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Are some of Lionel O gauge AC and some DC

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Are some of Lionel O gauge AC and some DC
Posted by RRSue on Saturday, January 13, 2024 2:08 PM

I got a bit confused on another forum when people are claiming there are some AC and some DC three rail units. I am not talking about modern stuff, I am referring to maybe the latest the 1970s, the earliest I have are 1910. The older stuff is Marx, Ives, American Flyer and Lionel, Standard Gauge and O gauge (and some others). So did they make both? Could my 1976 Lionel Bi-centenial train be DC? My 1910 Ives runs on my Lionel transformer but I also have old Lionel reostats in my collection that I am not sure what they go with. My Bi-centennial train is my newest year train, most are 1930s to 1950s. 

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Posted by palallin on Monday, January 15, 2024 3:15 PM

Lionel did make some low-end DC trains in the MPCera, roughly '70 - '86.  Which Bicentennial train?  Probably not, but give us the n umbers so that we can be sure.  If you give specifics, we can be more specific in reply.

There were DC powered prewar trains in the early era when house power could have been DC or even when batteries were your only option.  The Lionel rheostats were for were for smooting changing speeds of the first reverse-unit-equipped engines when all the transformers offered with still stepped (the dead intercal between each step would trigger the reversing, you see). 

Of course, most modern engines are DC motored running on AC via electronic wizardry.

The many manufactureres over the years multiply the options.  A lot of hobbiests run postwar Flyer on DC.

 

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Posted by ADCX Rob on Monday, January 15, 2024 5:44 PM

RRSue
"Are some of Lionel O gauge AC and some DC"

Lionel cataloged DC only 3 rail O-27 sets from 1973 to 1991.

RRSue
Could my 1976 Lionel Bi-centenial train be DC?

The 1976 Bicentennial diesels were all equipped with PullMor AC/DC series wound universal motors that run equally well on AC or DC.

Rob

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Posted by pennytrains on Monday, January 15, 2024 6:18 PM

Lionel under General Mills did produce DC locomotives for starter sets in the 1970's.  These sets came with DC power packs and were always advertised that way in the catalogs.

However I've never seen a comprehensive list of all the DC engines.  Two I can tell you 100% for certain are DC, because I own them, are the 8008 Cheesie System (baby Chessie Steam Special) and 8005 James Gang General.

I only have the 1972 and 75 catalogs and there are no sets listed as DC in 1972.  In 1975 the 6-1380 U. S. Steel industrial switcher set with the 8350 USS loco is described as "Lionel's only DC train set."

Also shown in 1975 are the 6-1584 N & W Spirit of America freight set pulled by the 1776 N &W GP-9 in Bicentennial paint and the Spirit of '76 U36B diesel (6-1776) is shown on the inside of the rear cover with the 6-7600 caboose and the first 7 state box cars of the eventual 13.  Since those 2 sets were aimed at high end customers and collectors they had to be compatible with established layouts and postwar power systems.

I've been told that many (all?) prewar Lionel motors were universal and could run on AC or DC since households with electrification was the smaller percentage of Lionel's customers.  But when you consider how expensive those toys were in the 1930's (thousands of today's dollars) it's doubtful that families who owned them lived in places that didn't have electricity yet.

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

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Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, January 15, 2024 9:46 PM

Did Lionel DC locos run on 2-rail, or did they run on 3-rail with center pick-up?

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Posted by ADCX Rob on Monday, January 15, 2024 9:53 PM

MidlandMike
Did Lionel DC locos run on 2-rail, or did they run on 3-rail with center pick-up?

ADCX Rob
Lionel cataloged DC only 3 rail O-27 sets from 1973 to 1991.

Rob

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, January 16, 2024 1:45 PM

It would make sense that only the lower-end O27 trains would be DC, since (unless I'm remembering this wrong), the Lionel bell and horn/whistle worked by sending DC power through the track. The lower priced engines wouldn't have those features.

The DC for the horn or bell didn't affect a regular AC motor, since it was a fairly low power DC pulse. As mentioned, you could run an AC motored engine on DC, but if it had a whistle or horn it would sound all the time the power was on the track.

Stix
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Posted by ADCX Rob on Tuesday, January 16, 2024 2:26 PM

wjstix
The DC for the horn or bell didn't affect a regular AC motor, since it was a fairly low power DC pulse. As mentioned, you could run an AC motored engine on DC...


Well, sort of. Lionel never used AC motors in their trains, they were series wound universal motors that run equally well on AC or DC.

Rob

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, January 17, 2024 9:34 AM

MidlandMike

Did Lionel DC locos run on 2-rail, or did they run on 3-rail with center pick-up?

 

Three rail with center pick-up.  Which usually causes some consternation with those who unknowingly pick up a used Lionel DC engine and put it on their three rail track only to have it cough and shake since the DC motor can't handle AC current.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, January 17, 2024 9:37 AM

ADCX Rob
Well, sort of. Lionel never used AC motors in their trains, they were series wound universal motors that run equally well on AC or DC.

I don't know, I tried DC current in one of my Post-Wars just to see what would happen.  It worked all right, but wouldn't pull a substantial train (15 cars) at all like it did with AC. Back to AC and it ran away with the consist.

Just sayin'.

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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, January 17, 2024 1:52 PM

Flintlock76
I don't know, I tried DC current in one of my Post-Wars just to see what would happen.  It worked all right, but wouldn't pull a substantial train (15 cars) at all like it did with AC. Back to AC and it ran away with the consist.

Depends on the amount of volts/amps; a typical 12V/1amp HO DC powerpack won't do much with an O gauge engine. You'd need one with more power, designed for O or G trains.

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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, January 17, 2024 2:01 PM

ADCX Rob

 wjstix

The DC for the horn or bell didn't affect a regular AC motor, since it was a fairly low power DC pulse. As mentioned, you could run an AC motored engine on DC...

 Well, sort of. Lionel never used AC motors in their trains, they were series wound universal motors that run equally well on AC or DC.

 

Yes, but the non-DC motors in Lionel engines are generally referred to as "AC motors". Many Lionel engines came with "Pullmor" motors, which Lionel describes as an "AC Motor": 

https://www.lionelsupport.com/REFERENCE-AC-MOTOR-PULLMOR-NW-2-GG1-PW-622-100-610-8503-100

 

Stix
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Posted by ADCX Rob on Wednesday, January 17, 2024 6:29 PM

wjstix
Yes, but the non-DC motors in Lionel engines are generally referred to as "AC motors". Many Lionel engines came with "Pullmor" motors, which Lionel describes as an "AC Motor":



This is retronymed. It's not an AC motor.

Lionel acquired Flyer in 1967, MPC/General Mills acquired the manufacturing rights to the train lines in 1969, and in 1970 adopted, & adapted, the "Pul-Mor" moniker into "PullMor Power" and "PullMor" motors, referencing specifically the rubber tire traction-ed wheels that the whole line was equipped with, and all motors were also of the open frame universal type, indigenous to Lionel trains.  

When Lionel later produced DC only & can-motored locos, the more expensive open frame motors took on the "PullMor" moniker.  I don't know exactly when this first happened, or even if Lionel started the practice.  I have all of the catalogs, but would have to study them to find a first reference to them making a difference between PullMor vs. can motors.

So PullMor has been retronymed now to refer to the old 3 pole open frame AC-DC universal motors.

 

 

 

Rob

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