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Discussion Starter #1
I recently purchased a used, but "never run" Aristocraft U-25B locomotive on ebay. I arrived in good shape and seemed to be as described. However, when I went to run it, it took a great deal of power before it moved and it tends to slip when pulling cars behind it. I'm not sure what's wrong. I'm new to Aristocraft trains (I usually purchase USA Trains), so I don't know if this is normal, or if there's something missing from the wheels (rubber bands?) or if the age of the loco has resulted in motor block failure, "stickiness" or some other problem. I did notice that the wheels seem to be a little "pitted" on their edges, but they seem clean and shiny so this shouldn't impact contact with the track. Can some of you more experienced Aristocraft lovers offer any suggestions to get this locomotive running better and able to pull a train. I like the unit and it helps me complete my BN motive power collection so I'd like to get it working better.

Thanks for any help you can give.

Ed
 

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Us Aristo lovers usually get shot at. but the U 25s used to be my main work horse until the 6 axles came out. does this have plugs on the end or is it older unit. If there is pits it was probably ran.
try adding weight. I'd have to look at itand see what generation it is. what color of box did it come in?.
 

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Its possible its been sitting around for 15 years..
which could cause serious issues with lubrication..

My USA Trains Alco PA's have not turned a wheel in 4 years..and they probably wont turn a wheel for another 2 or 3 years..
once the time comes to fire them back up I will probably have to check the lubrication first..(im not sure what will need to be done..)

Scot
 

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First thing is put it on it's back and take a couple of leads to 12v and touch to the wheels, 2 at a time.

Make sure both blocks run... it's very common to have one block not run, and the other one wants to pull the entire loco.

Also, check EVERY wheel for pickup, I have a friend that has gone through 4 blocks that have one or more wheels each that did not pick up.

2 blocks on a new loco, 1 block purchased new, and 1 new block sent from Aristo.

Need I say more?

Regards, Greg
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Posted By NTCGRR on 03/25/2009 6:11 PM
Us Aristo lovers usually get shot at. but the U 25s used to be my main work horse until the 6 axles came out. does this have plugs on the end or is it older unit. If there is pits it was probably ran.
try adding weight. I'd have to look at itand see what generation it is. what color of box did it come in?.


The box is black so it's an older model I assume.
 

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Ed, any results on testing all the wheels for pickup? (also, it probably goes without saying that the wheels should turn)...

Regards, Greg
 
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Greg,

I haven't had a chace to work on it yet. I also need to get a volt meter and some additional electrical tools. I'm a bit challenged in that area. I'll let you know.

Ed
 

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Ed, try Harbor Freight, they have an inexpensive ($5) digital multimeter that has a number of scales and is easy to use. Even comes with a battery already.

The first thing you can do is lay the loco on it's back... take 2 wires from your power pack or track, run the voltage up about half way.

Use the 2 wires to touch 2 wheels at a time, always with one wire on one of the "left" wheels and the other wire on one of the "right" wheels. See if you have any "dead" wheels... that should be pretty simple to try.

Dead wheels can be a problem... also make sure all the wheels turn...

Go ahead and try it...

Regards, Greg
 
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Discussion Starter #10
Greg,

All the wheels turn. They work, they are just slow and require a lot of power before they move. And they still slip on the track even after I've cleaned them and the track. This loco just can't pull many cars without slipping. I may take Don up on his offer to bring it up and have him help me overhaul it. I like it so I'll invest the time and money in it to get it working at top efficiency.

Ed
 

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So, sounds like 2 problems: takes a lot of voltage to get it moving (usually one truck would be different than another if there is a mechanical problem)

Other problem sounds like traction.. does it have the extra weights? There should be one axle on each truck that can rock side to side... when the loco is on it's back can you check this motion? If that was "frozen" it would explain poor traction.

Is there a sound system in this loco? It's possible it has had modifications too.

Good luck!

Regards, Greg
 

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The older loco's had very little weight added. You could add some. Also just curious as to power supply using. Later RJD
 

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Ed please tell me you are using the BIG power supply with this engine? AND NOT the small Bachmann ones I have seen that you have on your inside layout?

Those supplies are better left for powering accessory stuff and NOT engines with cars with lights....first hand knolledge of this one...need at least 5-10 amps for big stuff.

Think Doc..process of elimination.....lube the heck out of it, big supply, add weights..check if the wheels are binding...ANY PLACE do they wobble...minutely?..are they touching anyplace, are the trucks binding, rubbing any place?

Are the gears making complete contact inside the motor block? One time I noticed that one of my GP-9s' was getting stuck on a corner and I had to push it through..problem was that the front motor block had a couple of wires that when it took a corner would dissconnect. Make suer wires have enough play around corners on your inside layout they may be a little tight.

If the weights make it pul better then one problem solved...if the bigger amp makes it run like it is suppose to then look no further...do amp test first.

My guess is as it being an older unit there is not much circutry inside, so I would lean toward motors..maybe ran more then stated on Ebay....no matter what they state..it is always buying a pig-in-a-poke, I have been burned by sellers that have good reps..always as for better pics of wheels and such...trust no one on the bay!

Good work on trying to work on your own stuff, this is what I aways preach, you are headed down the right path to fulfillment!

Bubba
 
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Here's an update.

I checked all the wheels. They all run. I'm using my MRC Power G amp to power the indoor layout (not sure where you saw Bachman power packs Bubba - I have the big monsters on the layout).

Last evening I ran it again and it stopped slipping and seem to be running OK. I still required a lot of power, but it would keep up with my newer USA loco on the same track. The older loco is much lighter than my USA locos. I'll have to figure out where and how to best add weight.

Now, this morning when I came down stairs and ran it again, it was slower and while it didn't slip, it couldn't pull the same train it pulled last evening. I'm leaning toward this just being the result of having not run for 15 years and the gearboxes and motors are gummed up and slow to respond. (I have some HO locos I pulled out after 25 years and they don't work at all - motors are fused).

So, my next question is, are the newer Aristo U-25Bs equiped with the same motor blocks or new and imporved ones? If so, what should I order to replace them or should I just buy a new loco and switch the cabs on it to get the new power and the old BN colors?

Ed
 

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I think I have heard that Aristo has updated their motor blocks..just tried to call them and no body home!

Ya know come to think of it there was a problrem posted just like this not too long ago, but I never did hear what was the cause.

Heer is the part att Ridge Road Station http://www.ridgeroadstation.com/istar.asp?a=6&id=25529351!255

At RRS it is $46x2=$92 without shipping

But these have to be newer and improved.

Cheaper to buy new trucks with motors and install them.

How much was the used U-Boat?

Bubba
 

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Old blocks have tips going into the sideframes. Newer blocks the axles end flush with the wheels.

See what you have...... by the way, just take the blocks apart and clean and lube, what do you have to lose?

Regards, Greg
 

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While I'm no Aristo expert, I was working at a Hobby shop that sold Aristo (or rather REA) back in the day and as I recall the old REA boxes were a light blue to silverish bluish grey. They went to the same color only Aristocraft to use up old boxes while dealing with a bankruptcy and legal issues on a few fronts. Then the change to Black boxes then to yellow and now to Clear sleeves on some rolling stock with yellow ends?

Black box probably means an older power block? Do the axles extend into the side frames or are there no axles extending out from the face of the wheels? I think that is the distinguishing feature between new and old? There is something going on here for sure. Maybe jsut needs to be "run in" a little bit more? Back in my RC car days we'd run in electric car motors to seat the brushes better. Amazing how even the stock Mabuchi or Johnson 540 and 550 motors would run better after a low voltage break in. I had a motor stand that held a single D cell with clip on leads just for the motors while I built up cars for folks.

Let that loco run light for a few hours for break in would be my recommendation. Of course do not leave unattended inc ase there is a short or somehting and moniter the motors temperature from time to time to make sure they aren't overheating. jsut tip it over and do the hand test on the bottom of the power brick.

Chas
 

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Be careful with the ball bearing motorblocks on the U25B. I have had a lot of trouble with that combination. I have had much better performance with my U25's with the older trucks. My FA1/FB1's and my RS3, with the same trucks, run fine with the ball bearing trucks. Because of the odd pivoting arrangement on the U25's they are much more sensitive to poor trackwork.

I have tried twice on two different U25's to convert to ball bearing trucks. The last time I did a lot of experimentation. I found that if BOTH trucks had the "floppy axle" on the forward end of the truck, the engine ran beautifully. The only problem with that is that then when you start backing up, you can run into trouble on curves. on my other engines, my experience has been that you want the "floppy axle" toward the outside/end of the loco on each end. This configuration has given me the most reliable tracking.

Regarding weight, I have two older U25B's, one came in the "black box". I have found that they will reliablly pull 12-14 cars, even up moderate grades with no problem without the addition of weights. Again, one problem with older blocks is that they are sprung. If you add very much weight, the springs will bottom out. The ball bearing trucks are not sprung anymore (springs are they - just don't do anything!), so adding weight in this case isn't a problem.

Ed
 

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Ed, you probably unintentionally put a bit of confusion in your post:

"Be careful with the no ball bearing motorblocks on the U25B." ...... yep

" I have had much better performance with my U25's with the older trucks." oops! older trucks are no ball bearing....

so ball bearing or not is better in your experience?

Older ones NOT ball bearing, axle tips go into sideframes... newer ones are ball bearing, axles end flush with wheels...

Regards, Greg
 

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Greg, you are absolutely right, there was an extra "no" in my first statement, sorry 'bout that. I edited that erroneous "no" out of my post!

When I refer to the "older trucks" that for me work better on the U25B I am talking about the ones with the axles extending into the side frames, not the newer ball bearing trucks that do not come in contact with the outer frames. Let me try again, the non-ball bearing trucks, whose axles extend into the side frames work the best for me on the U25's. I have had problems with the ball bearing trucks, whose axles do not extend into the side frames.

Ed
 
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