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I purchased a used three car Vision Line reefer set months ago and just now got my Legacy 990 system to actually operate the features of the cars. Everything seemed to be working great. Then I noticed smoke coming out of the car with the electro-couplers. At first I thought, wow I guess I have a load of dry ice -- until I smelled it.

The electro-coupler worked/works. I removed it from the track and slightly burned my finger on the coupler, it was that hot. I let it cool while I googled the problem -- not finding any results on a brief search. I put it back on the track and it did not get hot until I operated the coupler. The coupler would not latch which told me it was "stuck" with power to the magnet to release it.

Since this is electronically controlled (I thought) momentary switch, I'm puzzled. Is there a physical momentary switch in there that is controlled electronically?

Since this is the first thing I've ever done with Legacy, have I programmed it wrong somehow?

I exercised the coupler again after it cooled manually and then put it on the track and operated the car (not the coupler) with freight sounds at length. The coupler never got hot. At this point, I'm afraid to attempt it again since everything else is working.

Suggestions on what might be wrong with the electro-coupler?

Thank you.

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Okay, had some time to test this more. It appears to me that whenever I send it an uncouple command, power to the magnet/uncoupler stays on. I can't re-couple because it is still active until I remove power by lifting the car or cycling track power. Once power is interrupted, it will couple up normally.

Knocking on wood now, this will be my first contact with Lionel for support in 58 years.

Does it happen with any other electrocouplers or just the VL Reefers?  It could be the RCDR receiver has an issue.

The VL Cattle Cars arrived today and guess what? Same problem. Of course I didn't let it get hot this time. I just used the Cab2 to open the coupler it would not release. I took it off the track and it would immediately latch.

This is a brand new 990 base and Cab2. My first. So have I goofed something up with it since it is happening on both electro-couplers on two different aged freight cars with electro-couplers? Everything else about both cars works.

Could I have the base connected to the wrong rail or something?

Thank you.

@romiller49 posted:

Since it’s ok while running I’d say there are no rubbing wires. So, seems like the signal from the cab ll is sticking to fire within the legacy board.

Since I now have another car with the same issue, logic says there is something wrong with the remote. "sticking to fire within the legacy board." -- do you mean physically a sticking button or electronically something is sticking? New to all this. Thanks.

AFAIK, it's impossible to make the Legacy system do that, it has to be some flaw with the cars.  Nothing you can do or buttons you can press will make it hold the couplers on.

The only scenario I can see the Legacy doing that is if the button for the coupler was stuck.  However, in that case, it would do it with any TMCC/Legacy coupler when you attempted to use them.

@JackO posted:

Since I now have another car with the same issue, logic says there is something wrong with the remote. "sticking to fire within the legacy board." -- do you mean physically a sticking button or electronically something is sticking? New to all this. Thanks.

I certainly can’t offer any other suggestion. All we know for sure is that voltage to the coupler stays on causing burn up. GRJ knows more about this stuff than most on the forum. If he’s stumped then your only option is to contact Lionel. Please keep us posted on this. You may be helping many others with these same cars.

Hi,

No, the LionChief wall-warts are DC and that is likely the source of your problem.

(cut the cord off the wall wart and use it to connect your AC transformer to the track)

Top of page 4 of the reefer manual  "NOTE: Power your VISION Steel-Sided Reefer Car with an alternating-current (AC) transformer only. Powering your reefer car with a direct-current (DC) transformer, or in excess of 19 volts AC, may result in damage to sensitive electronic components."

The DC power is not allowing the coupler TRIAC to open. 

Lionel "self-inflicted" many issues by providing DC power supplies with their LionChief starter sets (my opinion)

If you switch to AC track power I believe your issue will go away.

Have Fun!  S/F Mike

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