Saturday, June 04, 2005

Brio Electric Locomotive Cleaning

We have a problem with an excess of cat and dog hair in our house (next pet will be hairless, dog or cat). A further problem is that the hair ends up tangled in Henry's Brio electric locomotive, causing balky or no movement. So here is how I clean a Brio electric locomotive.

Remove the battery cover and battery

Grind the tip of an Allen wrench so it has a triangular tip that matches the screw heads on the underside of the train. It doesn't take much and a slight taper will help it lock into the screw so it doesn't strip the screw. They do not have a lot of torque and are easy to remove.

Invert the locomotive on a block and remove the screws. Notice the "Do Not Remove" warning sticker. Ignore it, it's a $15.00 toy and it will clog up all the time. Swedish engineering does not take poor housekeeping into consideration when designing a child's toy. I guess all the engineers have housekeepers. Elitist jerks! Making poor women slave away in drudgery so that their toys will run without a hitch.

See the geartrain, upside down. Notice all the hairs wrapped up in the gear train.

The bottom half of the train. You need to move the gear clusters over to it, starting with the drive wheel axle and continuing in order from back to front. Clean each gear cluster of hair and dirt as you go. If the gears fall off of a particular cluster, thank your lucky stars that you already have a digital picture. This is a good time to mention taking pictures as you go. The gear clusters will obviously need to be revolved 180 degrees so that they are a mirror image of the placement on the top half. (In other words, don't just move them over, flip them over)

Here the gears have been cleaned and replaced in the bottom half.

Here is another view of the completed assembly of the bottom half.

The ball of hair I removed and the tip of the Allen wrench.

Henry helps put the battery compartment back on.

All Done!

64 comments:

Miss Cellania said...

ONLY you, Nick, could make the cleaning of the inside of a toy into fascinating reading. Me, I would just chuck the toy if it clogs.

Denise

Felice Luftschein said...

If it won't work after I try to fix it, it gets chucked, but you have to try, why else do you have those opposable thumbs?

Anonymous said...

Your directions were perfect and 'saved the day' for me.

On my nephew's 7th birthday, tried to be helpful and replace worn batteries. Had no warning sticker to tell me not to take the 4 screws out of the bottom. Gears fell everywhere.

Ironically, the 7 year old was fine with an apology and promise to fix/replace the engine. The 41 year old (dad) was not.

Found your blog after 2 hours of searching, and now the engine is working better than it ever did.

Will be a hero to my nephew tomorrow morning, and his dad (my brother) will be speaking to me again.

Many thanks.

Felice Luftschein said...

Glad I could help, Anonymous!
Tell your nephew never to fear taking things apart.

Anonymous said...

thank u very much my children had broken the train and spent hours trying to put the cogs back in diffrent ways to no avail found this and done in minutes a life saver my children will be happy and more carefull next time well pleased regards Angela.......

smithsmithsmith said...

Many thanks! Like others, we undid the Phillips screws trying to change the battery, then realized the job had grown. And of course one gear flipped. Your blog & pics saved the day here, too. If we ever run into trouble again, we'll know to ask Henry & co, engineers. ...John

nursekohler said...

Spent an hour trying to figure out how to change the battery on my son's engine. found your blog and was able to get it done!

thanks

Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for this; I saw it a while ago and thought "must try that". When I did, some of the gears fell out as I was opening the train, so your photo really really helped :-) The following comments;

1) there's one of the screws that needs to be in and tight before you can test the gears.
2) if the engine the wrong way after closing, you have put the motor in the wrong way up. Just turn it over.
3) A Torx T-7 scredriver (search google) worked just great for me. No need to file it at all.

Michael

BrokenBrio said...

BOTH of my son's two battery powered BRIO locomotives have died because of a defective gear design. In each, a small gear has split and will no longer mesh with the adjacent gear. Has anyone been able to fix this problem?

Felice Luftschein said...

BrokenBrio,
Do you have a picture of the gear in question? Then I can diagnose the problem better.

I suspect, given that the gears are molded plastic (some sort of nylon?) that fixing them easily is likely out of the question. If I were you I would contact Brio and ask for replacement gears.

Peter S said...

Useful site! It helped me to open and repair my sons broken Brio Locomotive. It was still quite new and had not collected much hair yet. The cause of the malfunction was a bad connection between the upper part of the train (containing the switch and battery compartment) and the bottom part (containing motor, gears etc.). The two pins next to the front wheels on the green piece on the bottom part need to connect to two metallic clips on the top part (contact is made when closing the locomotive with the triangular screws). Bending those clips fixed the connection. Alternatively, additional wires might be placed and soldered to improve the contact.

Anonymous said...

Can you give me advice, how to put those three shafts on the right positions? It seems also that some of my cogs only spin around the shaft and also - the engine can't get "enough" power to spin the system, alltough I have replaced a new battery. The motor will run normally, but when assemled, the engine gives only a dim light but nothing more. Thank you for your help.

Felice Luftschein said...

First, double check that the new battery has enough charge. Always check the simplest thing first.

Take it apart again and make sure the axles fit into the grooves they ride in. Some of the gears are freewheeling around the shafts, but it's possible some that are meant to be fixed in place have worn, in which case you are probably better of getting a new loco, unless you can figure out which are supposed to be fixed and cement them in place with some superglue.

Double check that you have eliminated all clogs, hair, etc. Try lubing eveything lightly with some oil.

Make sure the battery contacts are clean and make good contact.

Andrew R Rogers said...

Thanks tons for the post. Like some other readers, I didn't know what kind of battery the engine takes, and where to find it...

BTW I am a DIYourselfer who is making a living by recording music at home..., so I found your other articles very interesting.

http://andrewrrogers.com/

Gitchy said...

I arrived home last evening to have my husband ask, "Tell me what happened to the engine." The engine lay disassembled on the kitchen counter. My first reply was, "The wheels fell off?" He asked me to think about a two-year-old and rubber rimmed wheels. I knew immediately it had gotten tangled in my daughter's hair. As he unscrewed the base, it had sprung apart faster than he could memorize what it looked like. I promised to look at and I did so tonight. One search, your web-site and 5 minutes did it all! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

Larry said...

Thank you so so much for posting this easy to follow solution. We inherited this brio train from a 16 year old cousin who had not used it in at least 12 years. Then when I brilliantly took off the bottom panel seeking to change the battery, all the gears came out. I could not figure it out...and thanks to you, my son is happy (and therefore so are we!!!). Thank you for so much help!
If I may ever be of service to you, please let me know.
Larry Langs
www.feldmanllp.com

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the photos, advice, etc.
Brio train engine opened with tool as described.
Once loosened, straight screwdriver worked.
The issue turned out to be corrosion.
Due to battery left too long.
WD-40 and cleaning did the trick.
Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

My wife removed the four screws in an attempt to replace the battery, which left me with a handfull of gears and no clue of how to put it together. Your pictures saved my day.

Anonymous said...

hi. i might be being stupid but i have a brio train for my son and cannot work out how to open it to change the batteries. is there anyone that can explain it to me? does the top pop off or do i have to undo loads of screws? thanks in advance

Nick Carter said...

There should be a screw that has a slotted or phillips head on the top (on this locomotive it was where the smokestack is) or bottom that opens the battery compartment. Just one screw. The screws that hold the loco together are probably triangular head and shouldn't be removed.

deborah said...

Two good things from your blog: 1-I was able to put the train back together again 2- I realized I'm not the only one who saw the 4 screws and thought they held the battery compartment. I also inherited the set, and it no longer has a warning sticker like yours, and the BRIO sticker on the side was slit, showing me that somebody else had taken it apart that way, so I did not even look for the screw in the smokestack, but rather I opened the 4 screws on the bottom. Three plastic gears promptly fell out. At first I thought it was the battery compartment and somebody had put in three gears that didn't belong, but I could not find any battery contacts, so I knew there had to be something else gong on. Your post saved the day! My kids will be so excited in the morning....

Zarko said...

Thanks for the photos. A life saver. I had problem placing one of the cogs. You saved my bacon.

Ard said...

Thanks very much. My daughter accidentally opened the gear compartment (trying to replace the battery) and with a sad face came to to me with all the gears and stuff in her hand...
I off course tried to fix it myself but it's too complicated (for me) without the example.
Just the photo from the gears saved my day.
Thanks very much!
Ard (Netherlands)

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much!

Today I could finally fix my son's train!! I am so excited and he is happy again.

It didn't work for more than a year. I tried to repair it by myself but it was too complicated. Without your page, I wouldn't be able to repair it.

Thank you
KM (Switzerland+Japan)

Markus Freytag said...

Elitist swedish engineer-jerks? You are good with cleaning gear-boxes but You have absolutely no understanding of Swedish society... A common toy-designer in Sweden has a wife - but no housekeeper. There's no money for it, and if there was it's still by many considered too "overclassy" to employ one. The wife returns from work as he does - at 1700. One of them picks up the children from day-care. The other one makes dinner. When the children washed their hands after dinner and finally can play with their (Brio) toys they usually are disturbed by mom or dad who vacuum-clean the house...

Greetings from a Swedish (Train) engineer ;-)

Nick Carter said...

Markus,
Swedish mechanical engineers produce quality items like the SAAB, Bofors gun and most importantly the Johansson Gage block without which we'd still be in the dark ages, technologically speaking.
But the toy engineers still live in spotless houses, as far as I can tell.

The Sadie Show said...

thank you so much for this...my daughters to one apart to "change the battery". Wonderfully clear instructions.

ploinkie said...

Hi Thanx for this blog!! I wonder if brio is interested to know there are so many people struggling with the gears?? I opened it after a year not working and all gears fell out. Tried to fix it for two hours (discovered you had to put screw in to try and all the other details too...there was no connection either) and found your blog! It helped me a lot! THANKS!!!!

Anonymous said...

1 hour later... I'll just look on1ine. 5 minutes later... done! You rock!

Alex said...

Hi, wondering if someone can help? We have a new brio red train and the wheels have almost stopped turning. It is getting some power but only one wheel turns and when you hold your finger against it, it just stops. There is not much power getting to it.
Any tips?
We have changed the battery multiple times so it's not that. I really don't want to have to buy another one!
Thanks
Alex

Felice Luftschein said...

Alex, if it's new, I'd take it back to the store for replacement...if it isn't that new then it likely has dirt inside.

Battery Toys said...

That boy looks very smart and looks like he can take care of nay repairs

Debi said...

Your blog post is five and a half years old as of my comment, but I had to say your gear photos saved me from throwing out my daughter's old Brio locomotive (different model but the gears are exactly the same). My little nephew now plays with it but his grandmother removed the wrong screws when trying to replace the battery and the gears fell out. Disaster averted! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you SO much for this post - hopefully it will help me save two of my son's BRIO trains that are no longer working....

You can buy the triangular head screwdriver as well...

http://www.amazon.com/Silverhill-ASD3T-Triangle-Head-Screwdriver/dp/B001F3FUBK/ref=sr_1_1

Well-intentioned Grandma said...

Bought a small set at the thrift store to play with my grandson when he's visiting. It worked immediately, but I thought a new battery would spice it up. Opened the BOTTOM, thinking that was the battery compartment. Like so many before in comments section, ALL the gears fell out before I could see their placement. Before finding your post online, I was less than successful. The close-up photos and instructions are PRICELESS! THANK YOU for saving "face" for this Grandma!!!

Liz said...

My husband opened the wrong compartment to replace the battery and the gears fell out. He assumed he'd have to throw the toy out. Thanks so much for posting the photos! We just reassembled the little engine, and showed the kids how a simple machine works!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the detail instruction!!! You just save my 37 CHF Brio Train from the trash bin :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks, for saving the Christmas!
My wife (good iniative, but...), unscrew the bottom instead of the top to put in the battery and all wheels fall out.
The kids where close to tears before we found your page.

Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

My wife and I nearly came to blows at the dinner table as I assisted her in taking this thing apart, only to find out that we had no clue on how to put it back together after our lovely daughter scattered the parts all over the dining room table. I dont know where you find the time to do this, but your blog saved our marriage this evening. Thank you!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Where should I send the bottle of wine?

Felice Luftschein said...

Nicholas Carter
25360 Oak Lane
Philomath, OR, 97370

But don't feel obligated, helping parents out of jams is what the internet is all about!

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot, my wire took the train apart trying to replace a battery and your pictures saved my day and helped me reassemble it. Casper, Copenhagen

Bob from McFarland said...

Thanks for having this site. I unwittingliy took the bottom apart thinking the battery was there, and then my 7-year old picked it up and the gears were scattered. Needed the great pictures to help me reset things. Still can't get the engine gear the engage with the first gear. Any suggestions.

Nick Carter said...

Make sure the motor is put in all the way, and double check that it's right side up.

Magnus said...

Thanx you made my day with the perfect description and clear pictures of how to put all gears back in place.

Anonymous said...

I recently inherited a Brio green engine just like this one, and I put a new battery in it and the light came on but the wheels dont move. I took it apart and the motor doesent seem to want to work at all. any ideas?

Nick Carter said...

Could have burned up the motor, in which case it's probably unfixable.

Nina said...

So thankful to this site! Just fixed the brio train, wich was rusting in à box, total löss for à year. My Son of 4 is super happy too. Greetings from Amsterdam, the netherlands

teoball said...

Thanks a lot!! You saved the day!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much! Took screws out of bottom, thinking that's where the battery was...gears everywhere! Pictures helped me put it back together properly.

Anonymous said...

Quite encouraging to know I am not the only one trying to fix the Brio trains. Has anyone fixed the stuck button for Brio 33506 Travel Battery Train? -Greetings from 2015

Felice Luftschein said...

Just take it apart and photograph each step from multiple angles, it's either a mechanical stickiness in which case some lubrication and cleaning will help, or the switch contacts are dirty in which case contact cleaner will help.

Anonymous said...

Great blog, but still seem to be having problems. I have put it back together as shown but when I try to switch it on, or manually rotate the gears, they rotate slightly before "locking". Everything looks right, but it just seems to lock up - help!!

Anonymous said...

Panic over!! Managed to locate the point where the teeth of two cogs stopped meshing and just needed to slice a very small sliver off each cog. Success.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to this blog, a 99 cent Goodwill find will make the Lil Engineer a happy camper in the morning. I had to unscrew two Phillips head screws under the warning sticker. Cleaned out the hairball and, Viola! Works like a charm. Many thanks from a fellow Oregonian.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this useful tip, I saved my son's present! I will sleep on my two ears tonight! Thank you again also for the pictures.
Maude from Belgium

Karen said...

Hi, great advice if I need to clean inside, thank you. My question is a simple one and I"ve contacted Brio to see if they can help too. The top section was grabbed out of my hand as I changed the battery and the smokestack screw has disappeared. Does anyone have a spare or know where I can get one please?
Many thanks
Karen (UK)

Anonymous said...

Hi and thanks a lot! You made made my day after trying to change the battery for this present. Lost my technical selfconsidence somewhere in between but you restored it with your awesome advice.

Greetings from Germany

Andre

bOz said...

Thank you so much!

Jon Hearn said...

Thanks for the guide!

Alan C said...

I took one apart and cleaned it out. A great tool is a "deluxe seam ripper" to hook, cut, and clear out hair. A tweezer may be helpful too. Unfortunately my unit's motor was apparently burned out. Train headlight had a faint light with the old battery. With new battery same symptoms.

Is there a way to tell before opening whether the motor is burned out?

Thanks,
Alan

Nick Carter said...

Sounds more like it's still jammed or needs lubrication. can you turn the armature by hand easily? Check to make sure that everything can rotate. Place a tiny drop, with a pin or toothpick, of oil on the shaft where it enters the motor .

Anonymous said...

Got one of these from a garage sale, but the motor was burned out (melted). Ebay, and a little soldering, will get you a new motor (or batch of 5 from china) for a few dollars. I was so excited to give this to my son but then I noticed two of the nylon gears are cracked and the train still gets jammed even with the new motor. Now I want to replace everything with brass gears and make it a SuperTrain! Anyone familiar with the specs of these nylon gears?

Nathan

Anonymous said...

Same as everyone else. Took the bottom off; gears fell everywhere.

30 minutes trying to put them back together; then 5 minutes to find this; then 2 minutes to reassemble.

You are, if not a life-saver, then at the very least a sanity-saver!

Many thanks!