Voltage tester

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brober
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Voltage tester

Postby brober » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:21 am

Hi there,

I am looking to buy a voltage tester to allow me to check that all lengths of track are being powered. I am using a DCC Set up. I am also wanting to trace power getting from the track though wheels, wipers etc to the loco motor. Can anyone suggest an appropriate (and reasonably priced) kit that would suffice?

Many thanks

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End2end
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Re: Voltage tester

Postby End2end » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:59 am

The price has gone up by 74p since I bought mine but still only £5.59. Here's a link
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/New-Accurate ... SwcLxYEw1O

For the track, an LED with a 1KOHm resistor should do if you haven't got a multimeter at the time to check power.
Hope it helps.
Thanks
End2end
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Flashbang
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Re: Voltage tester

Postby Flashbang » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:42 pm

Hi
Modern digital multimeters are fairly cheap and easily obtained. eBay, Screwfix, Toolstation, Maplin etc all sell them. Try if possible to obtain one that has an internal buzzer used for continuity testing. Often when testing continuity its much easier to hear a buzz than read a display! :D
What you will find with most cheaper meters is they do not measure AC current and often have a very low current DC range too.

If you intended to measure DCC voltages use the meters AC Voltage range, but be aware that virtually all domestic meters will not produce an accurate DCC voltage reading. However, whatever is read at the source should be virtually the same wherever rail volts are tested.
Accurate DCC voltage measuring can be undertaken by using a RRAmp meter, a True Reading RMS multimeter that's able to operate at 10KHz or an Oscilloscope.
Broken? It was working correctly when I left it.

brober
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Re: Voltage tester

Postby brober » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:25 pm

Flashbang that is most helpful. Thank you very much. I primarily want to just confirm there is current running through the droppers to the track, track lengths between droppers and through the various stages between track and loco motor. The accuracy of reading is perhaps a lesser issue.

End2end - have had a look at the meter you suggested but there seems to be quite a variance of opinion as to how good the meter is.

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End2end
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Re: Voltage tester

Postby End2end » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:36 pm

brober wrote:End2end - have had a look at the meter you suggested but there seems to be quite a variance of opinion as to how good the meter is.

It's cheap, it's cheerful but does what you (and I) need. ;) It's only bascially continuity after all. :)
Plus it does have an audible buzzer instead of having to look at the screen.
As I mentioned before, the track continuity can be done with a resistor added LED or a bulb. Not sure how you'd check continuity in the loco with it though?
Thanks
End2end
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TimberSurf
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Re: Voltage tester

Postby TimberSurf » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:21 pm

Plenty of high street suppliers with cheap offerings

Farnell/CPC

Screwfix

Halfords

If you want to get the audible continuity, you will have to pay a little more. £20-£40 will get you a all singing and dancing one!
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Flashbang
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Re: Voltage tester

Postby Flashbang » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:57 am

A resistor and LED is fine for a quick check that power is arriving. What it wont do is tell you the rail volts have dropped due to say a High Resistance fishplate/rail joiner as it will still illuminate possible even at half volts. A multimeter is the very best testing tool. :D
Broken? It was working correctly when I left it.

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D605Eagle
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Re: Voltage tester

Postby D605Eagle » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:18 am

I use an old battlespace radar wagon that had the radar bit broken off, which I picked up for a few quid. The lighted dome still works and is great for testing if track is live. To use it on DCC you would need to put a 10 ohm 1 watt resistor in line with the bulb to stop it popping.


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