There have been three major types of Lionel knuckle couplers produced since resuming train production in 1946. Lionel knew it would have to make a splash when it brought its trains back after the end of the War, and the knuckle coupler was one of the keys.
Two of these coupler types are compatible with one another, but one has a gotcha.
Continue reading Types of Lionel knuckle couplers
I’ve talked before about replacing a power cord on a transformer, but for whatever reason, I forgot to mention a cheap source of replacement power cords that also provide a safety improvement.
Use a 3-prong computer power cord.
Continue reading Putting a 3-prong grounded plug on a transformer
If you’re fixing an old train or some other electrical device, some of the wires have crumbling insulation, and disassembly isn’t an option for whatever reason, then you can repair crumbling insulation with a $6 product called Plasti-Dip.
Continue reading Repair crumbling insulation with Plasti-Dip
Disassembling a Lionel 1001, 1060, 8902 or 8302 locomotive isn’t too difficult. The biggest problem is knowing where the three screws are that you have to remove.
These particular locomotives weren’t really designed to be repaired, but there’s some basic work you can do on them with household tools. The 8902 and 8302 locomotives can be cheap sources of a motor for other projects.
Continue reading How to disassemble a Lionel 1001, 1060 or 8902 locomotive
A frequent question I read is how to attach tin accessories, such as Marx light posts and light towers, to a layout in a semi-permanent but reversible manner. I have found a way to do this, and as a bonus, it also makes it easy to hide the wires that are feeding the lights and makes the wiring simpler.
Continue reading Attach Marx lighted accessories and hide wiring in one step
In the 1950s, Lionel started putting magnets in the axles of some of its trains to increase their pulling power and help the trains stay on the track as they highballed around tight O27 and O31 curves. They called this feature Magne-Traction.
In time Magne-Traction was replaced with rubber traction tires, but needless to say, if your locomotive has Magne-Traction, you probably want it to work. Here’s how to make sure it works.
Continue reading What to check when Lionel Magne-Traction doesn’t work
The Marx 408 street lights are difficult to disassemble. They aren’t difficult because they’re complicated, because they’re not. But it takes a bit of coordination and more than a lot of brawn to get them apart.
But if you need to rewire or repaint one, you don’t have a lot of choice, so here’s how it’s done.
Continue reading Disassemble a Marx 408 street light
Train transformer starting voltage is a harder question than it necessarily needs to be–because it’s varied over the years. Part of that is because intent has changed over the years.
Continue reading Train transformer starting voltage
I’ve gathered a lot of spray painting tips over the years but I’ve never seen more than 10 collected in one place. Spray paint is a tool, and using it is a skill you can learn. With a bit of practice, you can get enviable results and make the object you’re painting look better than new.
Whether you’re painting something for your house or for your hobby, here are more than 20 spray painting tips to help you paint with the best of them–in the order you’re likely to need to use them in your projects.
When you want to phase transformers, it’s good to know the common (in Lionel terms) or base (in American Flyer terms) post. It’s a shame that Marx didn’t label which of its posts was common.
But it’s easy enough to figure it out. That’s a good thing, because Marx transformers are dirt cheap. I bought one for exactly one dollar at the last train show I attended, and the vendor wanted to sell me a box full of them for $5.
Continue reading The common post on a Marx transformer