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programming track switch

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  • Member since
    April 2003
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programming track switch
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, November 6, 2003 9:32 PM
I am puttin a programming track on my HO/Digitrax layout and when I went to buy a DPDT switch, the store wanted to know voltage requirements. All i know is 5 amps...what is the voltage?
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  • From: Guelph, Ont.
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Posted by BR60103 on Thursday, November 6, 2003 10:48 PM
The voltage is under 24 volts AC, probably 14 to 16. Any DPDT switch should work; if there's a problem see if the automobile section has one. Even a smallish slide switch will do.

--David

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  • From: City of Québec,Canada
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Posted by Jacktal on Friday, November 7, 2003 7:54 AM
BR60103 is right,the voltage is indeed in the 14-16 VAC range which isn't high voltage.However you have to take into account the amperage draw expected from your loco(s) at any time on your track section.Most N scale locos draw under 1 amp,Ho's slightly more and so on as scale gets bigger.Since you program only one loco at a time this part isn't much to worry about.During operation,when your programming track becomes part of the running layout,the amperage draw could become a concern should you decide to run multiple loco consists as their individual amp draws add up.

You probably never will use the full 5 amps potential of your DCC system but to make sure that the switch will not heat and cause voltage drops,I suggest that you still go with a good one.Cole-Hersee makes very good switches for automotive use which you'll find in most auto parts stores for a reasonable price.They don't have the fancy look nor the soft movement of smaller slide switches but will get the job done.

Even more,you could look for a switch that has a "center" or "neutral" position,it might be a handy feature should you wi***o use your programming track to park non-decoder equipped locos for instance or other cases where you could wi***o have an unpowered section of track.
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, November 7, 2003 9:08 AM
A programming track better not draw 5 amps. Actually a 1 amp switch will be fine. You are suppose to use a resistor to limit the amperage so you don't fry incorrectly installed decoders. The resistor limits the amperage to under 1 amp. I'll answer the next question without being asked, 20 ohm, 2 watt resistor. FRED
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  • From: Omaha, NE
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Posted by dehusman on Friday, November 7, 2003 2:37 PM
If your booster puts out 5 amps then you better figure on any wiring handling 5 amps. If its a 10 amp booster, then 10 amps. If your locomotive should for some reason get a short in it, the programing track could draw the full amperage.

Dave H.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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  • From: Blooington, IN
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Posted by JoeUmp on Friday, November 14, 2003 3:23 AM
So far every one here has responded with good information. But something everyone seems to be unawhere of is that most switches for the electronics industry (and that includes us model railroaders now) are rated for 120V. That's because most electronic systems use 120V for their power supplies.

So just run down to your nearest elecronics store, or Radio Shack, and pick one up. Be sure to get one rated for the max current rating or your command station if you are going to run the programming track as part of your full loyout.

If you decide that you need alot of switches then you might consider a mal order firm such as Mouser or Dallee Electronics. Their catalogs will tell you all the information you will need to know to select the appropriate switch.
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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, November 16, 2003 3:47 PM
JoeUmp is correct that most switches sold by electrial distributors are 120/240 V. A large industry has evolved to supply parts to the automotive manufacturers. These switcches are common at Radio Shack. They differ from 120/240V switches in that they are rated for 12V DC. These are the best choice for DCC or DC analog for that matter. They are rated for 10 to 20A and usually have .25" Faston terminals. The 12V rating is enough because it's harder for a switch to break DC than the pulse packets of DCC.

Ken
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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, November 16, 2003 4:16 PM
As a precaution add a simple 1.o amp fuse (from radio shack) . It will protect your dcc equipment Any switch will do..

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