Bonehead question about transformers

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by gvecch, Dec 20, 2004.

  1. gvecch

    gvecch Guest

    I recently bought a used set of 2002 Lionel Sante Fe F3 diesels. My question is - can I run these new engines with my 1956 ZW transformer? (It's the big one with the four pull handles.) The engine manual says "do not run these engines with DC current" and yet doesn't a transformer turn the AC current from the wall into DC current? I'm obviously a little confused here. The trains run on the old fashioned 3-rail tracks which seems to suggest an AC arrangement, but I'm not sure. :confused:
  2. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Feb 3, 2003
    Likes Received:
    No, a transformer turns AC wall voltage (115) into lower voltage. In the case of a variable supply, this voltage can be controlled for zero to say, 18 volts, all AC. Now a power supply can take the higher voltage AC and convert it to lower voltage DC. Whatever power pack you have will have input (usually 115 VAC) and output ratings. Most power packs have both AC and DC outputs, where the DC is variable to run the trains and the AC is fixed to run accessories. If your train manual says "AC only", then DO NOT run it on a DC output power pack or your engine will most likely have smoke come out where you don't want it to... :eek: :eek:
  3. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    The model ZW Lionel is AC and built for Lionel 3 rail trains. It's fine to run your newer Lionel. Fred
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Mar 25, 2002
    Likes Received:
    The classic ZW will run all Lionel trains except a few DC ones (made in the 80s?) and some sound equipped ones.
    A transformer changes AC voltage.
    A Rectifier (used to be a DIrectifier) changes AC to DC.