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Author Topic: Transformer Questions?  (Read 2111 times)

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« on: January 25, 2010, 09:08:55 PM »

I'm fairly new to G scale and have a few transformer questions. I have a MRC Power G and some track (as recommended by local hobby shop) but not sure if it has a voltage filter(?). I also have several locos (non DCC) but can only run one at a time. Am I missing something here? Can you run more than one loco at a time with one transformer? (told you I was new at this.) Or, do I have to go to DCC? And while we're at it, I've been told to stay away from transformers with pulse power. What is pulse power and why/how will it damage my engines?

Thanks GovB (stumbling in the dark)  Huh?

Happy Rails to You, GovB

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« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2010, 11:15:53 PM »

I believe what you are talking about with 'voltage filter' is getting a 'smooth' DC output from the power pack.  Your MRC unit should do fine.

The problem with 'pulse power' and 'pulse width modulation', use by some power packs, is some, but not all motors used in model railroading will heat up to a point that they will damage them selves or melt the plastic around them.

You can put two locomotives on the same track with one DC power pack but they both move, start, and stop at the same time.  If you want independent control of each locomotive there are a number of options:

1: Block control using one power pack to control each train.  There are a number of good books that cover this that should be available at your local hobby shop.

2: Radio control with a separate control  and receiver for each locomotive.

3: Radio control with one control that will talk to a number of different locomotives one at a time.  There are several versions of this available.

4:  A command control system.  There are several version of this, DCC is one of them.

Each of the above 4 has a cost:

The block control adds cost in the price of the 'control panel', wiring, and power packs.

The radio control systems add the cost of the number of transmitters you buy and the number of receivers you add to the locomotive.  Not all radio control systems for model railroading are compatible with each other.

The command control systems add the cost of the 'command system' and a compatible 'decoder' for each locomotive.  The DCC systems have several companies that make reasonably compatible systems.  Other command control systems are one company only systems.

Witch way is best?  You will get 10 different answers from 10 different people, all of them correct for them, but you have to look at what you want to do and how much you want to spend both short and long term.  Talk with other large scale model railroaders in your area and visit with some to see what they are doing.  Attend some train shows in your area and see what is in use there.

What do I use?  I use DCC, it works for me.  I added the 'decoders' to most of my locomotives and bought one with the 'decoder' factory installed.  All of my locomotives are Bachmann units and do not draw much power, the way I use them about 1 amp each.  The DCC system I use is from NCE.

Other people around here use the new Revolution Train Engineer system from Aristo Craft.  Some use the 'Air Wire' / 'G Wire' systems from CVP, NCE and QSI.  Some use the MTH system, some use block control.  Some use DCC systems from Digitrax, Lenz, and LGB.

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« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2010, 03:41:02 AM »

First off, let's not confuse pulse power and pulse width modulation (PWM).
PWM will not harm motors and most added accessory chips. It is DC power but tweaked so lights and such will start up at a lower voltage. It can cause some motors to whine but is generally harmless. My QSI sound/DCC card work fine as a sound card with PWM though I do not get the extra bell/whistle functions.
Pulse power is a different animal. It is a small amount of "leaked in" AC voltage to get the motors moving at a lower voltage.
I run two loops connected with a double crossover. Some track power, some battery powered. It gives you a chance to run multiple trains                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2010, 10:00:20 AM »

I was not saying both 'pulse power' and 'pulse width modulation' were the same, what I was saying in SOME CASES, no ALL, they both can cause problems.  Some manufactures request you not run their locomotive on either.

I did forget to mention battery power with out radio control, thanks for bringing that up.
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