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IMG_5271

Pictured is a Variac, VaVa Ammeter/Voltmeter and a Toroid 36 Volt Transformer running a 1990 Williams NY Central Big Boy pulling 30 Heavy Cars - now at 45 Minutes Straight!  It is pulling a steady 5 AMPS at 25 Volts from the Toroid 36 Volter - and the temp has climbed to 94.3 Celsius!

See them here:

https://realprop.org/store/p15..._-_Standalone.html#/

https://realprop.org/store/p15..._-_Standalone.html#/

https://realprop.org/store/p15..._-_Standalone.html#/

It is Rude and Crude - but will be improved!

The Waste and Ruin TrainHaus wants to offer all you AC 3-Railers the Best Transformers at the Lowest Prices!

Compare to:

6-37921 - 620 WATT ZW-L TRANSFORMER

MTH Z-4000 400W Transformer - 404000

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Last edited by Waste & Ruin TrainHaus
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Like Pete says, I'm not seeing the point.  You have created a transformer that has the power of a PW 1033, and you're running it how enough to cook eggs! That's not much of a bargain at $180 plus shipping.

I can buy a PW-ZW and equip it with a pair of 10A instant trip magnetic circuit breakers.  I'll have two to three times the power available for considerably less money, and I won't be afraid to run modern equipment with it.

@Norton posted:

You might want to rethink this. Your toroid is rated for less than 5 amps as is your Variac. A Lionel 1033 is capable of about the same and a ZW is far more capable and can be had for around 100 bucks.

Pete

Your forgetting the rating for the variac is 5 amps at 115 is around 600 watts and the load of 25 volts at 5 amps is only 125, so the variac is loafing along at that level, but you are correct in that the toroid is running near its max ratings.

@CALNNC posted:

Your forgetting the rating for the variac is 5 amps at 115 is around 600 watts and the load of 25 volts at 5 amps is only 125, so the variac is loafing along at that level, but you are correct in that the toroid is running near its max ratings.

Actually, I think the toroid is running over it's maximum ratings, from the ad it's rated at 4.4A and it's running at 5 amps.  Probably explains why it's getting so hot!

@CALNNC posted:

Your forgetting the rating for the variac is 5 amps at 115 is around 600 watts and the load of 25 volts at 5 amps is only 125, so the variac is loafing along at that level, but you are correct in that the toroid is running near its max ratings.

Its less about watts that amps. Neither MTH nor Lionel recommend anything above 20 volts. Using a transformer above that voltage you risk damaging the electronics.  A LW is rated for 125 watts but at 20 volts so its capable of 6 amps and unlikely to ever get as warm as your toroid.

If the idea is to provide affordable power thats great but right now your solution lacks circuit protection and is far more expensive that what can be had already.

Pete

Last edited by Norton

Hi Fellows -

Thanks for that News - they don't call us the Waste and Ruin TrainHaus for nothing!  We are obviously Ruined again!

But the first thing to explain is we have no idea what the "Theory" is - we have only one question to answer in Practice - will this transformer Run a long Train for a long time?  And will it run one up and down the Mountains we have?  It is at a 2% grade and has 5 levels.  Those are the Q's we want to answer!

Norton



"Lionel 1033 is capable of about the same and a ZW is far more capable and can be had for around 100 bucks."

I will have to dig up my ZW and try it out on the Q.  But the 1033?  Ain't no way that'll run the Big Boy with 30 Loaded Cars!

gunrunnerjohn

"I can buy a PW-ZW and equip it with a pair of 10A instant trip magnetic circuit breakers.  I'll have two to three times the power available for considerably less money, and I won't be afraid to run modern equipment with it."

I understand.  Can you send me a link so that I can buy them and test it on the Q?  That is a lot of Power!  But it does have to run the 1990 Williams Big Boy with 30 Cars.  If it won't, I'll sell it at a discount!

CALNNC

"Your forgetting the rating for the variac is 5 amps at 115 is around 600 watts and the load of 25 volts at 5 amps is only 125, so the variac is loafing along at that level, but you are correct in that the toroid is running near its max ratings."

What?  Oh well, there's no way I can understand real electricity - but the setup is this:

Toroid plugs into 120 Volts - Variac Plugs into Toroid 36 Volts - Variac Feeds VaVa -  VaVa feeds track.

The Variac never gets hot, and the Toroid is rated for 130 Celsius... I will have to move it up to 100 Celsius next!  Maybe it will take an hour?  Oi!

***************************************************************

Thanks for the Comments!

And can anyone point me to a video of a Big Boy pulling a long train?  I would love to see the Ammeter, Voltmeter and Transformer when that happens!

Gotta get my Video up on YouTube!  All this talk - it is time for Action!

Maybe after my nap... ah, ruination...

The motor in the 1990-vintage Williams Big Boy is rated comfortably at 24 volts.  It needs that voltage to reach prototypical speeds, because it's geared like a scale model.  An important consideration for loco performance is the ratio between the motor's minimum speed "in service" and maximum speed.  In my own experiments, and without the benefit of speed control, the can motors used in our trains will reliably lug down to about 800 RPM before stalling.  So if  you want a loco to have a realistic speed range of 3 to 55 scale MPH, the motor needs to turn 15000 RPM on the top end.  This in turn requires a full 24 volts (and as we've discussed before, careful attention to NVH!)

For consideration, the original Lionel type Z went to 25 volts.  At the dawn of the Scale Revolution when the OP's Big Boy was new, Right of Way made a 400-watt transformer that was driven by a variac on the primary.  It also put out 24 volts maximum, if I recall.  LGB and G-scale power supplies seem to be designed around a 24-volt maximum.  Lionel and MTH left valuable performance on the table by limiting their electronic architecture to 19 volts.

IMO Williams was "on the right track" with its Crown Edition stuff.  In some ways, when MTH rose to prominence there was a regression toward the "toy train" mentality.  My $.02.

@Ted S posted:

So if  you want a loco to have a realistic speed range of 3 to 55 scale MPH, the motor needs to turn 15000 RPM on the top end.  This in turn requires a full 24 volts (and as we've discussed before, careful attention to NVH!)

Ted, that motor running at 15,000 RPM will sound like a jet taking off!  I had one running at 8,000 RPM in a Williams brass for around 35 scale MPH, it was screaming!

IMO it's not realistic to have that kind of gear ratio if you want to run at more than about 25 scale MPH, the 44:1 gear ratio is not practical above that.

The Waste & Ruin TrainHaus has heard the Sound Logic of the OGR Members and we now introduce a

New Toroid Transformer!

IMG_5357
The old one is on the Left, the New one on the Right - you can see how it has grown!

https://realprop.org/store/p16...-_Stand_Alone.html#/

We now have to begin testing -  and here is our first test - a Lionel 785 (circa 1953) going up to "Young's Gap" on the Waste and Ruin's O&W Test Track:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iTowW9reB8

Do YOU want to test it?  Go to the Product with that link to our Website and use the email therein to give it a try!

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Last edited by Waste & Ruin TrainHaus

1000 VAC would be pretty hard to get from any outlet in your home or business!   It's actually Volt Amps, and a normal 130VAC.

Think about it again. 120 volts x 10 amps =1200 VA. Indicates to me the variac is mismarked.

Even a 15 amp outlet is good for 1800 VA.

You have a workable system now W&RT. Now to get the economics to work.

FWIW I built a similar transformer a few years ago using a 500 watt industrial transformer and 1200VA Variac.

Pete

Ah, as usual you fellows have got me - but we will keep testing in our "Wooden Box"!

of course -  I found this on the "Internet":

"The purpose of this paper is to report on certain empirical case studies, research activities, and experiments undertaken which clearly demonstrate that wood will ignite when exposed for an extended period of time to temperatures well below its commonly recognized published ignition temperature of approximately 482ºF (250ºC). In particular, it was concluded for the conditions studied that ignition of wood occurred under exposure temperatures of as low as 256ºF when exposed 12 to 16 hours per day in as little as 623 days or approximately 21 months. Data from three well-documented restaurant kitchen fires and observations of wood located behind heated wall mounted appliances in three operating restaurants, combined with laboratory and manufacturer testing are used to demonstrate that low temperature ignition of wood clearly occurs."

https://www.warrenforensics.co...e_Ignition_Wood-.pdf

Be that as it may - the nice thing about wood is that it is a poor conductor - and one of the nice things about Toroid Transformers is that they "burn out" at 130ºC!

How do I know?  Because I burned one out!

I was running the Big Boy with the Loaded 28 and the temp on the 4.4 Amp  model went to 110ºC - and then said "HHH" - guess that was the upper limit - but we kept the Big Boy going for 10 more minutes, and then I heard a "pop".  As you can see here, the bottom melted - but the wood was not affected!

IMG_5319

We will continue testing -  and we would love to see what you folks have come up with in the Transformer department!

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Last edited by Waste & Ruin TrainHaus

🤔😉

So you're saying that you know better, but you did it anyway 👍 all the information you cite relates to fire. I'd be curious to see if you can find anything that relates to electricity that suggests wood/carpentry. Electrical sparks/arcing is thousands of degrees.

I just wanted to make sure that somebody mentioned it, play safe and all that 😉👍

Last edited by woodsyT


Do YOU want to test it?  Go to the Product with that link to our Website and use the email therein to give it a try!

-wait-a-minit 🤔

Are you selling these? Your website is listing a plywood constructed metering box with 120 volts current in it. This is a BAD idea and this is NOT safe. If you don't believe me, PLEASE call your business insurance agent and ask them. Ask any local licensed electrician... PLEASE!

Yes, woodsyT (funny thing about your name), I will even sell you one - after further testing, of course.  And then a give you a 100% money back guarantee if you suddenly find it "burning" as you use it.

What I am trying to do now is "test" it to the max - put so much into it that I know it will blow - but how will it blow?  What will it do to the wooden case if it does blow?  To the wiring?  The 4.4 AMP model blew after I subjected it to those Extreme conditions - as gunrunnerJohn notes "the mind boggles".  But this was simply a method to determine what it can really do under Extreme conditions...

In testing the 12.5 Amp model, I have discovered that the temperature in running two trains on it at the same time for 10 minutes (5-6 AMPS) raised the temperature a mere 1 degree C - 17.2 to 18.1 which shows me that it is the Overloading that is the problem - as Norton and gunrunnerJohn so aptly pointed out above.

So, we will keep testing - and see what we will discover!

In the end, we at the Waste & Ruin TrainHaus want to produce a safe, reliable and (relatively) inexpensive alternative to any of the AC Transformers available today.  Of course, it will all  eventually depend on how the end-user applies it!

Ah, "dreams" and "reality" - when will they converge?  Only the "test of time" will tell...

You seem to be attempting to re-invent something that already exists. At the top of this post you stated: "Compare to: 620 WATT ZW-L TRANSFORMER  &  MTH Z-4000 400W Transformer"(s). These transformer units provide 30+ and 20+ amps at 18 volts for roughly $1.75 ~ to ~ $2.00 per watt. They also do this in a regulated, fuse/breaker protected, and temperature controlled manner, in a UL listed and insulated safely manufactured enclosure, that is reliable, and remains below 35ºC during operation. They operate this way because they are protected-by-design from operating in any "Extreme conditions" as you stated above - you mentioned that- "we are open to Advice!"

Most transformers are wound using wires that utilize a 200°~220°C insulation that allows for a 130~150°C temperature rise over ambient. Your unit failed when you say it read 110ºC. It wasn't - it was hotter than that - this means that the coil was 200°C or above internally. Transformer design and manufacturing is among the deepest and most well worn 'grooves' in the 'record' of our industrialized nation. Know that heat management/mitigation is the single largest challenge for electrical design engineers, not matter this size or scale of the circuit. You should not be testing it "to the max" - first, you should have calculated the max, calculated the operational temp rise, determined if those calculated parameters would allow for predictable and safe operation, calculated circuit and safety protections for your design, and dozens of other steps - and then begin practical testing.

Here comes the advice: If you were surprised that these units failed during your test, if you believed that a wooden enclosure would be adequate for your design, if you never learned about Maxwell Faraday while you were in school, or if any of this information is unfamiliar to you, please consult with a licensed electrician and/or electrical engineer. 

- and you really should check with your business insurance agent.

Ah, mathematics.  It "boggles the mind".

{\displaystyle \mathbf {J} _{\mathrm {tot} }=\mathbf {J} +{\frac {\partial \mathbf {D} }{\partial t}}}

{\displaystyle \mu \mathbf {H} =\nabla \times \mathbf {A} }

{\displaystyle \mathbf {E} =\mu \mathbf {v} \times \mathbf {H} -{\frac {\partial \mathbf {A} }{\partial t}}-\nabla \phi }

When the fellow at TAB sold me those 16 Volt Transformers and those Variacs in 1989, it was a simple concept - have too much Voltage, and then regulate it with the Variac.

Here is the diagram he gave me - and note that he requires a Circuit Breaker coming into the Transformers and out of the Variac to the track.

I now run the Toroid transformer through a surge protector and there is that fuse on the Variac.

Truth be told, I took all the parts home to the Bronx and put the 8 Transformers in a wooden box with 4 of the Variacs.  I wired it all up and then ran it on our attic layout for 2 years - without it burning up!

A "miracle"? , I guess - or perhaps it could never get hot enough to burn anything!

To be clear, I only "ruined" 1 Toroid - a 4.4 Amp Model - and I did that by running it for a very long period of time at 5 Amps.  The temperature gauge stopped reading at 110 Celsius.

The fellow at TAB also sold me 30V Voltmeters and 10A Ammeters, which explains  what kind of power was in the Transformers he sold me.  And he sold a lot of different stuff!

Be that as it may, we are free to choose here in the USA.  If everyone who sees this "knows" the Waste and Ruin TrainHaus is selling a "dangerous and defective product" - well, I guess we will be "ruined"!

According to my Business Insurer, I should not sell it to anyone under 21, and all who do buy will have to sign a liability waiver!

But "Opinions"  are not "Facts", and "theoreticals" are not "practicalities".  Just ask Edison and Westinghouse what was "Fact" in their "war of the currents"!

My "facts" are too simple - when I was 15 I watched a farmer work on an electrical outlet in a barn.  I said "but the current is live!" He said "just don't touch the common and the hot at the same time" and finished the job.

I can do that too, now.  But the fellow who was cutting a hole in the outside wall of a residence and did not know there was a live 220 Volt wire where he was cutting - he Died.  Quickly.   

But in the Philippines, 220V is the norm - it uses about half the juice of 120V.  But all who "mess" with it know this - "DO NO WORK ON IT LIVE!"

The Heat produced by a Toroid Transformer will only be trouble if we Overload it -  so, please do not!  But even then, it will never get hot enough to burn wood!

Now that is not a "fact", but WoodsyT, I will ship it to you Free, and you can attempt to make it "burn, baby burn!" - but - please use the scientific method and record the sad "facts" (for us) as they happen.

In the meantime, would anyone buy this "hot" wooden TV?

But folks - please leave the "overloading"  to fools like me who want to find those "Outer Limits" of AC Model Railroading!   Because they are There!  Even on that old TV!

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Last edited by Waste & Ruin TrainHaus

Be that as it may, we are free to choose here in the USA.  If everyone who sees this "knows" the Waste and Ruin TrainHaus is selling a "dangerous and defective product" - well, I guess we will be "ruined"!

According to my Business Insurer, I should not sell it to anyone under 21, and all who do buy will have to sign a liability waiver!

But "Opinions"  are not "Facts", and "theoreticals" are not "practicalities".  Just ask Edison and Westinghouse what was "Fact" in their "war of the currents"!

I hasten to point out, that the previous comments were based on facts.  It's a fact that selling a wooden cased transformer with 120V wiring that is not totally enclosed in fireproof materials is not legal in the current regulatory climate.  I doubt any liability waiver is going to make any difference if the item was not legal to sell commercially in the first place.

Dragging Edison and Westinghouse into the discussion doesn't change anything, back then facts were scarce and opinions were aplenty.

@Waste & Ruin TrainHaus posted:

My "facts" are too simple - when I was 15 I watched a farmer work on an electrical outlet in a barn.  I said "but the current is live!" He said "just don't touch the common and the hot at the same time" and finished the job.

I can do that too, now.  But the fellow who was cutting a hole in the outside wall of a residence and did not know there was a live 220 Volt wire where he was cutting - he Died.  Quickly. 

I'm not sure what this has to do with anything being discussed.  You're using an example of a private party doing something stupid.

In the meantime, would anyone buy this "hot" wooden TV?

But folks - please leave the "overloading"  to fools like me who want to find those "Outer Limits" of AC Model Railroading!   Because they are There!  Even on that old TV!

As long as were espousing "facts", that wooden TV has a metal chassis inside, not to mention it was build to 1950's standards and regulations.  I actually worked at a TV repair shop in the late 50's, and some of the "interesting" things they did was ground the chassis to one side of the power input, and since they used non-polarized plugs, that chassis could be hot in relation to earth ground.

Try that today and see what kind of regulatory blowback you get!

But folks - please leave the "overloading"  to fools like me who want to find those "Outer Limits" of AC Model Railroading!   Because they are There!  Even on that old TV!

Well, that's a perfectly valid statement, and if you weren't selling these transformer creations as a product, we wouldn't be having this discussion!

Wish I could figure out how you "quoted me" up there!

Be that as it may, I now look forward to "regulatory blowback"... but may have figured out the "ultimate" work-around...

I will also sell them as a "Kit"!

With UL Certified Parts - and - With detailed Instructions!

I think there's something like that in that 1989 TAB Catalog hiding somewhere up there...

Extreme Caution :  DO NOT Put It In A Wooden Box when you have it assembled and are ready to test it!

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How does UL certification work for a kit-built product. The components may be UL certified, but what about after assembly.

I'm definitely dating myself, but I'm thinking back to a friend who built one of those Heathkit stereo amplifiers from a kit back in the 1960s.

The initial plug-in was not really the introduction to beautiful music as he expected, but more like a fireworks show!

Jim

Hey Fella!   A-Thinking we will go...

Our ZW

And here above is the ZW 250 I got used in the late 1980’s – it still runs, but one side is missing its handle, and the other one only works intermittently… in this picture it is driving the Williams Big Boy with 28 Cars at its max 20 Volts – and (maybe) 6 Amps (since then, we upgraded the VaVa shown at left to the VaVa Vavoom which now reads up to 15 Amps).  You may remember we had to give it a hand...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hw3DrtHWFc

And that is the reason I went to Brooklyn and visited TAB in 1989... if you look at the TAB catalog, you might find Variacs for $17... or $43.28 today!

That ZW 275 ($47) up there will sell, we are sure – but not for $47…  Sure Hope it Works!

The 80 Watt and the 180 Watt seem somewhat reasonably priced, but those other Models – OMG!  As Bill Benson once stated about his “Big Boys” – those are for the 'Doctors and Lawyers!'

Good to see all the NegAtive Comments, actually!

Keep 'em coming!  And we can't wait to show you the link to the "Kit" - for all you folks to Kit-Bash!

But I have to build the webpage first... if I can!

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Last edited by OGR CEO-PUBLISHER

Good to see all the NegAtive Comments, actually!

I'm really not trying to be negative, just to inject some reality into the thinking.  This project really does look like a solution in search of a problem.

For example, you can buy completely rebuilt 275W ZW transformers from Tranz4mr for $170 to $210, these will last years and are specifically designed for model train use.  They're also completely assembled and ready to go.  Unless you're DIY solution is substantially cheaper than that, what's really the point?  I'm at a loss as to why most people would opt for cobbling together a bunch of diverse parts to run their trains when they can buy a real train transformer for the same or less money.

If you just want variable voltage power from a transformer with no whistle and/or bell controls, you can pick up a Restored 250W Lionel Z for $75!

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Last edited by gunrunnerjohn

+1 to what gunrunnerJohn has said above.

I do not yet understand what your system is going to accomplish regarding output-per-dollar OR how it will likely perform in regard to product safety.

I admire your enthusiasm. I do. I have read and reread what you have said and posted about it. I confess that I am guilty of similar "rabbit-hole" type, exploratory excursions, re-doing something that has already been done while attempting to improve the performance of my trains and layout. Some of my 'excursions' have been shared on this forum, most provided some limited-if-any improvement to the current state of our old toy choo-choos. One of them was a poor/bad outcome. I quickly noted this and stated -"DO NOT DO THIS" in the thread. I did not delete that thread because several other interesting items and/or discussions were taking place - however, I was not selling anything from my experimentation publicly or privately.

I have a depth (or perhaps a width) of experience assisting in the design and fabricating, building, and installing electrical control systems and panels for industrial and municipal applications - high-voltage, low-voltage, PLC controlled, etcetera. I am also a licensed renovation contractor required to carry insurance to protect my customers from any professional mistakes that I could make.  Some of the electrical panels were small 120~24 volt types - running a few sensors or motors or pumps from a single 2'x2' panel, some of them required three or more 6'x'3 tall cabinets and held high-voltage 39~through~69 kV control systems. This does not make me a Licensed Electrician or Electrical Engineer. It does give me an understanding and appreciation of the safety and operational issues your design seems to have. The available transformers from all the common toy choo-choo companies work well, they have a decent ratio of output-watt-per-dollar, and none of them come without UL and/or IEC ratings. I have attached a document that seems ridiculous, but it IS a document that our design engineers and I had to occasionally reference when building the panels that I mentioned. We also had to reference the UL standard, I can no longer access this document because I no longer do this work and the company password to it has changed (and since I no longer work there, ethics state that I should not swipe the password) In this document the UL engineering and safety standards and guidance for Class 2 toy transformers (the type of transformers we use for our trains) are listed in a ridiculous amount of detail that sometimes requires an engineering degree and references to other documents to begin to understand.

I am not bragging or further servicing my defective ego with this, I only state this now so that you may understand where I am coming from with some of the posts in this thread. The first thing I posted was simply to encourage safety precautions for you and your customers. It was not intended to be a 'smack' or insult. I thought I was merely viewing a prototype - and then I found it is a product listed for sale on your website. All of my long-windedness above is meant to simply say - if you do not know these standards exist or the requirement for your company to comply with these standards to sell some of the products you are building, now you do. At the bare minimum this equipment should always employ active current limiting circuitry.

If we were sitting across the table from each other having a beer I would say, "Dude, just keep yourself and your company safe. I'm just trying to increase your awareness".

Cheers, and good luck to ye

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UL Class 2 transformer explanatory guidance
Last edited by woodsyT

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