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Although I've been an O-gauger for years, I'm trying to help my son with his HO layout. We have trouble understanding the hookup from the tender wipers to the loco. Right now, the loco moves okay on its own. as soon as the tender is on the rails, the loco won't work. I've tried different wiring solutions with no luck. Could someone pls. explain how the tender works and why it has a resistor or capacitor inside it? Is it only for the light hookup to the loco? I notice the tender also has a light on rear. No lights work so far. Thanks!
The electronic component inside the tender is a diode, not a resistor or capacitor. It's used for turning the rear-facing light on the tender on, when the loco and tender are going in reverse. A diode only conducts current in one direction so the tender light will turn off when going forward. The diode should have nothing to do with your loco not moving. It only operates the backup light.
To find out why the tender is stopping the loco, first turn the tender trucks so that both trucks have the insulated wheels on the same side of the tender. From your photos, I can see that both tender trucks have electrical pickup terminals attached to the screws that hold the trucks to the tender's plastic floor. The front and rear truck's terminals are connected to each other by a wire. Assume your son's HO track runs east to west. If one truck is positioned so as to pick up power from the "north" rail, and the other tender truck is positioned to pick up power from the "south rail, The two truck's pickups, through that wire, between them, will provide a direct short-circuit path from the "north" rail to the "south" rail.
Try it with both truck's insulated wheels on the right side, and if that doesn't work, try it with them all on the left side. To understand two-rail DC electrical control, think of the center rail, and one of the outside rails of your three-rail O-gage track. Those work the same as two-rail. If anything shorted between those two rails, your O-gage loco wouldn't go.
If that doesn't fix the problem, you will need to use a multimeter to find out what's shorted in the tender. If you don't own a multimeter, they're available cheap ($5-$10) from harbor freight tools. www.harborfreight.com
The meter comes with directions, and batteries already in it.
Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos: