newbie with a loudness question

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by MatchFlickSeth, Apr 2, 2005.

  1. MatchFlickSeth

    MatchFlickSeth New Member

    Hey All,

    I've been model railroading for all of about 6 months, but am loving it. I've set up a track along the upper walls of my bedroom, near the ceiling. Probably about 60 feet of track in all.

    Anyways, I have a Walthers EMD F40PH engine, as I'm modeling a VIA set (6415). I have wired my passenger cars to light up with LEDs off a metal wheel pickup and the whole thing looks great.

    My issue is that my engine is running a bit loud. The added weight from the lights and drag created by the wheel pickup obviously makes it worse, but it still is a little loud even when running solo.

    So my question is, how loud is normal? This is my first engine and the only other engines I've seen have been in big exhibitions, so I'm not sure how much noise they're supposed to make in a quiet room. Mine sounds roughly similar to the sound of a remote-controlled car. It's definitely engine noise though.

    Also, is there a way (tuning the engine) that I may be able to make it quieter? Or am I best served by adding another engine to take some of the load off? I have the one engine and three cars, two of which are wired for lights (I'd like to wire the third as well).

    Your advice is appreciated.

  2. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Welcome to the Gauge Seth
    What kind of shelf and or track base do you have? Sometimes the base of the track can ampify the noise. What does the noise sound like?
  3. MatchFlickSeth

    MatchFlickSeth New Member

    It's a solid shelf attached to the wall molding (the molding is about 5 inches, the shelf about 7). The bed is cork.

    The sound is a mechanical one, not a rattling one. It's sounds like it could definitely be the motor.


  4. NYC-BKO

    NYC-BKO Member

    It sounds like it just needs lubed, Walthers engines are generally pretty quiet.
    Have you been running it alot?
    Gears need greased and bearings oiled!
  5. MatchFlickSeth

    MatchFlickSeth New Member

    I haven't been running it a ton, but I'm sure a little tuneup wouldn't hurt. I'm new at this, so what do you guys suggest? What needs oil and what needs grease and how do I do each?


  6. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Be very careful when oiling or greasing. Only use minimal amounts. Look for any areas that may be making the noise such as wheel bearings. When you look at the underside of the loco trucks can you see any openings with the gears showing. Getting these parts done first may fix the problem. If not then you will probably have to take the loco apart to get to the motor and gears.
  7. NYC-BKO

    NYC-BKO Member

    The Walthers Trainline engines usually have a sheet inside that shows where to oil, but I never oil gears, I always use grease, Labelle #106, it keeps them quieter, I put light oil on anything that might cause friction, motor bearings, wheel bearings, worm gear bearings, truck gears bearings, I'll even oil or grease the joints of the drive train even though they are slippery plastic, I have found this cuts down on noise alot. You might want to make sure the motor hasn't shifted and the flywheels are rubbing something, it wasn't dropped was it? Just make sure the lubricants are plastic compatible!!!
  8. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    There used to be problems with mechanisms echoing inside that big empty shell. See what it sounds like with the body removed.
    Use minimum oil. Put a drop on a piece af aluminum foil and pick up a drop with the point or head of a needle. Always grease on the gears and things that spin.
    We can't repeat often enough : Plastic compatible lubricants.
    Ask your shop to run another loco for you to campare noise.

    :D :D :D This is my 2000th post! :D :D :D
  9. siderod

    siderod Member

    Congrats on #2000 dude!

    While this is totally unrelated to the topic at hand, i thought i would point out that i have riden in the cab of VIA Rail Canada #6415 before. On that note, it was quite loud, so if anyone asks, your being prototypical. :thumb:

    I would suggest, as everyone else has, that you use PLASTIC COMPATABLE oil and, if needed, greese. However, only if it needs it. Pop the shell off...if the noise goes away, it's either echoing in the shell or something is hitting the shell. If the noise doesn't go away, go to the hobby shop and get some PLASTIC COMPATABLE light oil and greese, i prefer LaBelle's products.

    Hope it helps
  10. wjstix

    wjstix Member

    I suspect the sound is amplified thru the baseboard and walls. You might want to look into Woodland Scenics subroadbed foamstrips - I was surprised at how even 1/2" of foam under the track and roadbed made things a lot quieter.
  11. MatchFlickSeth

    MatchFlickSeth New Member

    So I've oiled it up (sparingly) and it sounds great running by itself. The noise is only there when it's carrying my 3 passenger cars, which are all weighed down by both lights and drag created by the pickup needed to power the lights.

    Does this mean I should get another engine to run with this one so it doesn't have to work as hard? Or should I figure out a better method of pickup that doesn't cause so much resistance?

    Thanks much,
  12. siderod

    siderod Member

    What kind of pick-up does it have now? I doubt it's the low-friction needle-point axle's with the pick-up comming through the end cups. I would bet it's either a whiper dragging on the back of the wheel, or a whiper wrapped around the axle.

    If you could snap a pic of the wheelsets, it might help us help you
  13. MatchFlickSeth

    MatchFlickSeth New Member

    It's a home-made pick-up, using a thin sheet of bronze. It's most definitely dragging on all the wheels, which was the best connection I could get (anything less and the lights flickered annoyingly).

    I've realized this is the core of my problem and am now looking into alternatives. I've read about some ball-bearing wheelsets in which the axle stays stationary, which would obviously do the trick, I'm just not sure how well the current is passed from the wheels to the axle.

    What's the needle point axle you are talking about?


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