Once again, with the smoke regulator, the R4LC doesn't get involved in the smoke heater operation at all.  I suppose since the R4LC receives the serial data it might affect it, but I'd think it would also affect sounds, chuffing, etc.

Just a couple of thoughts here as I have been following this.

Could the issue be poor continuity in the on/off switch to the voltage reg board?  Could it be limiting the current available to generate the correct amount of heat?  I would try to jumper the smoke on/off switch to eliminate this as a possible cause.

Also, wasn't there a change in where the on/off switch was placed in the circuit over the years?  I seem to recall the smoke on/off switch used to be in the brown/black + wire going to the smoke unit.  In latter engines, the switch was installed in the red + power feed to the voltage regulator.  Should not make a difference, unless the smoke switch is off and the voltage regulator was being used for some other power needs.

I'm still racking my brain as to why there is full smoke when boosting power to the smoke unit and then it returns very little smoke when you stop pressing the smoke boost button.  Isn't there a setting for high, medium or low smoke output?  I would have to confirm this setting gets reset with an engine reset as I have never tested. Does it matter if you use a Legacy or Cab-1 to make the smoke level changes?  I have had times when I had to use one controller vs the other to get things back to "normal".

I would also agree that the smoke unit needs to be tuned.  I have had issues with the batting obstructing the air flow too much, causing poor smoke output.

John, If I am correct, the voltage regulator board accepts the boost smoke signal and then puts out more volts to the smoke unit.  Could you confirm this?  The other possibility is the voltage reg board is controlling/limiting the current.  Again, I have never tested this to confirm.  I have never had a voltage reg board fail like this.  It was either all or nothing.

Dave

Dave G.

I've seen a number of different failures.  When they're working properly, they step up from "low-medium-high" when you press the smoke key repeatedly.  There's no "boost" like in TMCC, any boost is applied automatically by the Legacy logic.  Somewhere there is a chart that I believe Mike Reagan posted once that showed the sequencing of the Legacy smoke operation.  At each upward step there was a brief automatic "boost" before it settled at the new setting.  If the smoke regulator is doing what I've seen some of them do, it may be forgetting the "high" setting and when you step back up it's applying the high boost momentarily.

FWIW, the Legacy smoke units also respond to the TMCC regulator key sequences, might be useful to try those and see what happens.

AUX1, AUX2, 9, H, then AUX2 again to save the setting.  This sets the smoke volume to high.   
The L,M,H, buttons are the momentum buttons at the bottom of the remote, they also select smoke volume.


Setting smoke volume on TMCC locomotives with smoke regulator.

- AUX1
- AUX2
- 9
- <vol> (see below)
- AUX2

<vol> is the smoke volume setting, L, M, or H.  The L,M,H, buttons are the momentum buttons at the bottom of the remote, they also select smoke volume.  
When you're done, you will probably want to set the momentum back to your desired setting as setting the smoke volume affects that too.

Thanks for the reply Dave, I'm thinking if the on / off switch is limiting voltage I would not get all that smoke when I'm pressing the button for more boost, I did rebuild the smoke unit, if I want I can smoke me right out of the room.

I tried the TMCC settings, just stays on low smoke no matter what I do, no boost, no nothing. Maybe I should have mention this before, as soon as you turn track power on the resistor comes on (low)  you can turn it off at the controller or the switch under the cab it will shut down, I have some TMCC engines that do the same thing, so I thought nothing of it. I ordered another regulator, but what bothers me is the old regulator did the same thing, it had low smoke all the time, I did not try to push the more smoke button repeatedly so I don't know what would have happen. I bought the engine used, it's very nice, but who knows what happen in it's other life, maybe that's why they sold it.

Artson posted:

Maybe I should have mention this before, as soon as you turn track power on the resistor comes on (low)  you can turn it off at the controller or the switch under the cab it will shut down, I have some TMCC engines that do the same thing, so I thought nothing of it. I ordered another regulator, but what bothers me is the old regulator did the same thing, it had low smoke all the time, I did not try to push the more smoke button repeatedly so I don't know what would have happen. I bought the engine used, it's very nice, but who knows what happen in it's other life, maybe that's why they sold it.

I believe that the low smoke on start up is characteristic of TMCC and early Legacy. I forgot about this until I recently got a TMCC engine where the smoke remained on even after a shutdown; I always had to shutdown the smoke manually separate from the Railsounds system. My early Legacy FEF-3, with the same smoke unit as yours, behaves just like this. The smoke is on whenever the engine is on a powered track. By that I mean that there is power to the heater; the fan does not run until the engine moves.

As GRJ is saying that the AC Regulator is not retaining the smoke settings I can't second guess that. Why this is the case - well, that is another matter. I do know the chart he is referring to; I believe it is duplicated/explained in one of Mike Reagan's smoke unit videos. Even if your engine is used, any original defect or one created by use should be capable of diagnosis. The smoke units themselves are not rocket science.

What I certainly didn't remember is the command sequence GRJ sets out above for adjusting smoke settings. It would be worth trying those.

Failing that, maybe a new regulator will cure this issue. I hope so. I have seen so many variations of Lionel smoke units that honestly it is bewildering to try to figure them out. This is where I wish Lionel would explain, or have already explained, somewhere how the different variations actually function, particularly as they won't do repairs themselves any more.

Like I said before I have a new regulator ordered, JGR, keeps saying about having the wiring correct, (he's right) so I went back (again) with the help of the wiring diagram,  (thank you) and not knowing anything about electronics I can only tell you what I saw,  the black wire or wires go to frame ground, the red goes to the on / off switch, the black and brown goes to the smoke unit, and the brown goes to a yellow wire nut which also contains two blue and one purple and white, one blue goes to a 3 prong plug on the mother board with the R4LC RCVR BRD attached to it, next to that plug is j4, grd /grd ser, the other blue goes to a 10 pin plug on the DCDS-J motor driver board with j4 next to it and the purple and white looks like it goes to the I.R. transmitter, this is the way the old regulator was wired, I did not change it, if you think this is correct I'll wire the second new regulator the same way.

For my part, I can’t see any problem with your wiring. In my case, the first time I replaced an AC regulator for a smoke unit of this kind I checked the original wiring and spliced into that after I had checked what to do with Mike Reagan, which only happened after I had looked at various diagrams. It worked and that repair has held good for 8 years although only with intermittent running time. 

I hope this cures your problem!

The regulator wiring sure sounds correct.  FWIW, the smoke regulator SHOULD remember the last smoke settings.  As stated previously, the smoke unit is actually energized by a pulsing current whenever the power is on the track, even if you have previously turned smoke off using the TMCC remote.  Obviously, if you turn smoke off with the physical smoke switch, that no longer happens.  Whenever you turn smoke off using the TMCC remote, the smoke reverts to the pulsing action.

In a disappointing test, I actually tested a new smoke regulator, 691-ACRG-E01 - AC REG BOARD / GENERIC.  The smoke on/off works fine, however the smoke volume settings don't appear to function at all. 

For my testing, I put a 5W 10 ohm resistor as a load on the test set, it was sitting at around 120C +/- a few degrees at idle with the smoke off and the smoke regulator pulsing the smoke resistor voltage, the temperature drifts up and down several degrees as it runs.  Note that the temperatures I'm reading have no real relationship to what you'd actually see in a smoke unit, I just want relative readings based on the smoke settings.  I'm reading the resistor temperature with a Type-K thermocouple clipped to the resistor.

I used the smoke volume controls to set low smoke, AUX1, AUX2, 9, L, AUX2.  The temperature stabilized at around 164C when it stopped moving.

I then used the smoke volume controls to set high smoke, AUX1, AUX2, 9, H, AUX2.  The temperature never moved from the 164C I had with the low setting.

VERY DISAPPOINTING!  I have to wonder if the smoke volume settings that are published are actually correct! I have actually seen these make a difference in the past, I don't know why I get the results I do here. I even tried a second and third regulator, same results. I know the regulator is listening to the serial data, it turns the smoke on and off on command.

The smoke setting control keystrokes came right from the horse's mouth, This is from the User's Manual for the Lionel 6-38081 JLC Allegheny.  I was checking to make sure my previous smoke control keystroke statement was 100% correct.  I've seen this same description in several manuals, though many of the manuals for engines with regulators do not contain the setting instructions.

 

Test set connections to the smoke regulator and test resistor.  The tweezers are clamping the type-K thermocouple to the resistor to take the readings.  The bulb is just there to provide a visual reference to what the smoke unit heater is doing.

 

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Thanks John.  Very interesting in that there was no difference in output.

Thinking about your statement, "the smoke reverts to the pulsing action".  Does this infer the pulsing action actually goes away when the smoke is "turned on"?  Or does the frequency increase so that it looks like a constant voltage (I would also guess there is a CAP in this circuit as well.)?  This goes one step further to ask if its the frequency (pulse rate) that is increased or decreased depending if you are at the Low, Medium or High smoke output settings.  The tests results could be impacted if the resistor may not be as responsive to the change in pulse rate of the voltage.  I do not have a scope available to test.

Do you have any suggestions on any further testing?  I would be more than happy to assist.

Dave

 

Dave G.

Smoke goes steady when it's turned on from the remote, it drops to pulsing when it's off, apparently to keep the element warm enough to get smoke fairly quickly.  This is the same thing that the Legacy whistle steam does.

The pulse rate doesn't change regardless of the smoke volume settings.  Truthfully, it appears for all the world as if it's totally ignoring the smoke volume settings!  I had a voltmeter and my temperature sensor connected to the test resistor, the voltage or the temperature didn't change at all.  The response of the resistor should be a non-factor, I'm sure they're not taking feedback from the resistor into consideration.

There is no CAP involved, there is a small microprocessor on the smoke regulator board that controls the action.

I'm going to dig out a different model of the smoke regulator and see if I get a different result.  I know some of these regulators do respond to the test sequence, I'm a bit befuddled as to why these don't respond like I'd expect.

Yes, many thanks. I don’t have the necessary gear to conduct a similar test on the AC Regulators I have or I would try it. 

The part number 691-ACRG-E01 is different from the ones we have been discussing. A quick search of Lionel parts does not disclose what vintage/kind of Lionel engines it was used in. I had wondered whether there was some important mismatch between the OP’s early Legacy Big Boy, which was supplied with an ACRG that is described as obsolete, and the parts that are available now, but that would certainly not explain GRJ’s test results

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