Everything on model trains, model railroads, model railways, locomotives, model train layouts, scenery, wiring, DCC and more. Enjoy the world's best hobby... model railroading!

DCC Made Easy – Get These Recommended DCC E-Books

Engine(s) Drawing Too Many AMPS

Allan writes:

“First I would like to say I’m actually asking this on behalf of my Dad. (he doesn’t know that I am doing so) I don’t really know much at all about this specific issue or the entire hobby to be honest with you.

So the issue is that three of his engines are drawing 3X the amps that they used to and therefore and either are not working properly or at all. Now I believe he was told to (or suggested to) add a second power supply to the layout being that the layout was quite large. Now, Dad (Bert) has done so now but that did not fully correct the issues he was having.

So my question to anyone that would like to offer some advice is …. What is it that’s causing this high amperage issue in these engines and how can it be rectified? The brand name of these engines is Athearn I believe and please forgive me if I have miss spelled this. All three of these engines previously did run perfectly fine. At that time apparently, they were drawing 1 amp and are now drawing 3 amps each.

Thank you very much in advance for any help or direction in this issue. Thanks again Allan (& Bert too).”

Add any comments or suggestion you have below.

3 Responses to Engine(s) Drawing Too Many AMPS

  • Dalesays:

    One of the most common reasons for an engine to draw more power than usual is dirt. Often as an engine gets older dirt builds up in the gears, bearings and armature. This causes the mechanisms to have to draw more power to overcome the friction of the accumulated dirt. The first thing I would recommend is that you (or he) remove the shell and give the internals a good cleaning followed by applying lubrication, sparingly, to all moving parts.

  • Delsays:

    I would do as Dale said also if its possible disassemble the motor check that the brushes are in a good condition and the gap between the segments is clear check for bearing play on reassembly oil just a little on the bearings.

    I assume that you have checked that the gears etc are not too tight.

    Try on a small piece of test track or a part of your layout that you can be certain that full power is present
    Hoping that sorts out your problems

  • Frank Bsays:

    I agree with the first two answers. The most likely problem is dirt and old hard grease in the gearbox, causing excessive friction, resulting in increased current draw.

    Inspect all parts of the drive train, including axle mounts, for dust and fluff etc.

    Strip everything down and clean gears with mild solvent such as lighter fluid or isopropanol.
    Lubricate gears with oil or light grease. One small drop of oil on each motor bearing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Add a photo or image related to your comment (JPEG only)

N Scale Track Plans

Watch Video


Use Tiny Railroad Micro Controllers

Download Your Free Catalog

Model Train Help Ebook

Model Train DCC HELP


FREE Tour Inside Club

Take a FREE tour inside the club.

Scenery Techniques Explained

Scenery & Layout Ideas

Model Railroading Blog Archive

Reader Poll

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.