Lionel 3 rail wiring

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  • Member since
    April, 2003
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Lionel 3 rail wiring
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, May 24, 2003 1:24 PM
Hi people! Im courious as to if it is possible to wire up the 3 rail track to run 2 trains at the same time with 2 controlers? I keep thinking it would ground out and stall, so before I fry out anything Ill ask! Thanks for any info!!!!!!
Icemanmike - Milwaukee
  • Member since
    January, 2001
  • From: Guelph, Ont.
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Posted by BR60103 on Saturday, May 24, 2003 10:03 PM
Mike:
Unless you get into command control (DCC), you need to set up sections of your layout and connect them to different controllers. This is called "cab control" and each controller is a "cab".
Picture that you have 4 sections on a loop -- separate the 3rd rail with fiber pins -- and each section is connected through a 3-way switch to the two controllers. To run train 1, switch the section it is in to cab A. as it moves around the loop, swich the section it is going into to Cab A.
Do the same with train 2 and cab B.
It's a bit easier if you have multiple loops or yards to operate; then you can just let them run.
--David

--David

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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, May 25, 2003 3:26 AM
Yea thats what I thought. Cab control sounds nice for an walk around layout, but I'm limited to an spare bedroom that shares space with my computer (4x8 sheet). I have a track layout with 2 loops as an block design. I just need another controler and a few switches. It looks good on the floor but the cat fur cloged one of my locos already! If everything goes smoothly, Ill have the Lionel layout tilt to allow another HO layout below it. But I have a saying..."Everything looks great on paper....as for the real world......."
Thanks again!
Icemanmike-Milwaukee
  • Member since
    December, 2001
  • From: Austin, TX
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Posted by lionelsoni on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 10:40 AM
I have a way to run two trains on the same track. I control the positive and negative half-cycles of the AC voltage separately, using what is called a synchronous rectifier. My locomotives are rewired to rectify the track voltage, responding only to positive half-cycles, only to negative, or to both (for compatibility with conventional power). The traditional Lionel motors run fine on DC; and the newer "can" motors are DC motors anyway.
If you are not up to building a synchronous rectifier, you can still run two locomotives separately, just not at the same time, by using simple DC.
One drawback to all of this is that the Lionel whistle control is useless. I wire my whistles to a rectifier similar to that used for the locomotive motor and, if I want to use the whistle, treat it as a second locomotive.

Bob Nelson

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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, July 11, 2003 12:16 AM
That does not sound too bad. Heres the next question...how much $ did it cost to convert 2 locos & the rectifier? Ill probibly stick to an block system..that is something more realistic for this size layout. But I never know about the future:)
  • Member since
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  • From: Austin, TX
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Posted by lionelsoni on Friday, July 11, 2003 9:02 AM
For the simplest arrangement, only a few dollars. If you are only going to run 2 locomotives, they can be permanently wired, one for positive, the other for negative voltage. This involves an electrolytic capacitor, about 5000 microfarads, and a rectifier diode, about 3 amperes.
The simplest transformer modification is the one that runs only one locomotive at a time. It is a full-wave bridge rectifier between the transformer and the track, with a DPDT switch to reverse the polarity, and optionally another switch to bypass the rectifier to run both locomotives at the same time (at the same speed).
If you want to run both locomotives with independent speed control, you will need the synchronous rectifier, which is more complicated but still not very expensive, and two transformers or a two-control transformer. It involves two silicon-controlled-rectifiers and two more small auxiliary transformers to generate the gate voltage that turns them on at the right time.
I built my first one from a Lionel type Z transformer. These put out about 24 volts, which is too much for postwar and modern trains. Like almost all train transformers, the type Z has a fixed winding of about one-third the total connected in series with the variable winding, or 8 volts in this case. I disconnected this winding, which was conveniently made with two wires in parallel, but insulated from each other, giving me the isolated AC voltages I needed for the gate drives and leaving a much more suitable 16 volts for the main output.
The second one I built used an American Flyer 30B. For that one, I bought two of Radio Shack's smallest 12.6-volt filament transformers and mounted them inside the case.
It is a good idea to use a hefty transformer for this purpose, since the unbalanced current that it will be called on to produce causes more than normal heating in the primary winding.

Bob Nelson

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    April, 2003
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, July 11, 2003 11:59 AM
Good info! I had a funny fealing there was more then 1 way to skin a cat!

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