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So I'm going to take the plunge into ERR. I just purchased a Lionel Santa Fe F3 AA Set (6-18177) and plan to upgrade it to ERR with sound. The powered unit has twin pull-mor motors.

Looking at the ERR site- I will need the AC Commander kit and the railsounds kit. The installation instructions look pretty straight forward but I wanted to check in with the experts. No smoke or electro-couplers for now, but I'd like to use the outputs for directional lighting and will convert to LED's.

I am good at making my own mistakes, I figure I can learn from other's before I make the same ones.

I run with a Cab1-L system.

Lionel ATSF F3.1

Thanks,

Bob

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  • Lionel ATSF F3.1
Last edited by RSJB18
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For LED's, put a 470 ohm resistor in series with the lighting outputs, and note that the frame is positive for the LED connection.  Make sure you use the 1uf NP caps across the brushes of the motors.

Thanks John- I saw the caps listed in the wiring instructions. I'm sure I'll have more questions but I think I got this.

@martind posted:

Bob,

   It's pretty easy, just follow the directions and bundle your wires so that they do not get pinched when you put the shell on.

Marty

I'm a licensed electrician- wire management is in my blood.....

Bob

I have not done any AC commanders, I am converting all of my pullmor to can motors and doing Cruise Commanders.

I am on number 18 ERR upgrade and find it very relaxing, my only snafu so far has been a camelback that refuses to accept data, even with GRJ data kit. The Diesels have all been straight forward (14 of those converted so far, a mix of Williams, Weaver, proto 1 and Lionel).

@Ron_S posted:

I have not done any AC commanders, I am converting all of my pullmor to can motors and doing Cruise Commanders.

I am on number 18 ERR upgrade and find it very relaxing, my only snafu so far has been a camelback that refuses to accept data, even with GRJ data kit. The Diesels have all been straight forward (14 of those converted so far, a mix of Williams, Weaver, proto 1 and Lionel).

I'll stick with the pullmor's on this one. I have a bunch of PS-1's that will get upgraded eventually too.

As fate would have it, I snagged a couple of boards from a forum member last week. I picked up an AC commander and a mini commander with sound board. I think I will do the MC in one of my BEEPs first. I'm still debating swapping the pullmor's for can motors in the F3's. Waiting to here back from Frank at Timko.

I have @gunrunnerjohn 's post on doing a BEEP upgrade bookmarked. I will follow his lead.

Bob

2021-10-20 13.54.462021-10-20 13.54.51

2021-08-27 19.51.30

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Last edited by RSJB18

I started working on the board install yesterday. All was going fine until I tested the engine. Nothing, squat, bupkis!
I set the switch to "run", and was expecting it to run in manual off the transformer, I checked the wiring and all was correct so I decided to leave it for the evening.
As I was pondering what may be wrong, besides a fried board, I realized that my Cab 1L base was powered on and the board saw the TMCC signal and was waiting for the start up command. The board had probably been programmed by the previous owner and wouldn't work until I reprogrammed it with my remote.
Sometimes waiting and sleeping on stuff pays off. I put it on the track this afternoon in program mode and ENG/1/DIR later......IT'S ALIVE! After confirming that the basic functions work, I connected the sound board and tested it. Also a success!
Next steps are to get the lighting set up. I'm going to use LED's for the headlights and markers. I may get a strobe for the hood as well. Following GRJ's instructions, I need to order some 470 ohm resistors, and more LED's.

Bob

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2021-10-31 16.19.28
2021-10-31 17.10.06
Last edited by RSJB18
@RSJB18 posted:

I started working on the board install yesterday. All was going fine until I tested the engine. Nothing, squat, bupkis!
I set the switch to "run", and was expecting it to run in manual off the transformer, I checked the wiring and all was correct so I decided to leave it for the evening.
As I was pondering what may be wrong, besides a fried board, I realized that my Cab 1L base was powered on and the board saw the TMCC signal and was waiting for the start up command. The board had probably been programmed by the previous owner and wouldn't work until I reprogrammed it with my remote.
Sometimes waiting and sleeping on stuff pays off. I put it on the track this afternoon in program mode and ENG/1/DIR later......IT'S ALIVE! After confirming that the basic functions work, I connected the sound board and tested it. Also a success!
Next steps are to get the lighting set up. I'm going to use LED's for the headlights and markers. I may get a strobe for the hood as well. Following GRJ's instructions, I need to order some 470 ohm resistors, and more LED's.

Bob

Great horn!

@BillYo414 posted:

The actual upgrade is easy enough. The instructions were good and I felt like a dummy for ever doubting myself.

But MAN did I bungle the wire organizing part. I didn't do any planning. I just figured I would figure it out as I go but that is not how it went down. I have another engine to upgrade and figuring out where the wires go will top priority.

I usually use wire nuts when starting out. Then test to be sure I did everything correctly. Once I’m happy with the results, which includes wire routing,  I either solder and heat shrink tube the connections or twist the wires together and use heat shrink as the wire nut. Heat shrink takes up a lot less space. It just depends what kind of mood I’m in whether I solder and heat shrink or just heat shrink.
Steve

Making more progress

First I had to fix a problem with the rollers. The original rollers are full width and the edges were shorting on my 027 switches. Some time on the grinder solved the problem for the most part. Still some fine tuning to do.

First pass

2021-11-09 19.44.44

Final product

2021-11-09 20.44.25

I picked up the parts I needed for the lighting upgrade. I'm converting to WW led's for directional head lights. Also adding separate number board lights. As per GRJ's wiring diagram, I added 470 ohm resistors to the output side of the led.

The 3mm led's fit perfectly in the headlight holes in the shell. I will add some barriers to control the spill over. One board down, one to go.

2021-11-09 20.46.272021-11-11 21.03.40

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@Jay Francis posted:

That is a great looking outcome Bob. As with your other endeavors; impressive!

Thank you Jay. I'm having fun with this project. Hopefully the outcome will be as satisfying.

A quick update- I needed some smaller diameter heat shrink than what I had on hand. I went by our local Micro Center yesterday, (about the closest thing to Radio Shack today). They have a decent Maker and STEM area that is relatively well stocked. First I picked up a nice assortment set, a little pricey at $20. I also grabbed some 220 ohm resistors, and some short jumper wires that fit on the pins for the couplers on ERR boards.

Then I thought about getting a heat gun for the heat shrink. I usually use a lighter to shrink tubing but when working near other components, that can be a little dicey.  I found one for $25 and then saw another with the same set of tubes I had in hand with a gun for $30.00. A win all around. A couple of new tips for my soldering iron came along for the ride too.

2021-11-15 20.37.382021-11-15 20.37.422021-11-15 20.37.452021-11-15 20.38.20

I also tried making a wiring harness. Need to fine tune it a bit but this will work.

2021-11-15 20.56.072021-11-15 20.56.30

Bob

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@Mark Boyce posted:

Bob, nice wiring harness.  I haven’t done that in ages.  We don’t have any store like you were in.  Though I’m glad I don’t live on Long Island 😉

On most of my builds I have to build harnesses.  I typically use JST-EH connectors, though they're in short supply right now.  Since the JST-XH are similar size and available, I'm using them nowadays.

I never make a build where the shell can't be totally separated from the chassis.  If you don't do that, it makes it a PITA to do maintenance.  I also add a harness to the smoke unit so you can remove it for service.

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