lionel 1122 remote switch hums, but doesn't move

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lionel 1122 remote switch hums, but doesn't move

  • Hello there.  I purchased an assorted group of switches on ebay -- two manual --very old and work fine -- 4 remote 1122 with controllers .  2 switches and one controller work fine.  One controller just needs new wires --not a problem.  but two of the remotes (1953 or newer--because they don't have the extra solder wire) just hum and the solanoid "pulls the shaft in" no matter which way the wires are hooked.  I have read the manual --thanks for that great resource -- but it simply says this is obviously due to a lamp that is drawing too much voltage --switch to  #53 --but that is the bulb in it.  There is no other reason given in the literature besides that.  The controller worked fine with the two switches that work, but with these two -- the light is on --controller and switch --and when the controller lever is moved, it either causes the lights to get brighter (meaning it's the way the solenoid is pulling?) or gets dimmer --trying to push the rod out?.  It appears that the windings are touching the bottom metal, but I'm not  sure.  I suspect some short somewhere, but don't see any obvious hot spots.

    What am I missing.?:  Thanks for a great forum.

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  • I wrote a post on the Model Train Forum on how to fix these switches so they work properly.  They have problems with the crimped connections as the plastic cold flows and the crimped connections get loose.  Here is a link:

    I suggest you go through all of your switches to make them reliable.  

  • Do the switch solenoids hum without a controller connected?


  • Do you have the fiber pins installed correctly?  Yes, the solenoids will hum if the fiber pins are not installed.  There should be fiber pins in the two short outside rails that come together at the frog making a V.

  • The manual actually suggests that the controller lamp "is transmitting too much current."  They mean that it is drawing too much current (not voltage).  As you discovered, this is not your problem.  But it is a good idea to troubleshoot turnouts without the controller attached anyway.  You can throw the turnout simply by momentarily connecting the terminal closest to the switch machine to one of the other two terminals.  If the turnout works that way, you know it is okay and can turn your attention to the controller.

    The advice to use the insulating pins on the two short rails that meet at the frog is good.  They are not needed on the older 1122s because the control rails do not extend all the way to the end of the rail.  If you had already put insulating pins in, then you do have faults in the turnouts.

    Bob Nelson

  • lionelsoni

    They are not needed on the older 1122s because the control rails do not extend all the way to the end of the rail...

    These are the 1952 models only(no "E" following the 1122 on the bottom plate).  At first glance they look the same, but careful study shows they share almost no common parts.


  • Thank your for the excellent suggestions.  I simply have the switch attached to a single track & transformer, so I would imagine that having insulator pins is not relevant.  (This is my "test setup" for accessories and tracks)

    Of the 4 switches, two turnouts work fine , both levers of the controller operate either switch --moving the track appropriately..  So I know the controller is sound.

    One switch hums all the time -controller hooked or not -- but louder with the controller.   The solenoid only pulls the pin in.  I can manually move the switch to the "curve" but as soon as power on,(controller or not) it moves straight (pin pulled in) 

    The second switch does not hum without the controller hooked --hums loudly with controller connected.  Controller is only able to move the switch to the straight position. manually setting to the curve, causes the switch to return straight when power is applied.    Without the controller, (no hum) touching ground to either pin only works for the "straight" --again solenoid pulling the pin in.  But touching the other pin does not push the solenoid pin out.

  • You need to check the coils with a meter.  It sounds like either they are disconnected or open.  From the center rail to the terminals you should have a few ohms.  If either terminal shows open, you need to remove the bottom cover of the switch and check for a broken wire.  Fix all the solder connections while you have to cover off.

  • The first switch sounds like one coil is energized constantly-hence the switch returns to the straight position all the time, and the constant hum. Be careful, a constantly energized coil will eventually burn out. The second switch sounds like one coil wire may have become disconnected internally, but with the controller hooked up, it again sounds like the other coil is being energized constantly. The only external problem that could cause the switches to return to one position all the time when energized (without a controller), would be for the outside rails on the frog end of the switch to be shorted together (the anti-derailing feature constantly energizing the coil).


  • Again Thanks for the tips.   I have been busy setting up a loop and train form our Christmas village.... a long time since 027 Lionel ran on that day.  Last year I had a G Lionel around the tree.  This year again the G and the village Lionel should make my  Grandson's eyes light up..

    As for switches -- We have a swap meet in early December.  One of our "O-scalers" suggested to look there first, then spend time with the bad ones.  Unfortunately I now have 3 working LH and no RH. But do have a manual RH, so the layout is working.

    I'll return a summary when I get the bad ones apart. 

  • My son wanted to go to the fairground again today for one more progress inspection of the Big Boy move so I went along for the ride.  Got there right after they had moved the engine about 300 ft so hung around until they moved it again.  They are about two thirds of the way from where they started to the finish line.  Heavy overcast today so lousy conditions for pictures.  U.P. spokesman says they will get it on the main line sometime in late December but before Christmas.

    Ran into my friend Larry and his wife at the fairground so had a long chat with them while waiting for the engine to move.

    Cal Stewart coming up this weekend at Ontario, California for the second year since leaving Pasadena Convention Center after many years.  If I go at all it will be on Sunday.

    Need to make appointment with my gastrointeroligist for December.  Probably wants to give me a colonoscopy for Christmas.  Wouldn't that be nice!  Humbug!

    Enjoying Christmas music on FM radio from now until Christmas.  Listen in the car and in the train room.













  • "work-around" found.    I took both switches apart.  Both switch bottom plates were very corroded --one more than the other.  So I have cleaned and brushed them.  I also used some "liquid" electrical tape and painted all the exposed metal connected to the middle rail -- as I did not trust the wrinkled insulation paper.  When I assembled one, it still had the problem, but I found that if I left the plate off, the switch at least responded to an oncoming train by switching to the appropriate position.  I have yet to try using the control, but I can run the train and use my good switch to change to the other track and the switch changes .  So for now, my Grandson is happy, we can use all the track without having to manually move a switch.  He thinks it is cool that the switch "knows" to change.

    After the holidays, I may have more time to problem solve.  I still have some operating things to get up to speed.  My son wondered about the boxes of HO, that he and I shared, but understands his son is not ready.  And Lionell is all about things that move and make noise -- primary motivators for a 4 year old (and an old kid).

     I did add a simple oval around our Christmas village -- Much to my Grandson's delight.. I know it's early, but now I have an excuse for a train in the house too.... at least for a while.

    Happy Holidays and Throttle ON !!!