|Catalog Number 15L1 - 1930’s Industrial Locomotive - Operation Checks and Routine Maintenance|
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Operation Checks and Routine Maintenance
Your locomotive requires certain checks and service on a periodic basis. Failure to do this when required can prevent normal operation and may result in damage not covered by warranty.
Belt/Chain Guard Removal and Replacement
A guard is provided under your locomotive to protect the drive system from dirt and objects on the track, and to prevent access to moving parts by unauthorized persons. Only remove the guard when the battery and/or optional weight are removed.
If you have a raised track that is open between the rails you may remove the guard with the locomotive setting upright on its wheels. Otherwise you must lay the locomotive on its side for access. To turn the locomotive on its side you must remove all loose components. This includes the cab roof, hood doors, battery and weight (optional, see weight instruction sheet for instructions on removal). Then place a soft pad on a surface that will support the weight of the locomotive and lift the locomotive on to the pad on its side. Add supports or blocking (or have someone hole it) so that the locomotive remains securely on its side.
You will see two self-locking nuts at each end of the guard. Remove these nuts using a 3/8" wrench (or deep socket, extension, and ratchet) and slide the guard away from the main deck of the locomotive and off. Replace by using the same method in reverse.
The drive belt must be adjusted for proper tension on a periodic basis. This should be checked when you first are ready to operate the locomotive. It should also be checked after a few hours of operation on a new belt and approximately every 2 to 10 hours thereafter. When you find you are not having to change the tension you may go to a longer period of time between checks. A belt will stretch less and less with time until you do not have to adjust it any more.
The belt should be tight enough so that it does not slip in operation. However, too much tension will overload the bearings and damage them. Reasonable tension can be tested by pressing one finger against the belt with moderate pressure and noting how much the belt moves. Normal tension is approximately 1/8" to 1/4" of movement when pressing fairly hard with one finger.
Adjust the belt tension by removing the guard as above. Using a 1/2" open end wrench, slightly loosen the four bolts on the motor mounting plate. Then slide the motor and mounting plate to change the belt tension. A lever, pry bar, or large clamp can be used to help pull the belt tighter. If the belt cannot be tightened enough within the movement allowed by the motor mount you should loosen the belt and remove one or more links from the belt to shorten it. To remove the links see the instructions for belt replacement which explains how to disconnect and reconnect the belt to itself. Tighten the bolts when the tension is correct.
Jerky Movement or "Clunk" Sound When Starting
If the locomotive is operated in a very quiet area (such as test running in your shop) you may hear a sound of the motor momentarily starting then stopping when moving the speed control away from the off position. If the locomotive is blocked up so that the wheels are not in contact with the track you may also notice a small movement. There are two reasons for these actions; each is explained in the two paragraphs that follow. You do not need to read or understand these reasons, you only need to understand that these actions are normal and do not harm the locomotive. With the locomotive on the track and under load these actions are typically not noticed even though they may still occur.
To allow reliable operation of the hand held control without concern for the length of the cable the signal for desired speed is transmitted digitally from the hand held control to the control panel. This is done with a pulsed signal where the width of the pulse controls speed and direction. When you move the speed control from off it is possible that once in a great while you are doing so in the middle of a pulse. This results in only part of a pulse being transmitted and this narrower than normal pulse causes the motor drive circuit to start at the wrong speed or direction. Since there are 60 pulses per second this error is corrected 1/60th of a second later and normal operation follows.
We have also found that, especially during testing, it is possible to move the speed control in such a way that a small bounce occurs moving out of the spring loaded off detent position. What happens here is that the springs that provide a detent push the knob slightly up or down in speed against the force of your hand. This results in more change than you planned and can start and then stop the motor before you have moved the speed control to the point that you expect the motor to run.
Clean the locomotive using a soft cloth slightly dampened with a detergent and water solution. Do not get any parts wet with liquid water. Dust may be blown off with clean compressed air but be sure that the air does not contain grit or oil. Do not use solvents of any kind for cleaning.