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Block wiring/Power issue, plz help

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  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 16 posts
Block wiring/Power issue, plz help
Posted by athaprime on Sunday, June 30, 2002 1:04 PM
I have wired a layout with cab control, with 10 'blocks' and 2 power transformers. The trains move swiftly around the layout, however in places the trains appear sluggish. I have cleaned all the track with a pink eraser, likewise all the wheels of my locomotives. I am thinking because of the sheer size of the layout, (14' x 4'), and the amount of wire involved the problem stems from the transformer itself? The transformers I am using indicate "output: DC 0-12V, Power total 5.5VA" Could this be the problem? Underpowered? Your advice is much appreciated.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, June 30, 2002 2:53 PM
5.5 VA's may be inadequete for multi-engine operation. Usually a 5. or 6. VA comes with starter sets and good for one engine.
If your are running two, I would think that you are pretty close to popping the internal circuit breaker.
After market power packs, like those from Model Rectifier have enough capacity to rum two or more locos.
Go to modelrec.com and click on train controllers.
Also look at Walthers reference book for the specifications of 11 power packs.
Locos generally draw .25 to.50 ampere of current
and the total amperage for each of their models is
listed, from .6 to 2.50
The pack you have can be used to power accessories.
Middle of the road model, locomotion 2500 has 1.34
amps and you can do 4-6 trains.
Approx cost $45.00 thru www.trainworld.com or www.
standardhobby.com + shipping.


  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, June 30, 2002 2:56 PM
CORRECTION IN UAL, SB www.modelrec.com
  • Member since
    January 2001
  • From: Guelph, Ont.
  • 1,476 posts
Posted by BR60103 on Sunday, June 30, 2002 9:24 PM
If your trains run well on parts of the layout but not on others then the transformers may not be the problem. Is it always the same places that they are sluggish? Are these on the far side of the layout from the controls? If so, you may need to check first that your rail joiners are tight and put on properly (that they are over the bases of both rails). Lots of modellers think that you should solder wire to each rail rather than use rail joiners.
Scondly, is your wire big enough? If you are using wire from telephone cables or compter cables, its probably not enough. I use it but double the wire. A wire that's thicker than required only harms your wallet; a wire that's thinner than required acts as a resistance and electricity that should be running your train goes to heat up the wire.
If it's only sluggish in one or two blocks, there may be bad connections in your control panel or on the way to the blocks.

--David

--David

  • Member since
    March 2002
  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
  • 10,240 posts
Posted by dknelson on Monday, July 1, 2002 8:08 AM
also you may have a cold joint where the wire is soldered to the rail. These LOOK fine but are relying on the solder, or maybe just one or two strands of wire, to conduct electricity which is not good. Check your feeder wires.
a voltmeter and ammeter are useful tooks for this purpose.
Dave Nelson
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, July 1, 2002 1:53 PM
All the other replies are valid and may be the trouble, but there is also one other possible problem you might have. I have had this problem myself, so am aware of how easy it can slip into a layout. That is an unplanned grade, because of an unlevel floor, or legs that are unequal length, or some other reason. I your engines all slow at the same place going the same direction this could be the problem. Good luck! Greenriver

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