Need Help on Very Basic Accessory Wiring Issue

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Brian Zoeller, Jan 28, 2005.

  1. Brian Zoeller

    Brian Zoeller New Member

    I hope my question is not too basic or laughable. :oops:

    I have an ho scale train and 1/32 scale slot car track (I know the scales don't match but my kids don't seem to notice) on a large 4' x 22' table. I'm using lionel highway lights as my source of lighting to run the train and cars in the dark (my scalextric slot cars have working headlights and tailights). I'm using the accessory connectors on an old ho transformer to power the lights. I have 1 wire going to one of the two accessory "slots" on the transformer and another going to the other "slot" and then have each of the two wires from each light running to those wires. The lights are very dim and after them being on for about 20 minutes the transformer burned out (luckily I have an old spare). The lights went out again with the new transformer but after unplugging it and plugging it back in the lights came on, although I doubt they will last. I think I've done something wrong but I don't know what and I'm not sure I've articulated my problem well enough for anyone on this board to help, but I'd appreciate any help I can get. Thanks.
  2. 77railer

    77railer Member

    Not sure what exactly you have...but lets see if this helps. I would suggest running one wire from the left screw on the transformer to the left side on the first light, then from that side to the left side on the second light. Run the second wire from the right screw on the transformer to the right side of the first light then to the second side of the second light. That if I am correct should be safe and also make bulb life last longer. If you are looking to make them brighter then you will have to wire as follows.

    Run a wire from the left screw of the transformer to a midpoint between the two lights and from here we are going to connect two wires to the end. One going to each left side of the bulbs. Now run a wire from the right screw to a midpoint between the lights and connect two wires from there to the right side of each bulb.

    If Im thinking right. the first way is daisy chaining the lights which is said to increase the bulb life by reducing the amount of current...each light gets half. Also if one light goes out they both go out this way. The second way each bulb is getting full juice and operate independently of one another...just my two cents worth....Im new myself...but I think that will be your best bet.

  3. Brian Zoeller

    Brian Zoeller New Member

    Yes, your first example (explained much clearer than in my post) is how I did it and that's why I'm confused as to why the lights burned out (actually the transformer burned out). Perhaps I have a short somewhere?
  4. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi Brian, :wave:
    How many lights do you have connected? It sure sounds like you just
    have too much load for the transformer to handle. :confused:

    What is the transformer VA rating?
  5. Brian Zoeller

    Brian Zoeller New Member

    Howdy :wave: I have 28 lights (they are the larger scale lionel lights) and my transformer says "7VA Max Output". If my transformer can't handle the load, what would you recommend I step up to? Thanks.
  6. Brian Zoeller

    Brian Zoeller New Member

    Update: I went ahead and purchased a transformer with 18VA max output and it seems to be working fine, so thanks for the tip. :thumb:

    My other dumb question is can I hook up the lights to the DC (train) terminals so that I can dim them or is there some reason this isn't a good idea? The guy where I bought the new transformer said it was fine but the transformer instructions say not to hook up accessories to the dc terminals.

    Thanks again.
  7. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Welcome to the-gauge, Brian. That should work well. You and the kids funnin' together is IMHO way better than being "in scale" :D :D :D

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