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Using Lionel TMCC

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May 28, 2013 7:24 AM

Running my new purchases from lionel, "S" gauge, the challenger & Uboat on my layout. Has anyone exprienced any issues running, using TMCC on your layouts? Both engines while running would from time to time just stop and start again, (bucking). I checked the track and connections for any issues and everythings is fine. Checked the engines for any issues, found nothing. My original flyer run on the same track without any problems.

any suggestions?

 

John

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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May 28, 2013 10:16 AM

Which track system (e.g., Gilbert, SHS, etc.) are you using on your layout?

 

Bob

 
 
 
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May 28, 2013 10:38 AM

Originally Posted by Bob Bubeck:

What rack system (e.g., Gilbert, SHS, etc.) are you using on your layout?

 

Bob

Bob,

 

Last year I ran my BB and Challenger on my friends layout which has a mixture of SHS track and AM switches. The BB ran fine but the Challenger intermittently stopped dead but responded OK to starting again, any ideas?

 

When I got it home and ran it on a dedicated large 20x6 oval it was fine, weird!

 

Neil

 
 
 
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May 28, 2013 11:16 AM

my track system is gargraves and some original flyer. Yes, would run fine for a while then stop, start again. My Uboat does it alot. Clean the track and check connections, all good.

 

John

 
 
 
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May 28, 2013 2:09 PM

Try a factory "reset", as stated in the manual, on both engines. Many times this will cure the bucking/starting/stopping that is occurring. Otherwise, make sure the "common" command wire is connected on one rail only and that it's the "same polarity" rail, if you have it connected on another loop. Joe
 
 
 
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May 28, 2013 2:32 PM

thanks Joe...........will try reset. Interesting about the connection from the command to the rail. I'm sure the same polarity is there on both loop's but will make sure. I'm using the "base post" (grd) as my common connection. Both 30B transformers are synked together.  

 

John

 
 
 
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May 28, 2013 7:09 PM

In addition to the above tips, make sure the Challenger ODY, No ODY (Odyssey, No Odyssey) is in the ODY position. I was having problems with mine stopping for no apparent reason on curves, until I discovered that I had it on No ODY.

 

I have a first issue U-boat, and continue to have problems (see my earlier post and Carl T's response) because the wheels are not sprung. I'm using Gilbert sectional track, and any irregularity will cause it to stall, or stop momentarily, then go again. A slight unevenness in rail height from one section to the next, a slight dip in one rail, and a transition from level to incline, or vise versa, will cause it to stop; also dirty track or wheels. I've found that running it a little faster than I probably would otherwise is usually enough to carry it through the "bad" spots.

 

I run both loco's with a CAB 1.

 
 
 
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May 28, 2013 7:18 PM

Originally Posted by Ukaflyer:
Originally Posted by Bob Bubeck:

What rack system (e.g., Gilbert, SHS, etc.) are you using on your layout?

 

Bob

Bob,

 

Last year I ran my BB and Challenger on my friends layout which has a mixture of SHS track and AM switches. The BB ran fine but the Challenger intermittently stopped dead but responded OK to starting again, any ideas?

 

When I got it home and ran it on a dedicated large 20x6 oval it was fine, weird!

 

Neil

Well, maybe a bit less weird than one might think....

 

Apparently, the halting operation problem under TMCC and/or Legacy control is often a result of an unfortunate combination of a limited number of wheels providing continuity (See helpful comments above) and the AF Cruise control. The newer Flyer (U33b, Challenger, SD70ACe) with the AF Cruise speed control works on a back emf principle to provide feedback to the motor(s). Momentary interruptions in voltage due to track irregularities (dirt, faults at rail joiners, etc.) will result in the speed control dropping out momentarily. The combination of wheel continuity (the lack, thereof) and traction tire placement appears to acerbate the problem. Given the relatively long wheel bases of the engines in question, the occurrence of the problem is rather surprising. The ‘work around’ to the problem resides in correcting track work defects, and keeping the rails and all wheels clean.

 

The problem most often arises with sectional track systems – Gilbert’s, in particular, and SHS sectional track and switches on occasion. Those with track work with a minimum of rail joiners and nickel silver rail (e.g., flex track) are much less likely to experience the problem. Carl Tuveson has reported a power discontinuity problem with the SD70ACe while negotiating American Models turnouts with insulated frogs. As also noted above, he has posted on his web site a description of the required modification of the power trucks that eliminates the problem. A significant part of the modification involves making sprung the middle wheel set in the drive trucks.  Jon Zahornacky is aware of the shortcoming and informed me at York that a similar, revised power truck configuration should be found on future issues of the SD70ACe’s and ES44AC’s.

 

The Y3a has an added wrinkle associated with the intermittent interruption problem in that the engine shuts down with a momentary power interruption (with Odyssey 'on'), making necessary the readdressing of the locomotive, say by blowing the whistle, to continue motion. Whereas, the Challenger can soldier through a momentary power interruption, the Y3a is less likely to. Running faster will often preempt the interruption.

 

The Big Boy with Odyssey 2 cruise control and the Mikado and Pacific, which have no speed control, are not subject to the intermittent interruption problem. The BB has no serious conductivity issues and Odyssey is controlled by a magnet and sensor associated with a motor momentum flywheel in a fashion very similar to the O gauge Legacy models.

 

Mike Reagan has posted on the Lionel web site a lengthy discussion on old and modern power supplies, continuous vs. chopped sin wave power delivery, and the related relative influence on the new electronics. Many of you may find this interesting viewing. Mike has told me that early production 30B’s are more troublesome for operating the newest Flyer than are the later production units. As to why is not entirely clear to me because they are both half century old sin wave generators (In case one is interested, early production 30B’s have the metal AF badge attached with rivets on the front of the case, while the later production has the sticker badge).

 

Although Lionel is now offering several desirable new models, there are some apparent teething problems to be resolved. With a combination of track work adjustments and replacing the occasional troublesome section and turnout, one can manage to obtain very good operations. Personally, I do not mix traditional Gilbert locomotives with the newest L-AF locomotives on my layout (Gilbert track, Cab-2) because the vintage models with open frame three pole motors readily generate dirty track and rolling stock wheels. Mixing the newest AF with modern motive power fitted with can motors appears to be OK.

 

I may have missed something, but I believe that this is basically ‘the story’.

 

Bob

 
Last edited by Bob Bubeck May 28, 2013 7:26 PM
 
 
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May 29, 2013 9:21 AM

Hi Bob,

 

I just pulled my Challenger out to have a look at the settings for ODY and it is set correctly in the ODY position.

 

So I can only assume that the track is the problem in this situation. Is this a timing issue  that can be resolved by Lionel in the future by extending any intermittent loss of power so that it keeps it in motion?

 

Neil

 
 
 
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May 29, 2013 10:37 AM

Originally Posted by Ukaflyer:

Hi Bob,

 

I just pulled my Challenger out to have a look at the settings for ODY and it is set correctly in the ODY position.

 

So I can only assume that the track is the problem in this situation. Is this a timing issue  that can be resolved by Lionel in the future by extending any intermittent loss of power so that it keeps it in motion?

 

Neil

Neil,

 

Your primary recourse at this time is to improve the track work and keep it clean. The intermittent stalling occurs with AF Cruise 'on' or 'off'. Make sure that the rails are level at the joiners, that there are no hammer dents in the rail head of individual sections, etc. If you are in a position to do so, you might try some different transformers/power supplies in that Mike Reagan has brought up that variable for running the newest Flyer (post BB).

 

Your comment tends to suggest that a taller gear ratio would be helpful in the future. The Big Boy runs much more slowly than the Challenger does for a given speed step on Cab-2 giving the BB a finer speed setting range. As much as it is the less desirable model, the BB still appears to be the better operating and sounding of the two.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Bob

 
 
 
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May 29, 2013 12:18 PM

too all,

thank you for your responce to my questions. Yes this issue only happens in a curve section of track. Straight track is not an issue. I will look at my track again and connections from transformer to track. I did not mension that I use a loop circuit for my return back to the base post of my transformer, each section has been hard wired so that section of track voltage would be consistant.  What I did was wraped the track wire around the loop wire without soldering it. This loop wire is a solid piece of copper, 12awg. The problem maybe, the connection to the loop circuit,.... oxidiation on the copper wire over time will/may cause resistance between the track wiring???. This method has not been an issue while running my TMCC controlled Mike and BB I have.

 

Thanks again, 

 

John

 
 
 
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May 29, 2013 12:26 PM

Originally Posted by Bob Bubeck:
Originally Posted by Ukaflyer:

Hi Bob,

 

I just pulled my Challenger out to have a look at the settings for ODY and it is set correctly in the ODY position.

 

So I can only assume that the track is the problem in this situation. Is this a timing issue  that can be resolved by Lionel in the future by extending any intermittent loss of power so that it keeps it in motion?

 

Neil

Neil,

 

Your primary recourse at this time is to improve the track work and keep it clean. The intermittent stalling occurs with AF Cruise 'on' or 'off'. Make sure that the rails are level at the joiners, that there are no hammer dents in the rail head of individual sections, etc. If you are in a position to do so, you might try some different transformers/power supplies in that Mike Reagan has brought up that variable for running the newest Flyer (post BB).

 

Your comment tends to suggest that a lower gear ratio would be helpful in the future. The Big Boy runs much more slowly than the Challenger does for a given speed step on Cab-2 giving the BB a finer speed setting range. As much as it is the less desirable model, the BB still appears to be the better operating and sounding of the two.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Bob

Bob,

 

Yes, it makes a lot of sense now. The layout of my friend was an exhibition layout of about eight modules and I have to say that some of his joints at several boards was not always perfect and casting my mind back to when it stalled it does align with the board joins.

 

It is possible that I will be in a position in the future do some corrective work on the layout and then see what happens.

 

For power I am using a Lionel 180W brick connected to a 240/110 step down transformer. I also use a Lionel quick blow fuse in one of those silver track side cabinet thingies.

 

Apart from this quirkiness I really like the engine and how it performs here at home.

 

Regards,

 

Neil

 

 
 
 
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May 29, 2013 2:17 PM

Hi Neil,

Just wondering what voltage every one sets there transformers at when running with TMCC or Legecy? I know the book states nothing over 19 volts or you can damage the circuits. I turn my 30b's up to a max of 14 volts. I wonder if I push it up close to the 19 volts if this will solve my problem??? More power to the rails?? I'm going to measure the track voltage while my loco runs around at different locations on my layout. Maybe I can catch a drop in voltage near my curves in the layout.

 

John   

 
 
 
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May 29, 2013 2:38 PM

Originally Posted by Train485:

Hi Neil,

Just wondering what voltage every one sets there transformers at when running with TMCC or Legecy? I know the book states nothing over 19 volts or you can damage the circuits. I turn my 30b's up to a max of 14 volts. I wonder if I push it up close to the 19 volts if this will solve my problem??? More power to the rails?? I'm going to measure the track voltage while my loco runs around at different locations on my layout. Maybe I can catch a drop in voltage near my curves in the layout.

 

John   

Hi John,

 

For most of the time I use the Lionel 180W bricks which puts out a continuous voltage and I can't remember what it is now, possibly 18V?

 

There have been a few occasions when I have used a 30B (early version) or 18B-EX models and they seem to work fine when on the max voltage which I believe is about 16-17 volts. I can't see why you can't set your 30B to 14 volts as the motors are possibly 12V and the smoke unit operates at a lower voltage, so doesn't need to be high. I'm sure Bob can fill in where I am wrong. I don't think turning the voltage up will help as Bob is indicating that the problem lies within the track and I can now see that this is the correct diagnosis. I remember now when the engine stopped in roughly the same places and one that sicks out well was where there was a switch within 2-3 inches from a join of two boards and there were two other specific places it did the same. Perhaps you need to make a note of where it does it and carefully examine the track as Bob says for any irregularities .

 

Regards,

 

Neil

 
 
 
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May 30, 2013 12:03 AM

Hi Bob,

I thank you also for your responce. Great information on what to look for. My layout was built 14 years ago and have made some changes to it. The top of the rail looks fine. No hammer dents or bad rail pins between sections. All track is secure mounted on cork road bed. I do have a newer 30b and will try it. I also plan on suring up all my connections to each track circuit to eliminate any issues with the track. Depending on my run times mostly heavy running during the fall and winter months, I will send a track cleaning car around the layout a few times. Other than that, I service the engines according to the service manuals. I'll keep you all posted. 

 

John    

 
 
 
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June 1, 2013 9:11 AM

Some of your problems could be TMCC signal issues.

I couple the TMCC signal to both rails with .1uf capacitors.

If the locos runs better in one direction than the other then you have a signal issue for sure.

 

You will find that the newer locos may run better and will smoke better if run closer to 18 volts.

Since most smoke elements are 6-8 ohms and use a chopped regulated AC that measures 5-6.5 volts RMS a small increase in the track voltage makes the smoke regulator put out a few tenths of a volt more and that is all it takes to make more smoke. 

I was told that they like the "chopped AC" of modern transformers better than old pure sine wave transformer because the peak voltages are higher.

Carl

 
 
 
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June 1, 2013 4:52 PM

Originally Posted by Carl Tuveson:

Some of your problems could be TMCC signal issues.

I couple the TMCC signal to both rails with .01uf capacitors.

If the locos runs better in one direction than the other then you have a signal issue for sure.

 

You will find that the newer locos may run better and will smoke better if run closer to 18 volts.

Since most smoke elements are 6-8 ohms and use a chopped regulated AC that measures 5-6.5 volts RMS a small increase in the track voltage makes the smoke regulator put out a few tenths of a volt more and that is all it takes to make more smoke. 

I was told that they like the "chopped AC" of modern transformers better than old pure sine wave transformer because the peak voltages are higher.

Carl

Carl,

 

Is this 2 electrolytic caps in parralel with one end sharing the common signal and the other 2 ends going to respective rails? What voltage do you suggest using.

 

Neil

 
 
 
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June 1, 2013 6:40 PM

Neil,

 

They are small ceramic disk caps.

See instructions at: http://www.tuveson.com/TMCCSig...l__distributioni.htm 

 

It calls for .15 uf there but .1uf work just fine.

 

Carl

 
 
 
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June 5, 2013 7:12 AM

To all,

just an update.....after I completed my track connections, soldering the jumpers to each other instead of just rapping the wires together, I have found that the TMCC controlled rolling stock I have is running great. thanks again to all your responces.

John 

 
 
 
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June 5, 2013 9:28 AM

If you find the problem surfaces again on your Challenger it may have to back to Lionel. I had similar problems with my Challenger only on curves, at first only one direction but after a while both left and right. Sent it to Lionel for repair and it is good now.
Ray
 
 
 
Originally Posted by Train485:

To all,

just an update.....after I completed my track connections, soldering the jumpers to each other instead of just rapping the wires together, I have found that the TMCC controlled rolling stock I have is running great. thanks again to all your responces.

John 

 
 
 
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