DC, NOT DCC controller recommendation please

 
  Gremlin Assistant Commissioner

Not trying to restart the DC/DCC controversy/discussion/flame war/etc from earlier this year.

I have a collection of OLD Farish locomotives that will NEVER be converted to DCC.  Finish.  The End. Not Happening.

However, I want to use them, hence need a DC controller.  Not DCC (see above)!

The earlier discussion *almost* produced a useful set of recommendations about CDA/EDA controllers v others...and rheostat v stepper increments....in the light of the absolutely never going to convert these to DCC so I need to use DC limitation, may I please have either recommendations for controllers or a discussion of the merits of rheostat/stepper/arduino (Aaron?) DC control?

Sponsored advertisement

  Erail Locomotive Fireman

I use the CDA ones. I really like then and recommend them very highly. And is Australian company and made in Australia.

http://www.cdaelectronics.com/Home.html
  73LJWhiteSL Deputy Commissioner

Location: South East Melbourne Surburbs
I also use CDA tethered controllers and are quite happy with them. Its nice to keep the money in Australia too.

Steve
  Roachie Chief Commissioner

Location: Kadina SA (formerly NSW)
Ditto re CDA...Before I switched to DCC I used CDA and was very pleased with the fine level of control they offered.

Roachie
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
What's a stepper control? To me a stepper controller is something that drives a stepper motor and they will never be seen in a N scale locomotive.

Rheostats are more or less a thing of the past, a potentiometer controlled transistor circuit is what I favour for quick and dirty purposes, something a little more professional can be seen here:

http://home.cogeco.ca/~rpaisley4/Throttles.html

Specifically see the 'A Variable Width Pulse Type Throttle', there's a caveat here, this throttle may be unsuitable for coreless or portescap motors, Farish is beyond my normal area of expertise, if they have coreless motors, then maybe don't use a PWM throttle.

Arduino? Maybe not, an ATtiny more likely. Set it up driving a nice big FET, have a analogue input pin reading a voltage from a potentiometer and have it send a PWM output to the FET accordingly, at least I don't have to tell you how to code it. Wink The best part of this design is if you don't like the throttle response you can rewrite the algorithum and try again...

Atmel will send you free* samples of their product if you request them.

*And issue you with a sternly worded letter in the box warning that "you should not attmept to pay the zero dollar invoice that's enclosed"... Yup, true story.
  oscar2 Locomotive Fireman

I'm going to go against the trend here and say Gaugemaster.  There's a lot of models but my experience has been with a panel mount model UDS which is twin track with simulation and has been great.

Years ago I was looking at CDA, Gaugemaster and Morley to upgrade from two Hammant & Morgan Duette controllers.  I've always wanted to try a controller with simulation/braking/inertia, all the same thing I believe, but favoured Gaugemaster over CDA purely due to knob versus slider. Morley have knobs too but they don't have simulation, which I hasten to add probably doesn't need it based on other people's comments on the web about it's slow speed performance. But I do enjoy using the simulator for its novelty in braking and accelerating slowly.

My only gripe is that I have on occasion had the throttle on around 75%, brake on full, then inadvertently switched the simulator off whilst reaching for the reverse switch.  This sends the train off immediately at 75% throttle!   I'm not a big fan of reverse switches and is why I nearly bought a Morley with it's centre-off knobs which is a feature I liked about the H&M Duettes.  In the end the choice was simple when the Gaugemaster appeared second hand on ebay for under $100.

Back to your old Farish locos Gremlin, I don't know anything about their motors but maybe an old Duette might be the go? No I'm not trying to sell you one, I'm still quite fond of mine and doubt I'll part with them, but old locos, old controller - not real scientific I know. FWIW my Duettes were second hand, ancient, and bought over 10 years ago. They ran my Lima, Austrains and a Lloyds 30cl locos without issue and later TOR and Auscision for a short time before I got the Gaugemaster. The Duettes were a huge step up from the train set controllers I had. However, there's quite a few negative comments about their suitability for newer motors.  There's a good link here which talks in depth about types of DC controllers and was the first time I saw anything negative about the Duette http://www.scottpages.net/ReviewOfControllers.html
I never chased up why the negativity until this thread popped up, but if you go to RMWeb there's a few good threads on controllers and explanations about what makes the Duette good or bad, plus comments about Morley v Gaugemaster.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
The Duettes are rheostat controllers, or simply, variable resistance controllers, therefore they were designed to work with motors that drew around 1 amp when running. If you use them with newer style motors that use, on average, around 0.1 amp, then they don't work as expected.

Any solid state controller is a better option as it has a voltage regulated output.
  Roachie Chief Commissioner

Location: Kadina SA (formerly NSW)
Back in the mid 70s I was posted to Mount Hagen in the PNG Highlands with my employer......no hobby shop for at least 2,000 miles and I had a couple of white metal FSM kits of NSW steam locos I was building. No controller!!! Damn, what to do?

I bought a variable light dimmer switch (used to dim the lights in a house) and an Arlec battery charger. Latter had 2 switches; one was for 6v/12v option...can't recall what the other one was for (possibly boost/trickle charge?).

So, I made-up a board with a single GPO (power point) and the dimmer switch. A length of 240v 3-core cable with a 3-pin plug (salvaged from an old, broken ledger machine) was added. (NOTE: I still have that power board in the shed and now use it to control an early model Dremel which had no other means of varying the speed).

I was then able to hook-up the 2 cables from the battery charger, via a DPDT switch (to reverse the polarity). Using the 6v option, I was able to achieve very low speed response from the flat-sided "can" motors that were provided in those old kits.....I could easily count the revs of the loco's wheels; that's how slow I could get it to go.

I'm not suggesting this is a good method....just that there is more than one way to skin a cat and that sometimes ingenuity is required in this hobby; less so these days where we have access to all kinds of mod-cons.

Roachie
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Back in the mid 70s I was posted to Mount Hagen in the PNG Highlands with my employer......no hobby shop for at least 2,000 miles and I had a couple of white metal FSM kits of NSW steam locos I was building. No controller!!! Damn, what to do?

I bought a variable light dimmer switch (used to dim the lights in a house) and an Arlec battery charger. Latter had 2 switches; one was for 6v/12v option...can't recall what the other one was for (possibly boost/trickle charge?).

So, I made-up a board with a single GPO (power point) and the dimmer switch. A length of 240v 3-core cable with a 3-pin plug (salvaged from an old, broken ledger machine) was added. (NOTE: I still have that power board in the shed and now use it to control an early model Dremel which had no other means of varying the speed).

I was then able to hook-up the 2 cables from the battery charger, via a DPDT switch (to reverse the polarity). Using the 6v option, I was able to achieve very low speed response from the flat-sided "can" motors that were provided in those old kits.....I could easily count the revs of the loco's wheels; that's how slow I could get it to go.

I'm not suggesting this is a good method....just that there is more than one way to skin a cat and that sometimes ingenuity is required in this hobby; less so these days where we have access to all kinds of mod-cons.

Roachie
Roachie

Hmm this reminds me of a club a friend joined many years ago. He showed me their main control panel and said it was dangerous. Well, it was ( to noobs like me )

For someone has hardwired into the control panel for the model trains two light dimmers that did what Roachie had, controlling the primary voltage of a transformer rather then the secondary low voltage output.

Yep, hard wired 240Vac in a panel. We ripped it out so quick and replace dit with basic transistor thottles. The throttles have handled 6-12 locos at once so are powerful enough.

The 240v ac was NOT isolated in boxs and conduit, it was a frying waiting to happen.

It worked, as Roachie has indicated. In fact Roachie did it the right way.

=================================================
My club, Eltham Model Railway Club have used home built controllers, based on diodes in serie.

See http://dth.railpage.org.au/emrc2/controller.htm

And the power supply to run 'em : http://dth.railpage.org.au/emrc2/power.htm

They work well but being a mechanical solution are very dated today.


Regards,
David Head
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Last week I was using this 'nice' variable power supply donated to my club, big current meter that red lined at 20A but no output voltage indication. Adjustment of voltage achieved by a light dimmer, huge toroid transformer and even fan assisted cooling.

Turns out the voltage regulation was terrible, and the adjustment ability was questionable. After running for half a day with hardly any load this was HOT! It was on disassembly that I realised the dimmer was controlling the primary. Crazy, crazy stuff and just another example of how a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
and even fan assisted cooling.
Aaron

Fans? We used 't dream o fans?

Used to get up in morning, strip ol radiator o wire, wind it round lump o raw 'sbestos 't make controla, run train all day and think we was lucky.

Then fat controla would belt us round chops wi power cord and send us 't bed wi,out dinner.

Them was the days......
  james13 Chief Commissioner

Location: At the Skunk Works
I think I know the layout you are talking about David. I can tell you for a fact that the power supply and controllers now installed are able to handle 26 Auscision locomotives on the one train.
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I think I know the layout you are talking about David. I can tell you for a fact that the power supply and controllers now installed are able to handle 26 Auscision locomotives on the one train.
james13

I know it is safe, and by all the long train videos it shows how well the controllers work.

Haven't used the infrared controller that can be purchased from Trainworld, it is another item on the market.
Jaycar also have model train controllers I believe as a kit to make.

Regards,
David Head

Sponsored advertisement

Subscribers: james13, TheMeddlingMonk

Display from:   

Quick Reply

We've disabled Quick Reply for this thread as it was last updated more than six months ago.