Gaugemaster DS controller/HF track cleaner/ammeter

Discussion in 'DC Control' started by Dave C, Feb 2, 2021.

  1. Dave C

    Dave C Full Member

    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    45
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2016
    Caveat - I'm an electrical numpty but can wire a 12v DC model railway and make it work.:)

    However.....as I'm about to rebuild Setforth Junction I'm taking the opportunity to upgrade the control panel and the controllers to get better smooth running. So I'm going to invest in Gaugemaster DS series controller, and a HF2 track cleaning unit, but also want to put a panel meter in to monitor current. Gaugemaster tell me I would fry the ammeter with the HF2:eek:, so I could put a DPDT switch in to operate either the HF2 or the ammeter. Does anyone else use an HF1 or 2 with an ammeter, and if so how have you done it?

    Whilst most trains on the up or down lines run the same way they do occasionally run in both directions - and of course the sidings and branch do too on a more regular basis. On another thread in this section I can see a link to an Australian site where multi directional ammeters are available and there is also China. However I would rather purchase in the UK – any UK members able to point me in the right direction as trawling Google, Amazon and E Bay is proving fruitless unless I want to spend £40 plus.

    Or is there another way I’ve missed?:scratchchin:

    BTW DCC is not an option.
     
  2. paul_l

    paul_l Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    7,995
    Likes Received:
    3,830
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2015
    Hi Dave

    Depending on what you want to measure, you could just measure the mains current consumption of the DS controller. As this would be main current a great deal of care must be taken, or you could use a simple mainsa socket detector

    [​IMG]

    These cost between £10 & £30 depending on functionality and brand name. (sorry for the above picture didn't realise I clipped a non-uk example).

    If I remember correctly _ it is over 40 years ago, and I struggle to remember whats for lunch, the ammeter has a large shunt resitor, the HS2 will see this as dirty spot and try and fry it out of existance. The HS2 is designed to be permanently connected, and as Gaugemaster make both units and don't reccommend or supply an ammeter, I'd probably follow thier advice.

    If you run your two heaviest locomotives hauling decent length trains, monitor the DS's current consumption, do the same for the loco's running light, then with your lightest loco, this will give you a normal min and max levels, so a quick glance will let you know if everything is within normal parameters.

    For individual loco's I'd use your old controller add a cheap Ammeter / Voltmeter, and use it to power a rolling road on your workbench, so you perform run-ins, maintenance etc away from the layout.

    Hope this helps

    Paul
     
  3. Dave C

    Dave C Full Member

    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    45
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2016
    Paul - many thanks. I hadn't though of just having a piece of test track wired up separately - sometimes the obvious isn't apparent when I'm thinking down one particular track. And if I do that, it means I dont need to allow for reverse polarity - by putting a DPDT switch after the meter I can run locos forward and reverse from the 12v output and there is no need for a track cleaner as wheels will be cleaned as part of maintenance, and wiping a short piece of track isn't an issue. A rolling road is on my wish list.
    There are 2 layouts on You Tube - Barrie Davis with Cranworth Model Railway and Al in the loft with Buckland Junction, both of whom are using an HF2 with panel meters so I've dropped them a note to ascertain their experience / wiring set up.
    The reason I'm looking to put them directly onto the layout is there was a problem on the previous build with a section of track I never got round to fixing, so having constant readouts of current and voltage would have perhaps proved useful in ascertaining the problem. I was always dubious about a point that was inside the tunnel - I could get to the motor but not the track. As part of the move that point had to come out, and wont be going back in with the revised fiddle yard layout.
    Still waiting for the new lighting to arrive before doing anything else (including building the control panel with or without meters!).
     
  4. paul_l

    paul_l Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    7,995
    Likes Received:
    3,830
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2015
    Hi Dave for the point, is it electrofrog or insulfrog.

    As a test try bridging the switch rail to the stock rail, and see if that improves, then try the stock rail to the wing rail, it just maybe a poor connection on the wiper contacts between the stock rail and switch rail, especially if the track had been glued, ballasted and or painted.

    For scales/ gauges N, 3mm, OO/HO, EM & P4 I have the DCC concepts rolling road and works fine - well I've only tried OO & P4. For O gauge I have a more substantial device, but in both cases they were well worth the money. And you can runin more than 1 loco at a time, even in DC.

    Paul
     
  5. Dave C

    Dave C Full Member

    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    45
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2016
    Its electrofrog. I had to remove it when SJ got dismantled as it was on a board join. Fortunately it wasnt ballasted as it was just inside the tunnel. I will check it out before re-use.
    And I've already started looking for a DCC concepts rolling road :thumbup:
     
    paul_l likes this.
  6. Dave C

    Dave C Full Member

    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    45
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2016
    Quick update - I can confirm that using a Gaugemaster DS controller, panel voltmeter, ammeter (needle centred so swings both ways - probably a technical term for that) and Gaugemaster HF track cleaner is perfectly possible - got the bits, wired it up and nothing fries. The only thing I need to do is to put some diodes around the panel voltmeter as it has inbuilt polarity protection, so doesn't read when the loco is in reverse. Once I've done it I'll update the post.
     
    jakesdad13 and paul_l like this.
  7. Walkingthedog

    Walkingthedog Full Member

    Messages:
    379
    Likes Received:
    354
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2020
    Personally I would leave the HF track cleaner in its box. Don’t like them at all.
     
  8. Dave C

    Dave C Full Member

    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    45
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2016
    Have you had problems?
    Drc
     
  9. Walkingthedog

    Walkingthedog Full Member

    Messages:
    379
    Likes Received:
    354
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2020
    I used to have the Relco version, same thing I believe. Horrible thing, cleaned the track but cause pitting on the wheels and arcing on the point blades if they got dirty. Nothing beats cleaning track and wheels with a bit of elbow grease.

    In my view if they worked well all controllers would come with them fitted.
     
    Ben Alder likes this.
  10. Dave C

    Dave C Full Member

    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    45
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2016
    Would agree with that in principle but it still comes at a cost and suspect some manufacturers would want to offer a range of products. Otherwise all controllers would be the same.
    For those that remember them here is one!
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2021
  11. Walkingthedog

    Walkingthedog Full Member

    Messages:
    379
    Likes Received:
    354
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2020
    Good point but still don’t like them.
     
  12. Andy_Sollis

    Andy_Sollis Full Member

    Messages:
    2,414
    Likes Received:
    2,393
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2018
    After a number of years working in a model railway shop (6) and talking to customers, the best thing I found was to get rid of anything with a traction tyre and any nylon wheels.
    I had customers bring in locos for cleaning…. They must have done millions of miles as I had to scrape off the traction tyres they had bred themselves (on normal wheels!!! That shouldn’t have had them!) due to the lay down wear and tear crud from all the nylon wheel sets.

    by the time I could afford to set up myself with a layout most of the locos I wanted were the newer bulky ones without traction tyres and wagons and coaches came with metal wheels and i find I don’t have half the issues my customers used to have (kept me in a job anyway!) and don’t have to clean the track very often.

    and what backs it up? The other larger scales where they are all metal wheel sets and no traction tyres. !
     
  13. Walkingthedog

    Walkingthedog Full Member

    Messages:
    379
    Likes Received:
    354
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2020
    I’m with you there Andy. On my OO layout I got rid of my traction tyre locos and changes all wheels to metal. I cleaned the track rarely, perhaps completely once a year and the occasional dirty spots when they appeared.
     
    Andy_Sollis likes this.

Share This Page