Lionel CW-80 direction problem

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by khe, Nov 14, 2008.

  1. khe

    khe New Member

    I bought a CW-80 transformer for my son for Christmas and tested it the other day. The "Direction" feature doesn't always work even though the direction feature on the locomotive is ON. When I push the direction button, the locomotive slows to a stop but then resumes in the same direction.

    The pack that came with the set (just the basic Lionel pack without any feature buttons) will reverse the locomotive direction without a problem. I have the pack hooked up properly. Many times, returning the throttle lever to STOP will not activate the reversing circuit.

    The locomotive is a "Lionel Lines" FA unit that has a horn sound onboard.
  2. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Look into getting a lighted car of some sort. Either a searchlight flatbed or a caboose with lights. Or even add a couple of spurs with lighted bumpers. Or any other lighted accessory. These will help drain the power from the track while the transformer resets it's self and puts the train into reverse. If the power is not completely drained from the track, the CW-80 reverse feature will not work properly.
  3. khe

    khe New Member

    Thanks for the suggestion. I added a light bulb across the terminals of the power pack and it made the reversing feature function correctly. I would have thought the locomotive headlight would have accomplished the same thing...

    It seems like for a $130 power pack, it should function properly without adding bulbs across the terminals...
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I think that for some sets (Thomas comes to mind) they provided a terinal section with a light in it.
    The CW80 has not been Lionel's most stellar product.
  5. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    It's one of the quirkier things about the CW-80 that just adds fuel to the fire. Do a search on this board alone and you will not find many positive reports on that particular transformer. I must have been lucky because mine has always worked well. (Knock on wood) I do usually keep a lighted bumper or some other accessory attached to the track, although I have found that I don't need to with my old Marx 666 engine. The CW-80 will switch it between forward and reverse without the lighted accessories. Go figure. :rolleyes:
  6. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    The problem with the CW-80 is that it needs a fairly significant load for it to function properly. Newer locomotives don't always put enough of a load on it, so you get the odd behavior with the direction button. The light bulb trick is the easiest cure.

    All that said, the CW-80 is probably the most maligned product Lionel has made in recent years. I won't bore you with my CW-80 story, but pretty much anyone who got one in the 2004-2006 timeframe has a bad story to tell. The stories were all over the forums--this one, and every O gauge forum I know of. Newer ones are supposed to be reliable, but as far as I know, they still have that lightbulb quirk, and some MTH locomotives don't like running under CW-80 power.

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