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MRC Power Booster Hook Up

Dale has this question for anyone with MRC Power Booster experience:

“I decided to get back into Model railroading and bought a MRC Prodigy Express2 system. After finding out what I should have, I went with larger system for my layout. I would like to buy the MRC power booster and have a question on the hook up. Do I have to split my main tracks up by districts or can I just use the booster to increase my available amps?”

3 Responses to MRC Power Booster Hook Up

  • Anselmosays:

    Well, the correct answer will depend on what size is (or will be) your lauyout. On my 10 x 4 m layout, with almost 100 m tracks I use the same MRC controller with an 8 amp MRC booster. and MRC wi-fi.
    I have been running up to 10 locos at the same time without any trouble at all. Even more, I use to run old Tenshodo, Alco, OMI brass ones in 3 or 4 MU consists and never had any power lack.
    My only advice: install a good feeder wire (3mm minimum) with multiple feeders to the tracks.
    Oh yes, I do not have districts in my layout. The MRC controls everything. No fauts.
    Good luck

  • Geoffsays:

    Just because you buy the booster doesn’t mean you have to have power districts. From what I can tell, there are two reasons to have districts.

    One is that if one district has a short the other parts of the layout keep running.

    The other is for circuit protection. For instance, if you had just one or two locomotives running and something went wrong, you could end up with 8 amps being sent out to the layout which would fry the decoders. So you install some circuit protection to limit the potential amperage going out to the layout. Say a two amp protector. But if you have 16 locomotives running at once and you need the 8 amps, (the rule of thumb is 2 HO locos for 1 amp) you are going to blow the two amp circuit breaker. So the solution is to have power districts, each one with a two amp circuit breaker, and then you can have 8 amps going out to the layout, as long as not more than 2 is going to each district.

    This requires some careful planning about where to place the power districts, because this obviously limits the number of locomotives that can be in each district.

    I should say that I haven’t seen this discussed in any of the books or internet guides on DCC, so it could be that I am totally off base and this is all utter nonsense, but it does seem self-evident (to me anyway!). Hopefully someone else in this group will correct me if I’m wrong. And fell free to call me stupid!

  • Bob Rimmsays:

    When connecting power supplies/sources to track I would strongly recommend using individual power districts. There are a couple of issues that might arise such as if one supply is a different phase from the next power pack, depending on the phase difference, they will cancel out some of the total power that should be there. If you have two totally opposite phases (180 degrees) being added together, you will have hot wires (Fire Hazard) and reduced or no voltage to run the train(s). You may even damage the power sources that are fighting each other. Even if they have built in isolation diodes on their outputs, you could still run into this issue if the AC phases are different. If you are using DC motors you can run into the two power supplies trying to either add or subtract from the other.

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