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Author Topic: 12 Volt DC power supply  (Read 1558 times)
A Derailed Drag Racer

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« on: April 11, 2010, 08:42:43 PM »

I purchased one of these units a while back to power all of my accessories on the layout. The train-set wall warts just didn't seem to cut the mustard.

This unit delivers 12 volts at almost 6 amps. Thats plenty for all my Micro-Mark Switch Tenders, the turntable drive, my programming booster and any lighted buildings I may add in the future. It has a built in cooling fan and can live in cramped quarters. I just bucked off the cigarette lighter adapter and connected the two wires to my panel.


« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2010, 09:24:21 PM »

Nice deal. Good to see results like that. Some years ago I bought a similar power supply but is rated at 13.6 volts, 6 amps for electronics that operate in automobiles. I have three shortwave radios that are useful in mobile operations that use auto power. At the time it was only $24.95 and is rather husky.

Just in case anyone here has the abilities, an old PC power supply can do quite well but requires some modification. You just have to know what you are doing as the voltage is 120vac input and the power oscillator usually produces a higher voltage before being transformed to lower DC voltages.

I have found links discussing what has to be done.

Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.

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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2010, 09:57:13 PM »

May I suggest using a 5 amp fuse in series with the output of this supply?  Better to blow a 30 cent fuse than a 30 dollar supply.  Princess Auto had them 5 to a box for about $2 a while back.

If you use a computer power supply, fusing each circuit using no larger than 5 amp fuses is a must.  The high current outputs can be divided into multiple circuits, each of which has its own 5 amp fuse.  The idea is to limit the fault current to a reasonable amount if a short should occur.  You really don't want a short producing 200 or 300 watts of heat under your layout.  To echo Rich's comments, if you have no idea what I am talking about, you should not be using these high power supplies.  They operate at lethal voltages internally and at power levels that can start fires externally.

For a number of years I used a 12 volt battery charger to power my layout.  The only down side was that I could not recharge a low car battery and run the layout at the same time.  Needless to say, the running power, the lighting power and the switch motor power were all fused separately.  I used 3, 3 and 5 amp fuses respectively.


Growing older is mandatory but growing up is optional.

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« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2010, 01:51:47 AM »

I have a multi-outlet, surge suppressor power strip attached to the bottom of my grandson's 4x8 with wall warts plugged into that.  The orphan cell phone adapters (4.1 to 4.5 v) are great for LEDs without resistors.  Also, I have one small power pack plugged into the power strip which I use for DC lighting and AC switch machines.  This all works great and he only has to plug in one plug.  I've also set it up so there's a total power switch on every side of the layout.  This is cheap insurance against fall offs and cornfield meets on his DCC set up.
A Derailed Drag Racer

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« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2010, 07:12:46 PM »

The 5 amp fuse is a heck of an idea Jim......I just wrote that in on the top of the To-Do list. Thanks.


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