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I was inquiring in an earlier post about 'starter' locos. The Big Haulers were recommended but, not their track and power. The question then is: what are the rather minimum power requirements, and what about track? Not sure I really understand how outdoor use impacts the power supply. I wouldn't assume one would leave any power pack out in the weather...or do you? I imagine this time of year there are a bunch of us new G scalers!
 

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The track in question (Bachmann) is a hollow core tin and will rust away to dust in a matter of a season or two. Add to that it "crushability" if accidentally stepped on and it falls out of favor quickly. Most of us use either solid brass or stainless steel track on track powered setups.

The power supply is adequate for a single Big Hauler loco. I used mine until I could upgrade. I do keep the power supply out of the weather. The issue with the Bachmann power supply is that it's limited. I don't know the amperage rating off the top of my head but it's fairly low. Once I purchased my first diesel loco (a USA Trains GP30) It would barely move the loco... even at full throttle. I switched over to an older LGB power block (still small) and things ran better... untill I overheated the LGB unit.

A seperate power supply is generally preferred for track power setups. I'm currently running an Aristocraft Ultima power supply (switchable between 13 and 22 amps). That power runs through an Aristo Train Engineer throttle system. I have all the power I'll need for quite some time.

 

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Bachmann track is not possible outside, so if that is what you were asking about, forget it.

I do house my power supplies outside, I use a weatherproof enclosure that I built for a few bucks, it's an upside down irrigation drain basin. The "top" (which is now the bottom) is a grill, to which I have addes some screen. This keeps the power runs to the rails shorter. I run DCC, so you will see more "boxes" in this picture.

Regards, Greg





 

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Hello Capn Bill and welcome to a great hobby and a terrific forum.
When I first started I had an LGB starter set and used their track which is very good outside. I have since added in aristocraft 5' track sections for the long staight aways to reduce the track joints. Both brands are designed for outside use and just require a couple of swipes with a cleaning block or pad to get things going electrically. The first year I put down about 125 feet of track and used the starter set pack to power it which worked fine. For a quick hookup I used the original track power pickups from the starter set and stuck those on a 12" piece of track that I brought in and out with the pack. This piece of track was quickly attached at the end of a siding and powered the whole 125' of layout. I have since added alot more track up to 300' and use the same system that Dave F pictured. right out of the box it is good for one engine and it sure is nice to be able tofollow the train around and control it so you might consider that in the future. I keep this package in a tool box that goes in and out and use plugs to connect it to the layout.
I have a big hauler set and now 3 LGB engines, 2 of which are from sets and I really prefer the LGB If you haven't bought a set yet I would look to LGB and get one with sound you won't regret it plus you will have a simple loop ready for the yard albeit a 4footer but it is a great way to start. Good luck and get something rolling soon
Todd
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the tips guys. Like a whole new world for the Big Toys! I bought a Doodlebug for my first incursion into the G class. Figured it was big enough to do some 'detailing' and get a start. Been 'N' guaging for a lifetime, but really got hooked when I saw my first Large Scale layout. Two things that really got me: Smoke and snowplows! Told the wife I was going to grow up oneday, but neither of us is looking forward to it!
 

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You want to keep the power pack indoors, yes.

The difference between indoors and outdoors is mostly space. A bigger layout outdoors means bigger trains which means more amperage. I started out just setting up a christmas display outdoors. We had inherited a bunch of LGB starter sets and used the track, engines, and power pack from those. We had maybe 50-75 feet of track and would run two small engines, and even so the power pack would trip its breaker fairly often if there was more than one loco running


So I got a 24 volt, 10 amp power supply on ebay, a "meanwell" 320 something, and then an aristocraft 10 amp throttle. I stuck both in a plastic box that sits underneath a bench--just a storage box I got at the container store. I drulled some vent holes under the lid overhang, to let heat and condensation out. It's been fine for well over a year. The meanwell power supply is running up to 3-4 locos of various sizes, including aristo pacifics and mikados pulling long trains, as well as lights in many of the coaches and building lights. It's been really good.

Eventually I went to remote control in each loco, and just set the throttle to deliver 20 volts and now it never comes out of the box.
 

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At the Chicago Botanic, we do as Dave does above. The remote control is much better in a garden than a knob on a transformer.

I took one of those receivers out of the case and mounted it in the tender with a rechargable battery:



So I don't care if there's power, or dirt, on the track, and I clean my wheels when they get a lump of something and go gallumping down the track.

I do the same with my Bachmann, though it won't fit that big battery. Since I only use that engine when I'm at a trains show or something, I power it with duracell's. $7 worth of batteries from Wal*Mart runs it all day. I spend lots more than that just getting to the train show ;)" border="0" />





In both, I access the battery and the receiver by lifting the coal load.





You see Rayovac in the photo, but I don't like them as they've leaked several times. Stick with coppertop duracells.
 

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I should add the more amperage the more stuff you can run. It's hard to say how much you need. Some locos draw a lot more amps than others--USAtrains locos are notorious for using a lot of amps. The more amperage the better. I have a five volt meanwell power supply and it sometimes tended to trip its breakers when there were three locos running


Also if you are going to run track power, as I do, you need to take some steps to make sure you get good connectivity. If you just use the rail joiners the track cems wth, eventually you'll start to have trouble. You can:


1. At the very least put some anti-corrosion, conductive paste in the track joints. I used LGB conductive paste, but also used anti-sieze compound I got at the auto parts store. Squirt some in the track joiners before you join them. It makes a BIG difference.

2. Buy rail clamps and add them at each joint. Easy, fast, very effective, expensive


3. Solder the track joints together with a jumper wire, Very effective, cheap, time consuming and hard to do (for me anyway)



I've got I guess a couple hundred feet of track with rail clamps on most, but not all, of the joints and conductive paste on all of them. I rarely have any problems and when I do, it's the top of the rail, not the joint


another thing you can do is use all stainless steel track. It does not oxidize and needs less cleaning. But I don't find track cleangn in general a very big deal. I just run an aristo track cleanign car around
 

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Everybody has the best idea......more than likely it's what they use...
However put some track on the ground and find out whats best for you, one of the controllers you already have around from 'N' gauge should work it may not run them full speed but it should give you a better idea what you ultimatly want and let you get started.
Although I now use mostly battery power, over the years I've used a variety of controllers from my 'HO' days. This year I used a very old MRC controller I had, to run a Bahmann Shay around the Christmas tree it didn't run fast (it ran it plenty fast enough) but, it ran for hours on end....
Like the others have said the Bacman tin track is not any good outside, but just get a loop of any track put it on the ground and have fun.....
You'll soon find out what's best for you....
You can see my original loop in the lower left corner.....


 

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Er Greg....

I know The US operates on a higher frequency with a lower voltage and the wiring colour coding is different to that in the EU -but I feel EXTREMELY uncomfortable looking at the pictures above...


regards

ralph
 

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I use an MRC 10amp and love it.
This power pack has all the power to run multi motored G-scale trains, and fulfill the high demand requirements of large scale layouts.
Can easily handle up to 7 locomotives running in tandem.
10 continuous Amps for massive power.
Linear transition from low to high speed.
Smooth, controlled slow speed operation.
Large pilot light and overload LEDs.
Heavy-duty reverse switch.
Rugged cabinetry with slide transformer for smooth linear control.
Large throttle handle looks and feels like the real thing!
Heavy-duty wire attachment lugs...no tools needed.

 

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Seem like he is going battery considering his other post. Later RJD
 

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Posted By Cap'nBill on 01/04/2009 10:46 AM
Thanks for the tips guys. Like a whole new world for the Big Toys! I bought a Doodlebug for my first incursion into the G class. Figured it was big enough to do some 'detailing' and get a start. Been 'N' guaging for a lifetime, but really got hooked when I saw my first Large Scale layout. Two things that really got me: Smoke and snowplows! Told the wife I was going to grow up oneday, but neither of us is looking forward to it!



It really depends on how you want to run your trains.

If you want multiple trains and/or automatic operations (e.g., leap frog at the station, trains meeting at an X-crossing, etc.), forget about batteries. Track power is the solution. Also, if you want to run your smoke units, forget about batteries as the smoke units will drain them down much more quickly. On the other hand, if you don't want to deal with cleaning track (some make a big deal out of this while others of us don't seem to mind so much), batteries are the way to go.
 

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Posted By Cap'nBill on 01/04/2009 10:46 AM
Told the wife I was going to grow up oneday, but neither of us is looking forward to it!



You can't help growing old... But Growing Up is a choice..
 

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Posted By Greg Elmassian on 01/04/2009 9:25 AM
Bachmann track is not possible outside, so if that is what you were asking about, forget it.

I do house my power supplies outside, I use a weatherproof enclosure that I built for a few bucks, it's an upside down irrigation drain basin. The "top" (which is now the bottom) is a grill, to which I have addes some screen. This keeps the power runs to the rails shorter. I run DCC, so you will see more "boxes" in this picture.

Regards, Greg









Damn, that's pretty slick Greg. Good idea if I ever have to move my power stuff outside.


Raymond
 

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Posted By Cap'nBill on 01/04/2009 8:41 AM
I was inquiring in an earlier post about 'starter' locos. The Big Haulers were recommended but, not their track and power. The question then is: what are the rather minimum power requirements, and what about track? Not sure I really understand how outdoor use impacts the power supply. I wouldn't assume one would leave any power pack out in the weather...or do you? I imagine this time of year there are a bunch of us new G scalers!


Not sure if this was answered directly yet but, there is no change in power requirements just cause you go outside. Required power is soley dependent on the engine you are trying to run or the lights you are trying to power in your passenger cars.


Raymond
 

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Thanks Ray, the back of the house has no convenient location, it's the family room and patio, and I also wanted to have the track power as close to the track as possible.

I used a smaller one of these to house accessory decoders and air solenoids on the side yard.

Easy, cheap, effective.

Regards, Greg
 
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