So against my better judgement I found our issues of smoke fluid pooling up along the walkway of the new VL Challenger. Honestly the correct fix is a correctly engineered (or at least produced as engineered) funnel. While it seams that they tried to epoxy the funnel together. There magical is a hole by both screws that holds the funnel and PCB to the  Reservoir. Anyone have a bright idea to seal this up correctly. High temp silicone comes to mind but that most definitely will not end well.  BBE82C87-C929-4EF4-9B27-5E665FDC17199B9C21F6-168D-444A-A8A9-61BF2C69156B

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Well, that is a new one on me. Is that how it came from the factory? Or have you sent it in for repairs? Either way, that is a seriously odd way to deal with the funnel.

I don’t really understand the point of the rectangular opening shown in your picture, unless it is meant somehow to ensure smoke fluid flows through the funnel into the smoke unit. But the dynamo smoke would inevitably escape through there. 

To seal it I think I’d cut a piece of thin sheet metal to fit over it and fix it down with gasket sealant, which resists solvents and oil, or JB Weld epoxy. I have used JB Weld to plug holes in the top of smoke units as it is meant to be heat and solvent-proof. So far I have had no instance of that failing but my engines do not get a lot of run time.

I would recommend Alex M on this forum he is a great Lionel repairman and I'll bet he can tell you the best and safest way to fix this issue! change your forum header to attention Alex M. and I'll bet he responds quickly! plus he does live videos so how to repair engine on this forum!

Alan

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That’s kinda what I was thinking. To me it looks like that this funnel is a modified version of the 2010 funnel witch was not perfect at at least didn’t SOAK your electronics. I’ve removed the funnel from the unit it seam hole wise that they just went too far. I think they put the holes to get it to sit flat on the new smoke unit with thermistors. I’ll get some more pictures later. Still very odd, this particular locomotive has already been in for the sound update so I don’t know if they did anything to it then. I mentioned It to them and they only said they updated the sound files. 

The thermistor is meant to sit inside the smoke wadding and as this funnel sits above the PCB under which the thermistor is mounted, I can't see that there needs to be a hole to allow for it. But there might be something else on the top of the PCB that the hole is meant to accommodate.

Anyway, I concur that @Alex M is a superb repairer of even the most elaborate Lionel engines and I hope he will comment on this issue.

Ok I must apologize I got the funnel off and looked at it closer tonight and that hole doesn’t go all the way through. So now only thing I can think of is the lack of an actual gasket where the funnel comes together. I’m really think of trying some high temp silicone first cause I can always get that back off and see if that helps. Any other ideas? I also wanted to explain what I meant earlier. The funnel has cutouts to avoid the pads for the element not the thermistor like I thought at first. 438C89B4-77AE-4E9D-90F8-B2E37CDCF1E4C269AF32-AE9D-44E7-8BA4-0917A42C8519650256FB-0F72-4208-BA47-8B9264A339EFC0B05878-239B-4E25-8CDE-EDA017755788

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That is a factory seal. 

A few  questions ... 

How many drops are you putting in at a time ?

Are you blowing down the stack very hard once you've added the smoke fluid ? 

Are you using the funnel supplied ? 

 

Thanks, Alex

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I'd look for some high temperature RTV to seal the sides.  Be careful not to over-do it and block the airflow inside the funnel.  I've tinkered with the similar designs on older locomotives, and sometimes I've routed out the passages for better airflow.

Alex M posted:

That is a factory seal. 

A few  questions ... 

How many drops are you putting in at a time ?

Are you blowing down the stack very hard once you've added the smoke fluid ? 

Are you using the funnel supplied ? 

 

Thanks, Alex

Alex,

I always put in the usual 20 drops when I fill it and I usually just let it sit for a while to allow the fluid time to get in the unit. If I do blow down it I usually do it pretty light so it doesn’t jump down the injector tube. I always use the funnel (I’d make a terrible mess without it). I’ve seen two other challengers that has the same issue. I’ve been kinda ignoring it but I know it’s just going to lead to frying a board. 

Zachariah, I feel your concern (I think I hijacked one of your threads in Spring of 2018 on smoke units).  Messed up my Big Boy by either overflowing smoke units onto the boards or overheating by not feeding them enough - result, frying an RCMC that Mike R. repaired along with all smoke units - see https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...45#79142442594295045

I take an interest in threads involving smoke units.  Got a lot of info from 'laidoffsick's' threads: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRcpFRtA6IY    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1asUWbJtfok

 

RickM46

And now it starts.

I'm surprised that smoke fluid could harm a PCB. I get no conductivity at all when I put the Fluke meter probes almost touching in smoke fluid. Tap water gives about 10K. Distilled water around 11 megohms or more. Smoke fluid doesn't show any conductance. Back in the Big Boy smoke fluid drowning was Lionel saying the fluid lifts traces or what?

Chuck TCA LCCA ARRL BMWMOA

I'm a little surprised it does immediate damage.  What I can tell you is, wire insulation exposed to smoke fluid for long periods tends to make the insulation brittle.  I've had a number of boards inundated with smoke fluid, and after an alcohol bath they were as good as new.  I don't know if it's a universal cure, but it's worked for me.

With my post above; smoke fluid causing the failure of my RCMC was a guess; my apologies; as is obvious, I know 0 about electronics; been gun shy of overfilling smoke units since.  GRJ, when you say alcohol bath, do you mean just swabbing the board with a cloth or Qtip?

RickM46

And now it starts.

Ok this is where I’m at on this. I really wanted to blame the funnel or something inside but after resealing everything with high temp RTV and one refill it still pools up. What I did discover is it does seam that the funnel does not sit very level on the unit (see pictures) plus with what I’ve seen currently is it seams as if you don’t get ALL of the fluid in the unit it’ll come up the dynamo and hug a ring on the boiler jacketing to the walkway. So I believe what Mr. Rowlen mentioned a while back about tiling the locomotive forward after fill is your best option if this is a issue for you. I will say that this time around it did seam to be not as big of a pool. As other than a inconvenient mess with the information mentioned earlier I should technically be at no risk for a short. 

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RickM46 posted:

So, is the whole reservoir too tall requiring the fill to be tilted downward to fit into the stack?  If the funnel could be made level would it still fit into the stack?

 I’m not sure. To be honest the funnel is pretty messed up. The two pieces don’t even fit together well. That’s why from the factory it was sealed with epoxy. 

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