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The bottom of my AC/DC Buck Converter board is different than the one represented on the order page.  On the one I received, the DC Input appears to be incorrectly labeled AC Input and the large capacitor is connected differently (unless I am looking at it wrong?).  Take a look:


What I received:

20230322_185030 copy



Images (2)
  • mceclip0
  • 20230322_185030 copy
Last edited by Craftech
@Craftech posted:


Here's where I am with this experiment.

1.  Definitely louder sounds with either the HiLetgo or Adafruit mini amps with a 4Ω speaker (tried two different ones) powered by an AC/DC Buck converter.   Seems to work the best without any attenuation on the Lionel amplifier speaker outputs.  Input level can be controlled with the Lionel remote.  Both mini amps also have trim pots.

The problem with it is that there is an interruption in the sound when it goes across the insulated sections of the FasTrack switches (see below)


Those are necessary to prevent shorts with certain wheels (Example:  Lionel Santa Fe Super Chief RTR set).

The only way to combat the interruptions would be for me to install a second pickup on the other truck which I really don't want to do.  Maybe someone else someday may want to try that.  Frankly I have had it with messing with mini amps inside this thing.

I removed all of it.

2.  So then, despite the warnings about overloading the Lionel amp I tried two different 4Ω 3W speakers in place of the stock 8Ω speaker and guess what?  It made no difference in the loudness at all.  Neither 4Ω speaker was any louder than the original 8Ω speaker.

So I back went the original setup with the pill bottle baffle for placebo effect.

I may try an 8Ω 0.5W speaker for the heck of it.  The aforementioned SF RTR set has one of those and sounds great.

Thank you everyone for all the help with this project. 


UPDATE:  Tried an 8Ω 0.5W speaker (with the baffle).  Again, no difference in loudness, just a slight reduction in base response.

Will try the amp with the current keeper capacitor next.


Sad follow-up.

Grandson's original amp board fried.

Was able to use the HiLetgo amp fed by the AC/DC buck converter with a current keeper cap as mentioned above.  Using an 8Ω speaker (original) it sounded great and no interruptions going over switches.  Adjusted the pot on the amp to reduce the level feeding the speaker (no pad on the input from the LC engine amp) and it was plenty loud.  Better than ever.  So I ran it for awhile.

Then it derailed at a switch and shorted out popping the Sensata breaker connected to the Z1000 (usually not a problem).  Just reset it.  There are also a TVS diode attached to each end of the two loops.

Except now there is no sound at all even when put back at the stock configuration.  No Bluetooth chirp - nothing except a hum.  When Bluetooth remote is turned on the engine moves forward and backward, but the sounds are gone.  Tried the Bluetooth app on a tablet - no sounds with that either.  So engine controls work, Bluetooth works, sound does not.

Unless there is some miracle anyone knows about I am assuming I have to open up the Lion Chief engine and replace the entire amplifier board.

I knew the risks when I started this project.  My grandson is coming tomorrow so I'll let him know what happened. 



Last edited by Craftech

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