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Is your loco sluggish?  It could be your commutator and/or brushes!  Here's how I remove and replace the brushes for cleaning!

Here's the brushes of a postwar Alco loco.  (We're not going to go into the brushes of the tender unless someone asks, as that's a different kettle of fish!)

Note how the springs are aligned with the slots in the brushes:

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Undo the two screws and pull the top off.  Note the brushes in their holders

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Gently clean the holders with a Q-tip.  If the commutator is dirty, clean with a track eraser or wire brush.  Don't use sandpaper!  And be sure to clean between the segments!

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Reinstall the top with the commutator brushes still out.

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Using tweezers, GENTLY tug the wire aside and reinstall the brush.

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Once the brush is installed, align the slot with the wire.

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Repeat with the other brush, put your loco on the rails and watch it zoom!

Mitch

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Last edited by M. Mitchell Marmel
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Thank you Professor Marmel!

I followed this procedure to the letter with a PW ATSF Alco. Unfortunately shortly after take off the motor decided it had enough and died. Guess the new brushes were too much for the old girl. No worries though, she's in the shop waiting her turn for a new motor. 

Bob

2017-05-06 08.55.362017-05-06 08.55.582017-05-06 08.56.272017-05-06 08.56.39

 

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  • 2017-05-06 08.56.39
JD2035RR posted:

Thanks for taking the time to post this Mitch.  I think I need to do this on a couple engines. 

Did you install new brushes or just clean up the existing? What are some signs that you need new brushes vs clean up existing brushes?  

You're quite welcome!    In this case, I installed new brushes.   The main reason to install new brushes versus cleaning the old ones is wear;  this will manifest itself as a loss of power,  excess sparking and,  finally,  when the brushes are too short for proper contact,   motor failure. 

MELGAR posted:

An excellent tutorial and pictures.

Thankee kindly!

Mitch 

RickM46 posted:

Mitch - great tutorial; that brush configuration looks just like the one on the Lionel 3927 track cleaning car; do you know of a parts place to get the brush springs and brushes?

Thankee!  My go-to place for parts is http://www.ttender.com/ .  Jeff will take good care of you!  Here are the part numbers and prices:

622-121

slotted diesel/steam mtr brush each

0.75

 

622-191

motor brush spring

0.35

Good luck with your repairs! 

Mitch 

Thanks Mitch, that worked great for replacing the brushes.

In doing so, I noticed that one of the springs is questionable. So far, "The Virginian" still runs great (with the recent addition of a replacement E Unit).

Do you have a tutorial for replacing one or all of the springs? I'm okay with soldering, if necessary.

I have the new springs on hand, if needed. OR,

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" ??

@cpasam posted:

Do you have a tutorial for replacing one or all of the springs? I'm okay with soldering, if necessary.

To be honest, I've never had to replace the springs on a postwar motor.

So, let's find out together! 

I'll use this junker motor from my spare trucks box.

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1) Desolder the wire from the brush holder.

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2) Open the spring retaining tab.

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3) Rotate the spring.  Note that the shorter arm is on the bottom; the spring needs to be reassembled the same way.

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4) Open the back gap to accommodate the spring coil. 

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5) Spring is removed and ready for adjustment or replacement. 

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6) Reinstall spring.  Note, again, that the short leg of the spring goes on the bottom.

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7) Spring in position with short leg on top.

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8) Lower the long leg into the brush holder.  Why this came out blurred, I dunno.

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9) Lower the short leg into the holder and fold the tab back over it.

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10) Resolder the wire in place. 

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Et voila, the brush spring, she is removed and replaced!   

Hope this helps!

Mitch

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Mitch - on another topic, please tell me what you think about this terrific (??) idea:

I have an 022 switch that works great, except that if a train is moving too fast, the non-derail trigger doesn't work quickly enough, and there's a derailment.

Suppose I remove the fiber pin from that leg of the 022, replace it with a metal pin, then add a half track with a fiber pin at the end: will that then trigger the non-derail feature sooner?

@cpasam posted:
Suppose I remove the fiber pin from that leg of the 022, replace it with a metal pin, then add a half track with a fiber pin at the end: will that then trigger the non-derail feature sooner?

This is a long-used method but there is one caveat to your proposal... the ties on your extension "half track" must first be insulated from your added trigger rail.

Otherwise, it can be any length section to increase the timing for better switch operation, and it doesn't even need to be adjacent to the switch if that's not convenient - you can place the insulated rail section anywhere on the layout.

This is the method also for adding non-derailing to switches like the 1121 that lack that feature built-in.

1121 Insulated

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Last edited by ADCX Rob

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