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Well, I finally did it. I've been eyeing the MTH Big Boy with Protosound 2.0 in my local hobby shop for a very long time. I managed to work out the numbers as to how I could buy it, and negotiated 10% off the price, and went ahead and bought the thing. I don't know why. I have nowhere to run it, I have no prototypical cars to run behind it, and it was stretching my budget. But I bought it anyway. After my Aristo Mallet escapade last fall, I took a break from G scale and dabbled a bit in N scale, and purchased an Athearn Big Boy with sound and DCC. So, now I have two Big Boys, in very different scales. I gotta say, the MTH is just simply gorgeous, it really is nice to look at, and the lighting and smoke are absolutely fantastic looking. The sound even sounds very well, though on high volume settings, it's well, loud. DUH!



One question: I know for a fact that this locomotive has sat in a display case for at least one year. My brother, who generally knows better than I do, said I probably didn't need to lubricate it. However, below about ten SMPH, it seems to not run as smooth as I think it should, considering what I have heard from other owners. So, should I go ahead and lubricate the gears and siderods? I'm thinking yes, but don't want to do anything that may damage it. Are these locos supposed to be smooth at low speeds? I know Rayman has a lot of experience with these locos, so if he'd like to step in and give me some advice, I'd really appreciate it. Also, obviously, if anyone else wants to step in, PLEASE do. EDIT: I did forget to mention that I don't think the drivers are out of quarter, as it seems to run exactly the same both forwards and reverse.
 

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I'd send Ray an e-mail. Probably to busy to visit forum. Later RJD
 

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You are not going to hurt it by giving it some lube. I lope everything right out of the box. They've been in a container ship and in trucks- hot/cold so the lube won't hurt.
 

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MTH is notorious for smooth running at low speeds.

I had an issue with my Hudson with the same symptoms and it turned out that the quartering was off on the wheels. Something to check. At low speeds, is the unit jerky per sae?

gg
 

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I own a big boy and wouldn't hesitate to lube everything liberally - the engine's a tank and it's unlikely you'll damage anything. Just ensure that the fiddly bits (side rods, etc.) don't get dirty while they're still wet with oil. I love my engine, but it's currently down with a fried smoke unit.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yes, at low speeds, the engine is a little jerky. It's not awful, just a little bit of "hesitation" so to speak. I watched Rayman's video of his with out of quarter drivers, and it's nowhere near as bad as that. It also appears to run the same forwards and backwards. I'll try lubricating it and run it some to see what happens before I go further with it.
 

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Let Ray weigh in on this.

What I did is pull the shell off on the loco and mounted the drivers on rollers and applied the power. From there I noticed the quartering issue. The frame was being stressed. I video'd it and sent it to Ray.

My message is don't work the unit till you can confirm that it is not a quartering issue.


gg
 

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We called MTH and they said it's a known problem and the onboard circuit board is fried; tested it and it's only picking up power from the pickup shoes, and nothing from the drivers.

Oops?



We thankfully have an MTH repair center only about ten miles from our house, we're dropping it off in the morning and it should be a week or two, but this time we can verify that it works unlike the Aristo Mallet.



I will also say that this engine is unbelievably massive, and that R3 curves are useless. Time for some AMS flex and another garden railroad?
 

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I've had the Railking Bigboy for two years now together with a couple of Challengers and a GS4 Daylight.
I lightly oiled all the motion and wheel axles on all of them before they ran and they are very smooth. Check my Bigboy on youtube for slow running!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXIPDE_Uu1E

Here is a picture showing a close up of the superb detai of these great engines.
Had a problem with the smoke with one of my Challengers however. I emailed Raiking from here in the UK and they sent a replacement unit. We re-fitted it ourselves.
If you want the contact name I would be happy to give it if you email me through the forum.

 

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Main131: Have you been using that big boy as a battering ram?! Is it me or is the pilot bent down?

TLS: Are you running your loco on dirty track? Is it clamped or is it simply slid together? When I run trains in my basement on temporary layouts, it is fairly common that I have electrical issues (specifically related to getting power to the trains) at lower speeds. So it might not be your locomotive.
 

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Mark:

We flipped it in the box and tried the Kadee wheel cleaner; no power except through the shoes. Track is PHENOMENALLY clean, we tried that first; scrubbed it until even the Lionel 0-6-0 runs without stuttering.

It's currently at a local shop for a warranty repair--I think I'm going to pick up a K-27 there also :D
 

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Have you been using that big boy as a battering ram?! Is it me or is the pilot bent down?

Not that I am aware of although come to think of it, there was some wreckage by the track recently which might have been a Stainz.
When you drive a Big boy you don't notice things like that!
 

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Hey guys, I haven't been on MLS in a while.

GG, on your Hudson, if I recall right wasn't the issue that it was originally thought to be a quartering issue and when you sent a video of the engine running slow we were able to point out that the eccentric arm was installed incorrectly on one side? I think it turned out that you indicated the arm was loose and you had to put back on and tighten it, but was put on in such a way that it was straining the valving support brace and once fixed the engine smoothed out? (So in the end it didn't have a quartering problem I don't think.)

On the photo of the bent down pilot, MTH had problems with shipping damage and the front pilots getting broken. It's another reason why they went so far on the enhanced packaging for the triplex. Main131, was it like that when you got it?

Got to chat with John some and it sounds like a couple of issues going on. One thing was it was running with a power supply set to Pulse width control on and not linear. Not sure if the PWC could have damaged the electronics or make it not run smooth but we did identify that. Now running on linear mode. (mentioning this for others who may read this.. do not run DCS engines under PWC) I still think the engine has a quartering issue as it sounds like it has minor binding at two spots per rev. There was some report of flickering of the lights, my guess is that if the wheels are clean we will find it's some sort of power pickup issue. burned trace, or something. On this engine, when front and rear engine sets are picking up power you should have no problems with getting constant power to the electronics.

When you want to clean the wheels, use alligator clips and clip on to the sliders directly from the power source, I wouldn't rely on the wheel pickups as only the second axle has power pickup brushes and you may not get reliable power transfer through the connecting rods from one axle set to another. (The front axles do have power pickups but those wheels have traction tires so...)

As far as the power pickup issue, I would interpret what MTH was saying was that if you aren't picking up power from either the inside wheel pickups or sliders on the front engine set then you have burned trace(s) on the rear power transfer board under the rear driver set. (the way to test this is to use a voltmeter and test for continuity between say the rear and front sliders(on the same side of the engine). If you have continuity, your trace is ok, if you don't it's blown on that side. The way MTH is fixing this now is to run a jumper wire along the top of the frame between the front and rear wires. This allows you to fix it without replacing the board.

The #2 axle on the rear engine set is the last power pickup in the chain so even if you have a high amp short that blows the trace between the rear engine slider and that wheel, you should still be picking up power from that wheel/axle.

If you truly don't have power pickup from only the inside wheel power pickups, I would remove the pickup assembly (held in by one screw) and see if it is plugged in. If it is, then I would make sure the brush wires aren't broken and if not, remove the rear plate under the wheel set and inspect the wires and board.

http:\\www.rayman4449.dynip.com\MTH_Big_Boy_Board_Cut_1.JPG -

http:\\www.rayman4449.dynip.com\MTH_Big_Boy_Board_Cut_2.JPG - here it is unplugged

http://www.rayman4449.dynip.com/MTH_Big_Boy_mods.htm#Shorting%20on%20Cross-over%20/%20Slider%20modification - For reference




If the MTH service center is going to have the engine open, I would request that they insulate the motor diode from the frame while they are in there:

http://www.rayman4449.dynip.com/MTH_Big_Boy_mods.htm#Electrically%20Isolating%20the%20Motor%20Diode


Good luck, look forward to hearing how you make out.


Raymond
 

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Kripes Ray,

When you answer, you do indeed answer.....


Now for my quartering, I pulled out and moved a bunch of linkage and things got better ! How's that for a techno answer ?

Wow and Regards,

gg




PS: Tell MTH that more work is required on their packaging. Especially for soft belly locos.. I have !
 

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Discussion Starter #17
To answer a couple questions, I have no idea what the MTH service center is going to do with the locomotive, they said they would "check it out when we get to it." I do not know if this means they will simply run it on their test track and see what happens, or if they will attempt to make any repairs.

markoles: The track has been cleaned extensively because of this problem, as I originally suspected that dirty track was likely the cuplrit. The track is only slid together, with no clamps or anything holding it together, however, all my other locos seem to run beautifully, including some old Bachmann ten-wheelers (from train sets) which had power pickup that could best be described as flaky. I've heard that the MTH Big Boy is not picky about power pickup in the slightest, so I would imagine that, assuming it was working perfectly, there would not be a problem. I was not able to obtain pickup from the front set of drivers when I performed a test. We'll have to see what the service center says, they told me it would be around two weeks or so.
 

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I didn't weigh in on your original question but yes I would go ahead and lubricate the side rods and the axles. The gears are already greased and you won't have any issue with it sitting for just 1 year. (The only gears on the engine are on the rear axle and motor... power is transfered to the #3, 2, and 1 axles via the connecting rods.

Well hopefully they can take care of the quartering too (assuming it needs to be corrected).

The fact that you had no power pickup from the front engine set confirms you have a burned trace(s) and is most likely why you were having the lights flicker. That is actually good news because it's easy to fix and should mean you don't have anything more serious going on.

Just for a full understanding, is your track/layout outside? Are you using brass or Stainless steel? How long has the track been deployed?

You may also want to consider adding fuses between the front and rear engine sets. It's not hard to do and may save you trouble in the future.

http://www.rayman4449.dynip.com/MTH_Big_Boy_mods.htm#Adding%20fuses%20between%20front%20and%20rear%20engine%20power%20pickup%20wires%20to%20protect%20from%20short%20damage



Raymond
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The track is indoors. Brass LGB Code 332. It has been deployed for, hmm, probably at least 10 years. It was outside at one point, but when we put the layout back indoors, we cleaned it all thoroughly, and the track received a good cleaning before we tried to run the Big Boy on it. It's so shiny I could almost use it as a mirror :) I have asked the service center to take a look at the quartering to see if they notice any abnormalities. I'm hoping it can be fixed, it's really a beautiful engine, and I can't wait to get it running right!
 

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Ok good deal.

All I will say is that engine can be made to run right, the question is will they or do they have the ability to fix it (and I'm talking about the quartering). If you get that engine back and it has hesitations at slow speed, and they say it either did not have quartering issues or they fixed it then it needs to go back to MTH directly. I hope they get it all fixed up too.

If you do still have the issue, the key way to tell if you have a quartering problem is: when looking at the fireman's side while it's moving forward, if you see a hesistation with the rods/rod pins on an engine set at around the 4 to 5 o'clock position (actually between the 4 and 5 position), then that's a quartering problem. (You are having an impact of the #2 axle and #3 axle connecting rod on the engineer side into the #2 driver rod pin. (Axles numbered from front to back 1, 2, 3, 4)) The #2 rod pin hasn't been pulled round far enough and is still on the way up in it's rotation. You will really need clear visibility to both sides to watch this happen and you need to run it VERY slowly. (1 SMPH) Also, apply some resistance to the front (#1) driver/axle to accentuate the problem. That should help it be more visible. Because I know what to look for, I actually do this with the engine on it's side and rotate the #4 driver by hand and apply resistance on the #1 axle.

Ok, I'm done. (just wanted to give all the info in case you need it)

Let us know how you make out.


Raymond
 
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