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· Registered
21 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm still trying to decide which system to go with. I have narrowed it down to Prodigy Express or NCE PowerCab. NCE has 10 AMP boosters while MRC only has 8 AMP boosters. Can  I get by with 8 AMPs just controlling a K27, Connie, and Porter to start with? I can see adding more when I automate switches etc, but I'm trying to do this on the cheap to get started.

Thanks in advance.

· Premium Member
285 Posts
AMPS is not a measurment of POWER

HO scale uses 16 volts
G scale uses 20 to 24 volts
A 16 volt system that trips the circuit breaker at 10 amps puts out a maximum of 160 watts of POWER ( 16 * 10 = 160 ) ( VOLTS TIMES AMPS = WATTS )
A 20 volt system that trips the circuit breaker at 8 amps puts out a maximum of 160 watts of POWER ( 20 * 8 = 160 )
A 22 volt system that trips the circuit breaker at 8 amps puts out a maximum of 176 watts of POWER ( 22 * 8 = 176 )

You can run more trains at the same speed drawing less amps if the voltage is higher
You can run faster if the voltage is higher
You will have less arcing and less pitting if the voltage is higher
You will not melt the small wires in your expensive rolling stock if the trip setting is lower.

Unlike DC, where more amps is good, In DCC many users buy power managers so as to shutdown any track where there is a short circuit. Using multiple low current boosters is much safer than buying one huge booster. Unlike DC, when your current needs grow because you add more locos, you do not throw out the old system and buy a bigger one, you just add another booster to your existing system.

· Premium Member
1,845 Posts
To Bob's point, when I ran my LGB Mikado at 16 volts, I used about 3.5 amps at top speed and pulling a long train. At 22 volts it ran faster at top speed, pulling the same rolling stock, but only used about 1.5 amps.  Just make sure you don't go over the volts that your equipment is spec'd at, otherwise you could fry something.

· Super Modulator
22,731 Posts
Bob makes an important point, read what he said thoroughly. That said, if you want to run 3 locos, and will be running significant loads, you should use a good size booster. I have a 10 amp system, and it's tweaked to put 24 volts on the rails (stock is like 20.3 max). Pulling a train of about 20 cars, my 2 USAT F3s pull about 3.7 amps up a 2% grade.

So, this will give you a data point. My layout will have 3 10 amp boosters, mainline split in two, and one for the yard, where a number of locos will be sitting.

Regards, Greg
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