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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry for yet another power supply question from a rookie. I have searched the threads regarding power supplies, and learned a lot, but still have a question (actually many questions, but here is my first).

A little background first:

I am planning on building a 4’ x 16’ track, 4-lanes, Tomy/AFX track, approx. 65’ per lane. I have purchased a couple of Parma 45ohm Economy controllers, as I have often read the standard controllers are sub par. My first thought was to cut the plug ends from the std controllers and wire the plug to the Parmas. However, I would prefer to eliminate the plug protrusion of the std terminal track (to keep the track cleaner looking), and use driver stations for the controllers. So now I will be making my own power tap tracks.

Which brings me to power supplies. I believe I read at least one post here where someone was using a single wall-wart per lane on a track of similar length, and they were very happy with the power situation. But I have also read quite often that a track of this length should have multiple power taps per lane.

So my question is: Could I use wall-wart to provide multiple power taps to a single lane of the track? Would this provide any benefit over having just a single wall-wart power tap to the lane, or would it have a negative effect?

I’m thinking that since I will be doing some wiring and installing terminal blocks anyway, I might as well set-up multiple power taps per lane, so in the future, if the budget allows (and the need warrants) an aftermarket power supply, the track will be ready to receive it.

Your thoughts and input as always are appreciated.
 

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I'll admit I'm not totally up to speed on the HO stuff, but I do recall someone mentioning once that he was using additional wall wart track sections to provide jumpers of a sort. Sounds like a good enough idea to keep consistent track power.
 

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I have a 45' four lane figure 8 w/ added curves that I use individual wall-warts for each lane. The main improvement is that when one lane de-slots the lane that normally shares the power supply doesn't get an energy surge thereby causing an additional de-slot. With the number of turns and lane changes I have, my longest straight away is only about 42". If you're gonna have some long straights you may need to add some additional power supplies
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
bumpercar88 said:
If you're gonna have some long straights you may need to add some additional power supplies
I'm guessing that you mention long straights may need more power because even though you only have a single wall-wart power-tap per lane, your track has enough curves, that while you may be getting a loss of power, it isn't as noticable because of the curves. Is that correct?

I do plan on having long straights - one that is almost 16' long, and a couple other long ones. If I have enough wall-warts, should I use more then 1 per lane, or, would tapping a single wall-wart to multiple tracks on a lane accomplish same?

I'm trying to better understand why I read so many posts about people using aftermarket power supplies (and expensive power supplies at that!). I see the benefit that these power supplies offer in regards to voltage regulation (kids useage for one, and different types of cars for another), but I'm trying to determine if I need one of these to maximize the enjoyment I get from the track, if it is just adults using it, and not a lot of different types of cars racing on it.

I could see where a person who has no wall-warts, and obviously needs a way to power a mid-size track layout, might lean towards one of these $100+ power supplies, as compared to buying multiple wall-warts. But, if a person already has a slew of wall-warts, is there a way to utilize them to get the power needed for a large track, and therefore be able to use the money saved from purchasing a seperate power supply, to buy the track one needs to have the problem in the first place. :)
 

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You really need to do multiple power taps per lane on a track of that size. Does not matter if the power source is a wall wart or real power supply.

The problem is that the rails are steel, which isn't the best conductor (higher resistance than copper wire), and there are joints at each end of each track section (joints have high resistance). If you didn't have but one tap (or terminal track), the cars would be noticably slower about 1/2 a lap away from the tap due to the voltage drop in the steel and the 5,946 track connections that the electricity has to go across to get to the car and back..... Again, doesn't matter if the track has a power supply or a wall wart. You'll still have a big voltage drop, which will slow the car down. And the car will drive differently on different parts of the track.

If it were my track, I'd put a tap at each end of the longest straight, then in the middle of any straight more than about 4 feet long. You probably should have 4 or 5 taps in a 65' lane track. 3 would probably do OK, but that's probably the absolute minimum.

My track is considerably smaller, the outer lane is barely 40 feet (according to tracker 2000) and I have 2 taps. One in the middle of the long straight, then in the middle of the longest straight nearest 1/2 way around from the other tap. I can't tell any speed variation of cars at any point on the track. But if I had to do it all over again, I'd put a tap at each end of the long straight, instead of just in the middle. Just because.....

And my track uses 1 wall wart per lane. Works well.

The biggest advantage to a real power supply is the ability to adjust the voltage. Tjets really need 18ish volts, and I'd be perfectly happy with 12-15 for the inline motor cars. And if kiddies like to run on the track, you can turn it down until they can drive around without deslotting.
 

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I'm currently using 4 stock wall power paks for my 4 lane set up,


So far I've got five power tracks installed, you could say 1 terminal and 4 jumpers but all 5 power taps are actually each a terminal track with that area of the track getting a good even supply of power.
I tried to add them in after so many sections of track and on the longest straights I've got 2 in that section for even power distrubution.

You do need jumpers (terminals) in if you plan on going with a huge layout and even though you plan on using a power pak per lane, you'll lose a little bit of power at each section of track no matter how clean and tight the connections might be, it's called resistance.

Think of it like this, you have a 100' of garden hose and you got the water on full blast now think of every connection on your track as a slight kink in the hose, now by the time the water gets to the end your now down to just a trickle of water coming out.

I'm just running stock T-jets, Magna tractions and others and quite happy with the power so going with an expensive power supply is not in my plans right now but maybe down the road.

Here's how I went about making my terminal tracks.

http://www.hobbytalk.com/bbs1/showthread.php?t=154450

http://www.hobbytalk.com/bbs1/showthread.php?t=154451

Hope they help and good luck on your project.
 

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Slott V had a simular set up before he went to a single power supply...

Yes...you can do multiple taps with a wall wart...and use one wall wart per lane...with multiple jumper points...

And if you set it up correctly....adding a single power supply for the whole track at a later date is really simple...it's prett slick...and it's how I plan on doing my set up as well...

You feed a terminal strip with the wall wart( one strip for each wart)....run to your driver station....and back to another term strip...one for each driver station)....

From there you "parallel" to your jumper points...taking care to preserve polarity and the proper rail connections...

If no one posts links for the wiring digram and photos...I'll find it and post them later tonight...
 

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When i first got back into the hobby years ago,i ran "4" Tyco X2 high power wallwarts per lane,they had lots of juice to run Poly Mod (R/O) cars.
It might not be the best set-up,but use what you've got
 

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I think if you are going to the extra work of setting up real drivers stations and getting Parma controllers, you should also do yourself a favor and step up to a real variable power supply as well. At some point you may have kids on the track or friends that just don't have the reaction time and you'll want to dial it down to 12-15 volts like Manning said earlier in this thread. I don't think you'd be sorry you did it, it's a big help when my 3 year old want sto race with Daddy from time to time. He stays on the track and I don't have to marshall his car at every single turn. =)
 

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Ah...found Slott V's old set up...





And his new power...



Hope it alright That I posted these...

Vargo speedway rocks...lots of good info there....thanks Scott!

http://www.supervipersystems.com/VargoSpeedway/

So yeah ....you can wire your track with multiple wall warts....and if you do it right....you can upgrade to a single power supply later easily... :thumbsup:
 

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FastMann said:
Is that a computer power supply? If not, what is it?
From Slott V's site:

In 2002 we added a Lambda 0-30 volt, 10 amp power supply to the track, replacing the wall pack power we had for years. Wow, what a difference! The new power supply meant building a new relay box to control the track power. The new power supply has given us unlimited amperage for all of our racing needs. The filtered DC power helps keep the cars running cooler and gives much better power "out of the hole". I highly recommend getting filtered power for any serious HO track layout. Wall packs are the cheaper alternative, but just don't compare.
 

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My current 4 lane temporary layout is just over 63 ft per lane. I use a single wall power supply per lane with three power taps. They are spaced at approx 20 ft of track. It works great. No dead spots anywhere. I am using a combo of tyco and tomy track. I had tons of the tyco 9" power tracks and used them for my power taps.
 

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Used to have a 4' X 12' table, running 4 lane TOMY that had 70' of running lanes, had two taps with wall warts per lane and never had a problem running stock retail HOs. Didn't run Wizzards or high spec cars, just regular HOs. rr
 

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No problem on posting the pics. I have been pretty busy and havent' been here for about 3 weeks. Between the jump from wall packs to the Lambda power supply I actually created a built in relay control for the main power strip controlling the 8 wall packs so the Trakmate program could control the track. Those tips along lots of others still need to be added to the site once I upgrade it. * One note on my set up and power supply; You need more than 10 amps if you're going to run modified cars. Even Super Stocks get a little hot. And the RED power feed from the supply to the relay was beefed to 10 ga wire to help the bottle neck from using one feed for all 4 lanes. The correct way to do this is to find a multi contact relay so you can run 4 feeds right from the supply.

There are a number of problems that will eventually arise from running wall warts. First is the very small gauge wire coming from the packs. Try to run 14-18 ga wire right from the packs as closely as possible. The packs themselves are very limited in amperage output so anything helps. Second is they aren't all that cheap for 8 of them. Another couple of bucks will get you a decent filtered power supply.

My old ones ended up on another members track in a similar set up:



And YES, you need many power taps for sectional track. At least every 10 feet. Try to position them at the beginning of long straight sections. A good club track shuold have at least 18 ga wire. 12-14 is best if you have a good power supply providing @ 25 amps. May sound like a lot but it's DC voltage and yes the higher end cars will pull that much running together.

-Scott
 
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