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Consolidateing “Wall-Wart” Power Supplies

Ken writes:

“Greetings. I have somewhat of an elaborate HO layout (for a residential layout) with over 30 commercial businesses, half dozen residential houses, a campground and multiple streetlights. They are all powered by 2 adjustable 3 amp 3-24 Volt power supplies on 2 buses under my layout. Most of the lights are LED’s that draw around 20 milliamperes each, but some of the “grain of wheat” incandescent’s go up to 70 milliamperes. I figured I could safely wire up about 40 – 50 lights on each power supply, because I’m not even close to 50% capacity. But, one of my power supplies started humming yesterday and it felt much warmer than the other one. I don’t know if I got a bad unit or not, but I’d like to upgrade to a more heavy duty power source to give me more head-room and security knowing I’m under my load limits. Does anyone have any suggestions on what kind of power supply I should be looking for? I really like to be able to dial them back to around 9-10 volts in the evening so the lights are more pleasant around the track. Thanks in advance for your responses.”

If you can your thoughts with Ken, then I’m sure he would appreciate any advice he can get. Simple use the comments link below.

3 Responses to Consolidateing “Wall-Wart” Power Supplies

  • Richard Aubel says:

    Instead of wall worts which are limited in available power, use a laptop computer power supply/charger. You can use step down voltage bucks to supply lower voltage where needed. For example, the laptop charger will output 16 volts dc. You can connect as many voltage bucks as you need for lower voltages. If you need 3 volts for LED’s and 12 volts for animation and 5 volts for switch machines all you need to do is route the 16 volts through 3 voltage bucks and adjust them accordingly. Incidentally, voltage bucks cost less than $5 on many websites including eBay.

    • David Stokes says:

      Richard, can you give that to me again- What is a wall wart, what is a power/voltage buck.

      These expressions are lost on a flesh and blood Aussie.

      • Ken Holbrook says:

        Hey David, walk worts are those small power supplies that plug into a power strip to provide power to a device. You’ve used them before countless times before. You get a walk wort with a cordless razor, an LED light, a cell phone charger. Just about anything that converts voltage from 120V AC to a reduced voltage (i.e. 12volts etc.) has been referred to as “wall worts” because they are these big ugly warts sticking out from your wall outlet.

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