LCS Inop

The club's LCS module is completely non responsive.  I think this happened after we ditched our Z4K and blocked our layout into 3 zones, each powered by a 180w brick and Legacy Powermaster.  The LCS is hooked to the common rail, as is the 990.  The LCS is also connected to the 990 base with the supplied DB9 connector cable and to PDI connector on the LCS.  (Have tried both PDI ports BTW).  The LCS powers up, and the green light blinks for a second, then NADA.  No red light, no green light.  Base dip switch is set to "BASE" position.  Access point dip switch is set to "ACCESS POINT", but no connection can be made in either mode.  

Any ideas guys?

One odd thing I forgot to mention... on the common rail that the LCS connects to, the Legacy Powermaster always starts up with 8 volts on it.  No idea why, and have tried to reset this PM with no success. I assumed it was a defective PM that needed repair...

TCA# 15-70824

Original Post

@Volphin:  To answer your question about the 8v start by the PowerMaster:

The Postwar ZW's variously started with either 6v or 8v on the 3d rail.  This was provided by a separate coil of this voltage wound on the core leg opposite to the variable voltage coil (a 14v coil of 42 turns of #13-square wire (equivalent to #12 round copper) on which the carbon rollers tracked in an arc.  The few coils I measured had 6v output.  I suspect but do not know if 8v coils were provided for use with locomotives having the taller or longer stack of field laminations in the Lionel single field winding open-frame 3-pole motor. such as the prewar scale Hudsons.

In this case then, the iron field would become saturated at 6v (or 8v in the larger motor?).  At this point, the torque output becomes linear (so many gram-centimeters per each added volt input).  This is also the approximate point at which the torque is high enough that the engine will move with any added voltage, and each added volt produces the same amount of increased speed.

There is a safety factor involved with these coils enforcing a maximum step-up ratio from low-side terminals to line-plug blades disconnected in error, should one of two phased ZW's become interconnected to the hot low-side output of the second.   This would happen if a locomotive were parked in neutral with its metal double-roller pick-up frame straddling an insulated 3d-rail joint between the two outputs, for example.  It has been reported here (or elsewhere, I having lost the reference) that the maximum voltage on the blades would rise to 167v.  Well, that is better than 277v, the phase to neutral voltage of a 480v 3-phase system, and the most dangerous voltage in America (to electricians).  It is commonly found in the ceiling fluorescent lights of supermarkets.  GSA has a policy of discouraging its use in Federal buildings.

In a possible control use, the electro-mechanical E-units generally do not drop out until below 6 volts.  This may enable an automatic stop system preserving direction by an internal transfer (by overlapping contacts (make before break)) from say, the A output to the B output at its lowest setting-- or slightly higher if required.  This requires a trial setup to verify practicality, or research to find a report on such an arrangement.

Finally, there is the touch voltage issue.  There is also a 5v coil applied thru the drop of a rectifier aided by a resistant wire which adds a DC offset to one side of the AC sine wave.  This makes the output voltage 5vac +14vac +5vdc* +1vac(1954 change to 120v) +1vac(5% overvoltage tolerance), total 30vac-rms.  Recently the NEC agreed to make this uniform; previously parts of the Code had used 32vac as the touch limit.  [* This 5vdc is actually 5vac applied to only one side of the wave; its lever has a double contact that cuts the resistance wire offset out of circuit at full lever travel.]

It would appear the Lionel Powermaster is implementing a modern Lionel expression of the starting voltage as an 8v start shark-fin wave.  Maybe to add more zero volt space into which to add the expanded Legacy control code set, to the list above.  The modern era practices seem to be trending to retaining 2 volts clear of the 30-volt touch limit-- fitting a new purpose to older practices... .     --Frank

Your LCS module may indeed be "zapped."  And your Powermaster might be defective too.  IMO you should be able to program a Powermaster to start NEAR zero volts.  But the Z4000 never started at zero volts.  As soon as you crack those handles, the voltage jumps right to the 5-6 volt range, just like an old ZW.

Honestly all of these electronic devices are so failure prone, in a club environment you almost need two of everything.  Hot swap, troubleshoot, take the good one out of reserve, jack up the dues and buy another to keep on the shelf in case of emergency!

Creep, coast, and pull.  We're not talking about cold fusion here.

Just a sudden thought brought on by the post above.  Lionel makes an old-fashioned transformer as a power supply for these things.  No discussion beyond watts and voltage.  Sounds like just an ancient true sine wave output.  Why would they do that?  Usually we are left to our own devices.

I'm going to say all else has (or will) fail, so it's time to just throw money at the problem.  --Frank.

Volphin posted:

The club's LCS module is completely non responsive.  I think this happened after we ditched our Z4K and blocked our layout into 3 zones, each powered by a 180w brick and Legacy Powermaster.  The LCS is hooked to the common rail, as is the 990.  The LCS is also connected to the 990 base with the supplied DB9 connector cable and to PDI connector on the LCS.  (Have tried both PDI ports BTW).  

Assuming you're talking about the WiFi module as you mentioned access point. There are lots of LCS modules.

How do you have the WiFi module connected to the common of the track? It only connects to the PDI connector of the y-cable that plugs into the Base and has the power supply that plugs into the wall.

When the module powers up, does the red light come on for a second before going off and then the green light flashes?

Dave Olson

Director of Engineering

Lionel LLC

Dave Olson posted:
Volphin posted:

The club's LCS module is completely non responsive.  I think this happened after we ditched our Z4K and blocked our layout into 3 zones, each powered by a 180w brick and Legacy Powermaster.  The LCS is hooked to the common rail, as is the 990.  The LCS is also connected to the 990 base with the supplied DB9 connector cable and to PDI connector on the LCS.  (Have tried both PDI ports BTW).  

Assuming you're talking about the WiFi module as you mentioned access point. There are lots of LCS modules.

How do you have the WiFi module connected to the common of the track? It only connects to the PDI connector of the y-cable that plugs into the Base and has the power supply that plugs into the wall.

When the module powers up, does the red light come on for a second before going off and then the green light flashes?

Hi Dave, thanks for responding.  After re reading my post, I can see the confusion.  

This is the LCS wifi unit.  The 990 is hooked to the outside rail, not the LCS.  On power, the green light flickers for an instant and then no lights, no transmission at all.  Maybe I need to re seat the DB9 cable on the back of the 990?  I find it hard to believe we have had a cable failure, but odder things have happened.  Anything else I can check?

TCA# 15-70824

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