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Jerky Locos

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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, October 9, 2003 3:17 PM
Becuase I have had the same problem, and have thought of adding electrical pickups to the tender wheels, how would one go about doing this? Is it a matter of replacing the trucks with another type that has the pickups already wired in? And if so, how do you connect them to the engine for power?
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, October 9, 2003 3:17 PM
Becuase I have had the same problem, and have thought of adding electrical pickups to the tender wheels, how would one go about doing this? Is it a matter of replacing the trucks with another type that has the pickups already wired in? And if so, how do you connect them to the engine for power?
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Posted by cacole on Friday, October 3, 2003 9:55 PM
The symptoms you describe are prevalent in HO (OO) scale when you have dirty wheels. The locomotives run great around curves because the wheel flanges are picking up the power from the rail, and are still clean; but on the straight sections the flanges don't touch the rail and dirty wheel treads cause jerky motion. Cleaning the track and locomotive wheels is certainly a step in the right direction, but if you are also pulling rolling stock and its wheels are dirty, they are spreading dirt back onto the track after only a couple of times around the layout, thus the locomotive wheels rapidly become encrusted. Again, in HO scale the best solution I have found is to clean the track, locomotive wheels, and rolling stock wheels simultaneously with a solvent-type track cleaner such as Goo-Gone and a track cleaning car pushed around the layout in front of the locomotives. I have seen track cleaning cars advertised for G-scale, but none that are comparable to HO scale with a reservoir to hold the Goo-Gone and slowly drip it onto the track cleaning pad or roller. Your simplest procedure might be to clean each carriage's wheels with a rag and cleaning fluid, since they are large enough to turn by hand. Isopropyl alcohol, track cleaning fluid, Goo-Gone, etc. can be used to clean these wheels, and a light coating of smoke fluid afterward might help prevent future dirt buildup. Many people claim that changing to metal wheels instead of plastic can also help prevent dirt buildup.

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  • From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
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Posted by cacole on Friday, October 3, 2003 9:55 PM
The symptoms you describe are prevalent in HO (OO) scale when you have dirty wheels. The locomotives run great around curves because the wheel flanges are picking up the power from the rail, and are still clean; but on the straight sections the flanges don't touch the rail and dirty wheel treads cause jerky motion. Cleaning the track and locomotive wheels is certainly a step in the right direction, but if you are also pulling rolling stock and its wheels are dirty, they are spreading dirt back onto the track after only a couple of times around the layout, thus the locomotive wheels rapidly become encrusted. Again, in HO scale the best solution I have found is to clean the track, locomotive wheels, and rolling stock wheels simultaneously with a solvent-type track cleaner such as Goo-Gone and a track cleaning car pushed around the layout in front of the locomotives. I have seen track cleaning cars advertised for G-scale, but none that are comparable to HO scale with a reservoir to hold the Goo-Gone and slowly drip it onto the track cleaning pad or roller. Your simplest procedure might be to clean each carriage's wheels with a rag and cleaning fluid, since they are large enough to turn by hand. Isopropyl alcohol, track cleaning fluid, Goo-Gone, etc. can be used to clean these wheels, and a light coating of smoke fluid afterward might help prevent future dirt buildup. Many people claim that changing to metal wheels instead of plastic can also help prevent dirt buildup.

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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, October 3, 2003 7:22 PM
It wouldn't hurt to add additional pickups in the tenders. The more contact points the better
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, October 3, 2003 7:22 PM
It wouldn't hurt to add additional pickups in the tenders. The more contact points the better
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, October 3, 2003 6:33 PM
Another thought. Where are your power mains attached to the rails? You might want to try adding connection or moving connection to one of the straight sections to see if that makes a difference.
Mark
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, October 3, 2003 6:33 PM
Another thought. Where are your power mains attached to the rails? You might want to try adding connection or moving connection to one of the straight sections to see if that makes a difference.
Mark
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, September 26, 2003 1:29 PM
Just a thought but, are you observing the drive wheels as this occurs. If you see some slight spin, it COULD be a traction problem due to track cleanliness. Live Steamers have this problem due to the oil steamers will deposit on the track, but I've noticed other issues as well such as moisture condensation from the weather or even slime from slugs or snails. Yup, slime from slugs and snails! Sounds unlikely I know, but track cleanliness is the issue to which I speak. Only you can tell this.
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, September 26, 2003 1:29 PM
Just a thought but, are you observing the drive wheels as this occurs. If you see some slight spin, it COULD be a traction problem due to track cleanliness. Live Steamers have this problem due to the oil steamers will deposit on the track, but I've noticed other issues as well such as moisture condensation from the weather or even slime from slugs or snails. Yup, slime from slugs and snails! Sounds unlikely I know, but track cleanliness is the issue to which I speak. Only you can tell this.
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Posted by vsmith on Friday, September 26, 2003 9:55 AM
Well dont throw them into the Mersey just yet!
If power is getting thru to the curves it must be getting thru all the joiners. If all your joiners are good then maybe it is the power pickups. Have you tried cleaning the inside face of the wheels at the power pickup points. it could be that the power pickups are dirty or if they are the type with load springs that press the pick ups against the wheels(plungers), if are dirty that will greatly affect pickup. Older aristo FA units had thier pickup brushing the outside face of the wheel and are real prone to dirt, newer ones have pick ups inside the powerblock. Annies I beleive have the plunger pickups on the inside face of the wheels (but they could also have axle pickups, I havent opened one up yet) and the lead truck picks up power from the axle bearing on the frame. I would check these to see what condition the undersides look like. To have the same problem with two very different engines is perplexing though. Also try walking with the engine as it goes around, see if thiers anything happening with the track. softspots and the weight of the engine might be enough to disrupt current thru a loose joiner that without the engine weight is carrying power.

   Have fun with your trains

  • Member since
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Posted by vsmith on Friday, September 26, 2003 9:55 AM
Well dont throw them into the Mersey just yet!
If power is getting thru to the curves it must be getting thru all the joiners. If all your joiners are good then maybe it is the power pickups. Have you tried cleaning the inside face of the wheels at the power pickup points. it could be that the power pickups are dirty or if they are the type with load springs that press the pick ups against the wheels(plungers), if are dirty that will greatly affect pickup. Older aristo FA units had thier pickup brushing the outside face of the wheel and are real prone to dirt, newer ones have pick ups inside the powerblock. Annies I beleive have the plunger pickups on the inside face of the wheels (but they could also have axle pickups, I havent opened one up yet) and the lead truck picks up power from the axle bearing on the frame. I would check these to see what condition the undersides look like. To have the same problem with two very different engines is perplexing though. Also try walking with the engine as it goes around, see if thiers anything happening with the track. softspots and the weight of the engine might be enough to disrupt current thru a loose joiner that without the engine weight is carrying power.

   Have fun with your trains

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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, September 26, 2003 6:12 AM
Hello and thanks for that.
I am using a mixture of LGB and AristoCraft track in the layout.
I am at present only using the ordinary connectors and maybe that is part of the problem. However, I still cannot understand why the locos work OK for a few circuits after cleaning and then the problem reappears? Surely if it was the joints, cleaning the wheels would have no effect. Also if the joint problem occurs when the loco pulls current through the joint, why does its performance improve on any curve even if it is still pulling the same current through the same joint?
I am baffled!!
Bill
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, September 26, 2003 6:12 AM
Hello and thanks for that.
I am using a mixture of LGB and AristoCraft track in the layout.
I am at present only using the ordinary connectors and maybe that is part of the problem. However, I still cannot understand why the locos work OK for a few circuits after cleaning and then the problem reappears? Surely if it was the joints, cleaning the wheels would have no effect. Also if the joint problem occurs when the loco pulls current through the joint, why does its performance improve on any curve even if it is still pulling the same current through the same joint?
I am baffled!!
Bill
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  • From: Smoggy L.A.
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Posted by vsmith on Wednesday, September 24, 2003 4:46 PM
Hello Electricity-Bill,
A little more info would be helpfull. Track? What are you using for track ?Aristo? USA? LGB? What common lenths? 12 inch straights? 24"? 60"?

Please tell us your NOT using Bachmann track outside.

Have you checked your power supply lines for cracks, shorts, etc.

Are you storing your locos indoors or outdoors, if outdoors there could be corrosion internally just from the increased humidity and condensation.

Check to make sue nothing is wrong with your engines. Have you run them on a test track to make sure they are running well? I use a 5 foot long singlem straight section. They should run smooth as silk on the test track. If so, given that BOTH engines are having the same problem, it sounds like you might be having a problem with loose rail-joiners.

LGB usually have very tight joiners but mixing LGB and Aristo or others can result in an improper fitting joiner. Aristo to Aristo or USA uses very small screws to physically connect the rails together, if you dont use the screws and are relying only on the aristo joiner you will have contact problems as the joiners are not tight otherwise. Also are you using LGB's electric conductive grease? a dab of this in each railjoiner as your assembying track does wonders for connductivity, and keeps water out of the joint. Curved track with non-screwed joiners in Aristo track will still naturally pinch when connected, hence it will still run well, but the straight will experience contact problems as the joiner may be just "floating" barely making good contact, hence the rough motion.
Tight joiners are critical especially outdoors, some people soldier a wire between each rail connecton to assure continuity. I find the set-screws from Aristo work very well. Also I have been using Hillman railclamps where ever I dont have the set screws in place on my track. I use USA/Aristo straights and curves all with the screws set, and LGB switches with railclamps to connect with the USA, all with a dab of the grease and it works very well.

If the problem is with the locos then you will have to probably deal with the manufacturers. But I really doubt it. The chances that two differents engines from two different makers would have the same internal problem are pretty slim.

   Have fun with your trains

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Smoggy L.A.
  • 10,738 posts
Posted by vsmith on Wednesday, September 24, 2003 4:46 PM
Hello Electricity-Bill,
A little more info would be helpfull. Track? What are you using for track ?Aristo? USA? LGB? What common lenths? 12 inch straights? 24"? 60"?

Please tell us your NOT using Bachmann track outside.

Have you checked your power supply lines for cracks, shorts, etc.

Are you storing your locos indoors or outdoors, if outdoors there could be corrosion internally just from the increased humidity and condensation.

Check to make sue nothing is wrong with your engines. Have you run them on a test track to make sure they are running well? I use a 5 foot long singlem straight section. They should run smooth as silk on the test track. If so, given that BOTH engines are having the same problem, it sounds like you might be having a problem with loose rail-joiners.

LGB usually have very tight joiners but mixing LGB and Aristo or others can result in an improper fitting joiner. Aristo to Aristo or USA uses very small screws to physically connect the rails together, if you dont use the screws and are relying only on the aristo joiner you will have contact problems as the joiners are not tight otherwise. Also are you using LGB's electric conductive grease? a dab of this in each railjoiner as your assembying track does wonders for connductivity, and keeps water out of the joint. Curved track with non-screwed joiners in Aristo track will still naturally pinch when connected, hence it will still run well, but the straight will experience contact problems as the joiner may be just "floating" barely making good contact, hence the rough motion.
Tight joiners are critical especially outdoors, some people soldier a wire between each rail connecton to assure continuity. I find the set-screws from Aristo work very well. Also I have been using Hillman railclamps where ever I dont have the set screws in place on my track. I use USA/Aristo straights and curves all with the screws set, and LGB switches with railclamps to connect with the USA, all with a dab of the grease and it works very well.

If the problem is with the locos then you will have to probably deal with the manufacturers. But I really doubt it. The chances that two differents engines from two different makers would have the same internal problem are pretty slim.

   Have fun with your trains

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Jerky Locos
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 24, 2003 2:08 PM
Hello from Liverpool in the UK.
I have finally managed to lay my outdoor track and ballasted it using small diameter limestone chippings and the trackwork looks OK.

However, I am having real problems with getting the locomotives to run consistently. I have bought a mains powered Bachmann 4-6-0 and I also have an AristoCraft Alco PA1 but both seen to be suffering real problems with poor pick up to the motors. I have tried cleaning the track and cleaning the wheels with limited success. Using either meths or smoke oil gives me only a few circuits before they start jerking again. I have noticed that both locos work OK ON ANY CURVED SECTIONS but not so on the straight sections. Any ideas?



Bill

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Jerky Locos
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 24, 2003 2:08 PM
Hello from Liverpool in the UK.
I have finally managed to lay my outdoor track and ballasted it using small diameter limestone chippings and the trackwork looks OK.

However, I am having real problems with getting the locomotives to run consistently. I have bought a mains powered Bachmann 4-6-0 and I also have an AristoCraft Alco PA1 but both seen to be suffering real problems with poor pick up to the motors. I have tried cleaning the track and cleaning the wheels with limited success. Using either meths or smoke oil gives me only a few circuits before they start jerking again. I have noticed that both locos work OK ON ANY CURVED SECTIONS but not so on the straight sections. Any ideas?



Bill

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