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Discussion Starter #1
I just posted in the 2010 Christmas train thread about my 1946 Lionel 224. My transformer only has speed controls and I don't have a whistle controller so, obviously, my whistle is not useable. The whistle works when I put power to it but what I need is a description or a schematic of how the whistle controler works so I can build one or a source for obtaining one.

Thanks for a neat web site.

Gaines
 

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Yard Master & Research
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The easiest way is the 5906 bell button, a 167 whistle controller will work too.
You can search for more but here is one thread.

You can also go for more power and get a 1033 it has a button.
 

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Gaines,

It's funny you posted this ... I was trying to figure out the very same thing this morning. I have a CW-80 transformer with whistle control, but I also have a simple (speed only) 1073 transformer that I want to use on a little 'round the Christmas tree setup.

I know that a transformer-built-in whistle control sends out a DC voltage jump (on top of the normal AC voltage) that toggles the relay switch in the whistle tender.

I have an 1960's Scout set that once had (long lost) a simple whistle button control box (#147) that housed a D-cell battery. Pushing the button sent DC voltage to the track. I'm not sure if this was wired in parallel to the track, or in series to the track ??? (T-Man, Bruce???)

Just for fun, I grabbed a D-cell battery this morning, and wire-jumped it to the track with normal AC power running to my whistle tender. The relay moved to the on position, but the whistle motor didn't run. (It works just fine via the CW-80 transformer).

T-Man ... I need to do some reading on your link/thread above. That said, is there a simple trick / circuit that one can make with a D-cell battery and a push button (like a doorbell) that will engage the whistle relay ??? Seems like that's all that was inside the 147 controller? Wire parallel to tracks? In series?

:confused:

Thanks,

TJ
 

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Yard Master & Research
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At this point no. The battery is unsafe to use with the transformer. AC reacting with DC equals heat + . In your case you are sending the signal over the rails. Nothing is simple. CTT has some diagrams but I have yet to build them. They are not easy to understand. So I go with a button or the built in model. COst wise, building is the same as a button. The buttons cannot be copied unless you have the heater strip in a bulb.
Since the whistle is mechanical you can get any button built. Hopefully it still works. The 167. 166,5906 and 8251. Search for these. The newer the better.
I say use a transformer that has a button.
 

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Lionel whistle controllers #147 and #167

Alright ... I got curious, and did some old Lionel service-manual reading on old-school, postwar whistle controls ... #167 and #147 ... how they work, how to wire them, etc. Here's a very quick summary of what I found.

As we know, whistle relays (onboard switches that engage the actual whistle motor) are activated when they see a DC voltage jump that's superimposed on the normal AC track/loco operating voltage.

The #147 whistle controller is pretty simple. Basically, it holds a regular 1.5V D-cell DC battery that is engaged via pushing a SPDT switch button. The unit itself is wired in SERIES from the transformer to the center rail of the track. When the button is NOT pushed, the SPDT switch bypasses the battery, and votage and current flow from the transformer to the track as normal. When the button is pushed, the SPDT switch redirects the transformer output THROUGH the D-cell battery, essentially adding the 1.5V extra DC component. The trick here is that the SPDT switch in the button has to act/engage very quickly. If there's any significant lag-time as it "floats" between the off and on positions, one would see a momentary loss of current flow (voltage), which would be interpreted onboard the loco's e-unit as an intended reverse-cylce request. To avoid that, I'm assuming the contact gaps in the SPDT switch are very close and fast acting. Note that the AC current is intentionally redirected through the DC battery, as stated. I can't imagine this is a "good" thing, and that one would want to hold down the whistle button too long, for the risks that T-Man points out, above.

The #167 whistle controller is a more complex beast. No DC battery required. Instead, it uses an old-school copper oxide rectifier disc to convert a PORTION of the transformer's AC output into a pulse of DC power. The trick here is that redirecting power through the rectifier encompasses a voltage loss ... if we were to do that with no compensation, the remaining AC power left over and sent to the track would inevitably slow the train down ... less AC voltage, less speed. So ... clever thinking ... the Lionel engineers designed the controller with a "normal mode" resistor (with heat sink) that essentially grabs power (voltage) and throws it away (into heat) during normal (whistle off) operation. However, when the whistle button is pushed, current is redirected AWAY from this resistor, and instead routed through the rectifier. The power (voltage) loss through the resistor / heat sink is essentially equall to the power sacrificied to the rectifier (and converted to DC), such that the loco sees NO net difference in AC voltage, and proceeds ahead at a steady speed. Quite clever, in my opionion.

Additionally, there's an extra set of contacts and another resistor in the controller that activate a fraction of a second after one begins pushing the button. The net result here is that the INITIAL whistle controller output is about 3 volts DC (to engage and activate the onboard whiste relay), but then the controller output drops down to about 1 volt to keep the relay close (while the button is still being pushed).

I've likely bored you all, but for anyone not yet fast asleep, I found the service manual description rather interesting reading.

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

And ... with my enthusiasm in hand, I've just ordered an oldie-but-goodie #167 controller off of ebay ... I hope to hook it up to my 1073 transformer for the 'round the tree Christmas setup.

Babble over ...

TJ
 

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great info

interesting to know how the unit works. I opened it up and then closed it never expecting to understand the working mechanism./Clever engineering on the167.very primative on the 147 Thaqnks for the explanation John







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Alright ... I got curious, and did some old Lionel service-manual reading on old-school, postwar whistle controls ... #167 and #147 ... how they work, how to wire them, etc. Here's a very quick summary of what I found.

As we know, whistle relays (onboard switches that engage the actual whistle motor) are activated when they see a DC voltage jump that's superimposed on the normal AC track/loco operating voltage.

The #147 whistle controller is pretty simple. Basically, it holds a regular 1.5V D-cell DC battery that is engaged via pushing a SPDT switch button. The unit itself is wired in SERIES from the transformer to the center rail of the track. When the button is NOT pushed, the SPDT switch bypasses the battery, and votage and current flow from the transformer to the track as normal. When the button is pushed, the SPDT switch redirects the transformer output THROUGH the D-cell battery, essentially adding the 1.5V extra DC component. The trick here is that the SPDT switch in the button has to act/engage very quickly. If there's any significant lag-time as it "floats" between the off and on positions, one would see a momentary loss of current flow (voltage), which would be interpreted onboard the loco's e-unit as an intended reverse-cylce request. To avoid that, I'm assuming the contact gaps in the SPDT switch are very close and fast acting. Note that the AC current is intentionally redirected through the DC battery, as stated. I can't imagine this is a "good" thing, and that one would want to hold down the whistle button too long, for the risks that T-Man points out, above.

The #167 whistle controller is a more complex beast. No DC battery required. Instead, it uses an old-school copper oxide rectifier disc to convert a PORTION of the transformer's AC output into a pulse of DC power. The trick here is that redirecting power through the rectifier encompasses a voltage loss ... if we were to do that with no compensation, the remaining AC power left over and sent to the track would inevitably slow the train down ... less AC voltage, less speed. So ... clever thinking ... the Lionel engineers designed the controller with a "normal mode" resistor (with heat sink) that essentially grabs power (voltage) and throws it away (into heat) during normal (whistle off) operation. However, when the whistle button is pushed, current is redirected AWAY from this resistor, and instead routed through the rectifier. The power (voltage) loss through the resistor / heat sink is essentially equall to the power sacrificied to the rectifier (and converted to DC), such that the loco sees NO net difference in AC voltage, and proceeds ahead at a steady speed. Quite clever, in my opionion.

Additionally, there's an extra set of contacts and another resistor in the controller that activate a fraction of a second after one begins pushing the button. The net result here is that the INITIAL whistle controller output is about 3 volts DC (to engage and activate the onboard whiste relay), but then the controller output drops down to about 1 volt to keep the relay close (while the button is still being pushed).

I've likely bored you all, but for anyone not yet fast asleep, I found the service manual description rather interesting reading.

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

And ... with my enthusiasm in hand, I've just ordered an oldie-but-goodie #167 controller off of ebay ... I hope to hook it up to my 1073 transformer for the 'round the tree Christmas setup.

Babble over ...

TJ
 

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Thanks for the description. This may be off topic, but I’ve got a whistle tender maybe 12 years old, running on a ZW.

The only way I can get whistle is to keep the train in Neutral, ramp up track voltage, and operate the whistle switch.

Is this normal? I’d like to operate the whistle without the engine in neutral, but my layout is small, and I can’t keep the voltage ramped up long enough to spool up the whistle without the engine flying off the track.

I can’t find the part number but it is a 4-4-2 train #8743, and the tender is unmarked but looks identical to a 234W
 

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Hobo for Life
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You can pop off the shell and enguage the whistle directly by pushing up on the contacts. See what happens, then you can see if its the tender or the switch.
 

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SJM is on the right track.

The whistle button sends a DC signal superimposed on the track's normal AC voltage. That DC signal toggles a relay which closes the circuit to the tender's motor. Then, the normal AC power runs that whistle motor.

So, in diagnosing your problem ...

If the relay is closed (manually), does normal (not super high) AC voltage run the whistle motor?

And/or ...

Is there not enough DC voltage to close the relay automatically during normal track AC power operation?

But, again ... tender may look super clean on the outside, but be dry and/or gummed up at the motor. I would very much still recommend a clean/lube of the motor, bearing points, etc.

Some tender motors have an oil-wick reservoir. If yours does, put some drops of oil in that.

TJ
 

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I tested by running the tender only. At lower track voltage, I can hear the fan come on, so I think the relay is good, but no whistle.

I’ll open it up later and see what I find.
 

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There could be gunk in the air chamber of the whistle ... like spiders and spider webs. I've seen it! You'll know a lot more when you get the thing opened up.

Oh ... and watch out for spiders!

;)

TJ
 

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So, I took my tender apart, and it is clean as a can be. It is an electronic board and enclosed motor - not a relay and open armature.

Anyway, a couple drops of oil to the bearing areas didn't help, so I looked up the electronic board and came across this:

https://www.lionelsupport.com/media/servicedocuments/6336Startersetwhistlevolumefix.pdf

Apparently, the government rules for "Ages 8 and Up" sets set a decibel limit, so Lionel added a resistor to keep the volume down. That doc gives Lionel's instructions on removing it, which I did.

Not much better unfortunately, so I think I have a weak motor. In poking around trying to bypass the board for test purposes, I managed to short something out so that the whistle doesn't work at all, now :mad:
 
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