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Thread: A tale of two b'mann plymouths.

  1. #1
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    Default A tale of two b'mann plymouths.

    My fellow N-scalers

    I have a problem which (as can be seen from the thread heading) concerns two B'mann Plymouth Switchers, one new, one older.

    The problem is this:

    I have an exhibition coming up in August 2019, and intend to use one of these loco's as the 'star' of the layout I am exhibitting. The one used would have to be able to run continually, reliably, for 10 hours a day, over two days.

    To that end, I recently purchased a brand new B'mann Plymouth Switcher and set it to work. So far, so good.

    Initially, it went well, but as I lowered the controller speed (I uses a B'mann Magnum unit), strange things started to happen.

    Below a certain setting, the loco started to act very erratically, stalling and stuttering on certain sections over which AT THE SAME SETTING it had previously run without difficulty or hesitation. Very strange!

    To try and eliminate the problem, I cleaned the loco wheels with Isopropyl alcohol, followed by cleaning the rails of the affected track sections to within an inch of their lives. It didn't work! The loco STILL stopped in the same places. Subsequent efforts to resolve the problem included the use of Electrical contact cleaner, Isoproplyl alcohol, Wahl Clipper Oil, and Graphite.

    The now very clean loco would not even complete a complete circuit before, again, stopping on the same places!!

    A track fault perhaps? The track was carefully inspected and all and any potential obstructions removed and its alignment carefully checked. STILL THE SAME PROBLEM!!

    It has now reached the stage that I am seriously wondering if somehow atmospheric conditions are coming into play; there can be no other explanation!!

    So what to do?

    I have another (older; purchased two years ago) B'man switcher which, although very noisy, has remarkable low speed characteristics and will go over the same section which is causing the new one to stall with absolutely no problems, and do it repeatedly!

    My options are therefore to either use the erractic ('silent') new one or the noisy old one?

    At an exhibition, where the public has paid good money to see trains running what are my choices?

    'Noise' yet reliability, or 'silence' and erratic behaviour (which as a result, will cause the operator a high degree of stress).

    Your opinions would be welcomed.

    Thank you.
    Komata "TVR - serving the Northern Taranaki . . . "

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    You have two of them with different problems... maybe use parts from one to fix the other. Specifically I'm thinking the trucks from the erratic one (assuming an electrical or motor problem) may make the loud one quieter (assuming gear noise). If nothing else, it may provide a clue for fixing one of the blokes (couldn't help myself there).
    Bronman - "Trains and Legos... you can't have too many of them."

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    Default

    Check the track resistance in each side of the track, and then check the levelness of the track. I would be willing to bet that some of the wheels are not making solid contact with the track there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gatrhumpy View Post
    Check the track resistance in each side of the track, and then check the levelness of the track.
    And how far from the nearest feeder is this piece of track? The newer loco may be more 'touchy' to voltage drop than the older loco.
    Cheers,

    Russ

    CEO of Devil's Gate Mining Co.



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    Check the track resistance in each side of the track, and then check the levelness of the track. I would be willing to bet that some of the wheels are not making solid contact with the track there.
    I think a wheel not firmly on the railhead may be your problem as well.
    Buy an “old school” feeler gauge from your local big box or an auto parts store.
    Place the lokie on a piece of glass (from a picture or portrait you have hanging on the wall) and using the .001 gauge, see if it will pass under any wheel flanges.
    If that checks out OK, then put a straight edge on the rail head where the stalls are happening.
    Any gap between the straight edge and the rail?
    Use a flash light as a back light.

    Good luck

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    Have you broken in the new locomotive? I have found that putting a new locomotive on a loop of track and letting it run makes a lot of problems disappear.
    good luck!
    Maurice
    Attempting to apply the K.I.S.S. principle to Model Railroading.

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    He can't break it in, It won't run long enough,
    Re-read his OP.

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    Does the new one have a headlight? If so, when the erratic behavior occurs, does the headlight flicker with the erratic movement or does it stay on steady? If it flickers, it's a current pickup problem for the whole loco, somewhere. If it stays on steady, it's a problem with just the motor receiving current or a problem with the motor itself.

    Doug
    Atlas First Generation Motive Power and Treble-O-Lectric. Click on the link:
    www.irwinsjournal.com/a1g/a1glocos/

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    There's several production runs of these with different mechanisms. May help here to identify just which one you're dealing with.

    http://www.spookshow.net/loco/bachmdt.html

    Any of these is naturally on the light side with a limited footprint for electrical pickup. If I was planning on 'has to work' train show I wouldn't bet on either Bachmann or this design, I'd pick something more reliable, 8x8 pickup and drive, and as big as would negotiate curves. Most of these are terminally cute but not really a particularly good design for heavy usage.

    I had an old Atlas Roco for years and it really wasn't worth the fight. The Bachmann is better, particularly the new runs. Older ones don't pick up from the center axle, but some designs like this also raise the center axle slightly so that the end axles are really the only ones that touch the rails. It's an 0-4-0 electrically and mechanically but it actually may pick up better. Rapido did that an so did Roco.

    I have one of the Bachmann 44-tonners and it's proven to be surprisingly good with 8x8 pickup and drive, if you need something just as tiny that can negotiate tight curves.
    Randgust N scale kits web page at www.randgust.com

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    Maybe you could wire the first car in the train like a tender for pickup...use metal insulated wheels, the front set one polarity, the back set the other, with wipers, hardwired to the loco?

    For really nice fine wires, hack up a USB cable.

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    Spookshow says of the newer models: "Performance on this newest version is surprisingly impressive (or at least it is once you run the blackening crap off the wheels)."

    Maybe try a fine needle file on the wheels and get the black stuff off. Also, my go-to electrical contact cleaner for locos is the same as it is for vintage stereo equipment: DeOxit.

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