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Voltage on Maerklin

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Fred Neuschel View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fred Neuschel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Voltage on Maerklin
    Posted: 19 Jan 2016 at 10:51am
I am installing street lights in the urban area of my layout and noted a caution in the directions to not exceed 12 volts in the line to which lights are attached.  
Am I correct in thinking that my command station (I use the ESU system) is supplying 12 volts to the layout? 
Thanks for your reply,
Fred
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el Gato Gordo View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote el Gato Gordo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jan 2016 at 1:44pm
No recent experience with Märklin, but volt-ohmmeters are cheap and a good thing to have around model railroading.  For auxiliary circuiting I use transformers for electronic stuff (chargers for phones & tablets, radios, what-have-you) that I pick up cheap (< $2) at the local thrift store.  Most are DC, but some are AC, that may matter with motors and controls, but doesn't affect most lighting applications. 

The plus side of using something other than your track power is that this leaves you more power to run your trains.

Cheers!
Gordon


Edited by el Gato Gordo - 21 Jan 2016 at 8:23am
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BR42 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BR42 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jan 2016 at 7:32pm
Fred:

Most command stations supply somewhere around 16V if not slightly higher.  However, any DCC voltage should never be used for light bulbs or anything like this.  These devices but a heavy load on the command station, and may drastically reduce the numbers of trains you can run simultaneously.  The generation of DCC power is too expensive per Ampere to waist on light bulbs.

Therefore, light bulbs and similar devices should all be connected to a separate circuit with their own transformer.  I use 12V laptop replacement power packs which I got at Amazon for about $10 a piece.  Tossed in a book to the two power packs, and shipping was free.  Each produces 12V 6A, but I reduced the max load to 3A.  Your local electronic store may have some wall warts in the 12V 3A range.  It does not matter whether they produce AC or DC.

Ulrich
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nitram View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nitram Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jan 2016 at 12:45pm
As an electrical engineer I suggest you purchase a decent power supply that will provide power for all and future accessories. I suggest a B & K 1680. (http://www.tequipment.net/BK1680.html?v=7237). The unit is reliable and has a stable on/off switch. I use a larger version of that unit but my layout is large and it needs a good amount of accessory power. I would NOT use a second hand or cheap power supply under any conditions as the safety and reliability is never assured. A power supply with a built-in replaceable fuse is best. That web site has numerous types of power supplies including one that has AC and DC capabilities.
Peter M
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el Gato Gordo View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote el Gato Gordo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jan 2016 at 6:08pm
A B&K power unit may be a fine thing, but so many items have different requirements. Faller motors need 16 volts AC; turnouts may need 12 v AC; lighting may need 12 v either AC or DC. I'm not planning on spending $56 plus for each of my power requirements.

As an electrician with 35+ years experience, I see no problem with a 2nd hand transformer so long as you install a proper sized in-line fuse. But that's just the view from my saddle - your mileage may vary.

Cheers,
Gordon
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nitram View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nitram Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jan 2016 at 12:34pm
I have yet to see an item that will not tolerate 10-16VAC in the model world. I have seen plug-in transformers cook devices or just cook themselves. You get what you pay for IMHO.
Peter M
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nitram Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jan 2016 at 12:41pm
I would also suggest staying away from "cheap" multi meters unless it is the suggestion that a consumer use products, such as the E Bay $10-15.00 no name meters. As an electrician you should appreciate the risks and hazards of using meters that are possibly going to be used on house mains or other devices that are not as forgiving as 12VDC or VAC. A decent and safe meter is around $50.00, at least one that is CE/UL listed and accurate.Nothing more annoying than meter that is not working properly or has latency on the Ohm readings.
Peter M
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote el Gato Gordo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jan 2016 at 3:54pm
As for multimeters, yes, I AM ONLY TALKING ABOUT USING THEM ON MODEL RAILROAD STUFF.  Do not use hobby multimeters on household current or voltages.  Right on, Peter.  Since we were discussing train stuff, it hadn't occurred to me that someone might try to use a little hobby volt/ohmmeter in their home panel.  (Please excuse the shouting - the danger is real).

These things are fine for use on low voltage (under 50 volt) hobby items, such as track, train transformers, and other low voltage power sources.  When it comes to higher voltages use a Fluke, Amprobe or Ideal that are designed for professional use.

Thank you, Peter, for bringing up this possibility.

Cheers, amigos!
Gordon


Edited by el Gato Gordo - 21 Jan 2016 at 4:46pm
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