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Lionel zw 275 watt transformer owners manual

Posted by Anonymous on

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  • 6 Answers

SOURCE: I have two vintage Lionel ZW Transformers and both

The green light on the right side is a power light, and is on whenever there is AC power connected to the cord. The red light on the left is a short circuit indicator, and comes on when the center rail is grounded to the outside rail by any number of reasons, usually a derailed car, or wiring problem. Check photos on ebay to see what the red and green lenses look like of they are missing. There is a 40-50 year old circuit breaker that should pop during a short circuit, if the breaker is still working properly. If you want to test it, just lay a screwdriver between the center and outside rails until the left light comes on, but don't let it go too long, it could get hot and cause a fire. If it does not pop, you need to get it serviced.

Posted on Dec 31, 2009

Testimonial: "Simple problem solved by some one in the know! Thanks.....Carl"


  • 2418 Answers

SOURCE: The Cw 80 watt transformer

If you have a volt meter you can check the rails for power, Check the transformer wiring to the first rail connection and then along the rails for loss loose connection(s). If you have power to the rails it is an issue with the Engine, Check any brush or rail riders (connections) for a bent or broken tab. If for a temp fix in a broken connection tab or brush you can use Tin foil. Hope this helps.

Posted on Dec 25, 2010


  • 592 Answers

SOURCE: I have a lionel ZW

first you need to test the actual transformer's input then the outputs on primary and secondary winding. Be careful because you can get a schok. If you do not know what you are doing with electricity and don't understand how to test transformers then you should consult an electronic service center to help with this procedure.

Here is a guide to test transformers.

Since this is a train control there is a potentiometer in it (variable resistor) you will want to check that as well.

In the end the best and cheapest route is look for a replacement one.

Posted on Jan 30, 2011


  • 10 Answers

SOURCE: No longer have manual for

See link below to PDF file with instructions to your transformer. It looks like you are correct with regards to the wiring with what I can see in the manual.

Hope this helps and good luck

Posted on Aug 04, 2011


  • 13 Answers

SOURCE: is lionel 40 watt transformer from toy train

need a larger out put transformer 90 watt or greater....

Posted on Nov 20, 2011

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I got a ZW transformer as a gift, bought at an auction. The left side doesn't get any power and the right side I cannot control the speed. Can this be fixed?

Hello, Don -

I hope I am correct you are asking about a Lionel ZW transformer for electric model trains.

I am personally not familiar with the transformer. However, I have found some information on the internet which may prove informative to you.


Plus, I found 3 PDF documents which are a series about repairing Lionel ZW transformers:

For the 3 PDF documents you will need Adobe Reader software (free) to open, download, save to your Documents folder, and print.

Assuming I am correct that you mean a Lionel ZW transformer, you may find more (and better) information on a forum for model train enthusiasts. This is a link to one such forum:
If you are not familiar with that forum, you will need to first register to post on it. Registration is free.

Best wishes.
Jan 11, 2018 • Toys

My lionel zw transformer wont stop the train when throttle is all the way off.

you need to adjust the trim throttle , this is usually near the bottom of transformer , (screw looking thing) this should only need a little bit , no big changes should be needed

Does the red light turn on only when there is an overload?

On a postwar LIONEL ZW TRANSFORMER, Yes the red light will come on if a short is present with the throttle on. As soon as the throttle lever is in the off position the red light will go off. Shortly followed by the automatic circuit breaker clicking, as it cools and resets. The short on the track may still be present but with the lever in the off position the red light will stay off. There are several variations of the ZW 275 Watt transformer, early and late "type R" models. Both work the same but are wired slightly different the early ZW uses two 6 volt bulbs and the "Type R" uses two 18 volt bulbs. Internally if there is a resister connected to the base of the red light it will use the 6 volt bulbs.

I have a lionel ZW 275 watt transformer and I started to smell and see smoke coming from the right side of the Unit,it still works ok do you have any suggestions. Thanks

Not everyone will agree with me on all of this, because many people are very cautious about electrical stuff, so do proceed with caution. But, I would start unplugging it. Then unscrew and open the top. You will probably need to remove the light bulbs under the green and red caps to get the top to lift off.
  • I would first look for anything looking burnt. You didn't say what kind of smell it was and whether it was running trains or accessories at the time. Ocassionally, under load, things get warm in one spot or another and just bending a wire away from a hot spot solves the problem. Over the nearly 50-65 years since these things were made there are a couple of things that can get moved around.
  • I would, really double check what you were running when the thing started smoking. Make sure there are no shorts or derailed trucks or pilot wheels. The original circuit breakers on the ZW's are not very good, and even less so after 50 years. They don't always do what they should when there is a short. Many people who use these ZWs want to protect their trains and they change the circuit breaker to something more reliable. Look up "Lionel ZW circuit breaker" on Ebay and sort by Price + shipping. $11 is the lowest I found and a pretty good deal. Most sellers send you instructions on how to install. What I'm saying is be sure your transformer isn't burning because of a short on the train table. If it is, then you probably need to change the circuit breaker.
  • The last thing I would do is, VERY CAREFULLY, with the top off, plug it back in and operate it like you did before when it started smoking, and then watch for sparks, smoke etc. Unplug it again before doing anything else.
  • There are service manuals and repair instructions out there on the internet. Go to this site linked below and scroll to the bottom of the page for complete repair manuals for the ZW and ZW-R. The pages are .pdf and you can download them individually. I have done that and then printed them and made a repair folder. Search their Library while there. There is a ton of great information.
Lionel Toy Trains Service and Repair Information Library from OTTP...

Good Luck, Dave

The whistle on either side of my 1966 lionel zw transformer does not work

The contacts on the switch may be dirty but the most likely problem is that both selenium rectifiers are dead. Replacement silicon rectifiers are available if you want to do the repair yourself. Check the internet for suppliers. You can get the ZW repaired at most good Lionel service centers for a reasonable price. Get a list of service centers by searching on-line or at

Is lionel 40 watt transformer from toy train enough power to run a dual motor larger train engine it just lites up and sputters

It would depend on what engine you're trying to run. The 40 watt transformer's circuit breaker will trip off if you put too large of an electrical load on it. If the engine light stays on while it sputters, the track or the engine's motor and electrical pick-ups may need cleaning. Older engines that haven't been run for a while can get stiff. Your engine may need some lubrication.

Ι've just joined 2 ovals 40x60 lionel fastrack, used some other items 2 Lionel 6-12018 FasTrack O-36 MANUAL SWITCH RH, 2 Lionel 6-12017 FasTrack O-36 Manual Switch LH, A few 6-12014...

It sounds as though you may have two defective transformers. Lionel has reported problems with some of their smaller transformers. I would have the transformers and the engines checked by a Lionel service station or contact their customer service department for help.
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