Skip to main content

Hi! I'm building a test stand for my Lionel O-scale locomotives and need some advice. My Lionel units are Legacy digital command, so what can I do to power these units? Will they still run if I just supply 18v to the test track? Can you recommend a cheap power supply that will work? Any suggestions are greatly welcomed! Many thanks everyone! JB



Original Post

You can just supply power from a standard AC transformer.  Note that without a command base, they'll power up in conventional mode, and you won't be able to test most of the functions.  Obviously, you'd probably want a variable transformer, not a brick.  For proper function testing, you will also need a TMCC or Legacy command base connected.

I took some 3/4" plywood and spare Fastrack components, I cobbled together this stand.  The two level design is so I can put the locomotive on test rollers and have the tender on the elevated section at the right height to connect the wireless drawbar.  This allows me to do full function testing. 

John's Bench Test Track

In the middle of the lower section is an uncoupling/operating track section for testing those functions of operating cars. 

Each section has a pilot light and a power switch so I can enable disable the lower and upper sections independently.

The power input is standard banana plugs, and I have a switch to isolate the outside rails so I can test 2-rail stuff on the stand as well.


Images (4)
  • John's Bench Test Track
  • mceclip1
  • mceclip2
  • mceclip3

I have one last question... if I want to turn the locomotive upside down to clean wheels, lube gears, etc., how can I connect up the power? One alligator clip to the roller is obvious, but what about the other clip? Where can I connect it?

Many thanks for the previous answer. I've already ordered the parts I need to make a stand just like the one in the pictures. JB 

You have to find a spot on the frame or trucks to connect it.  It's not always the same place, it depends on the specific engine.  I find that diesels are frequently harder to find a spot than steamers.

As for running steam upside down, the late Marty Fitzhenry pointed out some years back that certain models may jam the rods and bend or break them running upside down.  I haven't run into this myself, but I do look them over to see if it looks likely before I run them.

Add Reply

OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
Link copied to your clipboard.