No sound on Williams FEC Berkshire

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No sound on Williams FEC Berkshire
Posted by GEORGE GAGLIARDI on Monday, November 16, 2020 4:24 PM

 Guys (and gals) it's me again with a brand new problem. First off, after I purchase the FEC Berk I then purchased  Z-750 controller/Transformer to run my locomotive . It runs fine. However for some reason when I push the buttons for whistle and bell I get no sound. Any ideas why this is? I truly don't believe the folks who sold me the Berk knowingly sent me a faulty locomotive and I bought the Z-750 from Trainz. com on E-bay. So ... I'm once again stymied as to why things are not working like they're supposed to. HELP!!

Thanks in advance for your time.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, November 16, 2020 4:55 PM

I doubt Trainz.com knowlingly sent you a faulty locomotive.

Just a couple of guesses.  There MAY be a loose connector on the sound unit, the unit is located in the tender.  Assuming you won't void any kind of warranty by doing so remove the tender shell and check for any broken wires, the pick-up wires should run directly to the sound board, OR, there may be a connector from the pick-up and return wiring to the sound board.  If there's a connector, try replugging it.  Also try replugging the connector to the speaker. 

I had a similar problem with a Williams sound unit on a diesel I bought over the weekend.  I didn't hear anything when running the engine, so I tried the above.  There was sound coming from the unit but it was very weak and the diesel horn was a bit flaky.  It was an older Williams unit, 10+ years, so I figured the board had deteriorated.  It happens.  No problem in my case, I had a Williams diesel sound unit handy and just replaced the whole thing.  Easy!  

I don't know when Williams stopped making the FEC Berkshire, but I do know it's been out of production for some time.

Anyway, check with Trainz.com to see if they've got it under warranty before you try anything.  

I'm assuming you've tried the Z-750 with other engines just to make sure it's working properly.

This is what the current production steam sound unit looks like.

https://www.amazon.com/Williams-Bachmann-Digital-Blast-Steam/dp/B0013PJNIQ

Amazon's showing it as not available at this time.  I just went nuts trying to find it in the Williams by Bachmann website, no luck, but then their website's not too user friendly. 

And there's always Dallee Electronics, if you need to replace the whole thing.  Good outfit, and their electronics come with easy to understand instructions.  I haven't tried their sound systems but have used their e-units.

https://www.dallee.com/

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Posted by GEORGE GAGLIARDI on Monday, November 16, 2020 10:50 PM

thanks for the good advice. I'll check the tender. Just to clarify I bought the Z-750 from Trainz.com. I bought Berkshire from a seller on E-bay. But had a very high rating and He worked with me as far waiting on payment goes so I doubt that they would try to rip me off.

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Posted by fifedog on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 7:06 AM

George, my Williams (by Bachmann) 10-wheeler had derailed while I was away from the controller.  It shorted out the sound system (whistle and bell) before I could shut off the power, and that was that. I will probably install a more robust sound system in the future, but for now, run silent - run deep.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 8:33 AM

One other thing George.  If the sound board looks like the one in the Amazon picture there's a volume control on it.  It's the component on the left side center of the board that looks a bit like a sandwich, "silver-gray-silver."  Run your cursor over the picture to enlarge.  It's adjustable with a precision screwdriver but kill the power before you try an adjustment, the front of the "sandwich" is a turnable disc.  If the sound board in your tender doesn't look like the one in the picture look for the adjustment disc anyway, it'll look pretty much the same.  An adjustment might  bring the sound back.  I tried the same with the engine I bought on Sunday, it worked a bit, but not good enough.

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Posted by GEORGE GAGLIARDI on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 6:02 PM

Thanks for all your help. I opened up the tender, looked at the sound system, didn't see any lose or unconnected wires. While the shell was off I put it on the track to see what would happen. When I pushed the whistle button on the Z-750 there was a slight reaction from the tender as if it was getting the signal but no sound. I do think the tender was getting a signal so maybe that means something. I may just have to contact a guy I know here and see what he will charge to fix it. It' a drag, to say the least. Not sure what else to do. I'm not really good at this "take it apart and figure out what's wrong stuff'. But once again I do appreciate your time and help.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 6:45 PM

Slight reacton but no sound?  Could be the board's bad.

I've probably said this before, but take it from me the thing with circuit boards is they can last for 20 years or more or blow tomorrow.  You just never know.  

On the job we had brand-new copiers right out of the box blow boards at the first turn-on.  It didn't happen very often, but it did happen.  

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Posted by GEORGE GAGLIARDI on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 10:28 PM

New problem. I've got an old Lionel General that has a motor so it can run. But it's been sitting in a glass case for a very long time. But with no locomotive on my layout I thought I'd give it a spin. It ran briefly and then was reluctant and the locomotive got very hot and smoke started to come from the loco -- not from the smokestack either. So my question -- what do you think is going on? Since the train did run briefly I'm thinking the motor could still be good but I don't know. Your thoughts?

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Posted by fifedog on Thursday, November 26, 2020 6:37 AM

George - What number is on your General; 1862,1872,XXXX?  May just be carbon or gunk built up.  It may take several minutes of prodding with it to get it to take off.  My original 1862 was nicknamed Sparky, after the light show it produced upon powering it up.  Now it runs like a champ.  Just need to make sure your engine isn't one of the DC motor issue.

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Posted by dlagrua on Thursday, November 26, 2020 10:28 AM

If all else fails, sound boards are still available from Bachmann Williams

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, November 26, 2020 10:45 AM

GEORGE GAGLIARDI
Your thoughts?

If the engine hasn't been run in a long time it may need a good lubricating.  Old oil and/or grease (depending on the brand and grade) can dry out and cause seizing problems.

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Posted by GEORGE GAGLIARDI on Thursday, November 26, 2020 7:21 PM

fifedog

George - What number is on your General; 1862,1872,XXXX?  May just be carbon or gunk built up.  It may take several minutes of prodding with it to get it to take off.  My original 1862 was nicknamed Sparky, after the light show it produced upon powering it up.  Now it runs like a champ.  Just need to make sure your engine isn't one of the DC motor issue.

 

The number on the bottom of the tender is 48045. There's a number 3 on the cab underneath the window. I don't have any idea beyond that if it's a 1862 or 1872. The only info on the plexiglass case it was stored in is "The General". It's red and black, if that helps and the tender has W. & A. R.. Does that help narrow it down some?

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Posted by smokey1 on Friday, November 27, 2020 12:14 AM
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Posted by fifedog on Friday, November 27, 2020 6:38 AM

George - You have the reissue General, which is painted correctly for the actual W&A RR prototype, which is housed at the Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History.  Make sure you don't have any loose wires or screws "floating" around inside.  And as mentioned, a little lube on the gears, axles, and side rods should work.

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