Monday, January 21, 2013

What the Forney did...

The Complaint: Klaus  had a dear longtime customer complain about his LGB Forney (27251). In DCC (digital) operation this Forney, the customer said, changed speed without reason. All in a sudden it went faster. All in a sudden it went slower. The Forney had a sound decoder installed and the speed change of the loco was easy to detect with the chuffs going faster or slower.

First Suspicion:Klaus' customer suspected the decoder might have a malfunction. Especially since the decoder was an older model.  -- The Forney was shipped to Klaus' workshop

Workbench Test: Klaus put the Forney on the test bench in analog mode (DC). Klaus wanted to clearly measure the Amperage that the loco was drawing. First there was nothing, then after 10 minutes of operation the Amperage began to shift and jump. With the changing Amperage the RPMs of the motor changed as well. Then Klaus switched to DCC (digital) operation and found the same shift and jumps in RPM speed.

Diagnosis: Pursuing fault finding by elimination, Klaus had to find out: was it a decoder fault or was it a mechanical fault? For that he separated the decoder from the gearbox. He then connected the gearbox to an analog power source (like a transformer with an analog outlet). The same jumps and shifts occurred. So- without the decoder being connected but the same error occurring it was clear- Klaus had a mechanical problem at hand.
Diagnosis II: Next Klaus dissembled the motor block and took out the motor. He connected the motor to an analog power source. The motor was running normal - at first. Then (here , your Famous Klaus" gut feeling comes into play ) when the motor was running at 10 Volt Klaus changed polarity ( rotating direction ). At that, the Amperage jumped to 1.2 Amps and immediately afterwards fell to the normal value of 0.2 Amps. Klaus could repeat this effect.  - The culprit was the motor.

Why did it happen? Possibly carbon brushes made of weak material had polluted the collector inside the motor. (The collector distributes the power evenly to the coils). Since the new Buehler motors feature a full shell, the carbon brushes inside could not be exchanged.

The Solution: Klaus installed a new motor, re-assembled the engine with sound decoder and the Forney is operating just fine!

Your Next Step: Call Klaus and ship your LGB engine to him to have all your LGB locos running like a charm!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

LGB fun in the New Year

Happy New Year to all LGB friends out there. Yours Truly got the flu over the Holidays and your Famous Klaus was busy getting me back on track. Fortunately it hit me after Klaus had finalized the work on your engines in his workshop. So, here we go again refreshed with all the news fit to print....

Klaus' video clip: Klaus has posted a video clip on You Tube so you can get a glimpse of how MUCH he loves the new ESU sound decoders he is utilizing now for LGB locos. Yours Truly was fearing that his workshop walls would suffer serious damage after all the swearing, hissing and fussing about the "other" German decoder(s) from the past that had more and more faults and caused more and more troubles installing them properly according to Klaus' quality expectations. Your Famous Klaus truly believes in keeping the Old German Quality Standard for LGB alive while at the same time providing the very best functioning accessory available to keep your LGB trains running. But as they say- take a look for yourself. A pic is worth a thousand words.
The link is:

Or go to You Tube and in the search box put in: F 7 slow op  - then hit enter. Then click on the video. It is a 2 minute video clip and may take a few minutes to load into your computer/ device. For any additional questions email Klaus at or simply call him.

Märklin/LGB sold: Märklin/LGB has been sold again - you have probably heard that already. The new owner is the Simba-Dickie Group in Germany. They manufacture children toys for kids under or around 5 years old. We will wait and see how this will impact the LGB situation for the USA. It is unclear when the new owner will take over Märklin/LGB in 2013. It will probably influence the train stock available this year for the US market. Then again, most of what you want is already only available on eBay or at estate sales. The parts and spare parts situation will also remain scarce - to say the least.

EBay: Upfront one note -  PIKO is NOT (!!!!) LGB ! No matter how often you may read PIKO - LGB, it is PIKO - not made by LGB. And is has NOT the value of an LGB car or loco. Do NOT mix up the Original LGB Shell tank car, valued currently at about US$ 300.00 with the PIKO Shell tank car currently offered for approx US$ 80.00-90.00 Same goes for the Hasseröder beer car. Though it is valued  slightly higher on the European market than on the US market, it is only valuable if and when made by LGB.

EBay LGB offers are -continuously-  priced according to collector's value ( as of Jan 02, 2013). Yours Truly found a slight overpricing in specialty car offers and an under-pricing for Uintahs and F7 A and B units. Surprisingly low is the number of offers for locos (roughly 360) and the variety offered. I have not seen any Mallets, U-series, Ruegen or Harz locos for quite a while. There is one MOB on offer right now and even for a very good price, almost half of its true value. Buyer's tip: when considering an eBay LGB loco purchase try to see if a picture of the power shoes and the wheels is available and take a close look. If they are looking worn or used, that will tell you that the loco had quite some operating use.