I am about 3 minutes new to LGB. I just purchased a 0-4-0 LGB with
tender on e-bay. I intend to run it around my christmas tree. What
transformer do I look for? Eventually I am prolly going to the garden
What track do I look for, or is that a no-brainer? Just buy LGB track?
How do I go about adding sound? Is that hard?
Thanks in advance, and thanks for taking the time with an extreme
Aristocraft is also good, and cheaper. Just make sure you buy the
solid-rail stuff, not the hollow-rail type (as made by Bachmann for
example - that's OK for a Christmas tree layout, but n.g. for outdoors,
where it's likely to get stepped on and smushed into a twisted mess.)
Not if you use DCC - see below. But trackside sound systems are also
available, google on Model Rectifier Sound for more info.
First some clarification: LGB runs on direct current (DC), so a
transformer will _not_ work - a toy train transformer just steps down
the alternating current (AC) in your house to a lower voltage. (Only
Lionel and other O-gauge tinplate, and Marklin HO run on AC. The rest of
the world uses 12V DC to run trains.)
What you need is a "power pack" - a combination of transformer,
rectifier, and speed control. It puts out 0-12v (nominal) DC. LGB
engines don't need much current, being very efficient lokies, so a
larger HO power pack will do nicely - look for about 2 amps maximum
output. Depending on brand and bells and whistles, it will cost $50 to
$100. LGB also makes powerpacks, so you could get one of theirs, but
you'll pay more.
I urge you to hie yourself to the nearest bricks-and-mortar hobby shop,
and ask questions, converse, explain yourself, and generally have a good
time talking trains and finding out what you need to know. (You will
often find better prices than on e-bay, too, as e-bay is notorious for
overpriced, so-called "rare" model and toy train stuff.) If you post a
suitable request giving your city/region, you should be able to make
contact with garden/large scale railroaders, and IMO that's essential.
They are a friendly bunch, and you will not only learn a lot, but make
Since you've expressed an interest in going outdoors, I suggest you get
a copy of Garden Railways Magazine, which is all about large scale
stuff, and you will find a slew of ads, and dealer addresses and
websites. Warning: reading this stuff may infect you with
miniferroequinitis, an incurable but very enjoyable disease, whose worst
symnptom is a tendency to spend loadsadough on li'l trains. You might
even end up building that garden railway.... :-)
DCC: Digital Command Control. This uses the rails as a bus for power and
for control signals. The engine contains a voltage-controller/rectifier,
plus a decoder, which interprets the control signals in terms of speed
and direction, and operation of add-ons like sound modules, loco lights,
and such. The main drawback is that you need clean track, and an
electrically continuous circuit through the rails. Since garden railways
aren't known for either of those properties, wireless versions of DCC
are available for this use. A starter unit for DCC (power source,
controller interface, controller, and one or more loco-decoders) will
cost around $200, but in the long run DCC is cheaper, since you don't
need all the paraphernalia associated with a control panel. I would
suggest you delay that decision until you have found some garden railway
enthusiasts, and learned from their experience. NB that you should
stick with NMRA compatible DCC - there are a few proprietary systems
around, but they don't play well together.
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