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About Boosters

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  • Member since
    April 2001
  • From: US
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About Boosters
Posted by blabride on Saturday, February 11, 2023 1:24 PM

Hello,

I am trying to figure out power for an 8x8 extension to a 8x16 HO railroad that I have. I have been powering the 8x16 walkaround with a Dgitrax Zephyr Extra and its 3 amps. Most all of my Locos are newer Athearn Genesis and or Atlas. I also have never run more than about 5 at a time. I do have UP5 panels and a DT602 as well as an older DT500 throttle for control. The new addition will have a 5 track yard as well as a smaller two track yard on the other side, the loop is only single tracked. So I doubt this section will ever see more than a 3 or 4 loco MU and a yard switcher. 

The 8x16 has two loops double track. Still with what I have run I have never tripped the breaker. My AMP hog is my Hallmark brass Texas Eagle, 8 lighted detailed cars that use .14 amps each. It is powered by an AA set of MTH PA-1s they tend to max out between .08 and .25 AMPS. most all the other locos I have are about the same. The newest Tsunami 2 Genesis are redicluously efficient staying below .15.

My question is, if I block the new addition into a seperate section and power it with another Zephyr Extra at 3 AMPS I am thinking I should be OK? I could buy the DSC240 at 350.00 and get 5 amps for the whole layout but at its street price I might as well get the Evox Advanced set at only 30.00 more. But that seems a bit wasteful as I really do not need the extra throttle. 

Any suggestions.

Thanks,

SB

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 21,257 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Saturday, February 11, 2023 1:39 PM

I would build and wire the new section separately as if you did plan to add a booster, but simply protect it and the older section with separate circuit breakers.  That way, you can evaluate your need for more power, and if you  need it, you can easily add a booster after the fact.

I have a larger layout with a 5 Amp DCC system, and never have any problems.  You may be marginal for yours.  You seem to have more locomotives active than I usually do.  Are your lighted passenger cars LEDs or incandescent?

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

  • Member since
    July 2009
  • From: lavale, md
  • 4,600 posts
Posted by gregc on Saturday, February 11, 2023 2:47 PM

why would you need additional power if you don't plan on running addtional locomotives at the same time?

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

  • Member since
    April 2001
  • From: US
  • 416 posts
Posted by blabride on Saturday, February 11, 2023 3:25 PM

The passenger cars do have LED's. From what I am understanding, which could be wrong, if the new section was blocked and powered by a seperate 3 AMP booster the trains on that section, say the Eagle would get its 1.25 amps from that booster. While on the bigger section, if I had a ABA set of Genesis F units pulling 1 amp things would be OK with 2 amps on that section to spare as well as an active efficient switcher on the 8X8 yard. I doubt I will ever have more than that on each section. Most of the time it is just me. Sometimes my two Grandkids. 

I do see Digitrax does offer just a 3/5/8 amp switchable booster the DB210 for around 130.00 street price.

SB

  • Member since
    September 2014
  • From: 10,430’ (3,179 m)
  • 2,257 posts
Posted by jjdamnit on Sunday, February 12, 2023 12:30 PM

Hello All,

With Digital Command Control (DCC) there are two (2) components; the power and the packets.

The power is measured in Amperage (Amps) and drives the motors in the locomotives, other powered functions of rolling stock, and DCC-powered accessories. This is generated by the booster or power station.

Packets are the signal(s) generated by the throttle(s) sent to the individual decoders to execute the functions (commands) of the decoder.

Some manufacturers place these two (2) components in a single housing; often with a jumper between the two (2) sides, while other manufacturers have these as separate, stand-alone, components that need to be linked.

gregc
(W)hy would you need additional power if you don't plan on running addtional locomotives at the same time?

If you are expanding your pike but not adding any more locomotives, powered rolling stock, or DCC-powered turnouts, then you don't need more Amps.

However, if you plan on adding more locomotives, powered rolling stock or DCC powered accessories, then you need to roughly calculate how much power (Amps) you will need.

There are many different ways to calculate the power draw of a locomotive or powered rolling stock.

Other components that draw power from the DCC bus are often marked with their Amperage draw. When in doubt contact the manufacturer for this information.

From there simply add up the results and that will give you your Amperage needs. For safety, I factor in a 20% "headroom" above the basic calculation.

The other part of the DCC signal is the packets. These are generated by the throttle(s), sent to the command station and combined with the power and sent through the bus and/or track.

Packet signals do have a limited "signal strength." They can travel approximately 40-feet (according to some DCC manufacturers) before getting to the command station/booster reliably.

This is applicable to throttles that plug into a non-powered Utility Throttle Panel(s)- -UTPs- -placed around the layout, wireless is a different discussion.

If you are expanding your pike but not your roster you may need signal repeaters.

These are Utility Throttle Panels (UTPs) that are powered by an external source (walwart) to boost the packet signal strength, over signal runs longer than 40-feet, before it gets to the command station/booster.

Circuit protection does two (2) things; it limits the power draw in case of an overload- -exceeding the Amperage rating of the component(s)- -and shuts down the section(s) in case of a short circuit- -which can damage components, locomotives and other powered items.

There have been several threads concerning adding power to a layout.

Check these out...

how much power do I need?

...And the two (2) embedded threads.

If considering adding just a power booster check out this thread...

DCC Concepts

The National Moder Railroad Association (NMRA) has published standards to which all North American DCC systems adhere to, providing interoperability between these DCC components.

European manufacturers of digital control components- -not to be confused with Digital Command Control- -do not have to abide by these standards. Some systems are compatible while some aren't.

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 23,868 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Monday, February 13, 2023 11:46 AM

MisterBeasley

I would build and wire the new section separately as if you did plan to add a booster, but simply protect it and the older section with separate circuit breakers.  That way, you can evaluate your need for more power, and if you  need it, you can easily add a booster after the fact.

I have a larger layout with a 5 Amp DCC system, and never have any problems.  You may be marginal for yours.  You seem to have more locomotives active than I usually do.  

Yes, this would be my advice as well. Just keep one booster but add circuit brekaers to form power districts as subdivisions of the larger booster district.

Rich

Alton Junction

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    April 2001
  • From: US
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Posted by blabride on Tuesday, February 14, 2023 2:19 PM

Thanks guys for your advice and think I am going to do break it into the two districts since I have not wired the new section yet and add the breakers. 

I may be missing something though. If the new addition only has the loconet running to the UP5's how will the power get to the new bus wires for the track? Would the PM74 Power Manager provide short pretection and power to the districts?

Thanks,

Steve B

  • Member since
    July 2008
  • 1,204 posts
Posted by mfm37 on Saturday, February 18, 2023 8:39 AM

Loconet runs to the UP5. Your bus should be connected to the bus on the existing section. Alternately each bus could be connected to the output of a DCC circuit breaker like a PM74. The track power wires from your DCS52 would supply power to the PM74. Each of the bus 's would be protected by their own circuit breaker which would allow one to stay on if a short interupts power to the other.

Martin Myers

  • Member since
    April 2001
  • From: US
  • 416 posts
Posted by blabride on Saturday, February 18, 2023 9:28 AM

Martin,

Thanks that is exactly what I need to know. Ordering a PM74.

Steve B

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