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Murray McPhie
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Many moons ago I got a Bachmann controller in a set I bought.
Because it was made for the American market, the transformer was useless.

I tried numerous power sources.
It would work fine. In one direction.

To make it work in both directions, I had to wire it to a 240 Volt transformer/controller.
It did give me very fine control, but was very Heath Robinson.
I just thought it was a faulty unit.
I got rid of it.

I was given some track and bits and pieces recently.
It contained another one of these controllers.
I tried it and guess what?
It works perfectly, in one direction.

Can anyone explain why they only work one way?

I reckon they would be useful, if they worked.


Murray McPhie
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Here's a picture, for the very few who have never seen one...





2foot6
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The only reason I can think of is a faulty switch, or not wired correctly (unlikely).

They are basic units.

...........................Peter.



Si.
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Hi Murray  :wave:



Congrats on the worlds most hideous ^^ photo of a Bachmann controller !  :P

With that florescent pink dial, it looks like it's from Barbies(TM) train set !!  ;)

(oh come on ... I want one !)  [whack]



I used one of these controllers briefly (not in Barbie pink) ...
... playing with my mates 'Train Set' his railfan father in law got him for Christmas.  :old dude:

(he hates & loathes trains BTW)  :f:



They are not too bad, was my general conclusion ...  :thumb:

... from a guy who is pretty accepting of basic resistance controllers, as long as they are well made.  :cool:



Murray, I don't know this for sure, but my guess is that both your Bachmanns weren't faulty or wired wrong.
I think the issue might be to do with 'rectifiers' (or lack of !) ...  :brill:

.... & whether you plug in an A.C. output, or D.C. output 'wall-wart' into the controller.  L:



I'm not sure if the actual Bachmann controller has a basic 'rectifier' inside or not ...

... probably not ...

... so the reverse direction-switch probably relies on getting D.C. straight from the 'wall-wart' P.S.U.  :!:



Perhaps you've been using A.C. output 'wall-wart' P.S.U.s ?  ???



[whack]



Si.


Michael M
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I've got a Bachmann Controller sitting on a rarely used N scale layout. 
It does use a wall-wart for power.  16v AC input. 
Never had a problem with it.

The Controller seems very basic. 
Hard to think that two units would be wired incorrectly.

I suppose you could always take it apart.


Si.
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Hi again Murray  :wave:



Here's mine, from the 'Tri-ang' swingin' '60s My Little Pony set !  ;)





No rectifier inside & no direction-switch either, just a centre-off dial & reset-button in case of OVERHEATING !  :shocked:



[whack]



Si.


Si.
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Added a nice 1950s 'Hornby Dublo' transformer ...  :old dude:

... a couple of ex-Soviet Military stud-rectifiers, from my Bulgarian eBay contact in the Russian Space Program ... 

(I kid you NOT ... He has some great Teflon(TM) cable, originally used for Uri Gagarins electric-toothbrush as well !)  :shades:

... a nice big, high-current, screw-terminal smoothing-capacitor ...

... & of course the essential RELCO high-frequency track 'cleaning' gizmo !



A kinda 'Hot-Rodded' resistance-controller, for maximum 1/4 mile performance !  :P



:cool:



Si.


Si.
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OK ... So it looks like my 'no rectifiers theory' is wrong ... These are supposed to be powered by a 16 Volt A.C. 'wall-wart'.





Mmm ...  L:










Anyone else got any bright :!: ideas ?  ???



Gone to lunch .  .   .



:pop:


Si.


Michael M
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Si,

No new suggestions. 

It's all pretty straight-forward so can't imagine what could go wrong.

Maybe the engine has a problem.  


???  ???


Eric T
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Michael M wrote:
No new suggestions. 

It's all pretty straight-forward so can't imagine what could go wrong.

Maybe the engine has a problem.


That could be easily checked by disconnecting the controller from the track,

and touching the terminals of a 9v battery to the rails.


If the engine moves forward and backward using the battery,

we'll know it's the controller.


Murray McPhie
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Nope.

The engine is my dear little Forney.


It goes very well backwards and forwards, is greatly loved,

and is always put away in it's box after a run.


Michael M
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Okay.

Is the loco DC or DCC?   If DCC could it be a decoder problem?

Or, is it possible something is jamming the gears when in reverse?

Murray McPhie
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Nope

The little Forney goes backward and forwards.
Always has.

I think it may have to do with supplying the correct voltage, AC,
and the correct amperage, or something.

When I tried to use one on my old N scale DC layout, I had the same result.

It doesn't matter, If I cant figure it out, the thing can go in the bin.


Michael M
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What voltage is the wall wart suppose to get?



Si.
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" It doesn't matter, If I cant figure it out, the thing can go in the bin "  :f:



Hi Murray  :wave:


Freerails is reputed to have some of Model Railroadings top brains as Members !  :brill:

If we can't figure out what's wrong with a Bachmann train set controller ...

... we may as well call it a day & stick our fingers in the wall socket !  ;)  :shocked:



This problen is NUTZ :Crazy: Murray !



So you 100% HAVE GOT a  '16 Volt A.C. output'  wall-wart, right ?  ???


:doh:  :dt:



Si.


W C Greene
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My advice (don't shoot me) is to chunk the little power pack and get a real one.
Bachmann sells a nicer one or maybe you can find a nice MRC power pack.
I look aside at anything that needs a separate wall plug in to make it work.
This thing might be OK for lights but running a locomotive?

Woodie


Michael M
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I wouldn't chuck the thing. 
Could probably use it to power interior lights or switch machines or something.   
I'd take it if you weren't on the other side of the world.

Still bit of a mystery though. 
Maybe someone with an electrical background could chime in.


2foot6
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I have been thinking again (now I have a headache)
It many be possible that the 0.7 of an Amp output of the controller,
is not enough to operate the loco in reverse.
 
As the loco maybe tight in the mechanism,
but it runs more freely in forward,
as I think it has not had much use.

That is the only reason I can think of,
as the problem has occurred with two Bachmann controllers,
and the loco works OK with other controllers.

That's my theory and I'm sticking to it.

:old dude: L:


Helmut
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@2foot6
that thing needs power off a 16V AC wallwart/transformer. Operation seems to depend on having two ( positive and negative ) half-waves. A nowadays standard wallwart delivers filtered DC, so that may be the explanation.

Si.
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" ... needs power off a 16V AC wallwart/transformer.
Operation seems to depend on having two ( positive and negative ) half-waves.
A nowadays standard wallwart delivers filtered DC, so that may be the explanation "



Hi Helmut  :wave:


That was EXACTLY what I was trying to say on the last Page <<< previously.  :old dude:

I don't think Murray confirmed if he was using an A.C. (correct) or D.C. (incorrect) wall-wart ?  ???



If he binned the original U.S. Voltage wall-wart ...

... & then picked up an Aussie one, having D.C. output ...

... YES ! ... That sounded like the problem to me.  :P

Especially since TWO Bachmann controllers BOTH did the 'funny' business ...  :f: :f:

... & were very possibly tested, using the same ( D.C. ? ) wall-wart.  L:


The oDd reversing-switch operation, is the give away here, I think.  :brill:



So come on Murray ... Spill the beans ! ... Show us your wall-wart !!  :shocked:



:old dude:



Si.



And yeah ... It ISN'T a straightforward resistance controller, like my swingin' '60s one.  [whack]



It probably has at least 1 rectifier & 1 transistor inside ...

... as well as the throttle (potentiometer) & forwards/backwards (D.P.D.T. Double Pole Double Throw) switch.



I actually unscrewed my Mates one, about 3 Christmases ago, cos I am a curious *$%&@£ ...  ;)

... but can't for the life of me remember what the hell was inside ?  :us:



I looked for AGES on The Net for a photo of the 'guts' of one ...

... & surprisingly couldn't find one anywhere.  :us:


:dt:


Si.
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WOW !  :shocked:  ...





... The  C :cool: :cool: L  'Thomas The Tank Engine' livery, Bachmann controller ... I'm Luvin' it ! ...  :shocked: 

... something to rival the wonderful colours of the 'McTrain' Mogul !  ;)



I'm starting to think I WANT ONE !  [whack]



:thumb:



Si.


Si.
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As well as tryin' my damnedest to find a photo of the 'guts' of the controller ...  :us:

... I also tried pretty hard to find a schematic on the damn thing as well.  :us:



No luck though.  :f:



Here are a couple of schematics of more or less what is PROBABLY inside one ... Or very close anyway.  :P





Both powered from about 16 Volts A.C. ... Either from a built-in transformer or a wall-wart.






:java: :brill::!:



Si.


Murray McPhie
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So you 100% HAVE GOT a  '16 Volt A.C. output'  wall-wart, right ?


Well nearly,


I have a 16 volt one but the connector socket is loose. So I used an 18 volt one.
I have a box full of various wall warts.
Maybe it must be 16 volt, or it will only go one way?
Like I say, it isn't that important. I can use the thing on a turntable or something.

Si.
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Hi Murray  :wave:



OK ... So the wall-wart you have is 18 Volts ...

... but the IMPORTANT question IS ...

... Have you got one that outputs A.C. Voltage ?  ???



A wall-wart that outputs D.C. Voltage ...

... may well be causing the oDd reversing problem !  :f:



:)



Si.

 

Si.
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The suspense is killing me.  :old dude:



Was the 'wall-wart' a D.C. output one ...  ???

... or one of the slightly more unusual A.C. output ones ?  L:



I'll check back in a week or so .  .   .  ;)



:y:



Si.



I had actually wondered about trying to score one of these on eBay a while back.  :java: L:

They are quite a nice 'hand sized' unit & might make a  C :cool: :cool: L  radio-control 'project box' ...

... or just a nice spare & simple controller (if it works !).


Murray McPhie
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Sorry Si,
I got a bit sidelined by other things.

I just got the transformers I have been playing with out of the box again.


Very embarrassed.


The 16 volt one which was broken is AC.
That is the one I was hoping would work for me.

The 18 volt one is DC.
I was sure it said AC, but it was after a beautiful dinner and a glass, or maybe two? of colonial red.
I MAY have misread it.

I am using the google thing to find a local supplier of 16 volt AC transformers.


2foot6
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How many glasses?..................

Try Jaycar in Littlejohn St, they will have them.

....Peter



Murray McPhie
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Actually, last time I looked there, they didn't have any.

Strange, as they have pretty much everything.


I will drop in next time I am passing, which is often.


Thanks Peter.


W C Greene
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Now, I don't know about the Botchmann "controller",
but I would imagine that it needs to have a DC power supply.
Unless the train is DCC, which has AC on the rails but is controlled by the loco's chip.
This little device is probably ment for a DC wall pack to make it work.
The thing seems to have forward/reverse and a "throttle"...
so, I think it needs a DC power supply.
If it isn't working correctly, I would find a better power pack.
I would prefer a better power pack anyway.
Look for an older MRC pack,
they can be found on fleabay, etc. for not much money.
These are only my opinions.

Woodie


Si.
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The 'Bachmann Train Controller' 100% def. DOES NEED a '16 Volt A.C.' output wall-wart !  :old dude:

A quick glance at this fairly simple MRC Tech-7 Power Pack schematic.  :dope:


Shows that '15.8 V AC' is taken from before the rectifier Diodes 1 to Diode 4 ...

... & fed into the 'business' part of the throttle circuit via a 10K Ohm resistor ...

... to take advantage of & use it's handy 50/60 Hertz frequency, in the main circuit.




The MRC schematic ^^ shows a built-in transformer, with AC Cord ...  :brill:

... but had it not been designed like this, a wall-wart could power it just as effectively ...

... but it would HAVE TO BE an A.C. output one of 16 Volts (or 15.8 V in MRCs case !).  :P



I couldn't find a schematic of the actual 'Bachmann Train Controller'.  :us:

Someone familiar with where their 'Service Sheets' are stashed on The Net, might find one ?  ???



:java: [whack]



Si.


Murray McPhie
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Thanks Woodie,

I have an honest old DC controller which seems to provide volts and amps and watts,
and all those other electric things in adequate quantities.

The trains go as fast and in whichever direction my fancy dictates.

This little gizmo just seemed a chance to use an available source to broaden my range, 
on a branch line or something.


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@Si

This MRC controller uses the 'autopulse' feature I published some 20 yrs. ago in a forum.
(Although I would suggest a 3k3 resistor, instead of the 10k, for very good crawl behaviour)

When fed by DC, it will just not pulse, but the reversing will not be affected.

No, the Bachmann seemingly uses the positive and negative half-waves for direction,
maybe also a Triac for speed setting,
giving some acceptable, albeit noisy, slow-speed performance for standard iron-core motors.

Do not use it with can-motors, as it may burn them out.



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