I have been collecting Trains as early as I can remember. I started with American Flyer and switched to O scale because Lionel was doing nothing to help the S scale operator collector. After many years, in 2004 I got my interest back while recovering from by-pass surgery. I set up an O scale layout in my basement on Staten Island NY.  We then moved to Buckeye, Arizona and I had to down size so I decided to set up a small 10’ x 11’ layout in the casita. Because of the small size of the space, I went with S scale layout. I have some American Models, Lionel S, MTH and S Helper engines. My question is as follows:

I have an S Helper F7 ABA unit and cannot get it to run. It makes the Diesel sound but does not move. I called MTH and they will not look at the engine because I purchased it from S Helper. They could not even recommend a company that would look at my engine. Does anyone have any ideas or solutions to this problem? If you would rather call to give me verbal instructions, please call me at 718-812-1286.

Thanks, John  

Original Post

One suggestion is the the unit has a Dallee Locomatic card in it that will only respond to signals supplied by a Locomatic controller. S-Helper supplied many of their early F3 and some F7 units with the Locomatic option until DCC became more popular. You can open up the lead A unit to check to see if such a card is in it. If so, you have the option of removing the card and losing the sound (or installing a DCC card at some point) or getting a Locomatic controller from Dallee Electronics and controlling the motion, sound, and classification lights on an S-Helper F7 unit.

If the lead A unit does have Locomatic control and the other A unit and B unit do not, you will have to connect the B and trailing A units to the lead with the tiny MU electrical wires that S-Helper provided.

The non-DCC version F7 could be run conventionally with AC or DC, or "slave" to a 10-button Locomatic control box depending on how specific dip switches inside the A unit rear door were set.  Check those.  DCC versions must be used with a DCC system and came with supplemental documentation in addition to the aforementioned version Owner's Manual.  

Click here for the the Conventional/Locomatic F7 Owner's Manual.  Including MU cable use and a whole lot more.  Here are a few excerpts:

Thank you for purchasing our F-7 diesel cab unit. Your new diesel comes ready-to-run on American Flyer® com- patible S gauge track with either AC or DC power.

3-6 AC/DC LocoMaticTM Sound Units
Your new SHS F-7 locomotives come complete with Loco- MaticTM Control. LocoMaticTM Control features total train control with the push of a button. To activate your Locomatic Sound Units, you will need to move dip switch- es #1 and #2 to the “on” position (these are located inside the “A” unit rear door. 

3-8 DCC (Digital Command Control) Sound
One option for our F-7 is factory installed DCC sound de- coders made for us by Soundtraxx. Supplemental in- struction booklets are included with this option.

If you'd like to hear directly from Don Thompson, former owner of S-Helper (who along with his wife Robin were and remain two of the nicest people and greatest ambassadors of the S-trains hobby), join the showcaseline Yahoo Group.   Don frequently replies to questions posted there with the same courtesy and nearly limitless detailed S-Helper product knowledge as ever.   


S happens


x-Chief Wrench & Bottle-washer of Precision Flyer Repairs 

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