Author Topic: Using a 220 Volt Power Pack on 110 Volts  (Read 1544 times)

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Doug G.

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Using a 220 Volt Power Pack on 110 Volts
« on: July 12, 2018, 06:00:36 PM »
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I just bought a Treble-O-Lectric "Power Control Unit" which is a conventional power pack with, I assume, a transformer, rectifier and rheostat (the speed controller is definitely a rheostat. You can hear it). It was manufactured in the early nineteen sixties so there most likely are no sophisticated electronicalities in it. It was made to use in the UK on 200 - 240 VAC.

It shouldn't hurt anything powering it with 110 VAC, should it. The output will just be half.

Doug
« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 12:56:32 AM by Doug G. »
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learmoia

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Re: Using a 220 Volt Power Pack on 110 Volts
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2018, 07:26:52 PM »
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........ I'd be nervous using it to begin with due to old wires having cracked / missing insulation, shorts, ect..

Not sure if it would even half work on 120V system (or at all).. If your dead set using it, I'd get a converter.. But I'd just get a normal power pack...

~Ian
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peteski

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Re: Using a 220 Volt Power Pack on 110 Volts
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2018, 07:47:11 PM »
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Ignoring the possibly old wire insulation mentioned by Ian, if it is transformer-based then the 220V 50Hz transformer will happily work on 120V 60Hz. It will output roughly half of its rated voltage, so your throttle will only provide half of its rated voltage.
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Doug G.

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Re: Using a 220 Volt Power Pack on 110 Volts
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2018, 08:19:38 PM »
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I have many, many other packs. I just wanted to try this. It will not normally be used. It's more part of my collection.

Also, I am an electronics guy so I know this stuff. I just wanted to make sure I'm not overlooking something but I don't think I am.

I'm not worried about the wiring/wires. The external power cord is still like new. This unit was stored for years and not used in the usual environment.

Doug
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Doug G.

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Re: Using a 220 Volt Power Pack on 110 Volts
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2018, 08:25:18 PM »
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Thanks, Pete. That's what I reasoned, too. The transformer is rated for either 50 or 60 Hz. And only outputting half the normal voltage is probably a good thing with Treble-O-Lectric. At full throttle at normal input voltage, the loco would be long off the end of a straightaway. :D

Also, British color coding is:

Green - Ground(Earth)

Red - Hot

Black - Neutral

Right?

Doug
« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 11:25:44 AM by Doug G. »
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peteski

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Re: Using a 220 Volt Power Pack on 110 Volts
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2018, 09:32:51 PM »
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I know that green or green/yellow is ground, but then I only remember brown and blue for Europe. Did not know UK codes. But a quick Google search yielded this: https://www.allaboutcircuits.com/textbook/reference/chpt-2/wiring-color-codes-infographic/
You are correct.
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Doug G.

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Re: Using a 220 Volt Power Pack on 110 Volts
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2018, 12:54:26 AM »
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Actually, I guess I knew brown and blue are current UK colors so I figured there was a change along there, at some time. 1963 is probably long enough before March of 2004 to have had red and black. :D

Anyway, the pack works and the output is between 6 and 7 volts DC as expected. The half voltage is actually pretty good for max. speed but the current capacity is only 380 mA so definitely for only one loco at a time.

It is now snug in its box and the MRC Tech III 9500 is back in place for the layout. I have had up to 10 Treble-O-Lectric locos running at once with that and it doesn't even blink.

Doug

Doiug.

Doug
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Doug G.

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Re: Using a 220 Volt Power Pack on 110 Volts
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2018, 01:01:11 AM »
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Ian, I may still consider getting a converter as they aren't that expensive, just to see how it woks on normal (for it) voltage.

Doug
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peteski

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Re: Using a 220 Volt Power Pack on 110 Volts
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2018, 01:51:39 AM »
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Ian, I may still consider getting a converter as they aren't that expensive, just to see how it woks on normal (for it) voltage.

Doug

You should be able to pick up a low wattage (around 50W) power converter for short money.  Make sure it will handle inductive loads.  Or you could maybe replace the transformer inside with an equivalent 120V transformer.

The other possibility is that the existing transformer has a dual primary winding which can be hardwired for 220 or 110 V.  But I doubt that they used such transformer.
--- Peteski de Snarkski

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learmoia

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Re: Using a 220 Volt Power Pack on 110 Volts
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2018, 02:00:04 AM »
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Or to complete your Treble-O collection, find the US 110v version of the power pack.. (I'm guessing there was one...)

~Ian
Don't Neglect the Jewel Case!

Doug G.

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Re: Using a 220 Volt Power Pack on 110 Volts
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2018, 11:24:10 AM »
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Pete, the case is riveted together so I don't want to be opening it up. It is a collectible and worth way more money than it originally cost. And, as I said this is really a part of my collection more than a device to be used. I thought about looking to see if the transformer is a dual winding one but am just going to leave it alone, It looks brand new.

Ian, I don;t think Lone Star ever made a US version. They may have had if the Treble-O-Lectric stuff had been more successful but, at the time these packs were made, the line was already failing. The slot car road racing craze and all that in the early to mid sixties.

Doug
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alhoop

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Re: Using a 220 Volt Power Pack on 110 Volts
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2018, 12:53:24 PM »
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Should work Like Pete sez -although not sure how well the rheostat - if it 's wirewound  - will work with low current motors.
Al

peteski

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Re: Using a 220 Volt Power Pack on 110 Volts
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2018, 02:11:17 PM »
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Should work Like Pete sez -although not sure how well the rheostat - if it 's wirewound  - will work with low current motors.
Al

I have feeling that Doug just wanted to using this throttle with its contemporary (not modern) model trains.  And  going by his recent post, he is back to using his MRC Tech III 9500.
--- Peteski de Snarkski

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Doug G.

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Re: Using a 220 Volt Power Pack on 110 Volts
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2018, 02:38:54 PM »
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Actually, I was just curious to see how well it worked to power the trains for which it was made. I mainly bought it to save as part of my Treble-O-Lectric collection. It actually works very well, having a nice gradual change in loco speed as the rheostat dial is rotated. I can tell from the feel and sound that the rheostat has many windings.

I also like how they made it a center off control instead of having a separate reversing switch. Rotate the control to the right and the loco moves forward. Rotate it left and the loco moves in reverse. Here is what it looks like:



I am actually using the 9500 on my Treble-O-Lectric layout. I have many different power packs, including several different MRC TechIIs a Tech IV, a Controlmaster 20, and even an older Controlmaster X in new condition and an old Golden Throttlepack I bought in 1968 for $14.95!

Lone Star had two different set ups to power the trains. One was the one we are discussing here, a self contained power pack and the other, a two piece arrangement. There was a separate transformer/rectifier in one case and then, a controller (speed control) rheostat to connect between the first unit and the track. I now have this EL 184 pack and the EL 198 Controller and just need the EL 197 Transformer/Rectifier to complete the power units collection. Of course, that's the unit that's very rare and hard-to-find.

Thanks for the discussion, you guys.

Doug
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peteski

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Re: Using a 220 Volt Power Pack on 110 Volts
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2018, 08:26:26 PM »
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I also like how they made it a center off control instead of having a separate reversing switch. Rotate the control to the right and the loco moves forward. Rotate it left and the loco moves in reverse. Here is what it looks like:

The center-off model train DC throttles were (or are) quite common in Europe.
For example:


My first model train throttle (when I lived in Poland in the '70s) was made by PIKO and it had center-off knob and thermal circuit breakers with short indicator lights.



This throttle was actually very well designed (and PIKO was East German company back then).  It didn't use rheostat. Instead, it was a variable voltage transformer.  The speed knob wiper actually swept across the transformer's secondary winding.  You can see a partial arc of exposed copper of the secondary winding on top of the transformer. That resulted in a constant voltage regardless of the load current (which is like the transistorized throttle work).  Yet, it used a vintage selenium bridge rectifier, not the typical silicon diodes.

Other companies also made center-off-knob throttles.



This is LGB.



Fleischmann.



Roco.



And a more modern PIKO.

I agree that the center-off speed control is easy to use.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 08:28:17 PM by peteski »
--- Peteski de Snarkski

-"Look at me, I'm satirical!!!"
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