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Power source & jumpers on large AFX tracks.

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  • #16
    If all of the track joints are good there is little need for jumpers on the average sized track. It does not hurt to have jumpers, but I recommend checking the joints before you add them. Tracks that have to be taken apart are more likely to have joint problems and having jumpers can make troubleshooting the track more difficult.

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    • #17
      The average size being?

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      • #18
        50-60 feet.

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        • #19
          Sounds about right. If our tracks had been that small we wouldn't have bothered with jumpers - or maybe just the one.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Top Down View Post
            We did use permanently connected high frequency rail cleaners from the model railway world too. As long as we were racing they automatically cleaned the rails, pickups and hand controller resistors and wiper buttons too.
            Interesting, that's the first I've heard of such a thing. What is it, how does it work and is it safe with an electronic controller?

            Scott

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            • #21
              Used them from very early on and wouldn't be without them. Yes they're safe with electronic controllers. Although we only used resistor controllers at the club visitors had tested Slot-it, Professor Motor and DS controllers on it - and I'd used a Tru-speed 'for fun' in practice.

              Google Relco track cleaner. They put a high frequency current through the rails and whenever dirt or corrosion is encountered it's 'burnt off'.

              We have one per lane and each unit has an led that is on steady when all is well but flickers as it cleans. (Or is it always off, except when cleaning? Can't remember.)

              To be honest I'm not sure HOW they work. I only know they do. They cut down arcing and burning of pickups to virtually nil, which seemed to help prolong their life too. It was rare to replace pickups because of wear or burning. It was more likely to be because of a pickup being 'sprung' and lost.

              I felt it a 'duty' and a matter of pride to provide the best track conditions possible for all those who raced at the club and I'm convinced they contributed to the smooth running and evenness of power with our track, although it was always checked between meetings for damaged connections.
              Last edited by Top Down; 02-05-2019, 12:48 PM.

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              • #22
                I have used Relcos for 30 odd years and they work extremely well and would heartily recommend them. They work well with resistance controls providing better starting but we use them with variable voltage controllers OnTrack and Hammant and Morgan Variable Transformers which give beautifully smooth slow speed running on track that has not been cleaned for weeks, Obviously they can't cope with thick layers of traction tyre gunge but generally they seem better at coping with ordinary run of the mill grime than PWM control and the locos run much smoother. They aren't a universal panacea, but if you want to spend your train time running trains instead of cleaning track they are an excellent investment.
                Lifted from a model railway forum and exactly mirrors our experience with HO slots

                I'm not sure the Relcos are still made but I laid in extra stocks whenever I saw them on offer. In 25-28 years of use we only had one fail - and that was replaced without question by the manufacturer.

                Gaugemaster still make a more sophisticated and expensive version.

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                • #23
                  Really interesting, thanks!

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                  • #24
                    You're welcome.
                    Last edited by Top Down; 02-05-2019, 01:02 PM.

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                    • #25
                      Like everything, there are detractors and doubters - but we were 100% convinced of their efficacy. No burnt track on the resistor controllers either.

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                      • #26
                        I use an adjustable power supply capable of 30 volts and 10 amps. I find that a single jumper track placed somewhere near the halfway point of track is more than sufficient. Never have any power issues whatsoever, with track lengths anywhere between 70 and 120 feet. Didn't do anything fancy, just made my own cable with 14 gauge wire.

                        Those that recommend a jumper every 10 sections or so may be right if you are building a permanent layout, but for a temporary setup, its not feasible, and in my experience, not necessary.

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                        • #27
                          We found it very feasible, even on one off set-ups, as do other HO-UK clubs. It was very easy to tell when a booster had NOT been connected - but we're all different, so each to their own.

                          However, perhaps it's down to the power supply? We used nominally rated regulated 18v 1 amp per lane power supplies.

                          Other supplies are available

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                          • #28
                            It may be power supply - a single jumper has been more than adequate for me, even when running power hungry chassis.

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                            • #29
                              We ran box stock so didn't need big voltages or high amps

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                              • #30
                                We mostly run box stock too. I just wanted the power supply and wiring to be robust enough to handle anything. Even though I haven't experienced any power issues, I've considered adding another jumper or two for insurance. Now I have experience in making the jumper tracks, I'm certain I could do a much cleaner build than I originally did.

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