|The Bandai diesel, coming down the line. It took a little work|
to get it operational again.
Eventually, it stopped running at all. The engine has punched-out windows in its frame (who knows why), and when I peeked in,
I discovered the reason -- both solder joints for the wire pickups had given up the ghost.
|This looks like trouble. |
The view of the motor (and loose wires)
through a window in the locomotive body.
|The Bandai diesel has open side windows.|
The trickiest part was detaching the body from the frame. It was secured by a series of bent metal tabs. Because the metal gets stressed at the bend, those tabs only have so many folds and unfolds in them before they simply snap off. And when that happens, there's no way to reattach them.
|Note the tabs along the edge of the frame. |
That's what holds the body on.
Fortunately, the metal was fairly thick, and that didn't happen. I used a razor blade covered with tape to get under the tabs without scratching the metal.
Each tab was carefully bent back, but only as far as necessary. They remained at a slight angle, but by squeezing the body I could draw them out of their slots and remove the body.
|A closeup of the problem. And note the years of dust stuck to|
the greasy motor. Yuck!
I had thought that the motor itself was responsible for the weight of the locomotive, but that wasn't the case.
The first set of weights were in the front, to help the lead trucks hold to the track properly. That was important for two reasons: it minimized derailments, and it kept the wheels in constant contact with the track. The power in the track was transferred from the wheels to copper pickup shoes on the axles and from there through wires to the motor, so continual contact was important.
|Without those lead weights, the locomotive wouldn't have |
enough traction to move.
The second weight helped keep the rear trucks on the track. Because the engine itself (even with the lead discs) didn't have enough weight to provide traction, the rear wheels had ribbed rubber tires. The second weight help keep those tires pressed against the rails.Clever design!
|The Bandi diesel, repairs completed, |
ready to run.
When I replaced the body, the angled tabs held it in place. So rather than risk snapping them off by folding them back to their original position, I left them alone. And now I can easily get the body off again if I have to do more maintenance.
An unexpected bonus: cleaning the contacts and the gears not only made a difference in performance, but in safety as well. Sparks no longer fly out from under the frame. Guess I'll just have to refer to the locomotive as the Bandai diesel. Ol' Sparky doesn't seem appropriate anymore...
The newly restored Bandai diesel in action!
Read more about the whole project here.