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Author Topic: Old lionel O gauge power question  (Read 522 times)

Jfaunce

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Old lionel O gauge power question
« on: February 09, 2015, 05:44:12 pm »
Which transformer should I use to power a 32 foot long rectangle shape. There are no switches on track. I can run a bus line around it.  Also we have accessories that we'd like to power as well.  I'd imagine we should a seperate transformer for those. We have the logger, coal, cattle, milk and station.

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TrainLarry

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Re: Old lionel O gauge power question
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2015, 07:20:59 pm »
Welcome to the forum!
You can never have too much power available for your trains and accessories! For an older transformer, the postwar ZW at 275 watts input power cannot be beat. With 4 independent throttles, you can run your trains on 1 throttle, and have 3 independently adjustable throttles available to operate your accessories with plenty of power to spare. No need for a separate transformer for accessories if you are running just 1 train.

The postwar KW transformer at 190 watts input power is an alternative with 2 independent throttles.
Good, used transformers are available at most Lionel dealers, and also online. Make sure they are tested and repaired/refurbished before purchasing one.

For a layout your size, make sure the track is clean and free of rust and dirt, including the connecting pins. Hardware store naphtha is the best cleaner/degreaser to use on our trains and track, and a Scotchbrite pad can be used to remove light rust. Do NOT use sandpaper to remove rust, as it will remove the tin plating off the track.

For better power distribution, a lockon every 3-4 feet of track is advisable, hooked up to a track power bus under the layout.

Larry

stevenwwhite

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Re: Old lionel O gauge power question
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2018, 03:24:53 pm »
I have a run of 3 rail tubular Lionel track around the wall of my office near the ceiling. It is a 15 x 10 ft rectangle, divided into 4 sections. Three of the sections have sidings using a pair of 022 switches to access the main line. I am using lockons on each section and all go to a ZW 275 with 22AWG single strand wire. I control each section of track separately through a control panel. Each section on the control panel has an LED light, an on/off toggle switch and a n/c push button momentary switch for direction control. After getting everything hooked up and working correctly I have a serious power problem. My 736 Berkshire will barely crawl at full throttle with only 7 postwar cars. What would you suggest to maximize and evenly distribute the current?

TrainLarry

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Re: Old lionel O gauge power question
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2018, 11:26:07 am »
First, if you have a lighted car, run it around the layout and watch for any dimming of the light to indicate a bad section. If you have no lighted car, use a voltmeter to check for any voltage drops around the layout. Is the track clean of dirt and rust? Are the track pins clean and tight? Any drop indicates a bad connection somewhere.

Your problem may be due to a need of service to your rolling stock.
Has the 736 been serviced to clean and lubricate the motor, gears and bearings, and the rolling stock bearings lubricated?

After these items are taken care of, your trains should run properly.


Larry

mrfixit1946

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Re: Old lionel O gauge power question
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2018, 07:55:38 pm »
I agree with what Train Larry said, but one thing you can do is take a straight piece of track and put it on your work bench. Run your 736 back and forth to see if it runs correctly. Put the same amount of cars behind it. The point to this is to see if your problem is your engine or your track. Problems with engines can a lot of time be solved by taking an exacto knife blade and "VERY CAREFULLY" clean out the garbage in the slots between the 3 sections of your armature facing. Take your brush plate off and clean it good with carborater cleaner, replace the 2 brushes and, lube the armature shaft slightly where it goes through the brush plate and re-assemble. In most cases you will see a big difference in how your engine runs.  Barry

 

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