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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I am so appreciative to have found this forum.

I just purchased the Lionel O-Gauge construction railroad for my two young sons, who absolutely love it. I also had a old Texas special train fixed up at a local Lionel shop, and I’m hoping to run this on fasttrack as well. I have a couple questions.

I tried to hook up an old 1033 transformer to the fastrack - the Texas Special runs, but then stops. I saw it run at the shop, so I’m thinking it might be a transformer issue? Also, do people have suggestions for adding to the basic oval in a way that would allow me to run both trains without spending a bunch of money at once? I currently have one 4 x 8 train table, but I am willing to build another 4 x 8, to make an 8 x 8 layout. Any advice for a beginner would be much appreciated.
 

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The first rule of troubleshooting: if one loco misbehaves, suspect the loco. If everything does, suspect the layout.

How do your new locos work with the old transformer? If they run fine, then something is amiss with your refurbished loco. Does the refurbished loco always die at the same spot?Which brings up the second point: what, exactly, did they do to "fix up" thal loco? A stall like that, assuming that your other locos run, is usually indicative of dirty wheels / contacts; old, hardened lubricants, or a loose wire. This would seem to me to be exactly what a hobby shop would check to "fix up" a loco; but it's still the first things to check. Cleaning your track probably wouldn't hurt either (new does not mean clean).

An 8x8 rectangle is not really workable, since you waste a lot of space in the center (you can't reach it from the edge). An L or T shape has many more possibilities since all of the space is useable. The simplistic answer to running two trains is to start them 180 degrees apart and adjust them periodically if they move at different speeds. Obviously, that's a poor solution. You can add a separate loop of track which does not intersect the first, and power them both from the same transformer, but of course any speed change you make will affect ALL the trains at once. Even this would require investing in more track, so that might break your "bunch of money at once" rule.

An even better solution would be to add another power pack to allow independent control, or a digital command and control (DCC) system, which not only lets you control each train individually on the same track, but to fine tune the performance as well. Either of these options would involve a significant chunk of change, but they're much better than the others.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you! Love the L shape idea, that makes much more sense.

I have that old loco that was “fixed up” - won’t really run - doesn’t matter the spot. Another old loco that was not fixed does the same thing. Buzzes, moves a few feet, stops. I took 2 pictures - maybe I’m making a dumb mistake - certainly possible....this hookup is obviously temporary and just to test. Red is to center track.
 

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In the limited views afforded by your pics it appears
that the Transformer and the track are very well
maintained. As others have suggested, suspect the
locos. Wheels and center contactor must be clean as
must the track, and the section to section rail pins.

However, just to make sure, set the transformer speed control
to mid point, and use your multitester
set to AC and run the probes around the layout
on the center and one outer rail. Start where the
wires from the transformer connect to the track. Note
the voltage. If there are any
bad continuity spots the voltage will vary substantially.
You should find the problem this way.

As to the locos: The wheels and the center rail
contactor pick up the power from the track. It then
goes thru a device on board we call an Eunit. This
determines forward or reverse motion. When power
is interrupted to loco, and restored, the unit operates and
changes the circuit to cause the loco to run in the
opposite direction It uses
various internal contactors to do this. These often need
cleaning to maintain good electrical continuity.

A simple test you can do is to remove the loco from the
track use the track wires to touch the loco wheels and
the center contactor. Does it run continuously if you
maintain good contact. Use the probes to interrupt power
and restore it. Loco wheels should run reverse to what
they were doing. Do this a few times to make sure
the unit works each time. If, however, the loco pauses after
a while it may be that heat is affecting some contacts.
You may have to remove the shell to find out what
is happening.

Note: There is a lever attached to the E unit. In one
position this
disables the movement of the unit thus keeping the
loco running in it's set direction. Move the lever to
restore auto reversing.

Don
 

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I don't think that outer loop is going to conduct electricity very well. :D

Based on the additional information you provided, I would break those locos down, clean all parts of the drive train and power pickups with solvent (denatured alcohol is what I use; isopropyl would also work fine), and then lube everything up again: a tiny drop of oil on the motor bushings, a dab of grease on the drive gears, and dry lubricant (graphite) on the axle hubs. Go easy with it: too much is just as bad as not enough. If it's an open frame motor, a little contact cleaner on the brushes and rotor can't hurt either.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
This post makes complete sense, and thank you for taking your time to share your knowledge!! I will test just like you suggested.

What I don’t understand is how it ran fine at the Lionel shop, then on my new fasttrack it doesn’t. It makes plenty of noise to show activity, but struggles to get going. At the shop however, it made similar starting noises but zipped up and back with seemingly no issues. So the differences are: transformer....track....and wires. Frustrating! It is a very heavy train, I wonder if there just isn’t enough juice for some reason.
 

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Welcome to the site.

Try hooking the wires up like this, looks like yours are not hooked up right.

mceclip0.png
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yes!!! Got it running. My kids just went to bed but they are going to be so excited in the AM. Thank you guys. I will have many more questions moving forward....appreciate it!!
 

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Yes!!! Got it running. My kids just went to bed but they are going to be so excited in the AM. Thank you guys. I will have many more questions moving forward....appreciate it!!
What did you do?
 

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Some of the pictures you will find show the red handle on the right, some show it on the left. I would think that red/orange would symbolize power so I would want it on the right. The other side controls the direction and whistle.
It does not matter, but try to be easy on the handles as they are noted for coming loose and you can't tighten them.

The other hookups are explained here,
(click & hold the control key while clicking the plus key so you can zoom in to read it better.)

1033 1-2.jpg

1033 3-4.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I went red to the middle rail and the U. Black from edge rail to the 11v....what I learned from this is that even the most minuscule “breaks”’ in track can cause the engines to stop running. I found a couple little spots the fasttrack wasn’t completely snapped and fixed that, then it worked.
 

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I went red to the middle rail and the U. Black from edge rail to the 11v....what I learned from this is that even the most minuscule “breaks”’ in track can cause the engines to stop running. I found a couple little spots the fasttrack wasn’t completely snapped and fixed that, then it worked.
Yes tight track makes for a happy locomotive. :D

I don't have fast track and never did, I have all tube track which will have different problems at times.

How much track do you have down? On the floor? Or a sheet of plywood?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Right now I just have the basic oval on a 4x8 train table that I built. I am trying to plan ahead, and am thinking about having an L shaped layout with a long run of Fasttrack and one of old tubular track - but that’s where I need forum help again. What are your thoughts on this track, and what should to make it ready to run - if it is indeed salvageable.

Aaron
 

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I just looked at the links I posted, there is more info to look at.
When I get back on tomorrow I will find them for you unless maybe someone else will post them? T Man?

Got's to go......gone now. :)
 
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