Lionel Polar express bluetooth loco, could mine have been made reliable with the proper fix?

This last Christmas I purchased a polar express Bluetooth set with sound from Kohls and I really enjoyed setting it up around my tree and running it for about two weeks prior to Christmas. This set seems like such a good value with all the cars and track and die cast loco and I loved the sound  (it made me feel like a kid again).   All was great until someone placed a present too close to the track resulting in a minor derailment (it was a very gentle derailment with the engine going a bit sideways).  After that it started acting finicky about moving and then it stopped running altogether.  No amount of cleaning brought it back to life and all wires and connections to tender appeared intact.

Living close to Saginaw, MI I am fairly close to a great lionel repair shop and I debated whether to do a quick return to Kohls or perhaps leave it at the lionel shop for repair (last I knew they will repair engines that came  from amazon or kohls).  I opted for the quick return.  I do miss the fun so am considering trying the whole thing again next year. 

I have read about other similar experiences on this site but what I want to know is can this loco/set be made reliable by a good repair shop?  If I had chose to take it to the dealer could it have been made reliable or does the inexpensive nature of the set make the loco difficult to keep running?  I note that many people seem to be liking the lionchief plus engines so those  must be giving decent service for some?  Basic question is would I be beating my head against the wall trying another or did I just have bad luck with this one?  thank you in advance for your replies..

Original Post

Ive had one for three years and it has countless hours on it...   I blew the sound up on it after cleaning it by putting the tender on the track with power on it and not hooked to the engine (not sure if all of them do that but this one did)   Lionel fixed it has ran fine since..  They are making a LC+2.0 Polar Express engine this year.   Its supposed to be better than the LC+ engines.    We will see...   I have to Southern Berkshire on pre order and its the same engine.  can't wait!!

Jim

Operator of the Southern Railway System.

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Not sure what might have happened to yours. I have been running two Lionchief RTR sets for a full year, or rather my 5 year old grandson has. The tracks stay up all year so the trains get a lot of use. No problems to date. One a Pennsylvania Flyer bluetooth, the other RS3 diesel.  Also a 2 year old runs them, there have been a few derailments but not many.

oldmike

carsntrains posted:

Ive had one for three years and it has countless hours on it...   I blew the sound up on it after cleaning it by putting the tender on the track with power on it and not hooked to the engine (not sure if all of them do that but this one did)   Lionel fixed it has ran fine since..  They are making a LC+2.0 Polar Express engine this year.   Its supposed to be better than the LC+ engines.    We will see...   I have to Southern Berkshire on pre order and its the same engine.  can't wait!!

Jim

I am glad to hear this.  It really made me sad to take the set back so an upgrade would be great!

The gentleness of the derailment is immaterial. What likely happened is that the derailment caused an electrical short when the wheels touched both the center and outer rails as the locomotive turned sideways. The short fried the circuitry inside the locomotive.

You can add a protection circuit to protect trains from the electrical spike in such situations. See the various threads on installing TVS devices.

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...&queryString=Tvs

Jim R. 

Jim R. posted:

The gentleness of the derailment is immaterial. What likely happened is that the derailment caused an electrical short when the wheels touched both the center and outer rails as the locomotive turned sideways. The short fried the circuitry inside the locomotive.

You can add a protection circuit to protect trains from the electrical spike in such situations. See the various threads on installing TVS devices.

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...&queryString=Tvs

Thank you for this,  even though everyone touts the simplicity of this it seems a bit confusing about how and where to install on a fastrack Christmas tree operation (I am electronically challenged.)...I will keep reading.  I am liking the idea of the upgraded lionchief 2.0 engine,  if I purchased that I certainly would want it protected.  

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