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Newby to all of this

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  • Member since
    October, 2017
  • 11 posts
Newby to all of this
Posted by Leftridge on Sunday, November 12, 2017 10:06 AM

Hello all--

I have some Hornby controllers (4) that are supposed to be 220v-19amp. I'd like to cut off the power pak to them and replace with 110v units. Question is, what is the "normal" track/ accessory voltage and amperage for a DC system ?

Thanks--

  • Member since
    May, 2004
  • 4,330 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Sunday, November 12, 2017 10:48 AM

Model trains operate on a voltage that is "stepped down" from the common household supply voltage.  The 220v and 110v are household supply voltages.

The "normal" voltages for a DC system, at least for HO, are 12v DC (variable for speed) for the track and 16v AC for accessories.  At least, that's what MRC power packs have been outputting for a couple of lifetimes.

The amperage is determined by the load--the stuff that's hooked up.  If nothing is hooked up, that's zero amps.  If you try running a locomotive, that might draw, VERY roughly, half an amp.  Two would double that.  When you stop a loco in a siding to wait for a passing train, it will draw zero amps.  If you activate a twin-coil switch machine, it will only draw power when you push the button.

It SOUNDS like you have some European model railroad equipment that you want to use in the US.  They use 220v, we use 110v.  There are transformers available that will do the conversion job for you.  On Amazon, they hover around $40.  I saw one for $65 that looks very good. 

Don't go too fast on this, as mistakes can be costly.

 

Ed

  • Member since
    February, 2005
  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
  • 20,906 posts
Posted by selector on Sunday, November 12, 2017 10:55 AM

It depends on the design elements of the system itself.  In N. America, in HO scale, for example, voltages that actually do something you can see and appreciate run between 3-10v in Direct Current (DC).  Motion in the drive mechanisms doesn't take place until the voltage to the rails reaches about 5-6 volts with a sound decoder installed, depending on the condition and design of the drive mechanism and its inherent friction or rolling resistance.

The NMRA's recommended voltage for DCC systems is about 14 volts in HO scale.  The amperage draw depends on the decoder and the drive mechanism and what you give the decoder for inputs to get the performance you desire. Your drive mechanism should never demand more amperage than the decoder is designed to sustain indefinitely without destroying itself due to heat build-up in the confined spaces in which we typically mount them.

If you are strictly limiting yourself to DC operations, then amperage limits don't really mean quite the same thing as they do when attempting to limit the throughput on a decoder.  In that respect, anywhere between 0 and 10 volts should see you enjoying your DC locomotives.

BTW, most step-down transformers have a plate on them listing the maximum input voltage and what the transformer limits the voltage to upon reduction.  Does yours not indicate what the output is? Match that in 110 volts.

 

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 17,355 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Sunday, November 12, 2017 11:51 AM

Welcome aboard!  Welcome

Trying to put together a layout with somewhat incompatible components can be tricky, and if you are really a beginner, I'd recommend looking at plug-and-play parts that will simplify the job and make your layout easier and more reliable.

Please take a look at DCC along with DC.  DCC looks more complicated, but when you look at the extra wiring needed to run multiple trains in DC, you may realize that DCC is actually easier if you're starting from scratch.  The most common reason for running DC that I see here is that modelers already have a lot invested in their fleet of DC locomotives and don't want the trouble and expense of converting them all.

For a new layout, I would definitely suggest DCC.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

  • Member since
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  • 4,330 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Sunday, November 12, 2017 12:17 PM

Leftridge

Hello all--

I have some Hornby controllers (4) that are supposed to be 220v-19amp. I'd like to cut off the power pak to them and replace with 110v units. Question is, what is the "normal" track/ accessory voltage and amperage for a DC system ?

Thanks--

 

First, I think the "19amp" is incorrect.  I think it should be "19v".  And that is the output.  

 

I did a search for "Hornby controller", and there are several.  I see some are DCC, while some appear to be DC.  I guess.

So I recommend examining the item and getting a model number off of it.  Or them.

 

Here is a photo of one of them:

 

 

Looking at the writing, I see it is designed for 220-240 Volts AC (the AC being indicated by the wavy line).  So, a 220/110 converter would appear the be the way to use it.  I also see the term 150 mA.  This is a bit over 1/8 of an amp maximum INPUT.

The secondary (output) is 19 volts DC.  The DC being indicated by the flat lines.

You likely could get away with running all four controllers with one GOOD 220/110 converter.  You would get a 220v plug strip, plug the four controllers into it, and plug the stip into the converter.

 

Ed

  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • 417 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Sunday, November 12, 2017 1:05 PM

7j43k

 

 
Leftridge

Hello all--

I have some Hornby controllers (4) that are supposed to be 220v-19amp. I'd like to cut off the power pak to them and replace with 110v units. Question is, what is the "normal" track/ accessory voltage and amperage for a DC system ?

Thanks--

 

 

 

First, I think the "19amp" is incorrect.  I think it should be "19v".  And that is the output.  

 

I did a search for "Hornby controller", and there are several.  I see some are DCC, while some appear to be DC.  I guess.

So I recommend examining the item and getting a model number off of it.  Or them.

 

Here is a photo of one of them:

 

 

Looking at the writing, I see it is designed for 220-240 Volts AC (the AC being indicated by the wavy line).  So, a 220/110 converter would appear the be the way to use it.  I also see the term 150 mA.  This is a bit over 1/8 of an amp maximum INPUT.

The secondary (output) is 19 volts DC.  The DC being indicated by the flat lines.

You likely could get away with running all four controllers with one GOOD 220/110 converter.  You would get a 220v plug strip, plug the four controllers into it, and plug the stip into the converter.

 

Ed

 

Yes, and if you turned the wall wart plug around you'd see the prongs look a little different. The European modelers might recognize them, the American modelers might not.

Robert 

LINK to SNSR Blog

  • Member since
    May, 2004
  • 4,330 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Sunday, November 12, 2017 2:26 PM

ROBERT PETRICK

Yes, and if you turned the wall wart plug around you'd see the prongs look a little different. The European modelers might recognize them, the American modelers might not.

Robert 

 

 

Which got me thinking that, in this case, you could substitute an American wall wart.  I found plenty of 18 Volt DC supplies online--close enough to 19 Volts to work, I think.

 

Ed

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