Hi all! I have a Legacy U30C (6-38419) that all of the sudden started displaying a cab flash code 3. I understand this to mean that there is some sort of issue with the blower motor on the smoke unit. I tried a reset on the locomotive, but the code persisted. Today I removed the shell and had a look at the internals, and visually, everything looks to be in order. I removed the smoke unit from the locomotive and powered the blower manually, and it operated. The armature shaft spins freely. My question is this: If the displays code 3, is there a more precise definition of this code than "fan malfunction"? Does the board check for high resistance or a short? I am unable to find the fault, and I don't want to "throw parts at it", so does anyone have any ideas? Thanks!

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Keith L posted:

Starting in 2014, 3 cab flashes = main smoke thermistor.

Uhh... no!  Three flashes is the primary smoke fan motor.

This is from the Vision Line Niagara, a lot newer than 2014.

Not sure what the Niagara would do for the pop-off smoke unit crapping out...

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Lionel has had an epidemic of faulty fan motors to this day. I've heard video of recent  new releases with very noisy fan motors.

When you say "powering manually" How are you powering it? Folks have gotten fan motors to work via 9v batteries that didn't work with the 5v from the board and still needed replacement.

The first thing you could try a is a drop of light oil on the fan motor output shafts bushing . You have to remove the impeller with needle nose to get at the bushing.

If that doesn't work its likely new motor will be in order.

The on board diagnostics works via voltage draw . If it senses excessive draw it shuts down power to the fan and the cab light blinks. You can reset the  code via the reset on the remote up to 3 times. After three times the fan motor shuts down completely . Removing power from the Loco and repowering gives you another 3 resets and so on.

gunrunnerjohn posted:
Keith L posted:

Starting in 2014, 3 cab flashes = main smoke thermistor.

Uhh... no!  Three flashes is the primary smoke fan motor.

This is from the Vision Line Niagara, a lot newer than 2014.

Not sure what the Niagara would do for the pop-off smoke unit crapping out...

I was going off what Dean Brasseur said in this video:

If I understood Dean correctly, he said that starting with the Big Boy in 2014, which had the RCMC-C00 board, the codes changed, and 3 flashes = main smoke thermistor.

If so, maybe Jay should check out the smoke unit thermistor.

Ahh, excellent advice! I was indeed powering it with 9v of DC. I didn't realize it was 5v that it operated on, so I'll bet that's the case. As fas as thermistors are concerned, my locomotive was built in ~2012, and I can verify that it doesn't posses a thermistor from visual inspection, but that's good to know for when my Big Boy inevitably has a smoke unit failure. Based on everything that Rick said, I'm leaning toward a new motor, since I don't feel like tearing it apart again. While I've been known to put light oil on armature shaft bearings for a noisy smoke unit, I feel this one justifies a replacement. Thank you all for your info! I'll reply once I get it going again... 

Keith L posted:

I was going off what Dean Brasseur said in this video:

 

If I understood Dean correctly, he said that starting with the Big Boy in 2014, which had the RCMC-C00 board, the codes changed, and 3 flashes = main smoke thermistor.

If so, maybe Jay should check out the smoke unit thermistor.

Odd that the manual would not say that if that were the case.  Pretty sure the three blinks are the fan.  The VL-BB was a unique case as it has more smoke units than most locomotives.

In addition, I have two of the Lionel Legacy U30C engines, and I can assure you with 100% certainty that three flashes are the smoke motor, I've replaced them in both of mine!

Maybe if you don't know for sure, you shouldn't lead the poor guy down the wrong path!

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Kodachrome Jay 734 posted:

Ahh, excellent advice! I was indeed powering it with 9v of DC. I didn't realize it was 5v that it operated on, so I'll bet that's the case. As fas as thermistors are concerned, my locomotive was built in ~2012, and I can verify that it doesn't posses a thermistor from visual inspection, but that's good to know for when my Big Boy inevitably has a smoke unit failure. Based on everything that Rick said, I'm leaning toward a new motor, since I don't feel like tearing it apart again. While I've been known to put light oil on armature shaft bearings for a noisy smoke unit, I feel this one justifies a replacement. Thank you all for your info! I'll reply once I get it going again... 

A proper test of the fan involves not only voltage but current.  The sensing circuit actually senses excessive current.  At the height of the Lionel smoke motor plague, I had a couple of motors that drew around 300 milliamps instead of the normal 30-40 milliamps!  Those would appear to function normally on a 5V supply, but obviously they did not function in the locomotive.

When I test them now, I reject any motor that won't run on 2 VDC or draws more than 45 milliamps on 5 VDC.

When I get a shipment of new smoke motors, I run through the above test on all of them before I put them in my parts stock.

Kodachrome Jay 734 posted:

Ahh, excellent advice! I was indeed powering it with 9v of DC. I didn't realize it was 5v that it operated on, so I'll bet that's the case. As fas as thermistors are concerned, my locomotive was built in ~2012, and I can verify that it doesn't posses a thermistor from visual inspection, but that's good to know for when my Big Boy inevitably has a smoke unit failure. Based on everything that Rick said, I'm leaning toward a new motor, since I don't feel like tearing it apart again. While I've been known to put light oil on armature shaft bearings for a noisy smoke unit, I feel this one justifies a replacement. Thank you all for your info! I'll reply once I get it going again... 

Jay, welcome aboard the forum. I'm sure you'll enjoy the lively discussions and sharing of information. Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay on track!

Thanks for the input GRJ. That was exactly what I was looking for. Being an auto mechanic by trade, I live in a 12v world, and it's easy to forget that we're talking about 30 milliamps! I appreciate the in-depth diagnostics since it can be difficult to come by if you're not in the loop on such things. I'll check it on low voltage, but I'm all but certain it's a failed motor now.

gunrunnerjohn posted:
Keith L posted:

I was going off what Dean Brasseur said in this video:

 

If I understood Dean correctly, he said that starting with the Big Boy in 2014, which had the RCMC-C00 board, the codes changed, and 3 flashes = main smoke thermistor.

If so, maybe Jay should check out the smoke unit thermistor.

Odd that the manual would not say that if that were the case.  Pretty sure the three blinks are the fan.  The VL-BB was a unique case as it has more smoke units than most locomotives.

In addition, I have two of the Lionel Legacy U30C engines, and I can assure you with 100% certainty that three flashes are the smoke motor, I've replaced them in both of mine!

Maybe if you don't know for sure, you shouldn't lead the poor guy down the wrong path!

Jay told us he was getting 3 flashes, but the fan motor seemed fine. If his U30C was produced in 2014 or later--he didn't mention, but obviously he would know--then 3 flashes would indicate a problem with the thermistor. That's per Dean Brasseur, Lionel's former director of customer service. (Of course, Dean could be wrong, but there's no reason to think so unless and until it's shown otherwise.) As Jay told us later, his U30C is from 2012.

Last edited by Keith L

Keith, wrong!  The early Legacy had no diagnostics.  Do me a favor before we keep going down this road.  Find ONE user manual that states that the flash code of 3 is a thermistor problem.

There were no U-Boats cataloged in 2014, but I have Sharks from that year.  In that user manual...

The Y6B from 2015.

How about the F40PH from 2016?

I already mentioned the Vision Line Niagara from 2018.

You sensing a pattern here?  I have never seen that flash code assigned to the heater or thermistor, and I have grave doubts it ever was!

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gunrunnerjohn posted:

Keith, wrong!  The early Legacy had no diagnostics.  Do me a favor before we keep going down this road.  Find ONE user manual that states that the flash code of 3 is a thermistor problem.

Of course, early Legacy engines didn't have diagnostics. Jay's U30C isn't an early Legacy engine; he eventually told us it's from 2012.

The information I offered is from Dean Brasseur's video, not from a survey of owner's manuals. Did you watch Dean's video? In it, he says, "Starting with the Vision Big Boy, the codes changed...." If he's wrong, we should let the folks at Lionel know.

I saw the video, and that was in reference to the VL-BB.  Later engines, including Vision Line, all have 3 for the smoke fan motor.  Since I've repaired a number of post 2014 locomotives with a flash code of three and replaced the smoke motor to fix it, I'll trust my experience.  I haven't actually had a smoke motor failure on a VL-BB, so I can't say if that code is accurate or not for that specific model.

This will be my last word on the topic, you can believe what you like.

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