ELECTRAPACK "C"

20181008_15053820181008_15055520181008_150606Hi all I was wondering if anyone uses this transformer anymore? It has AC and DC out put. The AC is putting out 16.75v and the DC is putting out 18v. Just wondering if it will be ok to use to power my switches or anything else! Please let me know!

Mike

USMC 5/11 Battalion Oscar Battery 155 Big Guns!

Semper Fi !

Menards addiction Meeting member! /  LCCA# 41824

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I agree with Banjoflyer. I would not use it for any O gauge trains. I am also somewhat leary of these old transformers. Personally, I would rather be safe than sorry. 

However, it does have 2.5 amps D.C. that you could possibly use for lighting. But, with modern wall warts as inexpensive as they are, those might be a better and safer choice. I use the wall warts for several things around here. They are available in a variety of voltage and current ratings.

To add a little more to my above post, if you did use the old xfmr's DC for lighting, you would need some DC-DC buck converters to reduce the voltage for any LEDs and possibly some other types of lights. For very close to the price of the DC-DC converter you could probably purchase a wall wart of the proper size instead. You really aren't saving much, if any at all, with the old xfmr. The wall warts on ebay are really quite inexpensive. I imagine Amazon and other places that have them are also pricing them competitively.

Also, as a somewhat important FYI here, make sure that any wall warts you get are regulated power. The unregulated ones put out too much voltage (by several volts) until they are loaded down somewhere near their current rating, where they get much closer to their specified voltage. I believe Menard's had this problem with their early building power supplies that were causing lots of problems with the building lighting. The regulated wall warts put out the correct voltage all the time regardless of load. I believe that Menard's has now switched to the regulated power supplies and all is well with the building lights amd everyone is happy. Someone else could probably explain all this much better, but I think you get the idea here. I am not sure why they even make the unregulated wall warts? Possibly to save a small amount, few cents maybe? I'm sure the more knowledgeable folks here could explain that one, but I really don't know?

  If you're going to use it, the amp draw is all that would make a difference.  Thats plenty for a newer trolley or starter set loco... except there is no throttle.

  I'm running a trolley with a 70s Radio Shack 2.5a 12vdc with 6 4a diodes to slow the speed to about 8.5v. Off or on. A three position switch = a three speed. I have 9 speeds on a 4amp12v RS unit too.

  Look at the cord and insulation etc.. If the breaker isn't just a fuse, test it. (Cant tell).   

If you put a 2amp draw on it, then it should level out to just above12vdc. At the 2.5 amp max at least 12v should be there.

You can get 2.5a 12v out of a wall wart today, But I like the old boxes

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Thanks for all the information guys! I was just wondering cause I used it on my old 2 rail layout to power the switch motors and it worked fine. But I will heed your warnings and use something different!

RTR, on a side note, I have an unused outdoor low voltage light transformer I was thinking about using for my lighting. I hooked u 4 different LEDs to it and none of them blew, I will do more testing with that before I hook everything up to it. At one point it was used to light 25 outdoor walkway lights!

Mike

USMC 5/11 Battalion Oscar Battery 155 Big Guns!

Semper Fi !

Menards addiction Meeting member! /  LCCA# 41824

Ok Guys how about this for switch power?20181010_07545520181010_075502                                          Or if and when I get an AIU will the switches be powered from that and I am worrying about this to much?

Mike

USMC 5/11 Battalion Oscar Battery 155 Big Guns!

Semper Fi !

Menards addiction Meeting member! /  LCCA# 41824

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Mike: If you've got an MTH Z4000 transformer, why don't you use the aux outputs from that for the switches. What switches are you inclined to use for the layout?

I try to follow along with what you're doing with the new train room but you guys work too fast for me to keep up. Very impressive what you've done so far.

The outdoor lighting xfmrs usually have pretty high wattage, lots of power! If the voltage matches the LEDs you are using it would probably be ok, but I would break the output down into several circuits and add fuses and/or other protection according to the loads you end up with. 

I don't know much about the Tech 3 other than it's an MRC which is a reputable brand, IMO. It also looks newer and would probably be fine for some things around your layout. I have no idea what voltage/wattage it puts out though or if it's AC or DC? Protection is still a priority I think, don't want any mishaps, shorts, fires, etc. 

Leo, Hang in there, I have trouble keeping up too. We can lag behind together. I've even had to go back and reread a thread or two every now and then. And, if it makes you feel any better, I think I knew what Mike had for switches at one time, but I have totally forgotten now. One of those reread situations... 

Hi Leo and RTR, I have no switches right now, but plan on using MTH ScaleTrak! I Know there is better stuff, but I really like the looks of it, many have tried to talk me out of it, but I am set! LOL

I didn't know there was AUX outputs, just fixed and variable !

Mike

USMC 5/11 Battalion Oscar Battery 155 Big Guns!

Semper Fi !

Menards addiction Meeting member! /  LCCA# 41824

Mike: The fixed outputs are what I was referring to as aux outputs. Sorry for any confusion.

My question is why would you want to power your switches/turnouts with a separate power source? Is there some advantage to doing this? Wouldn't your Z4K transformer be well suited and reliable for this situation?

You may have a good reason for doing it this way and I can think of a couple of reasons myself. But I'd just like to know why you have this as part of your plan.

Mike,

In addition to the two "handle" outputs, the Z4K also has two fixed outputs on the rear panel - one is 14v output, the other is 10v output.

I don't know what switches you will be running or what voltage the switches need to operate at optimum capacity, but I believe you should be able to run wires from one of those two outputs to a distribution panel (like an MTH 12 terminal panel) and then out to power your switches. Any unused terminals on the panel can also be used to power lighting, accessories, etc., depending on power requirements.  

Fastrack switches need a "minimum" of 5V to operate. They say 14v is optimum, but I have had no problem with using the 10v output on the Z4K and saving the 14v output for other uses.

Now I remember the Scaletrax. I know little about Scaletrax, but stick with it Mike, it is what you like on your RR that matters here. It can all be made to work reliably, IMO. I am sure you will be happy with your choice.

After looking at everything available I narrowed my choice down to solid nickel silver rail as my main 'gotta have'. That left Atlas and Scaletrax. I ended up with Atlas as they had more switches and my LHS doesn't carry Scaletrax. I do still like Scaletrax and I even like Fastrack as well, but I eliminated the FT early on due to noise. 

Consolidated Leo posted:

Mike: The fixed outputs are what I was referring to as aux outputs. Sorry for any confusion.

My question is why would you want to power your switches/turnouts with a separate power source? Is there some advantage to doing this? Wouldn't your Z4K transformer be well suited and reliable for this situation?

You may have a good reason for doing it this way and I can think of a couple of reasons myself. But I'd just like to know why you have this as part of your plan.

I can't speak for Mike, but powering switches and acc. from a second unit can help stop flicker and dimming from coil actuations and other temporary draws. 

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Hi Guys, lets start off with thank you all for the input! I love getting information from here! 

First to answer Leo's question, why would you want to power your switches/turnouts with a separate power source? Is there some advantage to doing this? Wouldn't your Z4K transformer be well suited and reliable for this situation?

Answer: Because if I did not misread the information I thought it said to power from the fixed output, so I ASUMED that meant both from the Z4000 and the TIU. If I am wrong please let me know! The second part of the answer is very easy for me to explain, Cause I suck at electrical and I don't know! I can read something 1000 times and still not get it, but show me a picture and I can figure it out most of the time! LOL

Richie, all my track will be MTH ScaleTrak, including switches. I have no idea what the requirements are but in the PDF for the switches it show coming from the right fixed port on a Z4000. I planned on using a terminal strip to power all the switches as you described.

RTR Thanks for the support of my choice of ScaleTrak, I know a lot of people don't like it, but that's ok, as you stated its my layout and most of all its my money! LOL

So to be honest to all your questions and suggestions I welcome them and I hope I answered at least most of them. But if I haven't please let me know!

P.S. Just to be honest I may just be all screwed up with this! LOL

Mike

USMC 5/11 Battalion Oscar Battery 155 Big Guns!

Semper Fi !

Menards addiction Meeting member! /  LCCA# 41824

Leo, I don't know about Mike's needs, but one reason for me would be that my Atlas switch machines don't seem to like much less than 17-18 volts so the 10 or 14 volts on the Z4K wouldn't do it for me. The switch machines just don't have the same 'snap open/close' at lower voltages. I don't know what kind of switch machines Scaletrax uses so I have don't know if Mike could use those or not? He might very well be able to as he's using MTH track, switches (I think) and transformer? 

Mike, you are welcome. When Mike's layout is complete, it's Mike that needs to be happy! (Well I suppose maybe the Inspector will have to give final approval as well, but you should be enjoying it the most.) I think track selecting is a personal thing, like buying a Ford or a Chevy or a Dodge etc., everyone has their preferences. 

I have no problem with using ScaleTrax for a layout, they look alright to me. There were some problems with some of their early production runs for the #4 and #6 turnouts (gaps too close for non-derail feature; have since been fixed). I'm just trying to figure out if there will be any issues with the wiring that Mike is currently working on. This leads me to ask more questions.

I know that you will be planning on operating your turnouts through the DCS remote eventually by hooking up an AIU. In the meantime, what are you planning to do with the controllers that come with all of the MTH turnouts? Will you mount them on a central panel of some sort or will they be staged locally at various places around the layout?

I've included a wire diagram from one of their manuals that I'm sure you've already seen. Note that power connects to the controller, not the switch machine. So distributing power around the layout for turnouts doesn't make much sense. What you need to distribute to the turnouts are the 3 control wires that come from the controllers or eventually from the AIU.

Also, in reading through some of the DCS documentation, I believe that they call for around 18 volts for the track power. You won't get that from the fixed outputs of the Z4K transformer. But the variable outputs (the handles) can get you there; about 3/4 throttle is what they call for. Don't most people use bricks for DCS power?

I must admit that I have no experience with any of these fancy control systems other than what I've read in the forums and the instruction manuals. I think you should tell us more about your plan so that we can assist you when you're not sure what to do.

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Hi Leo, here is what I would like to do. Have a main control panel with mini toggle switches for each turnout, also install all the stock switch buttons on the facia near the switches. As I said before this is all new to me and I am just trying to do it right the first time around.

Mike

USMC 5/11 Battalion Oscar Battery 155 Big Guns!

Semper Fi !

Menards addiction Meeting member! /  LCCA# 41824

Mike,

I hope we're not mixing terminology here. What we have been referencing using the term "fixed" is that the two center outputs on the rear panel of the Z4K (shown in the above diagram) have a "fixed" voltage output of either 14v or 10v, depending on which output you use.

Using either of the two "fixed" voltage outputs on the rear panel of the Z4K as an external or auxiliary power source to operate your switches rather than using track power has nothing to do with the "fixed" and/or "variable" inputs and outputs of the TIU being powered by the Z4K handles.  

I seem to recall from somewhere that MTH switches require 10v to operate properly. Setting aside the eventual AIU upgrade for the time being, and based on power having to go to the switch controllers rather than the switch, itself (unlike Fastrack), I think you should be able to mount all your switch controllers on a panel; run two wires from the 10v output on the rear of the Z4K to a distribution panel; and then from the terminals of the distribution panel to each controller and then on to each switch per the above diagram.

I'd have to think about how the toggles would work because they'd only be supplying power to the switch controller - not "throwing" it. I believe you'd have to wire each toggle to the blue, green and red wires in the controller.

Mike: What you'll need with the MTH ScaleTrax turnouts is 3 wires going from your central control panel to each of the turnout locations on your layout. That could be a lot of wire depending on how many turnouts you will have. However, it can be small gauge (AWG 22-24) or phone wire.

The stock controllers could be setup on your control panel or maybe around the layout as you have stated here. That depends on what the switch machines require electrically. Many are setup for AC ground as the common element coming from the controller. In any case, it seems that we need to know more about what the controller is sending over the 3 wires to the switch machine.

Here is a diagram, again from one of the MTH operating manuals for their turnouts, showing how to wire a set of controllers together for centralized operation. Note that the power is daisy chained from one unit to the next while the 3 wire outputs go to the individual turnout switch machines.

It is possible that your idea about toggle switches at the control panel could be wired up in a similar manner but we don't know that for sure yet. Someone on the forum should know. I'll have to do a search.

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I found this post from Stan. It looks pretty simple and should fit in well with your plans. I'm duplicating the drawing here to make it easy to reference.

Untitled

The blue wire is 14 volts AC to power the switch machine. This is more of a "snap" type switch using a solenoid to move the points. The coils should be engaged only momentarily. The green and red wires are AC ground directed by the toggle switch to the proper position for the turnout. If this is all correct, you should have no problems with your turnouts.

It looks like there are indicators for turnout position on the stock controller but I can't be sure of that. The non-derail feature is built in mechanically using a spring just like a real spring switch. No electrical worries there.

 

Nice find Leo! You can always count on Stan's info, very good stuff and you are in good hands Mike.  Wonder if MTH sells those switch machines separately? Pretty sure I have never seen one of those? I'll check the MTH website later. 

Hi RTR, MTH does sell them separately, they are around $85 each! That's why its going to be a slow build for me! LOL

P.S. Did you see my surprise I posted in What did you do on your layout today?

Mike

USMC 5/11 Battalion Oscar Battery 155 Big Guns!

Semper Fi !

Menards addiction Meeting member! /  LCCA# 41824

I don't follow that thread (too much to follow there), but I did go look at your post. Wow, what a really nice surprise that was and what a nice brother you have. You are very lucky to have a brother, wife and family like that. Stuff like this really means a lot to a person. It looks like a really nice car and good looking. I sure hope your wife likes it (which I am sure she will). (Hope you get to drive it once in a while too. )

Hi Guys, I took your advice and wired from the 10amp on the back of the Z4000 to a terminal block. From there I prewired all but 2 of the 11 switches. I did a continuity test and they all turned out just fine! Now I think I can get back to the bench top and try to get closer to laying track!

Thanks to Leo, RTR, Richie, Adriatic, Larry Sr. and anyone else I missed and everyone the clicked the like button!20181014_16182220181014_161830

Mike

USMC 5/11 Battalion Oscar Battery 155 Big Guns!

Semper Fi !

Menards addiction Meeting member! /  LCCA# 41824

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