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Track Or OHL Powered


GRS supply the largest range of track powered locos for G3 and as their range is quite variable, I would suggest you contact them directly. Most of their range can be converted to battery R/C with some thought.

The Basic Problem...

Although the rail is highly conductive it requires a level of voltage to push the current to the loco. In Gauge '1' the standard voltage is 24V which is a good compromise. However it does not take into account the major problem known to all commuters AKA "leaves on the line"... But at this scale the leaves can be a layer of bird lime, squirrel dropping etc. This means that the track has to be cleaned to a level that it makes good electrical contact with the pick ups. Over the years several attempts have been made to try and remove the problem of muck. The stud contact system is popular in "O" gauge and it works well. The central stud "ski" wipes over the studs keeping them clean and electrical return is via the two rails. Third rail systems use a similar principle except the power rail is central. LGB use plunger pick ups and these wipe the track. Systems using wheel pick ups have a terrible problem with muck!

The leading pantograph of the twin pantographs found on early electric locomotive designs served two functions. The first was to knock off icicles in the winter and the second was to wipe the wire improving pick up on the trailing pantograph.

AC or DC or DCC?

AC transmission systems have an advantage on range to a DC systems but you have to arrange for some form of rectification to DC or design your loco to use AC throughout. The main problem with external power is the cost of the basic PSU system. It has to be built to "double insulated" standards and supply a level of power not normally found in a garden environment. If a small G3 loco typically pulls 60W then the supply has to be about 3 amps at 24 volts at the position of the loco. My layout is small to medium size with a run of about 1.3 mile (scale). If I connected one end to the supply, The Current would have to travel through all the poor connections and muck to reach a loco 1.3 scale miles away. This raises the horrible problem of having to arrange "feeder" cables to different connections throughout the length of the track.

Although there are some quite successful G3 tracks using DCC rail power these seem to be all "exhibition" layouts living in halls. I would personally say that external power systems reach their limit in the garden with Gauge '1' and are not really suitable for Gauge '3'.

DCC is a system where an AC carrier is rectified at source and the 19.2KB command signal stripped off the AC carrier and then the AC rectified for the DC motors. This requires very robust power supplies (see above) and currents to the track in excess of 10 Amperes for any distance.

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Page last modified on January 20, 2018, at 10:48 AM