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Author Topic: Spectrum GP30 noise  (Read 16339 times)
DarG

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« on: December 27, 2014, 09:49:46 AM »

I posted a few weeks back that I got my train and track back up and running after a long hiatus.   The loco is a Bachmann Spectrum GP30 and I've had it for a long time.   From reading up I see that they are notorious for being noisy.  I notice that the truck gears are kinda sloppy and I think that makes for the noise.  I'd call it a "rattle" but not sure that's exactly accurate.  At any rate, I'm not worried about that noise.  What I'm trying to pin down is more of what sounds like a bad bearing.   I can clean and re-lube and get maybe 2-3 hours of quiet running (aside from the aforementioned rattle) and then I begin to start hearing that intermittent bearing noise again.  It remains intermittent but gets more frequent and louder.  Occurs in straights and curves and forward or reverse.   I have searched and found similar reports but didn't find a concensus solution.  One suggested checking the worm gears for binding but mine spin freely.   I've been focusing on the gears in the trucks but I don't believe that's the source.  I believe it may be the worm gear bearings and I'll target those specifically with a drop of lube when it starts acting up again and either rule them in or out as the source.  Clearly, I'm not sure it's a bearing, that's just what it sounds like to me.   I'm not an expert on fixing or troubleshooting these engines.   Any ideas where I should put my focus on to try and solve this particular issue?    

On the plus side, I have gotten one of my old Athearn blue box engines back running if this Bachmann defeats me.  

Had another question but it has slipped my mind for now.

Thanks in advance.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2014, 09:51:22 AM by DarG » Logged
Len

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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2014, 10:35:28 AM »

It's probably the worm gear bearings. They're made of solid brass, rather than the oilite castings other mfg's use, and have to be lubed every couple of hours if you run a lot. Otherwise you get the squeal.

Working powdered graphite into the bearings, instead of oil, helps some.

Len
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If at first you don't succeed, throw it in the spare parts box.
DarG

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« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2014, 11:04:21 AM »

It's probably the worm gear bearings. They're made of solid brass, rather than the oilite castings other mfg's use, and have to be lubed every couple of hours if you run a lot. Otherwise you get the squeal.

Working powdered graphite into the bearings, instead of oil, helps some.

Len


As mentioned, those worm gears were #1 on my list to single out.   If they turn out to be the culprits, I'll give the graphite a try.

Thanks!
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jbrock27

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« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2014, 01:16:15 PM »

Bachmann Plus GP35s can also be noisy.  Mine is.  That was my first post here; got a lot of suggestions on what to try with the shell but never got any real answer about the motor.  I have yet to try it, but was going to next try to put some Conducta Lube where I believe the brushes to be inside the can motor.

Love Blue Boxes.  Very easy to take apart, clean, modify and get very quiet.  Only pain is that open frame motor/commutator setup.  Gets dirty.  On the plus side, easy access to it.

And I use a Labelle like oil w/needle on brass or bronze worm gear bearings.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2014, 01:22:26 PM by jbrock27 » Logged

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Len

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« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2014, 02:29:38 PM »

Proto-Power West/A-Line makes can motor upgrade kits for 'Blue Box' locos with open frame motors.

You can find them here: http://www.ppw-aline.com/re-power.htm

Len
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jbrock27

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« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2014, 02:40:44 PM »

Yep.  Thank you Len, but I can't see myself spending $60+ shipping to do that.
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DarG

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« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2014, 06:46:55 AM »

Bachmann Plus GP35s can also be noisy.  Mine is.  That was my first post here; got a lot of suggestions on what to try with the shell but never got any real answer about the motor.  I have yet to try it, but was going to next try to put some Conducta Lube where I believe the brushes to be inside the can motor.

Love Blue Boxes.  Very easy to take apart, clean, modify and get very quiet.  Only pain is that open frame motor/commutator setup.  Gets dirty.  On the plus side, easy access to it.

And I use a Labelle like oil w/needle on brass or bronze worm gear bearings.

I got a second blue box running yesterday.  The first old motor I tried was dead.  I had a couple others and got it running.  I need to find carbon brushes and maybe the brush springs.  I guess athearn would have them?

 I have several athearn bb locos and price I paid is still on the boxes, all in $25 range, all were new when I bought them, years ago.  No upgrade motors for me either,  the beauty is in how little they cost.

When I put the Bachmann gp30 back together this last time,  I put a tiny drop of a conductive oil on the commutator.  It's the quietest it has run so far but I don't think that was the reason.  And I've only run it for a few minutes to test.   I've used several different lubes now,  on different parts to stop that squeal.  Currently the worm gear bushings are lubed with a drop of ATF.  When it squeals again I'll only oil those to confirm that they are the culprits.  We'll see what happens.
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jbrock27

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« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2014, 08:51:10 AM »

Are these Athearn motors the ones with brass or grey metal flywheels?  Athearn/Horizon Hobby may have the brushes and springs, so might Ebay.  Are there brushes and springs missing?  Why are you looking for replacements?  Make sure you put the brushes in the proper way, some have not realized they have a curve to them and that is the end that sits on the commutator. 
Do you have soldering skills?  If so, I suggest a total tear down on these to clean everything, including the motor and ditch the metal contact spring that runs across the top of the motor to both trucks.  If you want more info, just let me know, I would be glad to share.  You would be properly pleased with how quiet they can run.

I don't get it; if you found the GP30 ran it's quietest after you used the Conducta Lube, but don't think it was bc of the Conducta Lube, what do you think made it ran its quietest ever Huh?
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Len

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« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2014, 09:04:42 AM »

The Athearn motor brushes (ATH90037) are out of stock until March 2015. They're $11.98 for a bag of 24. The brush springs (ATH84014) are currently in stock. They're $8.98 for a bag of 36.

Len
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jbrock27

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« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2014, 09:12:12 AM »

Hey Len, can you find me headlight lenses for a Blue Box F7A? 
Thank you.
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DarG

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« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2014, 09:20:33 AM »

Are these Athearn motors the ones with brass or grey metal flywheels?  Athearn/Horizon Hobby may have the brushes and springs, so might Ebay.  Are there brushes and springs missing?  Why are you looking for replacements?  Make sure you put the brushes in the proper way, some have not realized they have a curve to them and that is the end that sits on the commutator.  
Do you have soldering skills?  If so, I suggest a total tear down on these to clean everything, including the motor and ditch the metal contact spring that runs across the top of the motor to both trucks.  If you want more info, just let me know, I would be glad to share.  You would be properly pleased with how quiet they can run.

I don't get it; if you found the GP30 ran it's quietest after you used the Conducta Lube, but don't think it was bc of the Conducta Lube, what do you think made it ran its quietest ever Huh?

Yes, I have soldering skills.   They are the brass flywheels.   I'm missing one spring and another I had to stretch, it was almost totally compressed (don't ask me how, I don't know) and the brushes are worn pretty good on one motor.  I do realize they are curved.   I haven't yet taken a motor completely apart but the dead one seems like a good candidate.  How do the flywheels come off?

I'm guessing soldering a couple of flexible wires from the clip to the contact arms to get rid of the spring, yes? 

The noise from my GP30 seemed to be mainly gear clatter, not accounting for the worm gear bearings when they run dry.   I used the bachmann pink snot on the gears this time (first time I used it)  instead of a thicker grease.  I think that's why it seemed quieter during the test run.   I don't think it had much to do with the drop of oil on the commutator.  It just sounded like less gear chatter.  
« Last Edit: December 28, 2014, 09:24:13 AM by DarG » Logged
jbrock27

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« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2014, 09:46:55 AM »

Well, glad you got it quieter.  For gear grease, I like to use a fishing reel lube that is plastic safe and can be found for cheap at Walfart or KMart.

Those are the good Athearn motors.  The flywheels should just pull off while pulling/twisting them while holding the opposite flywheel.  I have come across some stubborn ones that were 2nd hand that I have to belive someone glued and never has success in taking them off.  I also once found that one half a motor cradle was cracked and had to get a replacement motor-there is no successful way of gluing delrin plastic that I know. 

Agree, start with the dead one first.  Watch for the brush springs as you take the copper clips off.  I start with the end where the brushes are to relieve the tension there and then when I do the other end, I take the clip off.  Then I dump the springs somewhere safe like an old vitamin container or old plastic pill bottle so they don't get lost.  Check the clips on the one with the missing stuff, to make sure things did not go missing bc of the clip being faulty.  I clean the copper clips by soaking them in vinegar.
The brushes I put in something sealed, like a vitamin container with Isopropyl Alcohol to clean them and when I take them out to reassemble, I wipe them with rag.  Don't try to clean the springs.  I do clip a couple of coils off each one (like 2 mms), it helps get more realistic slow speeds.
If you can get the flywheels off and got to take the motor apart for cleaning, make sure you mark the magnets as "top" and "bottom" for reassembly otherwise the motor will run in op postie direction.  Gently chuck the motor shaft opposite the commutator in a drill and use an eraser or softer version track cleaning block to get the gunk off.  When done with that, use a #11 Exacto blade to clean the gunk out of the groves of the commutator.
Oh and while you are doing all of this, you should have the trucks (make sure you mark "front" for the front one) apart, to have the plastic gears soaking in warm soapy water, clean the wheels....Want more info?  There is also a great piece on this on the web, with pics.  Also found a great YouTube recently on using a drill or drill press to clean and polish the older Athearn sintered wheels.
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DarG

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« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2014, 09:47:05 AM »

The Athearn motor brushes (ATH90037) are out of stock until March 2015. They're $11.98 for a bag of 24. The brush springs (ATH84014) are currently in stock. They're $8.98 for a bag of 36.

Len


Thanks Len.   No rush but I'll check ebay and online stores too.
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DarG

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« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2014, 09:54:45 AM »

Well, glad you got it quieter.  For gear grease, I like to use a fishing reel lube that is plastic safe and can be found for cheap at Walfart or KMart.

Those are the good Athearn motors.  The flywheels should just pull off while pulling/twisting them while holding the opposite flywheel.  I have come across some stubborn ones that were 2nd hand that I have to belive someone glued and never has success in taking them off.  I also once found that one half a motor cradle was cracked and had to get a replacement motor-there is no successful way of gluing delrin plastic that I know.  

Agree, start with the dead one first.  Watch for the brush springs as you take the copper clips off.  I start with the end where the brushes are to relieve the tension there and then when I do the other end, I take the clip off.  Then I dump the springs somewhere safe like an old vitamin container or old plastic pill bottle so they don't get lost.  Check the clips on the one with the missing stuff, to make sure things did not go missing bc of the clip being faulty.  I clean the copper clips by soaking them in vinegar.
The brushes I put in something sealed, like a vitamin container with Isopropyl Alcohol to clean them and when I take them out to reassemble, I wipe them with rag.  Don't try to clean the springs.  I do clip a couple of coils off each one (like 2 mms), it helps get more realistic slow speeds.
If you can get the flywheels off and got to take the motor apart for cleaning, make sure you mark the magnets as "top" and "bottom" for reassembly otherwise the motor will run in op postie direction.  Gently chuck the motor shaft opposite the commutator in a drill and use an eraser or softer version track cleaning block to get the gunk off.  When done with that, use a #11 Exacto blade to clean the gunk out of the groves of the commutator.
Oh and while you are doing all of this, you should have the trucks (make sure you mark "front" for the front one) apart, to have the plastic gears soaking in warm soapy water, clean the wheels....Want more info?  There is also a great piece on this on the web, with pics.  Also found a great YouTube recently on using a drill or drill press to clean and polish the older Athearn sintered wheels.

I was using a thicker fishing reel lube (grease) on the gears.  I've had it forever and that's what I've always used.   I tried that on the GP30, then after another clean, an even thicker Teflon based lube.  This last time I tried the Bachmann stuff.   I think the thicker grease prevents the gears from fully meshing and maybe that accounts for the chatter.  The Bachmann pink stuff is more like a gel and is thinner than the other two.  But the gear mesh thing is just a theory and I could be very wrong. 

On the athearns, I pretty much got everything covered in terms of maint. with the exception of the motors.   Great info on that, thank you.   I'll operate on the dead one when I get a chance.  Do you have that web link?
« Last Edit: December 28, 2014, 10:00:47 AM by DarG » Logged
jbrock27

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« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2014, 10:23:41 AM »

The grease I mentioned is Teflon based and meshes very well to the point it almost looks like a liquid.

Which link would you like? 

And instead of soldering wires directly to the truck tops, I solder them to female 1/4" electrical connectors that easily fit on and off the truck tops, this way I can easily dissemble for any future maintenance.

Do me a favor and let me know in your search, if you ever happen to come across those headlight lenses I am looking for ?

Thanks and you're welcome Smiley
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