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Author Topic: Does my new engine have a problem?  (Read 4061 times)

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« on: January 02, 2014, 02:39:48 PM »

Looking for some advice on whether a newly bought Bachmann Spectrum N scale Baldwin 2-8-0 is showing signs of a problem.

Last Christmas I bought a Bachmann non-Spectrum N scale Baldwin 4-6-0 and a loop of Kato 13-3/4” radius track so that I would have a train to run under my very diminutive Christmas tree.  It is powered by an entry-level Bachmann DCC E-Z Command controller.  It works great pulling 4 Bachmann Jackson Sharp open sided excursion cars.  It starts at reasonably low throttle, runs reasonably smoothly as low as 13 smph, and cruises at about 40 smph at about 30% throttle.  Top speed is 83 smph.  It makes very little noise when running, mainly wheel clicks on rail joints.

This year I added a couple of turnouts and a 2 track “yard” where I can store a separate train.  I bought a Bachmann Spectrum 2-8-0 and a couple of freight cars to begin building the new train. 

The way the 2-8-0 runs immediately seemed different compared to my 4-6-0.  It does not even start moving until the throttle is about where the 4-6-0 is doing 35 smph, and does not get up to 40 smph until over half (55%) throttle.  It also makes an obvious electric –motor-sounding whine/hum at any speed, with the pitch varying with the speed. 

It runs well enough with enough throttle, and has a top speed of 65 smph pulling 2 short freight cars.  But, at a constant throttle setting of about 55%, the actual speed around the track has varied with running time from 38 smph to 49 smph when measured on several occassions, usually starting low, getting faster, then slowing down again.  In comparison, the 4-6-0 varies only about 1 smph under the exact same conditions.  On the other hand, the 2-8-0 will comfortably throttle-down to  13 smph at the throttle setting that the 4-6-0 is going 40 smph and sometimes can do a pretty good job of 8 smph without getting jumpy.  It just won’t start at that throttle setting and sometimes may get jumpy when throttled to that setting if it has been running higher for too long.  There seems to be an optimum session run time of tens of minutes when it becomes fastest and smoothest.

I can tell from the exploded drawings that came with the two engines that they have different motors and similar gear structure.  (Of course, I know the gear ratios are probably different and that the different  drive wheel diameters will affect speeds, too.)  So, what is nagging at me is whether the noise and the speed and smoothness variations are anything to worry about.

With models this small, I am hesitant to just take it apart to look.  So I am first looking for advice from people more experienced with these models before I decide what to do, if anything.


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« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2014, 08:48:50 PM »

The 2-8-0 is geared lower than the 4-6-0.  The top speed on a prototype 2-8-0 is about 45 mph - it was built to haul freight.  The 4-6-0 was built to haul passengers and the prototype had a top speed around 60 mph.  The model engines replicate the actual engines.  The 4-6-0 was the first widely available coreless motor, the 2-8-0 uses an older motor design.  The 2-8-0 is considered a quite engine but nothing beats a coreless motor for low noise level.

Have fun, Mark
James in FL

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« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2014, 09:07:08 PM »

Never had mine apart.
It maybe possible to get to both motor bearings by simply removing the cab and nothing else.
If so, a tiny half drop of oil.
Linkage and gears should be easy to lube from the bottom.

FWTW… mine runs slow and starts high too.

Don’t be afraid to open it, if you are brave enough here’s how to, with pictures.

The cab should pull straight up and off.

« Last Edit: January 02, 2014, 09:09:49 PM by James in FL » Logged
Mike C

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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2014, 11:17:19 AM »

 I think you may be able to adjust the start voltage so that it will start moving sooner. I think that the start voltage is usually set too high from the factory. Not sure if the bachmann controler will let you adjust any CV's though, I own a different system. Mine also runs slowly at top speed, it's just the way its geared. It should have enough oil from the factory, but if you turn it over you could add a tiny drop or 2 to the gear that is there. That way you wouldn't have to disassemble the loco. Unless you're getting a high pitched squealing noise, I would not put any oil on the motor bearings. Too much there could cause other problems. .....Mike

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« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2014, 12:17:35 PM »

it depends? are you running dc or dcc. if you are running dcc you can change the start voltage to start to 0 as per SPOOKSHOWS WEBSITE. i have 3 of these locos & i reset all to a start voltage of 0. another trick you should try is to slightly loosen the screws on thebottom plate holding the drive assembly in place to eliminate possible binding,i had to do this on 2 of my 2-8-0's.this info has been mentioned many times on different forums. also if you are running just dc ,if you know some one has runs dcc you could get them to change the start voltage for you as these loco's have a dual decoder on board.if this is done it will improve the running qualities of the loco also. these are great little locos and like one of the previous  replys stated they are geared low and are not speed demons. hope this info helps in sorting out your problem& good luck.
regards&later KEWATIN

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« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2014, 03:07:05 AM »

The 2 8 0 does run slower than many other N-scale locos. This, I think is normal.  on mine, I had to slightly loosen the screw directly under the cab to free-up the drive a bit. Also, there's a black plastic cap over the rear of the armature shaft on the motor, in the cab. You can remove this and put a VERY LITTLE oil on the armature bearing. REPLACE THE CAP! I have heard some folks leave it off, but this can make the motor noisy. This cap holds the armature in place, keeping it from sliding back under load.
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