Lionel 1033 transformer

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Texaswildcat98, Apr 26, 2007.

  1. Texaswildcat98

    Texaswildcat98 New Member

    Hey everyone, been awhile since I've been on here, so long in fact that I had to make up a new user ID... Anyway I have a newbie question.

    I was given a Lionel train, postwar, 2016 engine, transformer is a 1033...

    I've read a couple threads on cleaning and maintenance, all good there.

    But I've never done a set wiring on a Lionel before... can someone give me a link or a basic set up. I have accesories but thats for a different time.

    Thanks in advance,
  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Hi and welcome!
    The 1033 is one of Lionel's classic small transformers.
    First check the power cord. Given that it's probably 50 to 60 years old, the rubber on the wires is often cracked, especially near the transformer and the plug. If it's cracked, have it replaced. The type of cord for a kettle is probably suitable.
    Then try the handles. The black handle on the right is speed (voltage) and should turn smoothly through 90 degrees. The orange handle on the left is direction/whistle. Moving it one way blows the whistle (if there is one) and the other way shuts off the power for the reverse unit.
    There are 4 posts - U A B C . UA is the usual combination for track power. I think U goes to the outside rails and A to the center rail. You should have a little clip-on device (called a Lockon) that fastens onto a track section. This has 2 clips or terminals that join to the 2 terminals on the transformer.
    You should be able to find instruction sheets at Olsen's Toy Trains.
  3. Texaswildcat98

    Texaswildcat98 New Member

    Thanks for the help David.

    Last night I spent some time setting up my sons HO set, he was pretty excited.

    I did have the wiring right, that's good, seems I must have an engine issue. Everything was free rotating (as free as expected) and the engine hums but doesn't go... I'm wondering now if it doesn't have a ground wire internally... I will tear it apart tonight/this weekend and give it a look.

    I appreciate your help! Thanks a bunch.

  4. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    I hope you are not using the 1033 with an HO train set!

    All the 2 rail trains (except American Flyer) are designed to run on DC only. The motors will sit there and hum or buzz, and eventually burn up, when run on AC.

    Lionel (and most other 3 rail O) and American Flyer trains have universal motors or rectifiers that permit them to run on either AC or DC. The Lionel transformers generally have a 6-16 volt AC output, and will cause the cited problems with HO and other 2 rail trains.

    The power supply for 2 rail trains is generally called a power pack and has a 0-12 volt DC output to be hooked up to the track. A power pack may also have AC terminals as well. The AC terminals are for accessories only, not track power. Typical accessories include street lights, structure and building lights, and switch machines.

    Hope no damage was done!

    yours in powering up
  5. Texaswildcat98

    Texaswildcat98 New Member

    LOL! No, complete different chain of thought, but I see how you got there.

    My question was regarding my O27 lionel set only... I just mentioned the HO set in meaning I didn't mess with the O27 train last night.

    Thanks for the reply!
  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Kurt: before you tear the loco apart, check the E-unit switch.
    E-unit is the reversing contraption that Lionel used. It's an electrically-operated DPDT switch for the motor magnet. Normal operation is that each time the power goes off (the orange lever), the switch moves one position. Since this caused problems on dirty track, there was a cutout switch. This is usually a metal lever that sticks out of the top of the boiler on a steamer or is someplace else on a diesel. It's possible for the E-unit to get shut off in neutral, and then things just hum.
    Old locos may also have a stuck E-unit and this would need service.
  7. Texaswildcat98

    Texaswildcat98 New Member

    Well your right it was the switch, not sure how its suppose to operate though... but I did manage to get it to operate under certain conditions. The switch also opperates a small indexing drum, wasn't for sure what it is for... I need to buy a book it looks like, But the good news is that it runs.

  8. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    The E-unit has been written about somewhere; I think it was covered in one of the O gauge/Toy train magazines recently. Someone came out with a set of tools to work on them ( for professional shops).
    The unit has a drum that operates like a DPDT switch to change the relationship between the armature magnet and the field magnet by reversing one of them. There is a ratchet and hook mechanism; the hook is pulled up every time the power goes on and moves the drum forward one position - F N R N F ... The lever I mentioned cuts out the magnet that operates the hook so that the drum stays in one position. If the drum is in neutral, the engine just hums.
    Sometimes the E-unit gets a bit sticky and needs work. This is not a job for an amateur.
    The reversing lever on the transformer just cuts out the power so that the E-unit trips one more position, even at full speed. A second flick and the train tears off backwards. You can do the same thing more calmly by turning the speed lever back to 0.
  9. vintagetoys

    vintagetoys New Member

    Hello Zealot's, Can someone help a Newbe out? 1033 power hook-up

    I am brand new to trains, I have no idea how to operate a 2046 loco and tender set I got at an estate sale with a 1033 (90 volt) transformer, using 027 guage track, I made a figure 8 with curves and a four way junction in the middle. I conncted the U and A terminals on the transformer to the 1 and 2 post on a CTC Lockon and when I increase the voltage the light on the engine comes on and when I increase the voltage all the way the engine and tender run BUT VERY SLOWLY AROUND THE TRACK any suggestions on how to correct this and also what position the swith on the boiler should be in?wall1
  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    The position of the E-unit switch depends on whether you want to reverse your loco or not. On one side the loco will cycle through the Fwd -neutral-reverse-neutral settings. On the other side it will stick in whatever position it was last in (including neutral!) For a display layout, the single setting will let it run without problems from dirty track.
    If it only runs slowly, I can't help too much. There may be some sort of short in the layout or the track may be worn. Does the light come on brightly? Does the train speed up and slow down without your touching the throttle?
    Simplify the layout down to one loop with no switches or crossing.
    Then there is the possiblity of old, hard grease in the mechanism. For that, check the forum for lubrication.

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