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  • Topic: 38 ton shay power problem

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    • May 13, 2018 11:46 AM EDT
      • Cape Cod,
         
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      38 ton shay power problem

      I bought this 38 ton shay used years ago and I put it on the track the other day and the sounds came on but it did not move.  I pulled the cover and started checking the mess of wires. I found that the thicker red wire at the center of the photo is the culprit.  If I wiggle it the engine moves.  I removed the wire, stripped a new end and put it back in tightened the screw terminal and the problem persists.  Could it be the socket? 

       

      I bought this unit used so I do not know what is stock and what is not in there.  It looks to be an older Sierra board but I don't know if the main board on the left is stock.  What is the black rectangular thing on the right?   The red problem wire is split with one lead heading under the floor with the other lead being soldered to this black thing and then it heads under the floor to the trucks I would say. 

      The battery pack is under the board to the left. 

      Another issue with this is that the lights are setup opposite on this. If it is moving forward the rear light comes on.  The switch behind the smoke box door does nothing which leads me to believe that the wiring has been reconfigured.

       

      I have been toying with the idea of removing this stuff and putting in a Revo unit.  I do like the sounds that the Sierra/ Tsunami board produces though.

       

      What do you guys think? and thanks for your advice.

       

       

    • May 13, 2018 12:19 PM EDT
      • Southern Oregon
         
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      If I am looking at the correct wire, my first question is; Did you remove tyhat heat shrink and check the splice?

    • May 13, 2018 1:48 PM EDT
      • Penacook, New Hampshire
         
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      Hi Todd, I think the sound board is a Phoenix 2K2. Which is good. The black item seems to be a relay.  Probably used it to trigger the lights and power the firebox flicker. I use the relay made by RCS which was designed for the Shay. I do not recognize the control board. Now would be a good time to upgrade to the REVO.  We can clean up all those wires and get you running again.

       Don

       

    • May 13, 2018 6:50 PM EDT
      • Cape Cod,
         
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       I cut the wrapping off the wires and the splice looks solid Rick.  Thanks for the suggestion. 

       

      After fiddling with the wire and terminal again the problem has to be the terminal.  I have tried pushing the wire in to different lengths and nothing until I put a bit of pressure on it either up or down.  The screw is holding it tight because I can't pull the wire back out but when I wiggle it the motors get moving again.  Weird?   It is now wedged pretty good that it keeps the contact and keeps the motors  running on my test rollers but I fear any jostling will ruin the connection again. 

       

      I might just have to talk to you Don to get this going more reliably.  Revo is an option for control but I would like to keep the sound board the whistle is terrific and keep this shay track powered if that is possible.   I often run it with my other trains all at once.

    • May 13, 2018 7:09 PM EDT
      • Saint Johns, Florida
         
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      Todd,

      That terminal strip with the screws has to be soldered to the PCB below it. Sounds to be like you have a bad solder joint down there. Lift the board and check it out.

      ____________________________________

       

       

    • May 13, 2018 11:55 PM EDT
      • Scottsdale, Arizona
         
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      A few years back I purchased a Bachmann 3 truck shay.  When I put it on the track the sound came on and it started to move but only about 1/4 inch.  I contacted Bachmann they had me send it in (shipping cost from Arizona approximately $75.00).  A few weeks later they returned it saying there was nothing wrong with it.  Again when I tried to run it the same thing happened so it was again sent back to Bachmann.  Again it was returned with a note saying they could find nothing wrong with it.  So one more time I tried it and again it only moved about a 1/4 inch.  Again it was sent back to Bachmann.  This time they sent me a new Shay (different lettering and road name).  This one worked fine.  So I believe what was wrong with yours may have been the same as what was wrong with mine.  The time frame sounds the same.  So it is probably a solder joint on the board that is not correct (manufacturing flaw).

      This post was edited by Colin Criswell at May 13, 2018 11:56 PM EDT
    • May 14, 2018 8:07 AM EDT
      • Lancaster , Ohio
         
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      Those small screw type connectors if not setting firmly in contact with the circuit board when it is soldered in place can cause the solder joints to fail when force is applied to tighten the screws.  Instead of the connector body absorbing the force the solder connections do. My guess is reheating the solder joints would correct the issue.

    • May 14, 2018 11:43 AM EDT
      • Cape Cod,
         
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       Well... I tinkered with it again following some advice given here and the problem persists and now I don't have any sound.  When I unscrewed the plastic part (shelf) that is holding all this junk to look underneath a few wires popped off.  I think I am going to have to rewire this shay and I'm leaning toward putting a revo in it coupled to the sound board.  

      I have 2 wiring diagrams that came with the shay and I wonder if I can trust it.  I have heard of other manufacturers getting creative with their wiring. 

       

      The board is firmly taped to the "shelf" so I could only see along the edge of the board and it does look like the problem terminal has less solder on it than the others so maybe there is a separation problem.

       

    • May 14, 2018 5:26 PM EDT
      • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      At least you have some pictures to help you get the right wires in the right places

      ____________________________________

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      I.A.R.R.R. Member #12

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    • May 16, 2018 9:53 PM EDT
      • Cape Cod,
         
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      After some thought and a chat with Don Sweet it looks like I will be taking out the Bachmann bits keeping the phoenix sound and turning this Shay into a battery RC loco controlled with a Revo.

       

      Let the wiring fun begin, in a week or so when the new parts arrive.  This will be my second revo install but my first on a steamer. Wish me luck.  LOL

    • May 16, 2018 10:23 PM EDT
      • Saint Johns, Florida
         
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      Good luck Todd, you couldn't have picked a harder steamer to convert.

      ____________________________________

       

       

    • May 17, 2018 9:57 AM EDT
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      Joe Zullo said:

      Good luck Todd, you couldn't have picked a harder steamer to convert.

       

       

       

      I know, Don said it takes him several hours to convert a Shay and he is an expert at it.   I don't have much choice in the matter if I want to use this engine.  It looks good on the shelf but much better moving along down the track.

       

      Thanks to all for your input.

    • May 17, 2018 5:29 PM EDT
      • Scottsdale, Arizona
         
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      Please keep us posted as to how you do this.  I started to convert my shay a few years ago, but when I got inside and saw all of the wires that I could not trace, I decided to leave it track power.  However if there is a way to convert it I would like to.  Pictures and instructions would help.  Good luck with your conversion.

       

    • May 17, 2018 8:13 PM EDT
      • Saint Johns, Florida
         
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      The easiest way to do this would be with a trail car. I believe our own Jon Radder has done this. Maybe he will chime in.

      ____________________________________

       

       

    • May 17, 2018 9:58 PM EDT
      • Southern Oregon
         
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      Just my opinion but I have found through the years and several conversions to Battery that the easiest way for me is to completely gut the OEM electronics/electrical and install my own.  At least that way i know where every wire goes and what it does.

      A picture of my kit bashed/scratch built 3 truck Shay a few years back.

       

      AirWire, Phoenix and Li-Ion all in the water tender the speaker is in the firebox.

      Rick

    • May 17, 2018 11:40 PM EDT
      • Carlsbad, CA
         
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      I prefer to try to utilize the existing lights, flicker, etc. but I do it more as a challenge, it definitely takes longer and can be pretty frustrating sometimes, since in my experience many locomotives are miswired from the factory. I spent a long time on a Bachmann connie because there was a short between 2 wires deep inside the boiler, out of sight.

       

      Greg

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    • May 19, 2018 7:30 AM EDT
      • Eastern Massachusetts
         
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      I with Greg, and I have done several different Bachmann engines for customers with DCC decoders and even added wiring for pulsing stack smoke.  Shay and Climax  for me are just time consuming, not really difficult.

    • May 20, 2018 12:52 PM EDT
      • Cape Cod,
         
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      Thanks for the info guys.

    • May 20, 2018 1:57 PM EDT
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      Joe Zullo said:

      The easiest way to do this would be with a trail car. I believe our own Jon Radder has done this. Maybe he will chime in.

      Yes I've done trail cars with both power and sound, but the loco connection is not always that easy; especially if you have no idea what wire is what.  I prefer on-board battery - r/c whenever possible as I do switching and sometimes that trail car makes things just a bit too long.  But it is a good inexpensive way to convert several locos and I still use one with my diesels.

      ____________________________________

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