electricaly stupid

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by mummert, Nov 24, 2007.

  1. mummert

    mummert Member

    I have been thinking about doing a very small christmas layout if thats what you want to call it. Its actually more of a decoration. My idea was to take one of those small christmas trees you can get at the store the ones that are like 2 feet tall and then put an N scale train running under it. I thought of building on a small decorative wooden box to hide the wiring inside. But here is where my stupidity steps in. If I do it what I would like to do is be able have the tree lights on at all times and then just be able to push a button and the train comes on. My thought was to run a wire from an outlet to the light then a wire from the lights to a dc throttle set on something like quarter throttle with a switch between the throttle and lights. Now I figure that there is probably an easier/cheaper way to do this than buying a throttle if someone could enlighten me. I assume I would need some kind of dc converter. But also if I would go the converter route how could I keep the power low enough that my train isnt flying around the track at like 150 mph. I know probably pretty basic stuff here but I will am not to proud to admidt when it comes to electrical stuff I am kinda dumb.
  2. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    I really think a throttle is going to be the way to go. You could use another DC source, but there's no telling what voltage you'd really like that source to be. I think I'd run two cords in, one for the lights, and one for the train, with a switch on the cord for the train.
  3. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    I agree. You need to regulate the train's speed in order to get it "just right". Who knows what voltage that will be. And you may also want to be able to make adjustments to the speed as you see fit. A cheap train set power pack should suffice. You can usually pick them up for almost free at train shows.

  4. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Hi...Ebay is another source for cheap power packs. I've picked up a couple to regulate the turning speed of my turntables....
  5. woodone

    woodone Member

    Well this may not be just what you are looking for.
    Try finding a power supply 110 volt AC to 12 volt DC. There are all kinds of them out there. They are used for powering up small toys-calculators- ect. Get one that has a output of about 1/2 to 3/4 amps. Hook it up to your track- see how fast it makes you train run--too fast= go to your Radio shackstore and get a resistor and put in line of the power suppply to the track.
    You don't say if you have a multimeter or not?
    If not it will be trial and error. start with a 100 ohm 1 watt resistor and go from there. The more restiance the slower the train will go.
    Wire in a 110 volt switch to the power supply. That way you can turn the train off or on as you would like.
    Hope that might help.
  6. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    I'd say that by the time you've done all that, you might as well have bought a cheap power pack.
  7. woodone

    woodone Member

    This might be true.
    I looked at pricing on power packs--Cheep? Model power $24.98- Bachmann-$38.50 Protech- $20.00. Might be hard to find a a LHS. And the prices are from last years Walthers. Might be able to find a old train set with the power pack still working.
    I have an old Bachmann Trim a Tree set and that is what they used- just a small DC output transformer- no speed control- works just fine.
    I was thinking used from thrift store- $5.00 for a used DC unit?
    On the power packs you would still have to wire in a on-off switch or unplug the unit when you wanted it off, as most will not have on-off switch.
    Just a different idea, on my part.
  8. who_dat73

    who_dat73 Member

    Tell ya what mummeret you give me the addy to send it to I have a old Bachman box that I will give ya if you are wiling to pay the shipping all you would need to do is insulate one rail put a feeder wire to it and a 12 volt toggel switch from Wally World there you go!!
    Let me know if you are intrested
  9. JR&Son

    JR&Son Member

    Got an old Cell Phone charger?
    Many are around 4 volts, good starting point for N

  10. mummert

    mummert Member

    Thank you all for your help. I guess if I decide to build it I will go the DC throttle route. I think I have one laying around somewhere.

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