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Author Topic: I'm new - please help!  (Read 3944 times)
bozz

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« on: September 06, 2007, 02:01:39 PM »

I'm new at train works and need help with a few initial things.  I'm going to mack a track layout on a 4x8 table.  I understand that I'll need more than a 1 amp transformer to feed all this track.  Questions:
Can I use a 3 amp battery charger as a transformer?
If not, how much track can I feed with a 1 amp transformer?
Can I feed a number of trains on one track?
Can I feed a number of tracks on the same table?
Please help me get started!
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RAM

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« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2007, 03:46:39 PM »

Can I use a 3 amp battery charger as a transformer?  Well you could, but you don't want to.  For one thing you do not have anything to control the speed  or direction of your train.  It would be cheaper and better to buy a bigger power pack.  Now I am going to ask you a question.  Are you going to use DC or DCC.  If you do not plan on running more than one train at a time, than one amp is ok.
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SteamGene

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« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2007, 04:10:59 PM »

Bozz,
Just about any MRC power pack is what you want to use.  Unless the layout is club size - large club size, all you need is one.  However you probably will want to put crrent to your track in two places, about half way across the layout from each other for a 4x8.  You can do a double track on a 4x8 but that leaves you little room for scenery, sidings, and such as that.  You are better off with a single track and a passing siding long enough for your longest train, which is probably not going to be more than eight cars. 
Gene
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Chief Brass Hat
Virginia Tidewater and Piedmont Railroad
"Only coal fired steam locomotives"
NelsOn-30

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« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2007, 04:15:29 PM »

bozz

Do you have a 1 amp "power supply"? A basic power supply consists of a transformer to reduce the voltage, a rectifier to convert the AC (alternating current (reversing)) from the transformer output to DC (direct current) and a rheostat to adjust the locomotive speed (by limiting the available current).

A 1amp power supply will adequately operate most single small scale locomotives.

The amount of track in a layout is not in itself the limiting factor. Track with friction connections is resistive causing voltage drops that limit available current. Supplemental parallel wire routes to carry power throughout the layout are recommended to eliminate voltage drop.

I am assuming you are using DC so all (trains) locomotives within a commonly wired area will operate together. For separate operation check out DCC (Digital Command Control).

This does not answer all your questions but it's a start.
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Nelson

Notka Lake Logging & Navigation RR
bozz

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« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2007, 04:26:42 PM »

RAM,
I'm going to have DC and DCC on the same track and run more than one train at a time - on a 4x8 sheet with over loops and cut offs.  Also 2 side by side straights and 2 curves
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kevin2083

Hi, I'm nobody, and nobody is perfect.


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« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2007, 07:18:32 PM »

I don't see how you could use both DCC and DC on the same track. What controlers are you using or planning on using?
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engineerkyle

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« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2007, 07:20:51 PM »

I would think you would be most pleased with the Bachmann EZ cammand system and a couple bachmann locos with DCC onboard. Run your trains on Atlas code 100 track. 1 amp will be plenty. It can power up to 4 trains at once. The size of the layout generally does not effect power requirements.

Forget about DC, IMHO.  

Also, consider 5x9.... you will have MUCH more flexablilty with yor layout design and you will be very thankful you allowed for the extra space.
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SteamGene

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« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2007, 08:13:03 PM »

More and more information shows that using DC and DCC on the same layout, especially a small one, can be dangerous.   Engineerkyle's suggestion of a 5x9, which is the size of a ping pong table is an excellent one if you have the available space.  Your track idea is much too large for a 4x8.
Gene
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Virginia Tidewater and Piedmont Railroad
"Only coal fired steam locomotives"
r.cprmier

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« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2007, 09:46:30 PM »

I get the impression that you think that the track "absorbs" voltage.  it does not.  Track can conduct it by itself, even though nickel silver is a rather poor conductor, considering its conductivity rating as opposed to copper and brass.

What you will do is as Gene said; tack the feed onto two (or even more if you ultimately have a layout bigger than 4X8) places on your layout, and you will pretty much get around the resistance issue.  The ampacity of a transformer will be contingent on just how much of a load (power in watts) you will be using at any given moment.  Why use an elephant gun if you are only going rabbit hunting; conversely, never take a knife to a gunfight. 

My suggestion to you, as well as the rest of you who are not familiar with electricity/electronics, is to get a decent book on basic electricity.  I am not inferring rocket science, but rather a basic straightfoward comprehensive primer that will get you fairly comfortable with this stuff, before you destroy something out of ignorance.  That is said not in an offensive way, but a realistic one; and if you don't think even an experienced person like myself can screw something up royally, guess what!!!!!  Forty-odd years in this gig, baby; and I can still mess up!

Rich

Rich
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Rich

NEW YORK NEW HAVEN & HARTFORD RR. CO.
-GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN!
SteamGene

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« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2007, 10:35:13 PM »

Bozz,
Just to give you an idea, I'm building a layout right now. I'm using Atlas code 100 flex track for the mainline and #6 turnouts.  Most of the bridges are Atlas with code 100 track.  the curves are soldered and the staights are not.  I'm dropping leads every third section of flex track and the current checks out just fine so far. It may be I will need to drop more leads before I ballast the track. 
This is a straight DCC layout.  Converting old brass to DCC is not fun.  Anybody want a PFM C&O 2-8-4 with extra weight?  Beautiful weathering.   You have to be a die hard C&O nut to see the error in the lettering.  Cheesy
Gene
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Chief Brass Hat
Virginia Tidewater and Piedmont Railroad
"Only coal fired steam locomotives"
Woody Elmore

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« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2007, 09:28:25 AM »

Gene - your advice for soldering and dropping leads should be posted somewhere in a reference section for all the neophytes with questions.

Back in 1982 I attended the NMRA convention is Washington and they had a steam excusion behind a 2-8-4. It may have been a C&O berk but I'm thinking NKP (which I believe were very similar). In any event seeing that big big berkshire pull a long string of passenger cars into the station at Alexandria was quite a sight. I hope you can unload your PFM model.
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SteamGene

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« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2007, 09:47:25 AM »

Woody,
I would have been a NKP S class and not a C&O K4.  None of the remaining K4s are operational, though the NKP has been painted in C&O lettering.  The only obvious difference between the two versions is the placement of the headlight, with the C&Os' mounted on the pilot deck.
Gene
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Chief Brass Hat
Virginia Tidewater and Piedmont Railroad
"Only coal fired steam locomotives"
Stephen D. Richards

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« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2007, 09:48:42 AM »

Gene, what are we talking?  I might be interested!  Did you do the weathering?  Stephen
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