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I won an auction for a #421 0-8-0 Lion Chief engine with remote last January for a good price. It had no Lionchief board so I waited until November to catch the ½ price sale. Got my board from Lionel pretty quick, plugged it in and found everything worked except for the goforth and comeyonder twisty knob had no effect - no forward, no reverse. RMA’d it back to Lionel, finally got the new one today, plugged it in and … perfect. Ran it around the small oval for a good 10 minutes, puffing smoke, going hither and yon, talking guys on board were yakking and the clang, clang thing worked. Then I put it in reverse, got goin’ a bit too fast and ZAP! Derailment, tripped breaker, now have a short every time I put the engine on the tracks. So is 10 minutes a record for smoking (or desmoking) a board?

I took the board out, ohmed the MOSFETs, found two of them dead shorted (one each, FR024N and FR5305) and had to remove (desolder) the daughter board the MOSFETs were mounted on just to get to them, then removed them. Unfortunately, in my haste I forgot to note where each of them went ………………. my usual. So basically I have a 50/50 chance of putting new ones in the correct spots…. Pretty sure I know, but maybe I should order extras in case I get it wrong!

So here’s my question – anybody got a Lion Chief board, good or bad they could photograph or at least look at and tell me if the daughter board looks like this:

IMG_4368 annotated(parts temporarily replaced for photos)

or like this:

IMG_4373 annotated

Or if you have one that is known bad, and are willing to part with it for a nominal fee, let me know! Email is in my profile.

One last thought, if you want to see just how old and shaky you’re getting, try desoldering and resoldering a few surface mount components without causing any collateral damage!! It was touch n go, but I got lucky, this was one of my steadier nights, so no other parts were harmed during the surgery!

So..... these things don't happen to Conventional engines!!!

Thanks for reading my adventure story!

George

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  • IMG_4368 annotated
  • IMG_4373 annotated
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Yes indeed Jon, it is a project!!! I determined the correct location for the MOSFET power transistors I received, installed them, powered up, and dang near burned 'em up again because the motor was stalled!!! How could it be stalled??? When I set the whole thing in a project bin, waiting on the transistors, the motor had been running fine!!!!

So I took the motor apart and sho nuff, windings were everywhere!! They weren't burned wires, they were simply loose wires, all jammed up between the rotor and the magnets (field). How does that happen!?!?!?

I placed an order to Lionel this morning for a new motor and a new wheel - I discovered a wee glitch with one of the middle (non-flanged) wheels where somebody had driven the side-rod screw home with a mighty wrench, and although tight, it was now noticeably crooked and causing a tiny hitch in the get-along!

It's beginning to feel like I'm being tested to see just how much $$$$ I'm willing to throw at this little starter set engine. Logic says I should have been through a while back, but the stubborn side just keeps chugging along .........

George

Last edited by GeoPeg
@KOOLjock1 posted:

And just to be clear: he bought a “project” to begin with.

Jon

Yeah. When I saw his opening two sentences, it was a foregone conclusion that he was going to be talking about having some kind of problem.

"I won an auction for a #421 0-8-0 Lion Chief engine with remote last January for a good price. It had no Lionchief board so I waited until November to catch the ½ price sale."

("won an auction" + "for a good price" + "had no Lionchief board" = red flag)

Last edited by breezinup
@breezinup posted:

Yeah. When I saw his opening two sentences, it was a foregone conclusion that he was going to be talking about having some kind of problem.

"I won an auction for a #421 0-8-0 Lion Chief engine with remote last January for a good price. It had no Lionchief board so I waited until November to catch the ½ price sale."

("won an auction" + "for a good price" + "had no Lionchief board" = red flag)

Ain't that the truth!!

You obviously missed the movie "The Money Pit".  So, with that oversight, you get to live it in real time!

Actually, I have seen that movie a couple of times, and I thought about it shortly after my first parts purchase. Since then, I have modified my approach to include ONLY PW CONVENTIONAL TRAINS when I buy from the auction sites. And I am very conservative in parts purchases, reusing old parts I have collected, scrounged, etc. I also ask myself before I buy a "Repair or Parts" engine, what a working engine of the same type would cost. That has cut down my purchases to near nothing!!!

George

Conventional control trains have fewer components to fail, probably in the single or double digits.  Go to modern Lion Chief, etc. trains that do it all, and the chance of something failing is in the thousands at least.  If you are one to have to have everything perfect and every little light work etc. you are in for a frustrating time.

Conventional trains are also easier to diagnose and repair by the average train Joe whereas modern train gear is mostly for expensive experts to repair.

Charlie

Conventional control trains have fewer components to fail, probably in the single or double digits.  Go to modern Lion Chief, etc. trains that do it all, and the chance of something failing is in the thousands at least.  If you are one to have to have everything perfect and every little light work etc. you are in for a frustrating time.

Conventional trains are also easier to diagnose and repair by the average train Joe whereas modern train gear is mostly for expensive experts to repair.

Charlie

Charlie, I still enjoy making old things work like new, cleaning rust, repainting, etc., so you KNOW where I'm at!

Still waiting on my motor and wheel!

George

After seeing some of my locomotives take off like jack rabbits courtesy of the newer transformers with higher start up voltages, I bought a Cab 1 and Powermaster to fine tune the acceleration and deceleration of my conventional items... and that’s about all the technology I care to have when it comes to my trains: as Charlie noted above, troubleshooting and repairing conventional trains shouldn’t require an advanced electronics degree with a minor in programming

Just to put a close to this, the motor and wheel arrived, and because I failed to note the relative position of the red/blk wires soldered to the motor, it was a 50/50 crap shoot as to whether it would go forward or backward when I advanced the speed knob at the first power-up …. I got lucky!! The new wheel went on smoothly and now has a straight screw holding the linkage gizmo to the wheel boss. Reinstalled the board (and everything else) and gave it a quick run – everything works! Sound, lights, back-n-forth, talking stuff – all of it!

But the smoke was kind of anemic. So I popped the top on the smoker – yep, crispy critter stuff inside. Did a quick read on OGR to see what others have been using, and although some pretty nifty ideas are being thrown around, I settled for the fiberglass pipe wrap that GRJ uses – it was cheap and I had it in hand same day! I crammed the glass wool into the little smoker and reassembled everything (again) and gave it another run – smokes great now. Finally … Done!

Whoops! Forgot to reinstall my add-on TVS diode I removed temporarily, guess I gotta open it up again!

It’s a cute little switcher now, and is in good shape cosmetically. But you can stick a fork in me, cuz I’m done on this one! Notwithstanding all that, I had a lot of fun, and fortunately can still laugh at my goofy mistakes!

George

One final, final note: for those of you who happen to be lucky enough to own a Lionel #91 postwar circuit breaker (yes Virginia, there is also a #91 prewar circuit breaker, and they are NOT the same animal) and you drive LionChief engines around your layout, here’s a tip. If you have a small derailment and you set things back on the track, but the engine does funny stuff like this you probably didn’t break anything, just reach over and reset your breaker. All will be right with the world, hopefully. The good news is that nothing blew up as a result of that derailment - perhaps my newly added TVS device worked!!!

I spent around an hour-and-a-half troubleshooting that weird sounding problem last night, before I logically deduced the nature of the cause. I’ll spare you all the gory troubleshooting details, suffice it to say I didn’t have to spend any more money – yay!!!!



George

Last edited by GeoPeg

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