SantaFe 2343 Horn Repair Question

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SantaFe 2343 Horn Repair Question
Posted by EIS2 on Friday, July 10, 2009 4:55 PM

The diesel horn on my SantaFe 2343 does not work.  The battery is fine.  I checked resistance through the horn to the horn case with the horn removed from the engine and the circuit is open. I did notice another insulated lug on the bottom of the horn with nothing attached to it.  Is that lug supposed to be the ground or does the case provide the ground? 

The horn is a sealed unit but there are tabs on the top of the horn that holds the top on.  I might be able to get to the horn innards by removing the top.  Has anyone ever repaired one of these horns and will removing the top of the horn gain access to the electrical components?  There are a lot of tight fitting tabs on the top lid, so I don't want to risk damaging the horn if I still cannot get to the horn electrical components.

There is also a screw on the bottom of the horn that I assume adjusts the sound of the horn.  Is that assumption correct?

Earl

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Posted by lionelsoni on Friday, July 10, 2009 5:30 PM

The horn is essentially a buzzer.  It has a coil that attracts the diaphragm and an electrical contact that disconnects the coil when the diaphragm moves closer to the coil.  The screw adjusts the point where the contact disconnects.  It is possible that yours needs adjustment so that the contact is closed when the horn is off, which is proper.

However, be careful in adjusting it.  If the problem is something other than the adjustment, you could get it so far out of adjustment that you could damage the innards and ruin it.  I recommend marking the adjustment screw so that you can always return it to its present position.  Then adjust back and forth from that position by an amount that you gradually increase, until it either begins to work or you get the feeling that it couldn't possibly be mis-adjusted by the amount that you are turning the screw.

If you can't fix it that way, there's not much to be lost by taking it apart.  But I wouldn't have much hope of getting it back together.  Been there, done that. 

Bob Nelson

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Posted by cwburfle on Friday, July 10, 2009 6:31 PM

Before you take your horn apart, there are a couple of things you can try.

First, try taking a pair of wires connected to a toy train transformer, set to about 20 volts (A,C. is fine). hold one wire against the case, and brush the other wire against the horn relay terminal that is connected to the horn. Often the high voltage gets things going.

If that doesnot work, use aligator clips to attach the wires, and take a blunt object (the end of a toy train "log" works well) and sharply strike the diaphram that is visible in the opening of the horn.

If neither of those actions fix the horn, you may be able to dismantle the horn and fix it. I have fixed several horns. The problem often seems to be corrosion of the area where the horn's coil is grounded.

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Posted by Train-O on Friday, July 10, 2009 9:39 PM

In other words; 'The Ole' Repair Hammer!'

Either way, it solves the problem!

Ralph

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Posted by EIS2 on Saturday, July 11, 2009 9:41 AM

Thank you for all of your suggestions.  I tried all of them (screw adjustment, 20 VAC shock, and log tap) and was unsuccessful in getting the horn to work.  I was also unable to unbend any of the tabs to remove the top of the horn.  I don't know what the tabs are made of but they are tough.  I lost, the horn won.

Earl

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Posted by Train-O on Saturday, July 11, 2009 10:41 AM

Earl,

I'm, sorry for the hammer joke, but it seemed funny at the time, due to seeing my father, who built T.V.'s, radios and most anything, jokingly pick-up a hammer if an electrical appliance went askew.  He also had a hammer with his electronic test meters, tools-(instruments), a mirror, parts and other assorted needs.

Remember, on a T.V.,when everything stops working, check the '5U4G' vacuum tube, that was mostly the problem.  Now, circuit boards dominate. 

How about, Radio Shack 'Control/Contact Cleaner & Lubricant, it' Non-Flammable to be used in and on eleectro-mechanical devices, reduces wear, safe on MOST plastics.

WARNING: Contents under pressure and Harmful if coming in contact to skin, eyes and inhaling, use in ventilated areas, wear protective clothing and eye cover.

Ralph      

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Posted by cwburfle on Saturday, July 11, 2009 10:52 AM

Train-O
I'm, sorry for the hammer joke, but it seemed funny at the time, due to seeing my father, who built T.V.'s, radios and most anything, jokingly pick-up a hammer if an electrical appliance went askew.  He also had a hammer with his electronic test meters, tools-(instruments), a mirror, parts and other assorted needs.

The "hammer" trick often works when the failure is due to bad contact between the contacts inside the horn. The diaphram acutally acts as a contact inside the horn. Since the tricks I suggested did not work, I would guess that he has the issue with the wire loosing contact. Now that you have the horn apart, see if you can locate the ends of the wire coil. one end should be soldered to a spot on the frame, the other to the vibrator contact. I end that is soldered to the frame is probably no longer making contact. I suspect that the manufacturer used acid core solder for that joint, and over time, the joint corrodes away. I have been able to rig a new connection point. Getting the cover back on, and all those fingers crimped is the final task.

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Posted by Train-O on Saturday, July 11, 2009 12:43 PM

cwburfle,

I know, Earl knows of this remedy and is aware of my joking. 

I agree with you, because I've witnessed and done so.

Of couse, a very gentle tap, at times, does help and hopefully there's no battery leakage, which damaged and caused the horn unit to be inoperable.

My fancy, expensive, new, TMCC diesel engine needed a little, gentile tap and the sound unit started working, as designed.

Thank You,

Ralph

  

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Posted by EIS2 on Saturday, July 11, 2009 9:15 PM

Unfortunately, I could not straighten any of the tabs so I cannot get the horn apart.  The tabs were too hard for me to bend using a screwdriver to pry them outward.

The horn itself looks brand new, but there is some rust or corrosion around the hole where the wire from the horn relay goes into the body of the horn.  There is another electrical contact on the bottom of the horn that is electrically isolated from the body of the horn.  There is nothing externally attached to the contact.  What is the purpose of that contact? 

Thank You...

Earl

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Posted by Train-O on Saturday, July 11, 2009 9:57 PM

Earl,

That contact on the bottom of the horn is the volume control set screw which Bob Nelson referred to.

When your turn it either clockwise, or counter-clockwise, with a minimum amount of electrical current, about 1.5 volts, you should hear the horn sounding.

The horn takes one 'D' size drycell battery, about 1.5 volts, so be careful with the correct amount of juice.  I believe the horn is made to withstand a greater voltage, than 1.5 volts, but don't risk it.

Good Luck,

Ralph

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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, July 11, 2009 9:59 PM

Earl,

         Ground that lug to the loco frame and see if that helps. Early 2343s use the same horn as the 2333, and the horn is mounted by means of a rubber grommet and shoulder screw. That grommet is the reason the lug needs to be gounded to the loco frame to complete the circuit.

If this doesn't help, try heating the tabs with a soldering iron to help them bend easier.

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Posted by EIS2 on Saturday, July 11, 2009 11:03 PM

 Ralph,

There is an electrical contact in addition to the adjusting screw on the bottom of the horn.

Jim,

I have tried grounding the lug and that did not work.  The lug is electrically insullated from the housing so I doubt if it was intended to be grounded.  I suspect the lug is used for something internal to the horn.

Earl

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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, July 11, 2009 11:16 PM

Earl,

        If you can't get the horn to work, excellent repro horns are availabe. They are made by Delta Alarm, which is the same company that supplied the originals to Lionel in the postwar years.

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Posted by cwburfle on Sunday, July 12, 2009 5:34 AM

EIS2
I have tried grounding the lug and that did not work.  The lug is electrically insullated from the housing so I doubt if it was intended to be grounded.  I suspect the lug is used for something internal to the horn.

 

The lug insulated because it is used to mount part of the contact assembly.

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Posted by Pennsylvania Station on Sunday, July 12, 2009 3:29 PM

EIS2

 The diesel horn on my SantaFe 2343 does not work...

If all else has failed, simply purchase a new one.

 

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Posted by Train-O on Sunday, July 12, 2009 3:53 PM

Earl,

Might, your horn's condition, for being inoperative, be related to either battery acid damage, or metal 'freeze' with time?

If so, try the Radio Shack contact spay, or a similar type, this may solve your problem.

Ralph 

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Posted by EIS2 on Sunday, July 12, 2009 6:32 PM

 Ralph,

Thanks for your reply.  There is no battery acid damage.  I don't know how spraying contact cleaner would help since I cannot get to the internal electrical components.

Earl

 

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Posted by bfskinner on Sunday, July 12, 2009 10:45 PM

The circuit that causes the horn to sound is about as simple as can be found in the field of electrics. Perhaps a basic lamp circuit is simpler. Mechanically, however, it can be quite vexing. Pennsylvania Station and lionelsoni have it right. The device was never designed to be repaired by Harry Homeowner.

I would try replacing it with a "rebuilt original" by DEW Associates Company as Pennsylvania Station has suggested. Be cautious about modern aftermarket replacements from your friendly parts man.

Many of the modern horns do not have the adjusting screw. Consequently, the one tone that you get may sound "tinny" and not at all like the original. Furthermore, unless you are careful, you may get one with mounting legs that are the wrong height.

If you can't get at least a click out if it with a 1.5 volt DC battery, an internal wire is likely broken or shorted. If the diaphram (vibrator) is stuck due to corrosion or gunk, you might be able to "blast it loose" with a quick jolt from a 9 volt DC battery. Try with the polarity set one way, then reverse it and try again, Note: If you can't get even a single click out of it, replace it. Those metal tabs can be tough.  It's not worth shoving a screwdriver through your hand just to save a few bucks.

When you get a new one that works, you might carefully take the old one apart and see whether you can find what's wrong with it.

 If the replacement will work under 1.5 volt battery power away from the locomotive, your next challenge will be to check out the rest of the activation circuit back through the mountings  to the relay and on to the horn/whistle activator in the transformer. But you've got to get it to work away from the loco first. Once you get reliable operation in static mode, see whether it works well when the train is actually running on a layout.

bf
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Posted by EIS2 on Sunday, July 12, 2009 11:46 PM

 I thank all of you for your advice.  I ordered a replacement horn from the link provided above.  Dew Associates states in their eBay ad:

"As we collect horns that have gone bad, we take them apart, remove the internal components, dip the casings and replace parts as necessary. Generally we wait until we have 200-300 to do as it is a time consuming task, and then when complete we sell them off to dealers."

 I wonder how they get them apart.

Earl

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Posted by Train-O on Sunday, July 12, 2009 11:59 PM

Earl,

I figured, probably if there was corrosion on the horn's outter surface, which I should have mentioned and I don't THINK, (bad, better to be sure), anything internally would get damaged by the spray, if some of the spray got inside, but its good that you didn't spray.

I guess, if nothing gets the horn working, then you have to try a good replacement, preferably an original, but the original is costly.

I hope you get your unit's own horn working, as for those tabs I think that they might be spot welded  closed, so no one can repair them, you know, planned obsolescence, even back then.

Good Luck,

Ralph.   

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Posted by AirMojo on Thursday, June 01, 2017 4:56 AM

Hello Earl... I know this is a really old post, but I'm curious...

Did the new horn work out for you, or was there another issue, like wiring, etc ?

 

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Posted by EIS2 on Thursday, June 01, 2017 4:06 PM

The new horn worked fine.

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Posted by AirMojo on Thursday, June 01, 2017 4:12 PM

Thanks for the reply... just wondering how your's turned out.

I'm having horn problems on my recently acquired #2245 Texas Special, so I'm doing some troubleshooting.

The horn tests out fine using a 9-volt battery, but won't sound with a new 1.5V D battery... trying to track down the problem now.

 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, June 11, 2017 1:00 PM

I know I've mentioned this before, but for those who've missed it or just don't know about it I'll mention it again.

TM Books and Video has a DVD called "Maintenance & Repair Guide for Lionel Electric Trains and Accessories," I've got one and it's worth it's weight in gold.  OK, it's a DVD and doesn't weigh that much but you know what I mean.

One of the topics discussed is electric horn repair, even how to bend those tough tabs back to open the horn assembly, a real "why didn't I think of that?" tip.

Entertaining and well presented, I think it runs around $10 or so and is worth the money.

www.tmbv.com

And here's a seven minute You Tube video where the presenter demonstrates some horn repair procedures.  One thing, the TM video recommends heating the tabs on the horn assembly with the tip of a soldering iron to soften the metal and make it easier to bend, something this video doesn't mention.  The rest is very good.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LsDKsNBBKQ

 

 

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Posted by EIS2 on Monday, June 12, 2017 10:07 AM

Thanks for the info.  The youtube video glossed over the part on how to unbend the tabs. 

On the horn I tried to repair, the tabs would not budge with anything less than a 200 megaton atomic blast.  Since I don't have access to an atomic bomb, my little horn stays in my parts bin unrepaired.

Earl

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Posted by Firelock76 on Monday, June 12, 2017 7:21 PM

Hey, you know what?  The US government WILL sell you an atomic bomb if you want one, but there's just one thing, THEY keep possession of it and THEY shoot it off, underground of course.

Well, maybe they let you push the button, you paid for it after all.

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Posted by cwburfle on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 7:14 AM

The horn tests out fine using a 9-volt battery, but won't sound with a new 1.5V D battery... trying to track down the problem now.

If it sounds with a 9 volt battery then you probably have a poor path for electrical connectivity. Clean everything along the path. remove the screws that mount the horn and clean the contact area of the bracket. Clean the frame where the bracket contacts it. Make certain the screws are clean. Do the same to the battery holder. Make certain the battery holder is clean where the battery contacts it on both ends. Make certain the top of the relay is clean where it contacts it's holder. And so on. The brackets often look clean, but electrically, they are not.

if that does not address the issue, then the horn might need adjusting via the little hex head screw on the back.

Do the cleaning first.

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