About Our Switches

Right Hand vs Left Hand Switch who’s on first?

The Re-Birth of Lionel remote control switches
For the past few years we have re-conditioned thousands of O22 style switches. When we first started we were concentrating on making the switches work again as they originally did (in some cases almost 100 years ago). After working on so many of these switches we realized that some of what Lionel produced did not make a lot of sense, please understand we have a tremendous amount of respect for those guys working in the 20’s and 30’s with very little if any technical training. Anyway, we now have added some common sense changes, that in most cases reflect what is available today. Some of the changes we have made thus far are:
• 8 foot no rot cables between the switch controller and the switch itself which work great up to 10’ from the switches.
• Optional heavy duty 25’ cables which will work great all the way up to 75’, so if 25’ is not long enough for your layout, just let us know.
• Replaced the old style bootstrap with a special plug that not only provides switch power but also adds a power tap which as we all know we cannot have too many.
• Replaced the steel pins with our new Stainless Steel pins.
• LED’s for both the switch and the controllers. This year we made yet another improvement in the LED’s for the original flip lever switches, with larger and brighter LED’s
• Each switch goes thru a final 10 point check to insure proper operation
• Thru the process we use DC laboratory quality power supplies, adjusted to 12 Volts. We are also able to monitor the current draw for the switches. Why DC? Because high quality laboratory standard AC power supplies are just not available.
• We now offer a 2-year warranty on all of our reconditioned switches.
• We normally sell our switches in matched pairs ie (one left and one right) if you have a need for as an example 2 left switches, no problem just let us know.
Now about our switches:
We have been asked very frequently just what do you guys do to the switches to recondition them. Ok, they say a picture is worth, So here you go! First here is a pic of one of about the very worst condition switch we will accept for reconditioning.

Take special note of the rusty condition of the rails. While they look really nasty, the rust is surface rust and can be removed thru a brand new cleaning process we have come up with that cleans and polishes without removing the tinplate. The switch assembly can be cleaned
The below pic shows our repairing of the connections that account for the auto switchover when your train comes to a switch and the switch automatically changes for you. We have dubbed that feature for all our tinman switches “no D RAIL. To the factory original is a solder joint, we often add a piece of braid to offer a little flexibility and greater strength.

We do not use oil or chemicals on the switch contacts because it will attract dirt and grime. We do however use white lithium on the moving parts of the gears and lantern holder. The actions of the switches, movements of the gears, and connections are tested at least 6 times thru the process.

Below is the same switch ready to run on your layout.

This switch is an example of the worst looking switch you will ever receive from us, over 90% look a lot better very much like those below. Note the missing center terminal? not needed as a result of our advanced wiring. Below is a px of one style of plug we use to go into the side of the switch. You can see it actually has 2 wires, one for switch power and one for center rail power Now we have purchased some nicer looking ones with molded plugs These plugs come with each O22 style switch, or controller for the O22 style switches. We also sell offer the plugs separately in groups of 6 as shown below. if you wish you can order these plugs separately.
We offer tips and techniques that we have learned on many of the Lionel controllers, and accessories. We have not attempted to publish much of anything for these switches. Why? They are just too complex, and even today are discovering things we, after thousands of switches, have not thought of. Our switch people take a tremendous amount of pride in their workmanship, and even today after thousands of switches, go a little nuts when a switch they are working on just won’t cooperate and work properly.

The above process is a representation of how we handle our O Gauge switches. The process we go thru is similar for all the switches we recondition, including our O27 switches. We now offer a wide variety of O27 switches with lots of new innovations, many never available before. Below is just a sampling of what you will find in our O27 switch section!