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Author Topic: More powerful controller for non DCC train  (Read 2782 times)
MattC

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« on: January 22, 2014, 01:57:07 AM »

Hi! I would welcome your input on this... I am currently running Bachmann Silver Series stock on a set that I have been developing for the past few years.I am using the power pack/speed controller that came with the original starter setit is the small square with single dial and two ports to which I can wire accessories: item # 46605A. I am about to expand my layout and add a spiral vertical ramp (super excited about it). My question: is there a more powerful controller I can get to propel my trains up the planned incline?

I appreciate your help!
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Doneldon

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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2014, 04:08:14 AM »

Matt-

The power pack which came with your set has plenty of power to operate a single locomotive. The limiting factor for how well your loco can haul is more its adhesion and tractive effort than the juice coming out of the power pack. You can increase this by increasing the weight of the loco and/or using a more powerful motor. Maximizing the power of the existing motor is the best place to start. (You should also ensure that your rolling stock is in top tune so it rolls as easily as possible. And stretch out your helix with the largest diameter possible, the most gentle slope you can and as many loops as you can within the parameter of how much you need to elevate your train from one level to the other.)

Modify your rolling stock and helix first. Then weight your loco almost to the point that it stalls on the grade with the load behind it. You don't want it to stall because that will ruin your motor. Do recognize that there are some practical limits to how much stress you can put on your set up. It won't do you any good to produce a huge ox of a puller and a train a mile long if you end up pulling the couplers off when you send the train up a hill.
                                                                                                                                                                                         -- D

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richg
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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2014, 12:07:39 PM »

As  Doneldon said, your present controller is just fine.

An MRC controller will make the loco drivers slip just as well as your Bachmann controller.

You don't need a more powerful controller. Too steep a grade will limit the amount of cars a loco can pull.


Rich
« Last Edit: January 22, 2014, 12:40:24 PM by richg » Logged
jbrock27

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« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2014, 01:19:05 PM »

Matt, are these Bachmann locos you are running? 
Sounds like you are getting around to building a real layout; time to get a real controller and use the current one for accessories, which is a better way to go about it anyway, especially if you have any turnouts (switches) that have switch machines.
I'm surprised that Rich did not also tell you to purchase 3 Harbor Freight multi meters, this way when the first 2 go kaput, you can use the 3rd one.  They are certainly cheap.
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Keep Calm and Carry On
richg
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2014, 04:10:56 PM »

If the loco slips the drivers at 0.5 amp from your Bachmann controller, it will slip the drivers at 0.5 amp from an MRC controller. The voltage going to the rails will be the same.
The MRC have pulse power option to help starting the loco and running at sloe speed. Does not help anywhere else. I have used MRC meters and built my own pulse power controllers before I went into DCC.
The larger control knob does give you finer speed control.

If you want a meter, the below will be a help. Usually the only two issues with these meters are the fuse blows or the battery runs down. Common Nine volt batteries.
I bought a five pack of fuses at Radio Shack.

http://www.trainelectronics.com/Meter_Workshop/index.htm

http://www.trainelectronics.com/Meter_HF/index.htm

Rich
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jbrock27

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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2014, 09:14:08 PM »

No disagreement with your points about the voltage or slipage or the effect grade has on pulling power.  But, with a beefier power pack, he will have a better chance of running more than 1 loco in tandem to offset the impact the grade has on one locomotive.  And, as stated before, if using accessories or turnouts on the layout, better to have 1 pack to run those (the lesser pack) and have another (the better pack) to run the locos.

When it comes to tools; if they are not train specific, and I know I will be using them for other work beside trains, I tend to buy better tools.
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James in FL

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« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2014, 10:59:54 PM »

Hi MattC,

The layout only grows.
Look into upgrading your power supply. Starter packs are just, Starter packs.
Its going to cost some now, but only more later.
Take the plunge, you wont regret it.
You will be amazed at the difference. I looked at what I thought Id like to have, and then bought bigger.
Im glad I did.
I bought both a Tec4 260 and 280. At the time they were among the higher end packs MRC made available. State of the art if you will.

With either one I have run 6 units together, and still had excellent control. I don't do it often, but it's nice that I can when I want.

MRC now has the Tech7 and no longer has the Tech4 on their web site.

http://www.modelrectifier.com/train-controls/index.asp


Good luck
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wiley209

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« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2014, 09:57:21 PM »

When I was first starting out in model railroading, I typically used those starter power packs as well. But since my dad knew my train layout was expanding, for Christmas 2012 he got me a nice MRC Tech-4 280 power pack, and that made quite a difference.

It allows me to realistically simulate certain speeds, it has enough AC power for my switches and a few lights and Tyco "action" accessories. Nowadays I usually use the "starter" packs for powering other lighted accessories on my layout (I'm thinking of switching them from AC to DC power, but I'm nervous that doing so and having the throttles on a forward speed all the time would overheat the packs.)
It makes sense for when you're starting out to just begin with a starter power pack. Not just Bachmann, but Life-Like, Model Power, AHM and Tyco's as well. Though I know Athearn's train sets came with a rebranded MRC power pack of sorts, along with some of the Walthers TrainLine and Proto 1000 sets, and Atlas also has their "Right Track" power pack too.

I think Bachmann should make a similar type of high-end MRC Tech-style power pack for controlling DC trains in the same manner. After all, Tyco sort of did (though they were basically rebranded MRC power packs with the older gold metal surface.) And I do also remember the Spectrum sets having a decent power pack before they went DCC.
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richg
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« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2014, 10:10:01 PM »

I notice he never came back.

Rich
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jbrock27

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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2014, 10:48:46 PM »

Matt has not posted again, but he may be reading what's being written.
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James in FL

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« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2014, 12:26:58 AM »

Ah you are in HO.  Roll Eyes
Tell me, how many HO scale locos will your Tech4 280 run at one time?
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bobwrgt

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« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2014, 05:57:48 PM »

More than 20 years ago I purchased an MRC 20 (known then as a hogger). It has a walk around control also.
It was listed for N scale, HO scale, and G scale. I have had as many as 6 Athearn HO C44-9w's running on it at one time. It is still running strong today and has served me well. I have also run as many as 4 Broadway Limited sound units together.
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