Repairing Your Model Train Transformers

Posted on

A common issue with model trains over time is the malfunctioning of a transformer. When trains sit for a long period of time without use they will go bad. So what do you do when this happens? You can either pay someone to fix yours or you can spend your hard earned money to buy another one. If neither of these choices appeal to you then maybe you should consider fixing it for yourself. It will only cost you a little bit of money and use a little patience as well. Soon you will be able to say that you are able to fix them yourself.

You will have to get a few supplies together before you get started. You will most likely need each of these in the course of your model railroading hobby anyway so it is a good idea to go ahead and put them aside just for that purpose. You will need some tweezers, a pair of wire strippers, spare wire of different gauges, some oxidation remover, screwdrivers, solder, and a soldering gun.

Once you have your tools you are ready to determine exactly what your transformer needs in the way of repair. Carefully plug in your transformer and see if you hear any noise coming from either it or your model train. If you can hear noise coming from the transformer and not the train then most likely the contacts on the track will need to be cleaned well.

Once you have done this try running your train once again. If it works then you will know that you have successfully solved your issue. SAFETY ISSUE: Do NOT handle the interior of the transformer unless it has been fully discharged. This can lead to sickness or even injury. The next step involves opening the case of your transformer and examining the interior. If you are an adolescent then get your parent to help you with this step.

If the transformer itself appears dead then you will need to unplug it and get inside the case. Take the appropriate screwdriver and carefully open the case being careful not to touch your screwdriver to any parts inside the transformer itself. While you are doing this you must make sure that you are well grounded just in case of accidental discharge.

Check for burnt, loose, frayed or missing wires. Also make sure there is no oxidation on them as well. Corrosion can be a huge factor in malfunctioning electronics. Any that have gone bad will need to be replaced. If any are just loose then you can use your soldering gun to reattach them.

Any oxidized wires can be removed safely with the soldering iron. You also need to make sure that you remove any extra solder from the wires. Once you have done this then you are ready to remove the oxidation. Dip the ends of the wires into your oxidation remover and let it dissolve the oxidation completely. Make sure that you allow them to air …


Types of Model Train Tables

Posted on

The model train needs a strong and sturdy surface to allow tracks to accommodate stationary and moving trains. The surface needs to be level, smooth, and support the weight of a train with its decorator items. The decorator items include buildings. Light poles, scenery, miniature people, animals, cars and trucks, and other accessories.

The model train can run on tracks that are placed onto wood or other flat supporting surfaces. When we receive our first train set we are not prepared with a platform. In our excitement to play with our new train, we place the tracks on the floor.

Do not place the tracks on scalloped designed or shaggy carpets. The unevenness or length of the fibers will cause the train to wreck or wheels to tangle in carpet threads.

The train table is home for a train display and power supplies .. It also serves as a convenient workbench for the operator or train conductor ..

There are prefabricated train tables available that can be assembled in a short amount of time, or you may choose to build a train table. Anyone who can handle a hammer or an electric drill can build a simple table with a sheet of plywood. Carpentry knowledge and skills are helpful to build more complex table setups.

A small train table measures 4 'x 8' with four legs between 32 "and 42" tall. The height of the table is determined by the operator for ease in working one or more trains while sitting or standing. This is a simple table to make and I recommend viewing "Lionel Building a Train Table" on YouTube for measurements and building details.

3 Table Types:

  1. Simple
  2. Wall-mounted
  3. Multi-deck


  1. Think and draw plans before starting to build. Plans are subject to change.
  2. Design table to allow future cut-aways or additions.
  3. Make both stationary and portable tables.
  4. Include spacing for scenery and props.

The simplest tabletop to make is to use the top of a discarded dresser top, piano, or coffee table and add 4 legs made from 2 "x 4" boards. Depending on the height of the table the legs will need cross braces for support. The braces discourage table from wobbling or vibrating while the train is in motion.

The wall-mounted and multi-deck types will require advanced carpentry skills.

There are many facets to this hobby. The two most important are carpentry and electrical knowledge. Setting up trains is an educational hobby and there is much to learn. This hobby is enjoyable and learning will be pleasurable.

Source Article