Question about Toys
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017
SOURCE: Lionel 618 tender. Whistle
The symptom you describe is in part due to the way Lionel designed their
whistles controls. The old style copper oxide rectifiers Lionel used (to
produce the low DC voltage to activate the whistle control relay in the
tenders) will overheat if they carry the full current drawn by the train for
an extended period. Lionel whistle switches are arranged to deliver the
full DC as the switch is partly depressed (to pick up the control relay in
the tender), and then at full travel to add a resistor shunt around the
rectifier to reduce the current flowing through it. This slightly lowers
the DC voltage, but should still be enough to hold the relay closed.
The fact that the whistle blows means your copper oxide rectifier
is probably ok. One possible problem is a dirty or bent contact on the
whistle control so that it is now properly adding the shunt resistance at
full travel, or may be interrupting the circuit through the rectifier. The
other likely problem is the whistle control relays in the tenders. These
are very sensitive devices that need to have clean contacts and proper
adjustment to work. Take the top off the tender and connect it directly to the transformer (by setting the tender on a separately
powered section of track, or by using test leads, but be sure the tender is
in the normal level position). Watch the operation of the "flapper" at the
bottom of the relay, and the alignment of the contact. I clean the contacts
by using a pencil eraser or if they are really bad by gentle using one of my wife's fingernail emery boards. There are two 1/16" square bent tabs at the pivot end of the "flapper" - they need to be
carefully adjusted so the moving end does not bind in its guide. You'll find more help on the Lionel Service manual pages at the Olsen's Toy
Train Parts site. Start with:
but there are several other helpful sheets in the "Whistles" index as well.
Posted on Aug 13, 2011
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