Need Help! 1 train runs fast while others run slow

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Pixel, Oct 2, 2002.

  1. Pixel

    Pixel New Member

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    I've run into a small problem and I'm hoping someone on the board can help me out.

    I came back from overseas recently and brough back four Fleischmann locos with me. One of them runs pretty fast when I open up the throttle completely while the other 3 appear to only do about 1/4 to 1/3 the speed in comparison when giving full throttle.

    Here's a little more info on the conditions I am running these locomotives. Layout size is small/medium with a Digitrax Zephyr controller, all locos are analog at the moment (wont be installing decoders till the weekend) but I only placed and ran one at the time on the layout. I checked the current with a multitester at both the terminals on the controller and at different points on the layout and got approx 7 volts when at full throttle.

    Any help on this would be great.

    Thanks
    -Pix
  2. rich maiorano

    rich maiorano Member

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    hey pix welcome to the gauge did you try clening the wheels that right now all that i can think of but there alot of guys on here that can help if thats not it :D :D rich
  3. pcentral

    pcentral Member

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    Welcome to The Gauge, Pixel. The first thought that comes to mind is the engines are dirty and/or dry. Try cleaning all the moving points and the motor if you can( I'm not familiar with Fleishman motors). After everything is clean, oil and grease the appropriate parts. Even if this doesn't fix the problem it can't hurt it. I always service any new equipment I get first thing.
  4. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

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    Hi Pixel,
    I found this comment while searching:

    "- Fleischmann's "FMZ" digital control system has practical advantages over the widely adopted Lenz/NMRA "DCC" digital control and deserves a larger market share."

    Can you enlighten us on this? Do your locos have DCC sockets? Are they all new? Also, how does the Zephyr operate as an analog controller, is it a selectable mode?
    Anyway, it sounds like you have quite low track voltage. As you can tell, I know zip about this but it's an interesting subject. Give us more details?:confused:
    I'm sure someone can helpyou with this. Keep pluggin':D
  5. Vic

    Vic Active Member

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    Hi Pix and Welcome Aboard:)

    For now go with what PC and Rich have said about cleaning and lubricating the locos and see if that doesn't solve the problem or at least make the slower locos run better. Be sure to oil the motor bearings but be careful...use just a tiny drop of oil on each end so you don't get any on the motor's commutator and use a high quality oil like Labelle Oil.

    Are all the locos the same? If not it may simply be that they are geared differently for slow speed.

    Anyway, give the above a try and post the result on this thread. If that don't do the trick we'll work on it some more. Have some more ideas but lets try this first.
  6. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    You cannot measure track voltage with standard meters when using DCC, particularly when using analog. DCC uses square wave AC, it manages to run analog locos by what is called zero stretching. I'm no electronics expert so won't attempt to explain. Basically, one side of the ac signal is kept very short while the other is stretched, the dc motor sees both but reacts to the longer pulse. The longer the pulse, the higher the speed. This is why certain motors, particularly coreless motors, heat when run on DCC without decoders. Most motors can tolerate this. The track voltage, as I recall (I have not meaured it myself, I am only trying to relate what I've read) is properly measured by measuring (with all throttles at 0) each rail to common. Digitrax in HO setting provides about 7 volts per rail, or 14 volts. I too am not familiar with Fleishmann, so can offer no help.

    Gary
  7. Vic

    Vic Active Member

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    Hey Gary, I don't know "squat" about DCC but what you said is right on the money. If the pulses were equal then the DC motor would not turn but would sit there and try to reverse its self 60 times per second (60 cycle current) and eventually burn up from the heat that would be generated.

    I suspect that this may have a lot to do with Pix's problem. ie: the locomotive has a higher current/voltage draw than the system can deliver in the analog mode, possibly due to a dry or binding mechanism. Hopefully once the mechanism is "freed up" and the decoder (to supply DC to the motor) installed it will run correctly.
  8. Pixel

    Pixel New Member

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    Thanks for all the replies guys. I'm at work right now but will check on all these things plus install a decoder on one of the engines in question this evening. I'll keep you all posted on the results.

    Cidchase - I cant really comment much on FMZ as I don't have any experience with it to make a fair comparison. All the locos are new, 2 of them came with sockets, my impression by looking at the 01-02 catalog is that 60-70% of their stuff is DCC ready.

    To a certain extent the analog mode is selectable, basically anything analog will run under ID 00 on the controller.

    Vic - all 4 are different, I thought of the gears as well but I figured it couldn't account for such a wide gap in the top speeds I'm getting.

    Gary - Thanks for the info, I'll definitely be looking into this the evening. :D
  9. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

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    To come at it from a different angle, what if the "three" locos are running normally, and the "fast" loco is the abnormality ???

    Statistically speaking, this is the most likely occurence. I'm not sure what it means for the "fast" loco or what could be wrong with it, but it's certainly another way of looking at the problem.
  10. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

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    Maybe best to simplify the pulsed DC/DCC analog issue by connecting them to a straight DC supply. Ougt to be simple enough to come up with 12 VDC if you don't have a standard power pack. Maybe an auto 12 V battery charger? I would do this under adult supervision, though (i.e. wifey) or at least after I have my meds... :eek: If this is a bad idea, I'm sure someone will politly stomp on it :D :D :D

    Oh, yes, and welcome to The Gauge. There's no turnin' back!
  11. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    I don't know about using a battery charger, but you can use a car battery. Be sure to install a fuse though. A short without a curent limiter will make the loco problem irrelevant! Good idea tho to run the units on DC and observe their operation. A DC pack would be the way to go, you would need a throttle of some sort to use the battery. Unlees you just want to check full speed! A cheap DC pack that comes with train sets would be ideal, you will find uses for it, powering lights or something.

    Gary
  12. t. alexander

    t. alexander Member

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    Welcome to the Gauge, Pixel

    Just to chime in on the gearing issue I got two loco's with alot of difference in top end speed. Both are in good working order. I havn't tried it but am pretty sure on a double oval of track the faster one would lap the other in one trip aroud.

    Anybody wanna race:p :D

    t.
  13. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

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    t.
    I'm like you. All my loco's run at different speeds when flat out. Some less than 1/2 or 1/3 of others. I've found the ones with similar mechanisms run about the same speeds. My Bachmann HO doodlebugs (2 of them), both are quite slow, but can really haul a load. (the gearing), but why do you need a doodlebug to haul 20 cars????????

    A characteristic of DCC is you can "consist" multiple loco's. Configure the decoder to respond accordingly to set the same speed for your "consisted" (or all of your loco's) at the same throttle setting. However, this limits your fast loco's to the same max speed etc as your slowest loco. If you run a consist of verying speed loco's, this is a good feature of DCC, so you don't get one loco under load, trying to haul the other slower one.

    Pixel, if your new loco's vary greatly in speed etc and they are the same mechanism in each, then there is something wrong. However, if the mechanisms are different, and they run smoothly, then I'd just say its the difference in the mechanisms, and not any sort of fault.
  14. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

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    I guess they are just beggin' to be kit bashed into something you would use to pull 20 cars, eh? Mine's slow too. At $15 ea. I'll prob. have a few more to do something with :D :D :D

    Notice how nice and smooth they are at low speeds? Maybe they geared them down for urban work.
  15. Pixel

    Pixel New Member

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    Here's an update...

    Gave the locos a good look and they appeared to be clean and properly oiled, in any event I cleaned and oiled just to make sure.

    I went ahead and pulled out the old Fleischmann track and controller and tested with one of the locos and it worked as expected with a much higher top speed.

    I proceeded to install a decoder but I now have a short somewhere in the loco, as it was getting late last night I figured best to stop and tackle this evening when I'm more refreshed.


    I'll keep you all posted...

    -Pix
  16. Pixel

    Pixel New Member

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    Here's an update...

    Gave the locos a good look and they appeared to be clean and properly oiled, in any event I cleaned and oiled just to make sure.

    I went ahead and pulled out the old Fleischmann track and controller and tested with one of the locos and it worked as expected with a much higher top speed.

    I proceeded to install a decoder but I now have a short somewhere in the loco, as it was getting late last night I figured best to stop and tackle this evening when I'm more refreshed.


    I'll keep you all posted...

    -Pix
  17. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    Is this your first decoder install? Check to make sure the motor is isolated from the frame, pickups from the wheels go the decoder black and red leads, orange and grey to the motor.

    Gary
  18. Pixel

    Pixel New Member

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    Well I'm happy to report that after I got the decoder issue resolved the loco ran without a problem and at a much higher top speed than when it was an analog on the same layout. :D

    Thanks to Gary and everyone for your help on this. :) I'm off to install 2 more decoders, once everything is done I'll post some pics.


    -Pix