Reduce American Flyer voltage drop

Reduce American Flyer voltage drop

If your American Flyer train slows down on part of your layout, you’re experiencing voltage drop. Fortunately, there are things you can do to lessen the effect of voltage drop and give yourself a smoother running layout. Some of them won’t even cost anything. Here’s how to reduce American Flyer voltage drop.

Make sure you use a thick enough wire (thicker than 18 gauge, generally), run feeder wires every third or fourth track section, have a good electrical connection between each rail, and treat any rust present to ensure good, consistent electrical conductivity throughout your layout for smooth running trains.

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Using landscape transformers on train layouts

Using landscape transformers on train layouts

It’s fairly common for hobbyists with extremely large train layouts to use outdoor landscape transformers instead of specialized train transformers to power the lights and accessories on their layouts. Landscape transformers are large, rugged, and less expensive. But it can be confusing how to set them up. So here’s a step by step guide to using landscape transformers on train layouts.

I use PC power supplies to power lights and accessories, but that limits me to 12 volts DC for power. I’m OK with that. But if you want 15 volts AC, or you’re uncomfortable modifying a PC power supply, low-voltage landscape transformers are another viable alternative. I don’t think they’re as economical as an old PC power supply, but they cost much less per watt than a train transformer.

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Transfer an image to metal with paper

Transfer an image to metal with paper

I’ve wanted for years to be able to transfer an image to metal from paper. I experimented with it a lot in the 2004 timeframe, but I was never happy with the results and I eventually gave up. Until now. Today, the materials you need to transfer an image to metal with paper are readily available, work well, and are inexpensive.

The trick is to print a reverse image on a laser printer (color or black and white) onto paper that the toner doesn’t stick to very well. Apply a thin coat of adhesive to your metal, then stick your image down and smooth it out. Let it dry, then peel the paper back to leave your image behind. Apply a clearcoat and enjoy.

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Wiring Marx Accessories

Wiring Marx Accessories

Wiring Marx accessories isn’t too hard, and Marx accessories are forgiving. You can just run two wires to them, somehow, and they’ll probably work. But that’s probably not what you’re after. You probably want efficiency in terms of how much wire you use, and you probably want to hide your wires. Marx’s design allows for some clever tricks hobbyists have devised over the years.

The main rule to remember is to use around 20 AWG wire and connect the non-insulated binding post on the accessory to the common post on your transformer, and the insulated binding post to the hot post, using the dedicated accessory terminals if your transformer has them. This allows you to do some tricks when it comes to saving wire.

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How to disassemble and service a Marx 333 locomotive

How to disassemble and service a Marx 333 locomotive

The Marx 333 was Marx’s biggest, fanciest, and most expensive steam locomotive during the postwar era. It shares some parts commonality with other Marx engines but if you’ve never worked on one before, it can be a little unclear how to disassemble and service one.

The main thing to keep in mind with a Marx 333 as opposed to other Marx diecast locomotives is the linkages. After you remove the screws from the front, you have to remove the linkage or the siderods, depending on the vintage. After that, the motor drops out easily.

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Painting electric train track

Painting electric train track

I had an interesting question come in: Can you paint American Flyer train track? You can, if you’re careful about it. There could be a couple of reasons to want do that. Here’s what you need to know about painting electric train track and why you might want to do such a thing.

Ironically, the main reasons to do it are to make old track look less rusty than it is, or to make new track look old and rusty.

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American Flyer Transformer Wiring Diagram

American Flyer Transformer Wiring Diagram

A.C. Gilbert provided a wiring diagram with its train sets and transformers. But if your American Flyer transformer wiring diagram went missing after all these decades, not to worry. I have you covered. Here are some tips for American Flyer transformer hook up for the best possible operation while using as little wire as possible.

Gilbert was more consistent than some of its competitors when it came to its transformers. But some of Gilbert’s terminology may have made it so simple as to make it confusing.

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Why are Lionel trains so expensive?

Why are Lionel trains so expensive?

When the weather turns cold, people frequently ask me where they can buy a Lionel train these days. Then they check prices on their phone and follow up with a second question: Why are Lionel trains so expensive?

There was a time when Lionel built electric trains in the kinds of quantities that game consoles are today. That isn’t the case anymore. But even considering today’s smaller economies of scale, Lionel trains never really were inexpensive once you factor for inflation.

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Best way to store Lionel trains

Best way to store Lionel trains

I was talking to a friend the other day about trains and especially about rust. He was very concerned about being able to get the trains out next year and enjoy them without having to clean or refurbish them again. Here’s the best way to store Lionel trains.

The best way to store Lionel trains is in the living space of your home. Try to avoid storing them in a garage or attic if you can. A basement is OK if it’s not too damp. The box they came in is ideal, but there are acceptable substitutes. You also need to be careful how you wrap them.

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