Lionel Transformer

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Marxed, Oct 1, 2005.

  1. Marxed

    Marxed Member

    okay, well, 70 year old transformers don't quite stay as lively as 70 year old marx trains.... recently my one marx transformer died out out me, and i replaced it with a new lionel transformer from a new set, other than that thing looking really out of place in the control area, the only problem i have is that it shuts off alot....

    when the power knob is moved past the green bar it shuts off, and restarts two seconds later.... and occasionally when it runs for a minute and the train gains speed, it shuts off again..... the power level at which this seems to cut off at is lower than what afew of the trains need to get warmed up... today i put a train on that track, which wasn't warmed up.... i couldn't get it to keep the power going long and hard enough to even make the train go around the track, so i had to switch it onto a marx-powered track untill the engine warmed up to speed...

    do lionel transformers just suck???? hehe.... and why must these darn things cut off??? and is there any way to fix this problem?
  2. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    It's probably a matter of what it is rated to put out without overheating. There is probably no way to fix it. Well, I guess you could remotor the trains! :)
    Looks like what you need to do is find another power pack that is capable of putting out more juice.
  3. Marxed

    Marxed Member

    by any chance do you or anyone know what exactly triggers it to shut off?? is it a matter of power output or my trains sparking and bouncing around the track?

    .... i dont think there would be a worry of it overheating... soo would this more or less just be to prevent the lionel electronics from getting fried?
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Which Lionel transformer is it? I have heard that the CW80 supplied with sets just over a year ago had many problems (mine didn't).
  5. Marxed

    Marxed Member

  6. theBear

    theBear Member

    Always with the same engine?

    What happened to the old Marx transformer, why did that one fail?

    What shape is/are the motor(s) in (possible short in the coil that causes the motor to draw more than its normal current, possible binding causing overheating, etc... ) ?

    Does it always fail in the same spot on the layout (possible short due to the middle rail insulation failing)?

    Just a few things besides the transformer being the cause.
  7. Marxed

    Marxed Member

    it really happens with all loco's.... with any of the marx, the power will cut off when alot of power is applied, the marx transformer that this replaced just died from age....

    it's an overall track condition, it dies when power is applied past the green bar, and then it restarts.... i actually did some layout work recently, and replaced the track with out layout design... soo theres fresh track in the loop

    i would swap the wiring if i could to another track, but lionel never thought of putting wire fasteners on the transformer end of the wire like marx did, soo i would have to tear apart all my wiring under my platform to switch it...

    the engines are in excellect condition, they run very strong on the other tracks with regular old marx transformers... and it will do it with pretty much most of my trains
  8. Marxed

    Marxed Member


    theres the transformer.... now that i look, i only got one lonely marx transformer running!

    i'm thinking of just dismantling my wiring and trying to hook it up to my outside ring... my outside ring is all new lionel track.... but i have a feeling that it still isn't going to beable to move them

    once i get a train moving, it will power the train, just as long as i don't go above that limit.... which is barely enough to get most of my engines around without difficulty, just not enough for others
  9. theBear

    theBear Member

    Are your track loops joined togethor?

    Is it possible that multiple transformers are feeding your layout?
  10. Marxed

    Marxed Member

    i have three seperate tracks, each one with there own transformer
  11. theBear

    theBear Member

    Here is what I'm finding looking around, you need more than a 40 Watt transformer to get that old timer to really move.

    Do you by any chance know what the current draw is for those engines?
  12. Marxed

    Marxed Member

    i'm not sure what it is, but i think the bigger transformer of mine, which you can see on the bottom right of that picture i posted, is like 90watt, power output is adjustable by what terminals you hook the wires up to
  13. theBear

    theBear Member

    I happen to own a couple of the old Lionel transformers including that one at the bottom of your pictures and have never had a problem with them.

    Is that corrosion I see on some of those terminals?

    However the 40 watt one is a might light for some engines.

    It would help to know what the engine is actually going to draw. Some of those puppies will draw 4 amps plus at stall.

    Which puts them past the capabilities of a 40 watt power supply.

    So the real question is what are your engines drawing for current and why?

    You may be faulting the wrong device.
  14. Marxed

    Marxed Member

    the lionel transformer i'm having problems with is the brand new one, not the old one....

    i have not the slightest clue of what the engines draw... the older lionel transformer is actually on my main outside track, and it runs rather well... all the trains run exceptionally fine on both of my other transformers, and i'm 100% sure the problem is relating to this transformer....

    it's just that new transformer on one of my inside tracks that is the problem... i pulled out new lionel train, and put it on that track today to see how it would run... and it ran just fine... and it let me turn the power all the way up without dying out on me.... soo it just has to be too weak for the old marx trains, or it's not liking the running nature of the trains, i know these oldies don't run as smooth and gentle as the new electronic lionel trains as today... and that i wouldn't be surprised if it was cutting out thinking it's going to protect electronics from shorting or anything
  15. theBear

    theBear Member

    The older transformer can handle more than a 40 watt draw the newer one can only handle 40 Watts or less, it looks like your Marx engines draw more than 40 watts.

    Like I said the 40 watt transfomer is too light for your older engines.

    However the question remains should your older engines be drawing more than 40 watts. That is a lot of juice for just an engine, maybe a bit of cleaning and a lube job is called for.
  16. ben10ben

    ben10ben New Member

    The problem you're having is one that I've seen many times. The transformer you own is only rated for 3 amps, and has an extremely fast acting electronic circuit breaker. In my experience with that transformer, drawing anything over 3 amps causes the breaker to open in less than a second, cutting off the power to the track.

    Once your train gets going well, it probably draws less than an amp. The act of acceleration from a dead stop, though, may well cause the current to spike as high as 5 amps(or even more) for just long enough to overcome the intertia of the stationary train. The transformer could easily handle this very brief overload, but the circuit breaker won't let it.

    Your Marx transformer was probably no more than 40 watts, but if it even had a circuit breaker at all, had a thermal breaker. This type can take as long as 2-3 hours to react if the current is just slightly over the rated amount, or 3-5 seconds with a dead short. Thus, you can see why your Marx transformer wouldn't have cut off during acceleration.

    For the time being, I would suggest oiling the motor and all of the car axles to reduce the amount of current needed to get it going. I would also use a very easy hand on the throttle when accelerating. Not only is this more realistic, but the current won't spike nearly as high. In the long run, you would be better off getting a more powerful transformer, or at least one without so jumpy of a circuit breaker.

    Don't think that your problem is unique. I've had the same thing happen with my Lionel Gang Car, which has a tiny motor that draws less than an amp underway.
  17. Marxed

    Marxed Member

    actually they are rather clean, they run smoothly for the most part... i clean and lube all the time.... trains today just arn't the same
  18. Marxed

    Marxed Member

    hehe, took all my cars and engine off for cleaning today, soo i gave in, i replaced the cast iron engine that i really wanted to run on that track with my new m10005 (the left engine on my signature picture) ... the m10005 is considerablely lighter and requires less power, soo it will run without as much problem... as for the big boy, he's sitting on the sidelines for right now, he needs cleaned up some more, that smoker oil seems to just get all over it!

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