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I just bought a used athearn switcher that i fixed up to make it run but is is making a fairly large amount of ozone smell. Ive searched it up and it looks like many trains do that, but is there a way to stop it, is it an athsma trigger/is it safe to run for long periods of time, or does it mean there is an issue with the electrical components? The contacts were a bit oxidized so im wondering if that is what causes it
 

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Ozone is a powerful oxidizer which is what caused that to your contacts. It is harmful to humans in high concentrations and can be an asthma trigger after long-term exposure. It damages the lining of the lungs and mucous membranes.

Electric motors using brushes can cause ozone production which is what is happening in your case. The only way to stop it is to install a brushless motor or stop running your trains.

It is also the smell created during and after a thunderstorm from lightning discharges.
 

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I would think the amount of ozone created by an HO train motor is not significant enough to be concerned about unless you have a hypersensitive allergy.
 

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Ozone is generated by sparks. You should not have significant quantities of it anywhere, certainly not from modern can motors. Something else is going on here. Hot insulation smell? Windings getting hot in an old motor? Brushes sparking in an older style open-frame motor? Sparking inside a receptacle? :oops: Sparking of pickup tires due to rising up off the rails, especially at joints or ephemeral contact between metal tires at frog where the frog rails get close to each other (need to paint a small patch with clear nail varnish).
 

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Just clean that baby up wheels and track as T-Man said and look at the Commutator....copper section of the motor...if it looks dark and dirty use some Alcohol with a makeup applicator(no Q-Tips..cotton gets in your motor) make sure its fully dry after cleaning, also take a #2 Pencil eraser that's clean and go over the Commutator copper parts...again make sure there are no particles from the eraser...I use my Key Board Compressed Air cleaner just to make sure to blow crap out...hope this helps and let us know whats up!!
 

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I think most of what we smell coming from HO scale motors is from oil that has wicked into the brushes, commutator, or even windings burning off. As Mesentaria said, there shouldn't be much arcing even in an old Athearn motor. If I detect an odor I clean the commutator and give the brushes a soak in 90% alcohol, or a stronger solvent like contact cleaner. It inevitably goes away. I notice it tends to come back on some motors after the loco has been in storage for a long time, which allows a small amount of lubricant to once again migrate from the brush end bearing.

Old AC tinplate trains can create a noticeable ozone odor due to wheels arcing on steel rails, or when derailed rolling stock shorts and throws out huge sparks. I have fond memories of that smell. The tender derailing on my father's Flyer 322 Hudson was like its own fireworks show.
 

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Yep - takes me back to the 60's and my old Lionel O gauge chuffing around the loop. It's remarkable how an aroma can spark a memory.
Like smelling the cap of Bacardi 151 Rum, drank about a half bottle on 1969 New Years Eve when I was almost 16, never again.
 
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