I received my 3985 today and tried it on my layout that has Atlas #5 and O72 switches.  When the engine passes through the switches at low to moderate speed, the tender loses power and the sound cuts out.  I never had any problem with the UP 844, but the roller spacing on its tender is 4.5" whereas the spacing on the new Challenger's tender is only 2.5".   All my Atlas switches are the brand new lots that are suppose to have this drop off problem fixed.  Anyone else noticing this problem with the Challenger's tender?

Original Post

Does it restart? Have seen many Legacy steam engines drop the sound over a switch or crossing and sadly it does not restart automatically like a TMCC engine, it must be "reset" instead. The tender may also be loosing common with the insulated rails involved. It results in the same issue.

installing a 9 volt battery in the tender will keep the sounds going over dead spots, the manual should explain the proceedure.

BobbyD posted:

Does it restart? Have seen many Legacy steam engines drop the sound over a switch or crossing and sadly it does not restart automatically like a TMCC engine, it must be "reset" instead. The tender may also be loosing common with the insulated rails involved. It results in the same issue.

The tender usually restarts, but it seems like the sound level is lower.

Oh-oh, is this the VL Niagara all over again? They changed the position of the rollers on that one as well to accommodate the water scoop feature and the sound cut out on certain Atlas switches. And... the tender does not have a bracket for a conventional 9v battery but I understand some guys added Gunrunnerjohn’s permanent battery device to solve the problem. 

Mike

BobbyD posted:

Does it restart? Have seen many Legacy steam engines drop the sound over a switch or crossing and sadly it does not restart automatically like a TMCC engine, it must be "reset" instead. The tender may also be loosing common with the insulated rails involved. It results in the same issue.

Another reason I prefer TMCC/RS to Legacy; this flaw is a bit absurd, and I do not put (gonna leak eventually) alkaline batteries in my locos. My Legacy USRA 2-6-6-2 cuts out and stays out; my TMCC/RS USRA 2-6-6-2 (and others) does not. Why is this acceptable? Or even designed?

I do seem to remember being able to do something to get the sounds to re-start short of a power cycle, but I forget what. Haven't run it in a while. 

I shouldn't have to "do" anything.

Strummer posted:
D500 posted:

I shouldn't have to "do" anything.

Amen!

Mark in Oregon

I remember quite some years ago, a manager from Lionel, when questioned about operation on Atlas Track, responded, "We design, and test, our products on Lionel Track!". In other words, they don't care about operation on "competitors" track systems. 

Hot Water posted:

I remember quite some years ago, a manager from Lionel, when questioned about operation on Atlas Track, responded, "We design, and test, our products on Lionel Track!". In other words, they don't care about operation on "competitors" track systems. 

I can understand why they made that comment.  It would be costly to test products on all other track systems.  However, if they design products that won't run on other types of track systems they cut themselves out of a significant portion of potential customers.  I purchased the 844 from Lionel and it works fine on Atlas switches.  The tender on that engine looks like the same tender on the Challenger so I had no reason to doubt that the Challenger would run perfectly through the Atlas switches also.  I suppose there was some reason to shorten the roller spacing by 2".   Maybe the problem I am having is unique to my tender sample, but I sure won't be ordering a Big Boy from the next catalog until I see the underside of its tender.

John Rowlen posted:

Thank you for the information.  I run on Atlas O track with several #5 and O-72 switches.  It will save me the aggravation by not ordering the new Lionel Vision Line Challenger.

You might want to wait to dismiss your purchase until other people check to see if they have the same problem.  It is possible that this is an issue with just my tender.

romiller49 posted:

How can you blame the engine. It’s the Atlas switch. Fix it. 

The gap in the center rail of #5 switches is about 3.75" and the pickup roller spacing on the tender is about 2.5".  What is your suggestion for a fix on the switch?

I had some thing like this happen to me.With MTH ps3 and the connector between the tender and the locomotive.I brought it as a christmas present to my self.At some point it would not move the lights and sounds were alright.I sent it back to MTH it came back about a week and a half later.This time every thing worked.It had a note with it that said it was a factory defect.As it turned out I was not alone with that problem.I was happy with the tether.If it not broke do not mess with it.I wonder thou about locomotives that have swinging bells.At some point their gonna run out of room for this extra stuff.Not to mention jack up the price even more.

The problem with Atlas switches was present with the original VL Challenger too. Plus, for those who can remember back that far, those engines shipped with a board defect that meant the battery, if installed, would continue to discharge and power the rear tender lights after the engine was shut down. The boards had to be returned to Lionel for re-programming if you wanted to use a battery without it constantly running down. 

I think it was in that context that Lionel said they could not make engines that run flawlessly on every variation of track brand and in particular Atlas. I understand that position. I used to use Atlas but switched back to tubular track.

BTW, the new VL Challenger manual is up on Lionel's website and in common with every Lionel Legacy steam engine I have got from the VL BB going forward, there is no option to install a battery in the tender any more.

 

D500 posted:

Another reason I prefer TMCC/RS to Legacy; this flaw is a bit absurd, and I do not put (gonna leak eventually) alkaline batteries in my locos.

I have a solution for TMCC or Legacy locomotives that have sound issues over switches and the like.  The good news is, it doesn't involve leaky alkaline batteries.   You can get them with battery clips for locomotives that have the battery cable, and with the battery connector for direct connection to the RS-Lite audio board for newer Legacy that doesn't include the battery cable.  Once and done, install this "battery" and you never have to install another one.

YLB - RailSounds Battery Replacement

YLB - RailSounds Lite Battery Replacement

Attachments

Photos (1)
gunrunnerjohn posted:
D500 posted:

Another reason I prefer TMCC/RS to Legacy; this flaw is a bit absurd, and I do not put (gonna leak eventually) alkaline batteries in my locos.

I have a solution for TMCC or Legacy locomotives that have sound issues over switches and the like.  The good news is, it doesn't involve leaky alkaline batteries.   You can get them with battery clips for locomotives that have the battery cable, and with the battery connector for direct connection to the RS-Lite audio board for newer Legacy that doesn't include the battery cable.  Once and done, install this "battery" and you never have to install another one.

YLB - RailSounds Battery Replacement

YLB - RailSounds Lite Battery Replacement

John,

After spending $1700 on the engine I certainly don't have a problem with buying one of these so I can run it.  However I have two questions.  First, do you think this will void the warranty?  Second, I am not skilled as you are in train repair.  How feasible is it for a novice to install one of these.  I have a vision of opening the tender and having all sorts of things pop out

Thanks

 

 

 

 

JFC454 posted:

 1.   It would be costly to test products on all other track systems.  However, if they design products that won't run on other types of track systems they cut themselves out of a significant portion of potential customers.   

2.  Maybe the problem I am having is unique to my tender sample, but I sure won't be ordering a Big Boy from the next catalog until I see the underside of its tender.

1. Think back to the early days of HO scale: the NMRA made d*mn sure that everything could run on everything.  Because of that, today you can take 1950s vintage Varney or Mantua and it'll run on Atlas or Bachmann track made yesterday in China. Sure, some deeper wheel flanges may not work on smaller rail sizes, but the focus was to make sure that all products shared the same properties to make for "interchangeability". We saw a similar thought process when it came to that "new fangled" control system, DCC.  Too bad that even now, you don't see that in O scale.  

2. I think that's probably wise... 

Mark in Oregon

Hancock52 posted:

The problem with Atlas switches was present with the original VL Challenger too. Plus, for those who can remember back that far, those engines shipped with a board defect that meant the battery, if installed, would continue to discharge and power the rear tender lights after the engine was shut down. The boards had to be returned to Lionel for re-programming if you wanted to use a battery without it constantly running down. 

I think it was in that context that Lionel said they could not make engines that run flawlessly on every variation of track brand and in particular Atlas. I understand that position. I used to use Atlas but switched back to tubular track.

BTW, the new VL Challenger manual is up on Lionel's website and in common with every Lionel Legacy steam engine I have got from the VL BB going forward, there is no option to install a battery in the tender any more.

 

As I mentioned before, I understand that Lionel can't design their products to cover all possibilities.  What annoys me, is they made the 844 with the same tender as this Challenger except it has a pickup roller spacing of 4.5" CTC instead of the Challengers 2.5" CTC.   If they had put the exact same tender on the Challenger as they did on the 844, there would be no problem.  There is no problem with the engine part of the Challenger.  It has 4 pickup rollers and goes through all my switches without any problem.  Atlas has addressed some of their switch problems since the initial Challenger release.  I have 14 Legacy diesels and the 844 and not one of them has any problems on the latest run of Atlas switches except for this latest tender.

JFC454 posted:

John,

After spending $1700 on the engine I certainly don't have a problem with buying one of these so I can run it.  However I have two questions.  First, do you think this will void the warranty?  Second, I am not skilled as you are in train repair.  How feasible is it for a novice to install one of these.  I have a vision of opening the tender and having all sorts of things pop out

Thanks

It shouldn't void the warranty, but if you're leery of that possibility, just wait until the warranty expires.

It's very easy to install these, but you do have to splice one wire, the center roller pickup wire.  For Legacy, the white connector plugs into the RS-Lite board, there's only one connector that it will fit.  For TMCC or early Legacy with the battery cable, the other model looks like a battery, you just connect the battery clip.  With both you have the one wire to the pickup roller to provide the power for the YLB.

Dug through the tubs of old Fastrack I have in the basement and set up 4, O72 Fastrack switches and some 30" straights.  Powered a temporary test track with a 180 W Powerhouse.  Checked the voltage readings to make sure they were within a few 1/100's of a volt everywhere.  With the engine running through the track at crawl speed, the tender cuts out on both LH switches when it goes through a diverging route.  The tender does not cut out when going through the RH switches.  I thought maybe the wireless link was the trouble.  However, when I push the tender by itself through the switches with the power on, the sound cuts out on the LH switches at the same spot, but not with the RH.  I think I have two issues.  I think there is something wrong with the pickups on my tender that is causing the behavior difference on LH and RH Fastrack switches.  I see the same behavior with Atlas O72 switches.  I have one LH and 2 RH.  Sound only cuts on on the LH one.  The other problem of the pickup roller spacing being so short probably can only be fixed with a keep-a-alive product like GUNRUNNERJOHN has made.

JFC454 posted:

Dug through the tubs of old Fastrack I have in the basement and set up 4, O72 Fastrack switches and some 30" straights.  Powered a temporary test track with a 180 W Powerhouse.  Checked the voltage readings to make sure they were within a few 1/100's of a volt everywhere.  With the engine running through the track at crawl speed, the tender cuts out on both LH switches when it goes through a diverging route.  The tender does not cut out when going through the RH switches.  I thought maybe the wireless link was the trouble.  However, when I push the tender by itself through the switches with the power on, the sound cuts out on the LH switches at the same spot, but not with the RH.  I think I have two issues.  I think there is something wrong with the pickups on my tender that is causing the behavior difference on LH and RH Fastrack switches.  I see the same behavior with Atlas O72 switches.  I have one LH and 2 RH.  Sound only cuts on on the LH one.  The other problem of the pickup roller spacing being so short probably can only be fixed with a keep-a-alive product like GUNRUNNERJOHN has made.

Thanks for reporting the results of your tests.   I am planning a layout with Atlas-O (another thread) with #5s, and #7.5 turnouts, and was concerned about my track choice.   I guess I had better purchase a couple and test my existing locos before committing to Atlas-O (Ross/Gargrave looks like my 2nd choice).

O Gauge: the IMAX of Model Railroading, and a multi-sensory experience.

Ken-Oscale posted:
JFC454 posted:

Dug through the tubs of old Fastrack I have in the basement and set up 4, O72 Fastrack switches and some 30" straights.  Powered a temporary test track with a 180 W Powerhouse.  Checked the voltage readings to make sure they were within a few 1/100's of a volt everywhere.  With the engine running through the track at crawl speed, the tender cuts out on both LH switches when it goes through a diverging route.  The tender does not cut out when going through the RH switches.  I thought maybe the wireless link was the trouble.  However, when I push the tender by itself through the switches with the power on, the sound cuts out on the LH switches at the same spot, but not with the RH.  I think I have two issues.  I think there is something wrong with the pickups on my tender that is causing the behavior difference on LH and RH Fastrack switches.  I see the same behavior with Atlas O72 switches.  I have one LH and 2 RH.  Sound only cuts on on the LH one.  The other problem of the pickup roller spacing being so short probably can only be fixed with a keep-a-alive product like GUNRUNNERJOHN has made.

Thanks for reporting the results of your tests.   I am planning a layout with Atlas-O (another thread) with #5s, and #7.5 turnouts, and was concerned about my track choice.   I guess I had better purchase a couple and test my existing locos before committing to Atlas-O (Ross/Gargrave looks like my 2nd choice).

As information, our entire layout was Atlas O, solid nickel silver rail track system. There were two Lionel articulated models (both SP locomotives, the JLC cab forward #4294 and the JLC AC-9) that exhibited problems with various Atlas turnouts on the layout. I solved the problems by changing out the original equipment pick-up roller assemblies, and replaced them with Sunset/3rd Rail tapered pick-up roller assemblies. End of problems!

I had one MTH NYC L4b Mohawk (the one with the roller bearing rods), that would stop on virtually every turnout. Discovered that the model came with pick-up rollers ONLY on the engine, and none on the tender. I purchased an MTH pick-up roller assembly from the local hobby shop, added to to the tender, and spliced necessary pick-up wire into the correct "hot wire" inside the tender. End of problems.

JFC454 posted:
romiller49 posted:

How can you blame the engine. It’s the Atlas switch. Fix it. 

The gap in the center rail of #5 switches is about 3.75" and the pickup roller spacing on the tender is about 2.5".  What is your suggestion for a fix on the switch?

Try adding a small section of rail where the roller loses contact. On Ross switches I’ve had to add track pins to extend the area of contact. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rod Miller

Upon closer inspection I see that the tenders that came with the last run of FEF and the tenders that come with the new Challengers are not identical.  Attached are some pictures that show the Challenger tender on the left and the FEF on the right.  I read that the real tenders were different with the Challenger tender holding more water.  It is hard to see in the pictures, but the Challenger tender is slightly larger than the FEF.  The topside detail is also different.  I have included a picture showing the relative pickup roller spacings.  So, I stand corrected, Lionel could not have just put the FEF's tender on the Challenger model.  Now the catalog descriptions for the next release of the Big Boy makes more sense.  The "4014 as first run" version will come with a Challenger tender (and likely the short pickup spacing).  The "Excursion" version will come with a Big Boy tender which I suspect is the same tender that came with the FEF's and has the wider pickup roller spacing.  ericstrains.com does a great job of reviewing various engines and if you look at his review for the Vison Line Big Boy he shows the underside of the tender.  The spacing looks the same as that on the FEF's tenders.  If that is the case then the Excursion version might run OK through Atlas O #5 switches.

Attachments

Photos (3)

This issue can be solved by sharing the locomotive and tender pickup rollers as Hot Water describes.  I've done this a number of times, especially with small steamers.  I recommend the addition of a 1.5A PTC (programmable fuse) in series with the engine to tender tether, this protects the wiring if you have a derailment and a pickup lands on an outside rail.  As for the necessity of the PTC, I've replaced wiring in a few locomotives or tenders that have suffered this exact fate.

Here's one I did and decided to document here:

MTH Switcher Reliability Upgrade

Locomotive to Tender Power Sharing

gunrunnerjohn posted:

This issue can be solved by sharing the locomotive and tender pickup rollers as Hot Water describes.  I've done this a number of times, especially with small steamers.  I recommend the addition of a 1.5A PTC (programmable fuse) in series with the engine to tender tether, this protects the wiring if you have a derailment and a pickup lands on an outside rail.  As for the necessity of the PTC, I've replaced wiring in a few locomotives or tenders that have suffered this exact fate.

Here's one I did and decided to document here:

MTH Switcher Reliability Upgrade

Locomotive to Tender Power Sharing

John the second link get an error might want to check it.

Shawn Chronister

The tender on the Challenger is now completely dead, no lights or sound.  Engine still works fine, its just the tender.  So, either the whole problem I started this thread with was due to a faulty sample or running the tender over Atlas O #5 switches is not good for the electronics.  I appreciate all the help and suggestions that everyone has given.

Thanks

John Cullen

 

 

 

John Cullen, 

Turn the transformer power off.  When turning it back on, see if the sound returns to the engine.  It should return.  If not, try to re-program the engine.  I have had steam engines lose sound after repeated interruptions over my Atlas O switches.  After several interruptions going over switches, the system shuts down. 

The battery should help keep power to the sound system.  Lionel may not have put a 9-volt battery cable in the engine tender.  If they did, try a 9-volt battery and see if that keeps the sound on when going over switch gaps. 

Gun Runner John's rechargeable battery should help with the sound system.  

Sincerely, John Rowlen

Excellent thread. My Challenger arrives next week. Hopefully, I can make a positive report.

 

TCA, METCA, LCCA, LRRC, MTHRRC, Atlas Golden Spike Club Charter Member, Bergen County Model RRC and NJ HiRailers Member.

 

If you haven't checked out the new NJ HiRailers website please do. Go to the "Photos" page to see galleries of our events and check the "What's New" page periodically to see what we've added.

 

 

 

Add Reply

Post
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
330-757-3020

www.ogaugerr.com
×
×
×
×
×