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Discussion Starter #1
I have a bunch of questions mainly about what I have and what to do.

I picked up this HO Setup for $40. Not bad I think.

The two engines I have sortof work. The Athern Union Pacific 1041 Goes great in reverse but klunks along and doesnt move much going forward. The Athern Santa Fe F7a-3201 doesnt seem to go very fast and makes a whining kindof noise. On both engines there is some sparking at the wheels. What do I need to do to rebuild the engines if I need to?

My controller is a Tech Rail Power 1400 I have the dc train connection left to left track conection and right to right track connection. The blocking controller is a mystery to me I have it wired to two spots on the tracks and one on the left side dc connection of the controler. Most of this was already connected when I got it.

The tracks Im thinking need to be gone through and the connections cleaned. Some of the connections are soldered and the solder is cracked. Whats the best way to clean the tracks and connections? Should I take the whole track set apart and reassemble?

My next step right now is to use my electric meter and make sure Im getting the right amount of volts out of the controller and to all the areas of the tracks. My test light shows power everywhere but I need to confirm its enough voltage to run the trains. One works well all around so Im thinking I have engine problems. Who knows what kind of abuse they have seen.

The track setup is nice 4 loops of sorts with one mostly raised in the air. Im getting some derailing so Im going to have to work on the tracks abit and Im wondering what kind of track setup this is and if I should change it to a different setup maybe to a 4x6 setup.

Here are some pictures.

Sorry so long and thanks for the help
 

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Welcome to the forum.

Sounds like the problem with your locomotives is a combination of poor electrical contact and lack of proper lubrication. You'll probably need to clean the track and the wheels.

Some good information on Athearn locomotives may be found here:
http://hackitup.railfan.net/athearn.html

Solder is optional on the track connections. The most important thing is to have clean connections so that dirt and corrosion don't cause a voltage drop to the locomotives.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi,

Thanks for the info. I did some cleaning today on the locomotives. I got one working very well but I think I'm going to take it all apart and give it a good tune up. The other one still needs some wheel cleaning and also should be gone through.

I put my meter on the tracks and they all check out with the right voltage.

I just finished pulling all the nailed down track off the plywood. What a job that was. Im going to make a smaller layout so I can store it in a closet when my son and I are not playing with it. He is a little young to play with it on his own.

Im searching for some more used items like buildings and lights.

What is the blocking controller used for? I know its to turn sections on and off but why? Is it to keep higher voltage to the rest of the track on a large set up?

Thanks again
 
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