Elderly Stainz high current draw

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Portsladepete

Registered
2 Jun 2020
158
13
66
England
I bought my Stainz a few months ago from Rails of Sheffield, it was hardly showing any signs of use, either on the wheels or skates. When used on a Piko start set controller, it would not go any faster after 3/4 throttle. I assumed it was the controller, although after cleaning the wheels and skates, I did check the current draw which was 0.6 of an amp.
I did clean the backs of the wheels using IPA, and although no speed increase it seem a bit smoother.
Today, I checked the amperage again, it was over one amp, I then spent more time on the wheel backs, until, rather than the jet black showing on the cotton bud, it was a fetching shade of grey!
Immediate speed increase, now full throttle on the controller has an expected increase to brisk pace. Just wondering if this signifies a pick up brush problem coming up. It has the older style gearbox with screws retaining the wheels, is it much hassle to replace the brushes, should I need to?
 
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
26,723
2,766
Tamworth, Staffs.
If this is an older model, but has not been used???

Then the grease in the motor-block may have 'dried-out' and gone waxy? - This can make a loco very lethargic.
You can clear out most of the old grease, then add about 'half a pea' of new grease at each end.

You can add one (tiny) drop of oil, on the bearing at each end of the motor, if you wish.

I have seen where the grease has seemed to breakdown, and an oily component has then contaminated the internals of the motor. - Over-use of smoke oil, can cause a similar effect on some loco's.

A few things to look at..

PhilP.
 
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Portsladepete

Registered
2 Jun 2020
158
13
66
England
If this is an older model, but has not been used???

Then the grease in the motor-block may have 'dried-out' and gone waxy? - This can make a loco very lethargic.
You can clear out most of the old grease, then add about 'half a pea' of new grease at each end.

You can add one (tiny) drop of oil, on the bearing at each end of the motor, if you wish.

I have seen where the grease has seemed to breakdown, and an oily component has then contaminated the internals of the motor. - Over-use of smoke oil, can cause a similar effect on some loco's.

A few things to look at..

PhilP.
Thanks Phil, repeated cleaning of the wheel backs has had a dramatic effect, you’re spot on with it’s age and non use though. Read somewhere of using metal polish to clean the wheels, I’m a bit wary of that though, as I don’t want to contaminate the pick ups with polish.
I have managed to find a video on dismantling these older engines, so will be prepared if the brushes do need replacing.
 
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phils2um

Phil S
11 Sep 2015
670
328
Ann Arbor, Michigan
If it is old enough to have brass shells for the graphite pickup brushes you may also need to give the brass shells a good scrub if they are tarnished. I had a similar problem with a LGB 2045. I was able to replace the original pickup shells, springs and brushes with the newer integrated units which solved my problem.
 
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DougLN

NARROW GAUGE RAILWAYS
5 Jul 2010
73
13
DIDCOT,OXON
I have a old Stainz dating from 1993, It was running as yours in 1999. Spoke to GRS on one of my visits then & they suggested renewing the brushes which involved unscrewing the wheels. I did this althro fiddly was done. Since then it has run better than a later Stainz I have.(Pick up/amps ok). I ran it on my layout Monday good as always.
 
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Portsladepete

Registered
2 Jun 2020
158
13
66
England
I have a old Stainz dating from 1993, It was running as yours in 1999. Spoke to GRS on one of my visits then & they suggested renewing the brushes which involved unscrewing the wheels. I did this althro fiddly was done. Since then it has run better than a later Stainz I have.(Pick up/amps ok). I ran it on my layout Monday good as always.
Thanks, were the replacement brushes the new type, or identical to the original?
 
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DougLN

NARROW GAUGE RAILWAYS
5 Jul 2010
73
13
DIDCOT,OXON
I assume the replacement brushes were the original type as it was over twenty years ago! Good Luck with yours.
 
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
26,723
2,766
Tamworth, Staffs.
Thanks Phil, repeated cleaning of the wheel backs has had a dramatic effect, you’re spot on with it’s age and non use though. Read somewhere of using metal polish to clean the wheels, I’m a bit wary of that though, as I don’t want to contaminate the pick ups with polish.
I have managed to find a video on dismantling these older engines, so will be prepared if the brushes do need replacing.

Do you have a meter? - If not, you can get one for less than a tenner..

They have a diode-test / continuity test position on them:

Invert the loco on your lap. Touch one probe to the tread of the rear (or front) wheel.. Touch the other probe to the SAME wheel - You will get a 'bleep' if you have good contact..
Now move the second probe to the skate, and then the other wheel tread. - All on the same side of the loco.. You should get an audible indiaction of continuity from the skate and other wheel down that side of the loco..
Repeat for the other side..

This proves you have three-good pickup-points on each side of the loco..

I would suggest (unless a carbon brush has a ridge on it, and is 'sticky' in it's holder) you have done enough there..


If you have the block open:
You could also add one (tiny) drop of oil, to each 'journal' (where the axle runs in the plastic of the motor-block)..
As with all lubrication, you need very little..

if things appear 'wet', then there is too much lubrication!


One final thought:
IF the engine has NEVER been run (absolutely no wear on the skates) then it might need a little running-in?
As long as you are there, but can be doing other things, you can run the loco on rollers (or a block at each end) for half an hour in each direction. A reasonable speed, don't thrash it!
After the first direction, touch the underside of the loco where the motor is. - It might be warm, but should not be hot. If all is well, then 30 minutes in the opposite direction..

I would expect a free-running Stainz, in good condition, to draw 200-300mA when running.. 400mA (and over) and I would be looking for problems..

PhilP.
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
17,965
3,696
72
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Do you have a meter? - If not, you can get one for less than a tenner..

They have a diode-test / continuity test position on them:

Invert the loco on your lap. Touch one probe to the tread of the rear (or front) wheel.. Touch the other probe to the SAME wheel - You will get a 'bleep' if you have good contact..
Now move the second probe to the skate, and then the other wheel tread. - All on the same side of the loco.. You should get an audible indiaction of continuity from the skate and other wheel down that side of the loco..
Repeat for the other side..

This proves you have three-good pickup-points on each side of the loco..

I would suggest (unless a carbon brush has a ridge on it, and is 'sticky' in it's holder) you have done enough there..


If you have the block open:
You could also add one (tiny) drop of oil, to each 'journal' (where the axle runs in the plastic of the motor-block)..
As with all lubrication, you need very little..

if things appear 'wet', then there is too much lubrication!


One final thought:
IF the engine has NEVER been run (absolutely no wear on the skates) then it might need a little running-in?
As long as you are there, but can be doing other things, you can run the loco on rollers (or a block at each end) for half an hour in each direction. A reasonable speed, don't thrash it!
After the first direction, touch the underside of the loco where the motor is. - It might be warm, but should not be hot. If all is well, then 30 minutes in the opposite direction..

I would expect a free-running Stainz, in good condition, to draw 200-300mA when running.. 400mA (and over) and I would be looking for problems..

PhilP.
Possibly a slightly better bet as this loco appears to be ‘sticky’ may be to put the loco on a couple of blocks of wood under the buffer beams with chock clips to the pickups.This would remove the possible pull of roll blocks and allow things to revolve with the least amount of friction whilst running in.
 
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Portsladepete

Registered
2 Jun 2020
158
13
66
England
Thank Phil, I’ve checked continuity between individual wheels and their respective skates, after it’s brief foray into light speed, it’s back to it’s normal performance. Think the brush cleaning just coincided with the speed increase. Originally the skate were pristine, now brass is showing, so don’t think running in is the answer.
I’ve measured the amperage draw, it’s best at full throttle was 0.7 amps, it’s worst is over an amp!
As the Piko start set controller is rated at 1 amp, I think that’s why it would only increase speed up to 3/4 position on the controller.
I normally use my old Aristocraft, which can put out 2 and 1/2 amps, nothing is getting hot, or even warm, but when I’m brave enough I’ll have to take the block apart.
 
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Portsladepete

Registered
2 Jun 2020
158
13
66
England
Well I got Brave, (sort of....) took one half of the block off, grease was black, but not excessive or waxy, put a drop of oil on the motor shafts, tiny amount the commutator end.plus a little LGB grease on the gears. Then bottled it, and put it back together, overly worried about what went where etc. Same performance issue as before, so looks like another motor sooner rather than later.
Did discover previous owner/owners had been there before, incorrect screws on a couple of detail parts, virtually splitting them. I think new skates had probably been fitted to try to sort the problem, so its probably had more use than I thought.


It’s no worse than before, and once it’s got its amp greed satisfied it’s ok with my old Aristocraft controller on my little layout. I shall keep it going until it doesn’t, then look for another motor.
 
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Portsladepete

Registered
2 Jun 2020
158
13
66
England
Went back into Sid the Stainz, (my wife likes to name them), Took the motor out intending to clean the commutator slots etc. Only enough room for a whittled down tooth pick, gave the gap for the brushes a rinse from a pipette with IPA. Motor now running as it should, all back together , and I’m quite relieved :D :D:D
 
D

Dan

Registered
28 Jan 2010
325
31
Eastern MA
When I take those old motors apart, I use an exacto knife and clean between the commutator very carefully, then I 'wash' the commutator. When a engine draws too much current, most of the time it is the motor, but loss of power is dirty wheels and bad wheel brushes/springs. On the stainz you can always feed track power to the soucke on the rear of the engine to eliminate everything except the motor/lights/smooke (BYPASSES ALL MOTOR BLOCK WHEELS, BRUSHES, SPRINGS)
 
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
26,723
2,766
Tamworth, Staffs.
When I take those old motors apart, I use an exacto knife and clean between the commutator very carefully, then I 'wash' the commutator. When a engine draws too much current, most of the time it is the motor, but loss of power is dirty wheels and bad wheel brushes/springs. On the stainz you can always feed track power to the soucke on the rear of the engine to eliminate everything except the motor/lights/smooke (BYPASSES ALL MOTOR BLOCK WHEELS, BRUSHES, SPRINGS)

But does feed power back down to the track, so you have to be careful what else is on / connected to the track..

PhilP.