Can running a heavy train harm motors?

I’ve heard of plastic gears and cams breaking, my concern is with damage to the motors. My layout is level with 072 curves. The consist is 11 diecast 3 bay (large) hoppers. In this scenario I am pulling with the typical vertical dual can motors geared directly to the trucks (diesels), none with drive shafts. Since the motors require more voltage to pull heavier trains, I imagine they would run comparatively hotter than a lighter consist, particularly when starting from a  dead stop. I would think the tractive effort would ease relative to how fast the train is moving,. In my case I like to run very slow, which I presume would require more effort (engine strain) than running at faster speeds? I know to expect stretched and thrown traction tires, my concern is with causing harm to the motors. My typical run time is 45 minutes. Judging by pulling the consist by hand, I am amazed these engines move at all!

Rich

Original Post

You could always use a gauge to see the effort required to move your train. Micro Mark or even the luggage type would give you a close idea. The diesel model(s) you use? Gearing makes a difference. Weigh a car, I'm guessing that is a 12 pound or more train consist

If you have difficulty rolling the consist after it starts moving, you may want to consider lube.  My diecast cars roll very freely once they are rolling.  Eleven diecast cars shouldn't be a big deal on level track with a decent locomotive.

As some recall from my posts, I participated in modular club railroading for 11 years. You see a lot. I saw engines burn up from too much train and/or too little engine.

I recall one show, a very long and very heavy freight train running. Several MTH diesels were pulling. After sometime, I started smelling the "burning electronics" smell. Train went by, smell died off. Train came back, smell came back. It was running fine but something wasn't right. We shut the train down. The engines were SO hot, we could not comfortably touch them to pull them off the track. Grease was liquefied and running out of the axles on the truck block.  I believe one or more of those locos needed professional help once they cooled down.

Take Gun Runner John's advice and oil the journals.  If you haven't oiled the journals, lately or ever, you might give each a cleaning with a good squirt of WD40, then wipe them down and apply oil.  Then do what real railroaders do if a train is under powered - add more power.  If you have trouble starting a train, shove back for slack and then try again.  When you have bunched slack in a stationary train, your power only has to start one car at a time as the slack is pulled out.

If you have MTH Premier diesel locomotives, you can replace the rubber tired wheel and axle sets with solid wheels and eliminate the problems associated with rubber tires.  Disposing of the tires also solves another problem: the illusion that you have enough power when you don't.  If wheels slip, that's your indication that you need more power or reinstruction by the Road Foreman of Engines.

GENERAL NOTICE - Safety is of the first importance in the discharge of duty.  Obedience to the rules is essential to safety.  To enter or remain in the service is an assurance of willingness to obey the rules.

Thanks guys! I guess a lube wouldn’t hurt. I lube cars when they are fresh out of the box with Labelle 108. These cars are about 8 years old, but rarely ran.

After a run with this die cast consist, I would say the engine bodies are warm, and the trucks are warmer, but not uncomfortably hot. All of my post war Lionels sit and spin after entering a curve.

I’ve never built a train with the cab-2 or DCS. I was worried one engine would be pulling or pushing the other. As I recall, the selected engines should be tested by running to see if they can maintain a steady distance from each other. Is that correct?

I agree tires are a major PITA. I don’t even bother replaceing them anymore 

Make sure the axles are free of debris and lubed.  A number of years ago a co-worker gave me a box of old Lionel engines to see if I could get them working.  All had carpet lint and animal hair wrapped around the axles.  Once cleaned and lubed they ran fine.

My Williams brass N&W 4-8-4 J weighs over 14lbs and seems like each passenger car was around 2lbs each.  Of course the J has a big honkin motor but it stays cool.

 I tried running engines w/o traction tires and found they didn’t do so well so I found suitable replacements and put them on.  I’ve found using small bladed screwdrivers in each hand I can work them around the wheel until they’re on.  One engines wheels were narrower than the tire, all I did was run the engine upside down while holding an exacto knife to trim the width of the tire so they would fit in the groove.

MODELING SOUTHEAST VIRGINIA

Having A Blast Running BPRC

Smoke Stack Lightnin posted:

... The consist is 11 diecast 3 bay (large) hoppers. In this scenario I am pulling with the typical vertical dual can motors geared directly to the trucks (diesels), none with drive shafts. 

Rich

Yes, but almost certainly not with a consist of this size. Increase the length by 3x-4x and maybe you've got something to worry about.

The amps are a bigger deal, than the volts. Push it over 6 amps and you should be paying attention. Keep the wheels and pickup rollers clean. That is how the power makes it to the motor(s). As for traction tires, the first time I ran the Train of Sin with 75+ beer cars, my UP 80 Coal Turbine tossed all 12 traction tires. It didn't miss a beat; just kept pulling.

As mentioned above, just keep everything lubed.

  Performence running without traction tires  on the slotted wheels varies by  gauge adjustmemt, slot width, track type(rail head shape), and which wheels have the tires. They may hop, see-saw, or list...or seat evenly, and grab tight.

Friction wears. Heavy pulls cause more friction. ...and different loco's definitely have enough design variation for motors to be overheated by a variety of reasons and conditions.

  This all goes for every generation of model trains; prewar to modern day.

Weight pulled is a factor. Motor stall, & at speed needs for voltage & available amps cause heat too.

The lube of worms and gears isnt "daily" maintenance; but bravo.

Few do it often enough, but ideally, oiling is "daily" maintenance.

Oiling axle bushings not only reduces wear by reducing friction, but done often, flushes bearings of any of the accumulated debris caused by wear since the last oiling. Cleaner lasts longer.

E.g

 That flushing action in mind, oiling axels one side per night to allow a gravity flush is great.  With an engine on its side and let to sit on a diaper cloth overnight to catch oil excess as it slowly drips off, wipe and clean final excesss from wheels after. My grandfather would do this till the excess oil from a fresh squirt soaked into a white cloth and was still clean. Any blackness and the train would get another cleaning and or oiling til the excess was clean. He compared it to cleaning and oiling his M1 in the Army.

Wd as a "watery" flush isnt a bad idea, but it is not a suitable long term lube like thicker oils. (it is a wire dryer, not a lot of friction modifier there). 

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Running a traction tire wheel without the traction tire is counter productive.  The tire makes the locomotive seem more powerful because of the characteristics of "rubber" and the fact that a deflected tire has more contact area between tire and rail than an all steel wheel would.  Remove the tire and the contact area is reduced exponentially.

I'm sorry to say that I have become virtually MTH-only in recent years simply because I can replace the traction tired wheel and axle sets with all steel (or sintered iron) on their Premier diesels.  I did find that my Lionel ALCo S-2 had replaceable wheel and axle sets and Lionel had the parts.

Smoke Stack Lightnin posted:

Thanks guys! I guess a lube wouldn’t hurt. I lube cars when they are fresh out of the box with Labelle 108. These cars are about 8 years old, but rarely ran.

After a run with this die cast consist, I would say the engine bodies are warm, and the trucks are warmer, but not uncomfortably hot. All of my post war Lionels sit and spin after entering a curve.

I’ve never built a train with the cab-2 or DCS. I was worried one engine would be pulling or pushing the other. As I recall, the selected engines should be tested by running to see if they can maintain a steady distance from each other. Is that correct?

I agree tires are a major PITA. I don’t even bother replaceing them anymore 

You really should try a MU with the CAB-2.  It's super easy, fun and looks awesome!  It helps spread the load too!

TCA# 15-70824

Volphin is right, MUing is the way to go.  Heck, its what made steam go away!

You're right, to an extent, about pairings; you don't want to MU a tortoise to a hare.  However, unless there is a considerable difference in speed at the same CAB setting, go for it.  A train that warrants multiple units will provide sufficient drag to have all engines pulling together, not one engine pulling or pushing another.

The best way to test for compatibility is to program the units as a "train" but operate them uncoupled.  Each will react to the identical speed setting from the CAB and you'll be able to see any difference in response.  Setting "stall" on all your units will ensure simultaneous, smooth starting. 

In the Bad Ol' Days, I would test by put two Lionel locomotives on the same track and then apply the juice to compare speed.  However, that test is inadequate, today, because the units are responding to a signal from the CAB and their internal circuitry, not juice fed directly to each.  The Bad Ol' Days account for why "non-powered units" are still supplied by the manufacturers.  Trying to get two old powered units to synchronize their efforts was nigh unto impossible.  One would hit a momentary gap and the two or more units would be out of sync immediately.  The only problem with "non-powered units" is that they're non-powered.

When you've got your "lash-up" travelling the road, sharing the load, tip your hat to Frank J. Sprague.  He was the inventor of the Multiple Unit Electric (MUE/MU) technology that powers today's space age rapid transit and freight trains.  Sprague's invention was first implemented commercially at the 1893 World Columbian Exposition on the "Intramural Railway" where the first MUEs carried over six million passengers without mishap.

GENERAL NOTICE - Safety is of the first importance in the discharge of duty.  Obedience to the rules is essential to safety.  To enter or remain in the service is an assurance of willingness to obey the rules.

2-railers weight locomotives so they will slip before the motor stalls.

I agree that heat is what kills motors, and amps is what causes heat.  But a stalled motor is at its weakest point.  It does not take long at all to burn up a stalled motor.

Traction tires may not allow slip before stall.  You can tell - just put your hand in front of the locomotive, turn the power on and observe the slip.  No slip? Turn the power off immediately, and never load your model until it stalls.

Rapid Transit Holmes posted:

Volphin is right, MUing is the way to go.  Heck, its what made steam go away!

You're right, to an extent, about pairings; you don't want to MU a tortoise to a hare.  However, unless there is a considerable difference in speed at the same CAB setting, go for it.  A train that warrants multiple units will provide sufficient drag to have all engines pulling together, not one engine pulling or pushing another.

The best way to test for compatibility is to program the units as a "train" but operate them uncoupled.  Each will react to the identical speed setting from the CAB and you'll be able to see any difference in response.  Setting "stall" on all your units will ensure simultaneous, smooth starting. 

In the Bad Ol' Days, I would test by put two Lionel locomotives on the same track and then apply the juice to compare speed.  However, that test is inadequate, today, because the units are responding to a signal from the CAB and their internal circuitry, not juice fed directly to each.  The Bad Ol' Days account for why "non-powered units" are still supplied by the manufacturers.  Trying to get two old powered units to synchronize their efforts was nigh unto impossible.  One would hit a momentary gap and the two or more units would be out of sync immediately.  The only problem with "non-powered units" is that they're non-powered.

When you've got your "lash-up" travelling the road, sharing the load, tip your hat to Frank J. Sprague.  He was the inventor of the Multiple Unit Electric (MUE/MU) technology that powers today's space age rapid transit and freight trains.  Sprague's invention was first implemented commercially at the 1893 World Columbian Exposition on the "Intramural Railway" where the first MUEs carried over six million passengers without mishap.

I ran a MU a few days ago with two very different Legacy engines... a Berk 2-8-4 and a USRA Switcher 0-8-0.  Legacy actually told me in a prompt that the 0-8-0 would be taken out of switcher speed mode for the MU.  I was impressed it was programmed to do so!  They ran flawlessly at all notches!

TCA# 15-70824

Volphin posted: I ran a MU a few days ago with two very different Legacy engines... a Berk 2-8-4 and a USRA Switcher 0-8-0.  Legacy actually told me in a prompt that the 0-8-0 would be taken out of switcher speed mode for the MU.  I was impressed it was programmed to do so!  They ran flawlessly at all notches!
MTH DCS operates based on unit speed and accomplishes the same thing.  5 mph = 5 mph, generally.
Actually, I much prefer the Lionel hand-held controller, its much more responsive and actually replicates the traditional throttle movements of real locomotives more closely.  However, the lack of compatibility with MTH is the sticking point.  I'd prefer Lionel locomotives and controls but buy MTH Premier due to axle/wheelset change-out capability and MTH-Lionel compatibility.  Traction tires may seem like a small thing but to a 1:1 railroader its a big deal.  I WANT the possibility of wheelslip and that without "leaving a patch of rubber" and without shredding or shedding a tire.  With rubber tires, I wind up spending too much time and effort cleaning and buffing the rails, instead of rail buffing.
So many trains, so little time!

GENERAL NOTICE - Safety is of the first importance in the discharge of duty.  Obedience to the rules is essential to safety.  To enter or remain in the service is an assurance of willingness to obey the rules.

Can motors tend to run a lot cooler than the old open frame motors IME and generate a lot less heat. I doubt 10 cars would cause much problems unless there are some pretty severe grades.  People mentioned making sure the cars were lubricated, but the engine is important as well, if the lube in the gears on the engine is old or lacking, the gears can bind and that will lower the efficiency of the transfer of power to the wheels, which will in turn cause the motor to work harder and heat up. If you run it for a while and you can still touch it, likely you are okay, but it never hurts to try and make them run better. The old open frame motors in the power war engines would take heat a lot better (you could melt wires, and if the coils on the engine melted it would go splat), the new engines with their circuit boards are less tolerant, but as long as the engine is simply warm you should be fine. 

The person who dies with the best toys dies a happy person
bob2 posted:

2-railers weight locomotives so they will slip before the motor stalls.

I agree that heat is what kills motors, and amps is what causes heat.  But a stalled motor is at its weakest point.  It does not take long at all to burn up a stalled motor.

Traction tires may not allow slip before stall.  You can tell - just put your hand in front of the locomotive, turn the power on and observe the slip.  No slip? Turn the power off immediately, and never load your model until it stalls.

That's one of the reasons I've had a general dislike of traction tires (and went to scale wheels). Traction tires artificially increase the pulling power of locomotives to the point you can overload them. Even if they're not stalling, you can exceed the comfortable limits of the motor and electronics. USUALLY, the traction tires give way before something gets seriously damaged but I wouldn't rely on that. With scale wheels, if it slips you put on a helper or shorten your train.

Matt Jackson
"The best service you can provide for the hobby is to pass on what you have learned."

 Angels Gate Hi-Railers San Pedro, California

"Celebrating 20 years of moving freight and passengers from Point A to Point A!"
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