Time to Upgrade Transformer

3Bird

3Bird

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I'm looking to upgrade my c. 1974 transformer for my trains.

20191217_140357.jpg

At this point I just have one switcher engine of the same vintage. I also have one newer streetcar that will soon be set-up to run off overhead wire. This spring we are embarking on a garden railway project with major expansion to the line and multiple locomotives. Right now, this is just around the Christmas tree.

What considerations do I need to take into account when upgrading the power to my system?
 
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
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How many loco's do you want to have running at the same time?
Will any of these be bigger, two (or more) motor loco's?
Are you wanting to stay analogue 'forever'? - Do you think DCC might be an option for the future??

Buy the best you can afford, and remember 'big can also do small'.

PhilP.
 
3Bird

3Bird

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How many loco's do you want to have running at the same time?
Will any of these be bigger, two (or more) motor loco's?
Are you wanting to stay analogue 'forever'? - Do you think DCC might be an option for the future??

Buy the best you can afford, and remember 'big can also do small'.

PhilP.

I think I do want to go digital. Are there any downsides?

To be honest, I don't don't have a sense on even how to begin planning the garden railway. By the end of next summer, I'd like to have at least two larger locomotives and one streetcar. By the end of the following summer, I'd like to have at least two more. Those are in addition to at least two switchers.

What would you say are my high-end and mid-range options?
 
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
26,801
2,771
Tamworth, Staffs.
What would you say are my high-end and mid-range options?

Personally, I think live overhead (outside) is for masochists! ;) :giggle:
NOTE:
You can NOT run DCC from a live overhead line. - Too many 'brownouts'.

If you stay analogue, you would probably end-up with a big transformer, and several controllers/throttles for your sections.

If you go digital, then you just throw all the switches, and make everything live at once.

A lot of people will recommend Piko, or Massoth, but that is mainly historical (Massoth made most the electronics for LGB) and 'we' are a heavily 'Euro-centric' Forum.

I use a small Digitrax system. - Sentimental (my Father bought it, and never used it) and it is 'kind enough' to not blow anything up. - Yet! :sweating:;)
BUT, it is quite limited in power (unless you add boosters) and many will tell you 19 volts is not enough. Which is 'brown and smelly' IMHO.

Greg will now recommend a nice-juicy system, for you:
Greg? ..
 
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dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
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As Phill says DCC on Track and Overhead is a complete no no. But if you went DCC the benefit of overhead for just one Tram is zero. However nothing to stop you stringing up the overhead for cosmetic reasons and running everything DCC From the track. And yes that MRC ?MPACK looks like it is well past its sell by date.
 
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3Bird

3Bird

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I've been reading up, and I'm pretty sure we want to go digital. Here comes the complete noob question: What does that mean for my c.1974 LGB Schoema Diesel switcher, but what about other older engines we might acquire?
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
I've been reading up, and I'm pretty sure we want to go digital. Here comes the complete noob question: What does that mean for my c.1974 LGB Schoema Diesel switcher, but what about other older engines we might acquire?
Not sure about the Schoema, if it has a 3 pin connection to the chassis it means a little more work to convert as any 3 pin loco uses 1 wire as a common to the motor and pickup. Any like this need to be converted to have 4 wires, 2 from the motor and 2 from the pickups. A relatively simple job that involves complete pull apart of the chassis, some wire cutting and insulation. You will likely find how to do it in the DCC thread on this forum.

Other (non 3 pin) LGB locs are generally quite easy with some taking a plug in LGB 55021 directly though some on here would direct you away from that option. Though there are plenty of US available DCC G scale systems you might like to consider if you want sound as well. There was just recently a thread showing the varying stickers on LGB locs to indicate chipping of suitable near ready to go locs. You may even without realizing that you already have a chipped LGB loco.

Not able to comment about other US makes as I have only chipped one Piko the other 2 I have powered by battery.

So for completeness I would recommend you look at Battery options, DCC with sound as well is also available via this route. Plenty of options in the US for this route.
 
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Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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If you are eventually going DCC, a 24-27 volt regulated power supply would make sense, with the amperage that matches the number of locos you will run. Definitely nothing under 5 amps, 10 amps is usually a good setup.

Then find a throttle that will run from DC and you can run your DC locos, and later use the power supply for DCC, and you can quickly convert to a DC layout for running unconverted locos.

By the way, the transformer pictured has the typical misleading markings, says 2 AMPS, BUT 25VA. in the theoretical best case 25 va could only give you 1.56 amps... to have 2 amps at 16 volts would require a minimum of 32 volt amps (volts times amps)... so at some throttle setting, you might have 2 amps, but not possible at 16 volts, which is too low for most G scale.

That well known manufacturer has been doing this for years, and it is misleading.

Greg
 
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3Bird

3Bird

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Not sure about the Schoema, if it has a 3 pin connection to the chassis it means a little more work to convert as any 3 pin loco uses 1 wire as a common to the motor and pickup. Any like this need to be converted to have 4 wires, 2 from the motor and 2 from the pickups. A relatively simple job that involves complete pull apart of the chassis, some wire cutting and insulation. You will likely find how to do it in the DCC thread on this forum.

Other (non 3 pin) LGB locs are generally quite easy with some taking a plug in LGB 55021 directly though some on here would direct you away from that option. Though there are plenty of US available DCC G scale systems you might like to consider if you want sound as well. There was just recently a thread showing the varying stickers on LGB locs to indicate chipping of suitable near ready to go locs. You may even without realizing that you already have a chipped LGB loco.

Not able to comment about other US makes as I have only chipped one Piko the other 2 I have powered by battery.

So for completeness I would recommend you look at Battery options, DCC with sound as well is also available via this route. Plenty of options in the US for this route.

Thank you! I'll need to do some serious reading. I'll put off surgery until after Christmas on the Schoema.
 
3Bird

3Bird

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If you are eventually going DCC, a 24-27 volt regulated power supply would make sense, with the amperage that matches the number of locos you will run. Definitely nothing under 5 amps, 10 amps is usually a good setup.

Then find a throttle that will run from DC and you can run your DC locos, and later use the power supply for DCC, and you can quickly convert to a DC layout for running unconverted locos.

By the way, the transformer pictured has the typical misleading markings, says 2 AMPS, BUT 25VA. in the theoretical best case 25 va could only give you 1.56 amps... to have 2 amps at 16 volts would require a minimum of 32 volt amps (volts times amps)... so at some throttle setting, you might have 2 amps, but not possible at 16 volts, which is too low for most G scale.

That well known manufacturer has been doing this for years, and it is misleading.

Greg

Thanks, Greg.

Is there a specific DCC set-up you would recommend? I've seen that several of the manufacturers (e.g., Piko) offer basic sets (e.g., Piko's Smart Control Basic Set). Or is it better to cobble together components that suit a specific layout?
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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So there is a fair amount to learn about what system. I suggest you do some reading, most systems can be sized to handle the number of trains you want.

Here's some stuff I wrote to help the first-timer:

DCC overview: DCC
How to choose a system: DCC Systems - How to choose

Greg
 
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3Bird

3Bird

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So there is a fair amount to learn about what system. I suggest you do some reading, most systems can be sized to handle the number of trains you want.

Here's some stuff I wrote to help the first-timer:

DCC overview: DCC
How to choose a system: DCC Systems - How to choose

Greg

That's fantastic! Thank you!
 
D

Dan

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If the schoema is old enough and has a split case motor block then it is a 2 wire unit and if original motor it has thrust balls at each end of the motor shaft and these are very important, do not loose them. Newer motors do not need these and need to be removed as modern motors have thrust bearings already inside the motor.
 
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Software Tools

Software Tools

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Personally, I think live overhead (outside) is for masochists! ;) :giggle:
NOTE:
You can NOT run DCC from a live overhead line. - Too many 'brownouts'.
With "keep alive" decoders (or separate "keep alive" additions to existing decoders") being readily available nowadays, operation from live OCS works very well. The Southern California Traction Club has done a lot of work on it. Below is a schematic of the general idea......

A4109DB2-3190-4DA1-B0F0-47B319CB1389.png
 
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Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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I agree, was going to argue that modern decoders and a keepalive can keep locos running for quite a long time without power.

Things have come a long way in the last 10 years :giggle:

greg
 
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3Bird

3Bird

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If the schoema is old enough and has a split case motor block then it is a 2 wire unit and if original motor it has thrust balls at each end of the motor shaft and these are very important, do not loose them. Newer motors do not need these and need to be removed as modern motors have thrust bearings already inside the motor.
I have no idea what that means at the moment, but I have a feeling it is going to be very important, so I'v filed it away! Thank you!
 
korm kormsen

korm kormsen

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I have no idea what that means at the moment, but I have a feeling it is going to be very important, so I'v filed it away! Thank you!

it means, that some LGB motors have slightly hollowed out tips at their axles. where these tips are embeded into the motorblock, they push against two birdshot-sized (about 2mm diameter) steelballs. some sort of one-ball ballbearings.
you loose these tiny balls, you spend hours on your knees, sweeping a magnet over the floor. then you spend time to find replacements on the net, to finally order a new loco.
(that's, why many open their locos using an underlying baking tray...)
 
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3Bird

3Bird

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Just an update: After lots of reading I think I'm going to go NEC PH-10R. Thanks all!
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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Good on you, I think you will like it a lot, I have a fair amount of information on it on my site:


 
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