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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
  I'm asking this question for my grandson who just got his first train set.  A Bachmann Durango and Silverton 4-6-0- passenger set.  The problem we are having is the electrical pickup that is on the front pilot.  Going around a curve, the headlight stays pretty constant and the locomotive has no real issues.  But as soon as it gets to a straight section of track the headlight flickers a lot, and the engine even stops at times.
  I see that copper strips are used to retain the wheel axle on the pilot for each side, and believe that this is the pickup.  I think that the axle has too much movement on a straight away and therefore causes breaks in the circuit.  Does anyone out there have any suggestions on how to cure this? 


  I'm sure there are others that have had this problem.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Thanks in advance for your help.


 
 

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Chooch,

I'm pretty sure the ten-wheeler has pickups on the driving wheels too. Mine have metal strips that contact the bass axle bearings - so you should have 10 wheels picking up power.

As the pick-up works on curves, it suggests to me that your wheels are very dirty. On a corner the flanges on the side of the wheel treads will also contact the rails resulting in good pickup if the wheels are dirty. The Bachmann plastic wheels on their older rolling stock are notorious for shedding plastic, and you will often find a grime layer on the wheels (or on the rails for that matter. Clean the rails with a solvent (see below) first.)

Here's a diagnostic suggestion. Find a couple of clips - alligator electrical clips or even office bulldog clips. Get a couple of odd bits of wood and some old towel or other rag, and turn the loco over on the rag/padding so the wheels are upright (watch you don't crush the brass whistle, etc. - that's where the blocks come in!)
Unfasten the wires from the power supply that go to the track and bring it over to the loco and plug it back in. Clip the wires to the front truck wheels, one at each side, making sure they don't meet. Check that the loco wheels turn and the headlight lights when you turn the power supply lever on.
Unclip one side and touch each wheel on that side with the wire, checking that everything still works. That will tell you if all the pickups are working. Clip it back and do the other side.

Then clip the wires back to the pilot and, with the drivers turning slowly, clean the treads of the driving wheels with a rag or paper towel and some solvent - paint thinner works well but any household cleaner will work - just apply a little to the rag/towel and hold it against the wheel.
 

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Isn't this one of the Bachmann locos where the pilot can turn 180 degrees, thus having the wrong polarity?


Maybe use clip leads to power the drivers, and set the power pack for forward.


Then clip the leads to the pilot wheels, and make sure that the loco still turns in the same direction?


(do these tests off the track).


Regards, Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Pete and Greg. I am forwarding your suggestions to my son-in-law, Russ (who just happens to be an electrician). Funny you should mention the plastic wheels. I gave my grandson a log car that had plastic wheels. I told Russ how I changed out all my wheels to metal for just the reason you mentioned. But, the problem started before he got the new car. I did look at the main drivers and saw some buildup of gunk, but I didn't think it was enough to do any harm. Actually, I didn't think the main drivers had pickups anyway.
If there are other suggestions from anyone, please give me your thoughts. I want to help keep a little boy happy!

Now I know why I love live steam so much. No electrical problems! Thanks again all.
 

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They are right about the bad contact, I had the same problem, I took my engine off, put it on my bench upside down on a folded towel (to help protect the top pieces. I used a 9V battery clipped to the pilot wheels for power, then I used a green scratch pad to clean the drive wheels, then I disconnected the power and cleaned the pilot wheels . I then (just for good measure) used the grean cleaning cloth on the track to make sure it was clean. Then returned mine to the track (make sure the arrow on the bottom of the pilot wheels points forward. All worked fine after that, I now clean engine every few days and have made a cleaning car to clean the track.


 


GlacierBill
 

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I have 2 of the 4-6-0's and found they run better with a small weight added to the pilot truck. Both of these run great on my brass 4 foot diameter R1 track.
 

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Dan,


While adding a weight is one way to help the pilot truck stay on the track, the problem is that the truck is very long and doesn't flex, so it is easy for a wheel to lift due to a bump and the other wheel on that side also lifts and derails. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/cry.gif An easier solution is to make the truck more flexible by removing the little plastic part that holds the two pickup strips apart.  The pickup strips then allow the wheels to rise and fall independantly without falling out of the truck:





Two important issues (1) put some tape between the strips to continue the separation/isolation of the strips and (2) mark the truck with an arrow or dot showing the front/direction, as that plastic bit has the arrow on!


I've had no derailments since making this small mod. :D
 

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hehe


I did the opposite. The silly plastic thing came out, causing a short that stopped the other train. Of course, Annie with batteries in the tender never noticed and continued happily on her way. I drilled a couple holes through the works and pinned the plastic part in place so that wouldn't happen again.
 

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I installed a pair of LGB ball bearing pickup wheel sets to the tender. Then added a jumper cable with plugs to the engine, and wired this to the power pickups in the loco.
No power problems at all. Even outside on slightly dirty track.

-- Bill
 

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The middle drivers of my 4-6-0 do not touch the rail; they just go along for the ride - and the looks but not for electrical pick up. I've weighted the pilot trucks on one to make it push the points over on an LGB switch; haven't had the other long enough to check it out on switches. Neither stalls so the electrical pick up seems fine.

Art
 

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Not to pile on, but check the gauge of the pilot wheels. My Bachmann 4-6-0's (I've got several) seem to think gauge is a suggestion! Cleanliness is critical, as others have said.
 

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Dick,
You did notice that was a 2008 thread? 8 years ago . .

There's a lot of that about recently. Maybe Google has improved its search so these old threads pop up ?
 
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