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Offline H0  
#1 Posted : 17 February 2009 23:48:09(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 14,630
Location: DE-NW
Hi!

I took some time to measure the output of my 3 blue Märklin transformers (two 6473 and one 6117) and two white transformers (6647).

Mains voltage was 230 volt (I measured 228 through 230 volt). All three blue transformers had a reversing voltage higher than the maximum specification of mfx decoders.

According to my calculations, two of my blue transformers would have a reversing voltage above the mfx decoder specification even if the input voltage was exactly 220 volt (the voltage these transformers were built for).
But don't forget that old mains specification was 220 volts +/- 10% (198 through 242 volts). My tests were made with a mains voltage within the specifications of the blue transformers.

Some more figures:
The transformer 6473 has a nominal light voltage of 16 V and a nominal reversing voltage of 23 V - nominal reversing voltage is 43% higher than lighting voltage. I measured a reversing voltage that was 57% higher than the light voltage.
In the days of mechanical reversing units and extra kick of the reversing voltage was quite good.
With the 6117 the nominal reversing voltage is 50% higher than the nominal light voltage, but I measured +62%.

And now for the white 6647: nominal reversing voltage is 50% higher, but samples were only +42%. The nominal reversing voltage (indicated on the transformer) is 24 V, but they were really made for only 23 V - to be on the safe side for decoders (not MRU).

It's a fact that blue transformers are dangerous for some decoders.
This cannot be explained by the higher mains voltage (which was increased by 4.5% in large parts of Europe (230 V instead of 220 V).

The reversing voltage of blue transformers is up to 30% above the expected values. White transformers OTOH have a reversing voltage that is 16% below the expected values.

The increased mains voltage increases the reversing voltage by 1 volt only. But the reversing voltage of blue transformers is 5 volt higher than the voltage of white transformers.

Two blue transformers had 18.3 V light voltage, one had 19.2 V light voltage (the white ones had 17.9 through 18 V).

One blue transformer had a track voltage of 17.9 V - exactly like the white transformers 6647.

The output voltages of blue transformers vary quite a bit.
So you should be careful if you still use blue transformers.
Don't treat locos or coaches with electronics with their reversing voltage.

ESU mfx decoders are specified for a maximum voltage of 40 V.
The Roco 10738 decoder is specified for a maximum voltage of 46.5 V.
So what? Nothing can happen with these high voltages you think?
I measured the effective voltage. Decoder manufacturers probably specify peak voltage.
A peak voltage of 40 V is reached at 28.28 V effective voltage.
A peak voltage of 46.5 V is reached at 32.88 V effective voltage.
One of my blue transformers exceeded 30 V with an input voltage of 230 V.

Originally published here (German):
http://stummi.foren-city...h-fuer-neue-decoder.html
Regards
Tom
---
"In all of the gauges, we particularly emphasize a high level of quality, the best possible fidelity to the prototype, and absolute precision. You will see that in all of our products." (from Märklin New Items Brochure 2015, page 1) ROFLBTCUTS
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Offline spitzenklasse  
#2 Posted : 18 February 2009 01:30:31(UTC)
spitzenklasse


Joined: 06/04/2008(UTC)
Posts: 1,573
Location: ,
Good information Tom! I have always been told that trains run better with a 220 volt trafo. I run 110 volts. I have one mfx Loc. I will be sure to avoid blue trafos.
Offline Bigdaddynz  
#3 Posted : 18 February 2009 02:11:34(UTC)
Bigdaddynz

New Zealand   
Joined: 17/09/2006(UTC)
Posts: 18,433
Location: New Zealand
Thanks for the analysis Tom, good information.
Offline mike c  
#4 Posted : 18 February 2009 03:39:54(UTC)
mike c

Canada   
Joined: 28/11/2007(UTC)
Posts: 7,460
Location: Montreal, QC
The blue transformers supply blue power and the white ones supply white power. Come on, every kid knows that.
The reason for the transformer exchange (and warning) is very simple. European utility companies are in the process of upgrading their systems and may provide power in excess of 220V. The new norm requires electrical apparati to be able to function with voltage as high as 230V.
If the transformer was designed to convert 220VAC into 16VAC, then the same transformer if provided with a 230VAC supply, will yield a voltage in excess of the desired 16V. Since digital equipment operates from the accessory terminals, it would be working at an even slightly higher voltage.
Turning the older transformers to top speed (analog mode) could potentially have the result of A) causing the newer decoders/reverse units to reverse direction, B) putting the decoder into programming mode or C) burning out the decoder. Operating the digital system (6021/MS/CS) from the older transformers could damage decoders as the transformers also send a DC signal through the tracks and that voltage would also be affected by the change from 220 to 230VAC.
Do the new transformers also now have protection against 16V to 220V reconversion in case of interconnection?

Regards

Mike C
Offline sudibarba  
#5 Posted : 18 February 2009 04:33:18(UTC)
sudibarba

United States   
Joined: 28/07/2006(UTC)
Posts: 876
Location: Augusta, GA USA
Quote:
[size=1" face="Verdana" id="quote]quote:Originally posted by mike c
<br />The blue transformers supply blue power and the white ones supply white power. Come on, every kid knows that.
The reason for the transformer exchange (and warning) is very simple. European utility companies are in the process of upgrading their systems and may provide power in excess of 220V. The new norm requires electrical apparati to be able to function with voltage as high as 230V.
If the transformer was designed to convert 220VAC into 16VAC, then the same transformer if provided with a 230VAC supply, will yield a voltage in excess of the desired 16V. Since digital equipment operates from the accessory terminals, it would be working at an even slightly higher voltage.
Turning the older transformers to top speed (analog mode) could potentially have the result of A) causing the newer decoders/reverse units to reverse direction, B) putting the decoder into programming mode or C) burning out the decoder. Operating the digital system (6021/MS/CS) from the older transformers could damage decoders as the transformers also send a DC signal through the tracks and that voltage would also be affected by the change from 220 to 230VAC.
Do the new transformers also now have protection against 16V to 220V reconversion in case of interconnection?

Regards

Mike C


I know nothing to speak of about this - what about the 110/120 volt ones supplied to the USA? I have several but don't plan to use them for anything other than lighting. Can the Europeans simply get some kind of filter or down stepping controller attaching it to a power bar? AS I said I don't know anything about all of this but I do know Marklin transformers are expensive to replace. Of course, the metal blue ones are very old anyway and probably past their life span.
Eric
Offline sudibarba  
#6 Posted : 18 February 2009 04:36:37(UTC)
sudibarba

United States   
Joined: 28/07/2006(UTC)
Posts: 876
Location: Augusta, GA USA
Quote:
[size=1" face="Verdana" id="quote]quote:Originally posted by spitzenklasse
<br />Good information Tom! I have always been told that trains run better with a 220 volt trafo. I run 110 volts. I have one mfx Loc. I will be sure to avoid blue trafos.


Well, certainly large users of power run better on 220. My Sears radial arm saw runs like a dream on 220. I wouldn't think downstepping 220 to 16v, or whatever it is, makes any difference.
Eric
Offline H0  
#7 Posted : 18 February 2009 21:17:16(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 14,630
Location: DE-NW
Quote:
[size=1" face="Verdana" id="quote]quote:Originally posted by mike c
<br />If the transformer was designed to convert 220VAC into 16VAC, then the same transformer if provided with a 230VAC supply, will yield a voltage in excess of the desired 16V.

Yep, but even at 220 V you get a reversing voltage of about 30 V from a blue transformer while you get about 25 V from a grey transformer.
So even with a transformer 230 to 220 V the blue transformers are still dangerous for decoders in analog operation (just in case someone thinks such a stepdown transformer would solve that issue).

Nominal reversing voltage is 24 V for grey transformers, 24 or even 23 V for blue transformers.

Quote:
[size=1" face="Verdana" id="quote]quote:Originally posted by mike c
<br />Do the new transformers also now have protection against 16V to 220V reconversion in case of interconnection?

Not all grey 6646/6647 have this protection. The older ones still have a warning sticker on the back.
Regards
Tom
---
"In all of the gauges, we particularly emphasize a high level of quality, the best possible fidelity to the prototype, and absolute precision. You will see that in all of our products." (from Märklin New Items Brochure 2015, page 1) ROFLBTCUTS
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Offline al_pignolo  
#8 Posted : 18 February 2009 22:47:11(UTC)
al_pignolo


Joined: 30/09/2005(UTC)
Posts: 904
Location: bologna, BO
In my little experience the most dangerous function of blue transformers is the reversing, not top speed.
This is because I once fried a Delta decoder with reversing voltage of a blue transformer.
The only thing that I'm sure of: I don't want to do experiments any more (maybe with mfx, or loksoundwink) and these decoder will never know nothing else than my 6021 biggrin

Pietro
Offline Webmaster  
#9 Posted : 22 February 2010 20:59:55(UTC)
Webmaster


Joined: 25/07/2001(UTC)
Posts: 11,154
I myself think that it's a decoder design specification flaw not to cover reasonable voltage spikes...
At least there should be a replacable SMD fuse onboard...
Juhan - "Webmaster", at your service...
He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes. He who does not ask a question remains a fool forever. [Old Chinese Proverb]
Offline pserup  
#10 Posted : 23 February 2010 00:38:33(UTC)
pserup

Denmark   
Joined: 02/08/2006(UTC)
Posts: 897
Location: Ramløse, Denmark
mike c wrote:
The blue transformers supply blue power and the white ones supply white power. Come on, every kid knows that.

Then I suggest they start making green transformers Wink
CS, Denmark/Germany Ep. I - V, Switzerland Ep. II - V, USA Ep. III/IV
Offline Kodiak  
#11 Posted : 23 February 2010 03:22:42(UTC)
Kodiak


Joined: 17/02/2010(UTC)
Posts: 145
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Thanks for the info. iv got two old metal blue transformers and I'm swapping them over to white ones to protect my new digital train iv got on the way. Can't have Thomas running around out of control now can we.
John and his M track, the only way to train. Now with added C track and bonus K track.
If your gona be a bear, be a grizzly!
You have the right to bear arms, the right to arm bears, what ever the hell you wanna do!
Offline efel  
#12 Posted : 24 February 2010 17:13:30(UTC)
efel

France   
Joined: 23/02/2005(UTC)
Posts: 800
Thanks to have shared your measurements, Tom
Offline rrf  
#13 Posted : 24 February 2010 18:48:21(UTC)
rrf

United States   
Joined: 15/11/2009(UTC)
Posts: 300
Location: Silver Spring, Maryland USA
Hello,

Could someone please shed some light on the process for turning in one's old blue transformers for shiney new white ones? Specifically, how a forgotten sole in the US would do this ... assuming of course this excange offer is still open to us yanks!

Thanks,
Rob
Mackenrode Wende Bahn
Offline H0  
#14 Posted : 24 February 2010 19:16:01(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 14,630
Location: DE-NW
Hi!
rrf wrote:
Could someone please shed some light on the process for turning in one's old blue transformers for shiney new white ones?

I cannot speak for the US, but ...

... here in Germany a new transformer would have costed 50 Euro in exchange for a blue transformer.

Instead I bought a starter set with transformer, train, and oval for 50 Euro.

My advice: also check the prices for starter sets and/or transformers from split starter sets.
Don't forget the postage you may have to pay to send the transformer to the dealer.
Regards
Tom
---
"In all of the gauges, we particularly emphasize a high level of quality, the best possible fidelity to the prototype, and absolute precision. You will see that in all of our products." (from Märklin New Items Brochure 2015, page 1) ROFLBTCUTS
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Offline sudibarba  
#15 Posted : 26 February 2010 04:02:23(UTC)
sudibarba

United States   
Joined: 28/07/2006(UTC)
Posts: 876
Location: Augusta, GA USA
Webmaster wrote:
I myself think that it's a decoder design specification flaw not to cover reasonable voltage spikes...
At least there should be a replacable SMD fuse onboard...



Not that it matters to me as I would only use (if at all) a blue transformer for lighting, as I have plenty of white and grey ones, I did notice in my 2007/2008 Roco catalogue the following on page 245:

Referring to their decoder:
"It works with all the Marklin central units shipped so far and has a highly efficient load control. Important: it can also be operated in analogue mode and it goes without saying that it can cope with the switch over pulse of the older blue Marklin transformers."
Now, I don't know who makes their decoders - I would have thought ESU or Uhlenbrock (spelling?.) Maybe the problem is with MFX (originally ESU) decoders which Roco does not offer.

Wonder what the deal is? Yes Mike, I read your response which makes sense to me. But, Roco does not seem to be worried unless their decoders have some protection Marklin's don't. Only a curiosity, as I said, it doesn't matter to me anyway.

Eric
Offline H0  
#16 Posted : 26 February 2010 08:25:46(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 14,630
Location: DE-NW
sudibarba wrote:
But, Roco does not seem to be worried unless their decoders have some protection Marklin's don't.

I think Roco dropped that sentence from newer catalogues.
Recently, the Roco 10738 decoder came from ESU - just like the more sensitive ESU mfx decoders.
Roco 10738: max. 46.5 volts, ESU mfx: max. 40 volts.
Roco switched to Uhlenbrock decoders.
Regards
Tom
---
"In all of the gauges, we particularly emphasize a high level of quality, the best possible fidelity to the prototype, and absolute precision. You will see that in all of our products." (from Märklin New Items Brochure 2015, page 1) ROFLBTCUTS
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