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Discussion Starter #1
this is my last post on this forum but wanted to leave with a bit of useful information. been looking for a way to control my layout from a remote using a simple plug in application. found a remote control lamp dimmer that allows you to adjust the power going to the transformer which adjusts the power coming from the transformer. you can preset the top speed at the transformer then use the remote for power on / off as well as set the speed. this works and the track is still being powered by the ac transformer. no glitches of any kind and a really simple way to ad a remote control to ANY analog train. works with marx e units, lionel e units as well as electronic e units. simple and effective total cost $ 24.95.

 

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Well, sorry to see you go.

And . . . I'd be careful using that remote system. It probably will work with about 90% of the locos you run, particularly old ones. But with some modern ones - even from the 90s, it would run into problems - harmonics and all. Not sure which would fail to work first, or fail utterly first, the remote unit or the train loco, but i would not take the chance.

Again, sorry to see you go. Good luck whatever the reason.
 

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Well, sorry to see you go.

And . . . I'd be careful using that remote system. It probably will work with about 90% of the locos you run, particularly old ones. But with some modern ones - even from the 90s, it would run into problems - harmonics and all. Not sure which would fail to work first, or fail utterly first, the remote unit or the train loco, but i would not take the chance.

Again, sorry to see you go. Good luck whatever the reason.
+1. A train transformer is not designed for the partial duty cycle AC input that a lamp dimmer will supply. Obviously it works in the short term. But you don't know what damage you'll cause in the long term; excessive heat, magnetic stress on the windings to name a few. And the circuits in a light dimmer are made for a bulb's resistive load, not the inductive load of a transformer. At the very minimum, a fan controller will have capacitance to counter the inductive load of the motor.

That's why most light dimmers have a warning against using them for fan control.

541267
 

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Discussion Starter #5
+1. A train transformer is not designed for the partial duty cycle AC input that a lamp dimmer will supply. Obviously it works in the short term. But you don't know what damage you'll cause in the long term; excessive heat, magnetic stress on the windings to name a few. And the circuits in a light dimmer are made for a bulb's resistive load, not the inductive load of a transformer. At the very minimum, a fan controller will have capacitance to counter the inductive load of the motor.

That's why most light dimmers have a warning against using them for fan control.

View attachment 541267
actually i do know the long term affect of using a lamp dimmer to power this transformer, i have been using a manual dimmer for five years with no ill affect at ALL. its a transformer, put in x amount of voltage get out x amount of voltage. the controller is rated at 300 watts halogen so there is no down side to doing this, it works, its efficient and its cheap. it will run any analog locomotive including electronic e units with no problem of any kind. i dont post videos unless i have TESTED the application. all its doing is turning the voltage down going to the track NOTHING ELSE, thats how you run an analog train isnt it ???
 

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Discussion Starter #6
actually i do know the long term affect of using a lamp dimmer to power this transformer, i have been using a manual dimmer for five years with no ill affect at ALL. its a transformer, put in x amount of voltage get out x amount of voltage. the controller is rated at 300 watts halogen so there is no down side to doing this, it works, its efficient and its cheap. it will run any analog locomotive including electronic e units with no problem of any kind. i dont post videos unless i have TESTED the application. all its doing is turning the voltage down going to the track NOTHING ELSE, thats how you run an analog train isnt it ???
LIONEL 8633 WITH ELECTRONIC E UNIT
 

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I hate to see you go. I will miss the videos and the informative/ lively discussions that followed. I guess you will still be doing the YT Videos in the future?

LATER
 

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I got one of those exact same units to control the lights in my staging area. They are plugged into an outlet that isn't switched. There is a manual switch in the light cord for the lights, but it's not near the door. I mounted the holder for the remote control near the door. Worked great for a while, but after some time it seemed like it was turning itself on. I would notice that the lights were on in the morning even though I had turned them off the night before. Not sure if the control went bad or if it's getting a stray RF signal. I stopped using it for the on/off function, but it's still ok to dim the lights.
 

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actually i do know . . .
Well, good luck to you then. If it works for you, go for it. and again, sorry to see you go.

That said, I still think what you reocmmend is not advice I would give others, for the reasons I gave and that Millstonemike made in more detail. This type of set up is what often causes almost undaignosable (randomlu occuring) operating anolmolies and "strange things" to happen, and is is bound to create cumulative stress that fails units over time, not quickly. At the very least it doing this I'd routinely temperatures of units and if possible install cooling fans.
 

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Am I understanding this correctly ? Is the OP saying he's merely lowering the AC 120 v from the wall outlet to the transformer ? And it is this that slows/speeds up the train, transformer pot open all the way for max speeds ?
 

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Yes and no.

Yes: He's lowering the voltage into the transformer. At any given transformer throttle setting, that lower input will result in a correspondingly lower output from the transformer. Hence, you can control the trains speed from the dimmer's remote control.

No: But the also had a good suggestion; setting the transformer throttle at a reduced position for your desired maximum operating speed.

Set the dimmer to full. Run the train and set the transformer throttle for your maximum allowable speed and leave the throttle in that position. Now the dimmer control's full range will go from 0 to the max speed you set at the throttle
 

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Thanks. That's what I thought..For some reason I sense Lee Willis is right, though...It seems harmless, but perhaps putting less than 110 v into the transformer power stage (is it ?) over a long time may somehow damage a certain component/s..Yet, on the other hand it sounds harmless....
I'll say this: It is a great original idea in itself; maybe just needing some tweaking (if at all)...M
 

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Thanks. That's what I thought..For some reason I sense Lee Willis is right, though...It seems harmless, but perhaps putting less than 110 v into the transformer power stage (is it ?) over a long time may somehow damage a certain component/s..Yet, on the other hand it sounds harmless....
I'll say this: It is a great original idea in itself; maybe just needing some tweaking (if at all)...M
It's not the lower voltage that's a problem. A transformer would handle that fine. It's the shape of the wave form output by the dimmer (see the pic)

The dimmer outputs a partial AC sine wave to reduce overall power. That's how it dims a light bulb.. But a transformer's electrical characteristics are not suited to efficiently handle that - generates heat, etc.. And the dimmer circuitry is made for the resistive load of a light bulb, not the inductive load of the transformers windings. Given the watts involved, neither should have a significant problem. Long term, there made be a failure. Perhaps dicey if you running a power hungry consist - like 5 or 6 passenger cars with lights drawing 100+ watts from the transformer.

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I'm sad to see you go, you've provided me with some great advice and I really appreciate your videos. I also hope you continue producing them so I can get alerts when you come out with something new. People without the extra flexible income to invest into trains, like myself, can really benefit.

Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk
 

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That's Benz. I hope he'll be back. His posts where entertaining and sometimes very informative. He has come back in the past after leaving for a while, so maybe . . .
 
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