This makes no sense(transformer)

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by lionelsteam, Mar 1, 2008.

  1. lionelsteam

    lionelsteam New Member

    Ok , so im looking into buying a new transformer for my train because it runs slow and can only pull 4 cars right with 60 watts.
    So i call the local hobby shop and they have a transformer a lionel kw or something with 175watts and cost $225 right. I ask the question if buying the transformer with more watts will help my engine pull more cars, the guy says no, the engine will not pull any more cars then 4, but it might go a little faster. That dosen't make sense if it goes faster, dosen't it have more pulling power?
    So why spend $225 if its not going to make the train engine perform better. Then i will have to buy a transformer that makes no difference, then have to buy another engine that can pull more cars also.
    I wish i knew the answer to the question how my train would run with 100+watts if it would be worth the investment. To bad i can't rent a train transformer for just the day to test it out.
    Im beginning to think my hobby shop is pretty expensive if the cheapest engine is $195, and a transformer $225, my gosh by the time i buy accesories and box cars it would be over 1,000 crazy.
  2. Renovo PPR

    Renovo PPR Just a Farmer

    A MTH Z-1000 with 100 watts is under $100. It does a great job with everything from Postwar to modern. You can get it here -> Welcome to Jim's Train Shop - Home

    Will it help a engine pull more cars? I don't know with 100% accuracy but I expect it may help a little. I do know the extra wattage helps track power issues and even helps the weaker smoke units produce some more smoke.

    Older transformers are cool and someday I might spring for an older ZW, however I do like the fast acting breaker style protection offered by the Z-1000.
  3. JoeGrapes

    JoeGrapes Member

    You know, I hear what you are saying. I'm new to this hobby and my first tranformer was that Lionel 80 watt. I built a main line with about 80 ft of Lionel o gauge track and had one lockon to power it. The engine is a K-Line Allegheny with two motors pulling 10 cars. The train ran fine. That transformer got so blasted by people that I went out and bought a 175 watt Lionel Brick since I wanted to run two trains in the future. Hooked it up the same way and the train ran the same, fine. So then I read where you need to run a bus line at least every 6 or 8 feet. Well, I divided up the layout into 3 sections with a bus line. The train ran the same, fine. So, from my experiance going from a basic transformer to a high powered one made little if any difference. I know, when I add the other train maybe I'll be glad I did upgrade.
  4. Oracle_9

    Oracle_9 New Member

    Pretty much most of the local hobby shops are expensive, but it has its advantages and disadvantages, and so do the online discount stores.

    If you get a stronger powered train, then I think you would also need a stronger powered transformer. It depends on how much juice the electric motor in the stronger train would use and if it is enough from the transformer. Correct me if I am wrong.

    Just curious, did you try to oil all shafts from every car and train, and the shaft from the motors too?
  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    My first Lionel set (in 1953) cost about the same as my father was paying or a month's rent.
    When you add cars do the wheels slip or does the loco just not move? If the wheels slip, that's it. If it doesn't move, you may have reached the limit of the motor.
  6. lionelsteam

    lionelsteam New Member

    Ok to Oracle 9, yes the motor shaft was lubricated with a drop or two of oil, just enough, and not to much. All the cars im pulling are brand new post war celebration series, so being brand new, the wheels spin really easily and free, so i thought they don't even need lubrication because there new.

    To 60103, the 4 cars added there is no slip in the wheels at all, simply the engine motor does not move.

    I did notice when i push down on the whistle button on my transformer, it does run better, espically on a turn, the harder i press on the whistle button, the better it runs, but it still will not pull 5 box cars with the whistle button down.

    This tells me that for sure, when the whistle button is down, the engine had a little more juice and pulling power, but not enough to my likeing.

    I had a friend who said possibly i could borrow his transformer, but he lives far away, and i can't test a new transformer, for a while. =( If i can find a better transformer, and when i do, i will post the results.

    I have a Different engine on the same transformer that can pull 9 cars easy right, but when the whistle button is used, the engine looses alot of power, that can even make the engine almost come to a stop. Im told that's common when a whistle is used, the engine looses power.

    So i tried 2 engine's the steamer i have, pulling the junky engine thats weak, and well, it didn't really work either, because the stronger engine, was too strong, and it pulled away from the weak engine, basically they couldn't stay together. Unless i taped them together, witch i really don't wanna do. I don't wanna risk breaking a good engine.
  7. wrmcclellan

    wrmcclellan Member

    Lionelsteam - what engines and transformer do you have? Who made them? This will help in answering your question.

    JoeGrapes gave a good description of his experience.

    EDIT - found your other post and put my questions for you there.
  8. Renovo PPR

    Renovo PPR Just a Farmer

    Ok I didn't think about this until today. I have a Lionel 2037 and over the years it started to slow down. It got to the point that you had to crank the power up to get it moving. It would get cranky and make tons of funny sounds. It got to the point the motor would get hot fast. In addition I had to keep working the throttle you could never just put it in one place. The engine would go fast at some spot and then almost stop at others.

    I sent it off for a good clean, lube and repair. The engine now runs like any other new engine.
  9. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    I think you will find that top speed is a different concept than tractive power. Kind of like the guy who put a Porsche engine in his VW Bug - it would do 120+ mph on the Autobahn, but it still only carried the same four people. :cool:

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