I like to monitor the current drawn on my ZW transformer track power.  I currently use a Chinese made digital LED panel meter, purchased for about $10 on eBay.  The issue with this method is that although it provides a nice digital display, I don't have confidence in its accuracy. Moreover, the wires it provides for connection are almost thread-thin, probably #26 AWG or smaller, and running 5 to 10 amps through wires (in series of course) that small is unsettling. I would prefer a toroidal current transformer connected to a meter, so there is no direct connection to the circuit.  Does anyone have a solution like that? I am not adverse to building it myself.  I know I can also get thermocouple meters for this purpose, but they tend to be very bulky and not pretty on the control desk.

Gary Liebisch

Columbus, OH

Super 'O' since 1958!

Original Post

Back in the early days of the Forum I imported Analog Panel Meters and sold them to Forumites for my cost. At the time I imported from a New Zealand Electronics Company aquaintance that let me piggyback off their quarterly orders from Japan and then shipped to USA via air freight.

The meters were assembled in Taiwan from Japanese components and proved to be good quality and durable over time. However, after selling a few 100, they were eventually not competitive costwise due to all the air freight via Japan-Taiwan-New Zealand-DHL Cinncinatti- Greensboro plus my packing and snail-mailing to hobbyists.

As a result,  for awhile I imported Chinese made meters direct to USA until the N.C. tax folks started inquiring about the nature of my "business" on the internet. They did not believe it was tiny, non-profit as accommodation for Hobbyists. I quit.

Eventually in the USA sellers such as Light Object offered 2-1/2% variation Analog VAC and AAC Panel Meters, type which I favor, at $!0 or less, and I found the quality to be good and suitable for monitoring my power districts and Tortoise VDC motor power. Light Object supplies 0-30 VAC and 0-15 AAC (also VDC and ADC meters are available in low ranges for the 12 VDC Tortoise wall wart supply).

Photo shows panel for dormant tiny attic operation (circa 2010) with meters reading two railpower districts and power supply for 17 Tortoise motors. Meters rescued from large layout disassembly(RIP '08).


A&Y RY[NC's Southern/N&W connector].

Add Reply

OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653