Transformers and Smoke Output

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by simmonds, Mar 2, 2007.

  1. simmonds

    simmonds Member

    WOW! This thread kind of went off topic but CW topics usually do :) . Okay look. I probably never would have went out and purchased a CW-80 if it had not come in the Polar Express set. Still, I have had good success with mine so far. From what I understand Lionel has and still is making changes to the CW based on customer complaints. An external circuit breaker would be great, a beefier fan would be nice as would the ability to run all MTH trains....but it is still a starter transformer. The PowerMax transformer that comes with the Nascar set was designed by Lionel as a introductory transformer. A way to get a train set into homes that otherwise wouldn't have one based on the theme and graphics of the train and rolling stock. The PowerMax will power only the train and cars included in the set and NOTHING else from what I understand (makes you wonder why they call it PowerMax:rolleyes: ).

    Alot of you seem to really hate the CW and thats fine with me. All I wanted to know and was hoping someone could answer my question as to why it outperformed my other transformers of more wattage. I still don't have the answer so I guess I will just enjoy the fact that it does. :D

    Hopefully Lionel has people who roam the net reading these posts and forums and will listen to everyones complaints and do something about it. There customer service and reaction when I told them I was having problems with the fan on my old CW was first class and fast, yet I wonder if the one they sent me to replace it has any design or circuitry changes? Hmmmm.
  2. Renovo PPR

    Renovo PPR Just a Farmer

    The biggest reasons that your old transformers may not surpass the CW-80 are simple. It is their age. The biggest problem is worn parts and corrosion. This robs power and can lead to unsafe operation of older transformers. If you hear a slight buzzing noise that is the sign of transformers core laminations moving. If it has a slight off smell this is another sign of problems.

    Basically if your transformer is 30 year or older it may not be performing at its peak. It should be reconditioned and for safety reasons the plug and cord should be replaced.

    Case Study: My Lionel SW 135 worked great at least I thought so. Well the plug had seen far better days and was the first thing I replaced. After opening the case I observed a little corrosion and grease built up on many contact surfaces. I did my best to clean what I thought needed cleaned and took some time to make sure wires that had brittle covering were taped and separated.

    This gave a noticeable improvement to the overall performance of the SW 135. Later a bit the bullet and sent my SW 130 out for a true cleaning, repair and lube job. The cost wasn’t all that bad but the return was great. That transformer had more power than I ever thought it was capable.

    The point is very simple there are many factors that can and will affect older transformers performance. It is just like a car you need to replace, clean and grease a few things or it just won’t perform well. Just think a car running on thirty-year-old spark plugs.

    I would bet the added resistance due to several of the reasons I listed bogs down your older transformers.

    Finally, there is a small problem with the smaller American Flyer turret transformers, such as the 15B and 16B. On each end of the roller's path there is a plate. On these transformers there is a voltage difference of about 3 volts between the low end plate and the first winding. If the roller is left in a position near the lowest possible speed with the handle down, a dangerous overheating can occur in a s little as 10 seconds, eventually burning out the first few windings of the secondary coil. So don't leave the handle at almost slowest speed for any length of time. This problem does not occur in the larger turret transformers, 18B and up. You might want to remove the back plate and check this action out for yourself.

    [FONT=&quot]Well time is short for right now I can give you some more info later.[/FONT]
  3. simmonds

    simmonds Member

    Renovo - Thanks for the heads up on the smaller turret transformers. I had read something about that a few years back and always keep that in mind when running the smaller 15b. Thanks.

    I like your idea about added resistance bogging down my transformers performance. I have checked them for proper voltage and they were spot on. However, I have never checked them for actual wattage output nore considered that various time related factors like oxidation, oil, dust and dirt might have on the actual power output on these older transformers. I think you might have something there. The rear posts are almost white on both transformers from oxidation and I have not yet checked the windings or internal connections as of yet. Guess I better get to it! Thanks, Chris
  4. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    ok i did not take the time to read all the replys here, but i did my own test.

    i used my PE set, ran it at full speed with all transformers. my cw-80 would not hardly smoke at all. my 1033 90 watt did just a little bit better, and my SW 135 smoked me out of the house!
  5. simmonds

    simmonds Member

    Thanks for the info there ozzy. My PE doesnt smoke worth a darn either using the cw-80. I will try my other transformers and see what happens as well. Chris
  6. ESE999

    ESE999 Member

    I stand by my CW 80. I love it. Before that there was the plasticy 40 watter. It's not as fun as the 80 watter( have one of those though). I don't use them for accessories though. I have piles of those blue and black bachmann and lifelike power packs that run accessories just fine. I also have a small K-line transformer that works for the trolley. Doesn't have a whistle button in it , so it does the job.
  7. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    my sw-135 has the power to run longer trains and longer track layout, but my cw 80 is the only one with whistle feature. so i cant run smoke and whistle at the same

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