Piko 38100 and 38101 0-6-0 tank locos - a good buy or not?

playmofire

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The main loco the SHA (Seaport Harbour Authority) railway use is an LGB Spremberger tank engine, but I have been on the lookout for an 0-6-0, either an LGB BR80 or one of the Piko USA tank locos. A pair of the latter cropped up in a Vectis auction recently and I left a bid of £130 for the pair, not expecting to win them, the idea being to keep one and sell the other. Here's a link:


I collected them yesterday when I went to drop some stuff for auction and as you can see, the skates suggest little use (photo 1), as does the general condition. Running them, they both ran straight away, forward and reverse, but with a tendency to stall on R1 points, especially at slow speeds; the faster they go, the less the chance of stalling. This surprised me with the 0-6-0 layout, as even the Spremberger and Playmobil 0-4-0 locos generally cope OK with R1 points without stalling.

Then, I searched on GSC for Piko 0-6-0 tank, and discovered maybe why there was so little interest in them at the auction! Those black wheels were powder coated, hence insulated, although Pijko addressed the problem later on. Tests show that there appears to be no current pickup from either the front or rear sets of wheels, even though a peer inside suggests there should be (see photo 2). There was light grease which I distributed more over the teeth of the gears than down the sides (although, after a test run, it was more down the sides than on the teeth again!), which seemed to help a bit towards smoother running over the points.

The embossing on the loco underside says made in Germany with the date on the casting of 2008.

I took a cottonwool bud with a a bit of cellulose thinners on to one of the wheel treads on one of the locos, and this came off black, revealing a slightly shiny, metal surface underneath, so maybe a good clean might cause electricity to flow.

So any comments on the problem/solution would be appreciated.

Skates.JPG

Gears and pickups.JPG
 

Greg Elmassian

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Yes, the wheels are sintered, powdered metal, pressed into a mold under pressure (and usually heat).... They almost always come with some protective paint or covering to avoid rust before sale.

I use a dremel tool with a stainless steel wire brush, and clean the wheels while they are turning under power... It takes a while for the "paint" to wear off by just running.

Greg
 

dunnyrail

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Yup those wheels are rubbish, but.....make good basis for Battery Conversion. I got a GRS bodied one on here from a lady that has now been converted to battery power and it is a favourite even though it does not fit in with my East German theme. Now runs very well and surpisingly powerful.
D892EAAF-A241-47FB-BEA5-1CAF35B65A32.jpeg
 

playmofire

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Yup those wheels are rubbish, but.....make good basis for Battery Conversion. I got a GRS bodied one on here from a lady that has now been converted to battery power and it is a favourite even though it does not fit in with my East German theme. Now runs very well and surpisingly powerful.
View attachment 286315
I'd rather not go down the battery road, so would changing the wheels be an option, or does this mean changing wheels (other than centre set), axles and gear wheel on the axle?
 

Fred2179G

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so would changing the wheels be an option, or does this mean changing wheels (other than centre set), axles and gear wheel on the axle?
I think Greg was suggesting that you should remove the outer covering of black 'paint' and then the wheels will function as you had expected. They do seem to have pickups on the outer sets.
 

Greg Elmassian

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Exactly, once cleaned they will work well, it's just a coating they are shipped with. We found this on the last run of Aristo locos.

I don't know how this got out of hand so quickly...

Analogy: hey my car is out of gas! Response: get a horse. Oh, and you live next to a gas station.

sheesh..

Greg
 

playmofire

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I think Greg was suggesting that you should remove the outer covering of black 'paint' and then the wheels will function as you had expected. They do seem to have pickups on the outer sets.
Yes, I know that. However, I do not have a Dremel or similar and see nothing wrong in exploring alternatives.
 

playmofire

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Exactly, once cleaned they will work well, it's just a coating they are shipped with. We found this on the last run of Aristo locos.

I don't know how this got out of hand so quickly...

Analogy: hey my car is out of gas! Response: get a horse. Oh, and you live next to a gas station.

sheesh..

Greg
I think it only got out of hand with this reply of yours, Greg. Having read through an extensive number of posts from earlier threads on the shortcomings of these locos and the difficulty (impossibility?) of getting anything like good pickup via the wheels without considerable effort, as I said, above, I was/am exploring a range of possibilities.
 

Greg Elmassian

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got out of hand when suggesting going to battery rather than just cleaning the wheels.... sheesh....

short wheelbase locos with no extra pickups will always have more pickup problems of course...

BUT, simply cleaning the black junk off the wheels once solves the problem, with the 4 wheels and the skates... so I rankle at someone telling you to convert to battery when the solution is so simple.

Clearly if you are already battery, you would not ask the question.

Greg
 

Paradise

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Please note that there are two different versions of the Piko saddle tank. The early ones like in the pictures above have small evenly spaced wheels and the later improved ones have larger unevenly spaced wheels.
The later block is also used on other Piko locomotives.
 

dunnyrail

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Please note that there are two different versions of the Piko saddle tank. The early ones like in the pictures above have small evenly spaced wheels and the later improved ones have larger unevenly spaced wheels.
The later block is also used on other Piko locomotives.
That sounds familiar, when I wanted to get newer wheels for my Piko Kamel I had to get complete bogies as the design had changed in later versions. As the chassis basis is much the same as a CoCo Diesel one may be then a new chassis may be required. Then of course fittings for body may or may not be different. I think before embarking on a new chassis I would want to be certain that the bodies fit. Perhaps your bargain may not have been such a bargain!
 

playmofire

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The information on the revised wheel size came up in the earlier discussions on these locos shortly after their introduction and it appeared that the change of motor was straightforward.

I shall get out a glassfibre pen and try it out on one of the locos and see what happens. So far, a bit of extra running does seems to improve things.

Meanwhile, many thanks for the various suggestions.
 

Greg Elmassian

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Additional experience with sintered wheels: they can rust easily, since you have unplated steel, so watch for rust formation. (Needless to say this composition wheel is not popular with us track powered people).

Nickel plating on brass wheels is my favorite. Aristo was just changing from plated steel to sintered steel wheels at their demise.

AML (Accucraft) were using sintered steel on their non-powered rolling stock, and the black stuff, as it came off, polluted the rails.

That's the sum of my direct experience.
 

Paradise

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I'm not exactly sure but the new block wheels appear to be plated. They do have ball bearings on the axles and are interchangeable with the older block going by the link at G-bits.
g-bits.co.uk - 6 wheel Piko Motor Blocks
 

Greg Elmassian

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Piko USA is headquartered here in San Diego. We gave the president a piece of our minds about the unplated, sintered drivers. I don't buy Piko, so I don't know if they are going back to plated steel.

I hope they do.

Greg
 

PhilP

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If the underlying wheels are steel, I hope they have a good, thick, hard-plate on them..
 

dunnyrail

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So I just now took a couple of pics of my Red one, as you can see the wheels are not quite the same as Playmofire’s ones but certainly not the quality plated ones on the latest Piko offerings. Other thing of note is the difference of gear colours, mine being grey and that is not the gunk contained in there!
9C2843A3-E1C0-46F3-A925-F7E75EA600F8.jpeg
Looking inside you can see the two bars that go up to contact the motor and are where the single plugs are attached to get wire to a circuit board (if present) The centre holes next to them are where the other two bars that do track contact go. These can be jumped together in pairs (track/motor track/motor) to do away with any failed internal board but still keeps things running. The flat bars, plungers and skates have all been removed for this battery conversion. Hope this helps a little. Other thing of note is the difference of gear colours, mine being grey and that is not the gunk contained in there! I have duplicated these words in my Red Loco Build to make things complete.
154BF499-B2B6-40B3-9695-7258E5296078.jpeg
 
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playmofire

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So I just now took a couple of pics of my Red one, as you can see the wheels are not quite the same as Playmofire’s ones but certainly not the quality plated ones on the latest Piko offerings. Other thing of note is the difference of gear colours, mine being grey and that is not the gunk contained in there!
View attachment 286361
Looking inside you can see the two bars that go up to contact the motor and are where the single plugs are attached to get wire to a circuit board (if present) The centre holes next to them are where the other two bars that do track contact go. These can be jumped together in pairs (track/motor track/motor) to do away with any failed internal board but still keeps things running. The flat bars, plungers and skates have all been removed for this battery conversion. Hope this helps a little. Other thing of note is the difference of gear colours, mine being grey and that is not the gunk contained in there! I have duplicated these words in my Red Loco Build to make things complete.
View attachment 286360
Thanks, Jon, you may well have a later version after the comments of users had been taken account of. Some alternative/additional wiring to get round the stalling had occurred to me, so any detailed advice on how to would be useful.
 

dunnyrail

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Thanks, Jon, you may well have a later version after the comments of users had been taken account of. Some alternative/additional wiring to get round the stalling had occurred to me, so any detailed advice on how to would be useful.
Hm not sure that there is much you could do short of adding a tender with pickups. But worth testing that all the pickups on each side are linked. Crock clip on the slider then test each wheel is connected one side then do the other side, not unusual for one set of wheels or sliders to not be working that can make things bad. Oh another option, couple the two back to back with a connection set of wires between them to make as Duplex, not unknown on the real thing and may give you a better working beast that would pull the house down.