Train Power Supplies

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Metalmann, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. Metalmann

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Dec 8, 2012
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    I haven't owned an electric train since the early 50s, but this low price made me think of using one of these for a cheap, low overhead, low voltage, power supply.:


    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Life-Like-H...678&pid=100009&prg=7683&rk=2&sd=140994658417&


    Anyone use these when starting out?:confused: Thought they may be useful for beginners wanting to go the cheap route at first.

    I already have a sweet PSU, but was wondering about this use? I remember running my trains for hours at a time, and the transformers would get a little too warm.

    Of course, I couldn't resist hooking up lights and other elec. garbage to them.;):D
     
  2. Dr.killjoy

    Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2013
    1,190
    156
    Well that power supply is made for a certain scale of trains and aslong as your using that scale I see no problems ....But what I would try to do is to find a yard sale or flea market and tried to find one there cheep or a whole box of train stuff and sell off what you don't need ..
     
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  3. PackratKing

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 13, 2008
    850
    215
    Are train transformers rectified to DC to obtain the reverse mode ??
    They contain the same basic rheostat to control train speed, as the foot-rheostat that is used on sewing machines, though the latter I believe is only AC...

    I have my Dremel - Universal motor - wired through one of the sewingmachine units, and it works like a charm...
     
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  4. Metalmann

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Dec 8, 2012
    700
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    I still don't really understand the Science of most of the posts here, and I'm not sure how that transformer could run the train in both directions so smoothly. I used to think there was some Super Magical switch hidden in there that you couldn't see.;)

    Sure was fun hooking up other things using the variable voltage.

    Maybe some guys here know exactly how the voltages work. I just imagine some kind of rheostat.:confused: Just like the sewing machine foot pedals.
     
  5. Duane P Wetick

    Active Member

    Apr 23, 2009
    408
    19
    I think the early Lionel units used a Rheostat and switch to switch and control power to the locomotive's DC PM (permanent magnet) motor. Later units may have used a variable auto-transformer (Variac) to control the engine, but I think a Rheostat was the control element because of cost. I seem to remember a bi-directional control lever; to the right was forward, to the left was reverse...and yes they did get hot!...to the point of smelling up the living room...as I recall. This was long before solid state technology (transistors) as I was messing around with tubes and big Aria radios.

    Cheers, DPW [Everything has limitations...and I hate limitations.]
     
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  6. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
    7,386
    1,605
    A resistor would be far more expensive then a transformer.

    An auto transformer is extremely dangerous to put inside a kids toy.

    Most trains run off DC, though I believe the traditional Lionel run off AC. To get DC they just full wave rectify the transformer output. The "reverse"switch is a DPDT for a polarity swap.
     
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