JohnsLegos

60197 train issue

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Hi all! this past weekend I had my 60197 train running at a local train show where I live in Pennsylvania In the US. I ran the train with 6 cars that had Speed Champion cars on them. The train ran about 5 and a half hours on Saturday and when I started up on Sunday I used the batteries that I had pt in the afternoon before and when they were used up I changed them and that is where I ran into issues. After I changed the batteries I started to run the train and it did not get very far and it seemed to slow down awfully quick for a fresh set of batteries it made the other corner and slowed down again and I noticed the light flashing orange on the battery compartment like the batteries were dead. I took them out and put another set in and it did the same thing. I was able to get a hold of a volt meter and measured the voltage on the battery pack and even after running it just a short time the voltage had gone down a little but not down alot (like below 6 volts) as it read 8,86 which I think is good. I thought I would ask here before calling Lego directly and see what they say. Any ideas??

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Sounds like there was a large drain on the batteries, possibly through friction within the drivetrain somewhere.  With that amount of load (weight) being pulled, a little extra friction would be exponentially felt by the motor.

I’m no expert in the internals of the train motor bogie, but I’d guess that running non stop for 5 hours plus will have got the gearbox in there, nice & hot, so any fluff and dust would have stuck into the sticky lubricant, which would have cooled and made quite a thick detritus ridden gunk to get the motor moving through.  

I’d be inclined to try and open up the motor bogie, and check.  I can’t tell you how to, but others here will be able to.

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5 hours ago, JohnsLegos said:

I noticed the light flashing orange on the battery compartment like the batteries were dead

I assume this set runs in its original config with the city hub battery box, right? Well the flashing light already tells that. Just to make sure.

The flashing on that hub also occurs (if I remember correctly) when there is current overload. Which happens when the train motor (almost) stalls. You can "simulate" that behavior with attaching a bare train motor to the hub, making it go at full speed (any one-train motor app will do, certainly the one for 60197) and then slow it down with your fingers or by putting it onto a soft surface. The light flashing should kick in rather sooner than later. It simply means "too much current for me to handle" as well as "I am really nervous" - TLG does not want to be sued for any overheating etc.

I'd go with @jus1973 assessment. It may be the motor or any of the other moving parts on the consist. When you detach the engine, does the remaining part move easily on the track? Maybe it has gotten a bit out of correct arrangement - just check. When that is OK, the motor is the next suspect. Do the wheels/axles turn smoothly (yes, there is a motor inside, but you'll feel the difference). When they don't, inspect the axles. When OK, surgery seems to be necessary. Which is not a big deal.

Best,
Thorsten

 

Edited by Toastie

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42 minutes ago, jus1973 said:

Sounds like there was a large drain on the batteries, possibly through friction within the drivetrain somewhere.  With that amount of load (weight) being pulled, a little extra friction would be exponentially felt by the motor.

I’m no expert in the internals of the train motor bogie, but I’d guess that running non stop for 5 hours plus will have got the gearbox in there, nice & hot, so any fluff and dust would have stuck into the sticky lubricant, which would have cooled and made quite a thick detritus ridden gunk to get the motor moving through.  

I’d be inclined to try and open up the motor bogie, and check.  I can’t tell you how to, but others here will be able to.

Well, the train really didn't run non stop for 5 hours, it stopped at least once an hour to change batteries so it had a little time to cool down before running again.

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58 minutes ago, JohnsLegos said:

Well, the train really didn't run non stop for 5 hours, it stopped at least once an hour to change batteries so it had a little time to cool down before running again.

Once an hour for batteries?!? Not exactly a good sign... might be exactly what @Toastie and @jus1973 are talking about, as something is surely wrong here!

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Things changed after you changed the batteries. That makes me wonder:

  • Were all the batteries the same? Same brand, same capacity?
  • Did something else change when you swapped batteries? Did you accidentally push the wheels tight against the motor body?
  • Did one of the connectors get unplugged and not properly plugged back in?

I definitely wouldn't open the motor before talking to customer service.

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10 hours ago, Murdoch17 said:

Once an hour for batteries?!? Not exactly a good sign... might be exactly what @Toastie and @jus1973 are talking about, as something is surely wrong here!

The batteries were not alkaline and not an expensive battery. I ran some Ray-O-Vac's and some from a store called Harbor Freight (i'm not sure if this store is a US store only). The Ray-O-Vacs seemed to run longer than the other ones....

7 hours ago, Duq said:

Things changed after you changed the batteries. That makes me wonder:

  • Were all the batteries the same? Same brand, same capacity?
  • Did something else change when you swapped batteries? Did you accidentally push the wheels tight against the motor body?
  • Did one of the connectors get unplugged and not properly plugged back in?

I definitely wouldn't open the motor before talking to customer service.

As for the third question, I actually unplugged the cable from the battery box to the motor and re-plugged it back in to make sure. And the second question, the one time it stopped I picked the body of the engine up and it sped up.

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4 hours ago, JohnsLegos said:

The batteries were not alkaline and not an expensive battery. I ran some Ray-O-Vac's and some from a store called Harbor Freight (i'm not sure if this store is a US store only). The Ray-O-Vacs seemed to run longer than the other ones....

If you're using the zinc-carbon batteries instead of alkaline, the lifespan will be considerably shorter. I've been in a Harbor Freight and seen they have alkaline batteries as well. Try those next time. @Duq makes a good point about the wheels being pressed in. I've done that a few times and it really interferes with the motor running freely.

 

4 hours ago, JohnsLegos said:

As for the third question, I actually unplugged the cable from the battery box to the motor and re-plugged it back in to make sure. And the second question, the one time it stopped I picked the body of the engine up and it sped up.

As for when you picked up the motor, you removed all the resistance due to weight and friction from the wheels, allowing the motor to spin freely. That's why it sped up.

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3 hours ago, Feuer Zug said:

If you're using the zinc-carbon batteries instead of alkaline, the lifespan will be considerably shorter. I've been in a Harbor Freight and seen they have alkaline batteries as well. Try those next time. @Duq makes a good point about the wheels being pressed in. I've done that a few times and it really interferes with the motor running freely.

 

As for when you picked up the motor, you removed all the resistance due to weight and friction from the wheels, allowing the motor to spin freely. That's why it sped up.

I guess when I get a few minutes I will hahe to put some track down and put the engine back on it and see how it goes. I see your point Freur about the friction thing I didn't think of that. 

Just now, JohnsLegos said:

I guess when I get a few minutes I will hahe to put some track down and put the engine back on it and see how it goes. I see your point Freur about the friction thing I didn't think of that. 

I also checked the battery type and they are zinc chloride ones from Harbor Freight but the batteries I used on Saturday were the same type and it ran fine. The batteries are the "Thunderbolt Magnum" ones

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Check that your wheels aren't pressed tightly against the body of the train motor.  It'll cause additional rolling resistance and increased current draw to overcome.  You can turn the wheels by hand to feel for resistance.

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Posted (edited)

Hi all, well here is a little update on the train issue that is still going on. I have been back and forth with Lego about this since it happened and it is still unresolved so a few weeks ago I took it to a model railroad I volunteer at and asked on of the guys that is really into repairing engines to take apart the drive wheel assembly to see if anything looked out of place. Here is what he found: there was some lint, yes lint inside the mechanism and also one of the axles was offset. He was able to correct the issues and I thought that would fix everything...boy I was wrong. Last week I setup the tables again in my garage and put all the track down and the engine ran fine by itself but when I hooked the cars up to it nothing happened it just sat there and when I sped it up on the controller it just barely moved. I am enclosing a YouTube link at the end of this for everyone to look at and give their opinion (which I welcome). Thanks for any help! 

 

 

Edited by JohnsLegos

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Hi, look from 1:00 to 1:30, the machine is much too slow.

Can you easliy turn the axles of the motor and the others too?

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On 1/9/2023 at 12:21 PM, Lok24 said:

Hi, look from 1:00 to 1:30, the machine is much too slow.

Can you easliy turn the axles of the motor and the others too?

Yes I can easily turn the axles. I received an email from Lego the other day and they are wondering id it either the battery pack or the motor. I have measured the battery pack with a volt meter and it is fine but I wonder if the small motor (the electric motor that turns the gears and in turn moves the axles) is taking a dump. You also mentioned that it is running a bot slow. Yes it was running a few clicks up to see if it ran ok and if you noticed how it slowed down as it came into the corners. Well the straight sections are pushed down onto the baseplates and the corners elevate. The only way I can think of fixing that would be to put 2x8's under each straight section (which would be quite a few and also quite expensive) I mean that would be an option that might have to be explored at some point. Once it gets a little warmer where I live I might have to put up one of the platforms and see of there is a height difference with putting a couple of the 2x8's and put the corners down and see how it looks. 

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normally the train is that quick that it flies out of the curve.

I suppose you need a new motor .....

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I would be very leery of Harbor Freight batteries, they appear to carbon-zinc as I don't see alkaline written on the battery in the video you posted. As others have posted, just to be sure it's not the batteries, I would try Energizer or Duracell alkaline batteries. Even if the Harbor Freight batteries read the proper voltage, that may droop severely when a current demand is placed on them. 

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1 hour ago, bogieman said:

I would be very leery of Harbor Freight batteries, they appear to carbon-zinc as I don't see alkaline written on the battery in the video you posted. As others have posted, just to be sure it's not the batteries, I would try Energizer or Duracell alkaline batteries. Even if the Harbor Freight batteries read the proper voltage, that may droop severely when a current demand is placed on them. 

But here is the interesting part....the first day of the train show I started off with Harbor Freight batteries(the same ones) until I went through them and switched to Ray-O-Vac ones. 

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Just got an email from Lego and they are going to send me a new motor for the train. I will let you all know it that resolves the problem or not. 

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If the locomotive is disconnecting so often then I would say there is a lot of resistance in wagon wheels. I suggest to dissasemble that wheels and clean them. Also the sound from locomotive running itself is a bit strange... 

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On 1/15/2023 at 4:40 PM, spongebrickpl said:

If the locomotive is disconnecting so often then I would say there is a lot of resistance in wagon wheels. I suggest to dissasemble that wheels and clean them. Also the sound from locomotive running itself is a bit strange... 

If you are talking about when the cars were connected to the engine and they separated, I am not sure but it was cold when I had the train in the garage and the magnets were not connecting properly. The carriages as you call them seem to move freely when I place them on the track. Also I was also wondering about the batteries. Not the type but will they get warm to the touch after the train has run for a while? 

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On 1/19/2023 at 10:03 AM, JohnsLegos said:

If you are talking about when the cars were connected to the engine and they separated, I am not sure but it was cold when I had the train in the garage and the magnets were not connecting properly. The carriages as you call them seem to move freely when I place them on the track. Also I was also wondering about the batteries. Not the type but will they get warm to the touch after the train has run for a while? 

I don't think batteries should get that warm. Something is wrong there...

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13 minutes ago, Murdoch17 said:

I don't think batteries should get that warm. Something is wrong there...

Well when I did the battery change, which was about 1 set per hour, they were a little warm to the touch.

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