Prong stuck in an outlet? Here’s the fix.

Prong stuck in an outlet? Here’s the fix.

The other day we went to unplug a lamp so we could plug a vacuum cleaner in. But something didn’t quite feel right. When we looked at the plug, we could see why. One of the prongs was missing. When we looked at the outlet, the prong was still there. There’s some bad, or at least time-wasting, advice out there on how to fix a prong stuck in an outlet or socket. Here’s how we fixed it.

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Repair Lionel ZW binding posts cheaply

Repair Lionel ZW binding posts cheaply

If your Lionel ZW or VW transformer lights up and hums but doesn’t output any voltage on one or more of its pairs of binding posts, there’s a good chance one or more of the binding posts is bad. It’s possible to repair Lionel ZW binding posts cheaply.

By far the most failure prone part of the Lionel ZW and VW is the binding posts where the wires connect to your track. Fortunately, there’s a workaround that works sometimes. But if you want something better than a workaround, a proper repair is cheap and not difficult.

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How I fixed a lamp

Soon after my wife and I got married, she used some of our wedding gift money to buy some lamps. We like them quite a bit. But one of them developed a big problem with flickering. I fixed it, temporarily, by bending the tab underneath the light bulb, but last week it deteriorated rapidly, ultimately reaching the point where any time we turned the lamp on, it blew the breaker immediately. Here’s how I fixed a lamp–for good.

After trying a few things, the solution ended up being replacing the lamp socket. A lamp socket is a $3.50 part similar to this one. I purchased mine locally, of course.

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Fix or restore Lionel track

Fix or restore Lionel track

It’s that time of year again. Time to get that old Lionel (or Marx or American Flyer) electric train running before the holidays sneak up. More often than not,┬áthe track isn’t in the best of shape. Fortunately, it’s not all that hard to fix or restore Lionel track.

Believe it or not, you can effectively remove rust from old Lionel track with a ball of aluminum foil. A small ball of aluminum foil plundered from your kitchen and five minutes of your time is likely to be enough to restore a loop of Lionel track from rusty, unusable junk to reliable operation.

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