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I have an assortment of mostly older O22 switches and the ID plates read:

LIONEL
REMOTE CONTROL SWITCH
NO. O22
"O" GAUGE SWITCH

Except for one unit with the plate reading:

AUTOMATICALLY
CONTROLLED
NO. O22
1-1/4 IN. GAUGE SWITCH

As shown in photo above. Is the so-called "automatically controlled" an earliest version of O22? It looks just the same except for the nameplate details. I've seen similar wording on the prewar O72 switches. I have a 721 prewar switch (with O72 curve) with the ID plate reading:

HAND OPERATED
1-1/4 INCH GAUGE SWITCH 721
MADE IN U. S. OF AMERICA
THE LIONEL CORPORATION N.Y.

Apparently the "1-1/4 INCH GAUGE SWITCH" terminolgy was on the prewar units?

I have a 711 switch (power version of 721) but the ID plate is missing. It has the same style of postwar switch machine except there is no fixed voltage input and the cover is die-cast instead of Bakelite. Of course, I can't be sure it is the original switch machine, but I suspect it is. I'm wondering if the prewar versions didn't have the fixed voltage input feature? Maybe they used some leftover prewar switch machines for the oddball O22A switch in 1947? I have one O22A switch and it is just the same as an O22 except they were made without cover plates on the bottom, they lacked the fixed voltage input jack, and they say O22A on the ID plate.

I'm curious about the prewar heritage of what I originally thought were postwar-design switches. If anyone has additional information to add, I will be interested to hear it. I'm aware that Lionel made earlier versions of switches also designated O22, which were a completely different design.

While we are on this subject, is there a way to differentiate prewar and postwar versions of the 1024 manual switches for O27 track? I have two pairs of 1024's, currently using some on a layout. One of their advantages is that the smaller baseplate permits some track arrangements not possible with other O27 switches.

 

 

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This last photo shows the ID plate for a 1947-only O22A switch, a rare and curious variant of the O22.

 

Another trivia question: when did Lionel start using the 5133 number on what otherwise looks like a O22 switch? Sometime after 1969 ?

 

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Last edited by Ace
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I wanted to thank the other guy who had responded to this post with interesting information about his extensive experience with O22 and similar vintage switches, but his post seems to have disappeared ... ?

 

It's somewhat interesting to note that the prewar 711 switch has insulated running rails between the switch points and frog, for the non-derailing feature, and it does not use insulated track pins like the O22 switches. My 721 switch (second photo) has plastic rails in that area. Both 711 and 721 have very heavy die-cast bases. The prewar 711 switch machine appears to be interchangeable with those used on the postwar O22 switches.

 

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I'm still hoping someone can explain the O22 switch with "automatically controlled" on the ID plate, as shown in first photo. Perhaps it was the earliest edition of that type of O22 switch?

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The 5132 and 5133 were similar to the post war 022 switches but with newer inside coil parts. I don't like the 5132 series switch because there is a yellow wire inside that will burn out, it's too small a wire, and then cause a short to happen.

 

I still like the old 022 switches.

 

A possible reason for the automatically controlled  switch on some pre war 022 switches can be similar to the 224E numbering. It was because it was modern at the time of manufacturing.

 

Lee Fritz

 

Originally Posted by hokie71:

Ace,

I have 2-3 022 switches on my shelf. I accumulated them over the years in various "deals" and they are inert when connected up- no light, no hint of anything.I assumed this was an open coil but your comment that you have not seen this happen has me thinking...what could it be? 

Old switches need to be taken apart, cleaned and basic electrical troubleshooting skills applied to identify and correct places where current flow can be interrupted - especially with mechanically crimped connections and sliding contacts that get oxidized over time. You can see the original Lionel service documents here:

http://pictures.olsenstoy.com/searchcd31.htm?itm=673

When I take an O22 switch machine apart I apply voltage directly to the coils to make sure they work, before servicing the rest of the switch machine.

One problem that is easy to fix when you don't have power is the constant voltage plug-in area. With the plug removed the contact inside completes the power circuit for the switch to get power from middle rail of the track, so the little copper nail(looks like a nail) needs to make contact with the copper piece about an eighth of an inch wide by half inch long, that is an approximate measure.

 

That is why a post war ZW or Z will work with the 022 switches from another terminal like the B or C terminal when the track has power from the A or D terminal. The commons or U on the ZW are all hooked together inside the transformer.

 

Lee Fritz

I do the opposite on 022 switches that are going on my layout. I put a pigtail on the terminal that leads to the solenoids and slip some insulating tubing over the post. I also put a small diode in series with the lamp lead.
The switch is then set up to work on fixed voltage.

The diode makes the bulb burn cooler, and makes it last a very long time.

No more melted lanterns.

Originally Posted by C W Burfle:

I do the opposite on 022 switches that are going on my layout. I put a pigtail on the terminal that leads to the solenoids and slip some insulating tubing over the post. I also put a small diode in series with the lamp lead.
The switch is then set up to work on fixed voltage.

The diode makes the bulb burn cooler, and makes it last a very long time.

No more melted lanterns.

Most Lionel switches require voltage high enough to melt lanterns to operate effectivly. After replacing enough of them, I switched to LED's and ended the problem. The one on top is a 24 volt bulb, bottom is the LED.

Nearly the same brightness but cool to touch.

Joe

 

 

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Last edited by JC642

I recommended adding the diode in my post "022/711 switch operating pblms"  for exactly the same reason you added the diode.  Diodes are cheaper than lamps and I think the lanterns look better with the lamp at a lower voltage.  I often run my switches from the 20 volt fixed output of a KW.  

 

I use a blue crimp on lug for the fixed voltage plug.  It is much cheaper than the Lionel plug and doesn't tend to fall out and I can crimp wires directly to it.  

I have some that work well at 9 volts, and some require more voltage.  I have not yet discovered the difference.

 

Recently I bought some 711 switches, and they seem to like more voltage than the post war 022s.  I just checked the coil resistance on these switches and it is 8.6 ohms.  The coil resistance of the 022s is 6.5-7 ohms.  A ZW has a maximum output voltage of 20 volts and a Type V has a maximum output voltage of 25 volts which is in line with the coil resistances.  

 

Two of the 711 switches that I have use large flat head screws rather than the 4-36 screws that new switches use.  The coils I measured were on a switch motor that uses the flat head screws.

I recently made this post on another forum and got only one offline reply.  I'm incorporating that reply and cross-posting here in case 1) it helps anyone and 2) furthers the discussion.  My post exclusively deals with prewar Lionel 711 switches.

I have been buying these switches over a 10-year period for a large layout I'm building.  I need 29 of them and have managed to acquire a few more than that.

When I first started, I got a good deal on a batch of seven switches, and it was then that I discovered the different variations manufactured over the seven years these items were catalogued (1935-42).  There is not a lot of information on these switches in the reference materials I own, but I'd like to list them here for others' comments and corrections.

From the 40-odd switches that I now have and the 100's of others I've looked over, I believe these are the major variations.  I am listing them in what I assume is chronological year of manufacture:

Variation 1: -- Diecast switch motor cover, tin rails between the points and the frog, small frog, no fixed voltage plug, and *no* non-derailing feature. The earliest and possibly second generation of Lionel's O72 remote control switches did not have the non-derailing feature.  Additionally, while the switch motors are interchangeable, installing a diecast cover on the later variations does not work as the two bottom screws of the cast cover are very different from the later screws.  Most importantly, the earlier switches with their metal frogs frequently ripped-off the early slide shoes of the tinplate cars.  The frog that exists on these switches is quite small.  The center rails on the two turnouts do not flow into the rest of the switch and simply terminate with normal tubular O track pins protruding from the receiving rails. 

Variation 2 -- Diecast switch motor cover, tin rails between the points and the frog, small frog, no fixed voltage plug, with the non-derailing feature.  Other than the non-derailing feature, Variation 2 is similar to Variation 1.  

 

The picture posted above by Ace shows the earlier design:

 



Variation 3 -- Diecast switch motor cover, black rails between the points and the frog, larger frog, no fixed voltage plug, with non-derailing.  The second frog design (which seems to have lasted all the way through the rest of the run) is a more thoughtful design and results in a tidier and better-performing switch.  A similar arrangement for integrating the center rails on the turnouts with the main body of the switch was also deployed on the more familiar O22 switch, first cataloged in 1938.

 

The second picture posted by Ace shows the later frog design:

 


Variation 4 -- Diecast switch motor cover, black rails between the points and the frog, larger frog, WITH fixed voltage plug, with non-derailing.  A hole appears on the side of the diecast switch motor cover to allow the insertion of a 711-151 fixed voltage plug.  Candidly, I don't know when the fixed voltage plug first became available because I have seen 711s with a diecast cover both with and without fixed voltage plugs *and* both with and without the larger frog/integrated center rails.  My assumption is that switch motors were swapped over the years by previous owners.

Variation 5 -- I'm not sure about this one, but I have a number of 711s -- over half -- with a black bakelite switch motor cover, black rails between the points and the frog, larger frog, with a fixed voltage plug, with non-derailing.  The reference books I have read indicate that only diecast switch motor covers were made before the war, but the bakelite ones that I have do not look altered in any way.  This includes a few that I purchased with the original boxes and packing materials.  I am anxious to hear others' thoughts.

Those are the 711 variations I have observed plus one provided to me offline.  Did I miss any?  Does Variation #5 exist, or was it simply created by previous owners replacing the covers and/or switch motors with their postwar equivalents?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Steven J. Serenska

Originally Posted by servoguy:

Check my post "022/711 switch operating pblms"  Search for it using Google.  It is a long list of things to check and/or fix to make 022 switches reliable.  I have done more than 100 switches, and if all the modifications/fixes are done, the switches are bulletproof.

Suggestion only:  why don't you simply edit your original post or add a new one with a link to the post you are referring to? 

The later 711 switches had the same motor as the early 022 switches.  These motors had bakelite covers and constant voltage pluts and non-derailing with the non-derailing rail segments at the end near the frogs and they need two insulating pins.  

 

The early 022 switch motors used a plastic slider for the sliding contacts and to move the points.  The later switch motors use a metal slider.  The plastic slider doesn't always work correctly as it will sometimes bounce when it hits a stop.  Lionel put a plug in the end of the solenoid to try to damp the bounce, but frankly it didn't always work well.  The metal sliders don't bounce.  My preference is to change the switch motors to 022 motors with the metal slider.

 

The early switch motors have a problem with the design of the sliding contacts.  The contact area is much too large and so the contact pressure is low and so the contacts are difficult to adjust and are fouled easily with oil or dirt.  I have some of these and they have been a bit of a challenge.  

 

Any of the motors that do not have a constant voltage plug can be modified for constant voltage operation by bring two wires out of the switch motor with space lugs so that they can either be connected together (power from the track) or one can be connected to constant voltage from the transformer.  

 

I have converted some 721 (manual) switches to electric operation.  I used a 022 switch motor and wired the rail segments to the switch motor.  I had to insulate the rail segments.  One end was insulated, the other was not.  

At least some modern era 5132/33 switches do use screw based bulbs.

 

My earlier comment about screw versus bayonet based bulbs was about postwar switches.

 

There are enough differences in appearance between postwar and modern era switch machines to make it fairly easy to tell them apart. But I'd have to look at them side by side to tell you what they are

IMHO, the bayonet base bulbs are better because they don't get loose.  In my thread, I recommend bending the socket for screw in bulbs enough to make friction so the bulbs don't come loose.  I bought some 022 switches some years ago that had the bulbs glued in.  Not a good idea.  Of course, if you put a diode in series with the light bulb, the life of the bulb becomes almost infinite, so gluing might not create any problems.

The comments of servoguy along with the posting from Serenska are interesting when put side by side,

 

I have 12ea 711 switches that would be classified as a Variation 4.  All the switch bases have mounting lugs threaded for 8x32 screws to mount the switch motors.  The diecast covers are also tapped for 8x32 screws..  All my switch motors have the plastic sliding contact and base plates obviously have the large screw holes.

 

Since it was stated that the same motor was used on the later 711 switches and the 022 switches, did the mounting lugs on the later 711 switch bases change to handle the smaller 4x36 screws used to mount the motors on the 022 switches that would be associated with the Bakelite covers? Are there different sized mounting holes in the covers?.

 

Some people drink from the fountain of knowledge. Others just gargle."
-- Robert Anthony

Could I jump in here with a suggestion and a question. As to using LEDs on the 022 switches, the LED direct-replacement lamps are quite expensive (like $2-$4 a piece). You can buy 12V bayonet or screw-type LEDs on ebay for about $5 for 20 (or less). Then you get a 12VDC walwart from ebay for power and do the following. Remove the plastic cover so you can see the constant voltage terminal. Follow the wire from the bulb socket to that terminal and unsolder it from that terminal. Solder a wire to the end of the wire that was on the terminal, insulate the joint, route the wire out of the space around the constant voltage pin, and then replace the cover. Now replace the incandescent with a DC LED. Connect the ground side of the walwart DC power supply to the AC transformer U (ground) terminal and the + side of the power supply to the new wire coming out of the switch. This will save lots of $$ if you have many switches (as I do) in your layout.

 

My question is regarding the 5132 & 5133 switches. I just bought one on ebay, and it arrived with no screws holding the rail assembly to the control assembly. I have some spare 022 parts (and screws for that attachment) but they are not compatible. Could someone tell me what those screws are.

 

Ken

Originally Posted by servoguy:

IMHO, the bayonet base bulbs are better because they don't get loose.  In my thread, I recommend bending the socket for screw in bulbs enough to make friction so the bulbs don't come loose.  I bought some 022 switches some years ago that had the bulbs glued in.  Not a good idea.  Of course, if you put a diode in series with the light bulb, the life of the bulb becomes almost infinite, so gluing might not create any problems.

A drop of clear nail polish near the top of the threads will keep the bulb from working loose.

Hopefully some of you are still following these posts!

I have a bunch of Modern O72 switches on my layout and have had to fix problems in many of them.  I began reading the above OGR posts and saw some that claimed the old 711 were the best.  So I recently purchased two different 711 switches, both with the non-derailing feature.  One is similar to the top picture posted with the tinplate rails between the frog and the points, BUT it has two rail pieces approaching the frog with the fartherest pieces for the non-derailing feature.  So this is an additional variation.  The other one has the plastic rails between the frog and the points.

I have found no discussions about the switch motors.  The two 711 switches I just got have very different motors: one has a horizontal lever that locks the points and the other has the drop down wire hinge to lock the points similar to that of postwar O22 and modern O72 switches.  One has a plug in the outside hole of the solenoid; the other doesn't.  The sliding contacts are different and different from O22 motors.

I have at least 4 different versions of modern O72 switches, including one with LEDs and micro switches in the motor.

Have any of you done any more research on Lionel switches?  Would you be interested in comparing some notes?

Wes

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