American Flyer 4-4-2 Loco Headlight not working

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  • Member since
    October, 2006
  • From: Wisconsin
  • 146 posts
American Flyer 4-4-2 Loco Headlight not working
Posted by skippygp123 on Sunday, December 03, 2017 5:13 PM

I've got a locomotive headlight that won't light.  I took the bulb out and tested it using an ohm meter and it tests good.  However, it won't light when running.  The bulb in the caboose works fine so it can't be a voltage problem.

The wires are still connected to the socket, so that's not the problem either.

Anyone have any ideas or suggestions?

Have edited my title...it's a 4-4-2, not a 4-4-0. Sorry!

I do not suffer from insanity...I enjoy every minute of it!!!      Over 60 and still playing with toys!

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Posted by stebbycentral on Sunday, December 03, 2017 7:00 PM

So many questions:  Is this Gilbert American Flyer, or pre-war American Flyer?  Is this a model of a 20th century steam locomotive or a 19th century steamer? 

I ask because most of the post-war Gilbert American Flyer 4-4-0's were produced in the later years of the A C Gilbert Co.  At that time the company was cutting back on quality to economize on production costs.  Neither variation of the "western" steam locomotives came with a working headlight from the factory, and only the 21168 "modern" locomotive came with one.  In the other units a shiney silver decal took the place of the headlamp, though some could have been modified by their owners.  It would be helpful if we knew the locomotive # (as printed under the cab window). 

I have figured out what is wrong with my brain!  On the left side nothing works right, and on the right side there is nothing left!

  • Member since
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  • From: Wisconsin
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Posted by skippygp123 on Sunday, December 03, 2017 7:22 PM

Yes, it is Gilbert American Flyer.  The locomotive has a bulb.  I took it out and tested it.  It is a steam locomotive...4-4-2...#302.  Tender is marked "American Flyer Reading Lines".

I do not suffer from insanity...I enjoy every minute of it!!!      Over 60 and still playing with toys!

  • Member since
    December, 2006
  • 1,201 posts
Posted by stebbycentral on Monday, December 04, 2017 8:17 AM

Here is a link to a generic steam loco wiring diagram.  I know it shows 6 drivers, but all the Atlantics were wired in a similar fashion.  You will need to get out that Ohm meter again, because the current flow to the bulb is not a straight shot.  There are multiple points where a solder connection could have gone bad.  Based on my experience the two most senestive points of failure are where the bulb circuit comes off of the motor brush connection, and where the wires are connected to the jack in the back of the locomotive. 

http://www.portlines.com/images/steamwiring.jpg

I have figured out what is wrong with my brain!  On the left side nothing works right, and on the right side there is nothing left!

  • Member since
    October, 2006
  • From: Wisconsin
  • 146 posts
Posted by skippygp123 on Monday, December 04, 2017 11:18 AM

According to the information I've found, the locomotive is a Hudson, not an Atlantic. 

Does this make a difference?

I do not suffer from insanity...I enjoy every minute of it!!!      Over 60 and still playing with toys!

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Posted by TrainLarry on Monday, December 04, 2017 11:26 AM

Check to make sure the bulb assembly is getting a good ground. Without it, the bulb will not light.

 

Larry

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Posted by stebbycentral on Monday, December 04, 2017 12:04 PM
Locomotive #302 is most assuredly an Atlantic. A Hudson is a 4-6-4. Flyer Hudsons usually carry the locomotive #320 through 325, and are always lettered for the New York Central.

I have figured out what is wrong with my brain!  On the left side nothing works right, and on the right side there is nothing left!

  • Member since
    October, 2006
  • From: Wisconsin
  • 146 posts
Posted by skippygp123 on Monday, December 04, 2017 12:23 PM

You're correct.  My goof!  Sorry!

I do know that it was working at one time.  But, the locomotive hasn't been run for probably a year. 

The bulb is attached to a metal bracket that is screwed to the chassis of the train.  That bracket is tight to the chassis.  I'll do a little more checking. 

Thank you.

I do not suffer from insanity...I enjoy every minute of it!!!      Over 60 and still playing with toys!

  • Member since
    October, 2011
  • 794 posts
Posted by TrainLarry on Monday, December 04, 2017 4:00 PM

Trace the bulb wiring back to the jack panel at the rear of the loco. Put the loco in neutral and check for voltage at the bulb leads on the jack panel.

If you get voltage and the bulb still does not light,change out the bulb. I have seen bulbs check good outside the loco, but not work in the socket due to the bottom of the bulb not making good contact in the socket.

 

Larry

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