model train set on track

Uniform Speed

e*Train Issue: Mar 2002   |   Posted in:

by Burns Manufacturing

The problem of not being able to maintain uniform speed around the layout is very simple to correct. The solution is to construct blocks by replacing the steel pin in the center rail with a fiber pin at both ends of the block. The newly created block must not have any power connections to the center rail. The new block is thus not powered. Selecting the proper voltage to be connected to this new block will cause trains to speed up or slow down. The highest voltage will go to the uphill block and the lowest voltage will go to the downhill block. Level blocks should receive a voltage somewhere between the uphill block and downhill block voltages. Block length is determined by the length of hills and level areas.

The center rail of the uphill block receives power directly from the transformer terminal. Train speed on the remainder of the layout will be determined by the throttle setting for this block. All other blocks receive power, which has been reduced by a wirewound resistor for each block. It will be necessary to try different wirewound resistor values and different uphill block speeds to achieve success. Try (2) 1 Ohm, 10 Watt resistors (Radio Shack 271-131) in series for the downhill block and 1 resistor for the level block. The resistors get hot during operation. A 10 Watt resistor will handle a drop of 4 volts with a maximum load just under 3 Amps. For a drop of 2 volts, the maximum load is just over 4 Amps. The formula is:

Watts = Voltage drop x Amps. Resistors with higher power ratings are available from electronics suppliers such as Hosfelt (888/264-6464).

Please exercise caution to ensure that resistors in everyday use are of sufficient power ratings. A resistor with an insufficient power rating is a potential fire hazard. Incorrect installation of the above-described modification may cause damage to equipment.

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