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I didn't want to hi-jack another thread and so starting my own and posting this question here.

Possible noob question relating to this topic. I have a LionChief 2 Big Boy (SKU: 1932162). My transformer puts out 17.5 volts. If I keep the mode in program mode to use a universal remote and turn the voltage down, is that bad or will it hurt the locomotive? I just tried it out and the locomotive runs "fine" with less voltage but I stopped any further testing before consulting with you folks.

I connected to bluetooth and also the universal app but was also wondering if there was a way to "turn off" the engine until I connect it. Basically, when I first power the track with AC it did not "turn on" but once I pressed the #1 button on the universal remote as I have it programmed already it connected right away. Curious now because each time I turn on track power the engine idles and produces smoke. I am wondering if I can potentially change that back to "idle only once connected".

Thanks everyone. Hope you're all having a great weekend.

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It's fine to run Lion Chief locos at a somewhat lower voltage, it won't hurt them, it just reduces their top speed at full throttle on the remote.  Many people do and prefer this limitation in some situations.

As far as I'm aware, all Lion Chief locomotives when powered by the track will go into some kind of standby mode.  The only ways I'm aware of to stop this are to either connect them to the remote/bluetooth app or disconnect track power.  But, my personal experience does not extend to LC 2.0, so maybe there is a way to turn off smoke remotely, besides with the physical switch on the loco.

@SteveH posted:

It's fine to run Lion Chief locos at a somewhat lower voltage, it won't hurt them, it just reduces their top speed at full throttle on the remote.  Many people do and prefer this limitation in some situations.

As far as I'm aware, all Lion Chief locomotives when powered by the track will go into some kind of standby mode.  The only ways I'm aware of to stop this are to either connect them to the remote/bluetooth app or disconnect track power.  But, my personal experience does not extend to LC 2.0, so maybe there is a way to turn off smoke remotely, besides with the physical switch on the loco.

Thanks Steve. I appreciate the response and wasn't sure but hope this thread will help someone in the future. I went ahead and ordered the Airpax 7.5 amp breaker and TVS diodes you recommended and hopefully should have them soon.

I received a GW-180 and hooked it up to the track. I expected a slight increase in voltage compared to MCR AH501, that transformer (was rated to) measured ~17.5v when warmed up. After hooking up the GW-180 I saw the voltage car light indicating what appeared to be over 18v. I thought it was advertised as 18v so I grabbed the multimeter and reading ~18.8v when cranked all the way up WOT. Pulling down the throttle - set to about 80% - put the voltage right on the18v mark.

I see in a manual I have and other places it says to not exceed 19v for Lionel trains but wondering if this is something to be concerned with? Basically, do I need to keep it turned down to 80%-18v on the dot to be safe, or can I crank it up and be A-ok with those readings? I assume no problem because it's a Lionel transformer.

Anyone with a multimeter and GW-180 handy that could test would be great!

Thank you,

Joe

@papajoewill posted:

I received a GW-180 and hooked it up to the track. I expected a slight increase in voltage compared to MCR AH501, that transformer (was rated to) measured ~17.5v when warmed up. After hooking up the GW-180 I saw the voltage car light indicating what appeared to be over 18v. I thought it was advertised as 18v so I grabbed the multimeter and reading ~18.8v when cranked all the way up WOT. Pulling down the throttle - set to about 80% - put the voltage right on the18v mark.

I see in a manual I have and other places it says to not exceed 19v for Lionel trains but wondering if this is something to be concerned with? Basically, do I need to keep it turned down to 80%-18v on the dot to be safe, or can I crank it up and be A-ok with those readings? I assume no problem because it's a Lionel transformer.

Anyone with a multimeter and GW-180 handy that could test would be great!

Thank you,

Joe

Papajoewill, Hello, are you possibly interested in selling the MRC AH-501, if so may you PM me, Thanks Frank

@SteveH posted:

As far as I'm aware, all Lion Chief locomotives when powered by the track will go into some kind of standby mode.  The only ways I'm aware of to stop this are to either connect them to the remote/bluetooth app or disconnect track power.  But, my personal experience does not extend to LC 2.0, so maybe there is a way to turn off smoke remotely, besides with the physical switch on the loco.

The Lionel BT app does have smoke control for the BT locomotives, it works fine for my LC+ 2.0 0-6-0T switchers.

@papajoewill posted:

Anyone with a multimeter and GW-180 handy that could test would be great!

Thank you,

Joe

I have no idea of the accuracy of those voltmeter cars.

You can get a decent voltmeter for around $25 at the local hardware store, Amazon etc. It comes in handy for trouble shooting and setting voltage to accessories as well.

By the time power comes out of my TPC unit I have about 16.5v to the track. My Legacy stuff runs just fine, I've had the voltage as low as 14v, with no discernable difference in operation.

I'd rather be a couple of  volts low, than high. On a side note, most of my accessories recommend 10-12v. Accessory voltage is set no higher than 10. My accessories all work fine.

@RickO posted:

I have no idea of the accuracy of those voltmeter cars.

You can get a decent voltmeter for around $25 at the local hardware store, Amazon etc. It comes in handy for trouble shooting and setting voltage to accessories as well.

By the time power comes out of my TPC unit I have about 16.5v to the track. My Legacy stuff runs just fine, I've had the voltage as low as 14v, with no discernable difference in operation.

I'd rather be a couple of  volts low, than high. On a side note, most of my accessories recommend 10-12v. Accessory voltage is set no higher than 10. My accessories all work fine.

The voltage car is actually very close to what my multimeter was reading. That's what made me grab it and hook up to the track. Obviously analog vs digital makes a huge difference reading but still very close and definitely enough to make me go and grab my multimeter for the true track reading/to verify.

@RickO posted:

You can get a decent voltmeter for around $25 at the local hardware store, Amazon etc. It comes in handy for trouble shooting and setting voltage to accessories as well.

The accuracy of most inexpensive mutli-meters is very poor on anything but a pure sine wave.  You need to consider a true-RMS meter if you want decent readings from chopped waveform transformers.

The accuracy of most inexpensive mutli-meters is very poor on anything but a pure sine wave.  You need to consider a true-RMS meter if you want decent readings from chopped waveform transformers.

Good point John, a 180w brick is a pure/smooth sine wave correct?  

I did once have a couple cw'80s for accessories. I believe those are chopped.

Someone had posted a conversion chart so you could approximate voltage with a cheap meter. Another reason I dumped those CW 80's, even my accessories run better off of a 180w brick.

Others will know better, but I believe smoke and electrocouplers struggle more as the voltage drops.

Correct.  Any TMCC locomotive without the voltage regulator will have very poor smoke performance with only a couple of volts difference in track voltage.  Even TMCC and early Legacy with the smoke regulator have issues with low track voltage.

Some TMCC and early Legacy electrocouplers start failing to operate around 15-16 volts on the track, and virtually all of them will stop working at around 12 volts on the track.  PS2/3 and later Legacy (RCMC) couplers are DC operated and usually if the engine runs, the couplers and smoke will work correctly.

The accuracy of most inexpensive mutli-meters is very poor on anything but a pure sine wave.  You need to consider a true-RMS meter if you want decent readings from chopped waveform transformers.

My readings were coming from an T-RMS meter. Just an amazon special - AstroAI brand with the amp clamp. I may splurge on a True-RMS Fluke or something later on but for around $40, it fits the bill for around the house tasks. I had a harbor freight one I got for free and was basically using to know if something was live or not but not worrying about the accuracy. I will go up the ladder as necessary for requirements that present themselves.

Last edited by papajoewill

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