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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,

I am vary new to model railroading. I purchased an older train set from a train museum gift shop and cannot get the locomotive running. When it is on the track the light turns on and I can hear an electric humming sound. The wheels will not move on or off of the track. I removed the case and pulled the engine and the wheels are able to move and roll. I now have lubricated all of the gears and the wheels roll smoothly until the motor is back in, then they stop. Please help! I am at a loss of what to do next. I love this old train and would love to get it working. Take a look at the pictures (including one of the grease I used).
 

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You've done the right thing by cleaning and
replacing the lube in the gearing with LaBelle's.

The reason the wheels won't turn with motor
installed is that is uses a 'worm' gear.

However, the motor should turn the wheels.

You can test the motor outside of the frame
with the motor shaft and the 'worm' gear free
of the other gearing. Set your power pack
to about 1/3 'on'. Use wires from the 'track'
terminals and touch them to the actual tabs
on the motor. If it doesn't run try turning the
'worm' gear by hand and see if it breaks loose.
(The bearings may have 'frozen'). If it runs,
apply a drop of Labelle's on the bearings.
Exercise it forward and backward before
reinstalling.

Note: If the 'worm' fits too tightly in the
gearing that could 'stall' the motor.

If the motor doesn't run in the test you may
have to replace it.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you! I will try to connect it to the power to see if it turns on it's own. It does spin freely when it is not inside the locomotive. Everything locks up when it is re-installed.
 

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See if you can connect the motor leads to the track by splicing in 2 wires near the motor, just twisted on, not soldered or anything. If there's power in the track and the motor doesn't spin then the fault is with the motor, or its leads to the wipers on the back of the wheels/some kind of open circuit, or polarity problem..
You could just cease hassling with this loco and buy another. Since it appears to be that you're not in DCC but in analog DC there are some very very inexpensive ones on ebay...
 

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In the third photo down, it looks like the tie rods on the left (top, in the picture) are misaligned. If they are bupinding, that would keep your loco from moving.
 

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I probably don't know what I'm talking about, but in the 5th picture the linkage connecting points look misaligned too. Looks like it'd lock the wheels. Someone tell me if I'm wrong.
 

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I don't know squat about steam locomotives, but something doesn't look right with those tie rods.
 

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Motor brushes OK?

Hello All,

I am very new to model railroading. I purchased an older train set from a train museum gift shop and cannot get the locomotive running. When it is on the track the light turns on and I can hear an electric humming sound. The wheels will not move on or off of the track. I removed the case and pulled the motor out and the wheels are able to move and roll. I now have lubricated all of the gears and the wheels roll smoothly until the motor is back in, then they stop. Please help! I am at a loss of what to do next. I love this old train and would love to get it working. Take a look at the pictures (including one of the grease I used).
TrainNoob;

You say the motor hummed when it was mounted in the locomotive. Have you tried running the motor outside of the loco with the power pack, as DonR recommended, yet? If it doesn't run the problem may be the motor brushes, or at least one of them. In your photo of the motor, I see one of the brushes sticking out quite far. This is at least partly because that brush assembly is used as a mechanical and electrical link to the tender car that rolls directly behind the locomotive. The brush assembly is the little round silver colored tube sticking out of the bottom side of the motor back near the end furthest away from the worm gear. The actual brush is a round bit of carbon that is inside the tube along with a tiny spring. The brush assemblies were held in the motor only by friction. You could try pushing the brush assembly further into the motor. It's quite possible that the actual carbon brushes have worn out, and if the assembly is too far out, a worn brush can come out of the tube and get caught in the commutator of the motor, which is a very bad thing.
That motor is an old Rivarossi three-pole motor. It goes back to the early 1970s when N-scale was new in the US.
The three-pole motor (modern, better, motors have five poles) and the way-too-fast gearing in these old model locomotives, mean that the locomotive won't run reliably at slow speed. This makes coupling, and uncoupling, cars for switching very difficult.
In short a current-production locomotive will work a lot better than this antique, and I agree that the side rods are messed up. That's another difficult repair in itself. I think you should replace this locomotive with a new one, unless you are able to repair the one you have now. I think that's doubtful. Even if you succeeded, you would still have a very old locomotive that won't run very well.

good luck;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Still Trouble

I have connected the wires directly to the locomotive. The light came on, but the motor did not. I also didn't hear the humming that I heard on the track. Does the coal car need to be connected as well?

What are the tie rods? I apologize for my inaccurate description, but I am very new to the hobby. Are they the metal beams attached to the wheels? I disconnected those from the front wheels when I was attempting to access the gears. The wheels move freely without the motor installed (after lubrication).

Traction Fan: I tried pushing the brush assembly further in, but it wouldn't budge. If I were to try to fix this locomotive (I don't have a lot of extra money for a new one). Is there anything else I can try? Would I 5 pole locomotive work on my current track?

Thanks everyone for your help!
 

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the pins in the wheels should line up, very much like the image on the cover of the box do ..the 'drive bar' or linkage should be flat across the wheels, again the same as the image on the cover ...
the other side should be a 'quarter' turn out, either 90 degrees ahead, or behind the first side ..
in the pictures you have the linkage is NOT flat ...
 

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You may need the tender attached, yes. On many locos, the tender is part of the circuit.

Just test the bare motor by applying power directly to the tabs and see if it runs. You can remotor the loco, and you'll need to repair the connecting rods if you want it to run. This is a fairly complex, although fairly inexpensive, repair. Probably not something I would recommend for a beginner, unless you already have some electrical skill and a lot of patience.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Motor Test

By putting power to the tabs are you referring to the bottom rod and the flat tab on the top of the motor? When I tried last evening I attached the power to the wheel and that bottom rod to have the light turn on with no motor movement. I will give that a try this evening.

If I need the tender attached, do you have any advice on how to test it that way?

Finally, I'm not sure if the tie rods on the wheels are bent, but just disconnected. In my attempt at getting the wheels to spin in the first place I took the entire lower portion of the locomotive apart and disconnected them from the front wheels. I think I may just need to re-align them properly. Any advice? After reading the comments, I have been attempting to do so to no avail.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The motor works outside of the engine, so it must be an issue with the worm drive and the gears. Any thoughts?
 

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The scientific method rules in troubleshooting. In other words, systematically work through the problem, a step at a time, eliminating possible problems as you go by testing or experimentation.

At this point, you need to check the drive train, one piece at a time until you find the part that is bound up. Do you have an exploded parts diagram for the loco? Because you're probably going to need it to get the tie rods back together properly. Anyway, with the motor out of the loco, do the wheels turn? Check the worm gears for cracks / splits. Check for congealed lubricants on the gears.
 

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Rod "quartering"

By putting power to the tabs are you referring to the bottom rod and the flat tab on the top of the motor? When I tried last evening I attached the power to the wheel and that bottom rod to have the light turn on with no motor movement. I will give that a try this evening.

If I need the tender attached, do you have any advice on how to test it that way?

Finally, I'm not sure if the tie rods on the wheels are bent, but just disconnected. In my attempt at getting the wheels to spin in the first place I took the entire lower portion of the locomotive apart and disconnected them from the front wheels. I think I may just need to re-align them properly. Any advice? After reading the comments, I have been attempting to do so to no avail.
TrainNoob;

DC Electric motors, like those used in model trains, have two contacts, often in the form of tabs, that accept the wires that feed electricity to the motor. In the case of your locomotive, one of these contacts/tabs is attached to the "rod" sticking out of the bottom of the motor, and the bottom of the locomotive too. That bottom rod is designed to fit into a hole in the "drawbar" that sticks out of the front of the tender. Under the drawbar, you may find a small spring wire. When the rod is inserted in the drawbar, that wire should rub against the "rod" (I prefer to call it a "post" to avoid confusion with the "side rods" or "drive rods" that are attached to the drive wheels.) They will come up in later discussion. You called them "tie rods" which isn't the right technical term, but that doesn't really matter. I'm just trying to get us all using the same names, for the same parts, to avoid any confusion. I knew what you meant without any special technical terminology. Please don't sweat this sort of thing. I don't. and the other forum members don't either.

So, to test with the tender, You would put that bottom post from the motor into the hole in the tender's drawbar. Then check the wheels on the tender. Some of them will be all metal, others will have some form of plastic insulators, usually in the center part of the wheels. The metal wheels have to all be on the same side. The idea is to get power from one of the rails through the metal tender wheels, then into that little spring on the drawbar, and then into the post on the bottom of the motor.
Power from the other rail goes through the locomotive's wheels on one side, and then through some wiper contacts that rub against those loco wheels. The wiper contacts feed power up into the motor.
Since you have verified that the motor will run when connected directly to the wires from your power pack, we know the motor is not burned out, or broken.

That leaves two possibilities.

First, The power is getting to the headlight, but not to the motor. There may be a loose wire, or bad connection somewhere inside the locomotive. I recommend testing this possibility first, because it's the simplest, and the one less likely to cause you additional trouble. Look carefully to see if you can find any loose wire, bent contact, or anything else that looks odd. If you don't see any problem, you will need a multimeter to test further. If you don't have a multimeter, you can buy one for only $5 from Harbor Freight tools. www.harborfreight.com This meter is shown in the photo below. It comes with directions, and even has the battery already in it.
With the meter set for 20 volts DC you can test the power pack wires to the track, then to the tender and locomotive wheels, wiper contacts and up to the headlight and motor. If you can set the locomotive and tender on the track, turn up the power pack, and read voltage at those two motor contacts (the bottom post, and the other tab on the motor) then electrically everything is OK and you have a mechanical bind. :smilie_daumenneg:

Second, some sort of mechanical bind in the gears, or the side rods. You could test for this by removing the side rods, but there are potential problems. The rods are held onto the wheels by very small screws with hexagonal heads. A tiny nut driver would be the right tool to remove these screws. Also the screws need to be carefully stored, they are very easy to lose. If you decide to remove the rods, I suggest working on a table covered by a white terry cloth towel. The rough texture of the towel will help keep screws from rolling onto the floor, and the white color makes them easier to see. work under a strong light too.
Another thing before you try to take the rods off. Take several clear photos of both sides of the locomotive. Look very carefully at all the rods, and make sure you know what goes where before removing them. If you have the rods off, you will be able to try running the locomotive without them. If it runs well this way, then the rods were what was binding things up. If the loco still won't run, even with the rods off, there is probably a bind in the gearing. I don't think this is likely. It seems like you got the gears cleaned out well, and put new grease on them. It's possible the motor is sitting a little crooked. It needs to be aligned straight down the center of the locomotive. It's also possible that the motor is drawn down too tightly against the spur gear that meshes with the worm gear on the motor.

That's about all I can think of. If you still can't fix the problem, you might see if there is a hobby shop near you that repairs trains. I think you may need someone knowledgeable helping you in person instead of online at that point. If all else fails, replace the locomotive.

good luck;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

$5 multimeter.jpg
 
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