Im new, I have a couple of questions about the right voltage for trains is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


New Member
Hello all

Im new to this forums.

I have two trains, one Athearn and one Rocco (analogic) HO scale.

I'm using a 12 volts ac/dc power source. However, I noticed that the actual voltage is about 20 volts, as measured by a multi tester.

So, now I worry whether this high voltage could damage my trains in the long run. I was told by the LHS owner that HO trains are 12 volts. Would I be shorting the life of the motors??

And... also....

Im planning to adapt a couple of controllers from my AFX Race Set (yes, I also love HO -though not really HO scale- slot cars!!) to my railroad sets.

Has anyone done that? I do not feel attracted to digital controllers for locos. I like it the old way.

But from doing some experiments, it seems that race set controllers only control Amperes, no Volts. Would it be a good idea what Im planning to do? What is your opinion on this.

Thanks again!!



Basic electronics

Hello bambitrain

A bit of confusion here. First of all, any DC power supply that is rectifiered and filtered can be used to power your railroad as long as the voltage can be varied from around 1 volt at the bottom to about 12 volts at the top end. If you are running one locomotive, then you will not need a strong power supply. One amp will do. The voltage, of course will effect the speed of the locomotive. 12 volts will give you maximun speed but it will be unrealistic and is never used. As far as your measuring, I presume, 20 volts maximum, that is a reading of an unloaded power supply. It shows that it is not regulated. If you were to run a locomotive on that supply, it would load down the power supply and the actual voltage will be much less. On and unregulated power supply the voltage will decrease the more load you put on it. I recommend that you purchase a power supply that is made for model railroading. There are some very inexpensive units on the market.



Drum Driver
Are you adding the pistol grips from slot tracks to control a train???... If you drive like me you better add the guard rails to the curves too....LOL... You'd better have a steady grip to operate those,....I think it would be too outta control. (too fast to too slow)... and hard to maintain a smooth operating speed.

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