220 Volt Lionel transformer, where to find one?

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220 Volt Lionel transformer, where to find one?
Posted by masterphots on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 7:05 PM

Now that we're living in a 220 volt country, where can one buy a 220 volt Lionel CW80 or similar transformer?   US vendor is fine as we're back and forth so can buy one there.   Thanks for your help.

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Posted by wyomingscout on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 7:13 PM

 Masterphots,

Just a thought - why not have an electrician run you a 110?

wyomingscout

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Posted by Papadiesel on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 7:20 PM

Masterphots,

If the wiring is like ours in the USA, an electrician should be able to construct a pigtail adapter easily. I am tapped off my 220 at home.

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Posted by ADCX Rob on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 8:39 PM

You could locate a Lionel model R220, 1232, 1241, or 1244(my pick) 220 volt transformer.

Or, run any standard transformer off a 60hz computer UPS, or a (preferably)true sine wave inverter with a marine deep cycle battery & appropriate charger.

OR... the elusive Type J:

 

Rob

 

Rob

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Posted by lionelsoni on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 8:48 PM

It is unlikely that a country that uses that voltage has anything close to 120 volts available.  There is no center tap on the transformer secondary and the service is usually two wires only.  A transformer or an auto-transformer can be used to lower the voltage; but I suspect that a phase-control "transformer" like a CW80 will not work properly at 50 hertz.

Lionel did make several traditional transformers that might be suitable:  The 1241 is rated at 60 watts, 200-230 volts, 50-60 hertz.  The RW250 is rated at 100 watts, 220-250 volts, 50-60 hertz.

I have an old Alderman "A" Transformer in working order, 70 watts, 200-250 volts, 50-100 hertz, with a British 13-ampere plug on it, that I would be happy to send to anyone who will pay shipping.

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Posted by dougdagrump on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 9:36 PM

You mite try checking on some of the Maerklin transformers that put out a variable voltage. I was doing some research for some visitors to the museum who were headed to Australia but they didn't come back by so I discontinued the project. But I do recall that they made several models, country specific, that could deliver a variable voltage in AC.

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Posted by servoguy on Wednesday, August 26, 2009 8:42 AM

 I sent some Lionel trains to a family in Belarus recently.  I sent them a 90 watt 120 volt, 60 Hz transformer and a step down transformer from 220 volts to 110 volts.  I am an electrical engineer, and I did a few calculations to convince myself that this would work OK.  So far, it is working fine.  Nothing is getting hot.  My primary concern was running on 50 Hz rather than 60 Hz.  The transformer input impedance is lower by 5/6 at 50 Hz as compared to 60 Hz, but the voltage is lower by 110/120, and the Lionel transformers will work OK at voltages slightly higher than 120 volts as sometimes the line voltage will be higher than 120 volts.  Anyway, this is a simple solution and should work OK.

The difference between 50 Hz and 60 Hz motors and transformers is that the 50 Hz units have more iron in the core and maybe more turns and thus the inductance is higher which makes up for the lower frequency. 

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Posted by lionelsoni on Wednesday, August 26, 2009 4:43 PM

You will find that the smaller Lionel transformers, like the V and VW, are usually rated for 50 or 60 hertz, whereas the larger ones, like the Z and ZW are limited to 60 hertz.  Apparently the smaller ones are more easily able to get rid of the additional heat due to the 50-hertz magnetizing current.

I have hinted in the past that there is an easy way to rewire a train transformer as an auto-transformer, whether to handle a lower line frequency or to reduce the line voltage moderately to keep an older transformer cooler.  For safety's sake, I don't publish the details, so that only those who know what they're doing will understand.

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Posted by phillyreading on Thursday, August 27, 2009 11:49 AM

dougdagrump

You mite try checking on some of the Maerklin transformers that put out a variable voltage. I was doing some research for some visitors to the museum who were headed to Australia but they didn't come back by so I discontinued the project. But I do recall that they made several models, country specific, that could deliver a variable voltage in AC.

From what I have seen of Maerklin they only have D.C. transformers for their trains, also may not have enough watts to run a Lionel train. Unless Maerklin made some O gauge trains that I don't know about.

Also LGB from Germany has D.C. output although their trains are G gauge, they have a 120 volt & a 220 volt transformer that they sell.

Lee F.

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Posted by lionelsoni on Thursday, August 27, 2009 6:07 PM

Maerklin 3-rail HO uses AC.  However, the only 230-volt-primary transformer in the 1998 catalog that I have, model 6647, is rated only at 32 volt-amperes, with a maximum output of 16 volts.  This is pretty small for Lionel trains.

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Posted by ami6 on Friday, August 28, 2009 1:02 AM

 The Lionel CW80 is not intended for use on 50Hz.  The MTH Z1000 works great on 50Hz. I have run mine like that with no issues using the original "brick" and a 230/120 Stepdown trafo. 

 

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Posted by trainman375 on Sunday, October 31, 2010 8:14 PM

Cant get 110v over here in the Philippines

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Posted by phillyreading on Monday, November 01, 2010 10:25 AM

I was in Germany, near Frankfurt, in the late 1970's. The lowest voltage to any outlet is 220 volts, 10 amps at 50 hertz. Have not been inside a German electrical box, so I don't know what voltages are possible to be had by tapping into the main electric box.

The voltage that is used here in the U.S.A. today is 120/240 volts at 60 hertz. The electric that comes into a residential box is a split tap, capable of either 120 volts or 240 volts. Commercial buildings can have differant voltage possibilities according to their needs.  Most people still refer to the voltages here in the U.S.A. as 110 volts or 220 volts, but that was back in the 1940's or earlier.

Marklin trains in G gauge are D.C. power to the best of my knowledge(not 100% certain). So any 220 volt Marklin transformer may have the wrong voltage(D.C., direct current, {A.C., alternating current is needed for most Lionel size trains}) for use with Lionel trains, however you might be able to remove the diodes(or other electronic items) and use the trasformer for A.C.

Lee F.

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Posted by lionelsoni on Monday, November 01, 2010 11:08 AM

You will certainly not find 110 volts in a German service entrance and probably not in the Philippines either.  However, the Philippines, unlike Germany, uses 60 hertz, not 50 hertz; so you should be able to operate any American transformer, like a CW-80, with only a step-down transformer between it and the power line.

Maerklin 3-rail HO trains run on AC, but the Maerklin transformers are small for American-style toy trains.

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Posted by ChiefEagles on Monday, November 01, 2010 4:07 PM

This is easy.  John Bakere in England did this.  He got a converter to convert 220V to 12 V DC.  I sent him one of our Pro Mariner inverters [fairly cheap] and it changed 12 V DC to 110 V AC at 60 HZ.  Now his Lionel transformer runs his trains with no problem.

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Posted by lionelsoni on Monday, November 01, 2010 4:14 PM

Not as easy as a transformer.  Here's 300 watts for $15:  http://www.220converters.com/store/p/44-300-Watts-Step-Down-Voltage-Converter-220v-to-110v.html  There's no need for the complication of converting to DC, then back to AC, because the Philippine voltage is already at 60 hertz.

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Posted by PolarExpress on Sunday, December 26, 2010 6:32 AM

Dear ChiefEagles,

my son received a Lionel Polar Express electric train set for Xmas. We have a problem as we live in Dubai and the voltage here is 220 V 50Hz and use a plug type G.  I don't trust the electricians here.. I have read loads about converters but I am no professional.. I found your comment and would like to ask what can we do, where can I get a suitable converter? We are originally from Europe where also the voltage is 220 V. The train comes with a CW-80 transfromer and the box says 120 V 60HZ.. Please help..

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Posted by Raddiver on Thursday, March 02, 2017 4:24 PM

masterphots

Now that we're living in a 220 volt country, where can one buy a 220 volt Lionel CW80 or similar transformer?   US vendor is fine as we're back and forth so can buy one there.   Thanks for your help.

 

Hello

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Posted by Expat1 on Friday, March 03, 2017 9:49 PM

phillyreading

 

 
dougdagrump

You mite try checking on some of the Maerklin transformers that put out a variable voltage. I was doing some research for some visitors to the museum who were headed to Australia but they didn't come back by so I discontinued the project. But I do recall that they made several models, country specific, that could deliver a variable voltage in AC.

 

 

From what I have seen of Maerklin they only have D.C. transformers for their trains, also may not have enough watts to run a Lionel train. Unless Maerklin made some O gauge trains that I don't know about.

Also LGB from Germany has D.C. output although their trains are G gauge, they have a 120 volt & a 220 volt transformer that they sell.

Lee F.

 

phillyreading

 

 
dougdagrump

You mite try checking on some of the Maerklin transformers that put out a variable voltage. I was doing some research for some visitors to the museum who were headed to Australia but they didn't come back by so I discontinued the project. But I do recall that they made several models, country specific, that could deliver a variable voltage in AC.

 

 

From what I have seen of Maerklin they only have D.C. transformers for their trains, also may not have enough watts to run a Lionel train. Unless Maerklin made some O gauge trains that I don't know about.

Also LGB from Germany has D.C. output although their trains are G gauge, they have a 120 volt & a 220 volt transformer that they sell.

Lee F.

 

Marklin HO center stud contact trains have been AC for the past 81 years.  I own around 30 Marklin AC HO locomotives built between 1950 and 1997...all AC.  As for O gauge, Marklin invented O gauge around 1900 and built O guage AC electric and live steam locomotives for decades.  After WWII O gauge dwindled and they quite making O gauge around 1954 and concentrated on HO and their construction sets similar to Meccano or Erector Sets called Marklin Mettal, which are still being made.  Marklin made 2 rail DC versions of their trains in HO under the name brand Hammo in Europe.

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Posted by lionelsoni on Saturday, March 04, 2017 7:25 AM

It is necessary to have both the right voltage and, particularly for some modern "transformers," the right frequency.  Most countries that use about 230 volts also use 50 hertz, which won't work at all with a CW-80, for example.

Traditional transformers are more forgiving if run at 50 hertz instead of the 60 hertz that they were designed for--they just run hotter.  Smaller ones tolerate the heat better than larger ones; and lowering the input voltage below the specification can completely compensate for the lower frequency, if your trains will still run at the lower track voltage.  For example, one could use a Lionel Z, specified for 110 to 125 volts and 60 hertz, in northern Japan, at 100 volts and 50 hertz.

What is your frequency, or where do you live?

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Posted by rtraincollector on Saturday, March 04, 2017 7:38 AM

Bob his bio says Chile

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Posted by lionelsoni on Saturday, March 04, 2017 9:33 AM

Thanks, but I thought that Raddiver might have quoted the original poster, masterphots, who is in Chile but hasn't posted in a while, because he had a similar problem.  He didn't leave much information ("Hello"), unfortunately.

Bob Nelson

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Posted by RadarO on Thursday, January 04, 2018 3:31 PM

Bob,

Just getting started with an O-scale setup myself here in the Netherlands, (military and stationed overseas) and purchased a Williams/Bachman train that I would like to run from 220V/50Hz. This thread looked interesting, but I couldn't find a solution to the issue. Since most european voltage adjustable transformers are made for HO and too low in power output for an American O-scale train, or are DC, and larger current handling transformers in the US aren't safe to run on 50 Hz, what could be a possible solution; other than converting to DC and back to AC at 50 Hz. Is there a manufacturer of a transformer out there that makes a transformer which will work in my case? Thanks for your help!

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Posted by lionelsoni on Sunday, January 07, 2018 6:41 PM

If you're trying to run a simple locomotive (no digital stuff), the Lionel RW250 (100 watts, 220 to 250 volts, 50 to 60 hertz) that I mentioned above might be the easy way out, if you can find one.  There is a never-used one on Ebay right now:  https://www.ebay.com/itm/Lionel-Postwar-RW250-100-Watt-Transformer-Boxed-Lot-2521/112724601914?hash=item1a3ee8ec3a:g:DF8AAOSwNchaSUwK

Bob Nelson

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