Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Breaking in Locomotives

1696 views
18 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • From: Cresskill, NJ USA
  • 648 posts
Breaking in Locomotives
Posted by gdelmoro on Sunday, April 30, 2017 1:11 PM

Many years ago I have read and heard about breaking in new locomotives.  Is this something that is still done with new locomotives? How do you do it?

Gary

  • Member since
    October, 2001
  • From: OH
  • 15,898 posts
Posted by BRAKIE on Sunday, April 30, 2017 1:36 PM

Gary,With todays smooth drives one no longer needs to break them in..I inspect mine and run them back and forth on the test track twice at slow speeds to insure all is well.

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

  • Member since
    May, 2010
  • 1,745 posts
Posted by mbinsewi on Sunday, April 30, 2017 1:36 PM

I don't think you have to break in any of the newer models.  I do sometimes, when it's brand new out of the box.  I let it run a round the layout, while working on other stuff, first forward, then reverse, but I don't think it's necessary.  It's more of a "lets see how this runs" kind of a thing.

The older Athearn BB locos, I used to do this.  I was surprised at how differently some ran, compared to others.  Just as an example, it seem like every GP50 ran great, and most of the GP35's, (yea, I know it's the same drive in all of them), but some of the SD45's would run sluggish, and needed to have the throttle turned up, and some ran great.  The sluggish ones I usually open up and started digging around seeing if I could find the problem.

When Athearn started using the dog bone style, one piece drive shaft, they seemed to improve.

Mike.

  • Member since
    August, 2015
  • 89 posts
Posted by Autonerd on Monday, May 01, 2017 12:45 AM
Dunno if it's necessary, but I usually send new locomotives for a long-distance shakedown run on the club layout -- 30 mins in each direction at fairly steady speeds. Couldn't hurt!
  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: North Dakota
  • 7,528 posts
Posted by BroadwayLion on Monday, May 01, 2017 9:20 AM

Older locomotives like older automobiles used to be rough machined, and needed to be run carefully for the first 500 miles or so. This lets things wear in and machine themselves up.

Now everything is precission made and needs no run in.

 

ROAR

The Route of the Broadway Lion The Largest Subway Layout in North Dakota.

Here there be cats.                                LIONS with CAMERAS

  • Member since
    March, 2015
  • 935 posts
Posted by SouthPenn on Monday, May 01, 2017 1:17 PM

The main thing you are trying to accomplish during a break in of a DC motor is to seat the brushes and polish the commutator.

The armature ( the entire rotating part of the motor including the commutator) moves back and forth in the housing as the speed and load changes.

Getting the brushes to seat is pretty straight forward. Run the engine at varying speeds in both directions for about 20 minutes each direction.

Getting the proper polish takes current passing from the brushes to the commutator and running unloaded doesn't supply enough current. After running light as above, I attach a coal car to the engine that is half full of lead shot. This gets the same 20 minute treatment as the engine running light.

I checked the current draw of some Kato powered engines by placing my finger in front of the engine to prevent it from moving and ran it at full speed for a few seconds. The wheels were allowed to spin on the track. New, out of the box, most engine drew 270ma to 310ma. After break in they would draw 220ma to 260ma. Of course, the gear boxes and other running gear also got some break in time too. But with delrin plastic in the gear boxes and running gear, I don't think they made much difference.

[ I was an electrician in a rolling mill for 35 years. Over 90% of the motors in the plant were DC. My break in procedure is based on my experiance working on these DC motors. ]

South Penn
  • Member since
    November, 2005
  • From: St. Paul
  • 323 posts
Posted by garya on Wednesday, May 03, 2017 4:13 PM

BroadwayLion

Older locomotives like older automobiles used to be rough machined, and needed to be run carefully for the first 500 miles or so. This lets things wear in and machine themselves up.

Now everything is precission made and needs no run in.

 

ROAR

 

Recently, a forum member who worked at Bowser several years back indicated they would "break in" repaired steam kits by running them for 50 hours on the store layout: http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/262460.aspx

I have some MDC, Mantua, and Bowser steam kits, and I don't know that I have 50 hours running time on any of them.  When I built my Casey Jones 4-6-0, I ran it for 1/2 hour forward, 1/2 reverse at various speeds, but I think it needs even more run time.

Gary
  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 1,032 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, May 03, 2017 5:14 PM

BroadwayLion
Older locomotives like older automobiles used to be rough machined, and needed to be run carefully for the first 500 miles or so.

.

When I bought my new Impala last year the salesman overheard me talking to my wife about the trip home and how I was going to drive the car at varying speeds and not let it idle.

.

I heard him sigh **Old Guys** under his breath.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

  • Member since
    March, 2015
  • 935 posts
Posted by SouthPenn on Thursday, May 04, 2017 8:42 AM

Watching programs on TV and taking tours of some assembly plants, I would say the break-in of new car motor is a maximum of 5 minutes. And that is not self powered.

You might be an 'old guy' but the sales people are 'clueless'.

South Penn
  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • From: Cresskill, NJ USA
  • 648 posts
Posted by gdelmoro on Sunday, September 10, 2017 6:26 AM

Recently purchased an HO Rapido FL9 and the instructions say that I should run it fast and slow in both directions arround my layout for about an hour to let the gears mesh.

I've never seen this recommendation from the other manufacturers.

Are there other manufacturers that recommend break-in? Why do some and not others? Aren't they pretty much made the same these days ?

Gary

  • Member since
    November, 2013
  • From: various locations
  • 1,875 posts
Posted by BMMECNYC on Sunday, September 10, 2017 8:08 AM

SouthPenn

Watching programs on TV and taking tours of some assembly plants, I would say the break-in of new car motor is a maximum of 5 minutes. And that is not self powered.

You might be an 'old guy' but the sales people are 'clueless'.

 

Shelby GT500s still have a break in period (at least the 2007 model did).  The computer limits you to 4k rpm for the first 3000 miles or so.  

Rule 108: In case of doubt or uncertainty, the safe course must be taken.
  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • From: Cresskill, NJ USA
  • 648 posts
Posted by gdelmoro on Sunday, September 10, 2017 8:21 AM

BMMECNYC

 

 
SouthPenn

Watching programs on TV and taking tours of some assembly plants, I would say the break-in of new car motor is a maximum of 5 minutes. And that is not self powered.

You might be an 'old guy' but the sales people are 'clueless'.

 

 

 

Shelby GT500s still have a break in period (at least the 2007 model did).  The computer limits you to 4k rpm for the first 3000 miles or so.  

 

You lost me!

Gary

  • Member since
    November, 2013
  • From: various locations
  • 1,875 posts
Posted by BMMECNYC on Sunday, September 10, 2017 8:44 AM

gdelmoro

 

 
BMMECNYC

 

 
SouthPenn

Watching programs on TV and taking tours of some assembly plants, I would say the break-in of new car motor is a maximum of 5 minutes. And that is not self powered.

You might be an 'old guy' but the sales people are 'clueless'.

 

 

 

Shelby GT500s still have a break in period (at least the 2007 model did).  The computer limits you to 4k rpm for the first 3000 miles or so.  

 

 

 

You lost me!

 

Car not trains.  The engine has a rev limit until you complete the break in period.  Which if I remember correctly was 3000 miles on the digital odometer. 

Rule 108: In case of doubt or uncertainty, the safe course must be taken.
  • Member since
    April, 2015
  • 57 posts
Posted by DRfan on Sunday, September 10, 2017 10:28 AM

I know of two manufacturers that make recommendations to break in a new locomotive.  ROCO recommends running the locomotive in each direction for 30 minutes.  Piko recommends running the engine in eah direction for 30 minutes but to vary the the speeds.  I normally follow Piko's advise when I purchase a new locomotive.

  • Member since
    June, 2011
  • 103 posts
Posted by Old Fat Robert on Sunday, September 10, 2017 11:18 AM

First off: I am not in any way against following mfr instructions or against gentle use when testing a new locomotive and I am not trying to alter any ones thinking here. But just for reflection: I am very "late" in my 60s. When I was about 10, I received a Marx HO train (little plymouth switcher style engine) for Christmas. When I was 13 or so, I built a fence in the back yard for which my mother bought me a TYCO/Mantua train set. An 0-6-0 steam switcher. I was a child and I am pretty sure that I never read or heeded isntructions about break in periods. Both of those engines still run. The Marx is noisy and I have moved it to the memory box. The TYCO runs so well that I have  even used it to practice DCC decoder installs. It is actually going to get a little detailing, new magnets and a place on the helper track. The last "new" locomotive was in 2005. I brought it home and attacked a switch list. Perhaps, the back and forth of yard duty doubled as a break in period? Real autos have large weight and heavy electrical loads to overcome - I am not sure that the same sort of break in requirements are present in our locomotives. But I am willing to learn!

Old Fat Robert

 

 

Old Fat Robert

  • Member since
    January, 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 7,598 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, September 10, 2017 2:50 PM

I'd guess that any "break-in" time would be simply to seat the motor brushes.

NorthWest Short Line, the gear and motor folks, state in their catalogue:  "You can't wear a gear in - you can only wear it out!"

Wayne

  • Member since
    December, 2015
  • 2,124 posts
Posted by BigDaddy on Sunday, September 10, 2017 4:52 PM

jlwii2000 demos trains right out of the box.  Many times they are jerky at speed steps 1-3 and his disclaimer is that they have not been broken in. He has not answered the question "does it get better"

doctorwayne
NorthWest Short Line, the gear and motor folks, state in their catalogue: "You can't wear a gear in - you can only wear it out!"

Bachmann didn't get the memo. 

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/191371.aspx

I'm not saying that break in causes Bachmann gear failures.  I'm saying they are toy train manufacturers, not Daimler Benz building $100K cars.  Do you really think there might not be some flash on plastic gears.

NWSL makes a quality product.  In part they owe their success to the failures of the industry.

 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

  • Member since
    November, 2015
  • 920 posts
Posted by ATSFGuy on Monday, September 11, 2017 4:30 PM

Usually when I buy new locomotives, I break them in by running them around on the club layout when we have a show. 

  • Member since
    July, 2017
  • 83 posts
Posted by marksrailroad on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 1:44 AM

Even though I really don't have to, I still break in my new locos by running them forward and reverse for about a half hour each way. So far this seems to work very well. By the way, I'm an N scaler.

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!
Popular on ModelRailroader.com
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Search the Community

Users Online

There are no community member online
ADVERTISEMENT
Find us on Facebook