Five year old but unused engine - smoked some then stopped - Help a new guy please.

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Five year old but unused engine - smoked some then stopped - Help a new guy please.
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, December 18, 2004 11:30 AM
Hi all,
I just got into toy trains after a chance purchase on ebay but find I need a little advice. I, of course, had the typical Lionel starter set when I was a kid but that was 30 years ago. Recently, in a fit of nostalgia, I purchased an engine and tender on ebay. It is a Lionel 5405 engine with command control and railsounds. My understanding is that it is from four or five years ago but was packed away and never run. After getting the engine and tender I ran out for some fastrack and the command control units and set up the train. I ran it off and on over the next few days and it appeared that the smoke was hit or miss. Sometimes I would look in the stack and the smoke element would be red hot and smoking up a storm, then ... nothing. I would hit the smoke boost on the command control to no avail. I would put fluid in when it stopped smoking - sometimes it would go sometimes not. Today, the smoke stopped altogether. I have added fluid to make sure there is enough - I have turned the engine upside down to make sure there wasn't too much. I have checked the smoke switch on the bottom of the engine and that is "on". The wick over the element is bright white not burned up or anything. I ran the engine via command control and with without command control with just the transformer - no luck either way. Any thoughts ? Since it's an ebay purchase from "some guy" I don't have a Lionel warranty. Is there something I can do myself? I took the body off the engine hoping I'd see something obvious but it just looks like a bunch of wire spagetti and circuit boards to me. Any thoughts as to what I could/should do? Thank you, Joe
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Posted by wrmcclellan on Saturday, December 18, 2004 11:44 AM
jestz,

Welcome to the CTT forum and your return to the hobby!

Are you using Lionel smoke fluid? There are some thicker fluids that can gum up the wick.

Sometimes if a Lionel unit has been overloaded, it works to let it dry out for a day or so (turn the smoke unit off with AUX + 8 on the CAB1). Also make sure you are running your track voltage at 18 volts. Lionel smoke units typically do not smoke below 16 volts (and then it is sparse).

Also make sure your smoke unit is still on. AUX + 9 turns it on. AUX + 8 turns it off.

Regards,
Roy

Regards, Roy

            

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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, December 18, 2004 11:50 AM
Hi Roy,
Thank you for the reply ! Yes, it is Lionel smoke fluid. I don't know if it's 18 volts? How would I tell. I am using a Lionel CW80 transformer linked with the two wires directly to the track with the trainmaster base connected to "U" terminal on the transformer. I turn the transformer up full throttle and use the command control remote to run the engine. Would that be 18 volts? Thanks again, Joe
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Posted by Big_Boy_4005 on Saturday, December 18, 2004 12:04 PM
Yes Joe, full throttle on the CW should be about 18 volts.
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Posted by wrmcclellan on Saturday, December 18, 2004 12:35 PM
Joe,

So you have the throttle and smoke fluid under control. Did you check your CAB1 settings with an AUX + 9 command to the engine to ensure the smoke unit is turned on?

Regards,
Roy

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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, December 18, 2004 12:41 PM
Please keep in mind I am brand new to this . . . I can use all the functions in the CAB1, ie., whistle, bell, crewtalk, etc. When I press button 9 which is the smoke boost nothing happens. I hold it for several seconds and nothing happens, when I do this I am very careful not to touch button 8. Thank you again Roy and big boy. Joe
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Posted by eZAK on Saturday, December 18, 2004 12:48 PM
Joe,

Give Lionel a call!
You might be surprized.

The fact that you purchased a set new and have a bill of sale should be good enough for a 1yr warranty.

I once purchased a 10yr old UP 'B' unit new online. When I tested it at home the electronic horn did not work. After talking to Lionel I was sent a FREE replacement board.
Relax, Don't Worry, Have a Home Brew!</font id="size2"> Pat Zak</font id="size3">
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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, December 18, 2004 12:55 PM
Hi Pat,
Thanks for the idea, but I really wouldn't feel right asking Lionel for anything other than information. When I buy on ebay I know the risks and this was not a dealer but a collector. I got it for a good price so I figure if I have to spring for something then that is part of the "joy" of using ebay. Does anyone have any ideas as to what might be wrong with it. At this point I'm thinking it must be some sort of connection or switch problem. Thanks again, Joe
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Posted by wrmcclellan on Saturday, December 18, 2004 1:01 PM
Joe,

Here are couple of other things you could try.

1. Blow into the stack to make sure a bubble is not preventing the smoke unit form blowing the smoke out. Also, after a quick puff into the stack, see if the puff forces any wisps of smoke out.

2. If no success with #1, try this; push AUX + 8 (to turn the smoke unit off), and let the loco sit or run for a while with the smoke unit off. Then turn it back on later, crank up the voltage, and see if it smokes.

3. Another thing you could try is to put the loco into neutral (smoke unit on) with the track voltage at full voltage. Let it sit there for about 30 seconds (to allow the smoke unit to heat up) and then start the loco forward to see if you get a good puff of smoke out.

To help us better help you - there should be a number on the end of the box that the loco and tender came in. Something like 6-12345. Also tell us the railroad name on the tender and the loco wheel arrangement (2-6-2, etc). This would help us understand how the loco was equipped and when it was manufactured. The 5405 I believe is the numnber on the side of the loco cab and does not represent the P/N that Lionel would have cataloged it under.

Be aware that some Lionel locos were not great smokers. You will not get plumbs of smoke out of these guys. A nice little puff with each revolution of the drivers.

Regards,
Roy

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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, December 18, 2004 1:12 PM
Thank you Roy,
It's not a bubble, I took the engine cover off the frame and I don't see any problems. I have tried letting it sit letting it run, with just transformer power and no other cars or CAB1 at all, etc to no avail. The model is "Lionel's 1999 NYC Hudson with the large metal tender originally supplied with the 773" (from a web site0 The Engine number 5406 it has Command Control and railsounds and is a 4-6-4. Lionel's number is 6-28007. Joe
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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, December 18, 2004 1:22 PM
I went to Lionel's website and went to the diagrams and it says it is an 8000 series No. 1 4-6-4. It has the 6SP-8082-200 Smoke Unit Assembly and the 600-8306-213 Smoke Unit Piston Assembly. I have actually never had a smoker before, and I don't know if this matters but, when it was working, if the engine was stopped the smoke would just kinda sit there and flow down the sides of the engine but if it was moving it puffed out nicely (that is when it was working) Thanks to all, Joe
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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, December 18, 2004 1:45 PM
Have you tried a reset. If not do this. Put the run switch in program, then hit eng 1, aux1, and then the red button under the little cover in the end of the cab one, you should hear a whistle and then push number 8 and hold for a couple of seconds. Just in case the engine got its programing mixed up. Turn the track power off and wait for about 30 seconds.
Take the engine off the track and put the switch back in the run position.
Connect it back up again and start it up. Push button 9 just to make sure the smoke unit is turned on.
If nothing happens it sounds like your element may have burned out, but I have never seen one that didn;t make the wick (sock) black before it burned out.
It could also be a bad solder joint. I had that in my MTH premier breenbrier.

Smoke great for about ten minutes then went dead. I took it apart and resoldered all the smoke unit joints and it has worked great for a year now.
Dave.
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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, December 18, 2004 1:46 PM
Jestz--

A suggestion that likely will help you in several ways dealing with your new locomotive. From your post it looks like you may not have a whole lot of experience solving electrical problems--that's OK, we all have our specialties. Go down to Radio Shack or similar and invest in an inexpensive multimeter--they're usually less than $20, and spend 15-20 minutes learning how to use it. It will help you tremendously when looking at sticky problems like "what's the track voltage" and will make at least some of the electrical issues less mysterious.[?][?][?] And ask questions here--I've seen a lot of people with technical backgrounds who are more than willing to help you.

Good luck in troubleshooting your locomotive problem.
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Posted by wrmcclellan on Saturday, December 18, 2004 1:51 PM
Joe,

This is a nice locomotive. I have an earlier version than the one you have.

I will start with an obvious question, so excuse me if you have already done this. Is the smoke unit ON/OFF switch that is under the cab of the loco set to ON?

When you had it apart - could you see if the piston assembly was moving up and down? If you note from the Lionel drawings, there is a "smoke lever assembly" that uses the side rod assembly to push it with each turn of the drivers. You should be able to see the bar (with the engine assembled) behind the crosshead (the piece that goes back and forth in front of the steam cylinder). With the crosshead towards the rear of the loco (side rods on drivers on that side as far to rear as possible), you should be able to move the lever yourself.

The piston uses a return spring, but it is possible for it to become hung up in the receptor. Check this also.

There is a tiny hole in the receptor for the piston where it blows the air from the piston up into the smoke element chamber. Make sure this hole has not become plugged.

The piston assembly tends to clang a bit when running (one time for each revolution of the drivers). Normally one can hear it. Have you noticed any change in its sound?

Finally, do you own a volt-ohmmeter? You can use this to check the continuity of the resistor in the smoke unit.

Regards,
Roy

Regards, Roy

            

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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, December 18, 2004 2:21 PM
Thank you for all the great advice. My wife is dragging me out to her office Christmas party now but tomorrow first thing I will go through all of your suggestion. I wi***o thank all who have responded to my post. It is very much appreciated. I am looking forward to learning more. Thank you again and take care all, Joe
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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, December 19, 2004 11:00 AM
Well, no luck so far. Double, triple and quadruple checked to make sure the smoke switch is in the "on" position. I've reset it as Dave suggested with no luck. I then took the topcover off and ran it around the track and the piston moves up and down in tune with the speed of the locomotive. I took the smoke assembly apart and the piston holes with ball bearing are clear as are the two metal tubes in the smoke chamber are clear. At this point I am assuming it must be electrical. I don't think it's a burnt element as the white sock looks pristine. Any thoughts as to how I can check where the problem is from here? I am going to go out in a few minutes to pick up a voltmeter from the electronic's store. Thank you again, Joe
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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, December 19, 2004 6:25 PM
Well, I think I may know the problem. Roy had said that below 16 volts the smoke units don't work well if at all. I picked up a multimeter today and according the the meter I only have 15.5 volts on the track. I using the new CW80 at full throttle with command control on a fastrack figure eight. Should I just pick up an additional power supply to add on? Thanks again everyone. Joe
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Posted by wrmcclellan on Sunday, December 19, 2004 8:09 PM
Joe,

Now that you have a multimeter, set it for ohms.

Turn the smoke unit OFF with the switch under the cab.

With the loco body off, measure with the ohmmeter (set the scale for about 100 or 200 ohms) and measure from the metal base of the smoke unit to the end of the smoke unit wire that is attached to the on/off switch (in the 8000 series Hudson drawing you saw on Lionel's web site, this is the blue wire that runs from the smoke unit to the on/off switch - the wire may be a different color in your engine).

I do not recall the resistance you will see, but I believe it is around 25-30 ohms.

Let us know what you get.

Is is important that the smoke unit switch under the cab is OFF for this test. Otherwise you are measuring the impedance of the smoke unit resistor in parallel with the electronics on the TMCC circuit boards and this will prevent us from getting a read on the health of the smoke unit resistor.

The 15.5 volts is low, but you should get something. You did try a couple more drops of fluid? Also did you check when the body was off that smoke fluid hadn't leaked all over the interior, which could cause some problems.

Also - while you are inside the loco, make sure the screws that secure the smoke unit are tight. This is how the unit gets its ground.

Regards,
Roy

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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, December 20, 2004 6:45 AM
Hi Roy,
With the smoke unit "off", I set my meter to 200 ohms (my meter's lowest setting) and touched the blue wire where it attaches to the on/off switch then I touched the smoke unit' s housing. No matter where I touched on the smoke unit housing, upper metal part, lower metal part, wire on front of metal bracket, etc., my ohm meter registered nothing. As far as smoke fluid, it's not all over the interior but smoke unit plunger had a light coating on it. Thank you Roy. Joe
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Posted by wrmcclellan on Monday, December 20, 2004 2:17 PM
Joe,

This may indicate that the resistor or one of its connections has failed. At this point some tinkering is required. This means getting to the resistor itself and measuring directly across its leads to see if the resistor failed or if another connection failed (resistor to ground or resistor to the blue wire). Sometimes these units get hot enough to melt the solder connections.

I do not have the exact smoke unit that you have or I could give you better direction.

A quick check for your smoke unit assembly P/N 6SP-8082-200 shows it is available directly from Lionel for $13.40 + shipping.

Let me know if you wi***o tinker with it more (you could buy a replacement resistor for under a dollar probably). I will be glad to assist further.

Regards,
Roy

Regards, Roy

            

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Posted by wrmcclellan on Monday, December 20, 2004 6:43 PM
Joe,

I replied to your e-mail earlier this afternoon. Let me know that you got it ok.

Regards,
Roy

Regards, Roy

            

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Posted by Jim Kinnally on Friday, February 01, 2019 4:14 PM

Thank you Roy. I found your discussion with Joe 14 years later and it solved my problem. I purchased a SF 4-6-4 Hudson for my father in 2000. When we first turned it on it smoked great. However a couple of days later it stopped smoking. I tried many of the things mentioned in your posts. Nothing worked. Unfortunately my father died in 2012 and last year I took the locomotive to my home. I was surprised when the smoke unit was working great. Then last week it stopped again. I again tried everything I could think of again and nothing worked. Then I saw your post that said it needed at least 16 volts to work. I turned up my transformer and sure enough it smoked again. I wish I had known that back in 2000.

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Posted by Jim Kinnally on Wednesday, February 06, 2019 11:30 AM

Well, I ran it for several days and it was smoking great. Then I decided to run it with smoke off. I hit aux1 8 and it went off but now aux1 9 is not turning it back on. I seem to be back to where I was before. Not sure now if turning up voltage was really a factor before or if that was coincidence???

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