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  • Topic: "'More power,' ya say, cap'n?"

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    • September 15, 2018 12:42 PM EDT

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      "'More power,' ya say, cap'n?"

      I saw this on Facebook, thought I'd pass it along here for those who want/need lots of power for their DCC lines.

       

      DCC booster, 24 volts, 30 amps.

       

      http://www.md-electronics.de/de/mxion_control.html

       

      Hadn't seen this before, so I thought I'd pass it along.

       

      Later,

       

      K

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    • September 16, 2018 1:46 AM EDT
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      Small correction, it is a 25 amp booster with 30 amp peak... my zimo will run 20 all day, and my NCE, while rated at 10 amps would put out over that like about 12, and 20 peak.

       

      At these amperages, the short detection circuitry becomes of paramount importance... and while I was happy with my NCE, and the DCC specialties breakers were a bit smarter, they are nothing in comparison to the extremely intelligent Zimo.

       

      A "peak reading" tells me that the system is not that smart... won't go into the explanation but it's pretty clear.

       

      Greg

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    • September 16, 2018 4:23 AM EDT

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      Even at 25 amps continuous, that's still greater than your 20-amp Zimo system (which sets one back $2,450) or the 12 amps of your older NCE set-up. That was the point of my posting it here. Folks are always looking for ways of getting lots of current to their tracks, and this was something which is capable of delivering it. Look at it from this perspective: This booster will set you back less than $200 (160 Euro MSRP). Combine this with something simple/inexpensive like the NCE ProCab, and for less than $400 plus the cost of the external power supply, you have a DCC system with enough voltage and current capacity to feed most anyone's layout. When folks complain that DCC is expensive for large scale use, here's a set-up that pretty much busts that myth. I see that as a positive.

       

      I'm totally with you on the need for short circuit protection in such installations. 30 amps shorting through the wiring typical of our locomotives is going to release a whole lot of magic smoke. Heck, I put fuses on my on-board installations "just in case." 

       

      Later,

       

      K

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    • September 16, 2018 7:33 AM EDT
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      It is not just the engines that need protection.  Many switches had wires underneath that would not even take 10 amps.  Origonal aristo switches had very small wires.  LGB OTOH had brass straps, hjowever they were spot welded and I wonder how that would stand up.  So, I went with the Zimo and the current monitoring works great and is adjustable as is the voltage output.

    • September 16, 2018 11:36 AM EDT
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      Yes, the low price is great, but you don't seem to have absorbed what I said about short circuit protection... it can be a very sophisticated function to sense accurately a real short and temporary overcurrent, etc.

      After all my experience, I have never seen a system that was as "smart" as the Zimo, and it is a NECESSITY when you get up in the 10 amp range and over...

       

      Using this product, I would need to add more circuit breakers to protect locomotives, switches, etc. AND it would have to be set lower than 20 amps depending on the circuit breakers used.

       

      So, the benefit is one large 25 amp system, broken into smaller power districts, definitely do-able, but I would wait to see what protection I could enable with 10 amp power districts.

       

      So, I agree, this could be cost effective.

       

      You have made a somewhat misleading comparision though, not comparing apples to apples... this is a booster only, not a complete top end wireless system (and you have the Zimo price at full list, no one buys at full list)... why not compare this inexpensive system with limited capability to some other inexpensive system with limited capability, like MERGE?

       

      So, yes it could be part of a low cost high amperage system, but at that current level, the system MUST include more intelligent circuit breakers.

       

      By the way, I have an inexpensive portable DCC system, the basis is a PowerCab and a Tam Valley 5 amp booster (which you could add more in parallel for even less cost and safer operation). You can't beat that price, and you can have 20 amps with four 5 amp districts for the same $$. (or one 5 amp system for $150 less)

      The next module applied is a $75 laptop with an inexpensive wireless bridge, now I have a full JMRI system, with color touchscreen display and support cell phone throttles.

       

      The last thing I am adding is a RailDriver for someone that wants to sit and operate all the controls of a real loco WITH lots of function buttons for DCC.

       

      Greg

      This post was edited by Greg Elmassian at September 22, 2018 3:37 PM EDT
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    • September 16, 2018 3:34 PM EDT

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      Greg wrote: "You have made a somewhat misleading comparision though, not comparing apples to apples... this is a booster only, not a complete top end wireless system (and you have the Zimo price at full list, no one buys at full list)... why not compare this inexpensive system with limited capability to some other inexpensive system with limited capability, like MERGE?"

       

      You're misunderstanding my intent. I'm looking at current to the track only. If a modeler feels they "need" 25+ amps to their track, this product will give them that. There's no other system that would give them that--not even the high-end Zimo. They would use this booster in conjunction with whatever command station set-up they prefer (at whatever price). Consider the indoor small-scale modeler who is looking to move outdoors. If that modeler already has a DCC system (whatever it is), then for the cost of a booster and power supply, they can now use that same system they already have and know to run outdoors at the higher voltages and currents typically used by large scale DCC railroads. That's why I mention this. It's a quick and inexpensive way to get DCC outdoors without compromise on voltage or current capacity. 

       

      Later,

       

      K

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    • September 16, 2018 3:46 PM EDT
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      You have twice not absorbed my point.... so you are in the lead. Congratulations.

       

      I know the difference between not able to understand and refusing to understand.

       

      Greg

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    • September 16, 2018 4:39 PM EDT
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      Greg Elmassian said:
      ...I know the difference between not able to understand and refusing to understand....

       

         Excellent. Now do us all a favor and figure out the difference between dcc and battery power, which makes all this convoluted nonsense unnecessary. Just a friendly suggestion.

       

       

       

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    • September 16, 2018 8:28 PM EDT
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      25 amps, that can peak to 30 amps, scares me. That's the kind of power one can use to weld with. It would be safer (part of Greg's point) to have 5 amp power districts. If one train needs 20 amps all by itself then something is wrong. But if the train can operate on 5 amps, then to have it as the sole occupant of a power district would be safer. And then one would have several districts to keep one 5 amp train alone in each district as they move along the railroad.

       

      Typical house wiring is rated for 15 to 20 amps (depending). So the feeder wires to the track would have to be house wire gauge, or larger, so the wires don't melt, or burst into flame, in the event of a derailment that shorts the track, or any event that shorts the track.

       

      And the other thing Greg is asking and pointing out, is what kind of short circuit protection is there? Lets say a locomotive derails, and since its wheels aren't spotlessly clean, its doesn't draw over 30 amps. But it does draw 18 amps. And the operator doesn't cut the power right away, for whatever reason. The resulting damage could be quite extreme, unless the system recognizes the short and shuts itself down. So, yea, money was saved in the purchase price, but at what risk?

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    • September 16, 2018 9:57 PM EDT

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      I understand the risks of running 25 - 30 amps to the track on one circuit. That "all in one" architecture would not be my first choice for all the reasons mentioned above if I were to design a DCC track-powered layout. But when the most common criticism I hear of today's off-the-shelf DCC systems is that they're typically limited to 10 amps to the track, this system is an answer to that weakness. That's why I posted it. I hadn't seen it before and thought folks would like to know about it. Whether you feel "safe" running 25 amps through one circuit as opposed to multiple 5- to 10-amp power districts each with their own boosters is entirely up to you and your comfort level. I run battery power, so I don't really have a dog in this fight. Use it, don't use it, I don't care. It's a product that's available. 

       

      For practical applications, this booster makes a lot of sense for folks like me who have small-scale DCC systems for our "little" trains already, but whose outputs are ill-suited for "typical" large scale DCC layouts. The booster's current is limited by the power supply that feeds it, so I'd need only tailor the power supply to meet my specific needs. For the price of the booster and power supply, I've now beefed up my existing DCC command station set-up for my large scale line. 

       

      Later,

       

      K

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    • September 21, 2018 7:18 AM EDT
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      Limited to 10 amps????   Massoth is 12 amps and Zimo is a 8 plus 12 amp unit.  Some others are 5 amps (old MTS system)and need boosters to go higher with blocks..

      Cost is relative as a booster has a price tag, plus a power supply is needed and is another price tag.

      So, many components are needed with wiring for systems with boosters whereas Zimo is just one power supply (no fan needed!!) and the command station.  This makes it very portable also.

    • September 21, 2018 12:31 PM EDT
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      I've been in DCC way longer than you Kevin, and I rarely hear a complaint that 10 amps is limiting... I wonder who you are talking to?

       

      Also, it normally makes sense to have multiple boosters with 5 amp power districts in most cases, so again how is this the most common criticism? I can tell you what the most common criticisms are, and being limited by 10 amps ain't it.

       

      I only know a few people who run 10 amp trains like I do on DCC... you have to run a long train with really steep grades to hit this.

       

      The attractiveness of a single booster with a large current capability is useful to a very select few, although one large booster used with several independent breakers for several power districts can make sense also.

       

      I also have 2 portable DCC systems, my Zimo simply unplugs from my home installation and I have a 5 amp power supply for taking it elsewhere, and I have a portable 5 amps system based on NCE... but this is a different topic.

       

      Just taking exception to "weakness" and your statement about "most common criticism"....  I think this may be your personal experience opinion, but not the mainstream DCC situation....

       

      Greg

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    • September 22, 2018 2:45 AM EDT

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      Take all the exception you want to what I post. It's rare that you do not.

       

      Bottom line, someone--somewhere--had a need for this product, thus it was developed. What disservice does it do to the hobby at large to pass along the information that it exists? You're not likely to use something like this. I'm not likely to use it, either. But someone else very well may. And if they heard of it on this forum, then this thread will have served its purpose. And that's why I posted it. 

       

      Later,

       

      K

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    • September 22, 2018 2:05 PM EDT
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      Are we having fun yet?

    • September 22, 2018 3:01 PM EDT
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      Thanks for the product link, Kevin.

      Thanks for the back-and-forth Greg and Kevin. Very informative!

       

      My system is 10A NCE (Meanwell amp; system put together with Greg's help, many moons ago). So when it's energized, and I put my hand or arm across the rails while fixing a derailment, I definitely feel it. So I'd think that for safety reasons (neighbor kids visiting, touching the track because they won't listen, yet not wanting them to have a permanent reminder of their transgression), I think I'd want to limit the the current to ~10A, whatever that took.

       

      Here's my question, would this 30A booster, with the needed whatever to split / limit it to districts, be less expensive and more functional than 3 NCE/Meanwell 10A booster setups?

       

      I respect the hell out of both you guys, but learn more when you have at it, so... 

       

      Cliff

       

    • September 22, 2018 3:28 PM EDT
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      Cliff Jennings said:

      Thanks for the product link, Kevin.

      Thanks for the back-and-forth Greg and Kevin. Very informative!

       

       

       

      This is very informative to me as well.  I know very little about DCC, but am trying to soak in as much as I can before I decide my next steps.

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    • September 22, 2018 3:43 PM EDT
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      Sorry, I'm not very DCC savvy...  But this looks like only a booster capable of handling 30A peak / 25A continuous, using an external power supply you furnish that is up to that output. Is that correct? I think I had misunderstood it to be an all-in-one unit.

       

      If that's the case (and please correct me if I'm wrong), I think I'll stick with an NCE booster that will handle a ~10-12A supply, and let that power my future districts. 

       

      Cliff

       

       

       

       

      This post was edited by Cliff Jennings at September 22, 2018 3:57 PM EDT
    • September 22, 2018 3:52 PM EDT
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      Cliff, you can not get more out than you put in and really slightly less as there is some power used by a boosters electronics.

      Also note that when you place a sweaty arm across a DCC track, it is the voltage you feel.  A persons body has resistance and salty sweat conducts more milliamps than pure water or no water.

       

      So, a 7va (that is 1/3 amp at 21 volts output)  LGB starter set supply or even a Bachmann starter set supply when full on will give you the same tingle as our robust 20 amp supplies!!!!

      Same goes for HO DCC at 16 volts on the track, you can get a tingle!!

       

    • September 22, 2018 4:10 PM EDT
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      Thanks Dan. But ugh...

       

      So it's not the amps, but the voltage...  You know, I've had so many arguments at work, and the sparky's say either that, or the opposite... Seems I never learn!

       

      However, I'm going with Maynard on this. 30A available on the rails, at 20V, equals 600 watts. That would give a sweaty arm or kool-aide soaked hand more than a tingle, I think. 

       

      But, that's a side-bar on Kevin's post, I don't want my ignorance to cause a full derail...

       

      CJ

       

       

    • September 22, 2018 4:56 PM EDT
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      Have to reinforce it's not current but voltage combined with a lower than normal skin resistance that gives you the tingle. 1 amp, 300 amps, same tingle.

      Most people have the "feeling" that more current in the power supply means more current in the circuit.... but a motor running at 12 volts will draw the same current whether you have a 2 amp power supply or a 2 million amp power supply. It's the "resistance" of the motor that controls the current flow.

      For you to have 600 watts flowing, you would need all 30 amps flowing at 20 volts. So again using Ohms law, V=IR, then solving for resistance, R = V/I... or 20/30 or .67 ohms...

       

      You can find typical resistance of the human body's skin in lots of places, look at Wikipedia: The NIOSH states "Under dry conditions, the resistance offered by the human body may be as high as 100,000 ohms. Wet or broken skin may drop the body's resistance to 1,000 ohms," adding that "high-voltage electrical energy quickly breaks down human skin, reducing the human body's resistance to 500 ohms".

      NOWHERE near 0.67 ohms... so while the power supply has the POTENTIAL to supply 600 watts, there is no way you can get that into your body ....

       

      All this information is readily available on the Internet, or speak to a real engineer, electrical, not train.

       

      Greg

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