Bookmark and Share

Archive News Story

Electrical Power Demystified

Electrical Power Demystified 

By:  Silence Dogood (proud patriot and Lionel train aficionado)

Ever wonder how the wonder of Lionel works?  What does a battery, a magnet, and a paperclip have in common with your favorite Lionel engine?

You put together your Lionel track.  You connect up your power transformer.  You put your Engine on the track.  You plug your transformer into the wall and Bingo!  Your train goes around and around as fast or slow as you want.  How in the world does it do this?

I will explain to you in the simplest terms how this works and give you an experiment to do to help you to understand.  You don’t have to be a rocket scientist, or an electrical engineer to understand how a basic electric motor works.  You can work on your PHD in physics later.  For now, let’s figure out what makes the engine go round.  This Fun experiment will show you simply you how Lionel does it.

First for the boring part.  Picture yourself in school getting a lecture from your most dreaded teacher.  Scientists learned over a hundred years ago that electricity could be made by spinning a magnet in a coil of wire.  They called this a generator.  At that same time they learned that if they took that same coil of wire and put electricity through the wire that it would cause it to spin.  They called this a motor.  Both work the same way.  You only have to decide if you want to make electricity, or use the electricity to create motion.

Now that I have successfully put you all to sleep now for the fun part.  You will need to get your parents help with this.  It’s not dangerous, but it is always a good idea to talk with them before working with tools.

First watch this short video

Gather your materials, and build your first motor. 

What you just built is not that much different than what Lionel has been doing for a hundred years to make their trains go round.

Science Rocks……