I just purchased a Weaver U25B (circa 1998) that has a QSI sound system. It is new in the box and has never been run. I have no layout and I am using a postwar Lionel ZW transformer with a Lionel 5906 sound activation button on a section of test track. The locomotive functions fine in both forward and reverse, the lighting is working perfectly as designed, the sound system activates according to specification and sounds great. The bell also functions properly. However when I try to activate the horn it does not work. While engaging the horn by sliding the lever forward the locomotive speed up and stays that way until I release it and then the locomotive resumes its normal speed. By reading your forums I have discovered that the QSI sound system is a predecessor to Proto Sound 1 which I never knew. I am not sure if the loco has an internal electrical circuit board problem or if the problem is with my Lionel ZW transformer. There may be a compatibility problem between the two. Obviously I can't contact Weaver since they are now out of business, which is unfortunate since they had outstanding customer service and support. I don't want to return this locomotive since it is a very limited addition piece of 129 manufactured for NETCA's 40th anniversary (1958-1998) and it is also the only locomotive that NETCA has ever released in all of their offerings. I need your assistance in trying fix this problem please.
Try adding an additional load on the tracks. PW transformers need a load on the output for the horn. It's also possible that your transformer rectifier is dying.
Point of curiosity, how did you activate the bell with the PW-ZW? Do you have an add-on sound activation button?
As stated in my post I used a Lionel 5906 sound activation button. This transformer with the 5906 works on other low end tech locos with no problem achieving both bell and horn functions. The only difference is I never used it before with an original QSI sound system.
Are you using the 5906 or the ZW whistle control to blow the horn? If you're trying to use the ZW, swap the polarity of the 5906 and see if that blows the horn.
Using the 5906 to engage the bell sounds. Using the ZW to try to engage the horn. The 5906 is connected from "A" terminal on the ZW to the center rail. The common ground on the ZW is connected to the outside rail per the Lionel instructions included with the 5906 sound activation button. No, I did not try to reverse the connections to the track via the clip on. I will try that next to see if that works but it may not be tonight.
Reversing the 5906 connections will make it a horn/whistle control. If that works, then it's just the ZW isn't producing enough DC offset to trigger the horn. I'm guessing that's what you're going to find is the reason.
Reversed the connections to the track. Now when I push the 5906 sound activation button the horn works (It use to activate the bell). Then when I engage/push the whistle on the ZW the locomotive reduces speed when it is engaged and resumes speed when it is released and I get no sound as before (Before it would speed up while it is engaged). So I am not sure what is going on. So are you saying that the culprit is the ZW and the locomotive is OK ? Again I never had this problem before up until now that I am using a QSI sound system (locomotive sounds with a separate bell and horn engaged manually, Should the ZW be acting this way or does it need servicing, and if so, what does it need ?
You're experiencing the difference between modern and post-war whistle/horn operation. The ZW depends on some significant current flowing to generate the DC offset that triggers the horn. The upgrades to the ZW that replace the rectifier disk with a silicon diode or a Zener diode will solve the problem. There are many threads here on the whistle rectifier upgrade.
John, Thanks for all your help. If I wire two Lionel 5906 sound activation buttons in tandem to work the bell from one and the whistle/horn from the other will this circumvent the problem much easier ? I see wiring diagrams that show how to hook the two of them up to accomplish this. I'm not that tech savy and this looks like a much easier fix for me.
That would work, or you could create your own whistle/bell box with provisions for both functions. I made this one out of my parts box with stuff I had laying around.
John, Your work is magnificent ! I would have no idea how to do what you have just sent me a picture of. Externally it's a true work of art. I visited Henning's Trains online store hoping to see that perhaps you marketed these for sale but no luck. This is a much neater approach then wiring up two 5906 sound activation buttons in tandem. Again, you should market these for sale because I would gladly be your very first customer for sure.
Too many projects, too little time.
John, I understand. Thanks once again- Ted