I am working on an ERR upgrade to this conventional unit.  There are two existing wires that run to the each of the trucks.  A blk/wht and a solid blk.  I assume one is coupler and one is roller pickup.  Unfortunately, I can only see the wires running to a harness that is plugged into the truck.  I can get no indication as to which wire is pickup roller and which is coupler.  Any idea which is which?




Original Post

Blk/white is usually the pickup rollers. They usually go to either a wire nut or to black 2 pin mini molex connectors with red black via a solder connection covered with shrink wrap.


Well done!  Not knowing basic electrical, I had a buddy suggest testing continuity to the roller pickup between the choice of the wires.  Blk/wht registered zero while the solid black gave no reading.  I assume I cannot count on the always being the case though???



The colors are all over the map, I've seen red, gray, and the striped black in the last week.  K-Line even had some that had black for center roller and red for wheels!

Use the meter, that's how to be sure.

OK.  Command and sounds are installed in this and running well.  Interestingly, when I went to hook up the couplers, there is only one wire.  This did not hit me until I went to hook them up.  There is a two wire connector for the ERR board.  I assume Lionel has the couplers grounded through the frame?  Any suggestions on which post on the ERR to hook up the lone wire ( or maybe I need newer couplers)?

Also, once again... the lights.  This is now my 5th ERR install.  2 Williams, 1 Sunset, 1 MTH and now this Lionel.  I have been disappointed that, although all have had LEDs available, I so far have been advised against being able to hook these to the ERR board.  I am baffled that they did not design the ERR light hookups to accept LEDs.  So... is that really correct or can I run these to the front and rear light hook ups?  In this case specifically, the Lionel body has a wiring harness, 1 black, 1 red and 2 purple.  If I am allowed to use this set up, what goes where on the ERR board?

Thanks again!


Your ohmmeter is your friend.  I confess, I don't remember which pin is ground on the coupler connection, but it's easy to find out, just meter it to the ground connection on the larger 4-terminal connector strip.

I don't know why someone advised you to not use LED's, I rarely do an ERR install without using LED lighting!  Add a 470 ohm 1/4w resistor in series with the LED and run the positive side to ground the negative side to the lighting output.

As far as the specific Lionel wiring, I'd have to see it.  Since I'm pretty sure the DERU reverse unit puts out AC voltage not compatible with LED's, I wonder if the wiring harness already accommodates the voltages from the ERR board.


I am baffled on the Lionel electrocouplers not working with the ERR unit.  Again, there are only 2 wires coming from the trucks.  One is definitely the roller pickup.  I assumed the other would be for the coupler and somehow the other end of the coupler would be grounded through the truck (the only way I could explain one wire).  Nothing I have tried will fire the coupler. 

I installed a brand new set on the previous diesel I did and it went without a hitch.  I was hoping to use the existing couplers on this one not only to avoid dropping another $40 on couplers, but coupler replacement on this one doesn't look to be exactly easy.   Any ideas here?


Clearly, it's time for a physical inspection, because I have no idea what you're looking at.  Lionel electrocouplers have two wires, and they don't ground them at the truck.  If you don't have two wires, I'd go looking to see what you have under there.

As far as I know, the conventional H16-44's like the 6-18385 did not come with electrocouplers.  The two wires from the trucks would then be pickup rollers and common (outside rails) from the wheels via the truck block.  Are you sure the couplers aren't regular magnetic operating couplers with a pull down disc on them somewhere? 

You know fellas, the box listed electrocouplers and when looked up on the Lionel site I think it lists them as well...  but I think it's the only thing that makes sense with it having just one wire.  I assumed... and look what happens.




If I would have put my glasses on and looked at the couplers I would have seen the dang magnet button.  Sorry I wasted everyone's time.  There's my DAUHRrrrrrr for the week... hopefully.

So, being that those "extra" wires from the trucks show continuity to the wheels, should I tie those two wires together?  It works right now without.


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