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An acquaintance dropped off a Marx 1666 locomotive that won't run.  The headlight and smoke unit work, but it just sits and buzzes when power is applied.  He told me that it was last run about 20 years ago before being packed away.  One of the houses that he lived in had high-sulphur well water that wreaked havoc on some of his electronic equipment.  The pick-up slider on the locomotive had turned black from exposure to the sulphur.  It looks like the commutator has also been affected.

I took a video of it with the shell off.  I cycled it on and off.  I noticed some arcing from the area of the reversing unit (hole in front of the front drive wheel) during the second power cycle.  I also took a photo of the commutator.

It appears the only way to access the reversing unit is to disassemble the entire motor.  I have never worked on a Marx locomotive before and don't want to open a can of worms.  Can anybody with experience with these locomotives give me some pointers?  Or should I just find another motor and call it a day?





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To start, remove the brush plate (the two nuts and the screw).  This will allow the brushes to come out and give you access to the commutator.  Clean the commutator and brush wells with rubbing alcohol and swabs.

Also clean any debris you may find inside.

Use electronic spray cleaner and give the reverse unit a couple of shots.

Clean all the wheels with swabs and rubbing alcohol.

Lightly sand the pick up shoe on the bottom and clean with alcohol as well.

Re-assemble, cross fingers...........and try it.

All the best


Last edited by Soo Line

Everything Dave mentioned!!!! From my own personal experince and looking at your motor, there's only one wire to the brushes, so the other brush without the wire goes to ground. Some Marx engines use a simple washer to make the ground connection from the bottom screw to the brush holder without the wire.  On the Marx motor I was working on, someone left out the washer and the armature circuit was open and all the motor would do is buzz, just like yours. I discovered it by making the ground connection with a screwdriver accidentally. Check to see if the washer is present under the screw and it overlaps enough to touch the bottom brush plate. Good Luck! hope this helps.

Ed Horan

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