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My CW80 is on its last legs. That's OK, because I paid almost nothing for it at a flea market.  The left lever, for whistle and direction, is now mushy and sticks, and whenever I use the whistle lever, the engines (even my new can motor engines) slow down dramatically.

I need advice on what replacement to get.  I want the old school look, with about 110 watts or more, with buttons/switches for whistles, bell/horn and direction.  I really need to make sure I get one that doesn't slow down the engines every time I try to blow a whistle.

The ZWs are just too over the top for me.   Not interested in any of the brand new models, especially the new CW80.  (It looks like a plastic lunchbox.)

Thanks for all advice.

Mannyrock

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Manny rock, I’ve been running my 5x9’ layout for over 10 years now with an MRC Dual Power O27. It’s 270 watts of power, which may be too much for your needs. As mentioned in the other discussion about the new CW 80, you might want to look at the MRC AH-501 with 130 watts. There’s a photo of it as well. I’ve used their HO transformers (or power packs) for decades.

Good luck, Artie

Thanks for all of the advice.

The MRC AH-501 would be my dream transformer.  But, at $400 plus, I may have to wait well into the future to be able to get one.

This leaves me with the LW and KW.    I have looked at both of these in the past and really like them, except for the no-horn/bell button issue.

Here is my question please:   When I go online and search, I see sales of Control Buttons for horn/bell feature, for O gauge trains.  They just look like a red button in the middle of a small black plastic pad.  But, if I want to go this route, is this Button the only thing I have to buy and hook up into my system?   Or, are there other units, wiring, accessories I would have to buy to implement this feature.

Thanks again,

Mannyrock

Manny rock, those bell buttons were just for inexpensive transformers made for awhile by Lionel that didn’t have whistle/horn buttons. You’ll notice the MRC transformers that gunrunnerjohn posted have them built in. Also figure that used/old stock transformers should go for around a dollar a watt, so those MRC ones at $99. are a good deal.

Artie

@Mannyrock posted:

Thanks for all of the advice.

The MRC AH-501 would be my dream transformer.  But, at $400 plus, I may have to wait well into the future to be able to get one.

This leaves me with the LW and KW.    I have looked at both of these in the past and really like them, except for the no-horn/bell button issue.

Here is my question please:   When I go online and search, I see sales of Control Buttons for horn/bell feature, for O gauge trains.  They just look like a red button in the middle of a small black plastic pad.  But, if I want to go this route, is this Button the only thing I have to buy and hook up into my system?   Or, are there other units, wiring, accessories I would have to buy to implement this feature.

Thanks again,

Mannyrock

Just a caveat on those MRCs...

Check the part numbers carefully. The AH-601 is going to run bigger money. The AH-501 can be had for the prices that GRJ mentioned. Two different transformers and easy to confuse.

Last edited by johnstrains
@Mannyrock posted:

My CW80 is on its last legs. That's OK, because I paid almost nothing for it at a flea market.  The left lever, for whistle and direction, is now mushy and sticks, and whenever I use the whistle lever, the engines (even my new can motor engines) slow down dramatically.



Maybe I am confused?  I have never seen a CW-80 with a "left lever".  Mine all have a red control handle on the right and three pushbuttons across the top for Direction, Whistle and Bell.

If you want a single throttle postwar transformer, the LW is the best IMHO. Great look with the green light, separate whistle and reverse buttons (no bell button). Also the highest power output of an PW single throttle transformer.

I have a modern Lionel BW transformer from a 2002 set I'd be willing to sell. It has a single throttle that's separate from the power source (brick). Great for a single loop with chopped sine wave if that's important.

Here's what I'd really recommend. Pick up an entire Williams set that comes with a Williams 80W transformer. Here's a link to a NYC set that I own. Great O27/traditional engine and tender, 3 pieces of rolling, some fairly useless Industrial Rail track unless you want an isolated loop, and the transformer for under $200. https://www.trainz.com/collect...am-freight-train-set.  To me, this set is the best O27 bargain on the market.  It's a great little steam engine worth the value of the entire set, so you get rolling stock and a transformer essentially for free.

For a bit more money, you can get a small Williams diesel in a set with passenger cars at Marios complete with a transformer. These transformers have separate whistle and bell buttons that postwar transformers lack.  https://www.mariostrains.com/i...id=17&Itemid=529.  This solves your desire for a small Williams diesel WITHOUT DUMMY while also getting you a transformer. Think of it this way.  $100 for the engine, $100 for the transformer, and $100 for 3 passenger cars in this set.

Williams offered this same set in the Pennsylvania road as well as shown in their 2011 catalog, but I haven't seen one on the market in a while. http://www.williamstrains.com/2011/2011_williams.pdf

Last edited by raising4daughters

IMO the Williams transformer is nowhere near the quality of the MRC AH501 we're been talking about.  For roughly the same $100 he gets a 130 watt transformer that outputs a pure sine wave and will work with an AC locomotive he puts on the tracks.

No disagreement there on comparing the two transformers. On another thread, @Mannyrock was discussing the purchase of WBB/Wms O27 FA-2 AAs for around $250 and then selling the dummy. Thought the sets might be a nice compromise in killing 2 birds with one stone. Also, since the OP said in another thread his layout is too small for a set of AAs and wants just a single O27 A unit, I figured an 80W transformer would be more than sufficient. That said, the MRC provides a lot of room for growth.

IMO the Williams transformer is nowhere near the quality of the MRC AH501 we're been talking about.  For roughly the same $100 he gets a 130 watt transformer that outputs a pure sine wave and will work with an AC locomotive he puts on the tracks.

The street price for the Williams/Atlas 80W should be much lower, I paid $41 for mine. They are solidly built and pure sine wave.

Thanks for all of this input.

I now have 85 feet of track down, with seven switches and two engines running at once, plus accessories.  So, I think I'm heading to a transformer with more than 80 watts.  I think I will watch for a used 501 as John recommended.

Raising, thanks for remembering what I have said in my other posts. I really appreciate it.

I was up in Winchester, VA, last week, and I guess I should have stopped in at Marios.   The FA-2 train set might work for me, if it is a dual motor engine.   (I've become a big believer in two engines after seeing how smoothly they travel.)   Since this is a budget set, I would think that it is single motor.

Mannyrock

@Mannyrock posted:

My CW80 is on its last legs. That's OK, because I paid almost nothing for it at a flea market.  The left lever, for whistle and direction, is now mushy and sticks, and whenever I use the whistle lever, the engines (even my new can motor engines) slow down dramatically.



Are you sure you have a CW-80? Mine doesn't have a "left lever for whistle and direction." Just one lever on the right and three pushbuttons.

For my money, the best replacement for a CW-80 is the MTH Z-1000, while they are available....

@H1000 posted:

Perhaps you can locate a Williams or Atlas 80 watt transformer (they are identical except the label). I use one on my work bench and picked it up for $35 at a show. It's a classic pure wave transformer with Whistle & Bell.

80 watts should run your layout with two engines but maybe look at putting the accessories on a another transformer.

I think he's already decided he needs more than 80 watts.  Why buy two transformers when one larger one with accessory outputs will do the trick?

I just got the 6-37947 from Lionel. I like the retro look. I was really surprised at the size of the PH180 brick. It's really big and heavy. Having owned it for just a few days, not sure I'm qualified to comment further. Since I run LC/LC+ locomotives, I will say this will be an outstanding speed "limiter" when the grandsons grab the controls.

6cb3ef2b24394e7628c2ac38f240644b

This replaced my 54 watt wall-wart. I expect this to provide enough power for any empire I can build.

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  • Lionel 6-37947 GW-180 180-Watt Transformer
Last edited by JackO

The GW-180 (Lionel 6-37947) generates a chopped waveform - except toward the top end of the throttle limit, where the shapes of the waveforms converge.  While some MTH locomotives will be happy, there is no guarantee that all will be.  At least one of mine (the BL-2) will NOT operate with the GW-180 unless I crank the throttle way, way up to get it moving (and then try like heck to throttle down and get it under 'control' before it reaches the first curve).  Maybe depends on how much excitement you want.

Last edited by CurlSnout

I think he's already decided he needs more than 80 watts.  Why buy two transformers when one larger one with accessory outputs will do the trick?

I was thinking to he could reuse the CW80 for accessories. It seemed to at least be functional enough to live out the rest of it's life this way.

For the price of an old KW and a bell button, it too would be economical route.

Yep, John's got it right.   The old 1033 was good for the past year, in building and testing my layout, but now I need to move to more wattage .   I will probably keep it, and mount it under the table for running a few AC accessories, but not run trains.  When that left-side lever goes mushy and starts to stall or stick, then you've got a transformer that won't blow a whistle or reverse direction properly.

Jacko, thanks for the suggestion.  Yet on that new model, the throttle design would be problem for me.  Lifting and lowering a lever just doesn't feel right to me.



If I buy a good rebuilt KW or LW from Trainz4mers, can anybody tell me exactly what I would need to buy and hook up to create an independent bell/horn switch?  Do I just need to buy the small black plastic pad with the red button in the middle?  Or, are there other components I would need to buy.

Thanks for all advice.

Mannyrock

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