Lionel/Williams 3 rail - AC and DC operations

Gremlin Nov 4, 2016

  1. Gremlin

    Gremlin TrainBoard Member

    Looking for some assistance from people who have actually tried this and/or run this now...

    I have a few O scale 3 rail DC locomotives and some O scale 3 rail AC locomotives (1970s Lionel and later Williams). I have been told that the AC locomotives can also be run on DC but will loose their sound etc; this doesn't worry me, only interested in correct movement.

    Googling seems to suggest that using Lionel/Williams on DC is not a good idea, can cause motor problems including overheating or burn-out...but other information says this won't happen.

    So, do any people here have actual experience running older Lionel/Williams on 3 rail DC? Can it be done, will it damage motors, anything additional that I should do other than connecting a suitable DC power supply?
  2. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

    Very bad plan.

    No, I don't have actual experience because I never had the desire to smoke my dad's AC Lionels. Install rectifiers in the DC locomotives and you could run them on AC, but don't count on running them in multiple with AC locomotives.

    A simple diode will serve as a rectifier, if you get the right one. The DC locomotives will only run one direction, unless you set them up with some sort of E-Unit (Lionel's polarity-reversing servo). If they don't go the direction you want them to, you installed the diode backwards.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2016

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