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I used to service the old Triang locos for a local dealer 45+ years ago to earn some extra pocket money. The usual cause of smoke from an X04 motor was surplus oil which had got onto the brushes or commutator due to over-enthusiastic oiling by the owner. This could be cleaned off by the careful application of 'Methylated Spirits'. There are other electrical cleaners available today, but on no account use WD40.

The other less frequent cause of smoke was lack of oil - the armature became stuck in the bearings and wouldn't turn - the high current that this allowed to pass through the motor windings overheated the wire and cooked the insulation.

So with any old motor, particularly the X04 type, my advice is that before applying any voltage to it:
(1) Check it turns easily, if does not, oil the bearings with a drop or two of oil, no more;
(2) Use an electrical cleaner with care to clean the commutator and brushes. Let the cleaner dry off before reassembling the motor and trying it out.

The 'electrostatic smell' mentioned by Gary is probably Ozone generated by sparking at the brushes; it is a very small amount but close breathing is certainly not recommended.

Best wishes,
John Webb
 
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