Lionel F40PH Legacy

gunrunnerjohn posted:

My "guess" is a wire getting sanded down by a flywheel on the front motor.  I haven't heard the "official" word from Lionel, but that's my best guess not having seen the inside, but having seen three of them fail in the same way.  Whatever powers the number boards seems to be involved as the right number board goes in every instance I've seen them fail.  Two in the row had a flickering right number board and then "dead".  It would also explain some reporting that it was running a bit jerky.

This is all total speculation on my part, it'll be interesting to hear the actual failure reason from Lionel.

Based upon these type of comments I took the shell off my locomotive. There are a couple of harnesses to guide wires to the front of the locomotive and to keep the wires away from the motor flywheel. On my unit a couple of wires worked themselves out of the harnesses, but they were not near the motor flywheel. I secured the wires to make sure they are never free. 

The shell wires are separate from the wires of the motherboard. The shell wires connect to motherboard wires by series of 6 or perhaps 8 (I did not count them) plug connectors. Another possibility is that some of these got reversed during the manufacturing. With some AC circuits the wires can be reversed and all seems well for a little while, but then failure. 

With some hiccups, my Phase II unit #200 is still going well. The hiccups were rubbing of the coupler wires on the wheels and a broken wire from the pickups. It has about 15 hours of run time.  

Most failures that I hear about are Phase III units; thus, it might not be a surprise that this Phase II units is ok. 

Needless to say, my experience with these units have been largely positive; especially when considering all the failures many of you have had to deal with. Even so, knowing what I know now would I sill drop $800 on the powered and cabbage units? Probably not. They are nicely detailed and have some cool lighting features and such but also have a cheapness feel to them. They could really use a cast metal chassis and get rid of the flimsy plastic chassis side frames.

Also, why is there 1/8 inch of space between the wheel and the truck side frame? The large gap really detracts from the look of the trucks. 2343 from 1950 has much tighter tolerances and looks much better. 

Also of note is that these units go around 048 curves just fine. I have tested every type of rolling stock I have: freight cars, 15" aluminum passenger cars, articulated couplers, fixes couplers, and even the lightest of MPC rolling stock with plastic wheels. Everything navigates the 048 curves and switches just fine without any derailments. It seems that Lionel was overly cautious in calling these units 054 in the catalog. 

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Gunrunner, do you get your engine back tomorrow?

I can't say much...but...all the F40 issues have been properly documented in our chat!

This chat has been invaluable to getting our diesels fixed. Thanks to OGR for the forum. Let's just say I heard there are some really smart people in this chat.

Everyone has mentioned every issue.

I hope I get mine back in time for the weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

The Cabbage unit arrived today, the other one is scheduled for tomorrow.  They just replaced both couplers, all seems well with that one.  The powered unit will be interesting, and I'll also be able to link them up and run them around to see if everything works.

The box is sitting on my bench, but I have to run out to pick something up at Henning's that they forgot when they loaded up and moved out.  I figure I'll at least look it over before I come to York, time is getting short...

I did get my F40PH yesterday.  Lionel replaced a defective RCMC (not sure what that is--maybe someone can help out with this), tested all functions and ran it on the track for some time.  I ran it a lot bit yesterday and it runs great.  I have to believe they also lubricated the internal gears that many were wondering about because it runs very smooth, better than the other Amtrak #364 that I did not have any problems with.  It makes me wonder if the gears in 364 need to be lubricated.  Bottom line is: Lionel made the product right!!

I asked Dave Olsen directly today about these. There's 2 things. 

1. the gearboxes are dry. Twist off the trucks and grease.

2. The headlight wires are rubbing the flywheel.  This takes out a lot of stuff if it shorts.

He told me it was ok to open them up and make sure the headlight wires are out of the way or otherwise protected (tape, heat shrink, etc...), and if they still went bad then I could still send them in. 

I haven't even taken mine out of the box yet, but I'm going to pop them all open and make sure the wires are well tied up before firing them up.

 

 

 

"Of course we know its O-gauge or no gauge." -- Sheldon Cooper

My two are close, I still have to resolve the dim number boards on the Cabbage unit and they'll be ready for "prime time"

All the service locations got the FAQ sheet.  There are a few things to look for.

I talked to Ryan, Dave, and Dean while at York.  The consensus opinion on the dim Cabbage unit number boards is generally that they're about right and the powered unit number boards are way too bright.  After consideration, I think I believe them, and I think I'll just dim the powered unit, that will be easy with a resistor.

Well I took the preemptive maintenance option and opened them up before I ran them. Real easy, 4 screws in the front, 2 under the rear trucks. Don't lift too far as the front headlight wires are a little short. 

You don't need to disconnect anything, you can do the work with the shell still plugged in. Particularly on the phase II units, be mindful of the long ladder to the engine compartment door that hangs off the shell (and isn't held on by much). Once in there, you'll see that the basic problem is that there's only a small piece of Chinese scotch tape holding the strobe/numberboard/cab light wire harness to the roof. Clearance is tight, so if this tape lets go (or isn't there) it's all over, apparently in 20-30 minutes.

With the design of the PCB having the inputs across the back, going over the flywheel is, unfortunately mandatory.

In lieu of scotch tape, I covered the wire bundle with 3M electrical tape. You need to cover all the way to the plugs to cover the area over the flywheel. It's just real tight in there.

While you're in there, poke the access panel out of the roof and save yourself the trouble of prying it out from the top.

Ive run both of mine a bit and so far so good. Tomorrow I'll probably just assemble them as a train and let em run for a while to see what happens. I assume if they make it an hour, they're ok.

im going to reopen them at some point and check the tape. If I see anything, then something more invasive, like trying to move the harness may be in order....

Havent opened my cabbage yet, I assume that doesn't have any issues with shorts, but it's getting late enough I don't feel like starting on a 3rd.

 

IMG_5366IMG_5367IMG_5368

 

 

 

 

"Of course we know its O-gauge or no gauge." -- Sheldon Cooper

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Well, here's how those wires SHOULD have been routed if they had any brains.  Saving an inch or two of wire created the whole issue with the flywheel!

When I do upgrades, that's how I run the lighting wires to avoid getting tangled up with the flywheel.

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gunrunnerjohn posted:

Well, here's how those wires SHOULD have been routed if they had any brains.  Saving an inch or two of wire created the whole issue with the flywheel!

When I do upgrades, that's how I run the lighting wires to avoid getting tangled up with the flywheel.

That is exactly how my phase II unit is wired. It has two harnesses which guides the bundle of wires around the motor flywheel. On my unit a couple of wires worked themselves out of the two harnesses. Brings up many questions. But one is: "what did the manufacturer know and when did they know it?" The appearance is that the manufacturer discovered the flaw in the middle/end of the run and corrected it but did not go back to correct the flawed units. 

It boggles my mind that it was ever wired like this.  I wonder if they wired the prototypes like this that Lionel inspected?  It doesn't look like there's enough slack to wire it properly, too bad!

Everyone should send their power units back to get fixed properly. They pay for shipping. Don't let this bite you in the *** after warranty. Also they are making new covers for units. It was in dealer memo. I say no way was prototype wired this way. In production it looks like they opted for the shortest point (no pun intended on the short) is a straight line. No QC on this production they totally half assed this. No reason to hold the bag for a $450-500 purchase. Send it back.

John Quogue RR posted:

Everyone should send their power units back to get fixed properly. They pay for shipping. Don't let this bite you in the *** after warranty. Also they are making new covers for units. It was in dealer memo. I say no way was prototype wired this way. In production it looks like they opted for the shortest point (no pun intended on the short) is a straight line. No QC on this production they totally half assed this. No reason to hold the bag for a $450-500 purchase. Send it back.

I do not have these units, so you can dismiss my comments if you wish, but IMO we have to stop accepting bad product. SEND them back. DO NOT attempt home repairs. Only then will they, be it Lionel, MTH or whomever, get their s**t together.

Keith

Oman posted:
John Quogue RR posted:

Everyone should send their power units back to get fixed properly. They pay for shipping. Don't let this bite you in the *** after warranty. Also they are making new covers for units. It was in dealer memo. I say no way was prototype wired this way. In production it looks like they opted for the shortest point (no pun intended on the short) is a straight line. No QC on this production they totally half assed this. No reason to hold the bag for a $450-500 purchase. Send it back.

I do not have these units, so you can dismiss my comments if you wish, but IMO we have to stop accepting bad product. SEND them back. DO NOT attempt home repairs. Only then will they, be it Lionel, MTH or whomever, get their s**t together.

RIGHT ON - Keith - we always talk about "that solution" to an on going problem, but few seem to put the heat on the importers by sending the stuff back 'til they get it right.  Ya can't be a victim if you contribute to the crime. 

Oman posted:
John Quogue RR posted:

Everyone should send their power units back to get fixed properly. They pay for shipping. Don't let this bite you in the *** after warranty. Also they are making new covers for units. It was in dealer memo. I say no way was prototype wired this way. In production it looks like they opted for the shortest point (no pun intended on the short) is a straight line. No QC on this production they totally half assed this. No reason to hold the bag for a $450-500 purchase. Send it back.

I do not have these units, so you can dismiss my comments if you wish, but IMO we have to stop accepting bad product. SEND them back. DO NOT attempt home repairs. Only then will they, be it Lionel, MTH or whomever, get their s**t together.

I'm one of the lucky ones that hasn't had a problem with my F40 - yet (and mine's the #364). I figure I have at least an hour or more in run time, so far so good. If, to prevent future burn-ups, I make sure the number board wires are secured to the top of the shell, you bet I'll do that myself and prevent the hassle of sending it back. I agree Lionel should have thought of this causing problems and put a little more wiring there and routed it around the flywheel. But they didn't, however it's not hard to fix.

Several years ago when Lionel came out with their Amfleet "End" car, the sensor wires controlling the cab car lights were reversed, meaning the red marker lights were on when the cab car was leading, with no headlight. Every single car was delivered that way. Thankfully one of our forum members posted a detailed tutorial of how to fix it. When you know what you're going for it actually isn't too hard, and I did it myself. Problem solved. No way am I going to send something back to Lionel for such an easy fix, that literally took me 10 minutes to finish. True, it should have been done right the first time, but these are toy trains, if I can fix it myself and it's not rocket science I'm going to do it!

Now if it was a paint defect, or something to do with command control/RailSounds boards, etc, that's another story...

WBC posted:
gunrunnerjohn posted:

Well, here's how those wires SHOULD have been routed if they had any brains.  Saving an inch or two of wire created the whole issue with the flywheel!

When I do upgrades, that's how I run the lighting wires to avoid getting tangled up with the flywheel.

That is exactly how my phase II unit is wired. It has two harnesses which guides the bundle of wires around the motor flywheel. On my unit a couple of wires worked themselves out of the two harnesses. Brings up many questions. But one is: "what did the manufacturer know and when did they know it?" The appearance is that the manufacturer discovered the flaw in the middle/end of the run and corrected it but did not go back to correct the flawed units. 

Here is an interior shot of my phase II unit, locomotive #200.

20170430_230824

Clearly two harnesses that guide the cable of wires around the motor. Obviously at some point production changed. Did the manufacturer catch the error of the single harness and change to two harnesses?  Or did the manufacturer decide to save a few pennies right in the middle of the run and change to the single harness system? 

Anyways, my unit has the wiring arranged like gunrunnerjohn suggests and no major problems as of yet with about 18 hours of run time. 

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It's not like I'm a "wiring genius" or anything, it's just common sense not to put wires where they potentially contact fast spinning flywheels! Sadly, this isn't the first time I've seen something like this.

WBC posted:
WBC posted:
gunrunnerjohn posted:

Well, here's how those wires SHOULD have been routed if they had any brains.  Saving an inch or two of wire created the whole issue with the flywheel!

When I do upgrades, that's how I run the lighting wires to avoid getting tangled up with the flywheel.

That is exactly how my phase II unit is wired. It has two harnesses which guides the bundle of wires around the motor flywheel. On my unit a couple of wires worked themselves out of the two harnesses. Brings up many questions. But one is: "what did the manufacturer know and when did they know it?" The appearance is that the manufacturer discovered the flaw in the middle/end of the run and corrected it but did not go back to correct the flawed units. 

Here is an interior shot of my phase II unit, locomotive #200.

20170430_230824

Clearly two harnesses that guide the cable of wires around the motor. Obviously at some point production changed. Did the manufacturer catch the error of the single harness and change to two harnesses?  Or did the manufacturer decide to save a few pennies right in the middle of the run and change to the single harness system? 

Anyways, my unit has the wiring arranged like gunrunnerjohn suggests and no major problems as of yet with about 18 hours of run time. 

Im honestly not sure that really gets you out of the way. If you look up in the top of the cab with the lights on, the plugs are about even with the shield. The flywheel is a few hairs behind that, so the wires still aren't completely out of the way. 

It sounds more to me like if the bundle is tight, then you're ok, but if its hanging down or has any loose wires at all, then you're going to rub through something. 

All around, this just isnt the greatest design/packaging for the application. The plugs would have been better off located toward the side of the board, not the middle, and a different cable run (or even cable design, such as a flat ribbon) would definitely have been beneficial. 

At least with the lion drive trucks, the motor is fixed in place independent of truck motion and doesnt rock around to create more interference.

 

I would love to see this service bulletin if someone can post it.

 

"Of course we know its O-gauge or no gauge." -- Sheldon Cooper

With the wiring illustrated, you can route them farther up and clear the flywheel if desired, however with the wiring in the Phase III models, it's simply too tight it appears.  I haven't actually opened it to see if it could be routed to the side.

I've got a phase II and a III and they're both wired the same. I dont know if the route is simply dependent on who assembled it, or if at some point they discovered they could save .004 cents by removing an inch of wire. Its a plug connection on both ends, so if a longer harness was available, you could just swap the short one for one that has more reach.

 

"Of course we know its O-gauge or no gauge." -- Sheldon Cooper

Here's a new thread on what it takes to fix the intensity of the F40PH number boards.

Legacy Amtrak F40PH Number Board Brightness Fix

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