How to disable a light switch

How to disable a light switch

Sometimes you need to disable a light switch, such as when a light switch turns an outlet on or off and you want to plug something other than a lamp into that outlet. Here’s how to disable a light switch.

The good news is you can do this in such a way that it is completely reversible. If you want to replace the light switch at any point in the future, you will be able to.

Read more

The Lionel KW transformer

The Lionel KW transformer

The Lionel KW transformer was the second largest transformer Lionel made in the postwar era. It delivered 190 watts of power and provided two handles to control two trains. Internally, the design is very similar to the ZW. If the ZW was Lionel’s Cadillac transformer, the KW was the Buick. I always thought Lionels were overrated until I ran a 675 locomotive with a KW.

There was a time when nobody made modern transformers the size of a KW or ZW. Now that they do, the ZW and especially the KW cost a lot less. I remember when a reconditioned KW cost $200. Today you can get one for under $100. An as-is KW with minor issues will cost half that. These days, the KW is a bargain.

Read more

Which wire is hot, black or white? Is the black wire hot?

Which wire is hot, black or white? Is the black wire hot?

If you don’t do electrical work very often, it can be confusing and can lead to questions. Is the black wire hot? Which wire is hot, black or white?

The first rule is there are no rules. So if you see lots of different colors in an electrical box, you probably need to call an electrician. But if you see three or four colors, you can probably figure it out.

Read more

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.

Read more

Cleaning N64 games

Cleaning N64 games

Cleaning N64 games is a controversial topic. It doesn’t have to be. There are some techniques floating around that can be harmful. But I also bristle when I see people say there’s one and only one right way. Here are some techniques for cleaning N64 games, based on my decades of experience fixing computers and game systems.

Read more

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.

Read more

Testors model paint tips for better results

Testors is a brand that’s been around for decades. It’s by far the most common brand of model paint for hobbyists. Here are my Testors model paint tips to┬áreduce frustration, give you better results, and save you money. After all, a hobby should be enjoyable, not frustrating.

Read more

WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux