ERR AC Commander problem _FIXED

I have ERR AC Commander installed in a Lionel PW 2343.  Also installed is a Sound Commander with the F3 chip.  Everything was working fine until a couple of days ago.  The locomotive was on a siding, idling, when I heard a series of static popping noises from the speaker followed by no sound.  I tried resetting the locomotive with no success.  The locomotive runs fine and the headlight works correctly in both directions but there are no sounds and no couplers.

I took everything apart but can see no obvious physical damage to any of the components.  I reassembled the pieces, one at a time.  Motor control works fine; headlight works fine; couplers (both) will not fire.  Finally I connected the sound board.  Still no sound so I tried raising the volume on the CAB2, nothing.  I used AUX1 plus the volume control, nothing.  I also tried a different speaker but still not luck.  Finally, I turned the volume pot on the sound board but still got nothing.  I did notice that after about 3 minutes the sound board was very hot – too hot to touch.

I think the problem may be the main board since it provides power for everything else.  I there a way to test this board?  Is there anyone who can repair this board?.

Thanks   

Dan

Original Post

Actually, the main board has nothing to do with the sound board power.  The RS Commander stands alone, and it'll run in conventional mode without any TMCC boards.

If it's getting hot, I'd say you might have connected the DC common of the RS Commander to frame ground, that's a no-no!

The fact that you just lost sound suggests that the RS Commander somehow whacked the serial data of the R4LC that is plugged into the AC Commander.

Thanks, John.  I have another R4LC so, I’ll try swapping that tomorrow.  You explanation tells me why the locomotive still runs fine.

George, I purchased the Commander from ERR early last year.  As I mentioned, I’ll swap the radio board tomorrow.  How would I determine if this is an older main board, assuming that the swap doesn’t work?

Dan

I guess I am confused by your statement of main board, and F3 chip and Sound CDR terminology.  The current RS by ERR is like the Lionel Lite sounds board.  One integrated board.  The older Sound CDR used a powered motherboard with a RS 4.0 board that connected to it.  So it was a 2 piece board.  Where as Lionel RS4.0 was 3 pieces.  RS, PS and MB.

As John states swap R4LC, if the Reset did not restore features.  That should get you couplers back.  If the Sounds are Dead, I am sure the RS board if single board is dead.  Slim chance of fixing that, even if you know what to look for.  G

MTH Authorized Service Center

Authorized ERR Dealer

Lionel Independent Repair Tech

Virginia Train Collectors Member

I've fixed a couple of them, and have a few dead ones in my junk box.  If you're installing the single board unit, you have to be aware that you can NOT use chassis ground for anything but the buffered serial data signal and of course the board power.  The ones I've fixed have had a blown bridge rectifier right at the power input from grounding the wrong pin.  Don't know what happened to the dead and remaining dead ones, but they didn't have the bridge issue.

I switched the R4LC board with another known working board and got the same results.  The locomotive runs but no couplers, no sounds and the Railsounds board gets hot pretty quickly.

The AC/DC Commander board is marked V5.2 but has a white label partially over it marked AC 7.0,

The radio board is an R4LC C08-S1.

The Railsounds board is 691-RS0E-A00 Rev 4 and the sound set is for the F3.

From the direction of the discussion, I think I need a new AC/DC Commander and, possibly, a new Railsounds board, unless either John or George think it is repairable.

Thanks for your help.

Dan

Without seeing it, it's hard to say, but I suspect at least the AC Commander and R4LC boards are repairable.  Did you zap the second R4LC by sticking it into this rig?

Actually I tested all 3 R4LC’s in another locomotive and everything works fine.  So, I guess I need a new AC/DC Commander.  I’ll wait on the Railsounds card and fix one problem at a time.

Thanks for your help, John.

Dan

Did you test the AC Commander with no sound card attached?  Since the couplers only go right through the PCB from the R4LC, it's hard to imagine how they don't work if the R4LC works.  I've truthfully never seen that before.

RS Definitely bad, and I assume you disconnected power from it when you tested R4LC in the bad engine.  Any signs of trace damage on AC CDR?  G

MTH Authorized Service Center

Authorized ERR Dealer

Lionel Independent Repair Tech

Virginia Train Collectors Member

Yep, if the RS Commander is getting hot, that's a very bad sign.  Like George says, check the traces on both sides of the AC Commander for any damage.  Usually, the little triacs on the R4LC go before any trace damage, but there's always a first time.

Thanks, John.

I examined the AC CDR, physically, and can see nothing wrong.  Traces appear to be undamaged and there is no visible damage to any of the components.  I attached a spare coil coupler directly to the board and a spare light bulb,

Back to the track, the locomotive starts and runs very well.  The lights are changing with directions and the coupler does fire correctly.  I guess this means that the Railsounds card has bought the farm.  Fortunately, I see that 3rd Rail has them in stock.

Thanks to John and George for your help.

 

Dan

Yep, it was hard to square the symptoms you were seeing with no visible damage to the AC Commander.  For sure the RS card is toast if it's getting hot, that is almost 100% certain to be an internal issue.  However, it could have been caused by something like a grounded speaker lead or another signal getting to frame ground, that's a no-no with the new RS boards.

If you just power the RS board up with nothing but the one power/ground connection, does it still get hot?  It may yet be OK.

John, I will try powering up the RS board with nothing connected.  I'll let you know what happens.  The coupler problem appears to have been a bad solder joint which I have corrected.  The overall problem could, certainty, have been a bad connection somewhere.  Surprisingly, there is not much room inside an F3 shell when you begin stuffing with the boards and a speaker.

Thanks again, you guys have been great in helping me work through this.

Dan

If the RS board doesn't get hot, then try connecting a speaker (outside the loco with no possibility of any shorts).  If the RS board is alive, you should get sound, it will start in conventional mode.

Final update.  Reassembled the AC CDR without the RS card; lights, couplers and motors are working correctly.

The output voltage from the CDR to the RS card measures as track voltage (about 18v).  Plugging the RS card into an 18vac power source, the board begins to heat up particularly in the area of the power feed and the bridge rectifier next to it.  After about 2 minutes the temperature at the rectifier measured 145F.  With a speaker plugged in there is absolutely no sound, not even static, but the temperature climbed very quickly (less than 1 minute) to 145F and beyond, so I unplugged it.

I will be placing an order with 3rd Rail for a replacement RS card.

Thanks for your help.

Dan

The replacement RS board arrived last night.  Compliments to Sunset/3rd Rail  I ordered this board Thursday evening and it arrived on Monday.

With the new board in, everything is working.

Thanks, again to John and George for helping me solve the problem.

Dan

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