Wire a Marx Girard station

Wire a Marx Girard station

Marx made several variants of its Girard station. One was just a tin building. The better one had lights. The best one had lights and a train whistle. Here’s how to wire a Marx Girard station with both lights and the whistle. This works on the Oak Park station too.

I wire it a little bit differently than Marx did in its instructions. Marx’s way works, but can cause the light to dim when you push the whistle button. My way doesn’t dim the lights.

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Restoring Tootsietoys and other early diecast vehicles

Restoring Tootsietoys and other early diecast vehicles

Restoring Tootsietoys can be a fun and satisfying way to enjoy old toy vehicles. Whether you want your childhood toys to look nice again or just enjoy bringing new life to neglected examples, it can be as easy and as affordable as you want it to be.

I’ll talk specifically about Tootsietoys here, but the principles apply to other vintage diecast cars of the same era like Hubley or Midgetoy.

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My Toyota says key battery low

My Toyota says key battery low

I got a scary message from my 2011 Toyota Camry. “Key battery low,” the message on the dashboard read. You can read that two ways. “Key” could mean they key fob that unlocks and starts the car. Or “key” could mean “critical.” Fortunately, when a Toyota says key battery low, it means the key that unlocks and starts the car. Or the key fob, if that’s what your car uses.

You can fix this yourself and you don’t have to find a Toyota dealer.

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Repairing Marx one-way couplers

Repairing Marx one-way couplers

Marx one-way couplers were an effort to provide trains that could automatically couple and uncouple. The design was exceptionally reliable, as long as the trains were carefully stored after use. It’s not uncommon today to find them in inoperable condition, but it’s possible to repair them.

Prior to World War II, every train manufacturer tried different ways to make trains that could automatically couple and uncouple, with varying degrees of success. None were particularly realistic, and Marx’s design was probably the ugliest, but did I mention it worked really well?

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Get more transformer outputs by using a grounding bus bar

Train transformers have one pair of screws for each output, which is generally enough for a simple layout, but once you have more than one accessory or building with lights in it, you’ll find it’s difficult to attach all of the wires to the transformer posts.

You can get more on the cheap by repurposing ground bus bars, intended for circuit breaker panels. Read more

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