American Z Line Poor electrical pickup on early version GP7

Loren Feb 20, 2014

  1. Loren

    Loren TrainBoard Supporter

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    The past several days and nights has been an adventure into the field of AZL loco maintenance. It's been a slow, careful exploration into what makes AZL locos run. I've taken SD70s apart, GP38s, SD40s, (a little) and the one causing me grief is my early release version of the UP GP7.

    She is a beautiful little loco with a slim body, but she refuses to run decently. After thorough examination, dismantling and putting it back together, I understand how it works, and I have come to the conclusion that the bronze strips on the body don't make strong enough contact with the bronze pieces on the trucks themselves. If there were a way to put wheel wipers on it I believe the electrical contact would be better and solve the problem.

    I've cleaned the track, (and my track work is good) and when testing the loco, it will run for a ways and then stop. Touching it will make it move again, but it stops at any point without reason.

    I can only conclude the problem lies with transfer of current from the trucks to the bronze strips on the chassis.

    Has anyone had similar problems with their GP7 and if so, were you able to rectify the problem and what did you do?

    Wanting very badly to turn this loco into a winner.
     
  2. Mzbringh

    Mzbringh TrainBoard Member

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    I have a AZL UP GP38-2 that behaves like that. I haven't taken it apart yet so I have no idea what the problem is. But I assume it isn't the card that is out of its pocket because then it is usually dead. The second one didn't want to run by itself either but I got it running by letting an MTL UP GP9 drag it around for a while. After that treatment it was able to run by itself. Didn't help on the first one though. So I will follow this thread.

    Mikael
     
  3. henrikH

    henrikH TrainBoard Member

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    I have the same problem with my UP GP7. I have cleaned it and made sure that there is enough pressure to the bronze strips, but even on really clean test track it keeps stalling at random places.

    (O.T= Does anyone have a good solution on how to strip the paint on theese? The camelion paint remover only removed the decals.)
     
  4. JoeS

    JoeS TrainBoard Member

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    I have found that the GP 7 was the best runner of my AZL's However, after many years of running even mine would sputter after a while. Here is 3 things I do that usally keeps it running great for many hours. First, I make sure the pick strips are oriented correctly. They are finiky and if you see any part of the strip sticking out even a smidge, it is not seated perfectly straight. Next the card on the top sometimes needs to be seated properly as well. A little wiggle can set it right. Third the alcohol on a towel and run the wheels to get any grime off.
     
  5. shamoo737

    shamoo737 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    IIRC, the beta version has a power pickup problem. Its been a while, so I don't remember what it was.
     
  6. minzemaennchen

    minzemaennchen TrainBoard Member

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    Henrik, Pinesol works, a strong disgusting smelling detergent, not sure if it's available outside US (apart from military bases)
     
  7. minzemaennchen

    minzemaennchen TrainBoard Member

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    Could be also contact problems from the chassis to the circuit board too or if you run analog there are bridges on the circuit board which have to be in place correctly
     
  8. Loren

    Loren TrainBoard Supporter

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    Mine is one of the beta era when they first came out. I have checked the contact between the board and the chassis, and made sure the rail was clean as well as the contact strips positioned correctly and the only thing I can think of is that the contact between the strips and the trucks just isn't strong enough to give good electrical connection. When I push down on the top of the loco, it takes off, so i can come to no other conclusion than there needs to be a better way to conduct current between the truck and the frame.

    Since more weight to the frame isn't possible, I am wondering if I can solder the finest insulated wire to the frame and the trucks to made better contact. Very perplexing to say the least. I can't really fault AZL for the design as I can not imagine myself how they could have made it any better. Most locos have the same basic design for current pickup. I'm betting a larger scale loco of the same design would run just fine.

    With size, physics gets into play here and Z is really pushing the limits some.

    Back to thinking long and hard.
     
  9. ztrack

    ztrack TrainBoard Supporter Advertiser

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    Loren try putting Conducta Lube on the contact points and boards. This stuff does wonders.

    Mikael, on our 38, check to see if grease or oil is on the contacts. This can happen on the 38s. Clean the contacts on the chassis by the trucks and see if this makes a difference.

    Rob
     
  10. Ajayrav

    Ajayrav TrainBoard Member

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    Mine is an early run one as well and behaves the same. It doesn't lose contact while running, however needs to be tapped on the top when starting from zero. Otherwise it is a smooth runner. It clearly is a contact issue for me as well...

    Ajay
     
  11. Loren

    Loren TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thank you Rob, I will give that a try first. Where do I procure Conducta Lube? Garth has also mentioned a possible 'fix' and if the lube doesn't work I'll try Garth's fix.

    Back sometime later with results.
     
  12. BillMock

    BillMock TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Loren. Here's what I've used on my F7's and Marklin motors and it works GREAT!

    http://www.hobbylinc.com/htm/atl/atl192.htm

    It quiets them down and helps with condutivity.

    Bill Mock

     
  13. bdelmonte

    bdelmonte New Member

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    I recently posted a topic under Z scale forum at AZL website that included a question about the same frame to truck contacts as possible cause of performance problems with my newer AZL GP-30 diesel locomotive. Hope that you get more suggestions here for a fix than I received.
     
  14. shamoo737

    shamoo737 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Bdelmonte, it's not that people don't want to help. Problems with gears are very hard to fixed without looking at it. Most of the time, it will require a new truck. I know manufacturers recommend that we break in the locos for certain amount of time, but from my experience. I good loco will run great from the beginning. The ones that need breaking in are never my best runners. I know I want to fixed a bad loco if I can, but sometimes its just better to let the manufacturer take care of it. Both AZL and MTL will support their new products.

    Also, do you have a layout, please post pictures and show your work. I am always looking for new ideas or ways to improve my layout.
     
  15. bdelmonte

    bdelmonte New Member

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    I just learned that a new board and one new truck solved the problems with my AZL GP-30 diesel. I have a figure eight track layout and double oval track layout both by Rokuhan that I will move from table tops to bench work soon.

    Sent from my RM-845_nam_vzw_100 using Tapatalk
     
  16. ModelWarships

    ModelWarships TrainBoard Member

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    Never had a GP30 grind gears, so I can only advise on what I know. I have my GP30 (actually a GP39-2m now) up and running now. But I have had problems with it making good contact with the trucks. I am going to have to pick up some Conducta Lube myself.
     
  17. bdelmonte

    bdelmonte New Member

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    I also ordered Conducts Lube.

    Sent from my RM-845_nam_vzw_100 using Tapatalk
     
  18. Ajayrav

    Ajayrav TrainBoard Member

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    So... did the Conducta Lube help with the pickup issues of the older GP7?

    Thanks,
    Ajay
     
  19. cnrtcmtl

    cnrtcmtl TrainBoard Member

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    I have many engines from AZL and MTL and the best ever is still my GP7... My layout is in a basement and is quite humid..To bad it is a UP since my favorite is ATSF but I am still looking at buying more of the old one...

    Thanks AZL for this gift ...

    As a former CN employe I wish for Easter a Alco C630 or 636

    Raymond

    .
     
  20. RobertAllbritton

    RobertAllbritton TrainBoard Member

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    Good news: ATSF GP7 is coming soon.
     

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