I was excited to power up the Menards Sauerkraut Factory--my first Menards structure--for the first time. However, it wound up being anticlimactic...

The only lights that illuminated were the ones over the front doors--they were bright--and the one on top of the rooftop tank--but it was very faint.

I'm using a generic wall wart that's rated at 4.5v and 1000mA, which are the outputs that Menards specifies.

Any ideas?

Retired is a misnomer.  Should be detired--less tired, more fun!

Original Post
Larry Sr. posted:

Just give them a call. They are extremely helpful. Never had a problem talking with them. I have a lot of their products.

Larry

Good luck with that. I doubt you will be able to talk to a human. All issues are now done through emails. I don't care for that method but unfortunately it is the way of the world these days.

A call is always worth a shot.  I have MANY Menard's buildings, and have had to send back at least two of them.  Look for their support email if the call doesn't work.  They are excellent at taking care of us train guys and have always come through for me in a prompt fashion, with replacement buildings.

Your power source should not be the problem.  I've hooked up many buildings in different ways, as long as it's close to the 4.5v.   My brand new brewery seemed to have a major board issue but, when I got it on the layout, the sign and lights began working perfectly.   The plug underneath is still dead, but that was fortunately in a spot that still hides the side hookup.

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Like most, I still wish they'd use warm white lights instead of cool white.....

Jerry

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That building came out four years ago and has been out of stock for some time. I’m not sure there is much Menards can do at this point since a replacement is unlikely to be available.

Did you buy it from Menards? Was it used when you opened it?

 

Jim R. 

Jim R. posted:

Did you buy it from Menards? Was it used when you opened it?

 

I purchased it from my local Menards two years ago. I didn't even remove it from its packaging until just now--had to pull out a bunch of staples--when, after completing the benchwork for an extension to my layout, I had a place to put it.

All this time I was so looking forward to seeing the cool lighting effects, especially the Herman's Sauerkraut sign, that it's supposed to have. This is hardly life or death, but it is very disappointing.

I have the slide switch in the "on" position, and I have pressed the button next to the power port in the back of the structure. I have also tried the power port in the bottom of the structure. No difference. All I get are the lights over the front doors (bright) and the light on top of the rooftop tank (very faint).

Given what I've described, does anyone have any ideas on what the issue might be, especially if you have any experience with Menards structures?

Retired is a misnomer.  Should be detired--less tired, more fun!

Maybe it's just trying to tell you to replace the lighting with warm white LED's?  I have had a Menards building with bad lighting and they replaced it, but they were still available.  Your biggest problem with replacing the lighting might be gaining access to the inside of the building without destroying it?

First thing though to do is call Menards.  Good luck.

Art

Volphin posted:

First off, try another power supply.  If that doesn't work, see if Menards has a replacement online.  If you get to strike 3, I have a complete lighting circuit for this structure that works in my tool box.  

OK, thanks. I'll pick up another power supply and see if that solves the problem.

Retired is a misnomer.  Should be detired--less tired, more fun!

From what you describe, it sounds like a short in the wiring.  I think one connection is touching another causing the top light to be dim while the others are bright.  Generally, LEDs will blink rapidly and dimly when circuits are touching each other. If you can look at all the wires and connections without damage.  Look for wires that are in groups and not protected with with either liquid tape or other covering at the connection points...  You can also attach a 9 volt battery with leads to one of the bulbs connection points and see what other lights come on.  The socket could be defective...  Good luck,  Nothing worse than being disappointed after waiting two years to check out this model'...

  Ted 

 

The problem is that these models are made of MDF components that are hot-glued together permanently. They weren’t made to be easily serviceable, unlike the earlier buildings that were made by Woodland Scenics with special Menards signage.

As such, and because by nature these MDF buildings are limited-run items, Menards can’t do much to correct the situation once the replacement stock is depleted.

I have some Lemax resin buildings that also share these same limitations for key mechanisms.

I guess if someone is industrious enough, they could be fixed. But gaining access to the lighting won’t be quick or easy.

As for contacting Menards, there is no phone number you can call that will direct you to a person who will be able to take care of the problem on the phone.

As Mark the Menards Train Guy has said repeatedly in posts, email the company at guest@menard-inc.com. You will likely be directed to “Ray,” or sometimes Mark, who could do a system search of stock in other stores to see if anything is left. Highly unlikely after four years, given they would have been moved to the seasonal shelves four times already, but they could try.

Jim R. 

Tried another power source and had the same result.

Menards basically told me, "You're on your own."

Examined the wiring as best I could. Didn't see any obvious problem. However, in the process, I had the structure upside down and noticed for the first time that the two exterior lights are also illuminating very faintly. I didn't notice before because these lights are hooded.

So, the four lights over the office doors illuminate normally. The blinking light on the top of the tank, as well as the two exterior lights, illuminate very faintly. The sign doesn't illuminate at all. Does this point to anything in particular as the source of the problem? Is this the kind of pattern you would expect if the lights were wired in series and there wasn't enough current?

Retired is a misnomer.  Should be detired--less tired, more fun!

Does this point to anything in particular as the source of the problem? Is this the kind of pattern you would expect if the lights were wired in series and there wasn't enough current?

 

Wired in series would have no effect unless there is a miss connection along the way.  And again, all lights would blink if there is a short in a connection..

The only way to fix this is the structure must come apart.  If you soak all of the structure joints with alcohol, several times.  Then gently use a sharp xacto knife and scribe your way through the joints, it will come apart.  Alcohol will soften the hot glue..  Then you can re-wire or install new LEDs. Or fix/adjust any broken connections or other problems you find'...

  Ted 

 

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