Hello all,

I have a lionel CW80 transformer that just stopped working when running my train. Any ideas on how to fix it or is it to be used as a door stop now? I tried everything thinking I may of had a track short or something not working  with my engine but it is the transformer. The green light no longer lights and I disconnected the transformer from the track and retried in another power receptacle and still nothing. I thought it may have a thermal overload in it but after sitting a few hours and plugging in it still does not work. I'm thinking I will be on ebay soon looking for a replacement......

Thanks to all who can provide any advice on a fix possibly or should I just chuck it out in the trash.

Thanks again,

Wayne

 

 

 

 

Original Post

Last year I bought a CW80 from Hobbyspeed to run my loco and a trolly on a small living room layout(2 tracks, 5x8).  It was around $50 and in a white box which makes me think it was a rebuilt.  It worked OK.  So, on the off chance that yours can't be repaired, the latter might be an alternative.  Hobbyspeed was real easy to do business with.  BUT, I think some of the techs on this website might be able to fix yours.

Yes ,as stated above there is a fuse inside i had to change sometime ago it isn't that hard to do ,you need to use a special screwdriver ,or make something yourself to open the cover ,but it isn't that hard to do .

Thank you for all the advice!

It is very much appreciated!!!!

I hadn't taken the transformer apart yet but I wondered if there may be a blown fuse inside?

I looked and seen it takes a special triangle shaped tool to get the screws of the cover loose to get inside.

At this point it doesn't work so I will attempt to get the cover off to replace the fuse if it is blown.

Thanks again for all help provided!

Happy holidays to all!

Wayne

RickM46 posted:

...It was around $50 and in a white box which makes me think it was a rebuilt...

White box with a (usually green) sticker is a set break-up component. Lionel is not refurbishing these, they're cheaper to replace than pay shipping two ways... in fact, for warranty replacements, they have you send just the cord as they don't want you to pay the shipping on a heavy package either.

ADCX Rob posted:
RickM46 posted:

...It was around $50 and in a white box which makes me think it was a rebuilt...

White box with a (usually green) sticker is a set break-up component. Lionel is not refurbishing these, they're cheaper to replace than pay shipping two ways... in fact, for warranty replacements, they have you send just the cord as they don't want you to pay the shipping on a heavy package either.

Now that you mention it Rob, there were green stickers on the boxes (I got 2, long story).

Any ideas on what to use to get the triangular headed screws out with that hold the transformer cover on with?

I've tried small straight bladed screw drivers, small allen wrenches and various other small things I can get down in there but nothing has worked thus far.....

I'm sure it is some kind of small triangular shaped screw driver needed?

Any ideas other than pitch it out and buy another?

Take you worst screwdriver and grind the triangle shape onto the tip.

If you have a Harbor Freight nearby check for a set of tamper proof bits for under $10 (though if tight and deeply recessed they may not fit down in the hole) Check the set actually has the triangle bit, some don't.

"Tamper proof" is your keyword searching online.

I got the tool at harbor freight, and a fuse link from an auto supply, although the handle was barely long enough. I cut a slot in the transformer case so I can now access the fuse without using that tool again. Of course, it hasn't blown since then.

It was frustrating, but not expensive to fix.

After you've used the CW-80 for a while, with a while usually not being very long, you'll probably notice the fan getting noisy or failing to fan any longer.  The original fan is a cheap sleeve bearing fan.  You can get a 40x40x10 ball bearing fan for about $6 to replace it. Some of the replacement fans have three leads instead of two. This does not matter, just use the black and red. The ball bearing fan should last you a good while.  I've replaced several original fans and have run ball bearing fans for a number of years. Have not had to change out a ball bearing fan yet.  If the circuit board on the CW-80 blows, these have a decent iron transformer - for Command Control layouts you can bypass the blown electronics and have a nice 18v sinewave that handles 10amps.

andy b posted:

After you've used the CW-80 for a while, with a while usually not being very long, you'll probably notice the fan getting noisy or failing to fan any longer.  The original fan is a cheap sleeve bearing fan.  You can get a 40x40x10 ball bearing fan for about $6 to replace it. Some of the replacement fans have three leads instead of two. This does not matter, just use the black and red. The ball bearing fan should last you a good while.  I've replaced several original fans and have run ball bearing fans for a number of years. Have not had to change out a ball bearing fan yet.  If the circuit board on the CW-80 blows, these have a decent iron transformer - for Command Control layouts you can bypass the blown electronics and have a nice 18v sinewave that handles 10amps.

Good info!  Any suggestions on where to get a replacement fan?  I take it that the dimensions 40x40x10 are in mm?

Yes, the 40x40x10 are mm.  These are commonly used in computer applications. You can get them on amazon, radio shack if there is one near around, maybe best buy, auction sites.  Just make sure you are getting a ball bearing fan and not another sleeve bearing fan. 12v should do.  The CW-80 varies the voltage and I've never seen it over 9v to the fan.

Unless your gutting the electronics, then I'd assume a higher voltage fan and bridge rectifier might be in order for the creation. of a new "brick". A breaker for sure!greater

No? Stays cool even under load? Breaker remains?

I can see other uses such a lighting or dedicated switch power for some folks too.

If you can't get it fixed, my recommendation is to pick up a MTH Z-1000 (100 Watt) transformer if you're using a CW80 to power your layout. You'll run into less issues with non-Lionel locomotives, I believe.

Bobby

I know this is an old post, but I had a similar issue... got the triangle driver along with the fuse on Amazon for around $15.  Put in a fuse holder just in case it happens again.  Plenty of room under the throttle.  CE675C1F-3A7B-44AF-8DEA-5B0472D2E929

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If you have a “tamper proof” bit set but the screwdriver handle/holder is to large in diameter to fit down the recessed holes. I took a angle grinder with a 1mm cutting disc and ground a slot in the back end of the triangle bit. Then you can use a normal screwdriver to turn the bit. 

I can’t take credit for thinking of this one. I picked up this idea on YouTube when I was fixing my pressure washer! 

Nick

Having external access to the fuse is a great idea, too bad the lionel engineers didn't think of that !  A better soluton they could had done would be to have a auto style fuse accessible from the outside.  Unless they don't think folks know what a fuse is or does. Maybe they just wanted to sell more units, humm....

Regarding the CW80, I have found there are many for sale on Amazon, Ebay, and at Hobbyspeed.  Came across a review of the CW80 on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Lionel-...6#reviews-filter-bar

that states:

'Long story short I figured out that there are basically 2 versions of this product, the first design has a date code before 2006 and most of those have problems, the one I had was the later one having a date code after 2006 and these will have a 'G' in the date code. These later ones are the good ones that have been redesigned. Well mine wasn't working correctly right out of the box. So I think they still have some design issues with these.'

Mine, from Ebay in a brown box with a green sticker and date code of G and year of 2011, works OK even after several derailment shorts and no injury to my Legacy loco.

For what it's worth, I successfully removed some triangular-head screws from a transformer a few years ago with a triangular metal file.  Slipped down the recessed holes and fit in the screws perfectly.  I used a pair of pliers to turn the file.  Just have to be careful using a file as they can be fairly brittle due to their hardness.

Paul. 

Jacob237 posted:

I know this is an old post, but I had a similar issue... got the triangle driver along with the fuse on Amazon for around $15.  Put in a fuse holder just in case it happens again.  Plenty of room under the throttle.  CE675C1F-3A7B-44AF-8DEA-5B0472D2E929

I only use postwar transformers, but in 2010 a coworker asked me to look at his CW80 he got with a polar express set. Like some others I ground down a crappy screwdriver into a triangle to open the case. As in other cases it was the soldered-in fuse - I was dumbfounded that Lionel would use a fuse rather than a circuit breaker, let alone a fuse that could not be changed out. Like Jacob237, I cut out the fuse and installed a fuse holder in the side of the case. It though it was fairly tricky to fit in as you have to guestimate how far the transformer coil sticks into the case. I chose to put it in the opposite side than Jacob237.

The red line is where the fuse was. It now runs from the board to the fuse holder (lower right of the case), from there to a splice where the fuse was (covered with shrink tubing) then to the transformer. If it was mine I would have looked for a miniature circuit breaker, but they were not as readily available and cost quite a bit more.

DSC05050

Here is the case assembled and right side up. The fuse holder is sticking out the left side.

DSC05053

I used it through the Christmas season then returned it and had no additional issues with it. Personally I'd use a 1033 over a CW80 any day of the week.

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So I just opened my cw80 thinking it was the fuse like this thread was about. I should have known it was something else because unlike the other guys here my green light was working. I just wasn't getting any voltage from the outputs. I was using it last week to try and smooth out an old postwar loco that needed lubing and maintenance so it must have been drawing high amperage. Anyway my fuse looks fine. any other ideas what else I should be checking in here or is this thing a paper weight now?

If you killed it, it's probably the triacs that control the voltage.  One curiousity, are both outputs dead?  Did you try setting the accessory voltage to see if that works?  The reason I ask is each output has it's own control.  If both suddenly died, that sounds more like the control circuitry died.  Check the 5V supply and see if that's alive, that regulator is pretty loaded and may have just croaked.

Lionel CW-80-schematic-II

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Here is a picture of the board, see the smudge looking areas. Does that look normal? Both outputs are dead

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If both outputs are dead, most likely the circuit board is dead. Have seen this happen before.

If you are in need of another CW80, check out my for sale post here. I have two I am trying to get rid of. Email in profile .

Last edited by Santa Fe 3751

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