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What power input is this?

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, February 11, 2019 7:42 PM

 Looks like it was made to expand off the end there.

Note that live overhead has an advantage like 3 rail - there are no issues with reverse loops. So all you have to do is apply power to the tracka dn overhead and run around any way you want, no reverse loop issues.

                                        --Randy

 


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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, February 11, 2019 7:34 PM

I'm not fond of the builder's use of wire colors.  Black wires go to red and gray wires. Gray wires go to red wires and red wires go to green wires.  But if it all works I wouldn't change it.

I would not want to string catenary.  He did a nice job there.

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Posted by gthomson on Monday, February 11, 2019 7:09 PM

Update, I found a 12V wal wart power supply from an old portable DVD player. Plugged it in the switch power connector and got some activity from the tortoise engines. One of the units has a wire that needs to be re-soldered but the rest work. 

Here's some more pictures of the layout. Really appreciate everyone's help here.

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, February 11, 2019 6:37 PM

gthomson

 

 
rrinker
Electrically, the connections are irrelevent. You cna always remove those sockets and wire directly to the power sources, or install a different kind of socket. But you can easily find wall warts with the right plug and the right voltage for the switch one, so it might be nice to leave that. Most DC power packs have screw terminals to attach the wires to, so it might be easier to remove or bypass the track power jack with just wires to attach to whatever power pack you end up using. Making a small shelf to hold a power pack would be a good addition as well.

 

No everybody it's all good I think I found the answer i was looking for and I guess I thought there might be a different answer but i would bet he just plugged in a 9-12 v wal wart to power the switches and then had some kind of special transformer he used to operate the trolley or maybe it just ran continuosly? I think changing the sockets and adding a standard transformer would be best.

I have a few trolleys and one has the option to switch from live wire to track. The others are just track.

i'll post another thread specific to trolleys to find the guru's Smile

 

 Is the layotu a continuous loop? Just with some alternate paths depending on the position of the point (if they are standard trolley type turnouts, they probably only have 1 point, instead of a pair)? If so, it's possible some fixed voltage way applied to the track and the trolley just ran at whatever speed that voltage allowed, and through flipping of the Tortoise coontrols, it was directed around alternate paths.

 Can you post a picture of the layout itself?

                                        --Randy

 

 


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Posted by gregc on Monday, February 11, 2019 6:35 PM

gthomson
I think changing the sockets and adding a standard transformer would be best.

could you look at what the connector goes to, first?

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, February 11, 2019 6:32 PM

 Tortoises run on DC. 9-12 volts. There are two ways to control them, but from the way this layout is wired, they are being controlled by DPDT toggles wired as reversing switches. Motor inside the Tortoise turns one way, points move to one side. Reverse it, just like reversing a loco, the points flip to the other side.

                                     --Randy

 


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Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Monday, February 11, 2019 5:54 PM

gthomson
I'm not familiar with powering a layout with a standard DC power supply (Wal Wart). I have dozens of Wal Warts which powered portable CD players, portable phones, etc.. Can any of these be used or do I need to ensure a specific voltage?

You need a specific voltage. If you read the labels closely on your wall warts you will see that they can vary widely from millivolts to much higher levels. Some wall warts are user selected voltage so you can pick the correct voltage. What you need to do is identify the devices which the power supply goes to then get the proper power supply. If it is for powering standard remote switches for turnouts by Atlas or similar then you need something like 20 volts AC, not DC. (20VAC is the AC accessory output from a standard Tyco electric train transformer.)

I don't have any Tortoise machines so they might be different.

 

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Posted by gthomson on Monday, February 11, 2019 5:45 PM

rrinker
Electrically, the connections are irrelevent. You cna always remove those sockets and wire directly to the power sources, or install a different kind of socket. But you can easily find wall warts with the right plug and the right voltage for the switch one, so it might be nice to leave that. Most DC power packs have screw terminals to attach the wires to, so it might be easier to remove or bypass the track power jack with just wires to attach to whatever power pack you end up using. Making a small shelf to hold a power pack would be a good addition as well.

No everybody it's all good I think I found the answer i was looking for and I guess I thought there might be a different answer but i would bet he just plugged in a 9-12 v wal wart to power the switches and then had some kind of special transformer he used to operate the trolley or maybe it just ran continuosly? I think changing the sockets and adding a standard transformer would be best.

I have a few trolleys and one has the option to switch from live wire to track. The others are just track.

i'll post another thread specific to trolleys to find the guru's Smile

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, February 11, 2019 4:50 PM

I butchered my answer, typing the exact opposite of what I intended.  Good thing the FBI wasn't asking the question or they would be back at my house at 5 am.  Embarrassed

 

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, February 11, 2019 4:08 PM

gthomson

He was a member of our club that suddenly passed away Sad

I was the only other member of the club into trolleys. We have some very smart members for sure so I could bring it up with them but was a bit apprehensive of asking something that might have been obvious.

There might have been other items that did not get passed along to me. 

Is there a trolley guru here in the forum I could talk to? I will post more pictures but I'm not sure if they will help. The connector labeled "power track" connects directly with the track and the overhead wires and the connector labeled "switch power" connects to the first tortoise and then I think daisy chains to the others. There are 4 switches on the outside of the  layout frame to control the turn outs. 

 

 Well, then that sounds very straightforward. 9-12V DC power supply to the one for switch power. The toggles control the Tortoises.

 Variable input to the track power one to control the speed and direction of the trolleys (don't forget to swap the poles to go the other way, trolleys with pole pickup don't like to run backwards!). I'd be willing to bet the original owner had a small handheld DC power pack to plug in there, but any DC power pack will work just fine.

 Electrically, the connections are irrelevent. You cna always remove those sockets and wire directly to the power sources, or install a different kind of socket. But you can easily find wall warts with the right plug and the right voltage for the switch one, so it might be nice to leave that. Most DC power packs have screw terminals to attach the wires to, so it might be easier to remove or bypass the track power jack with just wires to attach to whatever power pack you end up using. Making a small shelf to hold a power pack would be a good addition as well.

 There's nothign special electrically about trolleys compared to diesel and stem models, they work exactly the same except that one side of the power pickup is an overhead wire instead of both rails - if it's wired that way. Sometimes the wire is just for show. There are commercially available trolley models that actually use the overhead, so if the layout is wired for such, that's the kind you want. Many are switchable, there is a small switch under the shell to select between regular 2 rail or overhead operation. 

                                          --Randy


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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, February 11, 2019 1:51 PM

You could go to your first post and edit the title to something like:

Powering a Trolley Layout.  

Or just start a new thread with as much detail as you can give us about exactly what you have.   That should bring anyone with that interest into the discussion.  If these are European trolleys, we have Europeans that can tell you more about the systems like Marklin.

Looking at the Bowser site, I see they made DCC trolleys, which were switchable between pure track power and track cantenary power.  That exhausts my knowledge of trolleys.  Edit Aside from finding a power connector you didn't expect, I think this should not be hard.

Henry

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Posted by gthomson on Monday, February 11, 2019 1:21 PM

He was a member of our club that suddenly passed away Sad

I was the only other member of the club into trolleys. We have some very smart members for sure so I could bring it up with them but was a bit apprehensive of asking something that might have been obvious.

There might have been other items that did not get passed along to me. 

Is there a trolley guru here in the forum I could talk to? I will post more pictures but I'm not sure if they will help. The connector labeled "power track" connects directly with the track and the overhead wires and the connector labeled "switch power" connects to the first tortoise and then I think daisy chains to the others. There are 4 switches on the outside of the  layout frame to control the turn outs. 

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, February 11, 2019 10:15 AM

duplicate post

Henry

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Posted by gregc on Monday, February 11, 2019 10:10 AM

gthomson
Just wonder why they chose to power it that way?

this is a common connector for most power supplies that plug into a throttle.   That's why i suggested it might just be the power supply connection to automation circuitry.

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, February 11, 2019 9:50 AM

I missed your post that they were tortoises.  The power that makes the tortoises move is always different than the power to the tracks.  The tortoises may have connections to track power to power the frogs, if that makes sense.

Yes by all means we would like to see pictures.   How big a layout are we talking about?   It might be feasible to make a video with your cell phone, post it in youtube and link it here so people could take a look at the wiring. 

Henry

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, February 11, 2019 9:17 AM

gthomson
the power to the track is still a bit confusing.

Yea it is confusing.  I think you need to figure out how it's powered and how it operates.

No body around from whom you inherited it from who might have a clue as to what made it go? How it's controlled?  No extra or unopened boxes that might contain some type of power pack or controller?

Did you have to move this layout to your place? (Just curious)

Lots of questions.

Pictures would great! 

Mike.

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Posted by gthomson on Monday, February 11, 2019 8:48 AM

there are 4 switches for the turn outs (which I didn't show in the image, my apologies) so these I change manually but I just a 12 V power supply that fits in? the power to the track is still a bit confusing.

I guess it could have been meant to just run non stop and the operations are just working the turn outs or like you said, I could get some kind of adaptor to go from my controller to the layout. I can include a picture of the layout if anyone is interested, the craftmanship is beautiful. Just wonder why they chose to power it that way? The layout came with numerous trolley magazines and articles so maybe I should scour through them to find an answer.

BTW Chris, great looking layout

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, February 11, 2019 7:30 AM

Like the Lion's subway?  

Mike.

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Posted by gregc on Monday, February 11, 2019 7:25 AM

gthomson
It's a trolley traction layout I inherited with ovehead and track power. The one connector is power to the overhead and track and the other is to the FROG switches but I don't understand why it wouldn't be a standard transformer?

maybe the trolley is self controlled and doesn't need a throttle, just power.   It could just run continuously with return loops or have some automation that stops the trolley at stations.  The turnouts could also be controlled automatically.

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, February 11, 2019 6:47 AM

Never mind.  See Randy's post.  Smile, Wink & Grin

Mike.

 

 

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, February 11, 2019 6:44 AM

 Most of the screws Ford would have been using would be flathead, or slotted types, in that time period. As anyone who has lost a chunk of skin to the blade of the screwdrive slipping out of the slot will attest, those things were the worst.

 Anyway - on the original topic - have you done any investigation unerneath as to where those wires go? To power Tortoises, you will want something that puts out 9-12 volts, no higher. If there are only 4 of them, a rating of 125ma is more than sufficient. You can probably find a discard from a broken piece of equipment with the correct rating. 

 For the other one, if that goes to the overhead and the rail, then you need a variable power pack for DC, to control the speed and direction. Just need a plug to fit that socket, and some wire to connect the plug to the power pack's variable DC out to get some trolleys running.

                                         --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, February 11, 2019 2:04 AM

mbinsewi
Henry, I had to look up the real name, I (and just about everybody else that uses them) call them square head drive screw, there's a little one, and a bigger one. 

Sorry to perpetulate the Robertson discussion, but there are actually five sizes. They all work really great.

I do apologise for Mr. Robertson's refusal to make a deal with Mr. Ford. If he had cut a deal the USA would have benefitted enormously, just like they have from Canadian snow birds, hockey, beer and donuts!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughLaugh

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Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, February 11, 2019 12:39 AM

BigDaddy
...By all means, let's leave Robertson behind, it does the OP no good....

True, but when P.L. Robertson invented the socket-head screw, Henry Ford was highly impressed by the design, and sought a licensing agreement.  Unfortunately. Robertson turned him down, likely missing out on a golden opportunity, and dooming America, at least at that time and for some years longer, to life with the Phillips screw.

Wayne

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Posted by BigDaddy on Sunday, February 10, 2019 9:02 PM

mbinsewi
Anyway, wouldn't there have to be some kind of a controller/trottle between the wal wart and the layout? As in his question "what power pack or transformer" I mean you don't just plug in the wal wart in the wall, and into the layout, would you?

mbinsewi
Anyway, wouldn't there have to be some kind of a controller/trottle between the wal wart and the layout? As in his question "what power pack or transformer" I mean you don't just plug in the wal wart in the wall, and into the layout, would you?

By all means, let's leave Robertson behind, it does the OP no good.

The picture lacked any reference to size, so it was open to interpretation.

To get back to your point, a tranformer has to power something:

  • Track
  • Turnout motors, aka switch machines
  • Accessories
  • Led indicators.
  • Mel's arduino stuff, which I barely understand Surprise

Now I see the OP has told us there are tortoise switch machines.  I'm still not sure if we are talking about a DC or DCC layout, so I have no more to say, at present.

Henry

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Posted by gthomson on Sunday, February 10, 2019 9:00 PM

Huh, I did not know that the Robertson screw/screw driver was CDN but it had nothing to do with my inquiry and glad it provided some mystery to my southern brothers :) I guess my inquiry was a bit confusing. There are these 2 inputs for power; 1 powers the track and the other the 4 switches. I'm not familiar with powering a layout with a standard DC power supply (Wal Wart). I have dozens of Wal Warts which powered portable CD players, portable phones, etc.. Can any of these be used or do I need to ensure a specific voltage?

Sorry update, their are 4 tortoise switcher mechanisms which require power.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Sunday, February 10, 2019 8:54 PM

BigDaddy
I apologize for not knowing what a Robertson bit or screw is, I'm ignant. (sp)

Henry, I had to look up the real name, I (and just about everybody else that uses them) call them square head drive screw, there's a little one, and a bigger one. 

You go to any of the hardware stores and ask for the Robertson head screw, most of the clerks look at you funny.  

Anyway, wouldn't there have to be some kind of a controller/trottle between the wal wart and the layout?

As in his question "what power pack or transformer"

I mean you don't just plug in the wal wart in the wall, and into the layout, would you?  

I knew the enlarged photo was throwing me off.  It just looked like some huge jack.

Maybe the OP could show more pictures of what he's got.

Mike.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Sunday, February 10, 2019 8:23 PM

A wall wart is a generic name for a tranformer that plugs into the wall and supplies power. 12 V is common, but computer power sources are much higher.  It's an inexpensive power source available from Amazon or Ebay.

gthomson
The one connector is power to the overhead and track and the other is to the FROG switches

You just threw us a BIG monkey wrench.  All turnouts have frogs.  The frog is the little wedgie shaped thing where the rails diverge.  Frog power isn't A or B, but changes from A to B when the switch (turnout) is thrown.  Therefore it is never a constant.

There is something called a Frog Juicer, which is a DCC reverser, and figures out which polarity the frog needs right here and right now.  We don't know that you have one of those, but it could be powered by a wall wart and it would "know" what needs to happen down stream.

DCC reversers aren't compatible with DC systems.  So there is no equivalent of a Frog Juicer for DC. 

There are DC switch machines, like RIX which can power the frog.  25 years ago I powered the turnout with a momentary switch, but I don't remember how I did it.

Atlas can power the frogs too, but I'm not the one to explain that.  For sure, the power from the transformer doesn't go directly to the frogs.

I apologize for not knowing what a Robertson bit or screw is, I'm ignant. (sp)

Henry

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Posted by richg1998 on Sunday, February 10, 2019 8:19 PM

 

Well, that threaded arrangement will keep it captive.

 

Rich

 

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Posted by gthomson on Sunday, February 10, 2019 7:52 PM

gregc

the thread on the outside confused me.  it looks like a a pretty standard DC connector that a wall wart plug into

what's the purpose?   does it provide a power so circuitry or is it track power?

 

thank you everyone for the responses and the help. I tihnk Greg has it as someone mentioned Wal Wart plug but I don't know what this is? 

It's not as complicated as it seems I don't believe. It's a trolley traction layout I inherited with ovehead and track power. The one connector is power to the overhead and track and the other is to the FROG switches but I don't understand why it wouldn't be a standard transformer?

I'm pretty much a newbie and understand hooking up a transformer to a track but not experienced with more complicated electronics.

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