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Author Topic: wiring help  (Read 1720 times)

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« on: February 19, 2011, 02:50:04 PM »

I am new to all of this as my son was given a large quantity of tracks, trains and other great things by a family friend who was thinning out their collection.  I have assembled the track but am unsure of the wiring.  I have two Bachmann "5" hobby transformers.  I have tried to logically wire these up to the track without success.  I have manged to get power to the train as it will buzz but will not move.  It would also seem that the transformers will not shut down when in the off position.  I wired the system to the "AC" side of the terminal as it has a "DC" side as well.  If I had some instruction books or manuals that would help.  Also does it matter that the track is sitting on a carpeted floor as we are not near the stage permanency.  I will appreciate any and all the help I can get.  Thank you all for he consideration. 

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« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2011, 02:57:29 PM »

With standard track, you should not setup on carpet, unless you want to ruin your locomotives. Also you should wire the track to the DC terminals, the alternating current is best used for accessories like switches and lights. Your problem is probably two-fold-you wired the track to the AC terminals and the locomotives and track needs cleaned. You can use a non-fibrous cloth that is slightly damp with alcohol or track cleaning fluid. Also check to make sure the locomotives do not have any loose wires.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2011, 04:34:44 PM by ACY » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2011, 03:26:21 PM »

thank you for the assist.  I will advise as soon as I have time to change the location and do as you have suggested. 

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« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2011, 04:30:06 PM »

Just a small point: The symbol you interpret as a "5" is actually a highly stylized "B," the logo for "Bachmann." It is not the model of the power supply. Look at the round logo at the right end of the words "BACHMANN TRAINS" at the top of this page, and you will see the same "B."

Hooking your track up to the AC side of the power supply can potentially damage the locomotive's motor. Hopefully you have not damaged the engine, but if it doesn't run when hooked up to the DC side and using the speed control, you have possibly damaged the motor. As ACY wrote, the AC terminals put out constant AC voltage (around 12 to 16 volts) and are used for powering switches and other accessories.

The DC terminals put out variable DC voltage (0 to ~12 volts) that is controlled by the speed control knob or lever. That DC power is what the locomotive works on.

For lots of free beginner information, go to the NMRA (National Model Railroad Association) website:

An introduction to model railroading is found at:

Links to information on trackwork, electrical, scenery, and lots more are found at:

Be certain to follow ACY's advice regarding not setting up on a carpet and cleaning the track.

Hope this helps, and welcome to a great hobby!

Happy RRing,


Sequoia Pacific RR in 1:20 / 70.6mm
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NMRA Life Member #3370
Member: Bay Area Electric Railway Association
Member: Society for the Preservation of Carter Railroad Resources
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