anyone remember this particular train transformer? Electrapack Senior by Scintilla

I'm just wondering if anyone remembers this exact unit specifically - I made a guess as to age, and I'm curious if I'm right - I
couldn't find any info on it on the web, and this group seems to be about as knowlegable in weird stuff as anywhere - made in good old USA, with internal construction techniques truely appropriate for a 4th world country - cheap cheap cheap cheap - that's why I'm guessing right after or right before WWII
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item00349153548
--
Bill
www.wbnoble.com
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circa 1948 - eliminates the need for tricky rewiring of war surplus radios, motors - $15.95 - :-()
google -> Scintilla Rail and Power Works
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LD wrote:

The 1948 sounds about right!! I've got one, handy emergency battery (car) charger.
Chuck D.
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.Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2005 17:13:46 -0600
so, Charles says he has one of these - and there is a discussion of the selenium rectifiers that preceeded it. So we know that someone has one of these things and is presumably using it (or they have something similar)..... but still nothing definitive about age of this unit.
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Bill Noble wrote:

O.K. A little more comment --- The 1948 is pretty accurate. That model may have been produced for 10+ years or more. Selenium rectifiers --- Nothing wrong with them, that hasn't been solved by progress [Silicon Diodes] [That would have been an easy upgrade if problems had showed up.]
Chuck D.
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thanks - yes, I have a huge pile of silicon diodes of various current ratings - I ended up with the inventory of parts from a friend's very very high end stereo manufacturing company when it went casters up a few months ago - I probably have 30,000 resistors, and 5,000 diodes (not to mention connectors, transistors ....) But, I haven't yet seen one of those bad seleniums in low voltage application except where it was owner induced (like overloading it) - the HV ones fail more often, perhaps because of stress? It's certainly more specacular when they emit a burst of blue flame and then release the magic smoke and stop working. And, as you note, it's darned hard to put that smoke back in and get them going again, so silicon is a good replacement (just beware of lower voltage drop in some applications). Actually, my favorite old time rectifier is copper oxide - horrible voltage drop, but it will sustain a short circuit indefninately (the hotter it gets, the more it wants to make copper oxide, which is what makes it work...)
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wrote:

For years I have been replacing the selenium rectifier discs in Lionel transformers and whistle controllers with stud rectifiers which have a lower voltage loss and a cleaner DC pulse. I use ones rated 35amp150v. Those are small enough to fit most places.
Ray H.
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Well, that's interesting - thanks - I spent way too much time with google and didn't find that particualr ad - but that isn't the same transformer assembly, though it is the same company - the item I have is really a train transformer, with the vairable voltage, and this thing is a single voltage power supply for powering surplus stuff, as they say - I'm deeply suspicious that the timeframe is similar, but the "Electrapack Senior" might be older - and of course the nomenclature suggests that there was also an electrapack junior.
Were there model railroad magazines right around the end of WWII that might show this? This definately has the look of one of those small garage operations that sprang up everywhere (like heathkit) after the war
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Model Railroader magazine started in 1939 ('37?). There were others around that timeframe. Railroad Model Craftsman may have been published then, perhaps under another name.
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MR started in 1934. They just celebrated 75 years.
Puckdropper
--
"The potential difference between the top and bottom of a tree is the
reason why all trees have to be grounded..." -- Bored Borg on
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now this is interesting - I found another (newer) train transformer that I wasn't using - it's a Tyco PowerPak 56A (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item "0483049390) and it says it was made by Scintilla Rail and Power in New York - so maybe Tyco bought the company? or maybe they morphed into Tyco?? I thought of Tyco as this huge behemouth - but this stuff has a lot of hand work (soldering, etc) in it - not at all behemouth-like

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Bill Noble wrote:

Nah!!! Tyco was a 'Holding Company', The 'Trains' originally were 'Mantua' Chuck D.

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Tyler and Co. (>Tyco) existed before "Mantua". Tyco wanted to launch a better quality range so introduced the brand name "Mantua". The Tyco brand items were soon dropped as model standards improved. Later Mantua began importing a cheaper range - the nasty stuff. General Foods(?) bought out Mantua/Tyco c1980 (presumably that was about the time the founder reached retirement age) GF on-sold the firm, or perhaps just the Mantua range, by the 1990s.
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Greg.Procter wrote:

Sorry Greg ----- This one I know ---- I was around then. Mantua Metal Products, was one of the original HO manufacturers Early 1940's. Tyco, was formed by some of the principals in Mantua, and took over the business. They (Tyco) moved from metal Kits, to plastic 'Train Set' market. With the attendant drop in quality. (This was happening late '40s, 50's.) Chuck D.
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Hi Chuck, I think we're saying much the same thing with different emphasis. I bought my last Mantua metal kit (2-8-0) about 1991-92 from Standard Hobby Supply. Pretty sure it was current production and that Mantua were advertising their recently introduced 4-8-0 about that time. (+1776 version ;-) Tyco hit NZ shelves about 1985 and as I did all the repairs for the local retailer I saw a lot of Tyco for a few years. (the little soft alloy gear on the armature wore out - locos left unused for a few weeks had oxidised commutators - fluff - too much oil - owners took them apart and couldn't reassemble them) Mantua's owner's surname was Tyler. There was a piece in one of the US mags about him when he sold up and retired.
Regards, Greg.P.
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Hi Chuck, I think we're saying much the same thing with different emphasis. I bought my last Mantua metal kit (2-8-0) about 1991-92 from Standard Hobby Supply. Pretty sure it was current production and that Mantua were advertising their recently introduced 4-8-0 about that time. (+1776 version ;-) Tyco hit NZ shelves about 1985 and as I did all the repairs for the local retailer I saw a lot of Tyco for a few years. (the little soft alloy gear on the armature wore out - locos left unused for a few weeks had oxidised commutators - fluff - too much oil - owners took them apart and couldn't reassemble them) Mantua's owner's surname was Tyler. There was a piece in one of the US mags about him when he sold up and retired.
Regards, Greg.P.
======================================================================== Tyco was on the shelves in the US long before 1985. I don't recall it in the 1950s, but I'm pretty sure it was there in the 1960s. Places like Woolworths and Kresge carried them. They were the broken Christmas train sets the hobby shops saw in January and February.
Ahh, here we go! A little google never hurt anyone -
http://ho-scaletrains.net/tycotrains/id1.html
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Greg.Procter wrote:

We probably are ---- Chuck D.
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wrote:

I remember reading an ad or review for a Scintilla in an old MR. (probably early 1960s as I don't think I ever had any earlier than that) It had a motorized metal wheel in a star shape and a sliding electrical contact which could be moved from near the center to out near the tips, producing a form of pulse width modulation for speed contol. Unfortunately I cleared out most of my old MRs about two moves ago.
Regards, Greg.P. NZ
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wrote:

I remember reading an ad or review for a Scintilla in an old MR. (probably early 1960s as I don't think I ever had any earlier than that) It had a motorized metal wheel in a star shape and a sliding electrical contact which could be moved from near the center to out near the tips, producing a form of pulse width modulation for speed contol. Unfortunately I cleared out most of my old MRs about two moves ago.
Regards, Greg.P. NZ
well, that's an intriguing concept - mechanical pulse generator.... sadly that isn't what this unit is, it's just a transformer with a wiper and selenium rectifiers, but what a clever idea
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wrote:

I thought so - that would be why I kept such useless information in my wee head all this time! ;-)
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