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Author Topic: Power with FastTrack  (Read 3670 times)


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Power with FastTrack
« on: November 16, 2019, 07:40:50 pm »
I'm sorry for the newbie question. I've done some research on this forum but I admit the terminology is confusing me.

My Dad has a train board in his basement that's about 8 feet long by 3 feet wide. He runs three separate tracks on it and has trouble with power for 2 of the 3 longest tracks.

He has all new Fast Track fhat he bought to set the layout up. He gets frustrated because the trains slow down and often stop in the same spot along the track. Obviously a power problem.

I've checked that the track are connected firmly and have screwed them into the board. I've tried to buy him additional power adapters and daisy chain the power around the track. But even with about 3 adapters the power isn't great and trains will slow or stop.

I've tried to research how to get more power but I'm confused about the options. I'm sorry I'm not at any way advanced in electrical stuff so please excuse the easy questions:

1. The trains we are trying to run are new - the ones that come with remote controls like Thomas of Polar Express. Can I use these with a transformer or am I stuck with the plug in units and the remote alone?

2. My dad has an old transformer from the 50s that he sometimes swaps in when he wants to run his old old engines. We have always assumed that we cannot use the newer trains with this, and that we have to unplug all the power supplies except the transformer when doing this.  But even with this old transformer the trains struggle around the track. Is it true that we cannot intermix the transformer and the power supplies?

3. At this point my Dad is frustrated and probably willing to spend some money to fix the situations once and for all. Are there any "definitive options" for getting solid power to be able to run 1 train around a track of this size? What about a solution for all 3 tracks that doesn't include a fleet or power supplies all plugged into the same Power strip?

Thanks in advance for your help. I've tried watching some of the instructional videos and researching this forum but the terminology is confusing me. Please be gentile in your responses!

Thank you.

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Re: Power with FastTrack
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2019, 03:22:25 pm »
It sounds like you may have some bad connections between sections of track, even though they are new. If you have a lighted car (or voltmeter),  use it to pinpoint exactly where power drops off. Use a jumper wire from the center rail of a good section of track to the center rail of the bad track and see if it improves the power. If it does, remove the bad section of track and replace it with another section if you have one. If you have no replacement track, slightly bend the connections on the end of the track to make better contact. Worst case, you may have to permanently add a jumper between the two tracks underneath the track sections.

If the new power packs OUTPUT A.C. voltage, you can use the postwar transformer with the new trains. If the new power packs do not output A.C. voltage, then you cannot use it.

Make sure you are using a heavy gauge #14 wire to distribute power to minimize voltage drop between the power supplies and the track.

« Last Edit: November 17, 2019, 03:29:49 pm by TrainLarry »


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