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My first time using a Lionel RW 110 Watt transformer, possibly pre or definitely postwar vintage, it was included after I bought a load of used catenary. Without even hooking up thing yet, it buzzed pretty loud after plugging it in. I don't think this is normal, is it? If not, is there an easy fix?

Last edited by Paul Kallus
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I can't remember what the inside of the RW looks like, but I have one on my workbench and it does not buzz.  My ZW on the other hand had a terrible buzz, almost sounded like a pair of hair clippers.

I took apart my ZW following the instructions on http://www.tranz4mr.com/Welcome.html and epoxied/clamped the core back together and it has been dead silent since. You may be able to follow the same type of instructions to fix it.

Last edited by Aldovar

I'm restoring 2 RW's right now. 1 Buzzes loudly while one is somewhat quiet. They all have iron transformer cores made out of layers of sheet metal loosely stacked which means the fix on my website mentioned above won't work. There really is no way to completely quiet the buzz in layered cores. You can reduce it somewhat by restraining the layers better. I was able cut the noise roughly in half by pushing down with the tip of a screwdriver on the stack while inserting 2 layers of thin cardboard under each restraint. See photos.

stacked iron core

Thin cardboard inserted under each restraint

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@Tranz4mr posted:

I'm restoring 2 RW's right now. 1 Buzzes loudly while one is somewhat quiet. They all have iron transformer cores made out of layers of sheet metal loosely stacked which means the fix on my website mentioned above won't work. There really is no way to completely quiet the buzz in layered cores. You can reduce it somewhat by restraining the layers better. I was able cut the noise roughly in half by pushing down with the tip of a screwdriver on the stack while inserting 2 layers of thin cardboard under each restraint. See photos.



So I was wondering after seeing the info on the buzzing at your website a few weeks ago.

What about running a 1/4" bead of epoxy that bridges the layers at each corner and down the center of each side?

I tried saturating a layered ZW core in epoxy a while ago with little success but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. I’m not a big fan of wedging pieces of wood/cardboard/plastic into transformer cores but in the case of the RW and ended up with 3 layers of cardboard and it made it pretty quiet. Postwar American flyer transformers all used small hardwood wedges from the factory but their cores were designed differently.

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