I have pulled out several 1970s and 1980s 4.5v and 12v motors/trains from my childhood for my children to play with. Everything is working pretty well, except that we have recurring contact problems plugging the cables into either a battery box, motor, or transformer. A lot of wiggling is needed to make the connection, and it's hard to keep the motor turning without holding the connector in place.

Since the plugs just seem to be metal cylinders, I assume the sockets must have some kind of spring that has worn out. Do you have any advice on rejuvenating them? I don't want to try to replace all the motors and power supplies :)

1 Answer 1


At least with 1980s grey cables, the pins on the plugs are split, and if the four segments of the pin get pushed together the connection becomes loose. Gently easing the segments apart with the tip of a small electrical screwdriver or the blade of a penknife restores the plugs' tight fit -- but don't force them apart too far, or you may damage the pin.

  • 2
    I'd suggest a razor blade or very thin bladed knife. Unless the gap's a lot wider than I remember even a small flat bladed screw driver is going to be too thick if you accidentally push it in all the way. May 11, 2022 at 14:41
  • You are absolutely right, I don't know how I managed to get confused about the plug pins. I blame brain fog. I was able to spread them with a tiny screwdriver and things are much better now. Sorry for wasting your time! May 12, 2022 at 20:40

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