Noob with questions: Transformer

stryker Dec 28, 2009

  1. stryker

    stryker TrainBoard Member

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    Hi all!
    Been reading up on "S" Scale. Finally fell off the O/S fence and landed firmly on the "S" side.

    I am planning a large layout, but will have to start small (due only to cost) I am wondering what transformers (DC I assume) I should look into. Plans will include two trains on the same track at some point. I really don't have a local shop that carries anything. Well they have one S helper Diesel switcher and some AF style track.
    My plan is to use gargraves or the S helper track.

    Are there any brands or things I need to avoid? I am looking to buy at lease a loco., and 20-30 feet of track and whatever I need to get started.

    Thanks
    Stryker
     
  2. chooch.42

    chooch.42 TrainBoard Member

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    Hello, Stryker, and welcome to TB. (My disclaimer: I'm not in "S"- have O,HO, N)...Hope some of our more "S" knowledgeable folks will be along to answer your concerns. If things seem a little slow in "S-gauge", have a look around the rest of the categories to see what's here, then maybe try a Google on "S-gauge trains" for more resources. Glad to have you with us. Bob C.
     
  3. pastoolio

    pastoolio TrainBoard Member

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    Stryker, is the loco you have a DC loco? or AC? All the old flyer stuff is all AC powered, and any of the old transformers will work. If you have a DC loco, then any DC power pack would work, most preferably an MRC. Be careful when you buy new locos, since DC is an option, AC is standard. If you plan on using DC locos, and want to run mutiple trains on the same track, then DCC is an option.
    The S helper flex track is very nice, although the sectional track w/ built in roadbed is nice too, but the turnouts and curves are very sharp (built to match the old AF curves and turnouts).
    My father runs S helper flex with American Models Turnouts on his layout (and a few hand laid turnouts that I've built for him). He got rid of the GarGraves track and switched to the S helper track. He has a mix of the old school flyer cars and new S helper/American Models/Des Plains cars also.
    The S helper track will work with both scale wheels and hi rail wheels, although the hi rails wheels do track a little better.
    The only brand that I'd stay away from is K-Line, some of their cars are not really to scale and look funny when mixed with other brands.
    If you have any other specific questions, just ask, and Welcome to Trainboard!

    Mike
     
  4. stryker

    stryker TrainBoard Member

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    I have not purchased anything yet. I was looking at the S helper site, and their stuff is AC or DC. My problem is: what is better in the long run for S scale. We have a train show coming in Feb. so maybe I could get something there...

    I am not set in stone on the Gargraves track. I think it looks very nice though. How loud is the pre bedded track?
     
  5. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Stryker,

    I have some experience with S Scale. My first model train was an American Flyer set. I recently built an S scale roundy round for a friend of mine.

    I went with Gargraves track as it is flexible enough to bend turns into it. There is another brand out there but I can't think of the name. You might like it better. Let me get back to you on this.

    I actually mixed it with the older American Flyer switches. An interesting transition one to the other.

    Most S scale equipment is AC but it can be changed over easy enough to DC. I prefer the DC approach unless you decide to go with DCC/Digital Command Control. Then you are right back to an AC power supply. Again an easy fix.

    I used wider radius curves then is recommended. I do like the results.

    There are a number of new manufacturers out there. You can do an oogle google search and they should pop up.

    You will be building in one of my favorite scales.
     
  6. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Staff Member

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    Welcome to TB Stryker. SHS diesels are a great buy. If you want to go AF compatible you can run them right out of the box. If you want to run scale, SHS provides scale wheels and the AF compatible coupler comes right off with the removal of 4 screws. Kadee couplers mount with no problems. All that with just turning the unit over and switching the wheel sets. If you want to use AC or DC the SHS engines are set up to run like the AC Flyer units with an e unit for direction change. Take the shell off, and the AC electronic e unit board pulls out. DCC and sound is available in the SW8/9's and NW2's. SHS flex track is NS and AM track is brass. Should you want to go scale, Tomalco and Shinohara both sell NS code 100 flex track. Tomalco sells turnouts now to go with their flex track. As for a transformer to power your S scale, any good HO transformer will work with the current crop of SHS and AM engines. I use the one that came with my son's Bachmann On30 train set for my test track.

    Greg
     
  7. stryker

    stryker TrainBoard Member

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    transformer

    So if I understand... I can go with AC or DC. Can I still use command control?
    I have an old Transformer from an N set, I guess I could use that to start.
    Now for a big layout is it better to AC or DC if I want some type of "command Control"
    Thanks
     
  8. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Staff Member

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    I don't think there is really any advantage to AC over DC. A big layout will require a big transformer either way. When I ran Lionel, the ZW transformer was the one to have to run the post war Lionel. A good sized N scale DC transformer should run a small layout or test track no problem. If you go AC Lionel's TMCC is available which is a command control system. If you DC, any DCC system which is NMRA compliant will work. MTH DCS will work for AC but getting that for installation in S equipment isn't cheap or easy. MTH pretty much likes to keep that control system to themselves. Lionel has TMCC in their S equipment and licensed it out to other manufacturers and would be easier to come by for that reason. If you go with any control system, the power to the track will be AC but the chip for DCC or TMCC will convert it to DC at the motor. I haven't started installing DCC in my S scale equipment yet but from what I've been told the SHS engines are basically running HO equivalent motors and HO DCC will work. Since I don't have any of the Lionel S equipment, I don't know anything about their motors. That will change soon, when Lionel's U33C's arrive I'll be checking them out for DCC requirements.

    Greg
     

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