Problems with the cheap engine

I was running the train and noticed that it seemed to be erratic in its speed.  I thought that the track might be dirty so I got out some alcohol and cleaned the track.  It got slightly better, but kept acting like the train wasn’t making a good connection on the track.  I took the engine off the track and inspected the pickups and found that the front four wheels that pick up power did not seem to be working.  Further inspection revealed that one of the large wheels had what looked like weld marks on the wheel.  Then, I found the problem.  I noticed a small red wire sticking out of the bottom of the 4 wheel cart on the front of the train.  The wire was clearly broken.

So, I opened up the train and found that the drive wheels also pick up power and that the wheel with the weld marks was picking up power in place of the front wheels.  The same marks are on one of the wheels of the 4 wheel cart that was broken.  Anyhow, I got out a little piece of multistranded wire and soldered it to the train.  When I put it back on the track, the train was working as it did before.

I still wonder if the original engine will ever arrive?

Cannon Ridge Railroad: Heartland Locomotive Works Passenger car arrives

I was running the train and noticed that it seemed to be erratic in its speed.  I thought that the track might be dirty so I got out some alcohol and cleaned the track.  It got slightly better, but kept acting like the train wasn’t making a good connection on the track.  I took the engine off the track and inspected the pickups and found that the front four wheels that pick up power did not seem to be working.  Further inspection revealed that one of the large wheels had what looked like weld marks on the wheel.  Then, I found the problem.  I noticed a small red wire sticking out of the bottom of the 4 wheel cart on the front of the train.  The wire was clearly broken.

So, I opened up the train and found that the drive wheels also pick up power and that the wheel with the weld marks was picking up power in place of the front wheels.  The same marks are on one of the wheels of the 4 wheel cart that was broken.  Anyhow, I got out a little piece of multistranded wire and soldered it to the train.  When I put it back on the track, the train was working as it did before. 

I still wonder if the original engine will ever arrive?

Heartland Locomotive Works Paseenger car arrives

The FedEx guy showed up today and delivered a box.  I had gotten an email that it was coming, but I thought it was another set of wheels to replace the trucks on the other animal car.  Anyhow, the car was the HLW passenger car that I had ordered a couple of weeks ago.  For the price ($80), I figured that it would have interior lights and a bit more detail, but it has nothing.  Additionally, it only comes with hook and loop coupler and the trucks do not match the design of the Bachmann or the Aristo cars so a replacement of the truck isn’t possible.  After some finagling, I did find that a coupler from a Bachmann truck could be made to fit over the peg and form a reasonable connector for the car.  Why these cars cost so much is beyond me as they don’t appear to be of any better construction than the Bachmann cars.  The Aristo cars are by far the best constructed of anything I have bought.

New Aristo trucks

The FedEx guy came today and left a package for me.  It contained the Aristo trucks that I had ordered a week ago.  These trucks are far better built than the ones from Bachmann as they have true bearings to hold the wheels.  I can put a truck on the track and give it a hard shove and it will go completely around the entire room.  The hubs on the outside of the truck turn with the wheels giving them a good look of realism.  And, the wheels are mounted in authentic spring loaded frames so that they are true replicas of a real train truck.

The real reason that I bought the Aristo trucks was in hopes of replacing the trucks on the performer car.  The performer car has electric pickups that are simply metal brushes that drag on the outer diameter of the wheels.  This makes a whistling noise all the time and is quite annoying.  It also puts a lot of drag on the engine.  So, the new trucks have electric pickups like the tender car that are in the races for the bearings and so you get a good frictionless wheel that still picks up power.  I had no problem replacing the trucks as they fit the car mounts perfectly.  But, the Aristo knuckle does not fit smoothly with the Bachmann knuckle.

The second set of trucks that I bought have short arms on them for the knuckle and they sit about 1/8 inch lower than the Bachmann truck.  The result is that the arm on the truck does not clear a part of the Bachmann train car edge.  So, out came the dremel tool and away went some plastic.  After that little bit of work, I was able to put the truck on the yellow giraffe flatbed car.  I only put one truck on so that the car made the transition between Aristo and Bachmann knuckles.  This won’t do for long as the Bachmann trucks are silver colored while the Aristo ones are black.  The car looks off balance.  I’ll fix that later.

With this small change, there is considerably less noise on the track and the engine doesn’t bog down in the curves at low speeds.  So, overall, it was a good move….expensive at $25 for a pair of trucks, but a good move.