LGB locomotives are getting older. After all, LGB driving stock has been around for more than 45 years now. Most of the locomotives were made to run for about 800-1200 hours which would loosely translate into 5-10 years of operation. NOW- we all know by now that a German made LGB loco runs much longer - 'way much longer' in Generation X speak... But there comes a time after maybe 20 or so years.... that the material will run its course. And today's topic is about the relation between the Buehler motors and the gear wheels.
Motors: There are 2 types of Buehler motors. The older one was utilized for the very first LGB engines starting from 1968. It was custom-made for Lehmann by Buehler back then. This type of motor featured replaceable carbon brushes. With the introduction of the Mogul a long shaft motor was required to work in the new,extended motorblock. In the early 90's Buehler changed the design of the motors to a fully sealed motor. A replacement of the motor brushes was not possible anymore.
The first batches of the sealed motors were manufactured in the Czech Republic. They did not meet the Buehler production standard. Production was moved back to Germany and quality significantly improved. There is no visible lead to these quality differences. Only time will tell.
Motor Demise: One of the coils fail (mechanical overload, bad soldering spot or else), thus the motor runs rough. With that it puts an excessive mechanical strain on the gear wheel. The collector then gets clogged up with carbon dust shorting the other collector segments. This results in a large heat production inside the motor which travels to the gear wheel via the axle and the worm gear. Now the worm gear eats itself into the plastic gear wheel. Result: the loco stops running. And you might think it is a faulty gear wheel because that is what you see first when you check.
Mechanical overload : too many additional lead weights in the loco (thinking to improve loco traction...), loco is running unattended, derails and gets stuck still running, human weight from above ( a 2-year-old lies on top of the loco trying to ride it...). If the loco is blocked suddenly then the plastic of the gear wheel gets damaged by the worm gear because the motor keeps running. The damaged plastic wheel results in a rough driving characteristic and a higher electrical load to the motor which eventually kills the motor.
LGB locos built until 2000 are driven by Bühler motors that were generally built in Western Germany (until 1989) and later built in Germany. Those Bühler motors used to have a lifespan of approximately 20 years. Your motor might start to fault when you observe one or more of these features:
Loco pulls high amperage, loco drives noticeably slower, sometimes makes noises, doesn’t drive and needs push to get started, doesn’t drive at all or produces a short in the system.
Note: in digital operation, a faulty motor which pulls too much amperage will cause the decoder to switch off as a safety feature and the decoder will restart after a cooling period! If this function is used frequently the decoder may get damaged.
Replacing a motor can be a daunting task. After all, you want to make sure not to harm your LGB loco while opening her up, connecting the incorrect wires, damage wires or damaging her while reassembling.
Klaus utilizes only Original Bühler motors when replacing motor(s) in LGB locos. He is very well stocked in short and long shaft motors.
Bühler motor replacement……………………………………starting at $ 168.00
including motor and workshop time (depending on loco type, condition of loco)
Motor replacements in Klaus’ workshop include basic loco cleaning , gear wheel check, overall check if loco is in running order, check for missing parts ( replacement only on customer's order) and greasing.
To order call 770-886-6670 or email firstname.lastname@example.org