Strange Bits Log Part 1

Strange Bits Log Part 1
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
Hi All,
I decided to start this log to record problems and possible solutions that I have encountered on my layout
over the many years I have been running my trains. I hope this file doesn’t grow too much. Use the
Bookmarks tab to find the topic of interest.
Part 2 Link for all new content after the Last Entry above.
Strange Happenings Contents
ECoS 50000/50200
07-12-2016 ECoS Speed Control Fix and External Emergency Stop Buttons
ECoS Article
3054 (E103 113-7)
01-07-2016 3054 locomotive with long train stopped on left hand curves.
I have used this locomotive to pull eight coaches and two double car carriers as a fast express train on my
layout for many years and today it started to exhibit strange behaviour by stopping in just two places on
my layout which were left hand curves. It would stop suddenly, create a short circuit which would stop
the ECoS and the coaches would derail.
Problem: Finding the cause of the problem took some time to diagnose as three of the coaches have
collector shoes which could have caused a short circuit when they derailed after the sudden stop. I
removed these coaches and tried running the train again only to have the same problem occur.
Next I just ran the locomotive without any coaches and the problem persisted but I had established that
the sudden stop on the curve had caused the derailment but still had to find the cause why the locomotive
stopped. I run all my electric locomotives from the Catenary so I decided to switch to the collector shoe
and now the locomotive run without any problems.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
Solution: Once I removed the body shell I found the problem and below you can see it clearly.
There is an electrical
arc burn on the
connection strip see
red arrow. When the
motor bogie turned it
shorted on the bowed
strip because the two plastic holding supports had broken,
see yellow arrows.
I removed the screw holding the metal strip and applied hot
melt glue to the area around the plastic supports and bedded
the strip into the glue. I replaced the pantograph screw then the body shell and once again tested the
locomotive. The problem was fixed.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
37020 BR53 0012 MHI Borsig with Condensation Tender
05-04-2016 New Insider model 2013 stopped running after a few minutes and sound failed.
I inherited this locomotive from my friend Rudolf and was dismayed to find that it stopped running with
the wheels locked up and that the sound had also failed. Now I know that the total running time of this
locomotive is less than 1 hour total running and being a 2013 insider model it is covered by a five year
warranty but living in Australia, the cost of sending a locomotive back to Germany is expensive and time
consuming. I decided to find out what the problems were and assess the cheapest option to either fix the
locomotive or send it back to Germany for a warranty claim.
Problem 1: - After a close examination of the powered drive wheels I could see that the gears between the
drive axles had damaged teeth which jammed when the wheels were rotated. I looked at the explosion
diagram and discovered the drive gears aren’t specified (see diagram on the left).
I looked at older explosion drawings for the Borsig locomotive and discovered item 15 was the required
gear with part # E237930. I hope this trend of not showing all parts from Märklin doesn’t continue.
The E237930 part costs €6 for a packet of 3 gears and fortunately my
friend Norm had some, so I paid him for a packet of gears.
The two gears on the left are damaged and the gear on the right is new.
This is the first time I have encountered this problem on a new locomotive.
Solution 1: - I replaced the gears and now the locomotive runs like new.
Problem 2: - The speaker seems to have failed. I removed the wires at the decoder and measured the
impedance and found it was open circuit.
Solution 2: - I applied the soldering iron to the solder pads on the speaker then measured an impedance of
8 ohms so I reconnected the wires at the decoder end and I could once again hear sound. Some of the
sounds are a little distorted so I will replace the speaker on my next spare parts order.
In the case above I decided not to claim the warranty as the cost is higher than me fixing it myself.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
31021-1 Lady C Locomotive from the Stuttgart Station Set
Lady C locomotive would derail when pulling passenger coaches.
Problem: - After installing LED lighting in a set of passenger coaches I decided to pull the train with the
Lady C locomotive from the Stuttgart Station Set and discovered that the rear coupling would release the
train on curves or would suffer from buffer lock when the train was descending on a curve.
I didn’t pay much attention when I first coupled the coaches to the locomotive but I discovered that the
coupler height was very high so the coaches were difficult to couple to the engine.
7.5 deg.
The cause of this coupler problem is shown
above. With the coupler pocket on a flat
surface the drawbar is angled by 7.5
degrees above the horizontal line.
Solution: - I boiled some water and poured
it into a small bowl then inserted the
coupler pocket end up to the guide pin (see red arrow). After a few seconds in the water I carefully bent
the drawbar down to get it as close to the horizontal line as possible. I allowed the drawbar to cool down
then repeated the process until the drawbar would remain at the required position.
With the locomotive re assembled the locomotive pulled the coach set without problems.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
Broken Coil Wires 7549 Point Motors (1st and 2nd generation)
05-09-2015 (see page 20)
Point/Turnout fails to switch when controlled with TrainController
Problem: - This problem indeed matches the title of this document. Over the last few weeks I have had a
constant point failure when running schedules using TrainController (TCG8.0E5). My equipment at this
time is the ECoS 50000 with firmware revision 4.0.2, k83’s and a selection of the 7549 and 75491 point
All my points are entered into the ECoS with a switching duration of 100ms and the Turnout Interval for
TrainController is set to 250ms.
Debugging the Problem: - The first thing I eliminated was to check the point motors were functioning as
this is the usual weak part of the Märklin system. I could switch the offending point from the ECoS every
time. Next I tried to manually switch the point from the TrainController switchboard and noticed that the
graphics in TrainController updated to reflect the point switching but the point didn’t physically switch on
the layout, I also noticed that the point graphics on the ECoS screen didn’t change. I switched another
point in the TrainController window which was working and noted that the graphics on the ECoS screen
Next I inserted a toggle switch in the TrainController switchboard with the correct address for the point
and this also failed to switch the point and update the point graphics on the ECoS screen.
The strange thing is the point is able to be switched from the ECoS and the change is reflected in the
TrainController switchboard but when I use the TrainController switchboard the command doesn’t update
the ECoS screen and the point decoder doesn’t receive the command to switch the point.
My gut feeling was the problem was in the ECoS.
Solution: - I entered edit mode on the ECoS for the points and deleted the offending point and did a save
before shutting down the ECoS. On rebooting the ECoS I entered edit mode on the ECoS for the points
and reinserted the point with the correct address and did a save before starting TrainController.
From the TrainController switchboard I could now switch the point once more. I don’t know what
corrupted this point in the ECoS but I’m happy I have managed to find a solution.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
37500 Northlander
The bell and horn for the Northlander have the same intermittent sounds as mentioned below for the
43747 ICE coach.
37606 VT11.5
Intermittent sounds of the horn.
The same problem and solution exists for the VT11.5 TEE train set as mentioned below for the 43747
ICE coach.
43747 ICE 3 Coach type 406.8 with Sound Effects Module
Intermittent sounds of the horn.
Problem: - I noticed after I had re profiled the ICE 3 train with TrainController that the horn wouldn’t
sound when it entered the station as it had done before re profiling the train. On the ECoS the Coach
decoder is setup as Motorola 28. Using the ECoS controller I tried the horn function at zero speed and it
worked. Next I increased the speed, tried the horn function and it failed to sound. I increased the speed a
little more, tried the horn function and it worked. The big question was WHY?
Debugging the Problem: - With the ECoS controller I started the ICE 3 train at threshold speed (decoder
speed step 6), then tried the horn function and it failed to sound. I next increased the train speed by one
decoder speed step (7), tried the horn function and it worked. I increased the decoder speed step (8) and
the horn failed to sound, increased one more decoder speed step (9) and the horn sound worked once
more. I tested the horn sound over the entire decoder speed step range and found that the horn would only
work on odd decoder speed steps, strange but I solved the mystery of the intermittent sounds.
Solution: - I revised my block speed into the station forcing the ICE 3 train to run with an odd decoder
speed step so the sound of the horn could be heard as it entered the station.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
3615/26830 Locomotive
BR52 locomotive from the 26830 Snow Plough set would just stop at random
Problem: - I was trying to change some CV values for this locomotive and it failed. When the locomotive
was placed on the layout it would run for a while then stop at random. If I raised the tender then replaced
it back on the track it would run for a short distance then stop once more. This behaviour indicated to me
that the electrical connection to the collector shoe was at fault. I unclipped the collector shoe and I could
immediately see the problem was a loose solder contact plate (E214 260)
E214 260
E280 270
Solution: - I slid the contact plate out of the slot in the collector shoe (E280 270) and prised up the
collector shoe holding lugs a small distance then refitted the contact plate carefully and made sure the fit
was very firm. I soldered the wire back on and re clipped it to the tender bogie. The locomotive once
again ran very well.
I also noted that the 3615 locomotive had the same collector shoe and I’m sure other locomotives use this
collector shoe and could have the same problem in the future.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
3686/3687 Glaskasten Locomotive
Very jerky running of one of my three Glaskasten locomotives
Problem: - From time to time I get out my
locomotives I have in storage and give them a run
around the track to ensure they still run and
function well. In January 2009 I was testing the
3687 locomotive and after a few minutes of nice
running the locomotive suddenly became very
jerky. I disassembled the locomotive and found
that a brush had broken in half. On the spare part
sheet supplied with the locomotive there is only a
complete motor listed as part number 371300, so
I wrote to Märklin Service asking for the part
number for the brush and I got a quick reply that
they could supply the complete motor only, for a price of 49.95 EUR plus postage or I could send the
locomotive back for a service. Now living in Australia this seemed to me to be a very expensive solution
for such a simple problem, I decided not to do indulge in this expensive option and just put the
locomotive back into storage.
Solution: - Since I have just completed upgrading my layout with the ‘Diode Trick’ I decided to test all
my four wheeled small locomotives to see if I had made any improvement to their running. I chose the
3687 locomotive with the broken brush by mistake but instead of putting it aside I decided that I would
have a go at manufacturing a replacement brush to get the locomotive running once more. I chose a 60146
standard Märklin brush and held it in a pin vice which I then inserted into the chuck of a small drill. With
the drill rotating at a slow speed I used a small flat needle file to reduce the square shaped brush to a
new round brush that would fit into the brush holder. I had to rotate the brush 180 degree in the pin vice
and repeat the process for a nice fit into the brush holder.
The photo shows the broken brush (left),
the middle brush is original and the
(right) brush is my manufactured one and
I made sure that the spring would also fit
on the end (red arrow).
The motor at the left has the brush holders, springs and
brushes shown below. Once the locomotive was
reassembled it ran like a dream.
My only regret is it took me 6 years to fix this very
serviceable motor.
Opinion Time: Märklin should have been able to supply
the brushes only for the motor which was easy to service.
In the future if locomotives have cheap non serviceable
motors I will not purchase them.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
7286 Remote Control Turntable
Another Turntable bridge kept jamming.
Problem: - My friend Greg’s turntable had stopped with a small offset (1-2mm) between the bridge rails
and the stall/spoke track rails i.e. the rails didn’t line up and further efforts to control the turntable failed.
Greg asked me for assistance to sort the problem out. I thought the problem would be the same as
Rudolf’s turntable but this failed to work 100%. (see 23-03-12 entry below, I moved both reports
together.) The mechanism was much smoother running so that was a step in the right direction.
Debugging the Problem:- I took Greg’s turntable home. This allowed me to compare it with an original
Fleischmann 6652 turntable and an early Märklin 7686 turntable. Below are three indexing control levers.
1. Original Fleischmann (far left)
2. Early Märklin (middle)
3. Greg’s later Märklin design (right)
Before making any permanent changes to
Greg’s turntable mechanism I decided to
exchange the index control lever with the
Fleischmann (1) original. When I tested the
turntable it worked very well without
jamming any more.
Next I tried the early Märklin (2) control
lever and it worked as well as the first
When I tried Greg’s (3) later Märklin design once more the problem of jamming occurred once more in a
very short time of testing.
Looking at the above levers it is possible to see one obvious design change on the right lever that the
other two levers don’t have. You will notice the front face has chamfers but it still requires closer
inspection to find the other two design changes.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
A top view reveals the Fleischmann part number 1460 for all
three examples and the second design change can be seen in the
right hand example as the thickness has been increased from
1.46mm to 1.82mm (red circle).
The last design change required some measurements (see below)
On the left is the original Fleischmann index lever showing the
index tongue with a slight draft angle. This fits into a recess
index on the driving gear with a similar draft angle. (Four places)
There is a small tolerance on
each side of the index tongue to
allow a slight movement left or
right of the index centre line.
The middle index lever
measured the same as the first.
The problem index lever tongue
has almost no tolerance at all
and doesn’t allow enough movement left or right for the index
tongue to fit each time into the indexing recess and with the chamfer on each side of the tongue it helps it
push out of the recess when the drive gear is turning. The motor contact remains closed and won’t allow
any further commands from the 7687 decoder.
Warning: - The solution I used requires modification to the index lever and should only be done if you
take responsibility for you actions and have a plan B if the modification doesn’t work.
Solution: - First I filed the front face flat to remove the chamfer on both sides of the index tongue. I then
filed the sides to reduce the dimensions to match the Fleischmann dimensions (green) I also made sure no
sharp edges appeared on the areas that had been filed.
Once the drive mechanism was re assembled I tested the turntable over a week controlling the turntable a
few times each day and it worked very well without jamming any more. The turntable bridge now has a
small amount of movement left and right of the index centre line which was almost no existent with
Greg’s turntable in its original state. The turntable was reinstalled on Greg’s layout Friday 1 Oct and was
working with TrainController when I left.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
Turntable bridge rotation kept jamming.
Problem: - My friend Rudolf’s turntable had stopped midway between two stall tracks and all efforts to
free up the bridge without removing the bridge had failed.
Debugging the Problem: - Rudolf gave me the bridge and the 7287 decoder. This enabled me to take it
home and test on my spare turntable. First I removed the motor drive housing assembly and examined it.
In the top photo showing a default neutral position I found that the index lever (red arrow) was pushed
back closing the motor contacts (green arrow), because the indexing indents on the large gear shown as
red lines were rotated away from the neutral position. This caused the decoder to show a fault because the
motor contacts were closed when turning on the power to the turntable.
In the second photo I noticed some flash marks on the large gear wheel (blue
Solution: - First I removed the flash marks from the large gear using 1200
grit sand paper laid on a flat surface. I rubbed the gear over the sand paper
until the top surface flatness had improved.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
Next I carefully removed the locking bar and the medium gear (orange arrow) by pushing the shaft in the
direction of the red arrow allowing the smaller gear (violet arrow) to be removed then the medium gear
was also removed.
Note: reassembly of the medium gear and smaller gear is the
reverse procedure making sure that there is a small gap between
the smaller gear and the motor housing (blue arrow) to allow for
free rotation of the gears without being too tight. For lubrication
I used Woodland’s White Grease with Teflon.
Next I reassembled the large gear with the top temporary fixed
using two screws. When I rotated the large gear by hand I was
surprised to find that it was still catching the motor housing
On very close inspection I found the large gear teeth caught on
the edges of the housing (red lines) in the photo below
Using a fine needle file I chamfered the highlighted edges.
I then retested the large gear, success at
last and with no more jamming of the
large gear I carefully reassembled the motor drive housing.
When I put the turntable bridge into my turntable base and using Rudolf’s 7687 decoder I was able to reprogramme the turntable and the bridge movement was once again very smooth and there wasn’t any
further jamming of the turntable bridge. I visited Rudolf yesterday and installed the repaired turntable
Using TrainController the turntable was re-programmed to suit Rudolf’s layout and he made the comment
that was the smoothest he had seen his turntable operate, so we were both happy.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
37090 Cargo Sprinter
27-11-2012 The improvement to the ground connection on the Cargo Sprinter was done some time ago
so this is just a records update.
Problem: - The Cargo Sprinter would jerk or halt when driving over the 2275 double slip points when the
direction was set straight across. The Cargo Sprinter is driven by the front bogie and all four wheels have
a rubber tyre so there is no good ground connection at this end. At the collector shoe end all wheels act as
the ground contact. The problem is that with the wheel spacing distance of approximately 30mm it is just
too small a distance to get over the non electrified rail sections of the 2275 double slip when set to the
straight direction.
Solution: Was to provide an extra ground connection, but this wasn’t as easy as I first thought it would be.
I removed the bogie at the collector shoe end and cleaned the contact points (see yellow arrows and
The green arrow shows a single Harwin SIL socket, Element14 # 102-3035 super glued to the side of the
electrical coupling. I soldered a wire to it and protected the connection with heat shrink. You will notice
that I provided extra support to the socket by putting heat shrink around the coupling and socket. The wire
from the socket was threaded through the bogie and followed the path of the other wires.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
Ground Solder Pad
The wire from the added socket was soldered to the ground solder pad (brown arrow).
The red arrow shows the collector shoe solder pad and the orange arrow shows the solder pad for the
electrical coupling.
Wagon Ground Connection
Because the axle runs in plastic bearings I had to make up an electrical spring contact from an old
collector shoe and solder it to a small piece of Vero board. This assembly is held in place with hot melt
glue. I super glued another single SIL socket to the side of the electrical coupling and soldered the wire
from it to the contact spring making sure there was a small loop of wire so the coupling could move
freely. For the connector between the wagon and the locomotive I super glued two single SIL sockets to
act as male connectors and provided extra support with heat shrink. A small length of wire completes the
The Cargo Sprinter now runs very well.
In my opinion Märklin should have provided 2 pole connectors for the train to allow the switching
collector shoes and a better ground connection.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
2681/2881 S10 King Wilhelm II
Document update on the King Wilhelm II set
I have had this set since it came out in 1996 and planned to run it on special occasions when train
enthusiasts visited my layout for a running day, this hasn’t worked out as
I have had a few problems with the operation and appearance of the train.
Problem 1: - King Wilhelm Potential Short Circuits 14-08-1999
mentioned on pages in this document.
Problem 2: - Paint on the front of the boiler peeling off.
 Solution 2: - I removed the boiler, then the boiler end,
stripped off the paint without damaging the details and
repainted the boiler end. This to me was a disappointment
for such an expensive locomotive.
Problem 3: - The locomotive failed to pull six of the King Wilhelm II
coaches up a standard 4% grade.
This set was designed by Trix and sold under the Märklin name turned
out to have a design flaw that there isn’t enough weight over the driving
wheels with the rubber tyres to allow the locomotive to successfully pull
the coaches up a 4% grade.
Märklin’s solution was to provide two weights with self adhesive tape to add to the cabin floor and under
the cabin roof. These weights are no longer available from Märklin.
Solution 3: - I decided to tackle the problem in the following way. I removed the cabin by undoing the
screws under the cabin. I think removing the cabin roof is a better solution than the way Märklin suggest
because you are less likely to damage the locomotive.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
Märklin instructions and weights shown above.
I then flattened a lead fishing sinker into a flat shape as shown
and then bent the shape to follow the curved contour of the cabin
roof. I made sure that weight wasn’t visible when viewing the
cabin from the side. Once this was done I painted the weight
black and finally glued the weight into the cabin roof with hot
melt glue. I didn’t want to place any weight on the cabin floor so
I decided to see if I could add weight in the boiler.
Removing the boiler proved to be very easy and is not specified
in the Märklin service instructions. First you need to have a close look at the locomotive and you will see
a part line on the boiler at the cabin end. The pipe details on both sides of the boiler need to be removed
where the pipe detail crosses the boiler part line. The secret is that you have to carefully pull off the
smoke stack and hidden below is a screw which needs to be removed. Now carefully lift off the boiler
from the locomotive frame.
I fashioned the weight
above to fit in the space as
shown. You will notice that
I have cut a grooved recess
(red rectangle) which is required to clear the gears from the motor. The weight is held in place with
adhesive tape.
With the locomotive reassembled I tested it pulling the full King Wilhelm II coach set and to my relief it
handled all the grades on my layout.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
49950 Goliath Crane
09-06-12 The Goliath Crane hook cable was jammed between the gears that drive the
take up drum.
Warning: - Märklin clearly state not to pull apart the Goliath Crane because special tools are required and
nothing requires servicing, but since I live on the other side of the world I decide to service the crane
myself as it seemed ridiculous to send it back to Germany just to free the hook cable from the gears.
Problem: - I wanted to remove the plastic cable drum protectors so I had full access to the cable drum
then I could see if I could remove the cable drum and release the hook cable that had jammed between the
drive gears without cutting the cable. On close examination of the cable drum protectors I could see that I
needed to dissemble the crane because they were held in place by the body of the crane housing.
Process: - First I removed the collector shoe. The bogie trucks were next and were easy to remove by
removing the screw and spring for each bogie. Below the bogies is a plastic protective cover for the
printed circuit board which can be carefully removed by using a fine screw driver to move the plastic
cover clip by inserting the screw driver blade into the square hole and levering the clip towards the bogie
screw location. With the cover removed I next unsoldered the red wire (red arrow) which allowed free
access to remove the three screws that hold the printed circuit board in place.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
Carefully raise the PCB and you will see a round plastic support ring around the motor held by two
screws. Carefully note how the plastic ring is located and remove the screws. You will now be able to
remove the crane housing from the base allowing easy access to all the screws that hold the crane upper
body together. Make sure you put all screws and small bits in a container so you won’t lose them!
Dismantling the crane body housing proved to be a very easy task provided you do it in the correct order
as follows. First at the back of the crane there are three large head screws, only remove the two outside
ones and leave the middle one as this holds the motor assembly in place. Now you can remove the rear
top housing by lifting it up to expose two motors, one drives the hook cable drum and the other drives the
jib drum.
The next step is to carefully unclip the cabin which also supports the crane jib. Make sure you don’t
tangle the cables too much.
The 4th step is to now remove the five small screws on the bottom of the housing and place them in that
container with the rest of the screws. Now turn the crane housing over holding the housing top and
bottom sections together and remove the two very small screws close to the drive gear. These screws hold
the rotation motor in place so make sure that as you remove the last screw you also hold the motor so you
won’t drop and damage it.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
Now separate the top part of the crane housing from the bottom section by carefully pulling them apart
and make sure you support the motor.
With the crane now apart the first thing that concerned me was the lack of lubrication. All photos shown
where as I dismantled the crane. There wasn’t any lubrication on the worm gears and mating pinion gear.
The bushes that support the drive rods also lacked lubrication.
In the photo above the only grease visible was going hard and I could also see wear marks on the left gear
pinion which I think is rubbing on the screw that holds the PCB and/or the mark on the body for the cabin
floor (see green arrows) on the motor housing base.
The photo above shows the plastic cable drum protectors have been removed by carefully pulling them in
the direction of the (blue arrows) shown. I decided that the middle drum shouldn’t be removed as the
mounting pins were a press fit into the drum.
I removed the hook cable by cutting off the end where it is fixed to the middle take up drum at the
(yellow arrow) location. I unwound the lose end until I got to where it had jammed between the gears (red
arrow). Holding the hook cable on either side of the drum gear I pulled the cable away from the gear and
rotated the bottom gear at the same time and the cable came free. There was very little damage to the
cable so I inserted it back into the hole at the (yellow arrow) location and melted the end with my
soldering iron so it couldn’t slip back through the hole. Problem solved.
Before re assembly of the crane I lubricated all the points I mentioned with white grease containing
Teflon and all gears pinions that had an axle was oiled with light oil. Re assembly was the reverse order
of the points mentioned. The crane now runs smoother and much quieter, so I can chalk that up as a
success story.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
3152 Electric Class 16 05 SNCB
Poor running after a LokPilot 3.0 Conversion.
Problem: - After completing a LokPilot conversion of my 3152 locomotive I experienced jerky running
when trying to profile the locomotive with TrainController. It ran ok when I ran it on the rolling test stand
but not when I ran it on my layout. I found two problems, one was a short circuit and the other was a poor
ground connection.
Solution 1: - The short circuit was easy to fix once I had discovered where the problem was.
The correct collector shoe 7164 for the locomotive
shown above, ends directly above the axle (yellow
arrow) and was shorting on the axle at two places
shown by the red arrows, you may be able to see the
arc burns on the axle.
I removed the 7164 collector shoe and replaced it
with a 7185 collector shoe and the problem short
circuit was fixed.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
Solution 2: - Improving the ground return also proved to be a simple solution.
First I removed the bogie and cleaned it at the locations shown by the two red arrows. Next I cleaned off
the arc burns on the ground contact area where the bogie makes contact by using some 1200 grit wet and
dry sand paper. This improved the running but still wasn’t 100%.
I then decided to run a ground wire soldered to a brass contact directly back to the decoder. This is held in
place by the plastic wheel cover being screwed on and firmly holding the brass contact plate against the
wheel bogie, now the running was just perfect.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
S88 Decoder Failed for the First Time
Replace data cable
S88 decoder failed but it wasn’t an IC.
Problem: - While running my trains using a computer with RR&Co software I started to have trains fail to
stop or slow down. On closer inspection I noticed that the last s88 decoder in the data chain wasn’t
responding at all. Once I had removed the s88 decoder I discovered that the “Dataout” pin on the top
connector that feeds back from the shift register to the central unit was black (see red arrow). Over the
years the flux on the PCB had migrated onto the pin and tarnished it enough that it would not conduct.
Solution: - I removed the tarnish from the pin using some contact cleaner then polished the pin with some
1200 grit wet and dry sand paper. I then tested it to make sure it was working then reinstalled it back on
my layout.
Today I had to replace the data cable that connects between s88 units because
on closer inspection the corrosion had also migrated to the cable connector pin
(see red arrow)
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
Loud Noise from “Bnp” type Passenger Coaches
Bnp Type coaches from the 2859 Demonstration Set and 4222 City-Bahn coach.
Problem: - After many years of running these coaches they started to produce a very loud noise and on
further investigation I discovered that the wheel flanges where rubbing on the underneath of the coach.
Solution: I removed the bogie assembly from the coach with a strong pull and could see where the wheel flanges
had been rubbing.
With my Dremel
tool set to a slow
speed I used a HS
cutter #114 and
traced over the rubbing
marks and gouged a
shallow clearance
groove as shown.
I reassembled the bogie
to the coach, applied
some Woodland Scenics
HL 657 white grease
with Teflon to the axle
bearings and the
coaches were as good as
new again.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
Broken Coil Wires 7549 Point Motors (1st and 2nd generation)
7549 point coil magnet has broken wires from coil to solder pad location.
Problem: - This is the third time I have encountered this problem where the movement of the coil has
caused wire fatigue and the wire has broken off from the solder pad. Good observation of the point motor
is required to find the fault.
Solution: - In all cases the wire has been long enough that I have been able to resolder the wire to the
correct solder pad and get the motor operational once more.
Jamming/Stiff 7549 Point Motors (1st and 2nd generation)
7549 point motors very stiff or jamming after years of use on the layout.
Problem: - I was getting derailments at points which sounded normal when switched but failed to throw
the full distance. On closer inspection I found the point motor was the culprit as it was very stiff or in
some cases it would jam half way through its throw. The cause was the actuator was binding with the
metal body of the point motor.
Solution: I disassembled the point motor and using a miniature flat file modified the size of the hole in the metal
The top metal body is before modification and the body below it shows that the middle hole has been
enlarged by 0.5mm in the downward direction, compare with the other holes to see it’s not much.
Next I had a good look at the actuator and noticed the flash at the location of the round ejector marks.
Using 1000-1200 grit wet and dry sand paper I removed all the flash and reassembled the point motor.
For good measure I also puffed in some Labelle 134 Teflon lubricating powder around the actuator and
the result was a like new point motor that switched with a very positive click. As I service my point
motors to clean the electrical contacts I’ll make sure I also do this modification.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
Special Options for the Intellibox and 39970
39970 Catenary Maintenance Car options caused running problems with other items.
Problem: - Uhlenbrock advised to change the Special Options to the following settings so the FX decoder
would work. At the time I was pleased that my new locomotive functioned well.
902 = 16 (Default = 12)
914 = 40 (Default = 18) See tip 39970 Extra functions for full article.
Yesterday I was trying to run my 7651 digital crane and a few locomotives that had 6080 type decoders
and discovered that they ran poorly or not at all. My first thought was the decoders were deteriorating and
needed replacement, but on further investigation I found the following.
1. Locomotives run poorly at half their original speed using Motorola-old for the loco address.
2. 7651 crane, only the light function worked, not motor control via F1 and F2
Part Solution: - I found that if I switched the locomotive address to Motorola-new the locomotives with
6080 type decoders would run ok, but the results for the crane remained the same.
Full Solution: - After a lot of experimentation with the two Special Options mentioned I found that by
setting the Special Options to the following.
902 = 12 (Default = 12)
914 = 40 (Default = 18)
1. The locomotives with 6080 type decoders worked well using Motorola-Old for the loco address.
2. The 7651 digital crane now worked using Motorola-old for the loco address.
3. My 39970 Catenary Maintenance Car worked well using Motorola-New for the loco address.
I’m pleased I can run all my locomotives once again, have fun with your trains.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
37265 BR ET87 Electric Railcar
Poor running and short circuits
A friend asked me to fix/improve his Railcar
Problem: - The interior lights had failed to switch on with the F1 function and the railcar ran with a
jerking motion. Once I had removed the body shells of the locomotive I found that two wires had short
circuited with the drive shaft on the driving bogie. The insulation on the wires had been removed by
rubbing on the rotating drive shaft. The red wire was the F1 function
and the orange wire is the + supply for all lights.
Next I noticed that the bogies at each end of the locomotive only had
one wheel contact that brushed on the side of the wheel flange, as
the axle has some side way movement the contact wasn’t in constant
contact with the wheel flange and created a poor ground return for
the locomotive. I think this is a two rail locomotive design that has
been adapted to run on three rail systems (Trix – Märklin)
Solution: - First I replaced the damaged wires and the
AS3 transistor on the circuit board. To stop the motor
shaft rubbing on the wires, I cut some clear plastic into a
rectangle 21.5x9x0.3mm (LxHxT). Because the plastic is
longer than the space it was inserted into it formed a nice
bow, allowing the motor shaft on the driving bogie to
swing freely and form a barrier so the wires were
protected. I also used another plastic strip at the motor end
to create the protective barrier between wires and motor
Once the major problem of short circuits was resolved I
addressed the poor running problems. I noticed the
transmission gears and wheel axles had no lubrication so
as I had the locomotive apart I applied white grease to the
gears and light oil to the axles and gear pins.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
Now it was time to address the poor grounding on the end bogies. I removed both end bogies, and
removed the wheel contact from one bogie and fitted it to the other bogie, now the wheel flanges would
self centre between the contacts and not loose electrical contact at all.
On the top of the insulated contact strips I soldered a wire
across the two strips and soldered the existing brown wire
to one of the contact strips.
On the other bogie I used a 72050 ground spring that I
had spare which was just right to provide a good ground
connection for the other bogie.
I next tested my changes/improvements. The
F1 function now switched the coach lights on
and the locomotive ran smoothly. I’m sure my
friend will be pleased he now has a locomotive
as it was intended to run.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
3676 Diesel Railcar Class 628
Cabin lights were very dim, in the unit which holds the motor. Modified 23-03-12
Problem:- Over time I have noticed a gradual decline with the brightness of the cabin lights where the
motor is housed. The rail car has been run on a regular basis since 1989. Once I had removed the body
shell I was able to remove the interior seat details and to my surprise the entire cabin was covered in fine
black soot which cut down the reflections of the cabin lights making the cabin very dim.
Solution: - I removed all the window inserts, driver’s cabin, and light diffuser and washed them in warm
water with a little detergent. I dried all the parts and re assembled the body shell. The cabin lights are
again equal in brightness in both units.
See 3676 LokPilot conversion for more improvements.
Decoder 60760
05-06-07 A bad experience with 60760 Märklin decoder.
I chose this decoder to convert the T5 loco in the 2857
set as it was small and I only wanted the inertia control
and a lower speed to improve the running with no extra
functions. The conversion was straight forward.
Problem: - The main problem was the locomotive ran
very poorly without acceleration/breaking delay being
set and even worse with the acceleration/breaking delay
being set. Every time the loco encountered a power
interruption the inertia would start from zero again.
Things I tried: - First I tried to improve the ground connections by wiring the pony wheels front and back
to the same ground connection that the decoder was wired to, not much improvement found.
I then tried the modification suggested on to
cure the Alzheimer problem by fitting a 10k resistor and a
1000uF electro cap as shown. This mod didn’t seem to help as
the loco inertia would start from zero again after every power
Frustrations:- (just a few) The programming of the CV’s (a
total of 3) was a problem as Märklin don’t state the default
settings so I tried a large change to see the results then refined
this by halving the last entry until I came close to the correct
setting. All in all this was a very time consuming process.
Solution: - There is none for this decoder that I can find. I have since pulled out the decoder from the loco
and replaced it with a 6090 decoder that a friend no longer required. My loco now runs like a dream.
I will probably use the 60760 decoder as a lighting decoder only at some further date.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
Rollende Landstrasse Train
“Rollende Landstrasse” train consisting of the slumber coach (4232) and six depressed
floor flat wagons (4740, 4741, 4796, 4797) started to uncouple between flat wagons and also just started
to uncouple the slumber coach from the loco when on a curve going up a grade.
Problem:1. Because the flat wagons are all metal and heavy the train started to come apart when going up
grades because of the poor coupling design.
2. With a lot of running and normal wear the slumber coach with six flat wagons behind started to
uncouple from the loco when the train was climbing a curved grade.
Solution:1. I had some flat metal strips which I bent around the coupling to squeeze it together to create a
tight grip on the coupling to stop it coming apart (see red arrow).
2. I always lubricate my trains and found that the axles of the flat wagons had started to touch the
body of the bogie in the centre of the axle which created more drag on the entire train, just enough
to roll the slumber coach over in the curve and uncouple the train from the loco but not enough to
leave the tracks. I used Woodland Scenics (HL 657) white grease with teflon to lubricate the
centre of each axle and the problem has gone away (see green arrow).
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
Jamming Couplers
Coal wagons from the 4824 RAG Ruhrkohle AG Set x5 Wagons, a total of 15 wagons
started to derail after many years running around the layout. In many years to come this may apply to the
“Langer Heinrich” 26536 ore set and the 46255 extension wagons.
Problem: - Couplings started to jam and throw wagons on any radius curve, this decreased towards the
back of the train as the load on the couplings decreased.
Solution: - I used Woodland Scenics (HL 657)
white grease with teflon to lubricate the brass pin
that moves in the slot of the close coupler
Wheel Gauge Settings
trouble free.
Passenger coaches started to derail over points after many years running around the layout
Problem: - The wheel gauge had decreased ie. loose wheel on
axle which may have been caused by the wiping action when I
cleaned the wheels many times with SR24 Modellbahnol by
Hans Weiss.
Solution: - Was to correct wheel flange dimension 14.00 to
14.1mm and use locktite to fix in place.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
Collector Shoe Problem
The coach lights of the Panorama car with Waiter (4999) failed to stay on as the coach
moved around the layout. I cleaned the wheels, track and collector shoe, no improvement was noticed.
Problem: - After much trial and error I determined that the collector shoe was to blame. The bronze spring
had caused arcing burns to the slider of the collector shoe.
Solution: - I used Electrolube PL-64X from Peco Lectrics between the spring and the slider of the
collector shoe (see red arrows), this ensured a continuous electrical connection. It may be interesting to
note to use this fix where ever a collector shoe is required that has been used for a long time.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
King Wilhelm Potential Short Circuits
17-06-07 Revised
Format changed to PDF, photo added
Originally sent to the Märklin Mailing list.
Last weekend I decided to check out some of my rolling stock which doesn't see the light of day, and
discovered a problem with my King Wilhelm (2681) set.
Problem: - I had coupled all the coaches together and turned on all the functions only to find that 2
coaches weren't working. I turned the power off quickly and on closer inspection I found that the copper
contact in the coupler pocket had been pushed back so far that the current coupling draw bar was unable
to make contact with the copper contact in the coupler pocket. The other contact had come loose from the
coupler pocket and was touching the copper ground wheel pickup causing a short circuit
Solution: - I managed to disassemble the two function coaches, straighten the copper contact that goes
into the coupler pocket and superglue it back into position in the pocket. Alas I wasn’t quick enough to
save an output transistor, so I also had to repair the decoder and replace the output transistor. With the
wheel contact spring I also trimmed it
back so it was as short as possible, to
avoid further shorts (see yellow arrow).
A word of caution if this happens to you,
make sure you don't dislodge the
coupling spring wire which centres the
coupling because if this comes loose it
will most certainly cause a short circuit
as the electrical contacts are very close.
So in closing if you have rolling stock
which has the current conductor couplers
make sure you inspect how they have coupled together and that the coupling self centres as this could
save you some damage to your most precious rolling stock
s88 Contact Repair
PDF format
HTML format
How many of you have an s88 module which has a bad contact?
If you suspect you have, test for this problem by leaving all contacts for the s88 module unconnected and
just connect the flat ribbon cable to the interface or Intellibox. Display all contacts for the module using a
computer program such as c80prox or monitoring the contacts using the Intellibox, any bad contacts will
show up as being switched/made.
To date I have found that the 10n capacitor is the cause of the problem. Just remove the suspect capacitor
for the contact and replace it with a new one. I have never had to replace an IC yet.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
Buffer Lock Problems
17-06-07 Revised
24-11-01 Revised
Format changed to PDF, Photos added
Picture and 460 Class buffer lock added, 360mm minimum radius added to layout.
Originally sent to the Marklin Mailing list.
On my layout the 424.6mm radius curves on a hill grade caused a train consist going in a downward
direction with all the couplers in compression to derail. I had encountered buffer lock which then derails
the entire train consist because of the NEM close couplers.
Buffer lock problem 1:- The offending wagons are the Swiss Hbis long wheel base with large overhang
eg. 4735, 4834 4835
Solution to problem 1:- There is a metal buffer inserted in the plastic base part of the buffer. I removed
the metal insert as it is only a press fit into the plastic and filed .5mm of each plastic part of the buffer
then reinserted the metal buffer insert. This mod isn't noticeable even on close inspection.
Buffer lock problem 2:- The offending wagons are the long double bogie tank wagons and the short wheel
base tank wagons. eg 4644 and 4758. Left photo below standard coupler distance, right showing
increased distance after modification.
Solution to problem 2:- Remove the close couplers on the short wheel base wagon. Using spare part 26
3730 (close coupler used on several locos) cut off the pivot stubs and trim the plastic spring back to
about 1mm in length. Then using a fine saw cut a slot about 5mm down the stem of the coupler (see
Insert modified coupler into the coupler pocket. The 26 3730 coupler is
about .75mm longer than the 70 1630 standard close coupler, just enough to
over come the buffer lock.
Tip: Strange Happenings Log Part 1
Start Date: 27-02-07
Last Entry 12/02/2017
460 Class Buffer Lock
Problem: - On a 360mm radius curve the 460 class loco would derail the trailing wheels of the first coach.
It would flick the coach off the rails as the loco entered the curve. I noticed that the couplings caught on
the buffers and wouldn't allow full movement of the couplings.
Solution: - First I removed the buffers form the loco, this worked but didn't look very good. I next tried a
current conducting coupler, this worked but is no good if you don't want a fixed train composition
Using spare part 26 3730 (close coupler used on several locos) cut
off the pivot stubs and plastic springs. File the pivots and springs
flat then insert the coupling into the coupler pocket. The fit should
be tight. Next adjust the length approx 1.8 to 2.2mm longer than
the standard coupler. This extra length will just clear the rear of the
coupling from the buffer and looks fine.
Fix Close Couplers without Glue
Format changed to PDF
Originally sent to the Märklin Mailing list.
With the increased use of 6090/609xx motors in a double/triple/quad heading on my layout I have had a
lot of trouble with the close couplers pulling out of the coupling pocket.
Problem: - With multiple heading of locos if one loco had a power interruption or wasn’t speed matched
to the other locos, the close coupler would be pulled free of the uncoupling pocket.
Solution: - Shave a match stick or some other wood into a small wedge and from the rear of the coupling
pocket insert the wedge into the close coupling where it is split to grip on the side of the pocket.
Note: You may have to remove the coupling mechanism from the loco to carry out this modification.
Also no glue is required, so at any time you can restore it to its original condition.
As always have fun with the hobby.
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