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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Guys,

I have an ESU ECoS DCC Controller which has a power output of 4 amps and am trying to decide if I need to add a booster or not.

I have a mix of GF, Dapol and Peco Locos (12 in all) but cannot find the power consuption of each of the locos. (There is a list of them on another thread) With a branch line shuttle, a couple of main line tail chasers and shunting operations I envisage running a maximum of 5 or 6 locos at any one time. Point motors, Turntable & layout lighting are run from separate 16v & 12v transformers. Can anyone advise if I need to boost the ESU's 4 amp power output.

Regards,

Expat.
 

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You can find the current consumption by running them on DC with the feed from the controller to the track going through a multimeter set to about 2 amps full scale. N gauge locos are usually under 0.5A each so you should be OK unless you have lots of lights in coaches.
 

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DT
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If you find that you controller is cutting out, consider a booster. I was keen and bought 2 boosters. I don't need them yet as I am not exceeding the power of my command center.

I tested some locos some time back. A Hornby Merchant Navy Class model draws 0.15 amp when rolling by itself; 0.35 amp when held stationary at the buffers, but with wheels freely sliding on the track.

It will draw up to about 1.5 amps if the wheels lock and the motor tries to continue, but that should never happen normally.

Boosters are best used where you may have multiple points of activity - say a station, a shunting yard or a mine... These areas could have their own booster. So if an operator is working in this area and he derails a loco causing a short, the whole layout doesn't subsequently power down. This works if you can configure your booster BUS not to send the 'all stop' signal back to the command station. On a Lenz-type system, the Booster BUS has 3 wires: C,D & E. Shorting the E-wire causes an 'all stop'. So if you don't want the whole layout to power down, don't connect the E-wire.

You can have remote 'panic' buttons set up around the layout connected to the E-terminal and the of the command station and the M-terminal of the LMAB DCC BUS (-). Pressing one of these buttons will activate the 'all stop'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm not actually 'up & running' yet so can't test the power draw-down of my locos. I just need some general info for guidance at this stage. If the max draw-down for each loco is 0.5 amp then I should, as you say, be OK but if that rises to nearer 1 amp it looks as though a booster will be necessary.

Thanks,

Expat.
 

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Just another modeller
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QUOTE (Expat @ 29 Feb 2008, 18:06) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I'm not actually 'up & running' yet so can't test the power draw-down of my locos. I just need some general info for guidance at this stage. If the max draw-down for each loco is 0.5 amp then I should, as you say, be OK but if that rises to nearer 1 amp it looks as though a booster will be necessary.

Thanks,

Expat.

**Hi

(1) You are running N scale from memory. If any loco is drawing more than 100Ma during standard running and 150Ma under heavy load I will be very very surprised. ECOS alone will deliver enough power for running with ease.

(2) You do NOT need a booster but it will be wise to break the layout into several isolatable power areas for troubleshooting AND to allow you to use circuit breakers so a short in one area will not shut the layout down.

(3) Rail Voltage: The ECOS rail voltage is far too high as supplied even for OO/HO, and really MUST be dropped for N or it will be way, way too hard on your loco's. ESU offer an exchange transformer for N scale users but that will take a lot of time and cost to return the old one/get the replacement and it is STILL too high in voltage anyway.

(3) I would suggest that the easiest way to drop the voltage is either:

a/ use a different transformer with no more than 12~15 volts output as the PS for ECOS.

b/ Actual lowest cost and easiest way to drop voltage is to make two strings of standard low cost 4 amp diodes (IN4004 is the part number) diodes and then reverse one of them, connecting both together in a parralel string and then placing this in one of the lead between the PS and the ECOS...

(5) Each diode will drop 3/4 of a volt. I would suggest for N scale with original ECOS transformer 8 of them in each series string - this will drop rail voltage to about 12.5 volts which is plenty for N, OO or HO!

Regards

Richard
DCCconcepts
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 29 Feb 2008, 13:44) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>**Hi

(1) You are running N scale from memory. If any loco is drawing more than 100Ma during standard running and 150Ma under heavy load I will be very very surprised. ECOS alone will deliver enough power for running with ease.

(2) You do NOT need a booster but it will be wise to break the layout into several isolatable power areas for troubleshooting AND to allow you to use circuit breakers so a short in one area will not shut the layout down.

(3) Rail Voltage: The ECOS rail voltage is far too high as supplied even for OO/HO, and really MUST be dropped for N or it will be way, way too hard on your loco's. ESU offer an exchange transformer for N scale users but that will take a lot of time and cost to return the old one/get the replacement and it is STILL too high in voltage anyway.

(3) I would suggest that the easiest way to drop the voltage is either:

a/ use a different transformer with no more than 12~15 volts output as the PS for ECOS.

b/ Actual lowest cost and easiest way to drop voltage is to make two strings of standard low cost 4 amp diodes (IN4004 is the part number) diodes and then reverse one of them, connecting both together in a parralel string and then placing this in one of the lead between the PS and the ECOS...

(5) Each diode will drop 3/4 of a volt. I would suggest for N scale with original ECOS transformer 8 of them in each series string - this will drop rail voltage to about 12.5 volts which is plenty for N, OO or HO!

Regards

Richard
DCCconcepts

Hi Richard,

Yes you are right in thinking I am (will be) running N Gauge and many thanks for your input which has probably saved me from some very expensive problems in the future.

I will have to see if I can track down theose diodes here in Dubai though I'm not particularly well practiced in this sort of thing so may need some help in putting it together.

Just for clarification, you say install these diodes between the ECoS and the PS. By this do you mean in the lead between the ECoS and the DCC track bus ?.

Regards,

Expat.
 

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Just another modeller
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QUOTE (Expat @ 29 Feb 2008, 19:18) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Just for clarification, you say install these diodes between the ECoS and the PS. By this do you mean in the lead between the ECoS and the DCC track bus ?.
Expat.

**Hi

here is a PDF with an image that should make it clear for you. If you need help just ask any time on forum or my direct email and I'll be glad to assist.
 

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The latest version of the ECoS firmware can display a panel which tells you how much power is being output. It will also support any ECoS boosters connected but I haven't needed one of those yet.

David
 

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Sorry to tag along on the end of this thread - I have similar concerns about voltage with my new Roco digital set. It's the first Roco N scale DCC set and so uses their standard H0 transformer at 16V AC, but I've heard that it can spike much higher than this and I'm pretty sure my locomotive bulbs look rather brighter than they did on 12V DC, so I've ordered some diodes and hopefully 16V will be closer to 11-12V in a few days time. (Thanks very much for sharing that advice with the forum Richard!)

Does anyone know from experience how well behaved the Roco digital system is on the voltage front?

I do know someone with an oscilloscope so it might be fun to look into the dark heart of the DCC signal...


I know the Roco system is not the most sophisticated system but as a start set (article number 21200 - there is a thread I did about it somewhere...) it is great value and perfect for a first adventure into DCC. When I know what I want from DCC I think I'll move upmarket to something more capable, although the ergonomics of the multiMAUS are great.
 

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AFAIK the Roco system is very stable. The locomotive bulbs will look much brighter than on 12v DC as they are getting full voltage all the time. If you cannot "dim" the lights with the decoder CV settings then you could replace the bulbs with 24v ones.
The other possibility would be to replace the power transformer with, say a 12v one.

Don't forget that you can use the Mulimaus as a second controller with most systems when you upgrade.

Hope this helps.
 

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QUOTE (Brian Considine @ 5 May 2008, 07:19) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>AFAIK the Roco system is very stable. The locomotive bulbs will look much brighter than on 12v DC as they are getting full voltage all the time. If you cannot "dim" the lights with the decoder CV settings then you could replace the bulbs with 24v ones. The other possibility would be to replace the power transformer with, say a 12v one. Don't forget that you can use the Mulimaus as a second controller with most systems when you upgrade.

Thanks for that advice Brian, I think the Roco system will work with any decent i.e. stable transformer so I could find a smaller one but in the mean time it made sense to calm the Roco system down to about 12 V from 16 to reduce the strain on decoders etc. Therefore I ordered some 1N4004 rectifier diodes (100 for £1 from eBay) and some 5A terminal blocks (overkill for N scale currents!! 10 twelve ways for £1.65 on eBay again).

Total cost inc. P&P was £4.60 and arrived within two days from Quasar Components eBay shop - highly recommended and much cheaper than Maplin etc.

It was then just a case of cutting the track supply wires, splitting the ends and stripping back the covers and screwing into the terminal blocks with the diodes arranged in the the pattern Richard advises. In the end I got carried away and put 7 diodes in so the voltage is probably about 16 - 0.7 x 7 = 11.1 V which is still enough for my N scale locomotives it seems, and it will be dead easy to change it to 6 or 5 if needed in future, as my Roco system is basically working as a test and programming track at the moment. Come to mention it one or two bulbs looked a tad dull, but of course the LEDs were unaffected!


(Note: wiring diagram on right is for 6 diodes:)

Useful advice - for multicore copper wire then soldering the ends first can make the connection surer when you screw the wire down - just twisting the cores together is okay if you don't make any mistakes and don't need to move the wire afterwards by which time the end will be a mess...

...I hope that someone at some point finds this useful!
 
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