Something Stupid Happened During the Conversion

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by jeffrey-wimberl, Oct 26, 2006.

  1. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    I was converting an Athearn PA2 today to get it ready for DCC. I took the shell off, then stripped the loco down to the frame, motor, trucks, shafts, everything. I then turned the motor over, snapped off the two pieces that contact the frame, then carefully soldered a thin wire to it. I then put a strip of electrical tape across the bottom of the motor just to make sure the contact would not touch the frame. I put the motor back in it's cradle mounts and reinserted it into the frame. Very carefully, I reattached the trucks and mounted the drive shafts, then soldered the other end of the wire to the ground pickup on the front truck. Since both trucks contact the frame, this is all I had to do, as far as grounding was concerned. I put the locomotive on the track and put power to it. ZIP! ZILCH! DANADA! BOP KISS! Nothing happened. I checked my power wires from the power pack (once in a while I accidentally rip one off), no joy there, so then I check to make sure that part of the track has power. It does. The meter says 15.3 volts. What is going on, I wonder! So I look carefully at the locomotive and see what the problem is. I then solder two wires, one each from the positive pickups on the trucks to the positive strip on the top of the motor. Put power to the locomotive again. It runs fine. I'm thinking, I've been in this hobby for over 30 years and I missed something that simple and obvious.

  2. Buddog

    Buddog Member

    The obvious is allot better then spending hours troubleshooting and sometimes even making it worse off then it was in the first place.:D . Have had the same thing happen before (haven't been in the hobby as long as most on here, but it happens), all the matters is as long as it runs in the end, right:) :) .

  3. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    Been there, done that, got the T-Shirt. The important thing is you didn't tear it back appart before realizing the simple solution :)
  4. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    We've all had those little "incidents" that leave us feeling sheepish.:oops: However, your "dumb move" was followed by a really "smart" one, so let me be the first to welcome you to the Gauge.:wave: It's good to see you over here in this Forum, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

  5. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    I've never done anything like that...:oops::D Glad you didn't see the magic blue smoke.:thumb:
  6. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    BTW...Welcome to The Gauge:wave:
  7. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    Nice to be here.
  8. b28_82

    b28_82 Member

    I was waiting for the part of the story where the blue smoke magically appeared.:D
  9. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I may have missed something here, but if you are wiring it for dcc, you need to isolate the motor from the frame completely. If you are currently running on dc, what you described is fine, but when hooking up dcc, you will need to wire the trucks to the decoder directly and then wire the decoder to the motor, with no connection between the motor and the frame or the wheels.
  10. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    You missed it. I haven't put in a decoder yet. When I do, the wires will be cut and the decoder wired in.
  11. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Hi Jeffrey.
    The other thing you can do is hook one wire from each side of the motor to the positive pickup.
  12. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Unless I misunderstand you, it won't work. The motor has to have a positive and a negative connection to work.
  13. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Are we talking about things that work???
  14. ChadYelland

    ChadYelland Member

    Working in an electrical shop and the odd computer taught me "that there is a certain amount of smoke -contained- in every electrical component at the factory, If you let that smoke out ,,, its shot!" LOL
  15. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    A lot less stupid than my favorite stunt of leaving the Kadee coupler height gauge on the track, and then wondering why my trains won't run and the power packs are getting hot. The 1st time I did this, it took me hours to find and figure it out.

    feeling stupid at times
  16. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    First welcome to the forum..Glad you join us! :thumb:
    Don't feel to bad..I been in the hobby 54 years and still make rookie mistakes...I have always suspect-especially by us salt and pepper beards-that its over confidence since we have been in the hobby for several decades.
  17. oleirish

    oleirish Member


    :wave: Welcome the the GAUGE and don't feel bad,things happen sometimes,:rolleyes: I like the coupler gauge laft on the track,been there done that!!:D
  18. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    Been there, done that, got the dunce cap.
  19. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    Try laying a screw driver across the tracks on the far remote end of a yard the never sees much action. Then 2 days later seeing it as you leave in frustration.
  20. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    That sounds like some of the dumb stunts I've pulled in my 42 years of the hobby.

    Try a light=up caboose that gets it power from the track. Took the wheels off it one day to clean them, put them back on and accidently got one set reversed, then wondered why the train wouldn't move when I turned the power up.

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