model railroads resources


How To Get A Long Life From Your
Model Trains Transformer/Power Pack

 model trains transformers power packs

A quality transformer, when treated properly, should have a lifespan of 30+ years.

The golden rule is to ALWAYS operate the transformer within its rating. It is also important to keep the transformer dry and avoid damp areas (take particular care in basement locations).

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Power Safety For Model Trains

When not using your train layout unplug the transformer. Don't walk away and leave it plugged in and unattended as it could start a fire. If a transformer gives off a burning odor, or expels smoke, heed these warning signs and immediately replace it or take it in for servicing.

A loud BUZZING noise coming from a transformer could be due to the transformer's core laminations moving. Servicing would be needed as this vibration can cause damage to insulation in contact with the moving metal.

Transformer Circuit Breaker

A transformer's circuit breaker can trip occasionally. If this happens simply unplug the transformer and let it cool off. The transformer will usually work again after it has cooled down. However, if the transformer continues to trip without a load, it will need servicing to fix the problem.

One more thing; NEVER use a transformer with a damaged, split, or cracked power cord. If in doubt have the transformer serviced immediately.

Learning DCC Operation

dcc controllers

For many model railroaders the big problem with DCC is leaning how to use it.

For example, with DCC it is possible to run two trains head on into each other. So, learning basic DCC operation is an important first step.

With DCC operation there is the problem of modifying old locos to run with DCC and fitting DCC chips to DCC ready locos. Remember too, it can also be difficult to return non DCC locos that have been modified to run on DCC back to DC control.

However, there are many advantages in DCC operation on a model railway layout. A DCC system removes the need for complex point work involved with operating more than one train on a model railroad layout. It also eliminates the problem of crossing the circuits by changing the points, or accidentally running two trains at the same time because one of the trains was isolated or you the wrong point was switched.

The Model Train Help Ebook includes sections on both Analog and DCC operation.

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