This question is somewhat related to a similar question I asked about whether pushing a 12V train motor (such as the one below) would damage it.

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See title "Set 7865: six wheeled Lego® train motor (12V, 1980 - 1990)" on this page for the specific motor I'm referring to.

Irrespective of whether damage occurs to the motor when being pushed, I'd like to know why, given it contains a DC electric motor, when the gears are pushed by hand, electricity isn't generated by the motor in order to provide current to any connected load (e.g. the lights on the train).

I've noticed that the connected headlights in the train don't illuminate when pushed by hand -- is there some sort of electronic protection to prevent it being used as a generator?

1 Answer 1


The 12v train motor uses 2-pole 3-slot technology.

Because of thinner, but longer wire which results in a greater resistance and will create higher voltage, but lower current the current output isn't enough to drive on-train lights. Since the resistance of on-train lights is constant this will drag down the generated voltage as well.

  • 1
    I have since sold my 12V motor so I can't try this, but if one connects a voltmeter to the bogie motor, and watches the current, based on what you've said, there'd be a slight reading. Is this correct?
    – CJBS
    Aug 27, 2015 at 14:39
  • 1
    @CJBS yes. If you have a small LED you might see some light (if it's connected the right way round).
    – Móż
    Sep 1, 2015 at 23:02

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