New on O scale with some problems (help needed)


mikeknuckey

Far away in Chile...
Hi! I recently bought a Lionel GP38 from the Merge Special set.
I’ve tried to make it run but it make a crappy sound and it didn’t move… but if I connect energy straight to the can motors; they run really nice.
So, I understand this engine it’s not DCC, but I see a circuit board inside, did this board control movement of the loco or just the sound?
Thanks in advance for any help!
17F7BC32-2689-4CBC-9CB7-3719F3194DF9.jpeg
 
Virtually all Lionel loco's are designed to run with an A.C. transformer. In the 1990's, Lionel started transitioning from A.C. electric motors over to permanent magnet D.C. can motors. The electronic circuit boards inside these loco's convert the A.C. current over to D.C. current in order to power the can motors.

If you connected power directly to the motors and got them to run, I assume you were using a D.C. power pack. Because hooked up directly to A.C. power, the can motors wouldn't run at all - they would merely sit there and buzz.

With that in mind, are you trying to run the loco with a D.C. power pack? While some cheaper Lionel loco's (as in really cheap) were made over the years to run on either A.C. or D.C. current, this loco probably isn't one of them. I'm a thinkin' it needs an A.C. transformer throttle, such as a Lionel CW-80 or similar, hooked to the track in order to properly operate the circuit board and all if its corresponding features.
 
Virtually all Lionel loco's are designed to run with an A.C. transformer. In the 1990's, Lionel started transitioning from A.C. electric motors over to permanent magnet D.C. can motors. The electronic circuit boards inside these loco's convert the A.C. current over to D.C. current in order to power the can motors.

If you connected power directly to the motors and got them to run, I assume you were using a D.C. power pack. Because hooked up directly to A.C. power, the can motors wouldn't run at all - they would merely sit there and buzz.

With that in mind, are you trying to run the loco with a D.C. power pack? While some cheaper Lionel loco's (as in really cheap) were made over the years to run on either A.C. or D.C. current, this loco probably isn't one of them. I'm a thinkin' it needs an A.C. transformer throttle, such as a Lionel CW-80 or similar, hooked to the track in order to properly operate the circuit board and all if its corresponding features.
I’m using a CW-80, something strange is if I let the loco on the rails the motors buzz but don’t move.
By the way here in Chile electricity comes in 220v so I’m using an adapter from 220v to 110v.
I have three other engines and all of them move on rails.
 
I’m using a CW-80, something strange is if I let the loco on the rails the motors buzz but don’t move.
By the way here in Chile electricity comes in 220v so I’m using an adapter from 220v to 110v.
I have three other engines and all of them move on rails.
Your initial household current is 220 volts. Is it 60 cycle?
When you powered your GP-38 motors directly and they ran good, what did you power them with? A.C. (like with your CW-80) or a D.C. power source?
Are your three other engines also 3-rail, O-gauge Lionel?
Do you run your three other engines with the CW-80?

Trying to narrow down the problem with these questions.
 
Your initial household current is 220 volts. Is it 60 cycle?
When you powered your GP-38 motors directly and they ran good, what did you power them with? A.C. (like with your CW-80) or a D.C. power source?
Are your three other engines also 3-rail, O-gauge Lionel?
Do you run your three other engines with the CW-80?

Trying to narrow down the problem with these questions.
First at all: thanks for your time and help!

Yes, I’ve powered the motors with the CW-80.
The other 3 Engines I’ve mentioned are Lionel too (all steamers) and make it work in the same conditions: fast track with the CW80.
Electricity here is 50 cycle.
 
First at all: thanks for your time and help!

Yes, I’ve powered the motors with the CW-80.
The other 3 Engines I’ve mentioned are Lionel too (all steamers) and make it work in the same conditions: fast track with the CW80.
Electricity here is 50 cycle.
Well, okay. I have to admit that I'm stumped. When the loco sits there and buzzes while the loco is on the track and A.C. power is applied, that might indicate one of two things - either the circuit board is bad, or the 50 cycle current is somehow affecting the circuit board.

If your 3 steamers all have Pullmor A.C. electric motors, they most likely would run just fine on 50 cycle or 60 cycle current. On the other hand, if one or more of your steamers has a D.C. can motor, it will also have an electronic circuit board to control the motor. And if they run just fine with your CW-80, I would be even more inclined to suspect that your GP-38 has a faulty circuit board.

However, something very funny is going on. Not sure how D.C. can motors, when hooked directly to an A.C. transformer, ran perfectly good. Doing some quick research on your GP-38, the electric motors are indeed permanent magnet D.C. can motors, and as far as I know, there is no way they should be able to run at all when hooked up directly to A.C. current. If you hooked up your power to the circuit board and merely THOUGHT that you were powering the electric motors directly, maybe the current was still feeding through the circuit board rectifier and converting the A.C. current to D.C. current and allowing the motors to run fine. If that was the case, then this would lend credence to highly suspecting a bad circuit board.

Well, this is about the best I can come up with. I'm not an electronics expert by any means, so it looks like I will have to bow out here. Perhaps someone with more electronics experience can chime in with their thoughts. Hopefully Dub or others will see this and chime in with any knowledge they may have. I hope to see a solution soon, and see if maybe I am more or less on the right track in my thinking.
 
Hello Mike,

Try reversing the leads to your GP-38 motor, from what you showed in the video. Then.............
Will the motor still run with the leads reversed?
If so, do the wheels turn in the opposite direction? Or do they still turn in the same direction, regardless of which way the leads are hooked up?
 
Here’s some videos with the test I’ve made.



Almost sounds like the "bell" trying to ring.

I agree with MixedFreight. I do not understand how applying power directly to the motor can make it run. Wiring diagram for the GP38 clearly has motors marked as DC. The circuit board you are seeing is an electronic e-unit (600-6103-001) for changing the direction. However, in the diagram I also see two switches on the bottom of the unit. One turns the e-unit on and off, the other turns the horn on and off. If they aren't marked there are only 4 combinations. I would try each one in turn and see if you can't get it to go.
 
Last edited:
Hello Mike,

Try reversing the leads to your GP-38 motor, from what you showed in the video. Then.............
Will the motor still run with the leads reversed?
If so, do the wheels turn in the opposite direction? Or do they still turn in the same direction, regardless of which way the leads are hooked up?
Hi!
Well… I’ve reversed the leads and the motors run in the opposite direction.
Both motors do the same.
 
Almost sounds like the "bell" trying to ring.

I agree with MixedFreight. I do not understand how applying power directly to the motor can make it run. Wiring diagram for the GP38 clearly has motors marked as DC. The circuit board you are seeing is an electronic e-unit (600-6103-001) for changing the direction. However, in the diagram I also see two switches on the bottom of the unit. One turns the e-unit on and off, the other turns the horn on and off. If they aren't marked there are only 4 combinations. I would try each one in turn and see if you can't get it to go.
Hi! I turn it off the reverse mode and applying direct power to motors make the same; it runs and if I switch polarity; runs in opposite direction.

Funny thing is I turn it off sound too but it keep making noises if I power the track.
 
I have a sneaking hunch that without physically disconnecting the electric motors from the circuit board (i.e., unsoldering or disconnecting the wire motor leads), then the A.C. current is back-feeding through the circuit board in some manor, and thus allowing the electric motors to run. As far as I know, there is no way a D.C. motor by itself can run on A.C. current.

My best guess is that there is indeed something defective with the circuit board. Wished I could tell you what, but unfortunately electronics is not my forte.
 
I have a sneaking hunch that without physically disconnecting the electric motors from the circuit board (i.e., unsoldering or disconnecting the wire motor leads), then the A.C. current is back-feeding through the circuit board in some manor, and thus allowing the electric motors to run. As far as I know, there is no way a D.C. motor by itself can run on A.C. current.

My best guess is that there is indeed something defective with the circuit board. Wished I could tell you what, but unfortunately electronics is not my forte.
Today I was thinking something similar… why the two motor run If I only powered one? So maybe as you say; electricity runs and back thru the circuit.
I will try to find the replacement circuit board and change it.
Thank you so much!
 
Almost sounds like the "bell" trying to ring.

I agree with MixedFreight. I do not understand how applying power directly to the motor can make it run. Wiring diagram for the GP38 clearly has motors marked as DC. The circuit board you are seeing is an electronic e-unit (600-6103-001) for changing the direction. However, in the diagram I also see two switches on the bottom of the unit. One turns the e-unit on and off, the other turns the horn on and off. If they aren't marked there are only 4 combinations. I would try each one in turn and see if you can't get it to go.
Do you know where can I get that part?
I was looking at Lionel trains but I can’t find it.
Thanks!
 



Back
Top