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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've spent the last evening and morning trying to research links and read up about this. I think I'm gaining a better understanding. Please forgive me if my questions seem dumb or redundant. I have no experience with routed tracks and industrial power supplies. I'm a little nervous about plunking down $80-$120 on something that I know little about.

I know what the definition of linear is, but what does linear mean when talking about power supplies?

I'm assuming "open frame" just means that I'll need to mount them inside an enclosure. Right?

Is there anything else I would need to know when buying used power supplies?

Is there anything else I might need besides the power supplies, a possible enclosure for them and the track with the terminals on the side?

Are there any recommended questions I would need to ask of someone who is selling them? (besides obvious things like price and power specs)
 

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Captain Fred,

Everyone is pretty much in agreement the best deal out there is the 20 volt 10 amp Adjustable voltage unit from AG&G, Alan Galinko. Link is below.
http://www.slotcars.org/hodra/ag&gProducts2.htm

This unit will not only have enough juice, it will allow you to Lower the Voltage for when you want to run Slots with Kids who are just learning or when a car is just so Twitchy that is hard/not fun to drive.

They run cool, have protection built in and are rock solid.
Buy it once and never think about power again.
Best $120 you will spend.
Unless you are running a Drag Strip with Unlimited Neo cars, this is more than ample power.

And Yes, Open frame means they are not mounted inside a box.

Hope this helps,
Keith
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
At this point in time, I won't be running a drag strip. Thanks for the link Keith.

My next questions would be,
If I am running 4 lanes, would it be better to use the AG&G 10 amp adjustable unit for all of them or to get the 4 separate Deltron linear 20 vdc 4 amp linear power supplies and hook one up to each lane, separately?

Is power surge still a factor with the single unit?

Would I need to get filters or something additional, besides the enclosure, with the 4 separate open frame Deltron units?
 

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10 amp unit

2.5 amps per lane is more than you need for stock cars. if your running 4 highly modified cars with neo motor and traction magnets (1 per each lane), you might not have enough amps. thats pretty serious racing for a home track though. i do have some modified magnet cars, but dont usuially run 4 at once, and i am very happy with my 10 amp power supply on a 4 lane track.
 

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Linear means it's a conventional AC-to-DC step down transformer based power supply design with a full wave bridge rectifier, filter caps, and usually some sort of regulation and protection circuitry. Linear supplies do it the same way it's been done for years and years with large iron core transformers and large filter capacitors. Anything with a large transformer is going to be large and heavy but the output of a good linear power supply can be very clean with little AC ripple and very low electrical noise.

The alternative to a linear power supply is a switching power supply. There are various types but switching power supplies generally use high power switching semiconductor devices (MOSFETs) which convert the line AC to a high frequency AC or high frequency pulses that can then be rectified, filtered, and regulated using much smaller and more efficient transformers, inductors, and capacitors. (The higher the frequency the smaller the transformer). The output of a good switching power supply can be very clean with little AC ripple but it presents a challenge and cost to achieve low electrical noise because high frequencies are part of the processing. Low noise switchers tend to be more expensive than low noise linears but a fraction of the size and weight.

The non geeky way to look at linear vs. switching for the consumer is to think that at a given price and performance point you can usually find a linear power supply for much less money but it's going to be larger, heavier, and less efficient. For powering slot cars the linears in the price ranges of the MG power supply from Galinko have pretty good bang for the buck.
 
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