Gears...Just A Question

Last year we used a gear ratio or 12:60 to lift our basket, 12 teeth gear with the motor. This gear ratio wasn’t able to lift our basket when it was full.
Then we added a 36 teeth gear between the 12 and 60 teeth gear. 36 teeth gear is now an idler gear, and idler gear have no effect on the gear ratio.
Now, using the 36 teeth gear in between, we were able to lift our basket…

I am wondering why did that happen and is it true that idler gears have no effect?

you must’ve changes something else
idler gears should make it WORSE is not at all because of the extra friction created
are you sure thats all you changed?
maybe when you moved it, the tension on elastics or something changed

Idler gears have no effect on the overall ratio of the gear system, so in theory they shouldn’t change the speed or torque. However, friction between gears, axles, metal etc mean they generally decrease these.

Explanations I can think of for your basket lifting with an idler gear in the system, but not without- did you change the pivot point? Putting the load (balls in the basket) closer to where it is turning from or vice versa would mean the motor has to provide less torque in order to lift your basket. Or maybe when you had no idler gear you had a bent axle or similar that was making your motor do more work than it should have been in lifting your arm, and in re-building you inadvertantly fixed this. There are any number of possible explanations…

Are any of your gears dealing with a significant cantilevered load / side load? An idler gear could alleviate that problem somewhat depending on how it was mounted.