Stainz 20212 Going slowly on the track - Voltage drop

AKWeber84

Registered
15 Dec 2020
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Chicago, IL
Newbie here. I bought a starter kit from my son a couple of years ago. Its the same train I had when I was a boy, but my parents gave my train to my nephew, that has nothing to do with my problem but I may be a little bitter about it. Anyway...
Last year I added some LED lights to the cars pulling from the engine, and LED lights in the Caboose pull from the track.
Yesterday the train started driving very slowly. The lights on the train flicker or are dim. I pulled out my meter and checked the power supply which is reading correctly. The AC/DC converter and control knob also appears to be reading correctly. If I do not have the train on the track I get 20 volts on the track. When I put the engine on the track the most voltage I can get is 7/8 volts at ull power. My assumption would be there is an issue with the engine but I don't know where to begin. Has anyone had this issue before or provide any guidance on how to proceed. Thanks for any help you can provide.

EDIT: You guys are so fast at responding! It's 3am (up with my newborn) Give me a few hours and I will update some additional details as requested. What an awesome fourm!
 

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phils2um

Phil S
11 Sep 2015
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348
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Try running the loco alone with the cars off the track. That should tell you whether there is a problem with the loco.
 

AKWeber84

Registered
15 Dec 2020
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Chicago, IL
Try running the loco alone with the cars off the track. That should tell you whether there is a problem with the loco.
I have tried that, still goes slowly and I get the same voltage drop in the track.
 

phils2um

Phil S
11 Sep 2015
774
348
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Are you running analog or DCC/digital? What are you using for a controller?

Edit added: I guess the analog question was silly - you posted this in the analog power forum! Still, what are you using for a controller? Model No.s?
 
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dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
18,587
3,794
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St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Likely that you are getting poor contact between your fishplates that could be causing your voltage drop. A solution that should work well enough for a while is to disconnect your track, squeeze the fishplates where the two rails meet then join up the track again. All being well this should resolve the issue for a good long time. If it happens again get some LGB Graphite paste to splodge into the fishplates, better still if you have some do it before putting the track back together now.

Oh be very careful with the graphite near that light carpet, locomotives have also been known to drop bits of crud from the motor brushes onto carpet as well.
 

mike

Master at annoying..
Staff member
GSC Moderator
24 Oct 2009
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Try putting the track power connectors directly to the skates of the loco, temporary, turn controller on..dose the loco work ciforrectly,or is it the same...if same , its looking likely to be a new motor
 

Gavin Sowry

Garden Railroader and Raconteur
27 Oct 2009
6,780
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Hutt Valley, NZ
How clean is your track?
How clean are the wheels? ... and the skates?
How many amps is your controller rated for?

Greg will chime in soon, it's not Tuesday proper yet where he is. He's the electric guru in this parish, take heed of his advice, it's usually top notch.

When you say you are measuring 20V, is that where you connect it to the rails, or at a point further away, and with, or without a 'load' on the track? Someone will explain what I mean.
In any case, welcome back to the fold.
 

Paul M

Registered
25 Oct 2016
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Royston
Take note of what Dunnyrail says about the carpet, your loco may look clean but the lubrication spreads & you'll get black marks, physically and metaphorically.
Has this happened since you fitted the LEDs? If so, it sounds like a short somewhere, try disconnecting them
 

JimmyB

Semi-Retired; more time for trains.
Welcome to the forum, track power, my first stop would be clean the track, wheels and pick ups, just try the piece of track where your power connections are, and see if that improves the performance.
 

AKWeber84

Registered
15 Dec 2020
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0
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Chicago, IL
Are you running analog or DCC/digital? What are you using for a controller?

Edit added: I guess the analog question was silly - you posted this in the analog power forum! Still, what are you using for a controller? Model No.s?
 

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3 minutes of fame

3d printing, electronics and trams
14 Dec 2020
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If the loco runs slowly at all points around the track, it's less likely to be bad track connection. If the track voltage is drooping that much, possibly the power supply has gone bad and is not providing the full current requirement - or there's a high resistance joint somewhere between the loco and the controller, maybe just a loose connection.

Check the current the loco is trying to draw. Connect the meter in line - rather than across the power, so that you can measure power draw and see if it's going over 1A - which is the maximum current the controller can produce.

If so, it could be a mechanical or electrical issue with the loco. This could be a gummed up motor, damaged or moved commutator, partial short circuit due to a failed component, swarf of metal shorting the motor... A visual check and careful check with a meter will probably reveal the culprit!
 

AKWeber84

Registered
15 Dec 2020
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Chicago, IL
Good morning all. I will try and answer all the questions/comments and let you know where I stand.

The track and pickups are clean, or as clean as I can get them.
When removing the other cars I get very minimal change in the locos speed.

In order to take the track out of the equation I hooked the leads that go to the track up to the loco and it still runs slowly.

I hooked by volt meter up in line and get 1 Amp, not over.

What I do not know how to test at this point is wether the voltage drop I am getting while under load is a cause of the loco or the power supply.

I have never disassembled a loco before, I have to say its a bit intimidating with so many small components. Is there any good video tutorials that I can watch?
 

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PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
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Tamworth, Staffs.
IF the loco alone is pulling 1 Amp, then there is either a fault in the loco 'electronics' (doubtful... Or the motor is very sick! - A Stainz should not draw more than half an Amp.

PhilP.
 

Gavin Sowry

Garden Railroader and Raconteur
27 Oct 2009
6,780
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Hutt Valley, NZ
IF the loco alone is pulling 1 Amp, then there is either a fault in the loco 'electronics' (doubtful... Or the motor is very sick! - A Stainz should not draw more than half an Amp.

PhilP.

In the old days (Tri-ang and Hornby etc), we had open frame motors where we could simply replace the brushes..... but life ain't that simple, any more. You really need to get the motor out, and test it on its own. If the motor goes OK, then you need to clean out all the rubbish in the gear train.
 

AKWeber84

Registered
15 Dec 2020
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0
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Chicago, IL
In the old days (Tri-ang and Hornby etc), we had open frame motors where we could simply replace the brushes..... but life ain't that simple, any more. You really need to get the motor out, and test it on its own. If the motor goes OK, then you need to clean out all the rubbish in the gear train.
Any recommendations on a tutorial video on disassembly and testing a motor? Also any recommendation on where to source a new motor in the US?
 

Gavin Sowry

Garden Railroader and Raconteur
27 Oct 2009
6,780
2,179
67
Hutt Valley, NZ
Any recommendations on a tutorial video on disassembly and testing a motor? Also any recommendation on where to source a new motor in the US?

Check out a bloke called Muns who is on this forum. He runs a shop that has supplied me with an LGB motor...… and he's half a world away from me.
 

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
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687
San Diego
www.elmassian.com
so, if the loco pulled 1 amp AND it was on it's back with no load, motor or possibly gear train.

If you have slots in the motor case, you could try spraying some plastic compatible cleaner in it, CRC makes a plastic compatible spray you can get on Amazon.

Of course pull the motor out.... sometimes older motors get carbon from the brushes in between the commutator segments and that draws excessive current.

With the motor out, measure the amperage draw of the motor itself.

Greg
 

AKWeber84

Registered
15 Dec 2020
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0
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Chicago, IL
so, if the loco pulled 1 amp AND it was on it's back with no load, motor or possibly gear train.

If you have slots in the motor case, you could try spraying some plastic compatible cleaner in it, CRC makes a plastic compatible spray you can get on Amazon.

Of course pull the motor out.... sometimes older motors get carbon from the brushes in between the commutator segments and that draws excessive current.

With the motor out, measure the amperage draw of the motor itself.

Greg
Hi Greg, thanks for the reply. I went for it and pulled the motor out. Not as hard as I thought it might be. First I checked the gearbox and that seems normal as far as I can tell. Then pulled the motor compartment. When I test the motor it pulls .13 amp. And seems to spin pretty quickly. Video here New video by A.K. Weber
Now I am not sure what to check next. Could it be back to the power supply and when under load it's showing failure but when directly metering it's fine?

Mostly re-assembled the loco and took another video it seems to slow down overtime and still is running slowly video here New video by A.K. Weber


Any more ideas would be greatly appreciated.

- AK
 

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korm kormsen

Registered
24 Oct 2009
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263
...

What I do not know how to test at this point is wether the voltage drop I am getting while under load is a cause of the loco or the power supply.

...
you got two options to find that out.
hook a 9volt batterie to the loco.
hook some other user to the trafo. (something, that is made to use power from your car, like an air compressor or a signal light)
 

phils2um

Phil S
11 Sep 2015
774
348
Ann Arbor, Michigan
One other thing you can check is the wheel quartering when the loco is fully assembled. If one wheelset is off by a tooth it might be causing enough drag to bog down the motor. The added drag would not be noticeable if you checked the drive train with the motor out. The left side drive wheels should be offset by approximately ninety degrees from the right side wheels. And, both wheels on each side should be in the same rotational orientation with regard to their connecting rods.