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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Make replacement drawers for a small parts organizer

Make replacement drawers for a small parts organizer

I have a couple of small parts organizer cabinets. Over the years several drawers went missing or broke. Fortunately it’s easy and cheap to make replacement drawers for a small parts organizer. You don’t have to throw out a $20 cabinet over some missing drawers. Here’s an illustrated guide showing how I made mine.

To make replacement drawers for a small parts organizer, trace out all of the sides on a piece of thick cardboard. The thicker the better. Leave flaps in each corner. Cut out the big rectangle. Cut one side of each flap. Score the rest of the lines and fold them, then secure with wood glue.

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Gigabit USB 3.0 Ethernet adapter on USB 2.0 port

Gigabit USB 3.0 Ethernet adapter on USB 2.0 port

Is there such thing as a gigabit USB 2.0 Ethernet adapter? There is, but they’re hard to find because gigabit runs faster than the limits of USB 2.0. But you can use a gigabit USB 3.0 Ethernet adapter on a USB 2.0 port and it will function.

When you plug a USB 3.0 Ethernet adapter into a USB 2.0 port, it will still work at reduced speed, as long as your operating system has a driver for it. It will still negotiate a gigabit link speed with your Ethernet switch, and you’ll get whatever speeds your system can manage. It will be faster than 100 megabits.

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How to block computer scammer calls

How to block computer scammer calls

My computer security buddies have been posting a lot lately on social media about computer scammers, giving advice on how to spot them. But what if I told you that you could block them entirely? Here’s how to block computer scammer calls.

Generally speaking, you can block most computer scams by signing up for a simultaneous ring service, installing a call blocking app on your cell phone, and changing the DNS settings on your computer or router.

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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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Can Magnets Damage Electronics?

Can Magnets Damage Electronics?

Can magnets damage electronics? It’s a common question, or at least a common belief, especially among people over the age of 30.  But the danger that household magnets pose to modern electronics is minimal and grows smaller with each passing year.

While a household magnet can theoretically damage a hard drive, it’s only under unusual circumstances, and more and more electronics are moving away from magnetic hard drives. Household magnets have no effect on computer chips. Household magnets could damage the media older computers used for storage and make CRTs act strange, but that’s where the idea came from and both of these technologies are fading from use.

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What are Thread Cutting Screws Used For?

What are Thread Cutting Screws Used For?

What are thread cutting screws used for? You use thread cutting screws when you need to join two pieces together, but you can’t or don’t want to use tools to cut threads ahead of time to accommodate the screws.

Thread cutting screws are a special type of self tapping screw. People often use the words thread cutting, thread forming, and self tapping interchangeably. These classes of screws are very similar but they have subtle distinctions. Thread cutting screws create less stress on the workpiece than thread forming screws do. You can also get thread cutting screws for metal or plastic and wood.

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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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Which Commodore power supplies are safe to use

Which Commodore power supplies are safe to use

The stock Commodore 64 power supply was notorious. I can’t overstate how big of a piece of junk it was. It was terrible in Commodore’s heyday and it’s no better now. If you have a Commodore 64 and want to keep it working, you need to consider which Commodore power supplies are safe to use, and make sure you have a good one. Otherwise, at the very least, you need to consider repair and protection for your vintage supply to prevent damage to your 64.

If your Commodore-branded power supply doesn’t have the Commodore logo in the corner of the unit, like part number 390205-01 for the 64 or part number 310416-06 for the 128, you have to assume it’s unsafe to use. Other Commodore power supplies for the C-64 fail in such a way that they deliver unsafe voltages that cause serious damage to a C-64 motherboard.

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Three fixes when a shower leaks but not the tub

Three fixes when a shower leaks but not the tub

My sons have to take baths because their shower leaks but the tub doesn’t. I talked it over with a plumber, who kindly shared three relatively easy and cheap fixes for when a shower leaks but not the tub. In my case, the shower leaks into an unfinished basement utility room and not a finished ceiling, but in either case, you want to either fix the leak or not use the shower. Leaks lead to water damage and mold, and you don’t want those things.

My local plumber’s suggestions are to replace the faucet, caulk around the faucet and the overflow plate, and shore up the caulk between the tub and the surround. If the shower leaks all the time, it’s more likely to be the faucet. If it leaks just when certain people use it, the problem is more likely to be caulk. In most cases you can fix it yourself in less than an hour with less than $30 worth of materials.

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