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This weekend at the Allentown Spring Thaw show I picked up a brand new Polar Express tender (6-11151) for an outstanding price.  Naturally I began looking for the matching engine to complete the set….  But then I began thinking… ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to have the most RECENT technology in the engine?!?’  Obviously Lionel just released the Berk’s in the 2024 catalog….  So my question is…. Could I pair the 2009 tender with a 2024 engine?  Would the technologies work together?  Or has the internal systems advanced in such a way where they wouldn’t “speak” to each other effectively.  I figured I could order the 2431540 (Pere Marquette) and then net an engine with the most recent technology but could still swap out the PE tender when needed…. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

Last edited by BHalfway
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Although I could be wrong, I don’t think it’s new tooling…. So these are a rerun of the ones done as recently as 2014.  So I’m not concerned about the fit….  My question is more around the technology…. And is it an ALL NEW Legacy system?  Or a re-run of existing Legacy systems…. I’m sure that there are people on the forum familiar with the technology that make these engines work…. So it’s more of a request for an EDUCATED guess…. Or an explanation of why it couldn’t work

Last edited by BHalfway
@BHalfway posted:

Although I could be wrong, I don’t think it’s new tooling…. So these are a rerun of the ones done as recently as 2014.  So I’m not concerned about the fit….  My question is more around the technology…. And is it an ALL NEW Legacy system?  Or a re-run of existing Legacy systems…. I’m sure that there are people on the forum familiar with the technology that make these engines work…. So it’s more of a request for an EDUCATED guess…. Or an explanation of why it couldn’t work

Look, congrats on finding the tender for a song. They are highly desirable and worth decent money, and worst case resale value is likely higher than you paid for it if you are patient when selling. Again, you got a good deal on a fairly hot item.

My point is, the electronics in these new engines is MASSIVELY different than that generation for the tender. I am familiar with the technology and that's why I am saying what I am saying- best of luck on it being compatible commands. Sure, it might kinda sorta work, or maybe partially works, but to say in a forum something not even made yet is going to work with older Legacy IR protocol and commands to a tender- that's not a given it will work.

Think about all the possible differences:

Chuffing- being dynamic- maybe it's not the same protocol

Whistle- - newer engines began with up to 5 whistle sounds- is that protocol and quilling the same exact protocol as older Legacy?

Sequence mode- newer legacy includes this feature to play automatic sounds, but I have seen incompatibility in specific engines between the engine and tender that had to go back to lionel for reprogramming- and that the same matched pair.

To extend an olive branch- I have the older run of Pere Marquette Berkshire #1225 SKU: 6-11203, and thus a similar tender and thus in theory protocols on the IR drawbar.

The newest engine I own is the Norfolk & Western Vision Class A #1218 Excursion Version SKU: 2231460

I also have on hand the Polar Express LEGACY 2-8-4 Berkshire #1225 SKU: 6-84685

So I can go play the game of tender swap and see if that older 6-11xxxx series tender- and thus protocols is compatible.

OK, further technical testing, it failed miserably. Even ignoring the over/under situation and not coupling to the newer engines, I tried it with no less than 5 newer more recent Legacy engines and the tender boots up in conventional and ignores all IR commands (thus Legacy commands) from the engine.

So, it has both a physical and logical or electronic reasons it is not compatible.

Edit- again, to be dead clear, I purposely ensured the IR transmitter on the engine and the receiver on the tender were aligned. No matter how many times I just tried, the older Pere Marquette 6-11xxxxx series  tender does not understand the newer legacy format IR commands coming from no less than 5 different engines, ranging from 6-84xxxxxx series, on up through 2019, 2020, and even 2021 Legacy engines

Last edited by Vernon Barry

First, I appreciate you going through all of that thorough leg work and testing…. I SINCERELY appreciate it!!  Second, I hadn’t thought of the fact that the IR sensor may have changed locations…. Just didn’t occur to me that they would do that on an engine they’ve produced in the past.  And last, it’s good to now know that the formatting in these engines can be so drastically different.  Again, I really appreciate your time, explanation, testing and feedback.  Much obliged…!

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