New Lionel "PowerMax" starter transformer

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New Lionel "PowerMax" starter transformer
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, December 04, 2006 7:46 AM
Some starter sets may contain a new less-powerful transformer rather than the CW-80. Using virtually the same case as the CW, the "PowerMax" can provide only about THIRTY watts. (The specs say "30 volt-amps." Volt-amps are virtually the same thing as watts.) It does not have any accessory posts, programable or fixed.

From a distance the only way to distinguish it from the more powerful CW-80 is to note that the PowerMax has only one pair of output posts on the back -- a view that is seldom seen on packaging or promotional literature.

The Owner's Manual is available online at Lionel.com under Customer Service. The product number of the manual is 71-4275-250, dated 6/06.

Based on comments in another Forum, I believe that the existence of this transformer is not yet widely known. Folks who are planning to buy Lionel starter sets are advised to be certain what they are actually getting by way of a transformer.
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Posted by pbjwilson on Monday, December 04, 2006 7:53 AM

30 watts, will that even run a 4-4-2 starter engine? My first starter set had a 40 watt transformer and would run the 4-4-2 engine around the track for a few laps, and then it would start to slow down. Extended run time and the engine started balking.

Its a major drawback to Lionel sets. MTH has always had a decent transformer in their sets. Why cant Lionel overcome this problem?

K-line, in my opinion, Had the best with their 100-120 watt transformers in their better sets.

 

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Posted by Jumijo on Monday, December 04, 2006 8:14 AM

The toy train gods should mandate that 100 watts be the absolute minimum available in transformers. Whistle, bell, and reverse buttons should also be mandatory. Pure sine waves would be quite nice as well.

 

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Posted by phillyreading on Monday, December 04, 2006 3:05 PM

Can it be true that Lionel has done away with the CW(Can't Work)-80 watt transformer?  All the negative posts about the CW-80 and all the defective ones at my local hobby shop makes me it was due to happen.

A nice 75 watt transformer with whistle would do well in starter sets.

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Posted by Dr. John on Monday, December 04, 2006 3:31 PM
The "powers that be" at Lionel claim that they are aware of the CW-80's shortcomings and are going to address them.
 
Hopefully, a less-powerful version without accessory posts -the PowerMax-  is not their answer.
 
I wonder why Lionel resists putting better, more powerful transformers in their set? It seems that if they want to keep customers coming back, you would want them to have a positive experience and provide for expansion. The PowerMax does not seem to offer this. RailKing and K-Line both seemed to understand this.
 
Oh for the days of the 1033! IMHO, the perfect transformer for a starter set. 
 
 
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Posted by brianel027 on Monday, December 04, 2006 4:58 PM

From the instruction manual posted on the Lionel website:

Your PowerMax Transformer provides a total output of 1.8 amps. Also, available voltage depends on how much load is on the output. Generally, track voltage is 0-16 volts (AC). You may momentarily approach or exceed the 1.8 amp limit of the PowerMax Transformer when pulling illuminated cars, or fighting over grades with heavy loads. When you reach 1.8 amps, the green light on the Transformer will begin to flash. This indicates that the Transformer is in "fold-back mode." In fold-back mode, the Transformer is automatically reducing, or folding back, power. This gradual reduction in power provides interruption-free power while bringing the amperage back down to a safe level. If this condition lasts for more than 30 seconds, the transformer will shut off the power to the track and the green light will continue to flash. Move the throttle to the off position to reset the Transformer and return to normal operation.

I heartily agree with you Dr. John, that Lionel has yet to outdo the basic performance, versatility and reliability of the #1033 transformer for beginner to mid-size table top layouts.

But I am inclined to not dump on Lionel about this new transformer until we hear complaints similar to that for the CW-80. My understanding is that this PowerMax is included with the Target set and the NASCAR sets. It sounds to me like the transformer has enough power to do what it is intended to do with what comes with the set. The Lionel instructions do say it will operate a horn, whistle and also Railsounds. Even the basic cheap no-frills K-Line pre-Power Chief transformer ran the trains just fine and had enough power to run the locomotive and a couple of lighted cars, plus control the uncoupling track.

Granted, these small transfomers do not lend themselves to the beginning buyer growing into the hobby. It would be nice if Lionel's instructions said as much, but that might seem to negative. The following statement, also from the PowerMax instructions is certainly a little misleading, since there are no accessory posts, nor the power to run them:

Congratulations on your purchase of the Lionel PowerMax Transformer! This device combines a high output control unit and an internal power supply, providing your railroad with all the power you need for a small- to medium-sized layout.

I'm not prepared to dump of Lionel for making this move. I do feel the instruction should indicate that the growing modeler is going to need a larger transformer to power a layout. But I'm sure Lionel is trying to curb costs while maintaining some level of introductory quality. The Target exclusive set does seem to offer some bang for the buck.

But I've also always felt Lionel should put less effort and money into the high end and focus on making the lower end more affordable and of the highest quality possible. Lionel does no national advertising. The starter set is the business card for the future. It would be a wise move to inform the new buyer of the real truth that this new PowerMax transformer will NOT offer the power needed for even a small layout if there are any additional accessories or lights. It might be a good PR move of goodwill to even make available a discounted second transformer of this type available (or even the cataloged "Accessory Transformer") to the new customer from Lionel direct. Even that wouldn't power many lights or accessories, but at least it would power some. the PowerMax won't cut it on that level of performance.

I did however get a real charge out of the illustrations showing how to hook up the PowerMax to your track... 027 track!

Long live 027 track! Yes, there was an illustration for hooking up to FasTrack too, but you would think with the inclusion of FasTrack in the sets and all the hype, that the FasTrack instructions would have been given the main emphasis and shown first, not 027 track. Maybe 027 track will be back again in current train sets?

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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, December 04, 2006 5:30 PM
Thirty watts just doesn't cut it, in my opinion. I could see perhaps 50 (ala the MTH Z500), but 75-80 watts should, in my opinion, be pretty much a standard power supply with most starter sets.  And fixed-voltage accessory should terminals also be an intergal part of any starter set transformer (again, my opinion) if the idea is to get folks to expand and add-to their empires (an idea preached and practiced by Joshua Lionel Cowen).
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Posted by Dr. John on Monday, December 04, 2006 5:36 PM
Brianel,
 
I really am not dumping on Lionel. And I am happy that they brought out the Target set. I think it is a good quality, introductory set with a solid die-cast engine, nice cars and some real play value. I am very seriously considering purchasing one myself.
 
My point is that I wish Lionel would focus on working the bugs out of the CW-80 rather than put out another transformer with obviously limited capabilities. I am one of the lucky ones that has a CW-80 that works very well. It has plenty of power for a small layout and operates both bells and whistles/horns, plus it has accessory posts. I used it extensively on last year's Christmas layout and a small portable layout. The CW-80 is a very good transformer for a beginner set, assuming it is not one of the flawed ones.
 
Perhaps Lionel is trying to save costs with the PowerMax. I wonder if families that buy the new Target set and then head to the hobby shop for some accessories will be disappointed to learn that their transformer is not up to the task. Of course they can buy a new transformer, but will they? My concern is that the limitations of the PowerMax may become a source of frustration for those just beginning in the hobby. I realize the days when Lionel offered a variety of transformers are over. It seems that their focus is moving the long-term hobbyist toward TMCC rather than conventional control. I wish that were not the case. And price-wise, it is a huge jump from the cost of a new CW-80 to a new ZW. And few novices are aware of the availability of refurbished postwar transformers. 
 
Anyway, those are just my thoughts. I may well be wrong and the PowerMax may turn out to be a good idea. But I have my reservations. 
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Posted by palallin on Monday, December 04, 2006 5:51 PM
 Dr. John wrote:
 It seems that their focus is moving the long-term hobbyist toward TMCC rather than conventional control. I wish that were not the case. And price-wise, it is a huge jump from the cost of a new CW-80 to a new ZW. And few novices are aware of the availability of refurbished postwar transformers. 
Amen, Dr. John!  I suspect that the current crop (or lack thereof) of transformers is intended to do just that:  drive folks away from transformers once they decide to go beyond the most basic starter outfit.  I believe that this push is a monumental mistake.  It caters to a segment of the market which is not only smaller than Lionel hopes for but also incapable of really growing the market outside its current limits. 
Aside from the cost and complexity concerns that attend expanding the market with CC, limited availability hinders growth. 
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Posted by jimhaleyscomet on Monday, December 04, 2006 5:55 PM

I believe the 30W transformer might work well for an inexpensive small starter set.   90% of the first time purchase people out there buy just one set and no accessories (think NASCAR fans and my first set 40 years ago).   If a 30W transformer helps Lionel keep the price low I hope it works out.  Actually, I have lot of little transformers!  I like to be able to set them at different voltages and each can run switches or an accessory (or two) or perhaps a separate loop.  Lionel may have been short sighted not going with a 50W if they could offer 50W without a fan (and extra cost).   Or perhaps in a few years they plan on adding a "new" more powerful PowerMaxII 50W transformer.   Since neither Thomas or any of their freight sets include lighted cars, the 30W should work fine. 

I hope everyone turns their nose up at the PowerMax.  Then I can scarf them up on ebay for cheap to run accessories!

 

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Posted by brianel027 on Monday, December 04, 2006 7:18 PM

I'm so sorry Dr. John. Other than the comment on the 1033 where I am really with you, the rest of what I said was from my own feelings and not referencing what you said at all.

I suppose I should have closed with mentioning how I agreed with you on the 1033, and then everything else would have seemed more separate. My apologies.

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Posted by Dr. John on Monday, December 04, 2006 9:20 PM
Brianel,
 
No apologies necessary. I did not feel like you were digging at me or really even disagreeing. I enjoyed your comments and they just spurred me to "talk" a bit more. Like I said, I was not dumping on Lionel but I didn't really feel like you were accusing me of that anyway. I was only responding in a general sense.
 
You always share good insights regarding the more "traditional" side of the hobby. I tend to agree with you that the train manufacturers would be better served if they focused more on conventional locomotives and controls. I have no problem with TMCC or DCS, they are great innovations and provide a great deal of enjoyment to a lot of hobbyists. As one who hopes that these manufacturers stay around a while longer, I want them to make smart business decisions.
 
I do think the Target set is a good move by Lionel. And maybe the PowerMax is too, though I am not convinced.  I suppose I should allow those with experience with the PowerMax to chime in before I pass judgement. I still wish Lionel had produced something in the 100 to 150 watt range, something akin to Williams transformer. Grante, that would be more than you would expect in a starter set, but I think would have an appeal to folks wanting to go farther in the hobby without going the command control route.
 
In my opinion, the old K-Line did the best job of catering to the traditional niche with good starter sets with strong, solid transformers. Then they went heavily into the high end scale market and we know what happened then. I still hold out hope that Lionel will bring back some of the old K-Line products (track, transformers, and more) but we will have to wait and see on that.
 
Well, I've managed to get somewhat off-topic (again!).  
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Posted by ChiefEagles on Monday, December 04, 2006 10:27 PM
Target and WalMart all require their venders to do "under pricing".  Maybe that is the way for Lionel to meet the price points required to get their starter sets in the stores.  Since I have been involved with Bass Pro and Cabela's, I've gotten some exposure from the manufacturer's side of the fence.  Now as for the 1033, AMEN.  BTW: anyone got a good used Post War KW or ZW for sale? Wink [;)]  I seem to be a collector of them. Approve [^]  

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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, December 05, 2006 9:10 AM

I strongly suspect that Chief Eagles is correct in his assessment that Wal*Mart and Target  prompted the manufacture of the PowerMax transformer in order to meet certain pricing goals.

The fact is that the sole reason for my starting the thread was to alert potential buyers that there is a new transformer "out there" that looks almost identical to the widely recognized CW-80 but which actually is very different. 

Some folks might well prefer the PowerMax to the CW-80; whereas others might think they were getting a CW-80 "on the cheap" and be disappointed. Clarification was all that was intended.

Thanks to all who have read the post and taken the time to respond. It has been spirited!

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Posted by Dr. John on Tuesday, December 05, 2006 10:01 AM

Wolverine,

Thank you for starting this thread. I appreciate the head's up about the new transformer.

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Posted by Jumijo on Tuesday, December 05, 2006 10:10 AM

The lower watt transformer is also a part of the Disney set. It could be a work around to the CW-80 problems, it could be a way of making these sets less expensive to produce (although the sales pricing I've seen doesn't account for that), or it could be a way for Lionel to sell more expensive transformers later on to "new" customers that have been bitten by the bug and wish to operate accessories and/or larger layouts. It could also be any combination of all of the above.

 

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Posted by ADCX Rob on Tuesday, December 05, 2006 10:48 AM

If anyone is willing to mail me a PowerMax(or PowerPuff as someone else called it) to "borrow" for pictures, I will disassemble it side-by-side with a CW-80 and post the pics for all to see.  I'll put it back together w/ phillips head screws & mail it back too.

My guess is that it is virtually the same with these changes: 

-one power transistor/triac on the same heat sink instead of 2

-no internal fan

-30 VA transformer instead of 80VA 

-1 or 2 components on the board(there is only one small circuit board) swapped out to alter the "foldback mode" cut-in to 1.8 amps instead of 5 amps

-elimination of the accessory banana jacks & the associated wiring to the board

Believe me, the CW-80 is just about as cheap a power supply for that function as can be built.  It is VERY simple, and the PowerMax is about the only concession that can/could be made.  I doubt very much, for example, that a new proprietary IC was produced for the PowerMax, but I am anxious to see.

I think these limiting factors for the Powermax development resulted in the final rating:

-lowest possible cost to satisfy the retailer 

-enough power to run the set it comes with

-existing tooling & suppliers for every part

-the most power that can be handled by the existing heat sink w/o a fan 

Rob 

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Posted by pbjwilson on Tuesday, December 05, 2006 11:43 AM

By putting a cheap transformer in their sets Lionel can offer a starter set at a reasonable price, and less than an MTH set. I think thats the bottom line.

For a long time HO and N gauge sets have come with the bare minimum transformer. Just something that makes the train go.

It's sort of the hobby norm, that when you expand your set, you get a bigger more powerful transformer.

So I guess you should just look at it as a tranformer that will run the train around a small loop, and when its time to expand , invest in a better one.

And from a business point of view it leads to additional sales for the hobby shop, and Lionel.

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Posted by palallin on Tuesday, December 05, 2006 1:00 PM

The problem is that there exists currently no off-the-shelf option for an upgrade (other than the woe beset CW-80) until you get to the new ZW w/ bricks.  The only alternative is to go TMCC.  Either way is pricey, more complicated, and harder to come by. 

 Postwar Lionel enjoyed the KW, LW, the RW, the SW, the TW, the VW between the level of the 1033 and the ZW.  Even MPC had a mid-range option or two.  A wider range is what we now need.  

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Posted by Jumijo on Wednesday, December 06, 2006 5:36 AM
 palallin wrote:

The problem is that there exists currently no off-the-shelf option for an upgrade (other than the woe beset CW-80) until you get to the new ZW w/ bricks.  The only alternative is to go TMCC.  Either way is pricey, more complicated, and harder to come by. 

 Postwar Lionel enjoyed the KW, LW, the RW, the SW, the TW, the VW between the level of the 1033 and the ZW.  Even MPC had a mid-range option or two.  A wider range is what we now need.  

 

That's not true. Several manufacturers offer more powerful transformers. MRC for one offers 2 different ones. A 130 watt single throttle and a 275 watt double throttle transformer. Both are excellent choices and far less expensive than a ZW.

 

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Posted by cheapclassics on Wednesday, December 06, 2006 6:34 AM

To all,

This is an informative post.  I have a CW-80 and have had no problems with it.  It is disappointing to hear Lionel reverting back to barely adequate power packs again.  They are making great strides with their Target and NASCAR connections, but if the trains don't run well, they may be doing themselves more harm than good.  By the way, did anybody notice the Lionel set advertised in the latest Target flyer?

Keep on training,

Mike C. from Indiana 

 

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Posted by cnw1995 on Wednesday, December 06, 2006 8:30 AM
I think paladin meant no upgrade options from Lionel. Point taken though. There's always the new Williams transformer.  I was looking through my misc. box for the old transformers from two MPC era sets - they're only 35 and 40 watts respectively so there's a legacy for the smaller transformers...

Doug Murphy 'We few, we happy few, we band of brothers...' Henry V.

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Posted by palallin on Wednesday, December 06, 2006 9:42 AM
 jaabat wrote:

That's not true. Several manufacturers offer more powerful transformers. MRC for one offers 2 different ones. A 130 watt single throttle and a 275 watt double throttle transformer. Both are excellent choices and far less expensive than a ZW.

 

Quite true, Jim, but we were discussing Lionel offerings. 

 

When we're considering the starter set market and its first stpes into expansion, that restriction makes a certain amount of sense.  Those folks buying a starter set and then the first additions to it may very well not have heard of MRC.  They'll likely stick with Lionel even when they do hear of it because Lionel is a name they know and therefore probably trust.

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Posted by Deputy on Wednesday, December 06, 2006 4:17 PM
 pbjwilson wrote:

By putting a cheap transformer in their sets...

OH MY GOD!!!! You used the "C" word in reference to a LOW BUDGET Lionel product. You are in DEEP DOODOO now!!!! Laugh [(-D]

Dep   

 

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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, December 07, 2006 5:30 AM

"Buyer Beware" is how I sum up the Lionel Lines at Target.

 Lionel did a great job (intentionally) in not offering product information of the Powermax transformer on their website and on product carton.  Only if you thought of downloading a manual would you stumble on the name "Powermax" on their website.  I a semi-educated consumer was led to believe the "Powermax tm" transformer was the trade mark name for "CW-80", with no product differentiation on the product carton or Lionel's website.  Also agreeing with me were my local hobby shops that had not heard of the Powermax transformer and couldn't find it in one of their catalogs to further my pre-purchase investigation.  Both shops concluded with me it was the CW-80, since all kits were recently upgraded across the board with the newer CW-80 transformer.

 To further my total buying experience was Lionel not returning a call or email from my fax and short posted email question to Lionel on my recent purchase.  When I called the "Customer Service" department I was not talked to as if I was potential customer or future source of revenue for Lionel.  The customer service agent was not friendly by any definition, in fact, acted as if I was wasting his time, even before I got to my request.  My request was to provide me with what they led the consumer to believe the transformer was, with me paying the difference if need be.  The agent's first response telling me that I have my decision and should take it back to Target and look somewhere else for a train, more so meaning another company.  He further told me he been doing this for 30 or 20 years..., explains why he was uneducated in current customer retention techniques.

I learned two things...Poor marketing skills to educate the consumer and poor customer service to retain customer, building a loyal returning customer (where a company's real profits lie).

So am I led to believe their Quality, product performance and reliability of the product have short comings too?  Should I not open the kit and take it back to Target and look altogether at a different company who appreciates my money and loyalty?

Sorry for the story... but I thought I was making an educated decision at $250.  I wanted ask all of you if I should have bought the Penn. Flyer or another company altogether before I take the Target kit out of the box.

Thanks,

New Engineer 

 

 

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Posted by Jumijo on Thursday, December 07, 2006 6:11 AM

An "educated" train consumer would have realized that at $250.00, the Target set is priced a little high compared to similar Lionel sets purchased at train shops. The same "educated" fellow would know that the transformer is a 35 W model because he has read this thread.

I don't think it was Lionel's intention to fool anyone with the new, lower watt transformer. I think they used many of the same components the CW-80 share to make it. But I'll bet it was an economic decision. Not a deceptive strategy.

 

Jim 

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Posted by brianel027 on Thursday, December 07, 2006 8:36 AM

New Engineer, welcome to the forum and sorry to hear of your less than satisfactory experience with Lionel cutomer service. If it's any consolation I too have had bad, but also good experiences with Lionel customer service. The bad ones were discouraging, but the good ones are what I try to remember.

As to the new Target set and the PowerMax... most companies don't made a big deal when they have made some kind of cutback in a product. They make a big deal when there is an improvement. When Lionel changed (and obviously cheaned) the frame on the RS-3 from sheet metal to plastic, they didn't say something like "now with a less expensive to make plastic frame" but instead said it had a durable frame.

Yes pricewise, the Lionel steam "Flyer" sets are less money. For me those are fine sets. But you do get a few more extras with the Target set. Lionel has a long history of including bare-minimum wattage transformers in starter sets, so this is nothing new. What makes this new change appear to be a cheapening is because other recent sets have come with the more powerful CW-80.

As I noted before, I find it quite ironic and funny that the PowerMax instructions show the consumer how to hook it up to 027 track before FasTrack - even though FasTrack came with the set and FasTrack is what is being pushed. Maybe there was some corporate in-office discussion on putting 027 track back in starter sets?

There seems to be some lack of communication with Lionel's graphics people and the folks who make final decisions. Lionel's recent catalogs state the U36B diesels as coming with a single motor. The Conrail one did. But all the subsequent releases have all come with dual motors even though the catalogs still state single motor. Same goes for the separate sale RS-3 locos... some come with dual motors (like the Ontario Northland) and others with just one as the catalogs always state.

When I re-entered the hobby 16 years ago, all my initial set purchases were low-end K-Line sets (aside from one Lionel set), which came with a bare minimum though satisfactory transformer. That transformer powered the trains but would do little else. But that was OK. I had purchased several sets and had several transfromers which I made do with until I finally got some used Lionel 1033's which is what I have used ever since.

The K-Line sets came with smaller molded plastic colored cars in roads I had no interest in. Rather than returning the sets, I simply decided I was going to learn to re-paint. Today I've become a pro at repainting and am proud of my work and a large majority of my trains are now all custom repaints by me.

As far as returning the set, that's a personal decision but I'd make it a keeper. It's your first set, and surveys have shown that the majority of hobbiests (regards of current interest) wish they still had their fist set, irrespective of that's first set's quality... or transformer.

brianel, Agent 027

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Posted by jimhaleyscomet on Thursday, December 07, 2006 9:21 AM

New Engineer,

Almost everyone overpays for that first set (some a little, some a lot!).  If it is returnable to Target (after opening) it is probably worth the small price premium.  You could do better buy purchasing a set at Hobby Lobby (with a 40% off coupon often available at Hobbylobby.com) or mail order (Justrains have K-line sets without fastrak as low as $100).  

 My local hobby shop has an MTH PS2.0 set for $300 ($399 list) and online it is available for $280.  Both of these are also good values for the sounds they have.

The target set appears to be a good value.  I was thinking of getting one just to check out the new transformer.  The transformer is not loaded with features so it should be more reliable as a result.  It really is a premium "starter" transformer.   You just can not beat the ergonomic feel of the powermax/CW-80.  

 If you expand your rail empire the cheapest way to do it is with an expansion pack (which the powermax can handle) or with another set (which will include another transformer).  I would not be concerned about this set having the powermax.  

 

Jim H 

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Posted by Deputy on Thursday, December 07, 2006 10:14 AM

New Engineer...welcome to the forum. Big Smile [:D]

I think a LOT of the problem Lionel is having is they are having a hard time living up to their history and traditions. People keep remembering back to the 1950s when you got a super-nice loco and rolling stock, along with transformers that were over-engineered to handle what comes in the set PLUS add-ons. Those days are LONG GONE. What you get now is lowest bidder trains assembled in China by people that have no real pride in what they are doing. The transformers in the sets are able to JUST HANDLE what comes in the set, plus maybe one add-on, as long as it doesn't suck down too much power. Are you getting what you pay for? That is a matter of opinion. Some say yes...that Lionel's basic sets are a great buy and give you a ton of stuff for the price. Others say no, that what you are getting is cheasy junk that is poorly designed and engineered.

The corporation itself is out to make the most $$$ they can using their highly recognizeable name and some questionable (at best) marketing techniques. People are also remembering the price of a high quality train set back in the 50s being in the $50-$150 range. That is VERY cheap by today's prices, but back then that was a TON of money. There really is NO comparison to the sets of the 50s compared to todays "budget" stuff. A better comparison would be sets of the 50s compared to Lionels higher end offerings. I just bought a Lionel 31750 - O-27 New York Central Hot Box Reefer Train Set  for $429.99. I can easily compare this set with the sets offered back in the 50s. It has a high quality loco with a LOT of features and two OPERATING cars. Here's some info on it:

https://www.wholesaletrains.com/Detail.asp?ID=200428241

Note that it does NOT contain track, transformer or any other goodies. It's JUST the train. I think you would be better off buying the transformer and track and other doodads seperately. You can get EXACTLY what you want and need that way and get better quality at lower cost. Will it cost you more than a pre-packaged trainset?...no doubt about it. But you won't have the problems of a company trying to "pull a fast one" on you by giving you lower grade parts and pocketing the profit. Of course, we all know that Lionel or any other American company would NEVER do anything like that (cough-gag), but these days one really DOES have to be an educated buyer.

Dep

 

Virginian Railroad

  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 282,456 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, January 03, 2007 8:17 PM

I too, am disappointed in Lionel's move to the less than adequate transformer.  It seems it also appears in both Nascar's sets.  Since these are "starter sets", these sets are the foundation that many will build on and add to.  Lighted cars and longer trains...performance will truly suffer.  What's a few more pennies for a some more windings, a set of posts, and a couple of buttons at the time of manufacture.  It's the heart of the system.

 Supplying power supplies that also do not have an accessory output also make no sense.  Why would Lionel cut their own throat and NOT want to sell accessories, remote switches, and other items that run off auxillary power to those they just sold a starter set to, unless they plan on selling a separate transformer for that cause.  Just doesn't seem to fit.

I think this is certainly a bad business decision and not very well thought out, IMHO.

Keith

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