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Bachmann Spectrum 4-6-0 stalls intermittantly.

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Bachmann Spectrum 4-6-0 stalls intermittantly.
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, November 28, 2014 11:06 AM

I have a Bachman Spectrum 4-6-0 DCC/Soundvalue (52" drivers).  It has an intermittant problem where it looses electrical contact on turnouts.  The wheelbase of the locomotive is longer than the dead part of the frog, plus the tender wheels pick up power. 

2 questions

1. Does anyone have any idea about what could be wrong?

2. Has anyone disassembled these?  I could not find disassembly instructions, just the exploded parts diagram.

Thanks

 

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Posted by Graffen on Friday, November 28, 2014 11:16 AM
Are you sure that it picks up power on all axles and tender? Turn it upside down and give each axle power in turn and the the front and rear tender trucks.

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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, November 28, 2014 11:27 AM

There are wheel wipers on all 4 tender axles, and wheel wipers on all 6 drive wheels.  A continuity test would then seem to be the first course of action, to determine if power is indeed getting from the wheels to the decoder.

Edit: It appears that the rear tender truck is not picking up power reliably.  The wipers do not maintain good contact with the axles or the bolster.

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Posted by selector on Friday, November 28, 2014 12:19 PM

When your tracks are on good condition, clean, and reasonably well laid, and if metering shows the power to be consistent and robust, the problem has to be the locomotive/tender.  There is a wiper not making contact (or more than one if it's an older engine with lots of use), a solder or wire has parted and makes intermittent contact, or a tether has a defect if there is one between the two components of locomotion on a steamer with tender.

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Posted by GP-9_Man11786 on Friday, November 28, 2014 12:37 PM

Is your 4-6-0 N Scale? Sometimes I find the wheel whipers on Bachmann tenders don't always make good contact with the bronze strips inside the tender. Another part of the problem is power collected by the drivers flows through the tender drawbar to the wipers on the lead tender truck, where it flows into the bronze contacts, then the decoder and back to the locomotive.

If the lead tender truck isn't making good contact with the strips in the tender, you'll lose all the current supplied by the drivers. One solution I've come up with is to hardwire the pickup wipers to the bronze contacts. This eliminates a lot of those unreliable middle men.

Hope this helps.

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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, November 28, 2014 7:28 PM

1.  HO scale 4-6-0

2.  Powering frogs does not fix the actual problem.  When the locomotive crosses a frog, it only ever has 1 set  of drive wheels (out of 3) contacting a non-powered section of track.  Additionally there are power pickups on the tender.  Secondly why spend a lot of money and time powering every single Insulfrog turnout on my layout, when every other locomotive runs across them without any problems (including the Bachmann 44 tonner and 4-4-0)?

Using the continuity setting on my multimeter, I have determined that the rear tender truck power pickup wiper (say that 10 times quickly) does not make good contact with the wheels at all times.  Addtionally it is loose under the screw. 

New problem.  I attempted to remove the screw and it just spins in its hole without coming out.  Is there a nut on the back that is not locked in place?  Edit: yes there is! Bachmann, why do you hate your customers?

Also the center drive wheel on the engineer's (right) side of the locomotive has intermittant continuity.  Why? I cant figure out, unless the wiper is stuck to the side of the frame with grease from the factory.  This aggrivates the above problem with the rear tender truck. 

Note:

Continuity was checked from wheels to the red/black 2 wire plug between locomotive and tender.  This, I assume, is the power collecting circuit for the decoder.  The exploded parts diagram was not clear on this.

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, November 28, 2014 9:45 PM

Can't power Peco i sulfurous, there's nothing to power.

are you sure it is losing power and not actually momentarily shorting where the two closure rails come together with the in sliver of plastic insulating them? This seems to be a fairly common problem with Peco Insulfrogs. Make sure all wheels are properly in gauge.

 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, November 28, 2014 10:57 PM

BMMECNYC
....Using the continuity setting on my multimeter, I have determined that the rear tender truck power pickup wiper (say that 10 times quickly) does not make good contact with the wheels at all times. Addtionally it is loose under the screw. New problem. I attempted to remove the screw and it just spins in its hole without coming out. Is there a nut on the back that is not locked in place? Edit: yes there is! Bachmann, why do you hate your customers?....

If the wiper isn't making good contact, simply remove it and re-bend it to correct the problem.
And yes, the screws holding the tender trucks in place have a nut on their upper ends.  You'll need to remove the tender shell to gain access.  There's a screw through the tender floor near the front truck which needs to be removed first (no nut involved there, other than the one operating the screwdriver Stick out tongue  ).  Next, lift the front of the tender shell from the floor, and carefully disengage the two tabs at the rear of the shell from the two slots in the tender's floor.
I suspect that the nut has worked its way right off the screw, which means that the electrical contact which is normally secured beneath it is loose, resulting in only intermittent continuity. 
Bachmann tender trucks pick-up current from alternate sides - left rail on one truck and right rail on the other - this is not always a standard pattern, though, which is why some locos will sometimes not work with a tender from a similar Bachmann loco.  Make sure, when re-tightening that screw/nut that the truck is properly oriented.

Wayne

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, November 29, 2014 5:15 AM

If it is the frogs, you are out of luck because, as Randy says, you cannot power them since Peco Insulfrogs are plastic.

If it is the tender that is at fault, you are out of luck because Bachmann likely won't repair it and the chances of replacing it with another Spectrum 4-6-0 are next to nill if that Bachmann loco is sold out.

You may wind up having to dump the Bachmann Spectrum 4-6-0.  

Rich

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Posted by markie97 on Saturday, November 29, 2014 8:45 AM

I had a simialr problem with a Bachmann 4-6-0 on Peco Code 83 nsulfrog turnouts. I found that a short occurred at the frog. The wheels on the engine would bridge the the frog rails where they come to a point. I filed this gap wider. A simpler solution would be to paint with nail polish or other insulating material. I chose to file because I wanted a permanent fix.

One thing I was told but never tried. If you have another sound loco in the area and it looses sound momentarily when the engine crosses the turnout then its almost definitely a short across the turnout. 

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Posted by richg1998 on Saturday, November 29, 2014 10:12 AM

I have some HO Bachmann 4-6-0's. There is a nut inside that holds a tab with a wire that goes to the decoder PC board.

The pickups can easily be adjusted.

I converted my tender trucks for all wheel pickup on both sides. The trucks only pick up on one side.

A picture is worth a thousand words. I found Harold's link in the Bachmann forums.

If you have more Bachmann products, it would be worth it to join the forums. Different forums for different scales. All kinds of Bachmann documentation there and couple Bachmann reps.

 http://www.55n3.org/cars/tender_wipers/

http://www.bachmanntrains.com/home-usa/board/index.php?PHPSESSID=14f37dtedd2f7d8tnn892rp586&

 Rich

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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, November 29, 2014 6:16 PM

Its definitely the power pickup on the tender.  If it where the frogs the Bachmann Spectrum 4-4-0 would have the same problem or worse.  And since I have the Peco Insulfrog turnouts wired up so that Left rail/Right rail are soldered to their respective partner on the diverging route, and feeders on all 3 ends of each turnout,  I seriously doubt that the 5/8" of dead track is causing a problem.  As to the insulfrog shorting issue: the only problem I have are my LL Proto 2000 E7As and some passenger cars are momentarily sparking on the opposite route on a Peco small radius (24") Wye, Problem was corrected with application of some black, followed by nutmeg (rail brown) craft paint. <--Now that is a bandage on the problem!  I will have to treat that one like an electrofrog.   

I've tried making those wheel wiper pickups before, managed to destroy the spring.

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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, December 5, 2014 9:32 AM

 

I emailed both the parts and service department for information on disassembly.  Parts department told me I would have to contact a service tech (expected).  The service department manager sent me a link to the exploded parts diagram.....Bang Head, which I had stated in my initial email was not helpful.  She also sent me info on how to send it in for waranty repairs. 

I found the 2 clips on the back of the tender that are holding the shell on.  Does anyone know what is holding front in place? 

I also determined that not all of the feeders on the turnout ladder are currently connected, but power is being fed via soldered rail joiners and wires that short same side rails together, per the Peco recommendations.  Addtionally the 4-4-0 Spectrum locomotive runs smoothly across the turnout ladder, convincing me that there is a problem with the locomotive or tender power pick up, not the track work. 

 

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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, February 1, 2015 9:42 AM

Further news.  I now have a problem with another Bachmann locomotive.  This one is a 2-8-0 DCC/Sound model.  It wont run 1 foot with out stalling on clean track.  I cleaned the wheels and noticed the wipers for power pickup on the Locomotive have dust on them.  I removed and cleaned them, but I am finding it difficult to re-assemble the wiper piece with out bending it.  Anyone have any tips or tricks.

Edit: The 2-8-0 is working; however, I did end up breaking the tip of one of the wipers. 

 

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, February 1, 2015 10:12 AM

Is this the typical Spectrum power pick up arrangement which is a copper sheet with fingers extending down behind the driver wheels?

If so, that is the worst possible design.  I ruined a 4-8-2 a few years back when the fingers got tangled up and the loco essentially lost power.  I sent it in to Bachmann and they said that they no longer had replacement parts.

Rich

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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, February 1, 2015 10:31 AM

Rich,

Yes I think you have the idea.  Its almost impossible to get them back behind (inside) the drivers and the quartering correct without getting one of the fingers jammed through the wheel spokes.  I really like the power pick up and mechanisim on the Athearn Mikes.  No issues there with little sprung brass parts.

Andrew

 

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, February 1, 2015 11:35 AM

Just saw this post, did not read all the replies. But as the owner of about 35 Bachmann steamers, including two of the 4-6-0, here are a few thoughts.

Make sure there is plenty of tension on the tender wipers and that those surfaces are clean. Add weight to the tender - it improves tracking and electrical pickup - about two more ounces is good.

That loco can be tricky to disassemble/re-assemble, but your problems are likely intermittent tender pickup because of its light weight asnd floating truck wiper design - the weight should fix it.

I find that most all Bachmann tenders, and many other brands, benefit from extra weight, both in tracking and electrical pickup.

The driver wipers work fine until you screw them up - then call Bachmann and order a new wiper plate assembly for the engine. Personally, as mentioned, I have a bunch of them, and have only had problems with the wipers on one loco.

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, February 1, 2015 11:57 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

The driver wipers work fine until you screw them up - then call Bachmann and order a new wiper plate assembly for the engine. Personally, as mentioned, I have a bunch of them, and have only had problems with the wipers on one loco.

Sheldon 

 

Low blow, Sheldon.  I never laid my hands on those driver wheel pickups on my 4-8-2.  They were constantly getting tangled inside the driver wheels, bending and breaking.  You need to accept the fact that the design was very poor.  Blame Bachmann, not your fellow modelers.

Rich

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, February 1, 2015 2:05 PM

richhotrain
 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL

The driver wipers work fine until you screw them up - then call Bachmann and order a new wiper plate assembly for the engine. Personally, as mentioned, I have a bunch of them, and have only had problems with the wipers on one loco.

Sheldon 

 

 

 

Low blow, Sheldon.  I never laid my hands on those driver wheel pickups on my 4-8-2.  They were constantly getting tangled inside the driver wheels, bending and breaking.  You need to accept the fact that the design was very poor.  Blame Bachmann, not your fellow modelers.

 

Rich

 

Rich,

I will be the first to admit that if they are messed up from Bachmann in the first place, they are a problem. That was the case with the one I had trouble with.

I was not blaming anyone - Bachmann or the users - simply relating my experiance which I think is valid based on my sample of 35 locos.

You say its a bad design - you are entitled to that view - but it is a bad design that has worked perfectly well for a great number of people.

I think the user interface (hand held throttle) of most all DCC systems are bad designs, yet lots of others think they work just fine.

And, at the risk of being called names, I will repeat my view that these are complex delicate models that need careful handling and I don't expect "bullet proof" design that makes it impossable for me to mess them up.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, February 1, 2015 2:53 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

You say its a bad design - you are entitled to that view - but it is a bad design that has worked perfectly well for a great number of people.

I think the user interface (hand held throttle) of most all DCC systems are bad designs, yet lots of others think they work just fine.

If something works just fine, it is hard to accuse it of being a bad design. The Spectrum power pick up design is a bad design because it has failed for a lot of people.

You say that it has worked perfectly well for a great number of people.  I say that it has failed for a number of people.

And, you are blaming the users (modelers). You said so yourself in your earlier reply.  Sheldon, my friend, you remain an apologist for Bachmann, for what reason, I know not why.

Rich

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, February 1, 2015 4:15 PM

Rich,

If I am an apologist for Bachmann it is only because the selection, features, price, and overall quality of their products suits my modeling needs.

In the same way, for example, that so many on here do the same regarding Broadway, yet my experiances with Broadway products have been generally less positive in the catagories listed above.

Broadway has offered few locos that fit my needs, they generally are much more expensive, and the ones I have purchased have had a higher "defect rate" than my Bachmann purchases.

Among the modelers I know personally, that is people I see in person, visit and operate their layouts, etc, there is no overwheming distain or complaining about Bachmann or the design of their pickups - and there are a great many Bachmann locos on those layouts.

Those same modelers have returned numerous Broadway locos for service - and a few Bachmann locos.

Personally, I find the quality of all this stuff to be similar, but a small "defect" I can fix myself on a $100 loco is better than a big defect that requires me to return a $250 loco.

What seperates a Bachmann 2-8-0 with a current retail of $215 from a BLI 2-8-0 with retail of $449.00? A sound system I don't want. And the DCC decoder in the Bachmann is easily removed fo my purposes - not so much so on the Broadway model.

Bachmann locos are not all "perfect", and a few are "dogs". But overall the ones that interest me have all been good runners with only minor "adjustments".

I would rather do those minor adjustments, and have the size, style, and types of locos Bachmann has offered over the last 20 years than be restricted to the selection offered by BLI and the few others offering steam locos in the last 20 years.

Do you know what happens to most of the Broadway locos I have bought? They get Bachmann tenders........Mikados, Pacifics, and N&W Class A's, all now equiped with Bachmann tenders - again to create a unique roster to suit my modeling goals. The only other Broadway locos I have are Reading T-1 Northerns - from back when BLI sold locos without decoders.

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, April 3, 2015 1:54 PM

Sheldon,

If the design was better, I would have never had to disassble the 2-8-0 to get at the wipers which had for some reason decided to collect dirt.  My Athearn Mikados do not have this problem, as power is picked up through the absolutly beautiful Shamagosa mechanism that works excellently.  But for $225 (Spectrum DCC sound) I expect a somewhat better design, especially since a also own a BLI USRA Light Pacific that also doesnt use this pickup system and costs the same amount of money. 

Edit: I did have to fix one of the power wires on the Athearn Mike that I broke when installing a decoder. 

Back to the topic of the Original Post:

How do you disassemble the tender on the Spectrum 4-6-0?

 

Andrew

 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, April 3, 2015 3:37 PM

As I mentioned in my initial reply, there's a screw which goes up through the tender's underframe.  It's located just aft of the front truck.  Once it's been removed, carefully lift the front of the tender shell a bit and disengage the tabs at the rear of the tender from the slots in the floor/frame.

As for the Bachmann driver wipers, the design is fine, unless it's been improperly assembled or re-assembled.
To re-install the coverplate and integral wipers, it helps to align it either fore or aft, depending on the particular set-up, of where it is to be located.  This allows the drivers to compress the wipers as the coverplate is slid into alignment.  If a wiper happens to not compress and instead gets caught in the driver's spokes, use tweezers to first compress it, then re-align it on the rear face of the driver's tire.

Since I run DC, all of my Bachmann locos have been re-wired, and will run even without their tenders - handy for testing, but not much use for pulling a train. Stick out tongue  The tender does enhance the current pick-up, though, and I'm currently re-doing one for a friend, to be used behind a brass Mikado, so that it has all-wheel pick-up.  As Sheldon mentioned, adding weight to tenders will improve pick-up characteristics and also lessen the chance of the unwieldy plug system causing derailments.  If the loco is sound-equipped, adding weight (or replacing the plugs) may be difficult.  With DC, I replace the plugs with smaller ones and even on these shortened tenders, add weight - the ones behind my Ten Wheelers are about 8oz. each.

Wayne

 

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Posted by richg1998 on Friday, April 3, 2015 4:05 PM

I have a couple 4-4-0's and 4-6-0's and the driver pickups are just fine.

I modified the tenders with Harold's idea just in case.

http://www.55n3.org/cars/tender_wipers/

A drop of Cramolin contact enhancer on the original truck swivel points. The bottle of Cramolin is many years old and excellant stuff.

Rich

 

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, April 3, 2015 6:13 PM

BMMECNYC

Sheldon,

If the design was better, I would have never had to disassble the 2-8-0 to get at the wipers which had for some reason decided to collect dirt.  My Athearn Mikados do not have this problem, as power is picked up through the absolutly beautiful Shamagosa mechanism that works excellently.  But for $225 (Spectrum DCC sound) I expect a somewhat better design, especially since a also own a BLI USRA Light Pacific that also doesnt use this pickup system and costs the same amount of money. 

Edit: I did have to fix one of the power wires on the Athearn Mike that I broke when installing a decoder. 

Back to the topic of the Original Post:

How do you disassemble the tender on the Spectrum 4-6-0?

 

Andrew

 

 

I have an Athearn Mikado, it would not pull itself and a caboose up a 2% grade until I completely disassembled it and found a way to cram about 8 oz of weight in it.

Hopefully you did not pay retail for that Bachmann loco, the real prices are all 40% off.

I have BLI heavy Pacific, now sporting a Bachmann long haul tender and no more DCC or sound. But the detail does not hold a candle to any of my Bachmann steam - even the regular line 2-8-4's, which I converted to 2-8-2's, have more detail.

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I have eight Bachmann 2-8-0's, again never had a problem.

You know, I'm starting to think that coming back to this forum was a bad idea.

Sheldon

 

    

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, April 4, 2015 4:52 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

You know, I'm starting to think that coming back to this forum was a bad idea.

Sheldon

LOL   C'mon, Sheldon, you never left.  Laugh

Rich

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Posted by JOE SALEMI on Saturday, April 4, 2015 10:03 AM

I recently bought a 2-6-0 with the Sound Value, and the thing would keep stalling on straight tracks.  It actually had no problems running through Atlas Customline switches with powered frogs, but would then stall about 2" past the turnout on perfectly straight track.

Tried some of the things mentioned in this thread, but none of them solved the issue, so I just sent it back to Bachmann for warranty repair.  Still waiting for it to come back.

 

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Posted by gatrhumpy on Monday, April 6, 2015 6:30 AM

Wrong scale, sorry.

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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 9:33 PM

doctorwayne
As I mentioned in my initial reply, there's a screw which goes up through the tender's underframe. It's located just aft of the front truck. Once it's been removed, carefully lift the front of the tender shell a bit and disengage the tabs at the rear of the tender from the slots in the floor/frame.

Wayne

Yeah, I completely missed that part of your initial reply to my question, thank you for taking the time to re-post it.

Andrew

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