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Author Topic: HO power packs and tracks  (Read 22820 times)
CAMPBELL LYNN


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« on: February 04, 2013, 04:59:27 PM »

I have a Bachmann HO Santa Fe set and 2 other Bachmann sets, and have a total of 3 Bachmann power packs, (that came with the sets).  How many trains can I run per track, or should I have a separate track for each set ??  Will I lose power if I run more than one set on a track.  thanks
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jward


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« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2013, 05:44:39 PM »

you can run more than one locomotive per train as long as it doesn't exceed the power rating of the pack. with to-days low current draw motors, even a starter train set pack should easily handle two locomotives.

if you intent to run more than one train you should consider block control which will give you the flexibility to run any train on any track. you divide your track into isolted sections, each controlled by a switch which connects that section or "block" to any of the power packs. thus, two trains can folllow each other around the same track, or cross over to different tracks.  this can all be done using your existing locomotives and packs with no modification to either.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
Doneldon

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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2013, 07:48:11 PM »

Campbell-

The power packs which come with train sets aren't very powerful although most will run two trains, especially if the trains were manufactured within the past 15-20 years. The motors used before that draw much more current than modern ones so you might only be able to run a single older locomotive. CAUTION: Do not under any circumstances attempt to operate your railroad with more than one power source for the same section of track. That is very dangerous. It's OK to connect more than one power pack if your railroad is wired for DC block control (also called cab control) but you must have electrical switches which will let you switch between cabs while never allowing two cabs to be connected to the same track section at the same time.

                                                                                                                       -- D
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jward


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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2013, 07:57:42 PM »

hunt,

the length of dc blocks is completely independent of train length. there are situations where it may not be practical or desireable to have a long block. read up on crossovers and x blocks for just one example. i have in many instances built layouts where block length was shorter than train length in certain spots, and many friends and family members did the same. these short blocks did not cause us any problems attributable to their length. thus block wiring is indeed practicsl for small layouts, if you have any doubts, buy and read any of the atlas layout plan books.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
jward


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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2013, 08:47:48 PM »

i have, did, and had 3 people running on a 5x8 back in the 80s. we had fun threading our trains past each other on a single track railroad. it all depends on what you're trying to achieve.
we had a pretty good repersentation of a mountain railroad in that space, it looked alot like ryeguy's layout, but with several passing tracks and a branchline into the closet.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
jward


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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2013, 10:08:31 PM »

to answer the rhetorical question. ....

it would be dcc controlled definitely. however, it would be wired with block control selectors for reasons of isolating any problems, or reducing power consumption by standing locomotives.

as a matter of fact, my current layout is smaller than 5x8, it only measures 30 sqft. and i am doing exactly what i just described. i don't have the operating crew i once did, but my son and i have run two trains on the railroad.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
Doneldon

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« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2013, 12:56:12 AM »

it would be dcc controlled definitely. however, it would be wired with block control selectors for reasons of isolating any problems, or reducing power consumption by standing locomotives.

Jeff-

I'm not so sure that "it would be dcc controlled definitely." There are legitimate reasons for
choosing DC. You and I might agree that DCC is the better alternative for us but that doesn't
mean it's right for everyone.

You don't need selectors to isolate layout sections or to cut power to certain tracks. Simple
on/off switches will do the trick at a lower cost.

                                                                           -- D
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jward


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« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2013, 06:53:33 AM »

dcc works for me, along with the capability to revert to 2 cab dc if the need ever arises. in the case of the original poster you'll notice i did recommand dc cab control. for those just getting started who already have a couple of analog trains, that would seem to be the most cost effective. one generally doesn't want to spend a small fortune on a hobby you just started, better to forgo the added expense of dcc and decoders until you are sure you will be in the hobby awhile.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
Jerrys HO
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« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2013, 07:47:25 AM »

CL

These guy's like to argue whether it's tomato or tamato. Grin Huh? ( incorrect spelling on purpose)
To answer your question although I am no expert, yes you can run multiple trains on your track.
You do risk running into the back of the other train unless you use block control as Jeff,D, and Hunt stated. In DC there is no controlling the loco's separately just the power to the track.
In DCC you can run more trains independently from each other as you control the loco not the power to the track. This is why I gave up O scale and switched to Ho.

Quote
Will I lose power if I run more than one set on a track.  thanks
The answer is yes to both DCC and DC. The more trains running the more power consumption there is and the larger the layout, thus the need for more feeder's or booster added.

You did not mention if the sets were DCC or DC. I know Bachmann's Digital Commander set is the Santa Fe units. The other's are assuming the set's are DC, but are they? or do you have both types. If you have both types of set's this will lead to more questions and answers.

As stated do not hook up multiple power sources to the same track in DCC, while it can be done with block control in DC.

Quote
dcc works for me, along with the capability to revert to 2 cab dc if the need ever arises. in the case of the original poster you'll notice i did recommand dc cab control. for those just getting started who already have a couple of analog trains, that would seem to be the most cost effective. one generally doesn't want to spend a small fortune on a hobby you just started, better to forgo the added expense of dcc and decoders until you are sure you will be in the hobby awhile.
Po

As for DCC being expensive, in my opinion it is no more expensive than DC if you search for bargains. I have never had a DC layout so I realy would not know how much cheaper it is but I do know in this hobby on a limited budget that I have DCC is not that expensive and a lot less trouble than all the fancy wiring you have to do to the track in DC let alone flipping switches to control all the blocks and turnouts.

Jerry
« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 08:35:35 AM by Jerrys HO » Logged
Desertdweller

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« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2013, 11:43:03 AM »

Of course you can use DC block control on a small railroad.  Why wouldn't you?  I used block DC wiring on my first model railroad in 1969, and still use it on my current one built in 2007.  It works fine for me, and I'm the one I built the railroad for.

Blocks can be as small as one locomotive length.  For instance, tracks in roundhouse stalls can be independent blocks.  One guy can work the engine terminal while another runs trains on the main line.  With roundhouse stalls in individual blocks, an engine can be run into a stall from a turntable (itself a separate block with its approach track), and that track shut off.

If you only have one power pack, you can still use block wiring.  Just route power to each block using simple on/off toggle switches.  That way you can kill or power each block individually.  Later, if you decide to add another power pack, just replace the on/off toggles with double pole/double throw switches.

To further simplify wiring, you can use a "common rail" system with only one rail gapped into blocks and fed through electrical switches.  Use the other rail as a common return, wired directly back to your power pack.

There is nothing "wrong" with DC blocked railroads.  It is how model railroads were controlled for a hundred years, and still works well today.  It is simple, cheap, easy to understand and trouble-shoot, and requires no expensive power supplies or modification or programming to locomotives.

Les
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Johnson Bar Jeff

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« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2013, 01:13:36 PM »

There is nothing "wrong" with DC blocked railroads.  It is how model railroads were controlled for a hundred years, and still works well today.  It is simple, cheap, easy to understand and trouble-shoot, and requires no expensive power supplies or modification or programming to locomotives.

Les

Amen.

That said, if I were starting out in the hobby today, I would probably be going DCC. But I have 50 years' worth of DC equipment, plus other considerations, so I'm stickin' with DC.
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Len

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« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2013, 01:48:25 PM »

Why limit your options? Wire for block control using two DC power packs, but add a DPDT switch that will allow you to switch out one power pack and connect a DCC controller instead. When you have friends over with their DC only locos run with blcok control. When you want to run DCC set all of the block to whichever side has the DCC controller option and flip the switch to disconnect the DC power pack and connect the DCC controller to that side. Simple, plus you've got the block for troubleshooting problems.

Len
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If at first you don't succeed, throw it in the spare parts box.
Desertdweller

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« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2013, 09:00:59 PM »

Hunt,

It is unfortunate that aligning block switches takes all the enjoyment out of the hobby for you.  In 45 years of model railroading, I have not encountered any "major operating limitation" with DC Cab Control.

You do not need to be preoccupied with block power switches while running trains.  In fact, it is easy to set up a route before even running a train.  Line your track switches (something you would have to do anyway), select the blocks you will need, and go run your train.  Just like...DCC.

What happens if you fail to select a block you'll need?  Your train will stop when it reaches it.  What are your limitations with DC?  You can't have head-on collisions within a block.  You can have rear-end helper operation, if your blocks are short enough.  You don't need expensive power packs, boosters, decoders.  You don't have current running to all locomotives on the layout, even if they are parked.

If you refuse to help anybody with a model railroad that is not DCC, that strikes me as rather rude.  If they will not agree to build their railroad on your terms, you will not help them.  I'll help anybody with their model railroad if I can.

Les
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Desertdweller

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« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2013, 11:42:11 AM »

Hunt,

You have to be careful working around those things.

I am about to start on my next model project.  I'm building a wooden kit of a covered wagon (not an F-unit).  Lots of staining and sanding.  Horses not included.

Les
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Johnson Bar Jeff

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« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2013, 04:30:31 PM »

Enjoy your trains (DCC) or enjoy throwing switches (DC Cab Control).

Just a thought. Has it ever crossed your mind that someone actually might enjoy throwing switches, like an old-time tower operator?
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