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Which Simulator is best suited for my scale and type of operation?
Ngineering has been producing our lighting effects Simulator products since early 2006, and with many thanks to hobbyists such as yourself, we have shipped over 6,100 of them since that time. The product's tiny size and on-board precision voltage regulation with a wide input voltage range has allow it to support many different modeling scales.
However... we have come to realize that this product family needs to be broadened to better serve particular operational aspects of model railroading and to provide effects for other modeling and hobby areas as well.
As a result, we have released two new low-voltage versions of the effects Simulators to better support your needs.
We now have 3 distinct Simulator types that can each serve specific hobby requirements. We have updated our Lighting Effects Products web pages including our Product Matrix and individual Application pages to add these new products and have color-coded their part numbers for easy identification as follows:
Choosing the right product for your application:
This family of Simulators has an on-board barrier diode that protects the circuitry from reverse polarity. This means the circuit will not be damaged if it is wired up backwards, it also means when it is wired the normal "engineer's side is the +DC track side", the effect is fully operational. However, when running in reverse "fireman's side is the +DC track side) the effect is not in operation. For many lighting effects, this will not be a problem because they are intended for forward operation. For those effects that need full bi-directional operation, one of our N8101 DC Power Source circuits can be added in front of the effect simulator board to eliminate DC polarity issues. The N8101 contains a very-low voltage-drop Schottky bridge rectifier which will slightly raise the startup voltage threshold of the lighting effect by about 0.2-0.4 volts.
While these Simulators are typically intended for use with track powered Analog (DC) operations, they also lend themselves nicely to battery operation. This may offer an advantage in many structural displays and dioramas where AC power is not available for power supply plug-in.
Analog (DC) operation with maximum track voltages greater than 16-volts:
Those of you operating a DC layout in scales HO through O may have transformers that can put voltages on your tracks that exceed 16-volts. While typical operations don't have people running trains at "full throttle", occasionally there may be accidental circumstances that occur, or a need to crank up the power, so-to-speak. One simple solution to minimize the possibility of over-voltage damage to our analog Simulators is to know exactly where the 16-volt limit is on your controller's power knob. Taking a measurement of track voltage with a DC voltmeter and marking the point where it reaches just below 16-volts on the controller's faceplate (a piece of tape works well) will let you know if you're dialing up close to that value. Always mark slightly below to give a little leeway in favor of the circuit.
Operating at greater than 18-volts:
Many large and especially garden (G) scales have operational track voltages that can exceed 18-volts. While over the years we have had many customers in these scale environments report of very successful use of our Simulators, we realize special care needed to be taken to ensure the 18-volt upper limit of those products was not exceeded. To better serve this community, we will be releasing a "voltage bridge circuit" that will provide a constant output of (we estimate around 6-volts) while input voltages can range up to 25-volts either AC or DC. This will also provide support for many that model Lionel trains in the AC environement.
Questions or ideas?
Don't hesitate to let us know if we've missed something or what we've said isn't clear. Or... if you have an idea that might better serve the modeling community, do let us know how we could help. The best way is to email us at: email@example.com
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