Doubling Up On Engines

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Floyd, Oct 8, 2007.

  1. Floyd

    Floyd Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    0
    This one of the nebee's again. Question I have now is, Can two HO Engines Running from seperate Power Packs be run together, i.e., like one pushing another, without fear of damage to the engines or this a no no?
  2. Kanawha

    Kanawha Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Messages:
    268
    Likes Received:
    0
    Short answer, no. Two transformers attached to the same section of track makes for bad short circuits. Long answer, unless you are running a long train under DC control with a pusher at the rear end in a different block, no, you can't have a different transformer for each.
    Hope that helps :wave:
  3. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Messages:
    1,810
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ahhhh, Kanawha beat me while I was typing....
    That's a confusing question. I'm assuming this is DC and if so, it would be awfully difficult to run two engines on the same piece of track with two different transformers. Now, if you were running both engines on the same track with one transformer, I would say, yes you could do it as long as the engines were similarly matched in speed under similar loads. If they are not, you would be causing unnecessary wear on the faster engine. It doesn't mean you can't, just not advisable. There was a similar thread about this not too long ago. Search and you just might find it.:thumb:
  4. Kanawha

    Kanawha Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Messages:
    268
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sorry :killer:
    hehe
  5. rhtastro

    rhtastro Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Messages:
    153
    Likes Received:
    0
    When using Marklin's system, I routinely run twin PA's hooked together to pull a long freight load. One loco has the digital decoder and sound effects circuit with speaker. So there is only one digital code needed for the two. Both are motorized and are connected together electrically with a special cable/coupler. They run on one transformer/controller and both run at the same identical speed. There's no pushing or pulling against each other with this setup. The primary loco can also run by itself without using the second, however, the second loco can only run when connected to it's primary since it has a motor but no decoder. Great setup and works like a charm. In fact, I have a couple of the Marklin twin PA units, a Santa Fe and UP.
  6. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2001
    Messages:
    2,949
    Likes Received:
    0
    You run 2 or more locomotives with one power pack as a locomotive consist or with one locomotive at each end of the train in a push/pull fashion.I prefer to use the same brand of locomotives in my unit consists..There is no way to use 2 power packs on the same section of track.
  7. Relic

    Relic Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2005
    Messages:
    399
    Likes Received:
    0
    Why not??It doesn't make sense to do it but it would be no problem,simply hook both packs to one set of feeders
  8. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2005
    Messages:
    3,844
    Likes Received:
    0
    Not so much a no-no, but rather a no-need. One power pack should easily run two locos together, although, as brakie and TrainNut note, it helps if the locos run at close to the same speed as one another. The situation described by Kanawha will allow the use of two power packs at the same time, but would require a separate operator for each, and some very careful train handling. If your power pack won't run two locos at once, you need a new power pack. It's not a good idea to connect two power packs to the same section of track at the same time: your locos are designed to run on (roughly) 12 volts maximum, which is the approximate output of most power packs. Just do the math before you bother to connect the second one. :eek: ;)

    Wayne
  9. Floyd

    Floyd Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    0
    First off thanks for all your responses. Since I am fairly new at this I guess I should not have asked for help without further explaination. The situation is, I am building a layout for my soon to be eight year old grandson and he at times would like to do the push-pull?? I have set up a layout and have eight different sections which are isolated with plastic connectors between each. All of the plastic connectors are on the inside track going completely around the layout. The outside track is the continuous track. The reason that I have two seperate TEC Power Packs is that we would like to run two trains i.e., "A Cab" and "B Cab". I have set up two four pole Atlas Selectors which are used to control the two engines. I THIMK that I have correctly followed the instructions that I have been reading in my Atlas Handbooks cause each train does operate as I think it should. When I switch the selector switch to "A" one train runs until it gets to the isolated rail. then when I switch the switch to the next section the train goes through that track unitl ut meets another isolated section. When I do the same for "Cab B" that train runs as well. Guess I was wanting to ask if the engine in "A" catches up to "B" would that change things? If he was running the two engines with no cars attached and they would then hook onto one another would we still have the problem of damage to the engines? I will discourage him from having the engines together but if you know, some kids will try things that might cause trouble.
    WHEW:inmew: .........Hope that I claried things a little better.

    Thanks again for your input it is appreciated.
  10. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2005
    Messages:
    3,844
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you are going to be controlling the Selectors, you should be able to slow down one of the locos so that they don't end up in the same block.
    My Grandson learned to run a train at fairly prototypical speeds when he was about 3 1/2 (he's 5 now), but one of his favourite "operating" sessions is high speed run-throughs. My layout is usually operated as a point-to-point, but there is provision for continuous running. I give him a loco to run, hand him the throttle, and away he goes. While he's busy watching "his" loco, I add a second one, out of his sight on a temporarily "dead" block. It's fun to see the look on his face when the new loco comes into his view. I keep doing this until most of my diesels are running at various points around the layout. Many of them run well together, at similar speeds, but there are some that are either faster or slower, so I kill various track sections to keep things more-or-less evenly spaced out. Eventually, though, they all end up coupled together. It's a good thing that they're not equipped with sound, as a dozen or so locos make enough noise on their own. :eek:

    Wayne
  11. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Messages:
    5,135
    Likes Received:
    0
    I operate on a friend's layout that is relatively large and complex. He has a large double mainline oval with 3 loops that come off this and a big station
    complex. We have managed to get 11 trains running at once on this with 6-8 operators on separate controllers. Sometimes we have 3 trains running on the oval at once from one (hefty) power pack. We do have problems and fun when slower trains are fed into the mixture.
    I don't think you will get actual damage to locomotives that are mismatched unless they are both heavy and powerful or if one sucks all the power up.
    The commonest DC way to run multiple trains is to use blocks with multiple cabs (power packs), which sounds like what you're doing.
  12. rhtastro

    rhtastro Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Messages:
    153
    Likes Received:
    0
    Double double plus one

    Wayne, you gave me an idea. :mrgreen: So I put my 2 Marklin PA doubles together to get a double double. I changed the code #'s so they match. That way they can run in tandem and it seems to work well. Just for fun, I tried the Big Boy with one of the PA doubles and that works as well. So then I put both doubles at the front of a long freight and the Big Boy as a pusher towards the end. That works too. Also the reverse works as well.
    Ordinarily, with all the code #'s at their normal stations, I can run 5 trains at the same time from one transformer/controller on about 150 feet of track. I don't need dead tracks or blocks like I had with DC. I can run any number of trains at the same time from one trans/controller. I just dial in those I want to run. The rest are at rest. It's sort of like the DCC I had but better. It's a 42v AC system and seems to be adequate. I don't notice fading when more locos are added. What I like about this system is the feedback from the locos to the controller through the track. It's as if they announce themselves to the system. But as you say, the noise level can be extreme if all the locos have the sound going at once. Especially in my closed train room. A couple of pics of the above are included with this. :thumb:bob

    Attached Files:

  13. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2005
    Messages:
    3,844
    Likes Received:
    0
    It sounds as if your power supply has plenty of capacity. My DC system is currently powered by an MRC ControlMaster 20 and it will run at least a dozen locos at one time, with little apparent loss of speed. I'm not totally satisfied with the handheld throttle, though, and am investigating a Pulse Width Modulation system, which would use the MRC unit as the power source, but with a controller that offers much finer control, similar to what I get from my AC-powered SCR throttles. The drawback to the SCR throttles is their limited throughput of power, which causes heavy, doubleheaded trains to die on grades. The PWM system is capable of putting 3 amps to the rails, which should do the trick. I don't run more than one train at a time, but I often run multiple locos in a single train.

    Wayne
  14. wjstix

    wjstix Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2004
    Messages:
    218
    Likes Received:
    0
    In DC you're not really controlling each locomotive, you're controlling a section or "block" of track. When you put power to the track, all the engines in the block are going to move - all the same direction, if they're wired up correctly. There is no way to isolated and control one engine with one power pack and control another engine with another power pack in DC.

    In DCC (digital command control) there is a constant 12-14v AC power on the track. Each engine has it's own decoder and you can control each engine separately, or you can change the settings to have one throttle control two or more engines at the same time.

    So...in DC, you can run a train with several engines, but they're all going to respond to the power pack's commands if they're all in the same block - all will go forward, or all will go back. If the engines run at the same speeds (that is, if say all the engines go about 35 scale MPH when getting 6v of power) then they can all run together on a train. (In DCC, you can adjust how the engine responds to the power it gets, so that it is much easier to get several engines to run perfectly together.)
  15. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2001
    Messages:
    2,949
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have ran pushers and a local with a locomotive on each end-not hard to do..Just drop the trailing unit on a industrail siding out of the way.
  16. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2003
    Messages:
    4,707
    Likes Received:
    0
    Back when our club ran dc instead of dcc, one member of the club is an electronic engineer, and he was very careful to make sure at all set ups that we NEVER EVER had two power sources hooked upto the same track (block). I don't remember the technical explanation completely, but it seems that if the 2 power sources are not synchronized exactly at the same precise voltage, you will blow out transistors on whichever powerpack is set at the lower voltage.
  17. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2005
    Messages:
    3,844
    Likes Received:
    0
    :confused: This could be misleading for a newbie: of course it's possible to independently control one loco at the same time as another, using separate power packs - that's the purpose of block control. Generally, this is done when there are enough operators to control each separate loco (or block).

    I think that this is both the strength and the weakness of DCC. The positive side of the arguement is that multiple operators can control multiple locos, each independently of all the others. Operations can be much more true-to-life.
    The downside, in my opinion, is that it allows one operator to run more than one train at a time, meaning that the operator is operating one train, while the system runs the other(s). The whole point of operation, as opposed to just running trains, is being in control in order to accomplish the task at hand.
    There's nothing wrong with just running trains, but, even then, why wouldn't you want to enjoy all the aspects of that running train: watching it thread through your trackwork or beautiful scenery (or through the beautiful scenery that you envision in your mind's eye, as the real thing has yet to be built), and just being in control of the train. Another train running becomes, at worst, a distraction, or, at best, something to ignore. Multi-tasking abilities aside, the second train is stealing from your enjoyment of the first. :eek: :-D

    All good points, but for lone operators, block control isn't really necessary for operation. Usually, the ability to kill power on passing sidings or loco storage tracks will suffice.
    Also, it's not really that difficult to match locos, according to their running abilities, using DC, and this task itself can provide a lot of enjoyment, if you're into that sort of thing. ;) It's my opinion that many lone-wolf operators opt for DCC mostly for the sound and consisting capabilities, but that the true operational advantages of this type of control are otherwise wasted.
    Fortunately, our hobby has room for both ends of the control spectrum, and all of the various nuances in between. The common bond is the trains. :thumb::thumb:

    Wayne
  18. rhtastro

    rhtastro Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Messages:
    153
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wayne writes: "I think that this is both the strength and the weakness of DCC. The positive side of the arguement is that multiple operators can control multiple locos, each independently of all the others. Operations can be much more true-to-life.
    The downside, in my opinion, is that it allows one operator to run more than one train at a time, meaning that the operator is operating one train, while the system runs the other(s). The whole point of operation, as opposed to just running trains, is being in control in order to accomplish the task at hand."
    "There's nothing wrong with just running trains, but, even then, why wouldn't you want to enjoy all the aspects of that running train: watching it thread through your trackwork or beautiful scenery (or through the beautiful scenery that you envision in your mind's eye, as the real thing has yet to be built), and just being in control of the train. Another train running becomes, at worst, a distraction, or, at best, something to ignore. Multi-tasking abilities aside, the second train is stealing from your enjoyment of the first. :eek: :-D "

    Wayne, I'm still trying to figure this all out. The downside of DCC is that it allows one person to operate more than one train at a time? And it's the "system" that is running the other trains? I had always thought that the "other" trains were being run by those LGM's in the cabs. Actually, with my Marklin system I can physically operate 2 trains at the same time since I have 2 control nobs each for a different loco. Slave units are available to control even more, but it's better to have more users for that, I've found. "Other" trains still have to be run by the "system" or LGM's. But I can override them in a second and then I'm in control. It does take a bit of multi-tasking at that and we males are so limited in that way. Females are much better in that respect since they can use their whole brain, while we males are limited to merely half a brain. Ever seen a lady driver talking on a cell phone, putting on makeup and lightiing a cig all at the same time. And they only crash once in a while. You should try it sometime. So the answer is to get your wife or sig. other female involved and just sit back and watch it all happen. By the way, LGM's stand for "little green men" in space science lingo. Happy, happy railroading. bob :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :rolleyes:

    r
  19. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2005
    Messages:
    3,844
    Likes Received:
    0
    I probably should have clarified my remarks with my definition of operating. My layout is point-to-point, single track with passing sidings, and I usually operate alone. So, while I could theoretically run two trains at the same time with DCC (or with DC and block control), I prefer to either run just one train, or operate the trains sequentially, from one passing siding to the next. With lots of en route switching, one train requires the operator's full attention, and even when it's just running on the mainline between towns, I like to savour the full enjoyment of the experience. I put a lot of work into my trains and there's no way that I'm going to ignore one to run another. ;)
    I have a friend who used to run multiple long trains, with multiple locos, on multiple mainlines, occasionally adjusting the speed of one or another, all while we carried on a conversation. This for him was enjoyment, but for me it was sensory overload, as I just wanted to watch the trains as they made their loops around the basement. As for multi-tasking, I was at my limit.:rolleyes::-D:-D:-D

    By the way, I actually guessed the meaning of LGMs ;):-D

    Wayne
  20. wjstix

    wjstix Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2004
    Messages:
    218
    Likes Received:
    0
    What I said (or was trying to say) was you can't control two trains with two power packs in the same block. Of course you can have different engines in different blocks controlled by different power packs - but the original question was about running a doubleheader, controlling each engine separately.
    :wave: