I read through most of the posting about the CW-80, but was not allowed to add to the topic matter , so I assumed i had to start a new  topic  ,  forgive me if I am wrong


This was the first day I had time to  run my conventional set on my out side track ,  every thing was running very well  for a good hour then everything stopped , the CW-80 's green light came on and remained steady   .     there was not power to the track at all.    at  first I thought it was my  loco  , but when i attached   an older transformer the train started up   ...



NOW when I plug the CW-80  in the green light comes on and remains steady ,  I do hear  the fan running  well I guessed it was the fans .... 



I am not very  good a fixing things electrical   ......  what are my options !!!      ( do I  wait until I save enough to purchase another transformer - leaving running my trains until   well when every that might be )  

Original Post

You may want to contact Lionel. i believe they're pretty good about replacing these. They typically ask you to cut off the cord and send just the cord to them.


They then send out a replacement. Lionels phone and email can be found here: https://www.lionelsupport.com/ContactUs/


I have had good luck sending emails via the service/repair question link.

" No matter how far we travel, the memories will follow in the baggage car."

It is really not meant to be opened, but if you got the security screws out, there is a glass fuse that probably blew.  If you can get a replacement that is best.  G

MTH Authorized Service Center

Authorized ERR Dealer

Lionel Independent Repair Tech

Virginia Train Collectors Member

As my reply from Lionel  seems to state I have  few options




There is not a way to repair the CW80. We do not have a tool to open them, as when they are in warranty - we simply replace them. We do not make repairs on CW80's. At this point, you may want to consider purchasing a new transformer.






Lead Customer Service Representative

6000 Victory Lane| Concord, NC 28027

1-800-4LIONEL | 704-455-8940 (f)


Originally Posted by gunrunnerjohn:


What a lame response, that's really not what I'd expect from Lionel!


Well thats what I would expect from the "customer service representative." they can only answer with "cookie cutter" responses.


In the past, when I've emailed Lionel I was always under the impression Mike Reagan or one of the other techs was on the receiving end.


I'm not sure if it was luck, or maybe Lionels emails now go through customer service first since they've moved.


Questions/repairs were always handled fast and accurately.

" No matter how far we travel, the memories will follow in the baggage car."

Greetings All,


I'm no expert by any stretch of the imagination but I can share my recent experiences with the transformer in question.  I was using a CW 80 that I had left over from a set break-up to test LED lighting circuits.  Well, being the Thomas Edison that I am (NOT) I put the alligator clips on the respective red and black wires and "gave her the juice" which produced a rather loud buzz (it actually sent chills up my spine) from the transformer for a Millisecond and the green light went dead and all was silent (except for my quiet sobbing).  Well not being one to acquiesce to a "stinking anti-tamper screw", I started thinking "Out of The Box".  I hit the head and grabbed a Ham & Cheese Samich on the way back to the work bench and arrived at a way to defeat the evil tamper-proof screws hindering my journey into the bowels of the transformer.  I found a Tri-Angle meal File and proceeded to grind down the end until the file fit into the Tri-Angle head of the tamper proof screw.  As a result, I was able to gain entrance into the forbidden interior of the transformer.  There is a fairly large coil some red wires and some black wires, a small cooling fan, what looks to be either a heat shield or a heat sink, a printed circuit board, (of which I know nothing what so ever about) and a "glass fuse".  I stripped away the shrink tubing only to find the fuse was intact and not blown.  I decided to plug the power cord back into the wall socket only to hear a small "click" noise and nothing else.  Well, ultimately not being an electrical engineer I decided to do what I considered was the best thing to do in my situation.  I cut off the power cord and used it to replace the tattered one on my Post War 1033 90 Watt transformer and then I chucked the rest of the CW80 into the trash.  Besides, the 1033 has 10 more Watts.


Chief Bob (Retired)

Actually, given that the 1033 is rated on input power and the CW-80 is rated on output power, the CW-80 probably has slightly more output power.  However, I think you probably made the right decision anyway.


FWIW, the usual failure of these if it's not the fuse are the output triac drivers, they're fairly easily replaced.

As I remember Dale M's experiment, the transformer in the CW-80 is pretty robust. I want to say he was loading it to something like 8 amps ac or more and it held up well. That means that you could pull all the guts out and use it for a TMCC power source almost or as well as one of the 180 watt bricks...maybe leave the fan in it, etc.


Originally Posted by gunrunnerjohn:

I'm not sure it would be 8 amps, that would put it at 144 watts at 18 volts.  Judging the difference in that transformer core and the PowerHouse 180, I'd say you'd be more in the 6 amp range at most.


I remember him being surprised...but I don't know how long the test lasted and I think it was in air, not enclosed.


Originally Posted by gunrunnerjohn:

I'd be surprised too.   You might get 8 amps out of it, but I suspect the voltage would have dropped significantly and it's likely overloaded.

I don't see the load test, but here's the repair stuff on the older version...




if the output impedance is .15 ohms, then 8 amps would drop the output from 17.9 to about 16.7 v. Still workable. Not a proposal, just interesting...



Thank you all for your replies , certainly  gives me some to think about  




imagine the surprise I had today  when I checked  my  emails 

I had  a very nice note from Lionel that grand old American Company .. they had reconsidered their situation and are going to replace my CW-80 transformer



That certainly says a lot for this company, in my books anyway  ......



I will be able to run my 2018  once again  with out a whole lot of complication


A tip of the old hat  to    Lionel 



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