controller advice please

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teapottony
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controller advice please

Postby teapottony » Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:49 pm

some help/ advice please. i have the basic hornby controllers, it is obvious that i will need to upgrade, i want to run different trains at the same time on opposite lines will i need more than 1 controller i am starting from scratch with the oo gauge any info on books or where to look appreciated thanks

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Flashbang
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Re: controller advice please

Postby Flashbang » Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:02 pm

Hi
For DC controllers look at the excellent Gaugemaster range or Morley. http://www.gaugemaster.com/controls.html
http://morleycontrollers.com
As for guides... perhaps this may be a start?.... Link to web site
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End2end
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Re: controller advice please

Postby End2end » Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:03 pm

Not if it's a dual / tri / quad controller.
Makers include Hornby and Gaugemaster amonst others. http://www.gaugemaster.com/controls.html
I cannot give user comments. Although I owned the HM2000 Hornby controller (and the extra 2 add-on controllers, all DC) I barely used it before selling it and going DCC.
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teapottony
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Re: controller advice please

Postby teapottony » Thu Jan 26, 2017 10:36 pm

Flashbang wrote:Hi
For DC controllers look at the excellent Gaugemaster range or Morley. http://www.gaugemaster.com/controls.html
http://morleycontrollers.com
As for guides... perhaps this may be a start?.... Link to web site

thankyou, the guide is just what i was looking for answered some queries already.

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NakatsuHime
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Re: controller advice please

Postby NakatsuHime » Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:01 pm

Those are the two manufacturers I looked at for a dual-track controller.

I plumped for the Gaugemaster, mostly because that's the one my model shop had, and it was a nice no-frills controller that looked bomb-proof.

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Mountain
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Re: controller advice please

Postby Mountain » Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:47 am

Used Gaugemaster D.C. controllers for years both in hand held and panel mounted form and they are sturdy, well made reliable units. Once had a Hornby HM2000 which worked fine, but was quite plasticy so didn't give the quality feel to it. Having said that, if you see one at a reasonable price, it will do what you want out of it. When H&M was H&M they were sturdy built quality controllers built with a metal case. Used to have a H&M3000 for a couple of years.
The good thing about Gaugemaster DC controllers is the lifetime guarantee. The only one I'd not buy is the Combi, not because it isn't any good, but it lacks power to drive older locomotives like Triang, Triang/Hornby and Hornby Dublo, which I advise to get something more powerful. You never know what may venture down your lines, so you may as well cater for it now!
Dual controllers are a mixed blessing. They are fine when it is just you using it, but a pain when you have two people at the controls. My first Guagemaster panel mounted controllers were both dual units and that is when they used to make them twice the size they are now and had much larger knobs, and I found two people would get in the way of each other. I've no idea how two could cope with the newer smaller panelled controllers!
Model railways have also moved into the digital age, so these days you can have the bells and whistles in the form of DCC. (Bells and whistles literally when it comes to DCC sound equipped locos!)
The advantages to DCC is you can drive one train on a track and have independent control of a second train on the same piece of track. You can also turn train lights on and off, and even sound. Different control systems have different advantages also. With my bold Lenz system, I can plug in my hand held controller at one end of a layout and set the train to go. I can then unplug it with the train on its journey, plug it in further up the line and regain control of the train. Some DCC controllers even have wireless links instead.
The large disadvantage to DCC (Even today with lower prices now it is mass produced) is the cost. DCC comes at a price! Every loco needs a DCC decoder installed. The DCC controllers themselves are not as cheap as a DC equivalent. Another issue is the extra complications involved in DCC. Decoder programming. Decoder fitting. Controller settings etc.

Not to confuse things too much, I would get a good DC twin controller, sit back and enjoy, and if in a few years time you get really into trains, then is the time to invest into DCC if you chose to go that way. If you get panel mounted units you need seperate transformers. Always buy cased transformers unless you know what you are doing, and try to buy a cased transformer that has two outputs on seperate windings for the twin panel unit.
Of course, why not buy a twin unit like the Guagemaster model D as this has a transformer built into it.

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Re: controller advice please

Postby Richard Lee » Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:02 am

I use the Gaugemaster Combi, and am very happy with it, although it has to be said that my locomotives are reasonably recent (manufactured after 2000, bought new from 2012). I can't comment on their suitability for older locomotives, as the only one I have tried was an old Hornby E2 (I am guessing from the 1980s). I got it to work, although not reliably, but as I wanted to improve the slow running I put a new Hornby 0-6-0 chassis under it from a Hornby Railroad Jinty doner.

The Combi is convenient for controlling one locomotive. If I wanted to control two or more locomotives at a time using DC, then I think that I would consider the Gaugemaster controllers for two or three locomotives, even if they worked out a little more expensive than the equivalent number of Combis.

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Mountain
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Re: controller advice please

Postby Mountain » Fri Jan 27, 2017 11:58 am

The E2 came in about 1979 and I believe it had the newer motor. Didn't have one myself. The older Hornby locos prior to that (E.G. the pannier and hall etc) would have had the X04 type motor which actually has a brilliant design, but it could have done with being a 5 pole instead of a 3 pole armature. These and motors built prior to the X04 did draw more current. They did have two brilliant advantages in that they were very easy to service and work on and parts were easy to find, and also they had bearing oil retaining pads so one could eliminate motor shreek/squeel. I did see an article of drilling and tapping a bolt to very gently touch the motors shaft to stop squeel, but to be honest the felt pads have always been very effective. I've not seen these felt pads on other motors which is a shame, and due to its open frame design, it is so much simpler and easy to work on.
Is there an equivalent today? A decent open framed motor? Not sure.

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Bufferstop
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Re: controller advice please

Postby Bufferstop » Fri Jan 27, 2017 12:33 pm

My advice would be, get yourself one of the DC controllers recommended above. Wire your track as though it is to be DCC. With droppers for all sections. Then later on if you decide to go DCC it will simply be a case of swapping the controller as a minimum to get going. Electro frog points, frog polarity switching etc can all come later if the droppers are there.
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NakatsuHime
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Re: controller advice please

Postby NakatsuHime » Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:48 pm

The only really small niggle I have with the Gaugemaster is the direction switch being marked F and R.

These directions are frequently swapped on my layout, being a single loop an' all, and I imagine for others, the labels seem arbitrary as well.
I'd prefer just arrows.

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Re: controller advice please

Postby dan8400 » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:10 am

Maybe they should mark them: "One Way" and "The Other" :D
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Bufferstop
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Re: controller advice please

Postby Bufferstop » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:56 am

Yes labelling the forward/reverse switch is problematical. When choosing a DC controller, one with a centre off position for the direction switch is much to be preferred. Modern speed control circuits often leave a small residual current flowing when reduced to zero, so being able to completely disconnect is an advantage. With a conventional 2 rail DC circuit forward/reverse corresponds to the direction along the track, not which way the locomotive is pointing. Parallel tracks should both be wired to run in the same direction. If you get a loco (second hand in particular) that runs in the opposite direction to all of the others it is likely that either the leads to the motor have been reversed, or in some cases the motor has been taken out and reinstalled upside down.
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b308
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Re: controller advice please

Postby b308 » Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:17 am

I've been using Gaugemaster for decades now, the old adage "you get what you pay for" springs to mind. I managed to break one of my Ws and they fixed it free of charge even though I wasn't the original owner and it was about 15 year old...

I am not a fan of the solid block dual track controllers, I'd rather have two separate controllers and Handheld types are my favourite (W in my case, but if you have old Triang stock then the HH). The reason for that is twofold, firstly it gives you greater flexibility, you can move around and are not stuck in one place and secondly your needs in the future may change and you may have a layout which only needs one controller or a layout which has two separate control positions, neither of which would suit a dual track controller.

I thought the same regarding the "centre off" but continued use with the W has made it's use just as comfortable as with the centre off operation, in fact now if I use a centre off and have to stop something quickly I end up putting it in reverse! Get one type and stick with it is my only advice, one is not better than the other, just different.

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Bufferstop
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Re: controller advice please

Postby Bufferstop » Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:21 pm

If you have no centre off, you need some way of isolating the loco when stationary. A small DC current flowing continuously through a stationary motor causes it to heat up, probably not enough to burn it out but depending on construction maybe enough to soften the varnish on the windings and allow them some movement when power is reapplied. In the end making it a sluggish starter.
I converted to Gaugemaster handhelds many years ago and I've never needed to call upon their lifetime warranty, which is I suppose the reason they can offer it.
Although one of mine is so modified that I wouldn't have the neck to ask them to fix it. By replacing the cable with a length of 8 core I have routed both wires to the reversingr down the cable and one of them back up. the conection for the out and back pair replace the existing wire to the switch, the other is just, in addition. On my control panel a change over switch allows me to put a voltmeter across the output, and an ammeter in series with it, for testing a loco under load, without messing around with meter probes and crock clips. It has meant that I've had to put an 8 pin plug on the other two and make all of the sockets 8 pin so that I can swap them around should one ever fail.
If your layout is an end to end that can be operated from front or rear and you want to be able to plug in front or back, by crossing over the wires to the track from one socket you can still have left is left and right is right on the reversing switch, without having to do anything other than plug in.
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Streaks and Teaks
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Re: controller advice please

Postby Streaks and Teaks » Tue Feb 14, 2017 4:34 pm

The Kato controller is quite nice to, i find it more ergonomic to use with its larger power handle.


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