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Discussion Starter #1
I have a Marx "O scale" train that I have had since I was less than a month old. Dad liked it a lot!:laugh: It has an external circuit breaker that seems to be in working order but I don't know how to wire it into the track. Anyone have a wiring diagram for this?

Thanks
 

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Willsarv, welcome to the forum, and my first reaction was "That is sooo cool!" I'll step back and let T-Man answer, but that is a really neat piece to have. Any idea how old the set is?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Willsarv, welcome to the forum, and my first reaction was "That is sooo cool!" I'll step back and let T-Man answer, but that is a really neat piece to have. Any idea how old the set is?
It was a Christmas gift in 1953. I was just a few days old when I got it.:laugh:
 

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I agree with T-Man, but would suggest letting him get back with you to confirm before you do anything. That said, I think he'll tell you the hot wire from your transformer will go to either of the knurled screws. You'd then take a second wire from the other knurled screw to the hot rail on the track. I don't run Lionel, but I think I recall this being the center rail---wait for T-Man to confirm this.
The idea would be your output from the transrformer goes through the circuit breaker, and then to the track and the engine. If the circuit-breaker gets hot, it opens and cuts power to the tracks. This might be important if you're a parent in 1953 with a real, wooden christmas tree and a train under it. The kids leave the transformer turned on, a piece of tinsel falls from the tree and drapes across the tracks, causing a short and getting hotter and hotter...you get the idea. Tha's my best guess, anyway, for incorporating it into a layout.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I agree with T-Man, but would suggest letting him get back with you to confirm before you do anything. That said, I think he'll tell you the hot wire from your transformer will go to either of the knurled screws. You'd then take a second wire from the other knurled screw to the hot rail on the track. I don't run Lionel, but I think I recall this being the center rail---wait for T-Man to confirm this.
The idea would be your output from the transrformer goes through the circuit breaker, and then to the track and the engine. If the circuit-breaker gets hot, it opens and cuts power to the tracks. This might be important if you're a parent in 1953 with a real, wooden christmas tree and a train under it. The kids leave the transformer turned on, a piece of tinsel falls from the tree and drapes across the tracks, causing a short and getting hotter and hotter...you get the idea. Tha's my best guess, anyway, for incorporating it into a layout.
There is a light inside that lights when the circuit breaker kicks. It would have to have a ground somehow. It the breaker just goes inline with the positive the breaker wouldn't have a ground to light the light.
 

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Good point. You have two screws on the bottom, one has a wire running up inside. From the pics, those appear to be the bottoms of the screws the knurled nuts attach to: is that correct? If so, are they insulated from the frame of the device? If so, we can safely assume the hot runs in on one terminal and out the other, I think. I assumed the "lamp illuminated" state indicated a closed circuit instead of an open one; hence, my assumption there was no ground wire needed. Back to the drawing board.

If it illuminates because of an open circuit, then as you pointed out, there must be a ground wire attachment point and the two knurled nuts should be on insulated terminals. On the bottom, it appears there is a missing screw. Is it possible the ground wire ran from one of the center screws (one of which appears to be missing). I haven't got a clear pic, yet, of how the thing is working. It has to have both a hot and ground on the transformer side to make the light illuminate when the hot wire overheats; I don't see why it would need more than that. My bet is the circuit works this way: a ground wire runs to the track; a separate ground wire or feeder from the ground rail runs to the base of your device. The main hot runs from the transformer to the first knurled nut, then a second wire from nut #2 to the track's hot rail. This would provide power to the device and a ground to the device as long as the tranny has power. Your thoughts?
 

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Gents,

I'm just jumpin' in the conversation here, and will certainly defer to T-Man for the definitive answers, but ...

Reckers comments / quesiton about "not having a ground", but having the light still work got me thinking about the little lighted doorbell button near my front door. You all probably have something similar, too.

Low voltage DC current runs to the doorbell button, which effectively acts like a simple switch. Push the button, close the circuit, and the doorbells chime. Easy. But, I've always been baffled as to how the little light inside the button lights ON at all times, regardless of whether the button is pushed. There's no ground wire (I know, I've installed a few of these), and I don't see any other means to complete the circuit for the little light. I wonder (???) if the voltage and current is low enough that the metal housing (and nearby house/earth) somehow serve as a ground. I've fiddle with house wiring stuff before, but this one has always had me stumped.

Anyway ... maybe the circuit breaker is similar ???

TJ
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Good point. You have two screws on the bottom, one has a wire running up inside. From the pics, those appear to be the bottoms of the screws the knurled nuts attach to: is that correct? If so, are they insulated from the frame of the device? If so, we can safely assume the hot runs in on one terminal and out the other, I think. I assumed the "lamp illuminated" state indicated a closed circuit instead of an open one; hence, my assumption there was no ground wire needed. Back to the drawing board.

If it illuminates because of an open circuit, then as you pointed out, there must be a ground wire attachment point and the two knurled nuts should be on insulated terminals. On the bottom, it appears there is a missing screw. Is it possible the ground wire ran from one of the center screws (one of which appears to be missing). I haven't got a clear pic, yet, of how the thing is working. It has to have both a hot and ground on the transformer side to make the light illuminate when the hot wire overheats; I don't see why it would need more than that. My bet is the circuit works this way: a ground wire runs to the track; a separate ground wire or feeder from the ground rail runs to the base of your device. The main hot runs from the transformer to the first knurled nut, then a second wire from nut #2 to the track's hot rail. This would provide power to the device and a ground to the device as long as the tranny has power. Your thoughts?
Of the two knurled nuts, only the one with the wire is insulated. The other is direct to the frame of the breaker.

The light lights up when the circuit opens.

The extra screw hole underneath is not used. It just holds the socket for the light bulb.

I took 12 volts and attached the positive to the wired lug and the negative to the ground lug. It took about one second and the circuit opened up and the light came on.

The pictures I posted are ones that I got off of ebay but they are identical to my breaker. It is wired exactlly the same as the pictures.

It has to be wired some how in series for it to work. I just don't know how.

Thanks for the help. :confused:
 

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Here's what I am seeing in the T-Man drawing (THor site). Start with the transformer. Ground wire goes directly to an outer rail on the track---makes sense, as you never want to break the ground-wire side of the circuit. Hot wire goes to the circuit-breaker, and my guess is it goes to the insulated stud. Another wire runs from the non-insulated stud to the center, or hot rail. If everything is working right and you keep your hands to yourself, the light stays off, the train runs fine and everyone is happy.

Now, tjcruiser comes in and he's still mulling over that doorbell button thing. He walks over to the basement wall, sticks his tongue on a grounded water-pipe, and leans over to pick up the pretty new circuit breaker....which is on the hot-wire, inside and out, right? The next thing that happens is predictable. TJ begins to dance the funky chicken, the wire heats up and his wife upstairs is suddenly inspired to serve beef tongue for dinner, tonight. Eventually, the wire is hot enough to pop the breaker, turn on the red light, drop TJ in his tracks and most important of all, get his tongue off the water-pipe.

As soon as the wire cools, the light goes out and the layout becomes operational again. TJ will take a while longer.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Here's what I am seeing in the T-Man drawing (THor site). Start with the transformer. Ground wire goes directly to an outer rail on the track---makes sense, as you never want to break the ground-wire side of the circuit. Hot wire goes to the circuit-breaker, and my guess is it goes to the insulated stud. Another wire runs from the non-insulated stud to the center, or hot rail. If everything is working right and you keep your hands to yourself, the light stays off, the train runs fine and everyone is happy.

Now, tjcruiser comes in and he's still mulling over that doorbell button thing. He walks over to the basement wall, sticks his tongue on a grounded water-pipe, and leans over to pick up the pretty new circuit breaker....which is on the hot-wire, inside and out, right? The next thing that happens is predictable. TJ begins to dance the funky chicken, the wire heats up and his wife upstairs is suddenly inspired to serve beef tongue for dinner, tonight. Eventually, the wire is hot enough to pop the breaker, turn on the red light, drop TJ in his tracks and most important of all, get his tongue off the water-pipe.

As soon as the wire cools, the light goes out and the layout becomes operational again. TJ will take a while longer.
Kinda reminds me of the hunter hunting near a electric fence when the urge to relieve himself came over him.

I did have the misfortune once of bracing myself by holding onto a copper pipe while I was working on the telephone line. Not a good time to get a phone call.:eek:

Thanks again.
 

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*LOL* Mine was worse. Sunday morning, and she said "Can you replace the flourescent tube over the (electric) stove? So, I'm in my boxies, fumbling around with the tube inside the vent hood where I can't really see what I'm doing. My fingertip finding one of the prongs coincided with old blue finding the gap in front of the boxies and the metal front of the electric stove. It was ugly.
 

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Jeez ... and I thought we were having chicken for dinner tonight ...

(And I'm STILL stumped about how my doorbell button lights up when there's no return-loop for the circuit ...)
 

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Tj, do you have a single wire in and a single wire out of that doorbell button?
 

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Yup ... it's about as simple a button-switch as it gets. Low voltage (via step-down transformer, located in basement), hot lead going into button, with return going out. Push the button, close the circuit, the doorbell rings. The button housing is not grounded to the wall (where it's mounted) in any way. So how does the light light when the button is NOT pushed (and the circuit is open)?

So asks Homer Simpson ...
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I thought this was about my train set!:laugh: JK!!

I wired it in series and nothing. When I shorted the track out it tripped the breaker in the transformer. That's a good thing I guess because I know that breaker works. But the external breaker does nothing. I can reach inside of the external and manually trip it and it makes no difference. Current is flowing between the two lugs no matter what.

At this point I am satisfied that I am protected since the internal breaker is working but curious as to how the darn thing works!
 

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Twist the tabs and pull it apart. It is probably a glass bulb. The strip heats up and breaks the circuit. The bulbs have to be in parallel to work.They do not draw enough current to activate the bell or whatever. The same is for a motor You can operate a light but not have the power to run an engine. That's the best explanation I have.
 
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