Walkaround DC throttles

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Kerrskountry, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. Kerrskountry

    Kerrskountry New Member

    Hey gang,
    I have a 12x15 HO layout and am interested in possibly adding a walkaround throttle so I can access my layout extremities. I have heard of the PWM 851 hand held throttle which connects to an AC power supply. I'm currently using a MRC tech4 which has the AC I might be able to connect to.

    Has anyone out here used this throttle? If so is it worth the $40 price tag. I really would like to get a walk around especially when doing coupling and uncoupling which is about 9' from my base throttle. No, I do not want to convert to DCC. This layout is for a one person and single loco operation.

    Any input would be appreciated.


    Rockaway Beach, MO
  2. Trainiac77

    Trainiac77 Member


    I haven't used this throttle, but I am using the old Hogger packs which have memory built into them so you can unplug the tethered throttle and plug it back in on the other side of the layout and they are 10 amps which at the time was hard to find in a pack. The other throttle that I use is the Aristocraft BASIC TRAIN ENGINEER CRE-55480 (ART-5480).
    Find out about it here: http://www.aristocraft.com/catalog/crest/trainengineer/whitepaper/index.htmlIt has very good control and is easy to use. I can't remember what I paid for it, but I know it didn't break the bank. It is powered off of an existing throttle but completely wireless.

    I agree with you I'm not going DCC either. I like all the bells and whistles!

    Hope this helps!

    Paul (trainiac77)
  3. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    If you use the MRC as both a power source for the PWM and as the second throttle in a DC block control scheme, note that you cannot use common rail wiring.

    To use common rail wiring, the 2 power packs must have independent (separate) transformers supplying the AC to each throttle.

    yours in wiring
  4. DanRaitz

    DanRaitz Member

    Before switching to DCC I used the ITTC (Innovative Train Technology Co.) walkaround throttle. http://ittproducts.com/
    Sadly, George not longer produces the unit but you should be able to find them on E-Bay

  5. Kerrskountry

    Kerrskountry New Member


    Thanks for your response. Now my question is if I am only using one cab (I have a hard enough time running one consist at a time!) can I keep my common rail wiring? The 851 will be my only throttle for now. I mpst likely will hook up a second connector jack in the future.


  6. riverotter

    riverotter Midwest Alliance Rail Sys

    I, too, am using the Aristocraft wireless DC units. I have both the single channel version (for my O and S scale switching layouts), and the 10-channel version for my somewhat larger HO layout. These units are a bargain compared to DCC, and they're a snap to install and use.

    I have so many HO locomotives that converting to DCC is co$t-prohibitive (no matter how cheap decoders are), plus I have a significant number of locomotives that aren't pre-DCC-friendly that would cost even more to convert. I'm a single operator, so running more than one train isn't a vital requirement.

    If I go to a meet where I can run trains in a DCC environment, I have several locomotives that came w/DCC installed.

    But for day-to-day operations at home, DC/Aristo Cabs work just fine for me!
  7. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Yes, with only one throttle it doesn't matter whether you insulate one rail or two for the blocks. The blocks are simply a place with power turned off or on.

    When you are selecting from 2 throttles, the throttles must have independent power supplies to use common rail. If they share a power supply, the throttles will short out the power supply on common rail. With a shared power supply, you must insulate both rails of each block.

    yours in wiring
  8. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Joe, I have one of the PWM 821A throttles. When I first got it, I hooked it up with jumper cables, just to try it out. Low speed control is excellent, and you can adjust it for maximum, I believe. With some locos, there was a bit of a "chirp" on start-up, but I didn't find it objectionable. The big plus for me is that it will run multiple locos on heavy trains, something that I couldn't do with with either my Intrakit SCR walk-around throttles or my MAW Scale Transitorised Throttles, both of which are otherwise excellent, especially for low speed operation.
    Unfortunately, I decided to wire it so that I could flip a couple of switches to allow me to choose between the walk-around throttle that came with my ControlMaster 20, either of the SCR or MAW Scale throttles, or the PWM. I thought that I had fried the PWM, either when soldering inside the hand-held unit, or because I had one of those switches flipped the wrong way when attempting to use the PWM, as I couldn't get the trains to run. I took both the base unit and the hand-held back to the manufacturer (he's only about 20 minutes from me) and both checked out okay, so I've obviously made a mistake in my wiring. (Oh, my! :eek: Isn't that a surprise!! :rolleyes: :p :-D.) So far, I haven't had time to look for the problem, but, in my opinion, it'll be worth fixing, as the throttle fits my needs perfectly.
    The MRC walk-around throttle will run lots of heavy, multiple unit trains, too, but its slow speed control leaves a lot to be desired.
    You can run the 821A from either AC or DC power, at anywhere between 12 and 24 volts.

  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Joe: as Fred said, with only one throttle common rail is really like having one block with isolating sections (well, maybe not exactly what he said).
    Where someone could get into trouble is if they run the walkaround from the AC terminals on the MRC pack and then decide to hook the MRC's DC terminals up as cab 2. Then you can get a interesting short via the 2 controllers and the common rail. I you don't get it immediately, change one of the reversing switches.
  10. Kerrskountry

    Kerrskountry New Member

    iThank you all for your input. Now it's tome to decide. As I said, my layput is a one man operation since there are few if any folks around here interested in this wonderful hobby. Both the PWM and the Aristocraft seem to make the fit. (basic simplicity!). Thanks again for your help. More knowledge for my RR memory bank!
    I'll let you know how it turns out.
    Joe (kerrskountry)
  11. Kerrskountry

    Kerrskountry New Member

    After much thought and checking my wallet I decided to go with the 851. I'll only use one throttle like I currently am. bur will install 2 jacks so I can have the flexibulity of operating from either side of my layout depending on the operational proximity I need. Guess all I need to do now is order it,

    Thanks for your help. I'll let you know how it turns out in the future.

  12. wjstix

    wjstix Member

    A bit off subject, but 15+ years ago I designed a hand-held throttle using Radio Shack parts that cost at that time a little under $10 to build, using very simple wiring (no diodes or transistors or whatever). I wrote an article about it and sent it to several magazines with no luck, finally the NMRA Bulletin decided they would publish it...well that was 1995, they haven't published it yet!! I've often wondered if the magazines were afraid of 'biting the hand that feeds them' - the advertisers who made walkaround controllers and such. :curse::-x

    Anyway, I built two of them and used them on my layout until I dismantled it when I moved in 2006.
  13. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    Man it is to bad we live so far apart,I have 2 MRC walk around power packs that I no longer use. I am thinking about getting a table at next local train show to get rid of them and some other stuff I no longer use.

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