Luckily there was no coal in it. I bought a used Lionel cement coal dock (the round one). It appeared new in the box but close examination showed it had been used. The day finally came when I wired it into the accessory grid on my layout. It lit up all nice and blinking LED on top. I turned my back and walked over to do something else. Turning back around. the **** thing was on fire! The extremely thin wires that feed all the lights and LED had gotten red hot and caught the plastic on fire. It was literally in flames!
Naturally I yanked the feeder wires out, hit the master switch and then held the tower under an open faucet a few steps away. Catastrophe averted. But why was this a problem? Looking underneath, it looks like one of the bulbs developed a short (the wires to that one bulb are melted where wires going to the other bulbs look normal--this is shown in the pix but it is hard to see). Those wires are so fine that it looks like they might be a bit small for this application. That coaling tower has six bulb lights plus the blinking LED, all wired in parallel--and the wires to EACH BULB are the same size as the wires feeding everything. So I dunno...
This is a good wake up call for me. All I have is one circuit breaker guarding the whole accessory grid. Now I am going to break down the protection into smaller bites. My grid uses 6 feeder boxes and so I'll put some form of protection (circuit breaker, fuse or ???) at about 2-3 amps at each box. I was thinking about PTCs but I think they get hot, don't they?
Well, Happy Thanksgiving to all! I am thankful I didn't burn down the house!