Maybe I'll replace the layout. Hmm wonder if the wife would notice?

desertdrover Posted - 02/03/2019 : 10:08:03 AM
Originally posted by brucet

Thanks folks. The 'strange' thing is that the loco has no issues when traveling east in either forwards or backwards. But if I turn the loco it stalls in either direction.

I've check the wheel gauge and they are fine. But the ME turnouts are tight. So I may get the chainsaw out and give them a wee trim up!!!!

To tell the truth I've never been happy with my ME turnouts. Too tight and too fragile. I've been meaning to replace them with Peco ones but it's never as simple as it seems.

I'll keep cursing for a while yet!!


After this second post from you, I'm even more convinced that if you file open that guard rail space between the stock rail and guard rail, that you'll be fine.
Michael Hohn Posted - 02/03/2019 : 09:39:53 AM

Hereís my hypothesis. The engine stalls when turned to the west suggests to me that somehow the pickup on the one side of the loco was compromised, maybe only a little, but enough that the tightness (or whatever) of the ME turnouts in the frog area lift the drivers off the rail enough to break electrical contact. Perhaps not all the drivers on the side over the frog are picking up power.

brucet Posted - 02/03/2019 : 01:00:29 AM
Thanks folks. The 'strange' thing is that the loco has no issues when traveling east in either forwards or backwards. But if I turn the loco it stalls in either direction.

I've check the wheel gauge and they are fine. But the ME turnouts are tight. So I may get the chainsaw out and give them a wee trim up!!!!

To tell the truth I've never been happy with my ME turnouts. Too tight and too fragile. I've been meaning to replace them with Peco ones but it's never as simple as it seems.

I'll keep cursing for a while yet!!

railman28 Posted - 02/02/2019 : 11:56:18 PM
I'm with Louise check your wheel gauge of the engine. I would bet it's not the turnout as you haven't worked on them.

desertdrover Posted - 02/02/2019 : 11:18:41 PM
Hi Bruce, Like Karl I also believe that the paint job is purely coincidental, I'd start with checking your wheel gauge, the wheels may have been knocked out of gauge accidentally. Your Peco turnouts are more forgiving than your Micro Engineering Turnouts. If you have an NMRA standards gauge, check your ME turnouts at the frog area, "outside wheel guard and stock rail" and see if it is in gauge. If your wheels are even a slight out of gauge they will hang up in that area of your ME turnouts. Watch a locomotive cross that area, and see if it hangs up there. If so file a wider opening in the guard rail. Let me know your findings.

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