Walk-around DC Throttles

Discussion in 'DC' started by trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017), Dec 24, 2016.

  1. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    Is there any way to add a walk-around throttle to a Tech 4 MRC 200 power supply?
    I've read about a few commercially available, walk-around throttles that supposedly can be wired from either the DC or AC terminals on various power supplies with 2 wires, then back to the track with 2 more wires. However, I haven't been able to find anything about anyone doing this specifically with a Tech 4, MRC 200. The Tech 4 MRC 200's only connections are the DC & AC terminals.
    MRC 200.jpg
  2. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member


    Brandon, I have a hand held throttle that works great on my N scale layout. It will power five locomotives with no problems. The only drawback is it requires a four conductor wire to connect it to the layout. The throttle is easy to assemble and can be done in about two hours. When operating turn the handheld throttle to off and your Tech4 to full, then gradually increase the throttle on the handheld. I used a microphone connector to attach the wires to the layout. For HO you may have to add a heat sink to the transistor on the throttle case. There are photos and instructions in my albums page. If you have any questions please ask, I will be glad to help you.

  3. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Troller made a nice pair of walk-arounds that I used back in my HO/DC days. You'll have to watch eBay for them.

    There will be four wires: Two go to the power source, and two to the track power. I used 4-pin DIN plugs (male on the throttle, females located around the layout) so I could unplug and move to another location for more distance. The Trollers were capable of being used with some AC spike at low speed or pure DC, depending on the power source, as I recall.

    Wow... has it really been almost 20 years since the above was "back in the day"????
  4. gstout

    gstout Member Frisco.org Supporter

    I have an old Troller "Hogger" in perfect working order (boy, those things had a lot of power) with a tethered walk-around hand-held throttle. If you are interested, shoot me a PM and we can see about making a deal.

  5. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

  6. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

  7. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    That ~ $36 Throttlepack Handheld requires the ~ $190 - $280 MRC Throttlepack 9900 or 9950 base unit to connect to in order to work.
  8. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    Thanks Joe. I can do some very basic wiring and soldering, but I'm afraid building one is over my head. How many HO locomotives could yours power? Most of the hand helds that I've read about have 4 wires - 2 from the power supply and 2 back to the track. I've read about people using mic connectors for their strength/durability. I'll check out your photos and may give you a call after the holidays. Thanks for the reply and the PM.

    Right now, my current "surround" layout is about 11.5 feet long and 5.5 feet wide with a 9x2 aisle in the center. I ran a power strip from the closest outlet to the middle of the benchwork. The MRC's AC power cord is long enough for me to carry it from the centered power strip to either end of the layout. As for the DC/AC wires from the power pack, I used 4-wire automotive trailer wire since it's basically 4 wires connected together. I soldered them to bus wires near the power strip and zip tied the AC power cord to the trailer wires. Basically that is how I got to where I could follow trains around without a true hand-held throttle so far... I just carry the MRC 200 around, but it's bulky and requires both hands, one to hold it and the other to operate it. I'm looking for something smaller and lighter. Thanks for the reply.

    Those appear to me made for MRC power supplies that have a phone jack. The Tech 4 MRC 200 does not have a place to plug them in, but thanks for the reply.

    Thanks, Keith. I also ran across their website. They have assembled models for sale as well... albeit with labor cost added. Still, for someone like me, it would be worth the additional cost to have someone else put it together. I like projects, but I don't know enough about assembling things like that. I was planning on asking you if you thought this would work with an MRC 200. I suppose I would connect 2 wires to the power supply and 2 to the track.
    I read the following review here: http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/744/t/168228.aspx#1847812

    "My next throttle is a VARIPULSE manufactured by STAPLETON ELECTRONICS. If you have not heard of this manufacturer, do not be surprised. He sells his products on Ebay and manufacturers all items in Hamilton Ontario. Here is the persons web page:http://www3.sympatico.ca/kstapleton3/851.HTM
    It is a unit where one can also adjust the momentum on. I got the 3A unit. It is a small hand held unit that has a Forward,OFF,Reverse switch. Power is transferred with a four conductor wire that is about 1/4 in diameter The wire is a 24 awg four conductor that is about 8 feet long. This unit is great for switching a yard, for it also gives good slow speed performance. It does not have a memory, which means one can not unplug this unit, unlike the MRC 350. The locomotives growl or hum just almost as much as they do with the MRC 350. I used this unit on my maniline for a while and found that it got quite warm in the hand when asked to provide power for multiple unit lash ups. Also with 4 six axles the speed control was good to a certain throttle setting. Once past this setting the locomotives would lurch forward to a higher speed with out any prior warning. When only operating with two engines this did not occur. Also this unit needs another power source to operate. A wall transformer or in my case the MRC350 is used to supply it with AC power. It is a decent unit without the bells and whistles and gets a job done, as long as it does not have to put out too much power."

    I read somewhere that the actual output is only about 1A, not 1.5A although that's just what I read somewhere. I'm going to check out a few other options in the meantime.
    From what I've read, it sounds like those Control Master 20's were/are beasts. They're still on ebay but the only one on ebay right now is "$249.99 or best offerer" + $35 S/H. I'm not going to pay $285 for a DC power pack. I could go DCC, buy some starter decoders for my entire fleet, and still not pay that much. CM20's are collectable, but they're not $285 collectable.
  9. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    That's what I thought. Not happening. Could go DCC for that or less.
  10. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    As for the MRC hand held, I'm not familiar at all with its requirements. It may require the listed high-dollar MRC power source for some reason.

    In the past, I've used 12 volt DC power supplies from Radio Shack that were available in different amperage values for something like $10-$13 to power my Troller handheld throttles.

    A quick check indicates similar power supplies are available, but I do not know if these would be compatible with the MRC handheld/etc:


    Of course, up to you as to which direction to go, just trying to help with options.

    All fer now!
  11. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    Brandon, I'm not sure how many HO locomotives it will run. My guess is three with no heatsink, but if you add a heatsink between the transistor and the throttle case it would allow more locomotives. The throttle is really easy to build, the hardest part is drilling the four large holes in the case. The rest is simple soldering of the wires, eleven places. It is a good project for beginners. I will help you any way I can, you have my phone number, I will talk you through it if you want me to.

    Last edited: Dec 25, 2016
  12. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    Since I can't rule out going DCC at some point in the future (maybe sooner than I thought), I wanted to spend as little as possible on a handheld throttle for DC. I found a used one on ebay with a starting bid of $6.99 + $5.00 shipping. It looked "used" alright, so I asked some questions. The seller said, "This will work off any 12VDC source... 2 wires from the xfmr and then 2 to the track... It is just basically a reostate and a toggle for direction." It certainly didn't look like much, but for only $11.99, I was willing to take a chance on it. Hopefully it will allow me to walk around my layout until the inevitable day that go "to the dark side." When I find the time, I will test it with my multimeter before I do anything else and post the results. In the meantime, if anyone needs the plug shown in the picture, let me know. If I don't need it, you can have it. To everyone who offered to help me out, I sincerely want to say thank you. I hope I haven't offended anyone. This was the least expensive possibility I've found for something that I consider to be temporary so I wanted to try it first. If I just threw away $11.99 on a piece of junk, for the cost, it was worth the risk to try it out and see if it does what I hope it will do.
    Joe Lovett likes this.
  13. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    Good job, Brandon, you have made a good choice. A reostate and a toggle switch are all you need to keep it simple. It reinforces the KISS theory. I think you will like it.


Share This Page