Model Train Transformer – What They Are and How to Fix Them

If you're new to the hobby of model railroading you may not know what a model train transformer is or what it's importance is in relationship to your layout. Without this particular component, the trains that are an integral part of your model railroading empire will forever remain motionless, because the transformer is what causes them to travel at various rates of speed throughout your layout.

If your new to model railroading the transformer will probably not be something that will catch your eye when looking at a well put together model train layout for the first time. The more experience you gain with this amazing hobby the more likely your attention will be drawn to the more technical aspects of a sophisticated layout.

Transformers cause model trains to move on the tracks of your layout by converting the 220 volts that is usually the standard voltage produced by most electrical sockets to a much lower and safer 15 to 20 volts. This electrical current then runs through your train tracks and allows you to move your trains at the twist of a knob or lever on your transformer.

Most hobbyist give little thought to their transformers until they run into a problem with them and they become inoperable. Here are a few suggestions for items you'll need on hand and how to use them to do a home repair job on your model train transformer:

Things you'll need:
1. Tweezers
2. Soldering iron and solder
3. Pliers
4. Protective eye wear
5. Oxidation remover

What to do:

1. Repairing your transformer may be as simple as determining if the sound that you hear is being produced by your transformer or coming from your train. If it is the former the contacts on your tracks may need to be cleaned, and that will correct the problem.

2. If the problem is not as simple as cleaning your tracks you may then need to disassemble your transformer and determine if any of the wires have grayed or have accumulated oxidization on them. If so, you'll have to remove these wires and submerge them in your oxidization solution and then using your soldering gun replace them in your transformer.

If all else fails the you may find that its time to buy a new transformer, but more often than not the previously mentioned suggestions will get your transformer up and running once more.