My son got the Lionel Sante Fe starter set for Christmas. All worked well until today. I setup some MTH RealTrax just like the 4th layout on this page:
http://www.thortrains.net/marx/35mth1.html

The RealTrax was purchased used, so I cleaned it with some track cleaner. I had previously made a small layout on the floor using the RealTrax and everything worked great.

Today, after getting all the track done, the train hardly runs, and when it does, the headlight flickers constantly. Stopping in many areas, when the train stop the headlight is very dim, but on. Sometimes tapping the surface (using my 4'x5' plywood base) will allow a good connection to happen and the train to operate. As a test I used the FastTrack that came with the train and setup the oval loop and I had the same things happen.

On a whim I put the train on a cradle upside down and applied power directly to the engine. I was getting the same headlight flickering, dim headlight, intermittent operation as I was on the track. So, I don't know if the problem is the track or the train itself.

I'm guessing a call to Lionel is in order and possibly sending the unit back for some factory testing.

Thanks
Ryan
Original Post
Try directly jumpering the transformer leads to the engine frame and a roller. If engine runs forward and reverse and headlight bright, then its the track and the track to track connections. If same symptoms, try another transformer if available to see if transformer or engine failure. All else fails send it to Lionel for their fix (you did save the receipt didn't you?? Big Grin).

 

Thanks,

Sam

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Thanks for all the replies.

Tonight I flipped the engine over and applied power to the center roller and the outside wheels and had the same problems. If I moved the outside wheel lead to the post where the tender attaches there were no problems at all.

Seemed like the copper connector that bridges the front 2 wheel sets has some intermittent connection issues. I removed it and rebent the connect for better connection, still has some "pulsing" of the headlight but at least the train ran. Can I apply something like dielectric grease on the copper/wheel connection? Just looking to make the electrical connection a little better.

Thanks again.
Ryan
quote:
Originally posted by Ryan M:
Thanks for all the replies.

Tonight I flipped the engine over and applied power to the center roller and the outside wheels and had the same problems. If I moved the outside wheel lead to the post where the tender attaches there were no problems at all.

Seemed like the copper connector that bridges the front 2 wheel sets has some intermittent connection issues. I removed it and rebent the connect for better connection, still has some "pulsing" of the headlight but at least the train ran. Can I apply something like dielectric grease on the copper/wheel connection? Just looking to make the electrical connection a little better.

Thanks again.
Ryan


There is conductive lube you can use. I will look at my bottle and post the part number, when I get home. Your LHS might have thier own brand. Don't overuse it. It isn't very viscous. I use it in N Scale and on Lionel passenger car pickups. Hopefully there is one that is a little thicker and wont travel too much. I wonder if you could have some sort of insulating grease or dirt on the axles of the front wheelsets?

kmcsjr's Avatar

   Looks Ok To US

quote:
Originally posted by gunrunnerjohn:
This is why I like Fastrack for carpet layouts.


Whats the difference between realtrax and fasttrack?

If there's that much stuff on the floor that it'll cause problems you don't need an engine stand you need to run a Kirby every once in a while.

realtrax is no different than fastrack both have a plastic road bed but realtax is notorious for having bad connections .My realtrax is bolted down on my carpet central and I've already fixed about 15 connections.

If I had a choice between realtrax and fastrack the MTH junk would be in the scrap metal bin

David
I guess I don't see why using Realtrax you'd have a significant issue with carpeting, I sure haven't seen it with Fastrack. I was assuming tubular when we were talking about carpet fibers, I see that he is indeed using the MTH track. I have no pets, maybe that helps. Smile
quote:
Originally posted by Marty R:
quote:
Originally posted by Ryan M:
Thanks for all the replies.

Tonight I flipped the engine over and applied power to the center roller and the outside wheels and had the same problems. If I moved the outside wheel lead to the post where the tender attaches there were no problems at all.

Seemed like the copper connector that bridges the front 2 wheel sets has some intermittent connection issues. I removed it and rebent the connect for better connection, still has some "pulsing" of the headlight but at least the train ran. Can I apply something like dielectric grease on the copper/wheel connection? Just looking to make the electrical connection a little better.

Thanks again.
Ryan


There is conductive lube you can use. I will look at my bottle and post the part number, when I get home. Your LHS might have thier own brand. Don't overuse it. It isn't very viscous. I use it in N Scale and on Lionel passenger car pickups. Hopefully there is one that is a little thicker and wont travel too much. I wonder if you could have some sort of insulating grease or dirt on the axles of the front wheelsets?


You could use a conductive silver grease but really you should not have to. Something is not right with the contacts.

Dale H

Another fine product of the Cleveland Public School system.

A nice site to visit is J&C Studios.

Don't know the exact cause, but after removing the bottom of the loco and bending the copper contacts so they made better contact with the axle along with cleaning them off the problems went away.
I also found that I had more significant problems when the tender was not attached to the loco. I do remember seeing an intermittent spark from the connection between the two when I first started running it. After bending the contacts I no longer see the sparking.

I was having the same problems with both RealTrax and Fastrack, so I didn't think it was a track issue.

All is well now, everything is working great.
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