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Maybe I was expecting too much for a measly $85 plus shipping

But, the Atlas O scale operating pump I recently bought is quite a disappointment.

First:   Delicate beyond belief.    When I opened the box, I could see that this thing was delicate, and tried to handle it accordingly, but was unsuccessful.  By the time I lifted it out, set it down on my train table, and gently turned it on its side to look a the wiring underneath, two of the extremely thin cross rails at the top of the chain link fence snapped in half.  Worse yet, the super thin wires underneath had been soldered to the circuit board contacts, near the edge of the platform, with the wire lengths extending in the direction going directly outside the edge (into the open), instead of extending laterally back underneath the platform.   I attempted to gently curve the two wires back underneath the platform, and surprise, the solder points were so tiny that they both snapped off.    It was a real chore to re-solder the wires, onto that tiny plastic circuit board, without melting the board.

Second:  Electronics.  There were virtually no electronic specs or instructions in the package.  They only say "Operates on DC or AC, 12 Volts."   Oh really?  How many amps?   1, 2, 3, 12?  The wires are so tiny that I can't even tell what gauge they are.  24? 26?    I checked in the online description of specs, and surprise, it says "Operates on DC or AC power 8 to 22 volts."

Third:  I know that this is a toy (or is it?), but when the pump runs, it sounds like a garbage disposal, an unpleasant grinding sound, loud enough to be plainly heard across a large train table whenever the train is stopped.  (I hooked a little 9 volt radio battery to it for a minute or so, and it does at least run.)

So there you have it.  Too delicate for a standard 3-rail O-Gauge layout, and too loud I think for a devoted 3-rail Scale devotee.

Oh, but it does have these tiny paper Caution signs, that the instructions say you are suppose to glue onto the plastic fence with white glue.  Really?  White glue on plastic?

Having said all of that, does anybody know what gauge of wires this thing has, or how many amps or watts it will take?

Thanks,

Mannyrock

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I watched Eric's review of this accessory, and thought he was way less than gentle in working with it.  I would have taken more time in getting it out of the packaging and onto the layout.  And I always read all the instructions before installing... it just part of the fun for me... anticipation and all that.

I noticed that his had the electrical requirements printed right on the outside of the box too.  Is yours different?

It does make some noise.  I wonder what the real thing sounds like?

Jon  

Kool,

I too watched Eric's review, in advance of buying.   I took it out of the box as gently as I could, and it still broke.

My box (for the Redbird pump) has zero electrical information on it, except "For AC or DC power, 8-22 volts."

Does this mean I can hook this up directly to my little train transformer, with 7.5 amps, and set it on 12 volts without burning out the pump?  Who knows?  Can hair thin wires handle 7.5 amps?  Who knows?

I see online that I can buy small phone chargers, that put out 1.5 to 3 amps of DC current.   But, I'm not sure those tiny wires could even handle 3 amps.

Ridiculous that Atlas puts out a product for nearly $100 without an adequate set of electrical specs.

Mannyrock

@Mannyrock posted:
Does this mean I can hook this up directly to my little train transformer, with 7.5 amps, and set it on 12 volts without burning out the pump?  Who knows?  Can hair thin wires handle 7.5 amps?  Who knows?

Electrical devices only draw the power required, they're not dependent on the current capacity of the supply voltage source.  If that were not the case, every time you plugged a nightlight into a 15A household circuit, it would immediately blow up in your hand.

If this accessory requires 100ma and you connect it to a 7.5A transformer, it'll draw 100ma.

The wires are about the same size as the old green wires that have come with Lionel accessories for 100 years.  As far as listing amps in the electrical description:   Again, I have never seen any typical O-Gauge accessory list that.    At least not Lionel or MTH.   I just randomly looked at manuals for my original and also my modern Lionel Oil Derrick.   Just lists the voltage operating range.    Same with the manual for my old MTH Operating Firehouse.

Each of these, as well as my Coal Ramp, Nuclear Reactor, etc.... come with the same size wire as this new Atlas pump.I haven't burned anything up yet in 40 years.

The noise?  I guess that is a subjective thing.  The cacophony on my layout when the Rotating Beacon is on, the Radar Tower and Control Tower are on, just to name a few, overcomes any noise from my Atlas Oil Pump.

Is the Atlas delicate? Yes.   It was interesting to see that Eric lifted his the exact same way I did mine, by grabbing the plastic "bag" in the center and gently lifting up.

Lastly, the small dab of white glue on the card stock to affix them to the fence is a very old trick.  It won't "melt" the fence, and it makes it very easy to remove and replace the signs should you desire.

Anyway, that's my review

@Mannyrock posted:


Does this mean I can hook this up directly to my little train transformer, with 7.5 amps, and set it on 12 volts without burning out the pump?  

Yes.  I measured the pumps draw about 50 milliamperes (0.05 amps) each at 12 v DC.  I have three of them connected to a Kato DC transformer and the total current is 145 ma.  If a transformer is rated at 7.5 amps, that does not mean it is always outputting 7.5 amps.  The sound level is another issue.  I usually run mine at around 6 v DC to keep the noise tolerable.

Thanks guys for all of this great information, especially on the electrical side.

I have a follow up question:  If electrical devices only draw what they need, then why are we putting 3 amp fuses in our electric line, between the transformer and train accessories?    And, why aren't we connecting our train accessories directly to our constant output post with 18 volts AC?   

Just trying to learn more.

Thanks,

Mannyrock

@Mannyrock posted:

Thanks guys for all of this great information, especially on the electrical side.

I have a follow up question:  If electrical devices only draw what they need, then why are we putting 3 amp fuses in our electric line, between the transformer and train accessories?    And, why aren't we connecting our train accessories directly to our constant output post with 18 volts AC?   

Just trying to learn more.

Thanks,

Mannyrock

The fuses protect in case of a short.  If the accessory is rated at 18v then it could be connected to a fixed 18v source.  However, some accessories are rated for only 14v max.  I run my Atlas switch machines from the fixed 14v terminal of a MTH brick even though they are rated for a higher voltage.

@Mannyrock posted:

Thanks guys for all of this great information, especially on the electrical side.

I have a follow up question:  If electrical devices only draw what they need, then why are we putting 3 amp fuses in our electric line, between the transformer and train accessories?    And, why aren't we connecting our train accessories directly to our constant output post with 18 volts AC?   

Just trying to learn more.

Thanks,

Mannyrock

Hey Mannyrock,

If your accessory is rated to handle it, yes, you could hook it directly.   However, in practice I never run any of mine at the maximum rated voltage.   Even my Fasttrack switches are powered thru Aux Power at about 14V. I find my constant moving things like the above mentioned Radar, Beacon, Control tower, etc.. operate nicely at 12 V.

Although it is fun to run a classic Lionel Operating Milk car at 18V and see how far you can launch the Milk Cans

@Mannyrock posted:

Thanks for all info.

This thing has super thin wires.   Can I hook up my power source to those wires using heavier gauge wires, such as 18 Gauge?  Or will this cause excess heat where the wires are joined together.

Mannyrock

Assuming that your power source is correctly rated for your accessory, i.e., it is not putting out more voltage than the accessory calls for or within its stated range, then you can use heavier gauge wires but they provide no benefit. In addition, it's not always easy to connect wires of widely different gauges together.

As to your question about 3 amp fuses, fuses typically protect against shorts where the current spike is a lot larger than what the device is rated for. You wouldn't want the fuse rating to be the same as the accessory or it would blow every time you turned it on, so it has to be larger. In addition, the fuse is generally intended to protect the more expensive transformer from the short. I don't want a short in a $2.00 lighted lantern to destroy my Z-4000 transformer. Many accessories are only in the milliamp spectrum, so 3 amps provides enough protection.

And the reason you can't just connect an accessory to an 18acv tap is because the manufacturer rates the accessory for the maximum amount of voltage the accessory can use or withstand without destroying it.

Hope this helps.

With most operating accessories, I hook them up to a 1033 (or any variable voltage) transformer, on the track voltage posts, that are controlled by the handle. This way I can vary the voltage and see what voltage setting I get the best operating results from. Its a combination of speed and noise. Once I like the operating speed, I measure the voltage with a meter so I know what I want. After that, I connect it to one of my auxiliary transformers that deliver the desired voltage.

I have a Lionel saw mill, and the Atlas turntable, both of which operate on dedicated transformers, so I can control the speed properly. A little expensive, maybe, however some of these items only run properly when running at a specific narrow voltage range.  I tape the transformer handle in place, and label it with the desired voltage setting in case it gets moved. Its important to label the voltage setting, as you will forget and have to experiment all over again to find the setting you like.

The good news about the noise, as you get older, you don't notice it as much. Not sure if I am loosing my hearing or just learning to tune it out.

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OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
330-757-3020

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