Electrodroid is an Android app designed for electronics hobbyists, but it has uses for model railroaders too. Its LED calculator is invaluable when using LEDs to light buildings, cars, locomotive cabs or headlights, or for other projects. Knowing the input voltage, you can then determine what resistors to use to protect the LED. The voltage [...]
I’ve been going through A+ training as I have time. Whether I go through with getting the certification will depend on whether my bosses think having someone with an A+ lurking in the corner is useful–by contract I can’t do much more than swap a keyboard or mouse, but in the meantime I’m picking up [...]
Sometimes you want to know how many volts your train transformer is feeding your trains, in order to avoid damaging the motors. And it’s also helpful to know how many amps you’re pulling from your transformer, so you don’t damage the transformer.
This week I received an advance copy of the January 2012 Classic Toy Trains. There, on page 42, is my first magazine article in more than a decade: Smart wiring for the gateman. I’d like to make a couple of clarifications on the article, as space constraints kept me from elaborating quite as much as [...]
It’s a common practice in consumer electrical devices to chain multiple batteries together to get more power. So it stands to reason that you could chain multiple small American Flyer/Lionel/Marx transformers together to get more power. It doesn’t work that way–you can’t chain two 90w transformers together to get 180 watts. But there are still [...]
A common question is whether transformers for vintage American Flyer, Lionel, and Marx are interchangeable, and what to do if a transformer won’t work. The simple answer is, yes, a train from one of those makes will run on a transformer from any of the others. They all ran on 0-24 volts AC. There are [...]
I’ve written about replacing dead or broken AC adapters without blowing stuff up before, and it’s been popular, but less concise than it could be. This is important. Getting it wrong can damage your equipment, the adapter, or both. The damage can be immediate, or it can appear over time. The specifications for your AC [...]
I fixed my Marx 490 locomotive this weekend. I used the tips in The All Gauge Model Railroading Marx Trains guide. Scroll down to the heading titled, “The Marx motor.”
I was skeptical because these instructions call for WD-40, and it seems I’ve read a hundred other places never to use WD-40 on any model train. But my Marx 490 wasn’t running well, and it would cost more to have it professionally repaired than it’s worth.
Yesterday I hooked up Dad’s old Marx O27 remote turnouts, and again found one of them dodgy.
I wrote a long, long time ago about my adventures trying to find a wall wart for my old 8-port Netgear dual-speed hub. The other day I stumbled across a novel idea for a replacement.