I've been wanting one of these for some time.  Last year i purchased a used one from an Ebay seller.  Long story short, he refunded almost all of my money when I could not get the accessory to operate.  I tore it apart and tried to find the problem with no luck.  There is a gearbox in there that's quite interesting, to say the least.

Fast forward to now.  Again, from a different Ebay seller, I purchased a new in the box reactor.  This evening I had the time to open the box, cut the tape on the styrofoam packing and hook it up.  Lights work, chute works to dump spent fuel.  But the arm, which depends on that gearbox does not move.  Yes, I have the selector lever in the automatic position.  The arm moves about a half inch and stops.  I can hear the motor running, but the arm will move no further.  

A stop at a local service station is next, because there is no way I'm opening up this baby.  I did contemplate sending it to Lionel but I don't relish the thought of paying postage on a box this size.

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

Original Post

Dan,

Fellow Forum member @DKDKRD and I are probably among the few that have done a deep dive into this accessory. Please do a quick search in the Forum archives as there is much valuable insight on this great reactor.

I can tell you that when gears and belts and voltage are just right it is a wonder to behold.

Hopefully KD will add his insights as well.

John

Dan, It is cool and I encourage you to get into it a bit.  Mine had similar issues and it turned out to be a dry rotted rubber belt and I found it from one of the great part sellers on the forum.

go for it! 

Hokie 71

Chief of Operations, Free Union, Blacksburg, and Albemarle Railroad (FUBAR)

Thanks John.  

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

While doing the search, I noticed there may have been more than one release of the reactor.  one is 6-24294 the other 6-14065.  I have the, 6-14065.

I couldn't find the exploded parts diagram.

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

Here I am....

And this is the thread that has the pertinent poop to fix this monster...

Lionel #463 Nuclear Reactor Repair Information

 

You'll notice that I obtained a new gear from Northwest Short Line (NWSL).  Working with the then-owner, Dave Rygmyr...and his wife (now deceased)...they created a new part number just for this effort.  Well, following his wife's death, Dave shut down NWSL operations last summer.  For a while there was little optimism of finding a buyer for this highly specialized supplier to the hobby.  However, a new owner...former tech working at NWSL, I believe...has indeed stepped up and will continue the line.  I understand a new website is under construction.  All past orders are apparently promised to be filled.  The transition, however, may cause some delays.....patience is appropriate and probably rewarded.

You'll need a new square cross section drive belt, and that info is in the earlier posting.

Be advised, however, that teardown and reconstruction is not the proverbial "piece of cake".  I'd measure it at least worthy of one bottle of wine.  You might want to take some photos of your deconstruction steps for reference in the re-construction process.....I didn't have the forethought then, but it might have shortened the process if I had.  KEEP TRACK OF YOUR PARTS!

In the end, however, as John mentioned you WILL be rewarded with a fully functioning reactor.....indeed a neat accessory.

KD

Dan,

The 6-14065 is the one I have as well. All the guts are under the red roof building that also has the lever that controls manual and automatic arm operation.

There is a tiny black drive belt in there that I replaced. I got the replacement from an vintage record player supply house that matched the original specs. There is also a tensioning screw that presses on the belt so optimistically that might be all your unit needs is a tightening of that adjustment. Lastly, Northwest Shortline made an exact copy of the nylon drive gear that is prone to deterioration, so that is worth a look as well.

That's about all the detail I can remember. Hope it helps some...

KD ! Good to hear from you! I posted this above info, but you beat me to it!😁

John

Thanks KD. When I tore apart the first reactor I had purchased last year, I didn't take pictures.  Stupid me.  But the unit was beyond repair anyway.  This time, I will use the thing between my ears.  

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

On the back of the silver dome is a chute.

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

Hello guys, here are a few images from my repair I did probably 8 years ago. I'm pretty sure I bought the part (gear) from chuck. The problem with mine was a visitor grabbed the arm and pulled, breaking the gear, but that was all the damage and mine has been flawless since purchased new.

Let me know if the pictures help of if you need additional angles.AEC OverviewDSCF7725Gear on AxelMotor closeMotor overview

Charlie

Attachments

Photos (5)

Oh, the joy! One more repair that I was not planning to do!  Does it make a difference if the gear is 9 or 10 teeth? I saw a previous post where a 9 tooth was used instead of a 10 tooth. I may as well install a new belt while I'm inside... One less problem for later.

Chris

LVHR

FWIW....

When Dave/Lynda (NWSL) agreed to pull a whole new p/n for this repair effort, I sent him the old Lionel gear, along with shaft/knurl dimensions, etc., etc. to ensure that it was to be a fully functional replacement.  The Lionel gear was 10-tooth, as is the replacement.  Referencing Charlie's photos, the Lionel gear did, indeed, split.  But NWSL had to pull a new number to have the gear be wide enough to ensure a good mesh with the thinner mating gear.  Otherwise, they had a 10-tooth replacement in their standard product line that might have worked.  When I suggested simply doubling the standard gear as a solution, Dave's response was like 'I don't think so!  We'll do the job right!'......and so they did!  The new gear is of acetal resin....hobbed, not molded.  

Personally, in using the 9-tooth gear in Charlie's pics I would now be concerned with the long term durability of the mating nylon gear.  The smaller OD of the 9-tooth gear means less engagement with the mating gear.  That suggests that the teeth tips of the plastic gear will now be carrying more of the load.  If those give out, replacing that gear, which has an integral hub feature, may be more problematical.  OTOH, I'd be sure the gear mesh worked with the benefit of a light application of compatible gear grease....suggest LaBelle white with PTFE, #106.

BTW, you can see the two adjacent pulleys in Charlie's photos where the replacement belt goes.

There are, of course, always work-around solutions to any problem.  As my Dad once commented: "If it works, leave it alone!"  Good advice.

Heck, Uncle Werner was missing a few of his teeth, too!  Didn't slow him down one bit!  He could 'chew the fat' with the best of them!

Y'all have a great opening day @York!

KD

Hello again guys.

Just checked and it was April of 2011 that I did the repair as shown in the images above. While I wish I had the correct part at the time, I don't think I am going to open it up again since it is still working. Now, I don't use it every day, but I would safely say it gets activated a few times a month on average.

If it does break again, I will use the NWSL part as pointed out above.

And yes, if you are already at this stage of repair, might as well swap out the rubber drive belt which is easy to do.

Again, let me know if you need more images as I have plenty. I took progress shots during the disassembly so I had a shot at getting it back together.

Good luck.

Charlie

Charlie posted:

Hello again guys.

Just checked and it was April of 2011 that I did the repair as shown in the images above. While I wish I had the correct part at the time, I don't think I am going to open it up again since it is still working. Now, I don't use it every day, but I would safely say it gets activated a few times a month on average.

If it does break again, I will use the NWSL part as pointed out above.

And yes, if you are already at this stage of repair, might as well swap out the rubber drive belt which is easy to do.

Again, let me know if you need more images as I have plenty. I took progress shots during the disassembly so I had a shot at getting it back together.

Good luck.

Charlie

Charlie, thank you for your excellent photos.  They will go a long way toward helping me when I tackle the job.

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

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