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Have I fried my CW80 transformer?

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  • Member since
    January 2024
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Have I fried my CW80 transformer?
Posted by Opa Kevin on Wednesday, January 31, 2024 1:42 PM

I've got a Lionel O setup using Fasttrack.  About 40 ft of track or so in a 9 x 12 room.  Originally started with Pennsylvania Flyer, but have also run Polar Express and a MTH classic train.  While running the Polar Express engine with Rail King Madison lighted cars (3 and a baggage car) the CW80 transformer started blinking and train stopped.  Manual says it is an overpower idicator - but gives no idea how to fix it.  Accesory lights (mostly leds) will still work.  But there is no track power - no lights in any single car or any engine power.  Swapped the accessory leads and I still get accessory lights.  Fan runs on the unit.  It also now occasionally (eventually?) trips the house power circuit breaker (rfor the room, not the whole house!).

The train configuration clearly pulled a lot of power - but did I kill the CW80?  And if I replace it, should I just go to the GW180?  My CW 80 was built in Jun 2006 and just used seasonally until I set up the room 2 years ago.  Any help this group can provide would be appreciated.  I've tried calling Lionel but only get busy signals.

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Posted by smokey1 on Wednesday, January 31, 2024 5:45 PM

1st there was a version of the CW-80 that had defects, I forget how to tell. If your running conventional, I would look into a larger transformer. I use postwar zw's that have been upgraded so they will not fry a engine with electronics in it. ( by the way I have 4 of them, 1 for standard gauge 2 loops, one for O gauge 2 loops, one for anything else i.e. lights and accessories. And one just in case something goes bad with one. ) There are plenty of types of transformers out there. If you can goto a train show and talk to different people and what they have. Make sure you have one that been set up for modern electronics or you have the parts and attached to you output of your transformer prior to track. ( this is incase you get trains with modern electronics and it sounds like you have already.) 

There a lot better qualified on here that can tell you also of what is a good transformer to use. 

in closing I will say this, if you want to stick with Lionel for power spend the money and get at least a postwar ZW that has been upgraded. 

Maybe contact www.Henningstrains.com I have never gone wrong with them. 

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Posted by 8ntruck on Wednesday, January 31, 2024 8:35 PM

The green flashing light indicates an overload.  The  CW80 resets itself when the overload is removed.  

 I was running a Legacy Texas Special passenger train on a CW80. The locomotivehas two motors, and smoke.  The dummy has smoke, and the coaches are lighted.  I found out that I could run either smoke or coach lights - not both.

Did you try running only a a locomotive?  If that works, try add in electrical load one item at a time.

Have you checked your track for shorts?

Good luck and have fun.

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, January 31, 2024 9:38 PM

I wish I was there looking over your shoulder but since that's not possible let me give a bit of advice.

Forty feet of track and what you're putting on it may be just too much for a CW-80 transformer.  Considering you've got modern engines I'd try and find an MTH Z-1000 transformer at least, it'll have plenty of power plus a quick-acting circuit breaker which can save the circuit boards in your new engines. I've got three Z-1000's and all my engines love 'em. 

Any transformer bigger than what you've got will certainly help.  If that CW-80 is tripping a house circuit breaker I'd ditch it ASAP.  

There's certainly nothing wrong with a Lionel ZW, they've got plenty of power but you should rig a quick acting circuit breaker to save your engines boards in case of a short.  ZW's were made for the old Post-War's with VERY rugged electrical systems.

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Posted by smokey1 on Thursday, February 1, 2024 5:05 AM

Flintlock76

 

Forty feet of track and what you're putting on it may be just too much for a CW-80 transformer.  Considering you've got modern engines I'd try and find an MTH Z-1000 transformer at least, it'll have plenty of power plus a quick-acting circuit breaker which can save the circuit boards in your new engines. I've got three Z-1000's and all my engines love 'em. 

Any transformer bigger than what you've got will certainly help.  If that CW-80 is tripping a house circuit breaker I'd ditch it ASAP.  

There's certainly nothing wrong with a Lionel ZW, they've got plenty of power but you should rig a quick acting circuit breaker to save your engines boards in case of a short.  ZW's were made for the old Post-War's with VERY rugged electrical systems. 

I agree with everything Flintlock76 is saying and is what I was trying to express about upgraded. 

Getting a new transformer is sound advive as no transformer should be tripping a breaker. 

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    January 2009
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Posted by 8ntruck on Thursday, February 1, 2024 11:37 PM

Oops.  I missed the bit about tripping the 120v breaker.

I agree - a replacement is needed.  

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