Atlas Trainman GP15-1 Problems

Mike Reinert Dec 2, 2021

  1. Mike Reinert

    Mike Reinert New Member

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    So I have this locomotive from my original Atlas trainman trainset. I have added a digitrax DN163A4 decoder.
    I have to say it runs bad. Noisy, loses power, ect. I also removed the inner bearing blocks. And now it is louder than before. Is it worth it to keep trying to fix this?? Anyone have any suggestions on tuning it up to run better. Thanks.
     
  2. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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  3. Mike Reinert

    Mike Reinert New Member

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    Yes, The only thing I did not do is disassemble the trucks and clean the contacts there. I am still figuring out how to get them apart. I did soak them in alcohol and brush them good with a toothbrush.
     
  4. freddy_fo

    freddy_fo TrainBoard Member

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  5. freddy_fo

    freddy_fo TrainBoard Member

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    I should ask about the loss of power.. when that happens do the lights go out too or is it just the motor quits?

    If the lights go out this could indicate you have a bad connection between the frame and the board. To fix that I build up solder on the contact tabs of the board where it picks up power from the frame. This happens to me often and now by default I always build up those contact points. If it's just loss of power to the motor check the motor spring tabs that contact the underside of the board. Make sure there is enough tension, everything is clean and that the sprung tabs are not touching the frame. I would recommend wrapping the frame with capton tape at the thin areas where the spring tabs run so as to ensure they don't accidentally make an electrical connection with the frame.
     
  6. Mike Reinert

    Mike Reinert New Member

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    Thanks, Some very good tips here. It is a total loss of power, lights included. I have lost one of the bearing blocks in the carpet, So when I get a replacement I will put them all back in. I will try putting solder on the contact points. And when I get home from work I will follow the provided links. Anyone with experience getting the trucks apart without breaking them? Thanks.
     
  7. freddy_fo

    freddy_fo TrainBoard Member

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    You don't need much solder on those tabs, just enough to cover with solder. Too much it can take some brute force to get the frame halves back together lol. Of course you can always shave off excess with a sharp hobby knife.

    Again I'd recommend insulating those frame rails where the sprung motor tabs reside if/when you take the chassis apart. Note in the pic below about center way where I've wrapped the rails in kapton tape.

    20211124_215702.jpg

    With the trucks at one end where the top mates with the bottom there is a thin slot at one end and a larger opening at the other. If you hold the truck sides firmly in your fingers get a fingernail in one of those openings then pull the top piece away from the bottom. There are 4 tabs on the bottom that hold the trucks together but are designed to give as you pull the truck apart. Just be gentle and don't over do things or you'll have axles and pieces parts everywhere.
     
  8. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    You really dont need the inner bearing...unless the drive shaft has a u-joint...

    http://u18b.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Bearingblock09.pdf
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2021
    peteyPab, tehachapifan and freddy_fo like this.
  9. Carl Sowell

    Carl Sowell TrainBoard Supporter

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    Mike,

    1st off welcome to Trainboard, there are a lot of very knowledgeable and talented folks here.


    the Atlas GP-15 came around in 2008 according to Mark. How long have you had this particular loco and did you purchase it new. I have not messed with that style of old trucks and their goofy contacts, so I can not help with disassembly. However, I have done several with the "newer" truck/chassis interface. I can almost guarantee that if you or a previous owner has never cleaned the cups on the wheel wipes then that is the problem.

    To show what I am talking about I like to post the following images ;

    1st dirty wipers out of an Atlas SD-60M. These had no more than maybe 50 hours of running. Yes, I cleaned the trucks with alcohol and tooth brush, even used contact cleaner. The frames are shiny and clean looking but look at those cups.

    [​IMG]

    2nd image is the cleaned wipers. I used alcohol, very small drill bit just large enough to gently scrape the sides of the cups, and Q tips. See how clean and conductive they are now and BTW this SD-60M runs like it's new.
    [​IMG]

    I failed to mention to be sure to clean the axle points that ride in those cups. Check for hair, pet fur, etc that may be wrapped around the axles and back side of wheel as well as the gears.

    If you do this cleaning be sure to watch how the trucks come apart as Atlas has a right and a left side wiper and they need to go back together in proper orientation.

    Sorry, I can't help more with that style of truck but it is like me, old!

    Be well,
    Carl
     
  10. freddy_fo

    freddy_fo TrainBoard Member

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    Interesting read. Thanks for the link. I would think removing that would allow more play along the shaft resulting in more slop between the worm and drive gear causing that area to wear down quicker. I can see removing it though if there was a misalignment issue as that side stress on the shaft/s would also wear things out quicker as well as introduce parasitic torque drain.

    In this particular case though and if I am understanding correctly the noise became greater at two points: after the decoder install then again after the bearing block was removed. That latter increase due to removing the block would have me concerned that things are slopping around even more which at a minimum deserves a test to see if putting in the blocks gets the noise back down.

    So in the process of troubleshooting a new problem we have to look at all the things that changed that may be responsible and this assumes the loco was tested as running fine just prior to the decoder update:

    - Incorrect reassembly of components
    - Decoder itself

    Both can be tested for elimination by simply swapping back to the original light board and running on DC. If the noise persists then we are likely looking at a mechanical/drivetrain issue. If the noise goes away back to previous silent running then likely the decoder is at fault but may be able to be adjusted via cv to fix through pwm or other settings.
     
  11. Mike Reinert

    Mike Reinert New Member

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    The decoder is fine, I think. I got the loco new in 2016 and it sat in the closet until last year. My problems were:

    1) In my opinion it was noisier after installing the decoder board than before.
    2) I am having stalling issues all over the track.

    I cleaned the track and the wheels and it is still stalling all of the time. I have 2 more loco's with Loksound decoders and there is no stalling. I am wondering if the Loksound has a keep alive circuit built in. I am not home yet, But when I get there I will read through all of this information and try again to get the trucks apart and clean the wheels. Thanks for the info.
     
  12. freddy_fo

    freddy_fo TrainBoard Member

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    I'd still swap out with the original lightboard and run to see. It's a simple test to help point you in the right direction.
     
  13. Mike Reinert

    Mike Reinert New Member

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    A big thanks to all who responded to this post. I was finally able to get the trucks apart and cleaned. This has helped a lot. Also I have it running reasonably quiet now. So I am calling it good. Thanks Again.
     
    in2tech, MK, Sumner and 2 others like this.

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