O gauge power question

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by neukaferlieber, Oct 5, 2006.

  1. neukaferlieber

    neukaferlieber New Member

    I recently acquired a K-Line loco, tender with whistle and two rolling stock. I bought Fastrack for it but now I need an inexpensive power pack for it that will operate my tender's whistle. I have many dc transformers but understand the new setup requires ac. Any suggestions?
  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    O gauge 3 rail normally requires AC power. The whistle is operated by adding a bit of DC to the AC (don't ask how!). If you run the train on a DC power pack, the whistle will blow continuously.
    A modest toy train transformer (75-100 watts) should run what you have now. Look for one with a whistle control. I suggest you avoid the current Lionel CW80 as these have design and quality problems. (Much discussion on the Classic Toy Trains forum.)
  3. spankybird

    spankybird OTTS Founder

    The MTH Z1000 (100 watts) should do you fine. It also has a 14 volt tape for accessories. Another choose might be MRC small transformer. Both are pure Sine Wave transformers.
  4. Arkivaltech

    Arkivaltech New Member

    Can someone recommend a trouble-free transformer that will handle both a 3 rail AC set and DC switches?
  5. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Where are you getting DC switches? The only switch machines I know of that are DC-only are the Tortoise and the like slow motion machines. All the 3 rail O and twin coil switch machines can operate just fine on either DC or AC.

    In any case, you can get DC from AC by adding a full wave rectifier between the transformer and the DC load. The full wave rectifier will reduce the DC voltage to about 1.5 volts less than the AC input. The rectifier must be rated to handle the highest current you will be running, and 50 PIV will be fine for model railroading work. The full wave rectifiers are less than $3 even at Radio Shark. Another easy and cheap source of fixed voltage DC is wall warts that are left over from broken stuff. Just look at the wart to see what the ratings are.

    Hope this helps
  6. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Can you point me to a link?
    I have had no problems with mine and would really like to know what has made them the pariah of the model train world.
  7. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    To sum up the negative points about CW-80 from the trains.com Classic Toy Trains forum:
    • a considerably higher than normal "out of the box" failure rate, especially in the first few years. Lionel has an automatic replacement program set up for units still under the 1 year warranty.
    • uses tamper-proof screws so user cannot fix anything inside the case, including the fuse
    • careful reading of the instruction sheet (even though it has errors) is essential because it doesn't work like conventional transformers. There are momentum type features built in that cannot be shut off; the voltage ramps up and down.
    • track voltage will not zero properly unless there is some load. A lighted lockon is recommended.
    • there are peculiarities in how to wire the CW-80 using conventional common return wiring. Wiring an accessory that is grounded to the outside rails by default is not as simple as it should be.
    • because it is not a conventional sine wave transformer, 2 CW-80s cannot be "phased" together in common rail block or section control wiring.
    • because it is not a conventional sine wave transformer, some modern locomotive electronics do not work correctly in conventional mode. And of course it is not a TMCC unit so locos cannot be controlled in command mode either.
    • the CW-80 requires a cooling fan, similar to a computer power supply. If the fan fails, the CW-80 fails. The fan cannot be replaced by the user because of the tamper-proof screws on the casing.
    • the CW-80 will not work on 50Hz electrical mains found in Europe, even if the voltage is stepped down. Lionel does not have a 50 Hz equivalent. Europeans must find another transformer or purchase a complete 60 Hz generator set up.
    If used as per the instruction and as designed, the CW-80 does work (assuming OK out of the box). But it can be a very trying experience for a new train set buyer. The CW-80 is currently the transformer being supplied with all Lionel train sets. I encourage anybody buying a Lionel train set to test it BEFORE Christmas morning.
  8. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Thanks for the details. Some of that bothers me a bit. (Like the fuse or fan failing and not being able to do anything because of the screws.... although there are ways around anything... including tamper proof screws. ;) ) I'm not concerned about the European problems since I'm not over there. The rest I can work around. Don't ever plan on having enough stuff to need two transformers and I can't figure out how to wire acessories right anyway. :D

Share This Page