Household outlet


Joined Mar 30, 2009
Seems you guys got it all sorted out. The moral of the story, having the right formula is important when you start doing the math.

There seemed to be a lot of concern over voltage at the wall. A nominal 110 AC outlet has a ± 20v variation, or a range of 90-130v.
The average surge suppressor is designed for lightening strikes and other calamity, they will pass this low voltage variation as it's part of the distribution system design. I think a full fledged power conditioner is going to cost a bit more than an over sized train transformer.

Depending on the age the black plastic boxs are glued or sonic welded, grinding disk, followed with a razor blade, and then a little bit of force will get you in.

Given they are failing while in a display state, no one throttling them, My chief concern would be excess heat. Perhaps a fan on the less than adequate transformers(repaired of course), is less annoying than the Old tyco's buzz.

Along the lines of short circuits, intermittent open circuits cause spikes also. Inspecting the track junctions and tightening bad junctions or replacing track will help normalize things.

Thread Starter


Joined Oct 30, 2011
Hi Feign, Thanks for the comments.

The Tyco transformer is the one I fixed. The black one is the one that buzzes. Even if I were to take the other broken transformers apart, I am not sure I would know what to do to fix them. I guess I will never know unless I open them up. The transformers did fail while the being throttled, or while the train was running. Yes, they did warm up, but not more than I have felt them warm up in the past, except the Model Power transformer had just arrived from an eBay purchase and had been running the train for about 5 minutes when it gave out. So, I won't know if it over heated, but it did not feel very warm to me when I checked it. The connections between the track are sound and the track have been glued down into place and are not moving around. After taking the top off of the Tyco transformer and repairing the loose wire, I don't really see any room for a small fan, not even one small like those I have seen in some computers. I have thought of just leaving the top off, but I don't want any one or any of my cats from getting shock while it is in operation. So, right now I am at a loss as to what happened with the two transformers that failed and I have no idea as to best prevent it from happening again. I am hoping that my recent transformer purchase on eBay will be oversized enough.

Thread Starter


Joined Oct 30, 2011
But yes, the train is running and that is what matters for now. Thank you everyone for your comments and encouragement. This input and your comments is why I like this forum! Thank you everyone.


Joined Aug 29, 2008
A good troubleshooting practice is to ask yourself "what changed?"
In other words, did your old engines run fine with the old transformer?

If the problems just started when you switched over to a new engine, then there may be a problem with the new engine, because that's what changed.

If it's under warrenty, you might want to get it replaced, if the problems continue.

The old noisy transformer may not have a thermal fuse, and that's why it keeps going.

Just a thought

Thread Starter


Joined Oct 30, 2011
The first transformer that failed, failed while using a different engine. In regards all the different things that are plugged in the same circuit - its the same breaker, not the same outlet.

As far as to what changed? The first transformer to be used hadn't been used in years and was sitting out in the garage where it sufferred from the heat and cold of the seasons. The second transformer was purchased on eBay and may not have been used in years as well by it old owner. Who knows?

Still, I appreciate all the input I have been given.

The Tyco transformer that just needed to have one wire reattached, it has been working just fine, except it does not have good low speed control and I am looking forward to receiving my next eBay purchased transformer. I may have put the cover back on too tight. I will adjust it and see if that makes any difference in performance.

Thanks again.