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Author Topic: Transformer, track or loco?  (Read 86 times)

Overthetop95

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Transformer, track or loco?
« on: January 20, 2019, 12:12:58 am »
Hello to all,
   New to the forum, I recently obtained a Lionel O gauge Santa Fe set and have some issues! The set is a 2009 JCPenny starter set with the world famous 4-4-2 Locomotive with air whistle tender, it is new enough it has fastrak. It has the 40W transformer with the DIRECTION, WHISTLE, BELL buttons. It runs BUT:
-Headlight flickers 80% of the time but will stay consistent for probably 20% of the run time.
-Smoke unit works when wants to
-Whistle only works when it wants to
-Engine works but sometimes, after running for a while, fails to restart as  power is increased on transformer (just like neutral)
-Bell doesnít work, if this model even has a bell!
-Engine buzzes terribly (not sure if all these 4-4-2ís do this or not?)
-Direction command only works when it wants to!
-Sometimes after a stop and a failure to restart, the loco will eventually start in the opposite direction without user ever hitting the direction button
-Tested my 2016 0-8-0 Lionchief Pennsylvania Flyer on the track using the transformer at full throttle, like Lionel website states, 0-8-0 runs good BUT loses power sometimes- both while running and stopped (it loses idle sound and headlight!)
The 2016 set was my first ever O gauge and I fell in love with O gauge (namely Lionel!) over the more common HO I was raised on. I donít have a clue where to start so any help is much appreciated! Track looks well used BUT clean in my opinion. The Santa Fe Set appears to have been adult-owned (not abused and repacked in itís original packaging).
         Thanks in advanced!



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« Last Edit: January 20, 2019, 12:56:41 am by Overthetop95 »

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TrainLarry

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Re: Transformer, track or loco?
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2019, 11:22:07 am »
Welcome to the forum!

First thing to do is to take apart the track and clean it with Naphtha dabbed on a rag. When that is done, gently bend the pins on the end of the tracks so they make a tight fit when pushed together.

Next get some Q-tips, dip them in the Naphtha, and clean all the wheels of all your engines and rolling stock. Clean all the engine, tender and any operating cars roller pick-ups also.

Once this is done, any issues with the engine can be taken care of, but you must have clean track first.

The 40 watt transformer is rather small. Upgrade to at least an 80 watt CW-80 or higher wattage transformer.


Larry
« Last Edit: January 20, 2019, 11:35:41 am by TrainLarry »

Overthetop95

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Re: Transformer, track or loco?
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2019, 02:36:53 pm »
Thanks Larry,
      I have to ask, what is Naphtha? Is that the laundry bar??? You make a paste and scrub?Or is this a solvent like Acetone? Also, I bought this kit thinking it was the 80 watt transformer so guess Iím still in the market for one of those... thanks again for your help!!!


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TrainLarry

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Re: Transformer, track or loco?
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2019, 02:51:18 pm »
Naphtha is a solvent that is excellent in cleaning off dirt, oil and grease. It does not attack plastics. It is available at hardware stores.

Acetone is also a solvent, but it will attack and melt many plastics, including those used to make our trains. It will also dissolve the shellac insulation used on motor windings.

Some people use isopropyl alcohol for cleaning, but beware that it will also attack some plastics and paint, and it will also dissolve the shellac insulation used on motor windings.

I use Naphtha exclusively, and don't need anything else.


Larry

Overthetop95

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Re: Transformer, track or loco?
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2019, 05:04:22 pm »
Great tip Larry! This is what I needed to begin the process! Iíll be hunting down Naphtha tomorrow!


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Overthetop95

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Re: Transformer, track or loco?
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2019, 07:12:04 am »
Ok guys, found me some Naphtha at Loweís yesterday but didnít have time to sit down and clean my track yet. I have a Lionel flatcar I picked up in a flea market for $12! But itís got light surface rust on the wheels and axles. So two questions here: (1) do you use a rag only with the Naphtha or can you use it with steel wool or a scour pad??? (2) steel wool or scour pad for model railroad service??? I heard steel wool is bad for everything: motors, gears, trucks etc due to the little steel fibers that come off during use???


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TrainLarry

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Re: Transformer, track or loco?
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2019, 12:43:49 pm »
You can clean everything, including the rails, wheels and axles with a ScotchBrite pad to get off surface dirt and rust. Then go over everything with a rag soaked in Naphtha to clean off all the gunk.

Do NOT ever use steel wool, as it sheds and can cause untraceable shorts, as well as get picked up inside of magnetized trucks and motors.


Larry

Overthetop95

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Re: Transformer, track or loco?
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2019, 04:14:44 pm »
Thanks again Larry! Iíll try the scour pad and follow up with a rag! Sorry for all the questions; Iím just clueless about caring for these trains the proper way. Iíd like to make them last a lifetime, if at all possible!


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TrainLarry

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Re: Transformer, track or loco?
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2019, 09:13:40 pm »
You are welcome.

With proper care and maintenance, your trains can last a lifetime. Once all the cleaning and lubing is done, your trains should run like new.

Do not be afraid to ask questions; that is how we learn.


Larry

Overthetop95

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Transformer, track or loco?
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2019, 11:00:10 pm »
Well everyone, I have a new rule of thumb! ďIf it looks clean, it isnít!Ē I donít care how good you think it looks, that white rag and some Naphtha will tell all! I wiped so much gunk off the track and wheels of my train that I probably could have rung out the rags and made a great weathering paint with it! Just rag after rag of carbon colored gunk! From track, wheels, & rollers that appeared to be very clean! I started with the track, cleaned and cleaned until my rag didnít turn color anymore! Next I cleaned the locomotive and the tender, followed by ALL the wheels on the rolling stock (all non-powered but why run dirty wheels on clean track; Like jumping in a clean car with muddy boots!) So with everything cleaned, my smoke unit is working correctly! Surprised me because I wanted to suspect the bellow for the lack of smoke! The headlight still flickers but not as much, the buzzing has quietened but still loud to me. I am still having trouble with the whistle tender working when it wants to and seems quieter when it does run now? Also, after running the loco enough to get the smoke unit up to operating temp, the loco wonít start back after a complete stop, sometimes starting back in the wrong direction and if you come back to stop, immediately going back up on the throttle, sheíll change direction again without ever touching the direction command! Iíve taking the body off the tender and the loco; although Iím a beginner with O gauge, I didnít find anything out of the ordinary. All wiring and connections appear to be in good shape visually. No corrosion or frayed wires. At this point, I suspect itís my transformer and my 2016 set is a Lionchief so I donít have another transformer to test with. Also, this set doesnít have the bell! Any ideas are greatly appreciated!


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« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 11:13:20 pm by Overthetop95 »

TrainLarry

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Re: Transformer, track or loco?
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2019, 10:40:28 am »
Glad to hear of the progress you are making in getting your trains running properly.

OK, now to your current issues. You have cleaned the track, now take them apart and make sure all the track pins are clean and not dirty or corroded. Clean or replace them if necessary. Slightly bend all the track pins so they are a tight fit when assembled. Try your locomotive now and see if it runs properly.

If it does not run well, then turn the locomotive upside down, and apply power from the transformer directly to the center pickup roller and a wheel. The locomotive should run steady in one direction, and the headlight should not flicker. If it stops or tries to reverse, you may have a bad reverse board in it.

Apply power directly to the tender roller pickup and a wheel, and try the whistle. It should blow steady, and work consistently. If not, the whistle board may be defective.

The transformer is pretty hardy, and I would do the above checks before suspecting it to be faulty.


Larry

Overthetop95

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Re: Transformer, track or loco?
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2019, 11:29:13 am »
Thanks for the advice, Larry!


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