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Problem with Walthers 130' turntable

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  • Member since
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Problem with Walthers 130' turntable
Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 5:33 PM

This is the original non-DCC version. As I mentioned in another thread, my layout sits idle for most of the warm weather months (golf season) and each year I have to start out with a major track cleaning task and usually find a few other bugs that crop up, largely due to the layout becoming a mouse playground in my absence. I've come across a problem with the gear drive on the TT and I've traced the problem to a frozen gear wheel, the one the rides on the cogs around the ring. I've been able to turn the wheel with the tip of a small screwdriver but it takes a good deal of effort and it doesn't surprise me that the small motor on the TT would be unable to get it to budge. I'm guessing that crud has built up between the wheel and housing preventing that wheel from turning easily but it is difficult to tell for sure because the housing has plastic parts that are glued together and it seems to me I'd risk breaking them if I try to disassemble it. 

I've thought of the old stand by WD-40 but I fear that might just cause more crud to collect. I'm wondering if others have had this problem and what they did to free up the wheel. If WD-40 is not the solution, what sort of cleaning products might free up this wheel without taking the housing apart. If it is necessary to disassemble it, what advice would others have for how to do it. 

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Posted by Trainman440 on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 7:00 PM

If you dont mind removing the paint along with the crud Id recommend isopropyl Alcohol 91%. I use it to clean track and grease/dirt off of loco wheels/gearboxes. Will damage paint though BUT it wont melt plastic. 

Charles

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Posted by Water Level Route on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 7:10 PM

Might also try a spray electronic contact cleaner.  Plastic safe and should evaporate without leaving a residue that could pick up crud.

Mike

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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 7:25 PM

Trainman440

If you dont mind removing the paint along with the crud Id recommend isopropyl Alcohol 91%. I use it to clean track and grease/dirt off of loco wheels/gearboxes. Will damage paint though BUT it wont melt plastic. 

Charles

 

This sounds like it's worth trying. I don't think the housing is painted. It appears to be molded gray plastic. Since this gear is at the end of the TT bridge and below the surface, even if it would get discolored, it wouldn't be visible.

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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 7:54 PM

The combination of a few drops of alcohol plus taking an old blade from an Exacto knife to clean out the space between the housing and the gear wheel has freed up the mechanism so the motor can now turn it. At first it was rather sluggish but soon began turning more freely although I noticed in one direction it wasn't turning quite as freely as the other. Also, I had not yet screwed the motor housing back into place and was holding it down with my thumb as I was testing it and when it turn in the direction that was a little stubborn, I noticed some vibration and felt the housing trying to pop out of place. I also put a couple drops of Labelle oil on the axle of the gear wheel and that helped some too. I'd like to get it turning freely in both directions before I reassemble the housing and put the bridge back in place. Hopefully just a little cleaning and maybe a few drops of oil in the internal gears as well.  

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Posted by rrebell on Thursday, November 11, 2021 9:42 AM

I accually had a gear with damage I had to reshape with a file, got mine 2nd hand and the amount of crud I had to remove was alot. Seems the gear plastic is a bit softer than it should be. Works fine now so maybe it got cleaned with the wrong stuff or someone was heavy handed in picking out the crud, I found a backup bridge on e-bay just in case.

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Posted by John-NYBW on Thursday, November 11, 2021 12:22 PM

rrebell

I accually had a gear with damage I had to reshape with a file, got mine 2nd hand and the amount of crud I had to remove was alot. Seems the gear plastic is a bit softer than it should be. Works fine now so maybe it got cleaned with the wrong stuff or someone was heavy handed in picking out the crud, I found a backup bridge on e-bay just in case.

 

I might have to look for a back up bridge. In troubleshooting the problem, I disassembled the motor housing which involved removing 3 screws that went into plastic. It appears I might have stripped the plastic in doing so because the screws go in but they don't hold tight. What I discovered doing my testing holding down the motor housing while I worked the motor in both directions is that it took considerable force to hold the housing down. Depending on the direction the gears are turning, one side or the other of the housing wants to raise up. If it comes up even fractionally, the gears won't function properly.

I'm considering  several options, all with some risks. One is to redrill the pilot holes and use slightly larger screws to hold the housing down tightly. Another would be to use a thread lock so the existing screws have more bite. The last option would be to use a solvent adhesive to glue the sides of the housing to the inside of the turntable bridge. The last two options would be problematic if I ever have to get inside the motor housing again. I might not be able to get back in if I seal it too tightly. 

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Posted by rrebell on Friday, November 12, 2021 12:38 AM

Just insert some thin strip plastic in the hole the thinnest they make but as wide as the hole.

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Posted by John-NYBW on Friday, November 12, 2021 5:15 AM

rrebell

Just insert some thin strip plastic in the hole the thinnest they make but as wide as the hole.

 

I opted to glue the motor housing in place. I was lucky and found a thin piece of scrap styrene about 1 1/2" long and about 1/2" wide which was perfect for what I wanted to do. After applying tube glue to both sides of it, I wedged it between the motor housing and the inside of the bridge. This created a tight fit on both sides of the housing. The other side didn't need a shim so I just brush some liquid cement to that side of the housing and the inside of the bridge. I then clamped the housing down tightly. With the clamp in place, I tested the motor and it was able to turn the gears freely in both directions. I then set it down and let the solvents cure over night. I think this will make a strong enough bond once the clamp is removed to allow the TT to operate but only time will tell. I'm going to give it a test this morning.  

UPDATE: The glue failed to hold the housing in place like I thought it would. The problem is that when the motor is turned on and the internal gears start to turn, it pushes one side of the housing up (this with the bridge turned upside down). It only raises up about 1/16" but that is enough to cause the internal gears to disengage. If I hold the the motor housing down with my thumb, or use a clamp, the TT operates just fine but obviously neither of those could be done with the bridge in place. It takes considerable force from my thumb to keep the housing from riding up so I need something that will hold the housing down despite the upward force caused by the turning of the internal gears. 

I have one more idea and that is to redrill the screw holes, put in slightly larger screws to hopefull hold the housing tightly in place. I'm afraid that anything I do at this point will be a temporary fix because of how much pressure there is to push the housing out of place when the TT motor is turned on. 

If rescrewing the housing to the bridge fails to solve the problem, it might be my only option would be to remove the motor and turn the bridge manually with some sort of crank system. If anybody has any other ideas, I'm open to suggestions. 

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Posted by EMDSD40 on Sunday, November 14, 2021 3:37 PM

Are you referring to the 2850 model? 130' with DCC version? I have one in the box. Tried for two years to get it to index automatically consistently....not happening. Location on layout did not lend itself to line up by eyesight. I just want to get rid of it....let me know if you have any use for it

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Posted by John-NYBW on Sunday, November 14, 2021 4:17 PM

EMDSD40

Are you referring to the 2850 model? 130' with DCC version? I have one in the box. Tried for two years to get it to index automatically consistently....not happening. Location on layout did not lend itself to line up by eyesight. I just want to get rid of it....let me know if you have any use for it

 

Mine is the earliest non-DCC version. I remember I had it on pre-order for about two years after Walthers announced it was Coming Soon. I'm going to try a few other fixes to see if I can get it operational but I might consider your offer. My thinking had been if I couldn't figure out a fix, buying a new one might be my last resort. I'm reluctant to do so because I don't know if I could just drop in the DCC bridge into the existing pit. There is a sensor on the wall of the pit and I don't know if it is compatible with the DCC version. I'm reluctant to replace the entire TT because the track leads hang over the lip and I would have to pull up the tracks on one side and break the adhesive on the lead tracks on the other side in order to slide the new TT pit into the existing hole. 

It will probably take me about a week to try the fixes I have in mind. If none of them work out, I'll consider your offer. Indexing is not important to me. I had tried it with my version of the TT and it just wasn't reliable so I learned to do without it. .

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Posted by John-NYBW on Tuesday, November 16, 2021 4:06 PM

In looking at possible solutions to my problem, it has occurred to me I might not have used the correct cement to secure the motor housing. On different parts of the housing, I used either Testor's tube glue or Plastruct Plastic Weld. They failed to secure the plastic housing to the underside of the bridge. 

On closer inspection, it appears to me the housing did not react to the adhesives as I am use to seeing leading me to believe it might not be styrene but some other type of plastic for which the adhesives I used might not be correct. The adhesive has flaked of the surfaces and I don't recall seeing that happen when using these to assemble plastic structures made of styrene.

I'm wondering if the components are made of ABS plastic. If that is true, what is the best adhesive? I saw a YouTube video showing how to join ABS pipe and he used a black adhesive. I googled for ABS adhesive and the first hit I got was Aleene's Multi Surface adhesive. Would this be the best choice if the components are ABS. Another option I saw was JB Plastic Weld which it says is good for ABS, PVC, and CPVC. I need something that would give a strong hold. 

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 12:01 PM

There is one on e-bay right now with a different proublem, controler died, might go cheap.

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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 2:28 PM

rrebell

There is one on e-bay right now with a different proublem, controler died, might go cheap.

 

Thanks for the heads up.

My problems began when my controller died. Since this is the non-DCC version, that has been out of production for at least 10 years, I didn't think I could get a replacement. Then I came up with the idea of powering the motor directly from a DC power pack. That's when the fun began. I gutted the existing electronics out of the bridge and ran wires up through the center post of the bridge for track and motor power. I had to disassemble the housing so I could solder the wires to the motor's terminals. I then reassembled it and at first it worked quite well but then the bridge started to grind when it rotated and then quit all together. I removed the bridge and noticed the housing had popped out of place. I tightened the screws holding it to the underside of the bridge and then applied some epoxy for added strength. It was working when I shutdown for the summer as I think I mentioned in the OP that I do each year. When I tried to start up operations again, that's when I noticed the problem I described in the OP. After cleaning all the gear assemblies and lubricating the gear axles, I got the bridge operating again but soon the housing popped loose again. I've tried several types of adhesives to help keep the housing in place but they just wont hold it down. The housing is held in place with 3 screws. I discovered a couple days ago that one of the screw heads had broken off allowing the housing to pop out of place. That housing must be held very tightly in place or the gears inside it will begin to slip and and the TT won't rotate. With only two screws to hold the housing in place, there was no way any adhesive was going to hold for very long and . If I hold it down with my thumb or a C-clamp, I can get the outside gears to turn but obviously that isn't practical when the bridge is in place. Yesterday I got an idea to drill a couple pilot holes through the side of the bridge and into the housing to hold it in place with a couple small screws. After a couple tries, I finally got the gears working without having a clamp or my thumb in place. 

I hesitate to say the problem is fixed. I've thought that before and I don't want to anger the MR gods so I'll just say it is working for NOW. If this fix fails to hold, I'm out of ideas. EMDSD40 offered to sell his and I could also check that ebay item if it is still available. Neither option will be necessary if this latest fix can hold together. 

UPDATE: I checked out the one on ebay. I might be interested in it for spare parts even if my fix holds. Right now its $85 with shipping. If it doesn't get bid up much from there, I might consider it. I wouldn't want to go much higher. Auction ends Sunday. 

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 3:14 PM

This is one of those bid what you want max and then wait and see, thats how I got my stuff (a 90'), only paid $50 plus shipping.

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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 5:37 PM

I don't shop that much on ebay but I don't like to tip my hand until near the end of the auction. Sometimes I bid early but most of the time I wait until the last five minutes of the auction to jump into the fray. That gives me enough time to get an idea of how high I need to go and decide how bad I want an item. As it stands, I'm not even sure I'd want to pay for it at its minimum bid price.

Sounds like this guy had the same problem I did. His controller went dead and because he had the original non-DCC version, a replacement wasn't available. I was ready to give up on mine too until I got the idea to power the bridge motor directly. It's not quite as good as when I had the controller. For one, since the wires are fed through the bridge post, I can't keep turning the bridge in the same direction for very long or the wires will get twisted. If the motorman's house is on the nearside of the TT, I rotate clockwise and if it is at the opposite end I rotate counterclockwise. The other problem is polarity is not automatically reversed. I have a DPDT switch that I have to set to match polarity of the tracks the loco is coming or going from. Again I use the motorman's house to guide me. If it goes beyond a certain point I know I have to set the switch accordingly. 

Someday, I might spring for the new DCC version. My TT and roundhouse has a design flaw. I put the roundhouse between the edge of the benchwork and the TT. I have to reach over the roundhouse if I have an issue with the TT. I also don't get to see the locos parked in the roundhouse. Instead I use Micro Mark's loco cards and put the card for each loco in the appropriate slot to tell me which loco is in which stall. Reversing the position of the TT and roundhouse will require major surgery to the bench work and reallignment of the lead tracks. If and when I ever get around to repositioning everything, I think I'll spring for a new TT but until then, I'm going to try to make do with the one I have. 

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Posted by EMDSD40 on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 6:28 PM

I did not say anything about selling it. I said I want to get rid of it. You get my drift. What part of the world are you in? Does private message function work here? If you think you may have a need when all options exhausted find a way we can speak without violating the rules here

 

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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 7:51 PM

EMDSD40

I did not say anything about selling it. I said I want to get rid of it. You get my drift. What part of the world are you in? Does private message function work here? If you think you may have a need when all options exhausted find a way we can speak without violating the rules here

 

 

Sorry, I misunderstood you. I live about an hour northeast of Columbus, OH if that helps.

I've never gotten in the habit of checking my private messages so if you sent one, I haven't seen it. I'll check to see if I've received one. 

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 8:07 PM

EMDSD40

I did not say anything about selling it. I said I want to get rid of it. You get my drift. What part of the world are you in? Does private message function work here? If you think you may have a need when all options exhausted find a way we can speak without violating the rules here

 

 

If it was a  90' I would PM you. Shame for the OP that years ago I tore apart a bridge of a 130' I had gotten along with the one I wanted, a 90' for a replacement gear. I have no idea why he had these two turntable bridges but he did.

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Posted by EMDSD40 on Thursday, November 25, 2021 9:19 AM

Emdsd40 here.....wondering how you made out with turntable issues. Tried to message you directly, but that attempt failed

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