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TV power supply to power HO track?

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  • TV power supply to power HO track?

    First off, yes I do know that I need to get a real regulated bench power supply, but until I have a spare $200 to spend on a high quality power supply I am looking for viable low-cost alternatives.

    I found this DC Converter, "Dell 20V 4.5A 90 Watt" for around $20 (easily found on ebay/amazon using those words to search), which is made for powering televisions. I saw the 20V 4.5A and thought "Cheap HO Slot car supply!". I do understand that it is unregulated, so there could potentially be voltage drop as the current draw gets higher, but considering it's rated [email protected], it seems that should not be too much of a problem for powering two lanes (Cars on my track are all Tomy/Tyco with stock armatures/motor mags).

    Has anyone tried one of these (or something similar)? Are there any reasons that this might not work?

  • #2
    Those would have enough power to run two regular cars. The voltage will jump around unless you add a regulator like this one:
    These cost about $13 to build if I remember correctly. You could also buy two power supplies and use one for each lane, that way you would avoid the surge that you get when a car comes off on a track that has an unregulated power supply for several lanes.


    • #3
      Looks like four of them would definitely be an improvement over the four x2 wall warts I am currently using for my four lanes then. Now the question is whether to drop the near 100 that would cost, or just save the money until i have enough for a good regulated supply.


      • #4
        Nice thing about having the regulators is that, even after you get a new power supply, you can adjust each lane independently .


        • #5
          Actually using one stock power supply per lane would probably work just as well with regular cars. Once they start to move they only use 0.25 to 0.50 amps. If it was me I would either use a single Dell power supply with a regulator or I would save up my money for a 10 amp adjustable, regulated supply. It is unfortunate that while a 25 amp 15 volt adjustable regulated supply can be had for $120 or so a 25 amp 30 volt supply costs a lot more. 10 amp supplies suitable for HO racing cost between $120 and $200.


          • #6
            I think I'll stick with the warts until i have enough for an adjustable, regulated supply. Sounds like the best solution.


            • #7
              Lack of regulation isn't necessarily a problem if you have one power supply per lane.
              Sure it means you have less voltage on low speed acceleration than at top speed, but so what? It's the same every lap so its just part of the normal track learning. (On nearly all tracks there is more power near a power feed than further away from it, again its the same each lap and drivers compensate without realizing they are doing so.)

              An unregulated power supply shared between several lanes is a different question. Your voltage going up and down depending what the other cars are doing is bad news. A PSU that supplies a constant voltage is a real advantage when shared between lanes.

              Adjustable voltage can be niece to have, one shared adjustable regulated power supply is a good way of doing that.


              • #8
                I went from a regulated power a small (modern sealed) tractor battery from Sears.
                About 2/3'd the size of a regular car battery. And has a cold cranking amperage of 280cca. Plenty of power for even faster commercial motors. You should be able to go for weeks without charging with the HO motors drawing power.

                Even with high powered commercial type 1/24th and 1/32nd motors, I only need to turn the charger on every third or fouth track use.

                I haven't missed the power supply for a second.


                P.s. - the battery, a boat battery box and a charger, together, was just over 100 bucks.
                No sulpher smell (old fashined battery odors..!) either..!


                • #9
                  Aren't those batteries 12v? Since I'm on ho i need at least 18, and preferable 20v. So a12v battery would require that i get two, wire them in series, and add a resistor to drop the voltage. Seems like the same price and more effort as buying a good adjustable, regulated supply. Thanks for the suggestion though.