get a shock when touching g scale track

4 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    June 2021
  • 2 posts
get a shock when touching g scale track
Posted by raystowner on Thursday, June 10, 2021 4:03 PM

Up front I must say that I know virtually nothing about trains or electricity. I buy a product, follow directions and hope it works.

That said, I have built a garden train layout in my yard up off the ground on 2 by 6's resting on 4 by 4 posts. I have aprroximately 100 feet of track on which I run a PICO starter set using a starter set transformer. I also run an LGB locomotive at times. I have had trouble with the train completing the circuit and have had to nail down the track in those places where track movement caused an electrical disconnect. I would find the weak areas by placing my hand on the track and moving it left or right until a connection was made. I then put small nails in the track to hold it there. Worked well and I have had the train run for hours without a problem. Just today, however, when the train stopped and I placed my hand on the track, I recieved an upleasant shock. My question is why? And could it be the transformer? The transformer is always out and sometimes in the rain though it does have a plastic protector. I've been runnig the train for two years now.

  • Member since
    November 2011
  • 2,071 posts
Posted by Postwar Paul on Thursday, June 10, 2021 10:12 PM

Hi Ray!

this reminds me of a little story:

 I was living in an apartment years ago, and I decided to defrost the fridge, because the freezer was heavily caked with ice. The defrost went fine, and the fridge was running great, except: when I touched the sink, and then touched the fridge, I would get a jolt. I busted out my meter, and found the shell of the fridge was live with 110 !! The water from the defrost had shorted live voltage to the fridge shell. I notified the apartment manager, and the fridge was replaced.

 Unfortunately, these transformers are not intended to be left outside, and especially not in the rain. It may eventually dry out, but I would seriously recommend replacing the transformer before someone gets zapped. Also, make you are using a " GFI" outlet. This stands for Ground Fault Interupter, and they usually standard in kitchens and bathrooms.

 Water probably has gotten inside the transformer. One of my list of projects is a covered transformer stand, in case of a downpour.


  • Member since
    February 2013
  • 908 posts
Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, June 11, 2021 1:33 AM



Absolutely concur with Paul.  We use basic DC power, and we always bring our power supplies inside.   For safety, it is probably best to get or make a new one.  Greg E., who posts here quite frequently, helped guide  me through making a relatively inexpensive and very good transformer / throttle.  The thread is around here somewhere.


I have gotten small shocks, more like a tingling, if I am especially sweaty and lay my arm across the rails.   I this case, I am the short!  It doesn't sound from your description that this is the case, though.



  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: North Coastal San Diego
  • 947 posts
Posted by Greg Elmassian on Friday, June 11, 2021 1:27 PM

I run DCC, and my track voltage is 24 volts basically AC, so if I sweat a bit in the sun and lay my arm across the track, it definitely tingles.



Visit my site: - lots of tips on locos, rolling stock and more.

 Click here for Greg's web site


  • Member since
    June 2021
  • 2 posts
Posted by raystowner on Saturday, June 12, 2021 2:36 PM
Sort of what I figured. Thanks. A new transformer and a resolve to not leave it out...

Search the Community


Get the Garden Railways newsletter delivered to your inbox twice a month

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Garden Railways magazine. Please view our privacy policy