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PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT - DCC Concepts Powerbase

Martin Lovell

MARTIN LOVELL explains how to use this DCC Concepts range.

Powerbase is designed to increase traction of locomotives magnetically, by the use of a thin magnetic Stainless Steel sheet under the track and small but powerful magnets attached to the locomotive.

If you are considering the use of inclines on your layout, or want to run long or heavy trains on a layout, then Powerbase is a concept that is really worth looking into as it significantly increases the traction power of the locomotive without the need or added weight or other complicated changes. It also enhances the reliability and power pick-up on smaller locomotives.

Basic installation is very simple, however of course if your track is already fixed down and ballasted then installing Powerbase is not going to be quite as easy easy as the Stainless Steel plate fits directly under the track, necessitating the removal of track already in place. It is still worth doing however as it always does the job, therefore often “rescuing” modellers from the often unexpected problems of steeper gradients!

If a new layout is being planned, or an extension added to an existing layout, then this system should always be considered. While you may initially consider it mainly for gradients (and unless using long and heavy loads, you will not have to fit Powerbase to the whole layout) there is a definite advantage to Powerbase even on flat areas as it improves power pickup too.

The basic pack, which is available in OO/HO scale and N Scale, consists of the Stainless Steel plates, and the magnets themselves The larger size can be used for OO/HO Scale, smaller for N Scale. Obviously they can also be used for narrow gauge track widths as well.

DCC Concepts Powerbase

OO/HO Scale on the left, and N Scale on the right.

You can see from the picture that the plates are curved at either end; this is to allow you to use them on a curved track. They will in fact link together nicely on flex track and all the way down to radius 1 in N or OO!

DCC Concepts Powerbase

When you have decided where assistance is required with traction, the plates can be glued, or, after pin sized holes are drilled, can be pinned down. Check that the plates are all level, but small gaps can be left between them, as this will not affect operation.

DCC Concepts Powerbase

The blue side should be uppermost and the blue film, there to protect the top from glue etc, should be removed before adding the track. The track can then be fixed on top of the plates, once again either glued or pinned, and then ballasted as normal.

Installing Powerbase Magnets to Locomotives

Depending on the severity of the gradient or the load, one or several magnets may be fixed to the locomotive.

The parts of the packaging holding the magnets can be used to hold the magnets in place on the chassis using the minute screws provided, or the magnets can be glued directly to the chassis itself, remembering to check clearances so that the magnets do not foul uncoupling ramps, crossing tracks etc. The ideal place is as close to the railtops as possible, without fouling the above.

Otherwise a pack of DCDCX-PBEX OO Magnet Mounting Etches are available, also containing screws for fitting. For smaller wheels with less space and for diesels that need thinner magnets, there are special magnet packs, DCDCX-PBMXS POWERBASE Mini Magnet Pack.

And that’s all there is to it.

The following pictures demonstrate the use to which I have used Powerbase on my own OO9 quarry layout, which has already appeared in RIGHT LINES, but I will include again for reference.

DCC Concepts Powerbase

Here you see the Powerbase plates installed under the 60degree incline.(the blue coloured plates)

DCC Concepts Powerbase

And here are the magnets in position on the table lift chassis. (The small blocks just between the wheels)

So there we are, a bit of experiment is always worthwhile, but the end results are worthwhile, with locos hauling longer trains without slipping and stalling, either up gradients or on the level.

Happy Modelling,

Martin.

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