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Discussion Starter #1
I did some searching and see how to use two buttons to get both to work ( one at a time ) but was wondering, has anyone made their own buttons? I assume it has to do with a rectifying diode or something similar, but have nothing to go from.
The reason I ask, I have an older 175 Watt transformer that I retrieved from storage, it does 0 to 18.5 Volts, does have an accessory power terminal. but being older it doesnt have a Bell or Whistle button. I can sure tell the difference between it and the CW-80 that I have been using and also have looked at the price of ZW transformers etc and believe that this one could suit my needs. It has a circuit breaker that works great, if one wheel isnt on the track properly the breaker trips, I then push the button ant it resets. The trans former is from our families old Christmas tree set, American Flyer, and is a 22035 transformer. I could be wrong but I think I have a decent transformer here. Opinions welcomed.
 

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In "Lionel O format", a whisle (or bell) controller activates the whistle (or bell) relay switch with a DC power signal that's superimposed on top of the standard AC track power. Once the DC signal turns the relay switch on (within the whistle tender, for instance), then the remaining AC power is used to actual drive the whistle motor.

The process is the same for a bell, except that the sign (+ or -) of the DC signal is reversed.

This thread has a nice more-detailed technical discussion on how the controllers work:

http://www.modeltrainforum.com/showthread.php?t=5473

Here's the very-detailed Lionel tech manual descriptions ...

http://pictures.olsenstoy.com/searchcd31.htm?itm=705

And, Gunrunnerjohn posted a nice description on how to make your own controller using modern diodes ...

http://www.modeltrainforum.com/showthread.php?t=7337

If you don't want to make your own, you can buy an old (but functional) Lionel whistle controller pretty cheaply. I picked up an old #167 for under $20 some months back.

Regards,

TJ
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That 167 is interesting, I wonder if one could take two, and rework one so that the reverse button ends up being a Bell button. then the Whistle and bell button would be in one unit. I dont need the reverse button. I will try to get several and do some experimenting.,
On a side note, I can not believe how much a difference a larger transformer makes, the E units that hum so badly are suddenly quiet and especially the older Locomotives run so much smother.
 

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The whistle controller is easy to build, and you'll have the satisfaction of knowing how it's done when you finish. :D

All it takes is a bunch of 6A silicon diodes, and a pair of SPST pushbuttons. I used some I had in the junkbox, as you can see, I didn't use most of the connections on the buttons, but they were free.

This is the schematic for the box, I didn't bother with the TVS, it's optional. For conventional operation, it's probably not needed. I used one less diode, I was lazy and they fit better this way. It works fine, the decision of how many diodes is somewhat arbitrary, I found that mine works well with PW and modern whistles and bells.





The top is simple, a bell button, a whistle button, and connections in and out.





Here's the interior wiring, as you can see the push buttons just short all but one of the diode strings in one direction. This creates the DC bias that activates the horn or bell, depending on the polarity of the DC.

 

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Discussion Starter #5
Now that is a cool device, I will eventually do one like that. for more immediate and less expensive for me, I have a half dozen 167 whistle controllers coming. I plan on raiding one to move the rectifier part into another where the direction button is and make it a all in one unit Whistle and Bell switch. Much like yours but in the case that has a big L on the cover. Experimenting is fun.
So far the bigger transformer is a winner.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I have no parts laying about, I priced things on Ebay and to roll my own it would cost more than I paid for the 167s. I bet yours works better too.
 

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Well, eBay is not the best place to buy these parts. It would cost a fraction of that buying them from Mouser or Digikey. They have very good prices and the shipping on small parts is typically a couple of bucks. You can also buy only the quantities you need.
 

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I believe the 167 consists of a bridge rectifier.
As in one via modern diodes? I didn't think that was the case with the 167. I thought those had an old-fashioned copper oxide rectifier disc ... ???

(Or is that techically a bridge, too ???)

TJ
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I have a dozen coming so I guess that I will know more soon, if nothing else the enclosure and buttons will work, but there is a chance that there is a useable piece there.
 

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I wouldn't run 167's with modern electronics. I would save it for the old relays.

John, I am happy you made one. I have collected the info on how to do it but never did. Bravo! :appl:
I just thought I would be handy to have. I actually gave it away, but the guy recently gave it back, said he didn't need it anymore, he bought a modern transformer with both controls. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It looks like the contents are mostly to do with the Whistle controller and that the reverse is just opening and closing some contacts. From what I see, it would take two 167s to do both Whistle and bell. Simple, but everything is big, good old fashioned Electrical not Electronic ( he says with a big grin ) Just like the transformer I am using, old school electrical equipment, 1950s and 60s technology. Tell me if I am wrong but I believe that the CW-80 transformer is switching and the old pancake transformer is linear.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
A sticky button would be bad, but I bet it would do no harm if not overused. I am just starting out in O and the funds are super limited, like nonexistent, so I am trying to do things on the cheap. I only have one real modern Locomotive ant it isnt DCC or anything like that, it just has a solid state horn and bell board. Another two have the circuit board E unit, but from what I can tell they are robust too. All of the old Marx and the earlier Lionels were probably designed with the 167 in mind.
 

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Well, they'll actually work as well or better with the box I made, and of course it does both jobs. Putting two of the #167 boxes in series to get both functions will introduce a pretty large voltage drop for a locomotive that has much current draw.

I read the description, and actually the #167 drops voltage similar to the diode box, I thought that inductor was some kind of auto-transformer, but it's not.

I'm guessing all the parts for this circuit would be no more than $12-15 if you shop carefully.
 

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I read the description, and actually the #167 drops voltage ...
Yes, John, that right ...

The 167 has a "shunt" that actually drops AC power going to the track under normal operation while the whistle is not being blown. The power loss is dissapated via a heat sink.

When the whistle button is activated, a portion of the incoming AC power is converted to DC, and the shunt is then bypassed.

The net intended result of this is that the train's AC motor sees the same net AC power and will run at the same speed, regardless of whether a whistle is being blown or not.

I will also point out that the 167 has a two-stepped DC signal ... the unit kicks out about 3V DC when the button is initially pushed, and then about 1.5V DC thereafter while the button is being held. The higher DC activates the whistle's relay, and the lower DC holds the relay switch in place.

TJ
 

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Discussion Starter #20
It looks to me that the people who designed it had a lot in mind when they made the 167. I have noticed that with the CW-80 when I press the whistle button the train slows down considerably. It might be that I end up not using the 167 for long, but it does bring for the some interesting features that were not realized at first
 
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