Lionel Transformer Type LW Whistle Button Problem

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  • Member since
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Lionel Transformer Type LW Whistle Button Problem
Posted by mrmet6986 on Thursday, February 16, 2012 11:42 AM

I bought a Lionel Type LW transformer and when I depress the Whistle button I can see a change in voltage on my layout but the two trains I tested do not whistle with this transformer. I tried an old #2055 steam engine and a new Strasburg #475 steam engine. The Lionel 2055 is typically hooked up to a Type CW transformer and since both the engine and the Type LW transformer are postwar I expected that they should be comaptible.

I wired the transformer per the transformer's manual but did also test reversing the leads. When I open the transformer and depresss the Whistle button I can see that it slides down to make a new contact with a copper head. I do not see any loose or broken wires. I did have to reset the lever for the Direction button because it was working in reverse (making contact instead of breaking contact). So I am sure someone was under the cover before me.

Does anyone have any ideas on troubleshooting this problem? It is a great little transformer but without the whistle button functioning I hesitate to use it.

  • Member since
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  • From: Austin, TX
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Posted by lionelsoni on Thursday, February 16, 2012 11:57 AM

Please post in a larger font.

Bob Nelson

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Posted by cwburfle on Thursday, February 16, 2012 5:48 PM

Does your 2055 have a postwar whistling tender?
Does this tender work properly with another transformer?

I ask because it is important to isolate where the problem lies. Some modern era whistling tenders work fine with modern era transformers, but will not work with postwar transformers due to the difference in the design of the transformers. It is possible that the 2055 was either paired with a modern era whistling tender, or the original tender had the modern era equivalent of a whistle relay installed.

  • Member since
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  • From: Butler, WI
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Posted by butleryard on Friday, February 17, 2012 6:36 PM

If you isolate the problem to the transformer it may be the whistle rectifier is no longer good.

You will have to open up the transformer and replace the whistle's rectifier disc with a new one.

Part # is 1041-13

Thanks, Butleryard. IF YOU CAN READ THIS, THANK A TEACHER! IF YOU ARE READING THIS IN ENGLISH, THANK A SOLDIER!
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Posted by gunrunnerjohn on Saturday, February 18, 2012 9:29 AM

Probably better to replace it with a silicon diode, and cheaper too.

 

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Posted by cwburfle on Saturday, February 18, 2012 10:11 AM

gunrunnerjohn

Probably better to replace it with a silicon diode, and cheaper too.

 

I was thinking that if this fellow is running a mixture of postwar and modern, that one of those Zener diodes might be a good choice. But I have not tried one, so I would be hesitant to make the suggestion.

  • Member since
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  • From: Austin, TX
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Posted by lionelsoni on Saturday, February 18, 2012 10:55 AM

 

I copied the original post here so that I can read it:

"I bought a Lionel Type LW transformer and when I depress the Whistle button I can see a change in voltage on my layout but the two trains I tested do not whistle with this transformer. I tried an old #2055 steam engine and a new Strasburg #475 steam engine. The Lionel 2055 is typically hooked up to a Type CW transformer and since both the engine and the Type LW transformer are postwar I expected that they should be comaptible.

"I wired the transformer per the transformer's manual but did also test reversing the leads. When I open the transformer and depresss the Whistle button I can see that it slides down to make a new contact with a copper head. I do not see any loose or broken wires. I did have to reset the lever for the Direction button because it was working in reverse (making contact instead of breaking contact). So I am sure someone was under the cover before me.

"Does anyone have any ideas on troubleshooting this problem? It is a great little transformer but without the whistle button functioning I hesitate to use it."

As for the zener-diode suggestion, a zener diode is not an appropriate replacement for the original copper-oxide rectifier, unless it has such a high zener voltage that it functions as an ordinary diode at toy-train-transformer voltages.  A simple silicon rectifier diode is probably the best choice.  Its forward voltage drop is somewhat greater than the copper-oxide rectifier's, but not enough to make much difference.  It is important to get the polarity right.  The cathode should point toward the center rail, although Lionel always showed it the other way in their schematics.

The reference to a zener diode may arise from confusion with transient-voltage suppressors (TVSs), which are a good precaution for use with modern electronics-rich trains.  However, a TVS is wired in parallel with the transformer output, not in series with it.  It can be mounted inside the transformer, inside the locomotive, anywhere in-between, or in multiple places.

Bob Nelson

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Posted by cwburfle on Saturday, February 18, 2012 3:41 PM

As for the zener-diode suggestion, a zener diode is not an appropriate replacement for the original copper-oxide rectifier, unless it has such a high zener voltage that it functions as an ordinary diode at toy-train-transformer voltages

The zener diodes being tried by a segment of the online train community are 1N3311B, 12 volt, 50 watt.
When this is installed the holding voltage bypass resistor is disconnected.
All reports so far have been positive. As I previously had written, I have not tried them.

  • Member since
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  • From: Austin, TX
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Posted by lionelsoni on Saturday, February 18, 2012 9:14 PM

That seems reasonable.

Bob Nelson

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