help troubleshoot non working loco

b-16707 Oct 30, 2018

  1. b-16707

    b-16707 TrainBoard Member

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    have an atlas MP15 DC 52305 #504 caltrain.

    today is the first time i have ever taken this out of the box to try to run it ever since buying it brand new many moons ago. still a newbie at all of this.

    placed it on my test track with a simple kato standard power pack just to test run it, doesnt work, only lights come on depending which direction i set the knob to. no movement

    I figured, maybe i bought a dcc version (i never do), so i swapped the power pack with my digitrax zephyr. typical squeal of a non dcc locomotive on the track using a dcc power pack but i figure i set it to 00 (analog) and try to run it. Same as the kato pack, only lights come on depending on what direction i set it to and no movement but with squeal.

    and after the 3rd try now when i set the loco on the track there is no more squeal, only the lights come on.

    any ideas?
     
  2. vince p

    vince p TrainBoard Member

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    How long did it sit .

    Could the truck grease have dried out.
     
  3. WM183

    WM183 TrainBoard Member

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    Are you comfortable disassembling it? Atlas locomotives are quite easy to pop apart; it sounds like motor bind. As vince said, it could be dry sticky old grease, or it could be something binding. You could even pop the shell off and loosen the screws that hold the frame together just a bit; 1/4 turn should do. My atlas GP9's drive gets finicky if I tighten these screws down.

    Try to spin the flywheel with a finger. It should turn VERY easily, with virtually no resistance. It sounds to me like something is binding it up.

    Are the flywheels exposed on these if you remove the shell? I do not own one... hmm. Anyway, try loosening the screws a bit, and look for binding.
     
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  4. b-16707

    b-16707 TrainBoard Member

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    this has been sitting in its case in dark storage since its release. looks like release was 2010. Thats when i would have bought it.

    yea i could open this up. how though? was yanking at it last night and dont see any obvious points where the shell clicks in.
     
  5. WM183

    WM183 TrainBoard Member

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    mtntrainman likes this.
  6. b-16707

    b-16707 TrainBoard Member

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    nada. opened it up. loosened both screws as you guys suggested. lights come on but dead silent. Using just my kato powerpack as this isnt a dcc loco judging by the board. no flywheel to spin here as its covered up (i assume its that black thing in the middle). any other ideas? grease?

    and also placed it on my track with the zephyr attached in "brake" mode with analog channel 00 selected and both lights front and back light up at the same time on the loco, very weird

    i have some older atlas locos that are older than this one that ive never serviced before and they all run fine. mind boggling
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
  7. tehachapifan

    tehachapifan TrainBoard Member

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    Been a while since I've had mine apart, but I think this might be one of the Atlas models where the motor contacts might become misaligned with the contact points on the bottom of the light board. If this is the case, you will get lights but no motor movement.

    ...Just reread the original post and saw there was a squeal at some point. There will be no squeal with the contact issue I described.
     
  8. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    I would hazard a guess that the oil has stiffened and gummed up on the motor bearings. Which would mean that a careful disassembly is called for and the motor bearing get a smidget of oil. It may be necessary to spin the motor a few times with power supplied by a 9 volt battery before it frees up and runs continuously. You may have to reverse current and play with the motor awhile before the new oil works in.
     
  9. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    Take it apart. Check, you did that.

    Just take the motor out and apply power to both poles -- if it spins, you know it is working.

    As others mentioned, it could be a contact issue. But, it could simply mean your light board is somehow fried.
     
  10. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    It could be grease, but it could be an alien invasion too. First check that the motor is receiving power. Bet that solves things.
     
  11. b-16707

    b-16707 TrainBoard Member

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    will try the motor out and see what happens

    The loco can function without a light board correct? lightboard doesnt affect movement?
     
  12. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    I believe this model gets its power from each half of the metal frame/weight which are insulated from each other.The light board just probably contacts each half of the frame.
     
  13. bman

    bman TrainBoard Member

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    No. The DC board needs to be in contact with the two small tabs on the motor to complete the circuit and the motor to run. If either(or both) of these tabs(which resemble flat wires) are not making contact to the small pads on the bottom of the light board, the lights will light as they get current from each frame half, but no current will get to the motor. The link below is for the installation of a TCS decoder to convert the MP15 to DCC, but you will be able to see the little tabs that connect to the motor in one of the photos circled in red.

    http://tcsdcc.com/index.php/installation/n-scale/atlas-mp15/mp-15n
     
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  14. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    Ideally, some of these come in handy for testing things like motors.

    [​IMG]

    Clip them to your power pack and clip them to each side of your motor's power leads and you can easily see if the motor runs. The motor should run fine if it is plugged to your power source.

    Here is an image of an Atlas motor, they all look pretty much the same.

    [​IMG]

    -Those flat metal prongs that stick up are the power leads that should touch the light board.
    -This model has two fly wheels, the round brass barrels on each end.

    I found an image on wig wags site, that shows how the loco fits. This is a different loco , yet all the split frame locos use the same basic design.

    [​IMG]

    This diagram shows little circles where the metal tabs need to touch the light board for the motor to work.

    If you look within the red square, you can see the motor sitting between the fly wheels. You can use your fingers to make the motor turn by moving the flywheels. This would tell you if anything is binding.

    The worm gears on the ends sit over the truck gear tower. I have had Atlas locos not work because the truck got mis aligned and the gears were not meshed properly.

    If nothing is binding remove the light board and put power to those two metal tabs you'll see sticking up. Two wires can do the trick too, but alligator clip leads just make it easier and they are cheap too.

    Some additional tricks of the trade:

    -I use cheap brownie/baking pans to work on things in so that the pieces all stay in one place.

    -This isn't brain surgery, but work slowly and take your time. ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
  15. b-16707

    b-16707 TrainBoard Member

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    well what do you know, not 100% sure but I think it could have been something to do with those 2 little contacts that go from the motor to the dc board. I took everything apart and reassembled without doing much else and now the logo spins up nicely. Motors spun freely by hand so im guessing it was those 2 little contacts that looked like they were touching but in reality maybe a 1/4 of a millimeter hanging off!

    Thanks everyone!!!
     
    mtntrainman likes this.
  16. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    I was waiting for somebody to share with you, "It's the contacts". Way to go Train-Geekboy. Nice presentation and don't you know I'd like to see that on BarstowRick.com. That is if it was working Well done and well played traingeekboy.

    Radio Shack is still in business just not at a local brick and mortar store. Unless you are lucky enough to have one. On the internet you can find them and they sell a type of long probe that can be used to check out the chassis, contacts and motor. Also check out WeHonest, he sells a lot of electronic type of train stuff.

    If it's DCC then you want to use a DCC power source. If's it's Analog then use a Analog power source. Don't mix the two.

    Don't ask me how I know. :censored::oops::rolleyes::eek:
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
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  17. u18b

    u18b TrainBoard Supporter

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    Motor contacts is my first guess too.

    They are very small on that loco.
     
  18. the thirteenth scribe

    the thirteenth scribe New Member

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    Along those same lines, I have a Kato ES44AC that I have to spin the flywheels to get it to move. Once they start spinning all is good. Runs great as long as something starts it moving. Any ideas?
     
  19. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    A TINY bit of oil on the motor output shafts would be my first attack. How old is the loco and how much run time?
     
  20. the thirteenth scribe

    the thirteenth scribe New Member

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    Supposed to be brand new, (train show buy), no observable wear inside or out. did the lube thing and ran for about 30 min forward and then backward also. still has problems getting going. (kind of like me in the morning)
     

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