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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a K-Line Illinois Central Berkshire. It has been altered to run on TMCC.

This engine has a number of issues, but I wanted to address the non working smoke unit first.

In the pictures below, the smoke unit has two holes. The unit cap and resistor fit on top. When I opened the top, I found the wicking was just in a wad and burned.

When I install new wicking, how does it fit in? Is is just coiled in the space under the cap or does it actually go down in the holes?

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Tom, no pics are showing up in your post, at least not on my end.

Chris
Let me try again...thanks for the heads up Chris!

Tom
 

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Tom you just want to wad up the batting but don't fill nor block the holes. Just put enough batting in so it contacts the resistor. Make sure the resistor hasn't opened up. Pretty sure it came with a 27 ohm resistor. Won't hurt to use a 24 ohm 2 watt resistor if you want more smoke.

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Pete. I will do that.

Now....

This engine is TMCC equipped but there is no place to install a battery or YLB. The instruction sheet says the battery goes in the tender, but there is no connection...

Also, there is a switch that is accessible from the top of the tender water hatch. It isn’t labeled. Perhaps the “program/run” switch?

The last pic is a note that was included with the engine when I bought it...

Tom
 

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I don't have a Berkshire but do have the Hudson and Mikado. Those engines come with the Radio Board and motor driver in the engine. The radio board drives the smoke resistor. The PO could have used a Cruise M in the engine and wouldn't have had to rewire the engine. By putting a Cruise Commander in the tender a wire has to be run from the tender to the smoke resistor. Maybe that has been done and the tether connection is flakey. Since they used a Cruise Commander you can download the installation manual from 3rd Rail which will show you which screw terminal is for smoke. It will be labeled feature. With an ohmmeter you can determine if there is a connection between that terminal and the smoke resistor. Make sure the switch in the engine for smoke is on.
The Railsounds board does have an input for the battery. The connector would have come with the RS upgrade kit. Download the Railsounds manual too while you are at it.

Pete
 

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Actually, it does have a place, and you can connect directly without any additional cables by using my YLB - RailSounds Battery Replacement (RS-Lite), it plugs into the battery connection on the RailSounds board.



For the puffer smoke units, I use fiberglass pipe insulation, you can cut a pad to just fit in the bowl like the original Lionel wick material.

 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks John. Ordered the YLB. I put the smoke unit together with some tiki torch fiber. It works great now!

I just need to tinker with the settings as the locomotive operation in TMCC is somewhat sporadic. It will run slow one time and then run at full speed the next. I have to figure out a reset of some sort to see if the issues clear up.

The sound is spotty too. It make sounds at idle, but has no chuff when running...

It operates properly in conventional mode though...

Tom
 

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Do you see any flicker in the headlight when the speed changes?
When the receiver was moved to the tender, the antenna had to be moved too. It sounds like you have a weak signal. The Cruise Commander manual shows where the antenna wire connects to the board. Follow that wire to see where it goes.
As for the chuff, see if there are magnets on the tender axle. I think the Berks came with K-Line Cruise but not sure if chuff came from the Cruise board or a cam on a driver axle produced the chuff sound.

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Okay, Thanks Pete. I will check out the antenna situation and report back....

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The antenna is in place. It is hot glued to the roof of the tender shell. It is an insulated wire about 6” long....

Tom
 

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Hot glueing a wire to the top of a shell only works with plastic shells.
If that wire is not attached to the shell then the shell is shielding the signal from the wire. If the wire gets attached to the shell electrically, metal to metal with a lug and screw then the shell needs to be insulated from the frame. Last option if the tender uses coal, real or plastic you can drill a hole in the coal pile, bring the wire through the hole and cover with more coal.
To find out if the varying speed issue is due to poor signal, run the engine with the shell off the tender.

Pete
 

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I use Kapton tape and plastic screws to float the tender shell for TMCC upgrades. As Pete says, the antenna should then be bonded to the shell. If there is no place to connect it, I find a thick part of the diecast and drill a blind hole and tap it for a small screw.

If it is a plastic shell on the tender, extend the wire to about 18" and just zig-zag it in the roof of the shell.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Wow, a lot of great information here. Thanks guys. The shell is metal and the antenna is simply hot glued to the roof of the tender.

I will try running the engine with the shell off. I am betting that is the problem. Thanks for steering me in the right direction. I guess when the previous owner modified the engine, they did a half assed job resulting in the poor performance in TMCC. It looks like a bigger project than I expected.

John, what size screws would I use and where can I get them?

Thanks for all the help guys.

Tom
 

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Wow, a lot of great information here. Thanks guys. The shell is metal and the antenna is simply hot glued to the roof of the tender.

I will try running the engine with the shell off. I am betting that is the problem. Thanks for steering me in the right direction. I guess when the previous owner modified the engine, they did a half assed job resulting in the poor performance in TMCC. It looks like a bigger project than I expected.
I have my Premier FEF on the bench, it also had a TMCC "upgrade". I wouldn't really call it an upgrade, more like a hack job! I ripped everything out and I'm putting PS/2 into it. If you look at enough of this stuff, you'll see some fairly frightening stuff done to these poor locomotives. ;)
John, what size screws would I use and where can I get them?
I get them from various sources, McMaster Carr Nylon Screws is a good source, they have metric and SAE. I'm not sure what screws are used in that particular model, I keep an assortment of threads for various models. MTH and Lionel use both SAE and metric screws, there doesn't seem to be a pattern. Most of the MTH use #6-32 screws, and the Lionel that uses SAE uses the same size. However, then they trot in the metric screws. The two K-Line steamers I have access to right now both have 6-32 screws. I had to look a bit for Phillips screws, it seems most of the nylon screws want to be slotted.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks John. I placed an order for some screws. Tape is next.

Pete, I took the shell off the tender and set it up on my test track. The engine ran perfectly. The flickering headlight went away and everything responded properly. I will go for the tape and nylon screw shielding set up.

Thanks for all your help guys. I have learned a lot dealing with this. I appreciate your taking the time to explain things...

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks John. I already placed an order with Amazon for the exact same product! Thanks again.

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Certainly!

Tom
 
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