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Only 2 of 3 Engines Will Run?

Steve models 027 and has this question for readers:

“I have found a Lionel engine that runs by remote control however, my problem is that of the three engines, I have only two of them running with one of the remotes and the other one won’t.  Where can I find what frequency that one runs on?”

3 Responses to Only 2 of 3 Engines Will Run?

  • Randall Styxsays:

    Unfortunately, Steve, you don’t give enough information. First, “remote control” can cover many different approaches. Just varying DC current voltage is one kind of remote control. So is DCC. So is the transformer that was a part of the Lionel system (it transformed 110 or 120 volt AC to roughly 12 volt AC and added a variable resistance coil to control the speed of the trains. Another method of remote control uses infra-red; yet another uses radio control. Since you mention frequency, is that what you have?

    If you do have radio control, you’ll have to take the “dead” loco apart and find the receiver. If there is no frequency label on the receiver, there should at least be a manufacturer and part number that you can look up. Are there any frequency selection switches? Perhaps the former owner set two locos to work together on one train. To determine if the problem is in the receiver or not, you’ll have to bypass the receiver and see if the loco runs on current from a standard Lionel transformer. If the loco doesn’t run with power from a transformer, you’ll have to trace the electrical connections from beginning to end, from the track contacts to the brushes on the armature. Old soldering joints often fail, wires break inside their insulation, brush springs break, etc..

    Trouble-shooting why a loco doesn’t operate as it should is not something that can be determined by wondering why. It takes sometimes tedious investigation. It takes dividing the problem into sections and investigating each one until the cause of the problem is solved. Since your transmitter works with two locos, it is probably not the problem. So is the receiver faulty? Is the wiring in the loco faulty? Are the settings, if any, on the receiver mismatched? Or might it be something as simple as moving the selection switch on the loco from the constant position (the loco continues as before each time the current comes back on) to the alternating position (the loco cycles through forward-stand-reverse-stand as almost all those Lionel locos did), or is that selection switch in the half-way position so that nothing works?

    Many of us on this blog would like to help, but there’s just not enough detailed information for us to go on.

    • Gerry Keffersays:

      Excellent response…

  • chris lesebergsays:

    I have a polar express ho gauage engine from Lionel and have the same basic problem. It started out okay but now only the lights work. I’m contacting Lionel to determine if I need to send it to their customer service or to an authorized repair dealer.
    That way I’ll know it will be repaired correctly.

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