Tag Archives: vinyl

Fix a Marx 999 that derails a lot

Marx’s most popular locomotive might be the 999, because it can pull anything Marx made–6-inch tin, 7-inch tin, 3/16-scale tin, 4-wheel plastic, and 8-wheel plastic–without looking out of place. It really only has one problem: The front trucks on many 999s are prone to derailments.

Counterintuitively, the fix for a 999 is the opposite of how you fix the same problem on many other O gauge electric trains.

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Specs for the Lionel 6-12053 accessory wire–and how to make your own

A question the other day caught me off guard–how long is the Lionel 6-12053 accessory wire for Fastrack? I know a lot of random stuff off the top of my head, but I had to do some digging to find out it was 26 inches long–approximately.

Intended to clip onto leads on the underside of a Fastrack section, you can use it to power an accessory, as an additional power drop, or as an extension if the stock wires on your terminal section are too short.

If you need a different length, or need several and just don’t want to pay Lionel’s price, you can also make your own.

Continue reading Specs for the Lionel 6-12053 accessory wire–and how to make your own

How the Marx 1249 transformer connects to track

There are four posts on the Marx 1249 transformer, but don’t fret if you’ve lost the instructions. Connecting it is easy. But first, you’ll probably want to check it out for safety before plugging it in.

There are two sets of posts on the transformer, but don’t let that confuse you. One set of posts powers the train, and the other set powers any accessories you might have, such as a station. If you don’t have any accessories, you can simply ignore the second set.

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How to mark vinyl tile on the front

Sometimes you need to mark vinyl tile on the front before you cut it.

Here’s the scenario. You’re cutting a vinyl tile to fit an intricate spot on the floor. And you need to measure it with the top showing. So you measure it and draw your pattern. Then you start to cut, and you find out the hard way that the pencil or pen marks wipe away. And they’ll probably disappear before you finish cutting.

Here’s an easy answer: Use a crayon. The marks will most likely be covered by whatever trim work you lay. But if not, the crayon wipes away with a bit of effort–but it actually takes some effort, which means your marks will be there when you need to cut. If you want to be safe, select a color that blends in somewhat with the colors on the tile.

I hope this helps. While you’re laying tiles, you may run into issues with getting them to stick. I have some help for making vinyl tiles stick too.

Vinyl tiles won’t stick? What to do.

As I write, I’m installing self-stick vinyl tiles in an old basement as part of a project to modernize a ’70s man cave. It’s possible to run into a few problems when installing vinyl, so I thought I’d run through them, along with the solutions. When vinyl tiles won’t stick, there are ways to prevent and fix the problem.

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Fixing a sink that quit working

My mother in law bought a foreclosed condo, and I helped her get the water turned back on, but one sink just wouldn’t work no matter what I did. I finally found an answer, and since there wasn’t much information online, I thought I’d share what I learned about fixing a sink that quit working suddenly, to save someone else some hassle.

The problem occurred in one of the bathrooms. The shutoff valves under the sink were extremely sticky and didn’t want to turn on. Eventually I got them to turn on, and then I ran the sink, and it worked. Then I turned the valves off and back on a couple of times to loosen them, in case she ever had to turn off the water. They loosened up to the point where they were usable again, but then the sink, which had been working fine a minute before, didn’t work anymore. If I turned the sink all the way up, the best I got was a slow drip. If someone else hadn’t been there with me and seen it, I would have thought I’d gone crazy.

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Not quite a new floor in a bottle, but…

There are several acrylic floor finishes–sometimes mistakenly called wax–that promise they’re like a new floor in a bottle. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but if you have reasonable expectations, they definitely can make a floor look better and easier to clean. And depending on how you use them, they can even make the floor last longer.

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Happy birthday, Rubik’s Cube!

Rubik’s Cube turned 40 this week. In a reflection of how much faster the world moves today than it used to, I remember Rubik’s Cube from the early 1980s, when it was a big, national craze. I had no idea at the time that it was invented in 1974 and took six years to reach the U.S. market. I asked for one for Christmas in 1981, and so did everyone else I knew. We all got one. And none of us could solve it. Granted, some of that may have been because we were in grade school, and the early years at that. My best friend’s older sister, who was in sixth grade or so, had a book, and she could solve it with the book’s help.

It was even the subject of a short-lived Saturday morning cartoon. I only watched it once or twice. It turns out it’s not easy to make engaging stories about a six-sided puzzle. There were tons of cheap knockoffs out there too, but unlike the knockoffs of today which are generally regarded as better, the 1980s knockoffs were generally worse. After a year or three, the craze died down. We moved in 1983, and I don’t remember anyone in our new town talking about Rubik’s Cube. Mine ended up in a drawer. I’ve looked for it a few times over the years, but never found it. Continue reading Happy birthday, Rubik’s Cube!

How thousands of Atari cartridges ended up in the desert

The famous story of Atari burying millions of dollars of unsold videogames, including the infamous E.T. cartridge, is no longer just a legend–it’s been confirmed.

How they got there was mostly a misunderstanding of the nascent business. Continue reading How thousands of Atari cartridges ended up in the desert