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Lionel train help - slow train

8,492 1,297 December 14, 2017 at 05:42 AM
I have a 80 foot Lionel track setup with an 80 watt transformer. When the train gets farther away from the transformer it slows to a crawl. I see that I need a "lockon" at the far ends of the track but I really don't know what this means. My trains are all conventional and not TMCC or anything like that. Do I add this lockon and then put another long cable from the transformer to the far ends of the track? Meaning do I connect my transformer to multiple points on the track?

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Quote from dealgate
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I have a 80 foot Lionel track setup with an 80 watt transformer. When the train gets farther away from the transformer it slows to a crawl. I see that I need a "lockon" at the far ends of the track but I really don't know what this means. My trains are all conventional and not TMCC or anything like that. Do I add this lockon and then put another long cable from the transformer to the far ends of the track? Meaning do I connect my transformer to multiple points on the track?
I haven't played with model trains in a long time, but that's what i'd assume that means. Just make sure you don't switch polarity EEK!

Basically you're probably dealing with high resistance somewhere at a connection or on the track. The other thing you should do is clean the track and the 'engine'. What scale train is this?
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#3
You may want to try crimping the joins tighter if they easily slide on/off.

Cleaning the track also helps a great deal. Years ago when I had trains, we used to use a car that you filled with solvent. They may not look dirty, but a little oxidation can greatly diminish power transfer.

(As an example)
http://www.lionel.com/products/li...r-6-18461/
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Quote from TeeDub
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You may want to try crimping the joins tighter if they easily slide on/off.

Cleaning the track also helps a great deal. Years ago when I had trains, we used to use a car that you filled with solvent. They may not look dirty, but a little oxidation can greatly diminish power transfer.

(As an example)
http://www.lionel.com/products/li...r-6-18461/
Track is mostly new I expanded quite a bit this season. Joints are very tight. That solvent car is nice but pricey I have looked at it before.

These are Lionel O scale.
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Track is mostly new I expanded quite a bit this season. Joints are very tight. That solvent car is nice but pricey I have looked at it before.

These are Lionel O scale.
Cotton balls work well... And apparently isopropyl alcohol.

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/131972.aspx
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Quote from TeeDub
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Cotton balls work well... And apparently isopropyl alcohol.

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/131972.aspx
They also made a special pencil eraser like product for cleaning things, but other types of erasers worked too. Use 91% isopropyl.
It has nastier solvents but you can buy electrical contact cleaner at home depot.

It isn't a bad idea to pull out a multimeter and measure the voltage at the track in various locations. Repeat closer to the moving train as well to get a sense of voltage drop.
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Last edited by jkee December 14, 2017 at 12:34 PM.
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They also made a special pencil eraser like product for cleaning things, but other types of erasers worked too.

I have cleaned many a PC memory stick with a pencil eraser.
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I tested each track segment with a multimeter. I get 14.4 volts at the transformer track and for the most part, it doesn't drop to less than 14.2 accept for one section which I cleaned up with alcohol that measured 13.8. I also cleaned the train pickups after I ran a train I seldom use and it ran a lot better around most of the track. Once they were cleaner it also ran better. Not perfect, but better. I think it is a combination of dirty track and connectors and dirty pickups on the trains.
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#9
It will drop more under load.
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Hard to beat an easy answer like that! Congratulations on a near zero cost fix.
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