Capacitor start post war engines

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sws
  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 1 posts
Capacitor start post war engines
Posted by sws on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 3:45 PM

I am starting a small layout, I am trying to run two trains on one track, I have a relay, to stop the faster train from hitting the slower train, my predicament is that when the relay is activated the train starts slowly, since its a small layout I need them to start a little faster

What I was wondering is there a way that I could jump start the train that is at a dead start with a non polarized capacitor, just like the motors that are on your furnace or air conditioner. or is there another way around this.

I have a homemade transformer that is 24v at 125va, I am running two 2066 locomotives with 4 cars total on each locomotive I have serviced each of my engines, actually they are running pretty good right now, the relay that I am using is an 12v ac rated at 5 amps, I am feeding the center rail directly from the transformer.

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Posted by lionelsoni on Thursday, April 13, 2017 8:27 PM

The induction motors in your furnace and air conditioner are a way-different type from the motors in any toy train.  A capacitor won't do anything useful to start your trains any faster.

But with 24 volts on the track, I would expect them to start pretty darn fast and to run close to escape velocity.  Are you sure that's what you're doing with them?  There is something you can do to start faster, using a series incandescent lamp; but you're already using the sort of high voltage that it would supply initially.

Bob Nelson

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Posted by BigAl 956 on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 12:56 PM

Well, 24v is a very high voltage and you may be burning out a lot of lamps at that voltage. Is youre home made transformer capable of handling the wattage of 2 trains at once + whatever wattage the relay needs?

Out of curiosity, with the easy availability of 275w ZW transformers why use something one-off?

Instead of a relay have you considdered an older time tested design, using insulated outer rails to activate a dead zone? Lionel had a 2-track design 70+ years ago that simply used the outer rail as an activation to start up a parked train. Check around the internet you will probably find it.

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Posted by lionelsoni on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 3:05 PM

I've used that technique.  It works; but I wouldn't advise using it with cars or locomotives having grounded metal Janney couplers.  You are liable to get current flowing between cars, through the tiny coil springs in the couplers.  They make a surprisingly bright light in the second or so that it takes for them to burn out.

Bob Nelson

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Posted by Clete on Monday, April 24, 2017 11:47 AM

What are Metal Janney Couplers? I never heard that term before. Are they aftermarket or did Lionel use them? Thanks.

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Posted by lionelsoni on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 8:15 AM

They are the couplers used almost universally in North America, invented by Emil Janney in 1873.  The coupler that Lionel has mostly used since World War II is a much-too-large model of the Janney coupler.

Bob Nelson

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Posted by Clete on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 8:56 PM

Are you saying don't use lionel couplers with insulated outer rails acting as a switch to activate accessories? Thanks. Clete

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  • From: Austin, TX
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Posted by lionelsoni on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 9:55 AM

No.  It's true that the same problem can occur in principle with accessories; but I've never seen it.  I suspect that it's a matter of a much larger current's being drawn when starting up an entire train that way.  In any case, it is possible to avoid the problem by using plastic couplers or coupler components.

Bob Nelson

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