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@prdmb1957 posted:

Sorry if this question has been asked beforehand but I was asked if a prewar Lionel engine can run on DC.  I am not knowledgeable about electronics and don't know the answer so I bring it to the forum.  Thanks in advance.

You don't need to be knowledgeable about electronics, only electricity.  There are no electronics, other than simple resistors, in any pre-war Lionel locomotives or rolling stock, and none, largely, in post-war applications either.  These models are purely electro-mechanical, built on basic electricity, so don't be intimidated.  They were designed to be toys, but also to teach folks about that basic electricity, and that they do very well.

Electronics don't show up in any significant way until the 1970's.


Last edited by Mellow Hudson Mike

Need to be careful with our terminology. Universal motors, used in most toy train engines, run on AC or DC. DC permanent magnet motors were used in some engines and will only run on DC, can motors also are DC only. AC motors only work on AC, an example is an induction motor. None were used in engines but Gilbert used them in some of their posrwar accessories.

The lionel Pre-war Rheostats 81/88/95 were used with DC batteries to run the trains.  The Lionel Pullmor and similar are  universal motors.  They run AC or DC.  By the time horns/whistles and other relays were introduced, AC was assumed to be the track power and these relays are triggered by DC.   

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