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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I have a Bachmann HO Thomas' Henry the Green Engine, and last year it ran great and the kids loved it. This year I placed it on the track, and it only ran about 5' down the track and stopped. If I leave the power off for a minute or so, it will go 5 more feet and stop. If I only wait 10-15 seconds with power off, then it only goes about a foot down the track.

I have another engine that runs loops on the track endlessly without issue, so I'm pretty sure the problem is related to the Henry Engine. It's like new, and Ive only had it couple of years, running it at Christmas only. Not sure where to start on this as I am a complete newbie with Ho Model trains.

Thanks!
-John

 

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This does not exactly fit your symptoms, but I would first turn the loco over and see if if there is any pet hair or other crud wrapped around the axles. I have to do this every year for my around-the-tree train. But we have dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the quick reply. That was my first though as well, but after looking closely at the bottom, I don't see any lint/hair around the axels/wheels. I haven't tried taking it apart yet, for a closer look at the motor, and I suspect that's next.

-John M
 

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Check the electrical pickup ‘wipers’. These are small metal strips that transfer current from the drive wheels to wires that run to the motor.
Sometimes dust or lint gets between the wheels and the wipers. This will cause erratic running as you describe.

Look down behind the drive wheels, and use a small flat screwdriver or tweezer to clean out any ‘dust balls’ you may find.
You can use a Q-tip dipped in isopropyl alcohol to clean the wheels. You may be able to get it down into the wiper area but be careful not to bend them. They must make contact with the wheels.

I have a Thomas engine that does this and there always seems to be a small lint ball that gets stuck in that area.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Okay, I looked and found the pickup wipers you are referring to, and using a long exacto blade I was able to gently go in between each pickup wiper and wheel to check for any dust/lint/hair, but everything seems super clean. Again, only a couple of years old, used for a month each year.

Weird thing is, it acts like the motor is getting overheated and needs to cool before it will run again. However, I've checked, running it with the top removed, and there's never any heat or smells that would indicate an overheating issue. it just runs 4-5 feet, let it rest for 30 seconds or more, and it will run another 4-5 feet.

I've posted a couple of images, but they don't seem to be coming through. Maybe they need modorator approval first.

 

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i'd try testing on the bench with direct connections between the supply and the wheels/frame/motor to determine if it's a wiring problem or if the problem is with the motor itself.

if there's no problem, test it on a short piece of track, block it from running and just let it spin its wheels. and go from there
 

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This is a very frustrating development because the cure is not so obvious. If I had to guess, it's either the motor (less likely), or it's a bad connection between the wipers and the motor (more likely). Maybe a bad solder, broken wire...?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The same thing happens in both forward and reverse, regardless of where it's at on the track. I'll try and get some video tonight and post it on youtube with a link here.

As GregC mentioned, I will see if I can run some tests on it directly and see if I can isolate it to the wipers, wiring, or motor.

Thanks again for all of the advice/recommendations.

-John M
 

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I know it SOUNDS like an overheating issue, but unless it's a DCC loco it's hard to see how that could happen, especially over the brief periods of time that you are describing. I would pop the hood (figuratively speaking) and check the gears and the wiring.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Okay, let's see if this image works.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/h60qc45uag4u5vc/Henry01.jpg?dl=0

For whatever reason, when I use the image link, it won't insert the image, but I did include a URL to the image.

So when I had the train apart and was testing, I noticed the capacitor on the front center of the train got hot enough to burn my hand almost immediately. Could this be the cause? That would explain why it would run for 4-5 feet and stop, and after letting the capacitor cool for 30 seconds or more, it would run again, but if I only let it cool for 5-10 seconds, it would only go a foot or less.

As this looks like a PTC Capacitor, the heat may be normal, but I don't know.

Thoughts?

-John M
 

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I know some people remove the capacitor, especially when using DCC. Have you tried feeding power directly to the motor thus bypassing the capacitor, etc.? Might be worth seeing how long the motor then runs.
 

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I looked but could not find the circuit with Google. Is that part of the control for the moving eyes?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
When I get home, I'll work on getting power directly to the motor, though it's pretty tucked in with limited access.

As for the moving eyes, I just assumed they were a mechanical function triggered by the movement of the wheels rather than an electrical component, so I'll have to look into that futher.

Thanks!
-John
 

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The capacitor may be a 'filter' to eliminate radio
interference. If you have a soldering iron, remove
one leg and see if your locos runs properly.
It has no function related to the operation of the loco.

Don
 

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Is that cap bulging yet?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The cap doesn't appear to be bulging, and unfortunately I don't have another power supply. Was too busy to get to it tonight, so I need to try tomorrow to see if I can get power directly to the motor and see if it will run consistently that way or not.

Thanks,
-John
 
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