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I have suffered, and reported on, these sorts of problems from the past, regarding old Athearn and MDC locoos....and subsequent meltdown of modern controllers.

H&M controllers are excellent.

I had a Clipper once...still have one of their transformers..which HAS to be at least 50 years old now....and I bought it 2nd hand too......50 years ago...[1958]...plus a couple of their basic rheostat controllers.

They also did a unit with half wave rectification.......I believe it had a slide control as well as the roary spped knobby thingy.

Half wave was , at the time, the D's B's regarding slow speed control....even if it was a bit noisy and jerky by comparison with today's efforts.

The problems with rheostat voltage control [H&M] was in my mind, the STARTING voltage, no load.....the controller seemed to 'jump' straight to around 3 volts.

I tried wiring a car lightbulb in series.....but that only made the control area very hot!

and gave me a headache looking at it!
 
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