Bradford Exchange Accessories


New Member new to the forum and have been looking at a Bradford Exchange train set.....looks fairly simple, one oval and dc power. I notice that when purchasing yard structures (train station, yard tower, etc,) that they are require either battery or an ac adapter.....batteries are usually 2 double A's (3 V) and adapters are 300mA ac my basic question is does anyone in your forum have any experience with this type of setup? Where you use either batteries or ac adapter power.....does anyone make an ac adapter that can power multiple structures or buildings at same time? I can't seem to find the answer to this question anywhere, so I thought I could use your forum to get the right information and continue on with this hobby....thanks for looking, Gary
Hi Gary,

Welcome to the forum, glad to have you onboard.

I am a Bradford Exchange customer, but I have never bought a train from them. They have beautiful things and fantastic customer service. I have thought of buying train sets from them, but I am primarily a Lionel O gauge railroader. I do have some HO trains from my Christmas trees in years past. They do have some great looking unique trains.

Generally speaking AC adapters convert AC power to DC power and as long as you don't exceed the recommended voltage you could use almost any hobby DC power supply to provide the power. The tricky part would be the wiring, connecting to the accessories and matching the voltages, but it could be done. It would be pretty simple if all the voltage requirements were the same. You could get the connectors you would need at radio shack or some other place that sells them.

I do have some Bradford Exchange things (small Christmas Trees etc.) that use AC adapters but they have all come with the adapters when I purchased them. You could call and ask them if the adapters come with the accessories.

I tried to look up the accessories you were asking about, but I could not find them. If you post a link to the particular things you are asking about I will be happy to look at them for you and see what I can find out.

You chose a great forum. There are experts in every aspect of model railroading on this forum. I am not one of the experts, but I will do my best to help you with what I can.

You chose a great hobby too! I have hours of fun with my trains and I enjoy them more and more as time goes on.
Thanks Louis: I contacted Bradford and they do not supply the adapters.....another friend of mine said I should look into daisy-chaining the power supply....really don't know what this is, but he sounded like it required a different power source that made it possible......anyway, that's where I am now. Still my question is that each of the Bradford structures that need power have a little male receptacle to accept the tip of an ac how do I get around that without having to get individual ac adapters for each one......any help appreciated. Gary
Hey again Gary,

A daisy chain usually refers to a series connection as opposed to a parallel connection. In your case I would suggest a parallel connection because it will be simpler to set the voltage especially with the input requirements being equal. You will need a power supply.

If it were me I would use rechargeable batteries and avoid the entire wiring problem. NiCad batteries would more then likely be your most economical way to go, but if you see they not lasting long enough you could go with higher power rechargeable batteries like those used in digital cameras.

If you have a Costco or Walmart near by they both sell chargers with 4 batteries for relatively low cost, under $15. Many other places sell them too. You could also order online as well. I would purchase some extra rechargeable batteries and then you would always have power. The charger and batteries will cost about the same or less then buying the connectors, wire and a new DC power supply. You will also need a digital multi-meter if you chose to go with a power supply. They are good to have in this hobby any way and cost under $20 sometimes as little as $10.

Let me know if you still want to get a power supply and I will do my best to help you figure out hooking it up.
Hey Gary,

I forgot to ask which train set you were looking at? I almost bought the Ravens Super Bowl Champions set last year from Bradford.
Louis: it's the Thomas Kincaid Christmas train...I have several lighted structures including the Switchman Santa, Train Station, Post Office, Yard Tower, Windmill, and Passenger Depot. They all are powered by either two or three double A batteries or a 300mA 3V or 100mA 4.5V AC adapter (not included). The internal wiring in all the structures is sealed in.
Is it the Christmas Express train? I found that one on the Bradford Exchange web site and it looks great, but even if you have a different one I am sure it will look great. All the Thomas Kincaid Christmas stuff looks great. We have a few light up decorations of his things.

I would suggest you buy a bulk pack of AA alkaline (disposable) batteries. I buy a store brand at my local grocery store because its convenient, they are fresh and 20 costs about $5. My grandsons use lots of them and they last as long as the name brands in their toys. I would see how long they last using them as you normally would. Then decide if you want to go with a power supply, rechargeable batteries or continue to buy alkaline batteries. It is better for the environment to use rechargeable batteries and cheaper in the long run.

With having different voltages it will be a little bit more complex to have a single power supply. You could go with 2 power supplies, one set at 3 volts and one set at 4.5 volts to simplify the wiring, but you will still need to buy the connectors for each individual accessory.

One thing to keep in mind when using batteries, they are prone to leaking when they get old or when they become completely discharged. NiCad (rechargeable) batteries are less likely to leak then alkaline. Never store your things with batteries left in them.

I have not had any battery leak in many years because I throw them away or recharge them and I take them out before storing my things. If you follow those 2 rules modern batteries are very unlikely to leak.
Louis: Thanks, I found a model railroad hobbyist in my town who has a shop and we visited and I showed him my stuff....and like you suggested, it's probably not worth the effort to pursue the power pack and I will go the battery route... either go the double AA alkaline or rechargeable route. I know it's probably not as convenient but a lot more practical. Thanks for your input and suggestions.....Gary