I have a Lionel Trainmaster 1034 for lighting .  The main double loop has Lionel's  8 LED yard light , two MTH overhead Pennsy style signal lights , an MTH LED lighted single track bridge , two double light towers , nine small buildings with a total of twenty 18 watt bulbs . 

I'm adding a 30" Γ— 72" rail yard with another Lionel 8 LED yard light and a yard tower with three lights , both units have designations for positive ( red ) and ground (black ) .

I'm trying to jumper into  the lead  wires away from the 1034 and since I have continuity through both wires when disconnected from the 1034 and both wires at the area where I have skinned back the insulation to make my splice , is it necessary to care which wires I choose to wire to for my add on circuit  ?

Original Post

Your 1034 puts out AC, not DC.  In AC there is no positive or negative.  You need to read the instructions on your new light towers to determine if they really need to be connected to DC. If so, you will need to put in a full wave bridge rectifier between your 1034 and the light tower. This is easy to do.  The full wave bridge should have four leads.  The two marked x and y, or something like that, go to the output from the 1034.  The other two wires should be marked + and -.  They go to the plus and minus on the light tower.

Thanks for the quick response Dave.

The small manual for this Lionel Double Floodlight Tower calls for an accessory transformer to be connected with the red wire going to the AC Hot or red terminal and the black wire going to the AC Ground or U terminal.  I'm guessing we are in AC.

Really interesting about the red and black wires not being a big concern .  I could have saved a lot of time and energy running all over wiring all the lights on my main layout if I would have had this understanding about the AC power.

I guess I should have figured this out when I found I had continuity no matter which wires I was connecting to.  I've had three years of work on the main layout and sometimes I lose track of what area I was working with last ( landscape , track , switches , engine issues , building kits , etc., etc., )  You know the normal stuff !!!

Thanks again Dave

PS.   I only know one David Johnston.......are you from Pennsylvania ?



Most of lionel stuff is AC.

Most AC items are ok on dc power. It's the dc items- boards and can motors that will burn up on AC power.

An AC safe board changes AC to DC before it does anything. Then the DC is used for logic/chips and or driving can motors. The boards use 4 diodes or an 4 terminal equivalent called a bridge rectifier to coral the two ac line's +and- pulses into flowing one direction only from + / - terminals (pulsed +/- current, but real close to smooth dc, motors and lamps, etc can't tell.  A capacitor smooths the pulses even more for more sensitive uses )

Look up a diagram of a bridge rectifier. ( a diode is just a one direction gate, only letting flow happen in one direction. A BR forms a diode corral that runs power in a SiMPLE circle/trap/maze of sorts, the ac is free to add or take + or - as needed and the opposing terminal is always in an opposite state. Positioning of two more gates form new loop of travel akin to a one way cow chute that is fed when either ac line pushes, then dumps  back into the corral where the neg ac wave extracts when needed. 

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"


"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.



........  WOW....🀀....ADRIATIC........it's going to take me a while to digest all of that.    Very well written.    Could you be an MIT Grad ?  πŸ€“

Am I still OK mixing wires between + and -  on this AC system.πŸ€”

Thanks for your insightful reply.


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