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Total greenhorn with non-working locomotive

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  • Member since
    May 2020
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Total greenhorn with non-working locomotive
Posted by mrdad on Saturday, May 30, 2020 5:57 PM

Hi everyone,

I'm not even sure I'm posting in the right place. My little boys wanted a "remote control train", so after looking around and checking their piggy banks, kind of went down the model train rabbit hole. Buying new was too much to start, so we found a used Bachmann EMD GP40 Diesel HO scale kit. I know pretty much next to 0 about this, but I got home...started setting up the track...it went together pretty well. The transformer appear to work, but when getting the locomotive on the track (it's all also very finnicky to get on the tracks even) and having it run, it just sits there...makes a tiny buzz sound. If I lift the front or back slightly, the wheels do start to run at a good clip. I tried taking the cover off (I'm sure there is better terminology for this all) and then took apart the plastic wheel sled for what appear to be the driving wheels, but other than a little bit of lint and guck that I cleaned out in the gears, I can't see anything obvious. Where do I even start? Is there any hope for this...the little boys are giving me that look of "please dad is it fixed yet"...

  • Member since
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Posted by garya on Monday, June 1, 2020 12:01 PM

First thing I would do is clean the track and clean the wheels. I usually use rubbing alcohol. If that's in short supply, you can use denatured alcohol, just be careful with it. Others have used Goo Gone or mineral spirits.

Get some on a paper towel and wipe down the rails. Then I would put the damp towel under the back wheels, with the front wheels on the track, turn on the power, lift a little and let it spin. You should see some black gunk come off on the towel. Then do the front wheels.

After that, I would try to run the loco on the tracks, maybe give it a nudge and see if it runs. If it runs, let it run forward at half speed for a while, the backwards at half speed. This should loosen everything up. You may need to clean the wheels and track again after this.

If it still runs poorly, you may need to take apart some and clean and lubricate the gears, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Oh, and Welcome to the Forum.

Gary

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Posted by cuyama on Monday, June 1, 2020 12:18 PM

When you lift the front or the back, do the wheels start turning in the same direction or opposite directions?

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Posted by RR_Mel on Monday, June 1, 2020 12:35 PM

Welcome

As you have probably figured out by now new members are moderated slowing up the process.

If cleaning doesn’t work and being a greenhorn do you have a multimeter that you could check the voltage on the track?

If not maybe a 12 volt automotive bulb that you could use as a tester.

As the train is used something might be defective and the reason it was for sale.

Because of the “buzz” sound it could be the power pack.  If the power pack will light the automotive bulb fairly brightly or the voltage reads near 12 volts at full throttle it should be OK.

Older locomotive axle gears are known to crack and slip, removing some weight from the wheels and the wheels turning makes that a possibility.  You can check that by holding one wheel and slightly seeing if there is any slippage in the axle.  Replacement wheels/axle gears are available.

Good Luck


Mel




My Model Railroad  
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Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, June 1, 2020 3:44 PM

Welcome Mrdad.

mrdad
Bachmann EMD GP40 Diesel HO scale kit.

Could you explain this a little better, was it a train set with power pack, track and some cars?  And was track "EZ track", where each piece (section) has a "road bed" attached to it?  And if so, was the road bed black or gray?

If the bed is black, it's steel track, if the bed is gray, it's nickel silver, which is much better.

Start with a good cleaning of the wheels and the track, as others have suggested, and try it again.  You might need to turn up the power pack, and a nudge or two to get it moving.

Mike.

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, June 1, 2020 11:14 PM

Post deleted. Wrong info.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by jjdamnit on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 1:47 PM

Hello All,

Welcome to you and your sons to the great, albeit sometimes frustrating and confusing, hobby of model railroading.

mrdad
...I know pretty much next to 0 about this...Where do I even start?

Check out the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) website under the "Getting Started In Model Railroading" tab.

In many circumstances trying to "go cheap" is not inexpensive with this hobby.

You might not want to hear this, but...

For now you might want to put aside the problematic locomotive and buy a new locomotive.

New DC locomotives can be found from reputable dealers with factory warranties for around $75.00.

Model Train Stuff and Hobbylinc are great sources.

When hooking up the cab (controller or transformer) make sure that you attach the wires to the DC output and not the AC. The AC outputs are for things like switches (turnouts) and other accessories.

Keep the questions coming and...

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by RR_Mel on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 3:14 PM

You mentioned the model train rabbit hole, I would suggest you return to the hole and ask if there is someone that can help a greenhorn and his kids to get going.  If there is a local club maybe you can get help from a member.

I hate to loose you guys from the greatest hobby in the World.


Mel



 
My Model Railroad  
http://melvineperry.blogspot.com/
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 

jjo
  • Member since
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Posted by jjo on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 6:50 PM

Cleaning tracks and wheels is essential to getting the locomotive running right...I reco you do that first.

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Posted by Wolf359 on Wednesday, June 3, 2020 11:46 AM

jjo

Cleaning tracks and wheels is essential to getting the locomotive running right...I reco you do that first.

 

Agreed. I clean my track and wheels frequently, and that includes the wheels on the cars as well. Not only does it improve electrical pick up, it also allows the locomotive and cars to roll more smoothly as well.

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Posted by wrench567 on Thursday, June 4, 2020 1:33 PM

Hello.

You said remote control. Does it say DCC or Digital command control? If so there is a little learning curve to get through. Depending on how old the kids are you may want to start them off on something more robust.

 I bought my grandkids (5 and7) a Lionel train set. Wireless remote control and also can be controlled by their tablets. Easier to put on the track and I can set a speed limit too. Little bit more expensive but well worth the enjoyment they get. Plus it keeps them away from Papa's trains.

  My dad started mme out with Lionel. His best saying was " There's nothing more expensive than something cheap" You don't have to buy the best but stay away from the cheap stuff. I would love to have a Maserati but I'm happier in my Mazda.

    Pete

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Posted by richg1998 on Thursday, June 4, 2020 1:56 PM

For the OP, there are Bachmann forums you can join with no waiting. You would want the HO forum.

Google Bachmann forums. They will show right up.

Bachmann reps, loco diagrams, parts list, loco returns info, service departemnt.

Is this new or used? DC or DCC? If the controller is a small square bos with one control and a swithc it would be DC. A more complex bigger box DCC.

Rich

If you ever fall over in public, pick yourself up and say “sorry it’s been a while since I inhabited a body.” And just walk away.

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Posted by ricktrains4824 on Thursday, June 4, 2020 1:58 PM

I think (could be wrong...) the OP was interested in a remote control train, but found one cheaper that is not remote controlled.

mrdad - Where exactly was it purchased? If it was an actual shop, did it work for them? If not, did the individual claim it worked?

The Bachmann forum is a good suggestion. But a bit more info would help in both here and their forum.

Ricky W.

HO scale Proto-freelancer.

My Railroad rules:

1: It's my railroad, my rules.

2: It's for having fun and enjoyment.

3: Any objections, consult above rules.

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Posted by richg1998 on Thursday, June 4, 2020 2:02 PM

A photo would be nice but you need a photo hosting site for that. Another issue.

Edit. OK, I saw used.

Rich

If you ever fall over in public, pick yourself up and say “sorry it’s been a while since I inhabited a body.” And just walk away.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Thursday, June 4, 2020 8:54 PM

Bachmann makes a set that uses the EZ Command system.  Maybe that what he bought.

Once again, we're all guessing until the OP joins in, if he ever does.

Mike.

 

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