Skip to main content

I purchased several 1121 switches to run some of my prewar equipment on and it solved the problem of flanges and gears hitting the frog and guardrails. my question is about wiring them, they seem to be powered from the rails internally and they all function as intended. is there a way to power them externally too ?  the trains have to be running almost full speed to provide enough power to throw them. am I missing something ? is there another way of wiring them ? I know some of the newer switches have a plug for external power. I am not new to the hobby but I am new to this part of the hobby never having had any of the older equipment.  thanks for any help that you can offer.  Rick

Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Hi Rick - timely question, as I am in the process of doing just that. I had to remove the bottom plate on one of my 1121 switches to repair a bent frog rail - once completed, I thought, "Why not?" and started working on a scheme for adding external power. By the way, I happen to love my 1121's since all of them trigger reliably on only 6-8 volts!

I think it would be very difficult to add this feature without having access to the bottom side of this switch (removing the bottom plate), but I have been proven wrong before. I'm also adding a hidden jumper that will allow me to select external power or track power - probably unnecessary, but fun.

I will write a full description and add photos once completed - hope to wrap this up in the next couple of days.


Rick Rubino posted:

Thanks for all the input , looks like an easy project. just need to find some small pop rivets to put them back together with. I also talked to the Tin man who re conditions track and switches and he told me how as well. he also has them avalebel rebuilt or will do yours .

The pop rivets, or eyelets as they are referred to, are Lionel p/n 550-8 or 1550-8, depending on which Lionel page you refer to - they list both p/ns in one document! Most places seem to say 1550-8. I got mine from Train Tender, their p/n is 1550-8Q "nickle prewar truck eyelet" They work/fit like a charm - many other places carry them as well.

I have no idea what the difference is between a pop rivet and an eyelet 

So here's the conclusion:

 After drilling out the five eyelets and removing the bottom plate, then the paper insulator, I have full access to the "underworld" of this switch.


I then desoldered the coil power wire where it connects to the center conductor plate (piece of stamped metal that makes the connection between all three center rails). At this point, you could simply route this wire outside of the switch and it is now your external power wire.

I chose instead to route the coil power wire through a new hole in the top of the switch, where it then goes to a 3 stake-pin connector, which I epoxied to the switch where it will be hidden under the cover - tight fit, but it clears everything. By removing the switch cover and moving the jumper, I will be able to select either external power or track power.


I then routed a blue wire (looks purple in the pic) from the center conductor plate to one of the pins on the 3 stake-pin connector.


I then routed a red wire from the 3 stake-pins to an RCA female connector that I juuuust barely found space for on the side of the switch cover - this will be my external power connector.


Works like a charm, all that's left is to use my arbor press to secure the new eyelets, and it's done.

I probably won't do the jumper thing on the next switch, not really needed. I just wanted to do it to see if it would all fit - it does!!



Images (5)
  • IMG_9160
  • IMG_9168
  • IMG_9169
  • IMG_9172
  • IMG_9171
C W Burfle posted:

Below is a photo of some pop rivets and the tool that is needed to set them.
 pop rivet gun

CW, I have a pop rivet tool and a supply of different size rivets (inheritance), but didn't consider using them because of the unsightly bulge they have on the "blind" (mandrel) side. Do you have a workaround for that?

CW, I have a pop rivet tool and a supply of different size rivets (inheritance), but didn't consider using them because of the unsightly bulge they have on the "blind" (mandrel) side. Do you have a workaround for that?

Nope. I don't think I've ever used a pop rivet on a train.
I have the tool and some pop rivets, I don't recall the last time I used it on anything.

Add Reply


OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
800-980-OGRR (6477)

Link copied to your clipboard.