"Erratic" Kato Mike

Caddy58 Dec 2, 2009

  1. Caddy58

    Caddy58 TrainBoard Member

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    I need some help: One of my Kato Mikados started to run "erraticly". It looses contact, stalls and stops. Wiggling the tender starts it up again.
    I have cleaned the wheels and track.
    It has a Digitrax 123 decoder, wired to the lightboard and a TT on the 4th axle.

    So far I done the following analysis / changes:
    There was no power on the chassis, hence the lightboard and the decoder were without power.
    I have moved the drawbar wires to the inside of the front tender truck: This helped to get the engine running again
    But the engine itself does not deliver any power: If I disconnect the tender the engine is "dead"

    What could cause a complete loss of conductivity between the engine wheels and the frame? Could this be related to the small wipers that reach to the rim of the wheels?

    Any help is apprecited....
    Cheers
    Dirk
     
  2. Powersteamguy1790

    Powersteamguy1790 Permanently dispatched

    Dirk:

    It seems like the draw bar to the tender is compromised. Make sure you have it properly connected to the front tender truck. Kato has a "tutorial" of the correct position of the draw bar to the tender truck on their website.

    If the draw bar becomes bent in any shape or form, erratic running of the locomotive is the result especially around curves. It's important to have "extra draw bars" on hand if you're running a Kato Mikado as the draw bar is "the weakest link" of this fine running locomotive.
     
  3. TrainGuy

    TrainGuy Advertiser

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    Is this an older Kato Mikado? If so the main drivers may indeed be the issue. On the older Mikado the inner metal wheel, pressed on the axle, is connected to the outer wheel flange with thin brass strips (where the spokes are). Over time this press fit connection becomes oxidized and fails.
    We have seen this on many old Mikados that have been converted to DCC. It could be the higher current passing through the wheels that causes them to fail.

    To test this use an ohm meter and see if you have continuity between the frame and each driver on each side. If you find a driver that has lost continuity you have found the problem but check them all.

    This is best fixed by replacing the drivers with new ones from Kato. The newer driver design has been changed to reduce this problem.
     
  4. Chris333

    Chris333 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yeah my first run Mike didn't move without it's tender. I bought the revised drivers ($20) and now both the loco and tender do the work.
     
  5. Caddy58

    Caddy58 TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the hints!

    It is indeed a very early production Mike that was recently converted to DCC.

    Bob, I will check the proper drawbar connections. Though currently the tender is the only thing that keeps the engine alive, so I assume that the connection is working.

    TrainGuy, Chris,
    I have just ordered new drivers from Kato: SAs the frame is not getting any cotact from the wheels it is likely that the wheelsets are the problem. I will change them and report back....

    Cheers
    Dirk
     

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