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The good news is the board is coded for a backup light and the connection for it is through a molex connector with the correct pin stenciled on the board. I had a spare two pin connector I removed the leads and inserted into the existing connector. I ran the leads out of the locomotive and through a two pin harness back to the tender. I used a standard 3V LED and a 470 ohm resistor. I forgot the LED size, but 2mm is what I think it was. It just slipped up into the housing and seated perfectly. I didn’t glue it as I want to change it because all I had was a blue LED. It has been run quite a bit and stayed put! I’ve since gotten a replacement LED, but it’s one of ‘when I got a roundtuit‘ projects!

@NYC Z-MAN posted:

John, Dave Olson emailed me a partial schematic showing the pin out. He wasn’t certain if it was coded but no harm in trying was his advice! I was a little embarrassed that it was stenciled and I missed it before emailing him. Give him a try!

Hi Jim, could you share that pin out schematic showing the pins for the reverse light?  Do you have any guidance on a part number for the molex connector?

I’m sorry but they had to reload my email profile at work last month and I lost a ton of archive email messages. If you look at the board where the connector is for the front headlight, you’ll see an empty position on the connector and I believe RL stenciled on the board for rear lamp. The connector is the most common connector for just about everything I see in locomotives and ERR upgrade kits. I simply stole a pin from a donor connector and installed it in the existing connector, spliced a lead to it and into the common and routed it out the back, through the connector in the attached photo which I stole from an MTH dummy locomotive lighting kit and into the tender. I really didn’t need the diagram in the first place. Hope this helps!44BF1F47-E285-400C-9C9C-66DBC90E56A1

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  • 44BF1F47-E285-400C-9C9C-66DBC90E56A1

I found it interesting that while these LionChief Plus A5s have no operating backup light, Lionel's inexpensive 0-4-0 switchers (going way back -the bottom MPC-era NYC was part of the 1985-86 Yard Chief set - nice set, BTW) had operating backup lights. Some text from the owner's manual for the No. 38605 is shown. Of course, the earlier versions had incandescent backup lights rather than LEDs.

I had several of these from the MPC era, and they were wonderful, smooth runners. They have a can motor; it might be fun to convert one of these with a ERR cruise commander installed. That operating backup light was very cool, an unexpected high-end feature found on these little engines.

No. 38605 (cataloged 2007)

Picture 3 of 7

"Your tender’s rear directional lamp illuminates whenever the locomotive is powered up and in reverse. If this lamp fails to illuminate, check that the locomotive and tender’s plug assembly is properly connected. Your tender is equipped with an LED style headlamp for longer life."



No. 8516   (1985-86)

8516 New York Central 0-4-0 Switcher Loco with Tender [6-8516] - $124.99 : America's Best Train, Toy & Hobby Shop!

HIGBYTOYS Lionel Yard Chief Train Set Web Page

Last edited by breezinup

And I presume the light did light?  That's cool, I can easily do that on my Camelback.

Yes it lights! I unpacked the locomotive to swap the LED with a white lamp because COVID has given me time to catch up on projects. Only problem is I can’t find the LED’s I got for the replacement. On another note, I purchased 16 of your block detectors in 2017 and assembled them a couple weekends ago. They work great. I was wondering if you had a tip to give me a slight time delay as I get a little chatter sometimes when a two axle diesel truck with traction tires enters the block. I’m thinking maybe a cap across the coil?

Last edited by NYC Z-MAN
@breezinup posted:

Those K-Lines look nice. Considerably more cost than the small Lionels, though, but probably a better bet for an ERR addition. Of course, my point was that it's odd that Lionel didn't put an operating backup light in their scale LC+ A5s, but their smaller inexpensive 0-4-0s had them.

Dave said they ran out of pins because of the coupler. I realize they could have gone with a different connector, but that’s his story!

Last edited by NYC Z-MAN
@breezinup posted:

I found it interesting that while these LionChief Plus A5s have no operating backup light, Lionel's inexpensive 0-4-0 switchers (going way back -the bottom MPC-era NYC was part of the 1985-86 Yard Chief set - nice set, BTW) had operating backup lights. Some text from the owner's manual for the No. 38605 is shown. Of course, the earlier versions had incandescent backup lights rather than LEDs.

I had several of these from the MPC era, and they were wonderful, smooth runners. They have a can motor; it might be fun to convert one of these with a ERR cruise commander installed. That operating backup light was very cool, an unexpected high-end feature found on these little engines.

No. 38605 (cataloged 2007)

Picture 3 of 7

"Your tender’s rear directional lamp illuminates whenever the locomotive is powered up and in reverse. If this lamp fails to illuminate, check that the locomotive and tender’s plug assembly is properly connected. Your tender is equipped with an LED style headlamp for longer life."



No. 8516   (1985-86)

8516 New York Central 0-4-0 Switcher Loco with Tender [6-8516] - $124.99 : America's Best Train, Toy & Hobby Shop!

HIGBYTOYS Lionel Yard Chief Train Set Web Page

I picked up that set a couple years ago on eBay. I always wanted it long before TMCC/Legacy came along as I have an affinity to MPC! I was going to put a ERR Mini Commander in, but the A5 came along and  now I’ll leave it for all its MPC charm!

@NYC Z-MAN posted:

I purchased 16 of your block detectors in 2017 and assembled them a couple weekends ago. They work great. I was wondering if you had a tip to give me a slight time delay as I get a little chatter sometimes when a two axle diesel truck with traction tires enters the block. I’m thinking maybe a cap across the coil?

There's actually a small set of pads labeled J2 that you can connect a capacitor to increase the delay.  Try a 1000uf 35V cap there, that should do the trick.

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@NYC Z-MAN posted:

The good news is the board is coded for a backup light and the connection for it is through a molex connector with the correct pin stenciled on the board. I had a spare two pin connector I removed the leads and inserted into the existing connector. I ran the leads out of the locomotive and through a two pin harness back to the tender. I used a standard 3V LED and a 470 ohm resistor. I forgot the LED size, but 2mm is what I think it was. It just slipped up into the housing and seated perfectly. I didn’t glue it as I want to change it because all I had was a blue LED. It has been run quite a bit and stayed put! I’ve since gotten a replacement LED, but it’s one of ‘when I got a roundtuit‘ projects!

I know it's been two years, but I just got one of these loco's, so allow me to kick this horse. I was curious to know why the resistor?

Is it because the voltage off the pin is 5v?

And if so, I assume if I use a 5v rated LED I would not need the resistor.

Thanks in advance for the assistance.

@JiDi posted:

I know it's been two years, but I just got one of these loco's, so allow me to kick this horse. I was curious to know why the resistor?

Is it because the voltage off the pin is 5v?

And if so, I assume if I use a 5v rated LED I would not need the resistor.

Thanks in advance for the assistance.

An LED is a diode (Light Emitting Diode). So a diode, once you cross the forward voltage and it begins conducting, it is sometimes called negative resistance. By contrast, an incandescent light bulb, it starts out at low resistance because the filament wire is cold. As soon as you apply power, the resistance increases across the filament as it heats up. At some point, it becomes self regulating. In other words, at 12V the rated voltage of the bulb, the filament increases in resistance to just the right value based on heat to not burn out.

Back to the LED. It's a diode. As soon as you begin giving it voltage above the forward voltage, it conducts and basically is massively conducting with relatively low resistance. It is NOT self regulating. You have to provide external resistance calculated to limit the current through the LED to about 10-15mA. That is why LEDs need a resistor, if you don't put one, they will simply burn out very quickly.

Last edited by Vernon Barry
@breezinup posted:

I had several of these from the MPC era, and they were wonderful, smooth runners. They have a can motor; it might be fun to convert one of these with a ERR cruise commander installed. That operating backup light was very cool, an unexpected high-end feature found on these little engines.



No. 8516   (1985-86)

8516 New York Central 0-4-0 Switcher Loco with Tender [6-8516] - $124.99 : America's Best Train, Toy & Hobby Shop!

HIGBYTOYS Lionel Yard Chief Train Set Web Page

I did put a Cruise Commander in one of these DC can-motored 0-4-0's - 2 remote couplers and a backup light, too. No sound. Stock smoke unit works well.

First I put a plain DC Commander in it - ran OK, as the gearing is not half bad. Then I swapped a Cruise Commander into it. It runs well enough, but at very low speeds the motor (no flywheel, and not expensive) gets  coggy trying to cruise. The "2 smph crawl" is not really comfortable for it, but, really, is that so often used? It still behaves well.

In either case, the loco is a nice ERR conversion candidate. I always wanted the original 50's version (it had a realistic air about it), but the modern one runs much better.

Last edited by D500

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