How to make current LEGO train tracks backwards compatible with 9-volt trains

It seems to be a slow day for blogworthy LEGO creations, so I went back through my bookmark archive and ran across something we really should have blogged the second we got the link — Chris Meyer‘s how-to guide on making plastic LEGO train tracks backwards compatible with legacy 9-volt and 12-volt systems.

LEGO train tracks

The problem (and benefit, depending on who you ask) with current Power Functions and RC systems is that they’re battery-powered. For LEGO convention attendees and train show participants who may run their trains for hours at a time, this means stopping everything in the middle of their layouts to replace the batteries, over and over again.

But since LEGO no longer produces externally powered trains, the tracks are exorbitant on the secondary market. Chris solves this problem by applying conductive foil tape to easily purchased plastic tracks. It’s a cheap solution, and looks much less time-consuming than sifting through eBay.

Read the step-by-step guide on

10 comments on “How to make current LEGO train tracks backwards compatible with 9-volt trains

  1. TaltosVT

    Has anyone tried this as a long-term solution yet? I’m curious how well the tape holds up over a period of time.

  2. killian101

    i can understand the appeal and practicality of both 9 and 12v tracks…this seems like a good, temp fix.

  3. killian101

    i wanted to add side note to my comment: Amazon has Lego 7896 (the new tracks) listed at 97 bucks…

  4. Andrew Post author

    ^ Amazon lists things that are available from third-party sellers, so that’s not necessarily Amazon setting the pricing. It’s more like eBay or Bricklink. Odd that the new tracks wouldn’t be sold directly from Amazon, though…

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