Prewar Lionel Whistle Question

I have a few prewar tenders that need to be fixed. They are 2224W, 2235W types. The problem is that when I push down on the "whistle"
button on the transformer, there is one spot the button works the whistle. But, if I continue to push the button down the whistle stops working. How do I fix the whistle so it continues to work? I have one tender that does work and four that don't. I haven't toyed with the relay in the tender. Thanks in advance.
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On 25 Dec 2006 07:44:13 -0800, TC wrote:

I don't know beans about Lionel, but your description sounds like a problem where the switch makes contact and then loses it under further downward pressure.

If one tender works as described (whistling, then stopping when you press the switch further in) and the others don't work at all, it sounds like it's only those four you need to look into after you fix the switch.
But again, I don't know beans about Lionel, and it's time to go fix a Christmas morning frittata for the family. Good luck.
--
Steve

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Are you also using a prewar transformer (none of which had built-in whistle controls) with a separate No. 167 whistle control, or are you using a post war "Multi-Control" transformer with built-in whistle control? The former are less satisfactory in my experience, and if you have one, you should test your tenders with the Multi-Control transformer.
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 one tender starts to whistle 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 each tender and connect them one by one 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 gentle use of one of my wife's fingernail emery boards. There are to 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:
http://pictures.olsenstoy.com/searchcd31.htm?itmp8
but there are several other helpful sheets in the "Whistles" index as well. Good luck, but be sure enjoy Christmas too. Geezer
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