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Author Topic: Royal Blue won't continue to run  (Read 6376 times)
slo pok
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« on: January 08, 2012, 11:44:23 PM »

I've purchased a "G" scale Royal Blue, something I've wanted to do for a long time and"retirement" almost gave me the time. It was bought "as new" from a popular e-net auction house, for what i thought I good price, $130. Came in time for Christmas and immediately set it up with an eye for expansion (already). Well, big disappointment, the train would run about 3 feet and stop, checked all connections (with a meter) and same thing.
Time to get serious. Now I'm a pretty handy machinist so nothing is out of bounds. Started checking everything with a meter for a base line and it checked ok, the problem seemed to be the little transformer overheating and kicking out. So I bought a upgraded super one and it ran a little better but same problem.Checked wiring again, just didn't like the way all leads where run to motor so re-wired it all, with larger wires running to terminal strips and but one lead each going to motor, that was also replaced from the same bid it buy it auction house..... Same problem again. Called Bachmann, and according to them this "new set" was made in China about 15 years ago! Now I've got nothing against age, getting there myself, but it won't run! Checked the wheel contact plunger switches and found the front two too short when going around a turn, so machined longer ones and installed them, those screws are tiny! Same problem! All indications seems to all point to the motor, with it causing the transformer to kick the thermal overload. Next option is to buy a new motor from Bachmann, but was wondering if there was a problem with Chinese motors of that age period? Getting pretty frustrated and when I say I checked everything, there has been no stone unturned. Even did the track & wheel cleaning, Alcohol cleaning and the WD40 thing. Oh yeah, soldered all the stationary track connecters (for better contact) and put a slight crimp in the opposite side to insure tightness when connected.

Any comments, ideas, or insight would be greatly appreciated!   

Oh yeah, anybody ever try hooking two motors together through the common worm gear? The voltage on one could be reversed to the other so they would both run in the same direction, and with just a little rearranging in the chassis, room could be made for the other motor......?

Yeah, you guessed it, I'm a Hot Rodder.   
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Loco Bill Canelos

Model railroading since 1947


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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2012, 06:32:13 AM »

The Royal Blue set was first made in 1989 and remained in the catalog until 1998, it was re released in 2001 and remained in the catalog til 2002 and was discontinued. 

This set was made with four different versions of chassis, and most problems were with the motor housings and gears until the version 5 chassis.  The motors have not generally been a major problem.  Here is how you can identify which chassis is on your locomotive.

Big Hauler 4-6-0 Chassis Version Identification  by Bill Canelos     Big Hauler 4-6-0 Chassis Version Identification  by Bill Canelos                 Copyright 2002, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011 2012 by Bill Canelos All right reserved.               
Version 1  1988-1990  Battery Powered R/C Units                                 
Version 2  1990-1994  Smooth Bottom Cover  You can turn drivers by hand and motor will turn                                 
Version 3  1994-1998  Smooth Bottom Cover You cannot turn the drivers by hand                                 
Version 4  1998-1999  Large wide hump dead center between the rear drivers on bottom cover                                 
Version 5  2000-Pres  3/8th inch wide hump offset between the rear drivers and a plastic lubrication plug the size of a dime to the rear of the hump..                                 
Version 6  2011-           New Chassis for Annie only, has metal gears and new front truck other features yet to be determined.                                 
Note that the dates overlap and as of Nov 1, 2008 have not been fixed more precisely, but I believe all new sets introduced in 1999 with the VHS instructions were version 5                                 
The following sets released in late 1999 were Version 5 Chassis 90031, 90032, 90033, 90034, 90035 and 90037.                                    
 All Big Hauler 4-6-0's manufactured after 2000 have the version 5 chassis, all new sets after 2000 have it as well.                                 

It is hard to suggest anything without knowing what you have.  is it possible you have a gearing problem?   

Your set may have been a new old set, or a new very old set, or may not have been new at all especially if purchased on an auction site.  I would consider returning it to them since it is defective in some way. 

Now about the transformer, they are very weak and the thermal cutout when triggered time after time only makes thing worse not better.   please identify the Super transformer replacement.    it is possible it is bad as well.   Use your meter to check the current draw with the motor running.  It should be not more than 1 amp max on starting, and run at 1/4 amp to 1/2 amp depending on the weight of the train.

I believe the Bachmann lifetime warranty is void if purchased on an auction site, but if all else fails you could ask them.

The Royal Blue was overall one of the longest set runs produced by Bachmann!

Good luck getting it going!
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Loco Bill,  Roundhouse Foreman
Colorado & Kansas Railway Missouri Western Railway
Semi Official Historian; Bachmann Large Scale
There are no dumb or stupid questions, just questions!
slo pok
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2012, 11:13:52 AM »

Good morning "Loco Bill",

By the time of your response, which was greatly appreciated, I see I'm not the only "night owl".

Well you seem to have a vast knowledge of these trains, thankfully! For starters, the box came factory sealed, so it's been sitting on a shelf somewhere for a very LONG time. I was in contact with the seller, expressed the problems and difficulties and was refunded most of the purchase price, making it a great deal, but still with a problem.

 It appears to be the version 3, smooth bottom, can't turn wheels to turn motor.

The new transformer is Tech II 1500. Spoke with Bachmann and they said to send the train in, but a 6 to 8 week turn around and the bottom of the chassis would not match (color) the top I have.

Regarding the gears, they appeared to turn smoothly, but noticed almost no backlash on the worm drive gear. I shimmed this up (the motor) about .015 and then had some backlash. I also slightly relieved the mounts on top so as not to press the motor back down too tightly.

In all the checking I didn't find the smoking gun, or the one ah - ha moment, until I followed your last suggestion and that was to check the amp start up and run.... Well I put the meter leads on the transformer tried to start, and they where reading 4.5 to 5 amps and the train wouldn't even start! I removed the probes, started the train, and then put them to the transformer again and they where reading 2.3 to 3 amps....

All this leads me to believe one of two things; another bad motor or the gearing to "stiff" for the motor to come up to speed. Now One of the times I did have it running, engine only on just enough track to form a circle, this thing absolutely flew! Enough to jump the track like a nascar wipeout.
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Sleeping Bear

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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2012, 12:52:45 PM »

 May seem dumb but when you say engine only, do you mean without tender ? If so ...do some checking into the tender for shorts and binding wheels and such and from what I gather of you...I assume you cleaned and lubed every thing that might bind while you were inside the loco. That old grease can set up pretty hard over time if left idol too long. Sorry I cant be of more help.......Later All....S.B.
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"If at first you don't succeed....Get a bigger hammer"
Loco Bill Canelos

Model railroading since 1947


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« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2012, 02:45:06 PM »

That amperage is way too high for this loco, and your MRC pack is fine.  If it flew on the original circle of track,  it would seem to me not to be a motor or gear problem, then the problem must be related to the track you are using now, so you must find what is different between the original circle of track and the track you are using now!!  Did it fly with or without the tender as SB suggests?  If you had it apart, did you accidentally create a short?

Keep trying!

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Loco Bill,  Roundhouse Foreman
Colorado & Kansas Railway Missouri Western Railway
Semi Official Historian; Bachmann Large Scale
There are no dumb or stupid questions, just questions!
slo pok
Guest
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2012, 03:20:16 PM »

The tender was not attached to the Locomotive for any of the last testing I've done, just for the sake of trying to narrow options down as to root cause.

I've accumulated quite a bit of track and had even began to check each piece individually for continuity between rails to see if there was a problem there and at this point didn't find a problem. One thing I did notice on the individual track pieces, is that on some, but not all,  of the plastic guide connectors is either a fine wire or maybe a piece of metal in the plastic connector for the only reason I could think of is continuity to carry on to the next track inline.

I've checked and recheck so many things and the only way the meter reads across the locomotive is with the motor attached to the wiring.

I've considered putting a pair of leads from the motor, not using the transformer at all, and hooking it to a 9 volt battery just to see what happens, so the only connection is motor to battery.

Any thought's?     
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Chuck N

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« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2012, 04:54:04 PM »

Without the engine on the track put each car on the track and check each car for a short.  Start with the tender and work your way through the train.  It is possible that one of the trucks is wired backward creating a short, or a truck got turned around.

I think that the passenger cars are lighted, so there could be a short in one of them.

Chuck
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slo pok
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« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2012, 09:10:05 PM »

Well the train cars are out of the picture, removed them and isolated it to only the Locomotive running on the smallest circle of track allowed. I feel this just might be a motor problem, so I've got another coming.

As mentioned earlier, and it was something I suspected, the amp draw is way too high, appreciate the information on that , by the way. going to go back and do a few more things that came to mind......

Update tomorrow.

Once I get all this straightened out, I'd still like the idea of mounting two motors in one, now that should be interesting!
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Sleeping Bear

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« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2012, 11:54:53 PM »

   Before going through all the trouble and time of planing and building a mount for a second motor....look into one of Berry's chassis's.....He uses Pittmann motors if I remember correctly.....much better motor....Am going to upgrade at least two of mine at some point......Just a suggestion......Later All......S.B.
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"If at first you don't succeed....Get a bigger hammer"
slo pok
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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2012, 10:45:39 AM »

'Mornin, S.B.
Thanks for the reply and suggestion, and as usual, it's appreciated! As far as you mentioning Berry's motor and gear drive, what kind of money are we talking about? A few things here, first being if I bring one more project  home, I think my wife may start looking for the .357.....!
I did manage to slide this one in as working bargain.... and now it seems otherwise.
Second thing, and I better be very careful here, is I'm disappointed in what I've run across so far in this little Locomotive, now I feel that Bachmann builds a very nice train, with many options and good attention to detail for the money, but I'm thinking I found one that fell "through the cracks", but that's what warranties are for, Right?  Now I realize that I did a considerable amount to "Ole Blue" but it was all well thought out and done very carefully, with a lot of attention to detail, the kind it would not be practical to do on a mass production line.

I had "Ole Blue" apart again last night and got to thinking about the mass of hot glue used to hold the motor in place, the biggest problem I'm having is the transformer "kicking out" when it heats up from the demand from the motor, now if this motor is insulated in this mass of substance that doesn't allow it to remove heat, like from running  at high RPM's, what's going to happen? I carefully cut 2 slots in the chassis to line up with the slots in the motor (can hardly see them behind the wheels) and scraped out every bit of the hot glue in there, hoping to get some ventilation going.

I rechecked the gears, and they all seem to turn smoothly with no defects visible. I also checked the track it runs on and did not find any cross feed anywhere with my meter set at the highest scale.

Should have the replacement motor in today, but I may have made a mistake in inadvertently buying another "unknown Chinese" one.... We'll see....

Next step, dependent on cost (have too many other hobbies to feed, like a couple of Hot Rods and a Go Fast boat) is to buy a motor or motor / gear box from Bachmann or Barry's.....   

More later....
 
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slo pok
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« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2012, 07:13:16 PM »

 For starters, I'd like to thank everyone for their kind support and advice offered! Nothing like getting straight to the years of experience on something your trying to learn.... and what a learning curve it's been.

So today my new of unknown origin motor came in and, on boy! Can't wait to put that little rascal in and see what it'll do. So I've had "Ole Blue" apart so  many times, I can almost do it in the dark, or without my glasses - same thing!

Anyway, big disappointment, same thing, run for a short time and the transformer overload kicks out. I then disconnected all the track except the one with the power leads going to it, put the front wheels on the track, jack the back end of Ole Blue up and run it. Well those wheels just flew! I mean like  way too fast for what this Locomotive is intended for. Which leads to the question of does anyone know what these gear ratios are? From what I'm seeing this is like something for Bonneville, not a tractor pull...

Also how fast are these motors suppose to turn (RPM). This little rascal really really cranks...

Again, it's a 3rd generation Royal Blue (B&O) that was still new (unwrapped from original packing) that in reality is about 15 years old.

Your thoughts and comments are, as usual, appreciated!       
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NarrowMinded


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« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2012, 09:05:34 PM »

Most Model trains go way faster in scale speed then the prototype.

with your last post it seems you have determined its a track issue?

if not have you checked to make sure the rods are not in a bind?
also check the springloaded pickups to make sure one or more is not frozen against the wheel from prolonged storage.

NM-Jeff
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slo pok
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« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2012, 09:54:50 PM »

Thanks for the reply, as usual, it's appreciated.

The issue, I'm 99% sure is not with the track. I've determined that by running the locomotive on a single piece of track with the back "jacked up" so the drive wheels don't touch and still experienced the same problem of transformer cut out.

Now the plunger pick - ups have been gone through thoroughly, and I even found the front ones didn't touch going around a curve, too much body to wheel movement, so I turned new ones that are longer for more travel to solve that issue.

You may be on to something there and have me thinking that there may be something going on with the side rod lengths. I'll have to check those now.... If you've read through all this "drama", you'll see there hasn't been too much left to chance.

My concern and question concerning the gear ratio (I'll have to mathematically get that tomorrow) is also connected to the speed I mentioned. I'm thinking, and may be wrong, is that the speed gearing is loading the motor too much, causing it to use excessive amps (I've already established that with a reading of 2.3 running and over 4 at start up). Now If the gearing was lower, more power could be applied with less amp usage, also resulting in more pulling power, not something the stock Bachmann is noted for, as I've found out.

Thanks for the reply, and keep the ideas coming! I'm not afraid (or is that foolish enough) to tackle anything.... and this is promising to turn out very interesting from information found so far.... I'll keep ya'll posted and maybe we all will get a little something out of this....
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NarrowMinded


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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2012, 01:25:22 AM »

Quote
My concern and question concerning the gear ratio (I'll have to mathematically get that tomorrow) is also connected to the speed I mentioned. I'm thinking, and may be wrong, is that the speed gearing is loading the motor too much, causing it to use excessive amps (I've already established that with a reading of 2.3 running and over 4 at start up). Now If the gearing was lower, more power could be applied with less amp usage, also resulting in more pulling power, not something the stock Bachmann is noted for, as I've found out.


You shouldn't need to do anything to reduce the gearing, these loco motives run fine out of the box 99.9% of the time in my experience. if you indeed cut longer pickups
I would start there, if you made them to long they will act like brakes and over amp your motor as you have described.


I would remove the motor, reassemble the drive and see if the the wheels spin freely, if they don't spin with VERY little drag then you need to find what is dragging

you mentioned shimming your motor assy so there is little slop I would check that  again, the worm gear should not be hard against the mating gear.

NM-Jeff
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slo pok
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« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2012, 03:08:18 PM »

Well greetings all "smokers" hope your all doing well.

The epic drama continues....

I removed the motor from the chassis, put it back together, and turned the rotating assembly of wheel's and gears with out too much difficulty. Now it's definitely not like your going to give them a good spin and they continue for a while, but not a great deal of resistance.

My extended electrical pick ups behind the front wheels (there is considerable side to side movement here to help negotiate turns) seemed to be fine.

I got to seriously looking at the motor while turning it to determine the drive ratio, which turned out to be near 65:1 and with a 10,000 RPM motor this works out to a wheel RPM of  153.8461 assuming of course the motor is really turning that rpm. I haven't done the math yet on the circumference of the wheel to determine MPH. but who really cares as long as it runs.....

Now, back to the motor, I did notice a very slight wobble in the output shaft, and thought ah-ha! The problem! So I mounted the motor in my lathe and spun it, sure enough, it had an .018 wobble! So with great care and some really close "adjustments" (bending the shaft) got it to within .0005 and could hardly tell it. I reinstalled it and curses! same problem.

Time to make some phone calls.... but other comments or ideas are always welcome and appreciated! 
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