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Author Topic: Spectrum Master Railroader Series 2-8-0 Consolidation Steam Loco (DC only)  (Read 3710 times)

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« on: October 05, 2017, 01:58:39 PM »

I recently received one of these nicely detailed n scale steam locomotives in great shape except it does not run.  I would like to take it apart and clean it and check the motor connections but cannot find any documents online that show any details concerning this locomotive.  I expect it has been around for a while.  I know that the last time it ran was about 5 years ago.  Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.  If I can't get it running it will make a nice static display on my layout.  thanks in advance.

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« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2017, 06:28:44 PM »

Click Here scroll to 2-8-0s  and compare to your locomotive.


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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2017, 10:41:13 AM »

I am assuming that it is electrical problems rather than the mechanism's being locked.

The key component for electrical contact for this thing is the tender.  All contact surfaces must be good or this thing will run erratically, at best.  

The first thing to do is make sure that there is no accumulated wheel crud on the tender wheels.  Take care not to mistake the rubber traction tyres on some of the drivers for wheel crud.    If there is wheel crud on the tender wheels, get rid of it.  Scrape it with a jeweller's screwdriver then use some track cleaner.  While you are looking at it, make sure that all axles are seated properly in the trucks and that the needlepoints are making proper contact with the phosphor bronze contact plates in the truck frames,

The next thing to do is to make sure that drawbar is making good contact with both the split contact pole on the bottom of the locomotive under the cab.  Separate the tender from the locomotive.  You can do this by twisting the drawbar to the side then lifting it over the contact pole and away from the locomotive.  Make sure that the contact pole on the locomotive is clean.   A few swipes with a sanding rod (you can buy them at art supply stores or hobby stores--they look much like rectangular pipe cleaners) will do it.  You will observe that there are two stiff wires in the drawbar.  Make sure that they are clean (again, a few swipes with the sanding rod) and that they are making proper contact with the contact pole on the locomotive.  Bend them in slightly and gently.

If you have a magnifying lamp or Optivisor®, it will help for this part.  Turn over the tender.  Make sure that the stiff wires are making proper contact with the contact posts on the forward truck.  The stiff wires in the part of the drawbar bend out in a funny looking hook.  Two things tend to happen, here.  The first is that the hooked part is not spread out enough to contact the posts on the forward truck.  To rectify this, you must unscrew the forward truck, take it from the tender, remove the drawbar and bend out the hooked part gently and slightly.  This is an opportunity to make sure that the stiff wires on this part of the drwabar are clean, as well.  Clean them if they are not.  

The other problem that occurs is when the hooked part is bent out too far and it winds up outside the contact posts in the truck.  The stiff wires should contact inside the posts on the truck, not outside.  Again, it will be necessary to remove the front tender truck, remove the drawbar and bend in the stiff wires gently and slightly.  Again, make sure that the stiff wires are clean and take remedial action if they are not.

You must take care to remember which side was up on the drawbar, as you must put it back the same way when re-assembling.  A scratch in the plastic or a piece of tape will work to mark which side is up/down,  In addition, when re-assembling, take care that the hook part of the drawbar goes inside the contact posts on the truck.  At this point, put the thing back onto the track and see if it will run.  

If it will not, your problem likely is inside the tender.  On some of these, the tender shell is a friction fit onto the chassis.  Look carefully for the separation line and gently pry off the shell.  There are some of these where it is a snap fit, so you must part the shell slightly toward the middle.  Then, there are some where the deck and coal bunker come out.  You can tell this one by looking on top of the water tank and seeing if there is a gap between the sides of the tender and the water tank.  If you have this one, you must remove the back coal board.  It is not glued on very well, so you can work it off.  You will see a slot in the back of the coal load.  Stick a jeweller's screwdriver into it and gently work out the coal load/tender deck.

If you will remove the weight, you will see two contact strips on the floor of the tender chassis.  B-mann secures them to the floor by melting some plastic nubs.  These things can come  undone, which will cause the contact strips to bend up and not make proper contact with the trucks.  If this has occurred, you can re-secure them with a piece of styrene and a Micro-Trains coupler screw.  Cut a piece of styrene to lay across the floor and pin down the contact strips.  Take a pin vise and drill a small hole in the middle of it.  Line up everything, then drill a tap hole in the tender floor with the pin vise.  The last part requires much patience and care, as the floors of most of these tenders are a soft metal, so you want to avoid breaking your bit.  Take your sweet time on this one.  Anchor the bit as far as you can into the vise.  Once you have tapped the hole, screw your new retainer plate onto the floor of the tender deck.  Take your time with this one, as well, as the screws are soft and can warp or break as you screw them into it.  In fact, you might want to have a few extra, as if the screw starts to warp or break, you might want to back out the thing and start with a new screw.

The all wheels live tender on this thing is a sine qua non.  In fact, some modellers, in an effort to make this look like a Southern Pacific C-class, have tried to affix the Model Power Vanderbilt to it.  That tender is only half wheels live.  Almost to a man, they reported that it ran poorly on a half wheels live tender, if it ran at all.

Try the drawbar first.  If that does not address your problem, check inside the tender.  If that does not address your problem, you  might have a problem in the motor.  The thing does stick out the back of the cab, so you might get away with putting a Q-tip soaked in Life Like track cleaner on each side of the motor, but you might have to take off the shell from the locomotive.  That is not the easiest thing to do.  It is a snap fit.  It has been some time since I did it, but I seem to remember that you must part the cab sides and the ash pit and slide up and forward the shell.  Perhaps someone who has done it recently can comment on this.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2017, 10:44:33 AM by brokemoto » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2017, 08:53:09 PM »

What a great description.  Thanks a lot.  I will let you know how it comes out. I had no idea the tender was part of the drive system.

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« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2017, 10:07:30 AM »

First thing I'd check is if the headlight comes on when track current is present. Whether it does or doesn't will drive what you start checking next.



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« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2017, 10:19:00 AM »

The tender is not part of the "drive system", but it is a major component of the electrical pick up. 

On the B-mann 4-4-0, as well as th  MDC/Athearn 2-8-0 and 2-6-0, the tender is part of the "drive system" in that the motor is in the tender and is connected to the locomotive by a drive shaft.  The 4-4-0 is the only B-mann steam in current production that has a motor in the tender.
 On all B-mann steam that is currently in production, the tender is an important part of the electrical pick-up. 

The USRA 0-6-0 even has a tender that is live, but only half of the wheels on that one are live.  In fact, swapping out the stock tender for an all wheels live B-mann tender gives you a much improved locomotive.

I give a second to Spookshow's recommendation that you make sure that the headlight is not lighting when you put it onto the track.  If it does light and the locomotive does not move, the problem likely is in the locomotive.  The usual culprits on that are either a locked up mechanism or dirt in the motor that prevents the brushes from making proper contact with the armature.

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« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2017, 12:17:00 PM »

Well...looks like I have a new static display for my rail yard.  No headlight, tender contacts cleaned and double checked with ohm meter and all good.  Strips inside tender are solid and in good shape.  I exposed the motor armature in the engine and it doesn't budge.  I am no going to try and take the engine apart.  It doesn't look like it would be easy to do without breaking off all the little details.  Fortunately the guy I got it from said "no cost if I can't get it to run".  I like it so much I think I may get a new model for my collection.  Thanks for all the help and advice.  It was all good, and timely, even if I couldn't get the loco/tender up and running.
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