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Discussion Starter #1
I have two Lionel horn buttons. One is an 8251-50, bright red. the other is a 6-5906. What's the difference? The 8251 has very small gauge wires, connects to both base and power terminals on the transformer, and has no problem getting my 703 air tender to whistle. The 6-5906 on the other hand, can barely make it whistle even at full throttle.

What's the difference in these buttons, and under what circumstances are they used for? I'm guessing the 6-5906 is only used to activate digital sounds? But internally I'd like to know what makes them so different.

Charles.
 

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I have Lionel sound buttons in Red and Black. I don't think there's any difference other than the color.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Tried that. In one direction it will barely operate the whistle. In the other it won't operate it at all. The buttons are different, and I'd like to know how...

Charles.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So... the red button has a resistor in it too then? That thread mentions a 167 (no idea what that is), but doesn't specifically mention the 8251-50.

Charles.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'm not really concerned with the 167. I guess I'll just have to take these apart to find out what's inside. Easy enough for the black one, but the red one (that works) has no screws, it's all glued together. :(

Charles.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Okay, so there's something different about the red box. I cannot get it open without destroying it (just tried). However, it CANNOT be the same as the black box.

It has two wires that attach to the transformer base and voltage output. Neither of these wires are marked, they're both the same color. It has a red and a white wire coming out the other side, which goes to a lock-on. It does not matter which way you connect the two black wires to the transformer, the red will always go to the center rail and the white to the outside rail. Swapping the base and power leads on the transformer does not change which rail is the hot one.

There is something else going on inside of the red whistle control button.

Charles.
 

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That actually makes perfect sense, did you look at my home-made box? It does the same thing, the connections to the transformer are not significant, since the DC offset is generated in the box. However, if you connect a box in series with one transformer lead, the polarity of the wires IS significant, since you have to get the diode inside the box oriented in the correct direction to generate a positive DC voltage offset on the center rail.

One thing about the 6-5906 model, it might need a load to operate an electronic whistle properly.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Just tested, load made no difference. The black button is still much weaker at blowing the horn. It takes much longer to spin up and it doesn't spin nearly as fast. At half throttle it takes a good 15 seconds to spin up enough to make a whistle noise. Yes. Fifteen seconds. I counted. At less than half throttle it never spins fast enough to make the whistle.

However, the red button takes less than a second to make the whistle, even at 1/4 throttle.

The black button is obviously working, and no doubt if it was a railsounds tender instead of a whistle tender it would work fine. My question is WHY. What is different?

Charles.
 

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Aside from the diodes, that glass tube has a bimetallic strip that cools and heats. To make a switch.

The big question now, is what whistle are you using? The 8251 is designed for a old relay. The 5906 is used for electronic whistles.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I listed that in my first post :)

703 air tender, no relay. A little circuit board and a can motor driving a plastic fan into a big plastic air chamber.

Charles.
 
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