Sparks are flying----

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by XavierJ123, Jan 7, 2005.

  1. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    When I returned home from work yesterday, my 4 year old grandchildren, (God love them?) had derailed by HO train on my wife's Christmas Village layout. My wife warned me not to try to run the train as it was derailed. Well, after putting the little HO Bachman Southern 0-6-0 back on the tracks it wouldn't move/budge/go/forward/backward, not even after a little nudge--which sometimes helps. I disassembled the engine on my basement work bench and inspected everything. Everything seemed okay; no broken or miss-aligned pieces. I thought maybe it had fallen off the table. So I did the WD 40 trick as it seemed the wheels/motor wouldn't turn. I reassembled the engine and tried it on the track again. Wallah ! It worked----but it was like the Fourth of July---you can see sparks flying where the engine wheels meet the track and it squeaks around some curved track. My daughter suggested oiling the engine joints and letting it sit on a paper towel overnight so the excess oil can drain on the paper towel and not on the track. Tell me. What are you thinking ! :cry:​
  2. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Is it possible a tender truck got turned around 180 degrees? If it is making intermittant contact that would result in a short.
  3. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    What's a tender truck? And how to I know which tender truck got turned around 180 degrees and how do I get it back???Sorry I am stupid?
  4. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    First of all, I'm not familiar with the loco, if it is a tank type, forget what I said. If it has a tender, a truck is a set of wheels which turns. There would be two trucks. Some locos use one truck to pick up power from one rail, and the other truck to pick up power from the other rail. Some locos use both trucks to pick up power from just one rail. Still others don't pick up power at all. Look at the bottom of the truck and see if there are bronze wipers contacting either the axles or backside of the wheels. If on the axle, the wheels on one side of the axle will have a plastic bushing to insulate it from that wheel(rail). Some tenders allow the truck to swivel around and around. So it is possible the wrong side is picking up power, causing an intermittant short ( a constant short if contact is good). Someone else here may be familiar with this particular loco and be able to give specific guidance.
  5. dhutch

    dhutch Member

    Yeah, if i had to guess somethink has got twisted/bent and thats whats sparking/squeking, no the wheels
  6. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Not stupid, just new...

    The tender carries the water and coal (or oil, or wood, or even sugar cane stalks) for the loco. Usually it's permantly attached. Not all loco's have tenders, as they have a water tank on the loco itself, which is why it's called a tank loco in that case. It's the rectangular, sometimes sloped back (for visibility), usually black box looking car right behind the loco. Clear as mud? :D

    You can see tenders behind many of hte loco's at this site, as well as the tank loco's:

    Oh, and welcome to the gauge.
  7. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    There are two words that should never be used together, WD-40 and electronics. They are mutually exclusive of each other. :D :D Oh well, live and learn, we all have to do it. :D :D
  8. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    Well, this is the second time I disassembled the little Bachman 0-6-0 engine and it looks like I'm in trouble now. I lifted all six wheels off the bottom of the engine and the little piston rods came out with them. I was checking to see if the alignment was turned around 180 degrees as suggested. Boy those wheels turn every which way. Now I don't even know if I am reinstalling them right side up and after two days of trying, I am unable to install the little piston rods. This is probably the wrong nominclature but maybe you can make heads or tails out of the description. I don't have another engine like it to compare it too, so I have decided to return the engine to Bachman for repair and let an expert do it. It might be cheaper just to buy a new engine. I don't know. I get so discouraged with the hobby when children ruin my dream. I am ready to give up again as I did back in 1973.
  9. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    But did you check the tender? The suggestion above was to see if the trucks on the TENDER were turned around--not the drivers on the engine.

    And the WD-40 was a bad idea.

    No offense, but children didn't ruin your dream--a lack of skill may be the problem. But that's okay--you can learn the necessary skills, and it sounds like at least one of your grandchildren (the granddaughter who suggested oiling it) has some problem-solving skills. Maybe she can help.
  10. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    Sparks are still flying ????

    Well, after three days of aggravation, I finally got the little Bachmann 0-6-0 back together and running. My problem wasn't the drivers or the wheels; my problem was trying to figure out how the piston rods were installed. It took me three evenings of attempts and frustration to finally succeed. I even had to make a new rivet as the old one wouldn't hold. After a last minute mistake of not noticing how a piece of plastic held the wheels in alignment, the little engine made lots of complete laps.
    Sparks are still flying; not as bad as before but still noticeable. Also, the engine will not start without a little nudge everytime. I cleaned the track with denatured alcohol and checked the Bachman EZ track and everything seems tight.
    I repaired a house fan today with WD-40. When the fan motor stops turning because of a buildup of dirt and grime, WD-40 always does the trick. I never had any problem using it on fan motors here in the house, so I don't understand why WD-40 can't free a "ceased" HO motor. I used it on a little diesel engine that wasn't working and it did the job with no ill effects.
    I think the HO engine is still "ceasing" because I have to give it a little nudge everytime to get it started. After that, everything runs great, except for the sparks. It is a learning experience. :curse:
  11. Iron Goat

    Iron Goat Member

    Xavier, I'm just a "junior" engineer in this crowd, but I was wondering if you have tried turning the tender truck around and that did not work, could you check to see if the wheels are "installed" correctly on the tender ? You should make sure that both of the insulated wheels on the front tender trucks are on one side and the insulated wheels on the rear trucks are on the opposite side. I am probably making this as clear as mud, but I hope you can understand.

    Since the engine underwent a "tramatic event" while you were away, lets be sure that one of the wheel sets didn't "pop-out" and someone replaced them incorrectly..... just a thought.

    Good luck.... Bob :thumb:
  12. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Well, the AC fan motor is an induction motor and has no brushes. The DC motor in your lokey has brushes and the WD40 floats them off on a film of oil. So you get no power flow until you push it and the friction allows the brushes to get some contact and they start arcing. Same with wheels and track, the WD40 will float the lokey, you want, no need, metal to metal contact on the wheels/track. Sparks there would be caused by the same. The hydrocarbons in WD 40 also, over time, react with plastic and make the plasitcs in your lokey get soft and sticky. WD40 is a no no. You just got lucky on the diesel, it may of had a can motor so the brushes didn't get wet, or you may of sprayed the gears and not got the motor wet, or you guardian angle was present LOL. Since it is sparking and has WD40 on it I would take advantage of Bachmanns Limited Lifetime Warranty or you will need to disassemble it once again and clean all the oild out and oil the bearings lightly with a plastic compatable oil made for trains or slot cars. Fred
  13. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    Thanks Fred for the lesson about AC and DC motors. I really appreciate all the time and consideration it took to explain what was happening with my engine. It's one thing to say, "Don't use WD-40 on HO motors;" but I understand it better because you explained "why not to-". The train ran very well for about an hour without stopping this morning. Then this evening, it did well again until I cleaned the track with alcohol that was used to heat a fondue pot. I fear, because the denatured alcohol was heated it did something to the track because the engine would stop again. Perhaps I used too much, ( I put some on a rag and wiped the tracks) or you can't use alcohol that was heated, or perhaps it was just the WD-40 again. I thought perhaps you have to let the alcohol evaporate for a certain period of time before you run the train again. This is indeed a learning experience. Thanks for your help.
  14. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    I think fondue Alcohol has parafin in it to make it a jel. Go to Walmart and get 70% or 90% rubbing alcohol and use a piece of paper towel with the corner wetted with the alcohol. Just wipe the rails (with the power off) a few times changing the area and or towel as it gets dirty. Clean the wheels with alcohol and Q-tips. Wait a while for the alcohol to evaporate and that should do it. Oh, clean all the wheels on everything. If the dirty wheels are put back on clean track the track gets dirty cleaning the wheels and it becomes a never ending Dante's chore. If you have a brite boy you use that then as needed on spots where the lokey shudders from power loss. Getting it all clean again is going to be the big chore. Of course if you really get hooked you might want a centerline track cleaner car, but starting out the armstrong method is best. Fred

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