please help with a old lionel set that i have

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by skedone, Aug 24, 2006.

  1. skedone

    skedone New Member


    i have been given a old lionel set with two 2023 engines the problem is im in the uk can u tell me how im going to power it as it has american plug ect

    please can u help i would love to see this running again i am cleaning track and other bits as i type this
  2. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    :wave: welcome to the gauge :wave: you will have to get a converter.
  3. skedone

    skedone New Member

    so a standard 240 to 110 adapter will work then like them travel plug systems ect that is good to know thanks for all your help and can u confirm that it is a 0 gauge train for me as finding info on it seems to be hard

  4. skedone

    skedone New Member

    sorry to post again just needed some advice on what wattage converter i would need as the go from 45w to 1000w
  5. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    The other issue besides voltage is frequency. I understand UK uses 50 Hz instead of the US standard 60 Hz. This is not a problem for Lionel postwar equipment, except that the transformers put out less power at the lower freq. Lionel did make some 50 Hz specific transformers in that era, too, but I'm not sure what availability would be like. The POSTWAR 60 Hz transformers will work just fine - you'll just see a 15% reduction in power available. The 2023 engines (assuming they are not modern reproductions) are post war engines with universal motors that will work on both AC and DC, so no problems there.

    Modern transformers may or may not work on 50 Hz; the Lionel CW-80 in particular does NOT. True sine wave transformers will be the least affected by the frequency change; electronic controllers will be impacted the most.

    Some UK guys who run modern 3 rail equipment use an AC-to-DC set that power a 120 volt 60 cycle inverter (DC to AC) to get the proper feed for their equipment. But as long as your equipment is postwar (including transformer), an adapter that reduces line voltage to 110 is all that is necessary.

    yours in powering up
  6. skedone

    skedone New Member

    thankyou for all your help and yes this is the post war era originals so i will go and get a converter and see if it still lives , it is all in pristen condiction apart from normal oxidation on track and wheels
  7. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    To answer your second question, if the only thing plugged into your adapter is the Lionel postwar transformer, the rating is the input power. That would be the minimum for the adpater. The biggest postwar transformer was the ZW, rated at 275 watts input. If you have a ZW, 275 watts output becomes the minimum size for your adapter. The same relationship holds for any size postwar Lionel transformer.

    yours in powering up
  8. skedone

    skedone New Member

    thanks for the speedy reply wow your good on this site , thanks again and i hope to get this running soon and will post my ttack design and picture of it running when i have finished .

    This will fun for me i allways wanted a model train set but was waiting till i was old enuff well im in my own house now with my self and partner plus two little girls so think im old enuff now LOL.

    i cant wait ti see this thing running so i will go to the local electronics store and buy a convertor , and start looking over the net for as much info about these engines i can find, unless you know some good places to find that info out

    what is the best way to find out what the exact model is and if it postwar or re-release ect
  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    See if you can get a UK or European transformer. An old Hornby one might be good, but might have deteriorated over the years. There are also some new 3-rail outfits (ACE trains?) that might provide a transformer. You need to look for a maximum output of 16 volts AC. The only hitch there is that the whistle/horn requires a burst of DC to run it.
  10. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Post war Lionel was made from 1946 to 1969. Built dates on the side normally indicate the 1st year that particular model was manufactured. Can motors were not available then so universal motors were used. Most locomotives have motors have flat commutators, spur gear drives, and mechanical E-units (used to sequence the reversing and make that buzzing noise when the engine is in neutral).

    Modern equipment generally uses can motors supplied through a small electronics board. The board has a rectifier circuit to turn the transformer's AC into DC for the can motor, an electronic e-unit, and other goodies such as sound and lights.

    hope this helps

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