12 volt power source?

I don't know if this is a dumb question or if it just SOUNDS like a dumb
question, but is 12 volts really 12 volts? I'm asking because I'm
installing tortoise machines and in checking some of my old 12v DC power
sources, I see that they actually measure about 16 v DC... even though they
are labled as 12 volts.
It seems odd that three 12 volt sources would all measure about 16 so I'm
wondering if a 12 volt power supply is actually something other than 12
volts... much like a 2x4 is really 1.5 x 3.5.
My concern, of course, is that I don't want to burn out a tortoise machine
using a 12 volt power supply that is really 16.
Any thoughts?
Carter Braxton
Reply to
Carter Braxton
Loading thread data ...
No. 12 volts was the figure set because car batteries were nominally 12 volts. They are actually 13.8 volts in their fully charged state. 12 volts is the maximum voltage set by such organisations as the NMRA and MOROP. MOROP further defines that model locomotives should run at scale maximum speed x 1.3 at 12 volts DC.
Transformer voltage output will vary with load. One would expect a non-stablized trafo labelled 12 volts to show perhaps 16 volts at no-load and 10 volts at 1.5-2 times maximum rated load.
Your tortoise machine should be ok on 16 volts, but 12 volts would be preferable.
The 16 volt AC accessory output commonly found on MR controllers came about because the old selenium plate rectifiers dropped the common transformer winding from 16 v AC to 12 v DC. (give or take a couple of volts either way and allowance for load variations, wind direction, humidity, temperature and monday morning hand windings)
Greg.P. NZ
Reply to
Greg Procter
On Fri, 21 Dec 2007 10:54:18 +1300, I said, "Pick a card, any card" and Greg Procter instead replied:
Nonsense.
This is more correct. The load is the issue, not the 13.8 charge voltage. Unloaded power supplies will in fact go to the rail, the term used for the upper limit of the regulator. Loaded power supplies will be stable at 12 volts if they are not faulty. -- Ray
Reply to
Ray Haddad
Care to expand on that point? A standard automotive lead-acid battery in normally charged state is 13.8 volts.
We're discussing unregulated power supplies at this point.
'Regulated' power supplies ... You average power supply, those owned by (say) 90% of modellers using analogue control, does not include an electronic regulator.
Regards, Greg.P.
Reply to
Greg Procter
Greg Procter skriver:
Nope
formatting link
full charge the terminal voltage will drop quickly to 13.2 V and then slowly to 12.6 V.
Klaus
Reply to
Klaus D. Mikkelsen
I found 12 volts too fast for tortoises so I got an el cheapo train set throttle for a song at a train show - use the throttle to set what seems a good speed and forget it.
These are cheap and can be used for lots of things like layout lighting, signals, crossing gates etc. Anything where you don't need a traction-quality supply.
Reply to
Christopher A.Lee
On Fri, 21 Dec 2007 11:42:33 +1300, I said, "Pick a card, any card" and Greg Procter instead replied:
Yes but he's not talking about a charger here or a battery. He was asking about a 12 volts. Don't confuse the issue.
No, you are. Everyone else is probably on the same page.
12 volts is 12 volts. Under no load conditions, unregulated or regulated power supplies will read higher. -- Ray
Reply to
Ray Haddad
I mentioned that because initially "12 volts" trains were commonly run from 12 volt car batteries - ie nominally 12 volts but actually slightly higher. That is the precedent which set the expectation for HO models.
You're always on a different page.
Reply to
Greg Procter
I'll take a bet that the Bachmann 1/4 amp tin box/plastic box set controller is _the_ most common 12 v DC controller out there.
Regards, Greg.P.
Reply to
Greg Procter
Carter,
Aren't you glad you asked?
Stevert
Reply to
Stevert
On Fri, 21 Dec 2007 14:17:00 +1300, I said, "Pick a card, any card" and Greg Procter instead replied:
Fair enough, Greg, but the charge circuits are 13.8 volts while the battery remains very near to 12 volts. Seriously. -- Ray
Reply to
Ray Haddad
On Thu, 20 Dec 2007 19:21:08 -0500, I said, "Pick a card, any card" and Charles Davis instead replied:
I'm not nit picking, mate. The 12 volt battery consists of 6 cells each of which outpout 2 volts making the total 12 volts. The charger for that battery must be higher by 10% in order to charge the cells. A power supply, which is what the fellow is asking about, is NOT 13.8 volts even in Model Railroad Circles. A CHARGER is but not a POWER SUPPLY. Get it?
Regulated or unregulated, a 12 volt supply always puts out a higher voltage until it has a load on it. Believe it.
They still put out 12 volts, not 13.8 volts. -- Ray
Reply to
Ray Haddad
Ray Haddad skriver:
Say what ?
Whay do you then needs a regulator for.
Klaus
Reply to
Klaus D. Mikkelsen
Yes, I'm glad I asked... if only to read the energetic exchanges between the group's readers... Thanks to all but especially to David Star who cut straight to my actual question and tells me that using a 16 volt power supply shouldn't hurt a Tortoise motor.
Carter
Reply to
Carter Braxton
To maintain the 12V under load.
Reply to
Wolf K.
"Wolf K." skriver:
And without.
If you consider my Fluke 87 (voltage meter) as a load then noone knows if the 12 volt is more than 12 volts without load, because you can't measure it unless you connect a load.
Klaus
Reply to
Klaus D. Mikkelsen
On Fri, 21 Dec 2007 19:16:23 +0100, I said, "Pick a card, any card" and "Klaus D. Mikkelsen" instead replied:
In some regulator circuits, a meter is enough of a load. In others, a meter just doesn't quite do the job. Look, Klaus, the real point I was making is that there is a significant difference between a 13.8 volt battery charger and a 12 volt power supply. Those wall cubes most people think are 12 volt supplies are sometimes chargers for internal batteries on some device or other. Using a multimeter will usually, but not always, separate the types for you. A load is part of the power supply circuit and when present your voltmeter will be more accurate than when not present. -- Ray
Reply to
Ray Haddad
Ray Haddad skriver:
But how do you then know the voltage unloaded ?
Very bad design.
I totally agree on that
Klaus
Reply to
Klaus D. Mikkelsen
On Fri, 21 Dec 2007 19:41:16 +0100, I said, "Pick a card, any card" and "Klaus D. Mikkelsen" instead replied:
You really don't until you apply an external load.
Clearly. The wall cube transformer/power supplies are often designed to be used with a specific item which does apply a load. Saves money. We all like those $10.00 answering machines but those wall cubes must be shaved down in cost to allow that kind of price. You get the idea.
Lucky for me. You're good. Too good. -- Ray
Reply to
Ray Haddad
Ray Haddad skriver:
So how can you claim that the voltage is higher unloaded ?
My scope with the probe in x10 position loads the powersupply with 100MOhm - would you call that a load ?
20 years in electronics repair/design/manufacture/support is the load on my back.......
Despite I'm not in the business right now, my latest repair was yesterday in my garage. A guy from one of the local garages mailed me and asked if i knew who in our town could repair on SMD level - my answer was Me or the local Vestas factory, so they came to me. Resolder of SMD chips on a dashboard controller for a Renault is now in my experiance list :-)
They called me today - it was a great success..........
Klaus
Reply to
Klaus D. Mikkelsen

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.