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What is the J&C Studios O Gauge Archive?
(Guest)   JCS Archive   Dale H   Home made bell/whistle controller
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Home made bell/whistle controller
Dale H
Joined: Sep 25, 2010
Topics: 32   Replies: 39
posted on Nov 10, 2010 06:55 PM:
My Archive Category  

You can make this with 6 amp diodes mounted on a jumbo euro style barrier strip from Radio Shack without soldering. In this circuit the diodes are always connected. They use some power this way , 5-15 watts typically but will give about a 1.5 volt boost when the whistle or bell is blown. In operation the diodes will get warm but not hot. Alternatively the diodes can be put put in only when a button is depressed. In that case there would be a small voltage drop and the train may slow. Also shown is a fuse recommended for older transformer and a TVS for spike protection,recommended for any transformer where modern engines with PC boards are used


Dale H

Larry G
Joined: Feb 18, 2013
Topics: 0   Replies: 2
posted on Feb 18, 2013 12:07 PM:
My Archive Category  


I think part of your home made sound button schematic might be the answer to the problems I have been having with cooking my 6-5906 sound activator buttons:
I am running postwar and modern Lionel with a ZW. I inserted a 6 amp automotive circuit breaker in series between the ZW and my 5906 's. It seemed to help prevent the heat and burn up of the buttons from derailment shorts, but recently I had one button still get a little hot and it now appears to be restricting voltage to the track loop.
I am thinking that the answer lies in your schematic home made whistle bell button: I want to replace my bad 6906 and add a TVS to prevent spiking. I do not know much about electronics. I am not ready to build my own sound buttons, but want to protect the 5906's for use with my ZW & new and old engines.

My circuit would look like:
ZW hot to....6 amp circuit breaker to.....5906 bell button (black in red out)to....5906 horn button (red in black out) to .....TVS .....to center track(hot). And on the ground side:
ZW ground to........opposite side of TVS (parallel circuit).......to outer rails (ground.)

(note: I do not mind a drop in train speed during bell or whistle. My understanding is that the DC is created by removing a little of one side of the AC signal, rather than adding DC)

Is the "36 volt Bi-directional Zener diode" the correct application for my ZW (on each circuit) to protect the buttons and the on-board sound? (or should I be looking at the notes at that bottom of your sketch for a larger TVS to go with the ZW.

Are their other specs I need to know before purchasing the TVS diode?

Where do you recommend purchasing them from?

Am I on the right track, or totally derailed in my thinking?

Thanks so much from a beginner,
Dale H
Joined: Sep 25, 2010
Topics: 32   Replies: 39
posted on Feb 18, 2013 03:34 PM:
My Archive Category  

Hi Lar

Here is a post with more detail on the bell/whistle controller. You may have to copy and paste as this site does not enable direct links.


The bell whistle controller can be left in the circuit or out,depending on needs. If left in they do get hot but the diodes should handle a reasonable amount of track amperage.

The 36 volt TVS is sized for a Lionel ZW allowing for the booster winding when the whistle button is pressed. It works in all cases. With modern transformers without a booster winding a 33 volt TVS could be used. If you click on my name,Dale H up top you will get topics on my blog or see the electrical forum "adding TVS and breaker to PW transformers" it shows the TVS hooked up with a Euro style barrier strip. If you have questions feel free to Email me,my address is in my profile or the OGR forum profile. Mouser.com is a electronics supplier where I buy my TVS units. Part number is in the post cited above and is 576-1.5KE36CA

Dale H
Joined: May 9, 2016
Topics: 0   Replies: 1
posted on May 9, 2016 04:34 PM:
My Archive Category  

I constructed the whistle controller with 6 Amp diodes, 3 amp breaker, and heavy duty momentary normally off) contact buttons. I put a 36 Volt 1 watt zener diode in parallel. I tested the circuit before attaching to the track. I use a lionel zw and the circuit blew immediately as soon as any voltage was applied. I removed the zener diode and the circuit did not blow. I tried a second zener thing I might have fried it during soldering. Same result. I got up my courage and used the circuit to run an old lionel 2026. Both buttons blue the whistle (no bell in it). In sired I put an engine with dale unit and electric railroad company sound board and the circuit worked as described. I did not Know if the low wattage of the zener could cause this short. I am somewhat of a monkey see monkey do circuit builder. If you could steer me in a direction I would appreciate it. Thanks again for the circuit..........Jim
Bob Kenney
Joined: Nov 28, 2014
Topics: 0   Replies: 2
posted on Sep 21, 2016 05:37 PM:
My Archive Category  
My Website  

My automatic whistle controller is nothing more than a d cell battery in series with power to a track block. When the train travels through that block the whistle blows. Track block can be any length necessary. Switches can add or remove the battery as wanted. Be sure to add the appropriate whistle post by the side of the track.

Short video here:


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