amp meter reading

Just a quick question about a reading on the amp meter ,i have just finished this project with the volt & amp meters ,i also installed a blue chip led from evans designs over each volt & amp meter ,the question i have is i was running my lionel lionmaster challenger & it was drawing maybe around 1/2 to 1 amp according to the meter & when i put the smoke on it jumped to 3 amps & after maybe 15 seconds it dropped back down to the 1/2 to 1 amp range ,for my own information is this normal ? ,i am not concerned about it i just want to know if this is normal ,as i have never had meters before .DSC02252


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I would think that the amount of power being drawn would stay the same until it was shut off ,or as with legacy there are 3 levels ,low -med .-& high , of course with 3 levels the amount of power being drawn would change , but why would it go down when it is only at low setting  anybody care to comment ? 

ChoochooPaul ,The meter does go higher when i first put the smoke on ,as i stated in the top of the post then after 15 seconds or so ,it drops back down to maybe 1/2 to 1 amp & it will move around some but not as much as when i first put it on ,i don't have time now ,but tomorrow i will check it again & see how it acts & post what i see .

My guess would be that when you first turn on the smoke it draws more than usual to get it warmed up but then drops down a bit once going.  I don't have legacy so I have no idea how that works.    

One question which may sound silly but I will ask it.   With the smoke off do you notice much  fluctuation in the amp draw as the engine runs around the track ?   I have about the same setup as you and I run TMCC and DCS.   I normally see some fluctuation in amp draw but it is because of track that might need cleaning.  When I really clean the track well, the fluctuation all but stops except for 1 curve where is adds resistance to the loco. 

Could it be that when adding the smoke unit into the mix the amp draw is a fair amount higher and you notice the fluctuation more.  



I just came up from the basement & i checked all four loops & as i said before when i first turn on the smoke the amps does increase some for a few seconds & then drops down & when you shut it off it of course drops a little more & ED, i agree with you ,it draws more to heat the resister up & then drops down some ,as far as with the smoke off there is very little fluctuation with the meter & even with the smoke on ther is not a lot of movement with the meter ,i was just curious about that i'm not worried about how accurate the readings are ,it is close enough for my needs it was a fun project & i like the look it gives the layout & the real fun part of the project was having my 10 year old grandaughter HELPING me & she did a lot of the soddering that was done ,all i had to do was hold the sodder she did a great job !!!!!


You will find having the meters to watch amperage is a great troubleshooting tool.   Over time I see the amp meter increase a bit telling me it's time to clean the track.

But I had a case where I was running a Williams diesel with 2 motors.   Was running fine but  I happened to look and see the amp meter showing it at 6+ amps ( nothing but engine on the track).   

Took the shell off and found 1 of the motors was super hot.  The only thing I found was a wire that was punched to the point of exposing the wire a bit to the frame.  Taped it up and carefully put the shell back on.  It been running fine now for almost 2 years after the incident.  The point is had I not  seen the amp meter reading who knows what damage the engine motor would have incurred along with the added expense to replace the motor and such.


ED, It's funny you mentioned track cleaning because it has been a while since i have done that ,so instead of waiting to do it i will be making time soon for that  & your example of the motor getting hot & the meter going to 6 amps gives me some more knowledge on what i could look for should i have a problem ,so my meter project that i did just to give me something to do is paying dividends to me with what i am learning from all the responses ,so far my amp reading hasn't gone over 1 amp ,except when i turn the smoke on .

          Royboy ,I see the amps go up with both TMCC & Legacy also ,it is good to know why it is happening .

Thats a great little project you completed Gerald. Great idea installing the LED's Have fun Nick


Nick it was a lot of fun ,if you look under the panel there is a pullout shelf underneath so if i ever have to change a meter or led light i just loosen 2 screws & lay the panel on the shelf ,i don't have to go under the layout at all ,there is a picture of the shelf on a recent post on this project .

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