Ray Di Ciacca comments:
“I have now come across three diesel locos that shut down for no apparent reason. They are running fine then stop dead. they are all Proto 2000. I have cleaned the wheels, but this is only a temporary fix.The stop then start up again but as soon as they move they shut down. Any suggestions.
Greg and Phil have both provide good suggestions giving you things to check out. Here are a couple other thoughts to help you resolve this:
- You mention this happens with three engines;
- are these in consist and on the track at the same time,
- in consist, but only one on the track at the same time,
- not in consist and on the track at the same time, or
- not in consist and only one on the track?
- You mention start then stop, then start again.
- By far the most common cause of this behavior is having the engine(s)/consist addressed by more than one of your DCC cabs. The engines are getting a “run at speed step X” from one cab, followed shortly thereafter by a “run at zero speed” from another cab . When the command station checks with the first cab, it will again tell the engine(s)/consist to run at “speed step X”, followed by another conversation with the second cab that tells the command station to tell the consist to “run at zero speed”. The result of all this is the locomotive behavior you see.
- A second possibility is an intermittent short in the wiring of one or more (or all) of the engines in question. In this scenario the movement of the various components of the engine can cause a wire to move creating a short, causing either the booster or the circuit breaker to trip, causing the units to stop, only to resume movement when the booster/circuit breaker resets.
i. Pop the shell off the engine and watch closely as it moves
ii. Check all the wires to make sure there are no strands of wire separated from the rest of that wire and inadvertently contacting something else, and
iii. Check for any wearing on the sides of wires where the wire is exposed and could possibly come in contact with other wires and/or other components of the locomotive thereby causing a short.
- A third possibility is one or more of the engines drawing too much current, again causing the booster and/or circuit breaker to trip to protect itself. You also mentioned the three engines in question were P2K;
i. Some early P2K engines (the E7’s come to mind, there _might_ have been others) had motors that drew excessive amperage.
ii. P2K and other China built locomotives are notorious for lubes and grease that turn into solid “Peanut Butter” over time. The best solution for this is to completely disassemble the mechanism, clean all parts thoroughly in Dawn and water, using a tooth brush (and other tools as necessary, then re-assemble the mechanism piece by piece, lubricating with _sparing_ amounts of the appropriate hobby lubes, oils and grease. Test as you go for fit and smooth, friction free performance.
iii. While you have the motor out of the unit, check and make sure _it_ is performing well. Motors used in P2K and other models have been known to lock up when left unused for extended periods of time. Careful, sparing application of bearing lubes to the motor bearings will help here. If the motor seems to be locked up, apply a bit of gentle five finger torque to break it free. Your motor should run smoothly with as little power as a 1.5 volt battery.
Hopefully this will give you some additional clues that will help you resolve this problem.