Running paired engines

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Herc Driver, Jun 21, 2005.

  1. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    Here's my latest newbie question...

    Can I run two of the same maker - same type engine coupled to eachother with one power pack? I have two Kato AC4400's that I'd like to run together (if possible) and two Bachmann Dash-8's that could also be run together...but I don't want to burn out the motors or power pack.

    Thanks for the help.
  2. neilmunck

    neilmunck Member

    Yes. You'll be fine.

    If the locos are facing in opposite directions then you may find it doesn;t work because the couplers are not insulated from the track (due to being metal and screwed on to the metal frame of the loco that conducts electricity to the motor). This was a problem on Athearn HO locos but I haven't heard much problem about N scale locos.
  3. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    What are you using for a power pack? How much power does it put out? You certainly should be able to run two engines from one pack, but if perchance the pack doesn't have enough power, you won't ruin the engines, and the pack may overheat or kick out from an overload condition.

    neilmunck has a point, if your engines aren't insulated from the couplers and you run them back-to-back, each frame will be connected to opposit rails and will cause a short.
  4. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    Paired Engines

    I'm using a standard Bachmann power pack .9 amps output. Running N-Scale engines from Kato, LifeLike, and Bachmann. I have several AC440's from Kato and Dash-8's from Bachmann. I wired the track to run one engine at a time (i.e. no DCC operations) but thought I could pull more cars if I added a matched engine ("matched" meaning from the same manufacturer/same model). My concern was that I would over task the power pack. No where in the literature of the power pack is there any indication how many engines it could run at one time without overheating. And there is no mention of the required amps the engines draw.

    Thanks for the information, I appreciate it.
  5. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Just for the heck of it, I just measured the current draw on several locos that I have. I used an old Atlas 4 VA power pack andhis is what I found running full throttle:

    Bachmann GP-?? 1.45 amps
    LifeLike GP-18 1.25 amps
    Atlas Dash 8-40 .5 amps

    One way to test if you have enough power to run two engines is to measure the rail voltage before you put any engines on the rails. Add one and see if the voltage changes any. It probably will go down a little. Add a second one, and if it doesn't go down too much more, you're good to go, (the voltage will change a bit due poor regulation) but if the voltage decreases appreciably, it doesn't have enough power. The theory is that power is the voltage times the amps. When you don't have enough power, the engine will try to draw its amps anyway, and the voltage will decrease to make up for it. Not good, because the transformer windings in the power pack will get hot and eventually fry.

    Good luck.
  6. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    one thing i do when double heading is to run locos over layout uncoupled about a inch or two appart to see if they run close to the same speed , some times loco from same maker well run at different speeds some times you need to tweek on on them to get a close to same speed. also you can run different makes of locos as long as the speed in close.
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    and some locos run at different speeds backwards and forwards!
    I would expect a .9 amp power supply to run 3 N gauge locos.
  8. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    Thank you all for the sound advice...

    I can't bear to allow engines to rest in the box - I'd rather see them running on the line. I guess the best thing to do is admit I've got a problem (buying new engines just for the fun of it). That's probably the first step in the recovery process.;)
  9. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    No, you never recover. With the proper therapy, you can control the urge, but never completely get over it.:D:D

    I've probably got at least 75 engines, about half that I bought used and most of the new ones are still in their boxes, some never having been run. I would hope that someday I'll be able to take them out for a ride, and have a decent place to display them when they're not on my layout.:wave:

    If I have time in the next day or so, I'll do a bit more checking on the current draw on a few different engines and see what effect the have on the voltage output. Based on what I saw yesterday, you would have trouble running one Bachmann engine on a .9 amp supply and we know that's not the case. I took my measurements with the engines under no load just because it was easy, but I'm curious now about the current draw on these engines and what affect it has on the power pack and what it is when pulling a load. I will get back to you on that..

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