HO Transformer Power

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Cannonball, Dec 29, 2006.

  1. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    How much power can an HO engine handle? As I mentioned in my thread about my daughter's Model Power set, the transformer seems a little weak and I'd like something with a bit more juice to it. Would the engines be OK if I hooked up my CW80 to it or would it fry the little buggers with too much juice?
  2. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    DON'T DO IT!!!!

    That CW80 is a Lionel transformer and it outputs AC current. It will FRY the DC motor on an HO-scale locomotive.

    HO locos need Direct Current power to drive its motor, not Alternating Current. Typical HO locomotive motors can go up to 12V DC maximum.

    Again, DON'T DO IT!!!!
  3. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    OK... I won't do that! :eek: I forgot about the whole AC/DC thing. :oops:
    Any suggestions for good HO transformers?
  4. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

  5. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Thanks! :thumb:
  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Cannonball: the old standard for HO locos was 1 amp apiece which translates in 12 watts (output). However, it won't hurt to have more capacity in a power pack than needed, as the loco only draws what is required.
    Modern HO locos should draw at most 1/2 amp.
    One of my throttles is powered by a 1033, another by a smaller transformer with 2 terminals.
  7. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Most of your question has already been answered. Another alternative for a good power pack is a used MRC Tech series - any model Tech 2, 3, or 4. I have found these at train shows, pawn shops, and on eBay.

    MRC rates their power packs output in VA (volt-amps) which is the same as watts for our purposes. Their smaller power packs are rated at 18VA and go up. An HO locomotive should not be using more than 6VA in normal operation. Even the old Athearns wouldn't use more than 8VA in normal operation.

    If an engine is using more power than 6-8VA, it is usually a sign that the gearing has dirt in it, needs lubrication, or there is some form of binding in the drive mechanism. In any of these cases, the locomotive will also not run smoothly, and the motor will be hot to the touch.

    If you are running the set on the floor, you may have some dirt or carpet fuzz or similar in the mechanism, which would also cause the symptoms. I would recommend checking the locomotive out carefully before increasing the power available.

    yours in running well
  8. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Thanks for the input guys. I got to thinking last night that it could be the eingines as well. However, I only have the two that came with the set for comparison for right now. The set came with 2 powered engines and one thing I've noticed is that they actually move a little faster and smoother if I only run one at a time as opposed to hooking them both up and running it as a "dual diesel" setup. Of course, I wasn't really expecting miracles for a set of trains that only cost me $40.00. It makes my daughter happy, so I would say it's doing it's job. ;)

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