Monthly Archives: September 2016

Marklin 88833 – SNCF: upgrading to the 5 pole motor

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Upgrading locos with original 3 pole motors to 5 pole is up to each of us to decide with consideration for the cost and benefit, some locos improve greatly from the upgrade others less so. Marklin’s magnificent 88833 is one loco that I recommend the 5 pole motor upgrade for improvements to slow throttling, not much difference in sound level between the 3 pole and 5 pole which seems to be more evident in plastic shell locos.

The Marklin 88833 class 150 Y for SNCF was a “One Time Series” from 1998, it’s standard motor was the 3 pole #268850. The 5 pole motor replacement is E211915. Construction of the two motors varies little except for the motor housing which is clear in the 3 pole and opaque black in the 5 pole. Changing out the motors is easy, but you will need a basic knowledge of soldering which factors into this repair.


Note: use the correct size screwdriver for the two screws which are accessed in this repair. Also use care to remove these screws without scratching the heads or stripping the threads: DO NOT OVER-TIGHTEN.

Steps for success:

  1. Carefully remove single screw that holds shell to chassis and set aside.img_6153
  2. Notice capacitor wires are soldered to pick-up leads, carefully un-solder these two contacts.img_6165
  3. Unscrew motor from chassis.
  4. Carefully slide motor off loco frame. img_6166
  5. Notice brass bushing near drive gear on new motor. img_6167
  6. Also notice clip on bottom of new motor, this clip will engage with loco frame and help with alignment.
  7. Notice gear on loco that engages with gearing to wheels, this gear’s rod slides into brass bushing on motor and automatically should allow for engagement of the two gears.
  8. Gears may need to be turned slightly for engagement (new motor will slide into place easily).
  9. When the motor is correctly installed with gears turning freely and no gaps between motor housing and loco frame install small screw.img_6168
  10. Solder capacitor wires and pick-up contacts on loco frame.
  11. Place very small drop of  light synthetic oil to motor bearing.
  12. Test loco on track.img_6171
  13. Attach shell!


Swiss Locomotive Numbering System

Some complexity exists with the classification and numbering of Swiss Railway locomotives which is not limited to separate systems in place to classify railcars and locos thus duplicated classifications exist for the two types of motive power. A discussion of Swiss railway classification is in order as a basis to further discuss their numbering system.

Swiss classification includes the use of letters to denote type of loco and motive power. Marklin’s 8850 is one example of a class Ae 6/6 loco with destination signs for “Zurich”. According to the Swiss classification system the capital ‘A’ is given for locos that reach maximum speed of 85 to 110 km/hr. Small case letter ‘e’ is given for electric locos. And 6/6 is Co-Co wheel arrangement. A Swiss railcar has not been produced in ‘Z’ by Marklin, but one such example would be the EMU Bhe 4/6 11 from depot Monte Generoso. ‘B’ stands for 2nd class accomodations, ‘h’ stands for rack fitted, ‘e’ stands for electric powered, with wheel arrangement 4/6 (1B-B1).

Classification prefix letters for locos is as follows: R– max. speed in excess of 110 km/hr A– max. speed 85-110 km/hr B– max speed 70-80 km/hr C– max speed 60-65 km/hr D– max speed 45-55 km/hr E– shunting G– narrow gauge, H– rack fitted, O– open wagon, T– tractor, and X– departmental vehicle

Classification prefix letters for railcars and multi-units: A– 1st class accommodations, B– 2nd class accommodations, D– baggage compartment, S– saloon, Z– postal compartment

Classification suffix letters applied to all motive power: a– battery powered, e– electric powered, em– electro-diesel, h– rack fitted, m– diesel or gas powered, r– restaurant, rot– rotary snowplow, t– self-propelled department vehicle such as crane or snowplow

Note: to differentiate between classes with similar classifications numeals are used for example Re 4/4′, Re 4/4”

Also note: newly classified locos incorporate a three digit number thereby replacing the fractional numbers, but the classification letters are maintained in the new method.

Since 1989 all locos on the SBB Railways produced in that year and subsequent years follow the current numbering system, all locos before 1989 were not renumbered unless a major overhaul occurred with a specific loco. Museum locos maintain their original number. Three sets of numbers are indicated on 1989 to the present locomotives in Switzerland, this system follows this numbering scheme: First digit: 0– steam loco or historic railcar, 1– meter gauge loco, 2– tractor, 3– electric loco with 3 powered axles, 4– electric loco with 4 powered axles, 5– electric railcar, 6– electric loco with 6 powered axles, 7– departmental self-propelled vehicle excluding locos, 8– diesel loco, 9– electric shunting loco. Second digit: 0– express railcars, 1-6– sub class index (bogie electric locos), type of electric loco, number of powered axles of a diesel loco, 7-8– not used, 9– not used generally except for rigid frame electric locos. Third digit: 2-4– two, three, four voltage loco or railcar, 5-8– owned by private railway. Fourth thru Sixth digits are the running numbers followed by the final number which is the ‘computer check digit’.

The computer check digit is used to verify the correct digits were used for classification and numbering. For the Swiss locomotive the last digit is the computer check digit which corresponds to the result of a simple calculation of class and running numbers: multiply each digit of the class and running numbers alternately by 1 and 2, add up the result and subtract from the next larger whole ’10’ number. For example: Swiss class 460 033-4 is verified in the following manner- 4×1, 6×2, 0x1, 0x2, 3×1, 3×2= 4+1+2+0+0+3+6=16. Thus 20-16=4!

Reference material: Swiss Railways, published by Platform 5, written by David Haydock, Peter Fox and Brain Garvin.


Austrian Locomotive Numbering System

The current Austrian locomotive numbering system has been in place since 1985. In brief the numbering for each locomotive can be determined by reviewing 3 charts for each digit followed in some cases by a computer check digit.

1st Digit – Traction Code: 0-steam locos, 1-electric locos, 2- diesel locos, 3- steam railcars, 4- electric multiple unit, 5- diesel multiple unit, 6- driving trailers, 7- intermediate trailers, 8- (NA), 9- tenders

2nd Digit – Origin Code: 0-5- Austrian and German standard, 6-8- pre-DRB, 9- foreign types. For electrics: 0-7- AC, 8- AC/DC, 9- DC. Note: 1 is added to the second digit to represent developments of a type thus a Class 1116 is a further development of Class 1016.

3rd and 4th Digit – Utilization Code:  Steam Locomotives – 01-39- passenger tender, 40-59- freight tender, 60-79- passenger tank, 80-96- freight tank, 97- rack fitted, and 98-99- narrow gauge. Diesel Locomotives – 01-19- express over 2000hp, 20-39- heavy freight over 2000hp, 40-59- mixed traffic 1000-2000hp, 60-64- “B” wheel arrangement under 1000hp, 65-69- “C” wheel arrangement under 1000hp, “D” wheel arrangement under 1000hp, 80-89- self propelled snowplough, 90-99- narrow gauge. Electric Locomotives – 01-19- express, 20-39- heavy freight, 40-59- mixed freight, 60-69- shunting loco, 70-89- older types, 90-99- narrow gauge. Railcars – 01-19 express, 20-59- local, 60-79- baggage, 80-89- light railbus, 90-99- narrow gauge.

A Computer Check Digit is used to double check that all digits are correct, this final digit in the locomotive number is not always displayed on the loco. To verify the class and running number digits are multiplied alternately by 2 and 1. The resulting digits are added together and deducted from the next whole 10 number thus revealing the correct “check digit”.

Example: for the OBB electric shunting loco #1063 028 the check number is thus calculated: 1×2, 0x1, 6×2, 3×1, 0x2, 2×1, 8×2= 2+0+1+2+3+0+2+1+6=17. 20-17=3 thus the full number for this OBB loco is 1063 028-3.

My guide to understanding European train classifications is the excellent series under the title European Handbooks. This highly recommended series of books on various European railways is indispensable.

Reference material: Austrian Railways, published by Platform 5, written by Roland Beier and Brian Garvin.

The German Locomotive Numbering System Since 1968

In 1968 Germany computerized their locomotive numbers, they were the first in Europe to do so. A three part numeric numbering system replaced the former system that included a letter to denote the traction type. Current German locomotive numbering follows a three part system:  1. traction type/class type 2. three digit running number 3. computer check digit. Thus for one loco with number 151 036-1 its number translates to 1 (electric traction) 51 (class) 036 (running number) and 1 (computer check digit). Before 1968 this loco would be numbered E51 036 if it existed then.

Traction types are numbered 0-9: 0- Steam loco 1- Electric loco 2- Diesel loco 3- Shunting loco 4- Electric railcar 5- Battery Electric railcar 6- Diesel railcar 7- Diesel railbus 8- Electric railcar trailer 9- Diesel railcar/railbus trailer.

The last digit in the German loco numeric system is the computer check digit, it serves to double check that the other digits can be verified correctly. Thus a rather complicated computation follows: multiply class and running number digits alternately by 1 and 2, resulting digits are added together and their sum deducted from the next whole number.  For loco 151 036: 1×1=1, 5×2=1+0, 1×1=1, 0x2=0, 3×1=3, and 6×2=1+2 / 1+1+0+1+0+3+1+2=9 / 10-9=1 thus the 151 036 is identified as an electric loco, and its complete number is 151 036-1.

The German locomotive number is identified on the end of each locomotive and in most cases both ends, and a second identifying number is located on the sides of each loco called the European Vehicle Number (EVN).

Reference material: German Railways – Part 1: Locomotives & Multiple Units of Deutsche Bahn, published by Platform 5, written by Brian Garvin.


Repair Notes: Marklin 88221 OBB BR 1020 Electric Locomotive


Marklin released the exquisite OBB BR 1020 in 1996-1998, this Era IV electric locomotive was delivered with the 3 pole motor 268200. In this post I will go through the step by step process for installing the current 5 pole motor E211906. The new motor also fits all 3 pole German versions of this loco which there are several including the DR 8812, DB 8822, and DB 8824. Featuring an articulated frame this locomotive type has been nicknamed the “German Krokodil” following its likeness to the SBB Be 6/8 with its articulated frame and pronounced design resembling a crocodile. As for the Marklin ‘Z’ versions of this loco each vary only by paint scheme and railway designation. It was only in the past few years that any tooling changes were made with the releases of 88224 and 88226 which feature LED headlamps and hidden catenary screw.

Onward with instructions for installing a new 5 pole motor in this locomotive type, but first does the loco with 3 pole really benefit with the 5 pole upgrade? No necessarily, the original 3 pole motor is a fine and powerful motor powering a loco of some heft, it features metal frame plus metal ends giving the locomotive good weight for pulling a large train. The loco is also so well designed that its original running performance is outstanding even with the 3 pole motor. The 5 pole motor replacement is also expensive with a list price of $109 at Walthers, it is also listed as ‘sold out’ and unavailable, but the one I am installing was recently purchased for $60. Others can probably be had from German dealers. The benefits of the new motor include a much quieter motor and slow idling, but no real increase in pulling power. I would have been happy and content if no 5 pole motor presented itself, in its original delivered condition these are beautiful locos and excellent runners.

If you have a loco of this type with HOS (hardened oil syndrome) please refer to my instructions in the post dedicated to full tear-down and restoration of the 8824. The following instructions are for the quick motor change-out only.

Before you start check to make sure the new motor works and spins in the correct direction. Run motor in both directions for a minute or two to break-in brushes.

  1. Pop off center shell using the thin guitar pick method referred to in other posts, never use a screwdriver as Marklin indicates in their instructions or damage will result to the shell. FullSizeRender-13
  2. Notice circuit board is held tightly onto insulator frame by 4 clips, gently pry circuit board free of clips. Use great care to avoid cracking circuit board! FullSizeRender-14
  3. Circuit board will be loose from the insulator frames at this point, but it is still attached to solder points. Carefully move circuit board out of the way of the screws that secure insulator frames to the main chassis frame. Beware that the wires extending front and back do not damage electric pick-ups for both trucks. FullSizeRender-19
  4. Set aside insulator frames and carefully remove motor, remove any old oil on the frame and install new motor. Apply a small drop of oil to worm drive on each end of new motor. FullSizeRender-23
  5. Notice the difference in appearance between the original 3 pole motor and 5 pole motor: FullSizeRender-24 3 pole capacitor bent backwards/ 5 pole capacitor is bent forward
  6. Special Note: Notice original capacitor is bent backwards hidden under circuit board. The new capacitor is bent in the opposite direction and due to its small size is visible through the opening of the circuit board. FullSizeRender-20
  7. Reassemble and verify motor is aligned and level by running leads to the brushes. If everything spins well, and the motor is quiet the loco shell can be reattached.