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HO Locomotives? Answered

I have 3 HO Locomotives that won't run on the track whether the wires from the transformer are attached to the terminal track or if I touch the wires directly to the track or if I touch the wires to the wheels of the Locomotive, they won't run? But if I take the same Locomotive and place it on its side or if I stand it upright on the table and touch the wires to the wheels it will run, as long as it is NOT on the rails of the track! Do I have dirty rails and or wheels??



when you have the engine off the tracks and on its side, do the wheels still turn with the same force as they normally would? I have no clue about trains, but it seems to me like you should be able to trouble shoot it by cleaning stuff, checking resistances or seeing if the voltages are where they should be. Hopefully this has given you an idea as to where to start looking/checking.

Had one off those the motor was not wired , but

got power between lids , i believe for , quick assembly, no soldering.

this type of assembly can get faulty.

I don’t remember how did power came from wheels, but , as wheels need to

turn for curves, a cable assembly will brake and other solutions will wear.

Skilled disassembly looks necessary .




7 months ago

You have a gravity load disconnecting power loose wire or contact that pulls the circuit open when in conventional position...

So you're saying I have a loose wire on the locomotive? The only time it won't run is when it's directly on the rails. I can place it upright on the table or on its side and it will run. I don't know why?

Humor me this... Place a single length of energized track on the UPsidOWN locomotive wheels... Does it try to run ?

you can experimentally verify the cleanliness of your track and wheels by using a common pencil eraser on them (just do a small section of track for the test, if success, then do the whole thing). Just rub the eraser on the track surface to remove tarnish, then brush/blow off the eraser crumbs. Do the same for the wheels where they come into contact with the track. Same thing causes intermittent dropouts in old HO model car sets, although in my experience it was much worse of a problem with cars that trains, both for the track (afaik, aluminum strips) and the contacts (generally copper or silver plated copper, both of which tarnish easily)

In addition, motors can get worn out from overheating and other abuse, so while they'll operate without any load, they will stall when presented with a load, even their own vehicle's load. I had a locomotive I got when I was a kid that presented much the same behavior after years of attaching too many cars and building too many custom setups that presented high loading in the climbs.

Finally, verify you have voltage on the test section by using a voltmeter, then compare it with that measured at the power supply output to ensure line losses aren't the problem (if voltage drops along the "wiring" *both literal wire and the track length to engine* are sufficiently large, there may not be enough power to drive the locomotive, connected to as string of cars of even by itself). Sometimes people use long layouts and wimpy wiring to supply them. When a car or train reaches the farthest area of that track from the power supply, performance reduces due to line losses. If you're testing on such a section, that could be an issue compounding the problem.

YOu have short circuit across the rails somewhere.

I have other locomotives and diesel engines that run on my track. The only time this locomotive won't run is when it's directly on the rails. I can place it upright on my table or on its side and it will run. I don't know why?

Some fany trains have build in safeties that can play up with a lack of care but I too think a multimeter check would be advisable.

Thanks everyone!!