Model Train Transformers

model train transformers

Lionel ZE275 transformer

Model Train Transformers To Power Your Model Train

The model train transformers is what brings the home voltage from the wall sockets (Alternating Current or AC) down to a safe 12 to 24 volt DC (Direct Current). This depends on what type of model train system you have.

There are a few brands that use alternating current (AC) to power the model train. It is safe to work with, so you don’t have to worry about getting an electric shock.

From the transformer the power goes to the train track where one rail is positive and the other rail is negative. In case of a 3 rail system, the main power is on the rail in the center while the current is on the outside rails. With DC power the train direction can be changed by reversing polarity.

The locomotive train will pick up the energy with the metal wheels. The electric motor from the locomotive will start to run. This will make the wheels turn and the locomotive will start to move. The speed of the train can be changed with the transformer by varying the voltage.

A model train transformer can also be used to power the accessories such as (street) lightning, signals, crossing gates, and more but this must be a different transformer. The train transformer is adjustable, while the transformer for the accessories must give a continue voltage. You can buy a cheap doorbell transformer for this that will cost you less then $10.

Direct Command Control (DCC)

Another (newer) system is the Direct Command Control or DCC, that has been on the market since the 1970’s. The DCC is an electronic system with computer technology to control the trains. DCC can power several trains individually on one track. The trains must be DCC ready for this to work.

You can convert traditional DC (Direct Current) locomotives to DCC by installing a digital receiver into the train. This is not hard at all: you have to locate and remove the jumper plugs, and install the decoder plug there. There is no soldering required. Many serious model railroaders will use DCC because of the possibilities and the more realistic effects.

As DCC is an universal system, parts are interchangeable. Although DCC is more expensive, the benefits are worth the money. It will save a lot of frustration from all the work to set up your railway, the wiring and possible shortcuts you might get.

DCC Train Control

With DCC the voltage on the track is constant; a signal is send to a digital receiver inside the locomotive. This receiver can control speed, lightning, direction of travel, sound effects and even smoke. With DCC you can control several locomotives on your track at the same time and this will give a much more realistic effect.

The best DCC decoders are National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) certified and will ensure you buy a quality product. There are many different types of DCC systems available and it depends on what you want to do with it. The size of the train, the number of wagons, lights, and other extra’s decide how much power you need.

The more options you want to have with your DCC controller, the more it will cost you. Another point to consider is that you don’t have to worry about complex wiring. Most options can be done remotely with the DCC controller.

A transformer will have enough power to have your train go around a simple oval track. But if you extend your track, or put more wagons behind it, there is a chance your train will stop running. This is caused by the transformer that doesn’t have enough power. In that case you’ll need a transformer with more power or a second transformer.

I hope this information was what you were looking for about model train transformers. If you need more info, leave a message below and I will get back to you.

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