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AMR Hand Held Controllers


Yan

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Can anyone advise on the merits of the old AMR Hand Held Controllers against say the current Gaugemaster units or any other hand held DC controller?

 

Just starting again with a small project and dug out a couple of old AMR units that I used way back when..... (approx. 30 years ago) and wondering whether to reuse them or bit the bullet and invest in new technology.

 

I'm dabbling with P4 and starting with re-wheeling RTR locos but have already collected a couple of kits with Mashima motors to build.

 

Many thanks

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I have two AMR controllers which I have used on Nothworthy for 25 years. I like the size of them and the toggle switch, as opposed to the slider which may controllers use. You can use the controller with one hand allowing the other hand to do the rest of the workings like changing points and uncoupling. I have changed the knobs for bigger ones though to get more control there. The only problem I have found is that occasionally one or other of the wires breaks inside but that is usually a simple soldering job.

 

Having said that, I have little experience of Gaugemaster apart from the digital controllers used on Aberdeen Kirkhill which are definitely a two-handed job.

 

Richard

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If you have AMR controllers still in use after 25 years then mine being in storage for 25 should be OK for a while............. as you say I can remember using these controllers one handed and they worked well. I'll have to get them wired up and give them a go. I'm currently just using an old H&M PowerMaster to test run a couple of loco's and think it has a 16v output which should power the AMRs.

 

Thanks for the reply.

 

 

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...... I'm currently just using an old H&M PowerMaster to test run a couple of loco's and think it has a 16v output which should power the AMRs.

I would buy another transformer for the AMR's to use on the layout

and keep the H&M PowerMaster for the workbench test track etc.

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The AMRs were rugged, well-made, good generic PWM machines, and I've always been happy with them. The fierce spike on the leading edge of the pulse perhaps makes them less than ideal for some coreless types though. (Len Rich did a variant with switchable bemf, which was better for coreless motors.) In the handheld market, I'm not convinced they've been significantly improved upon. They don't suit all modern motor types, but then what controller does?

 

 

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I have used two handheld AMR feedback controllers for longer than I remember. I bought them when they had a little shop in Parrock Street Gravesend. Before they moved to Edenbridge!

The very best slow running control I have ever seen, even today.

I brought them with me when I came to the states. I emailed them and asked if they would work on USA voltage/cycle. I received a very friendly email telling me they would work fine - they did, and still do. I wish I had two more of them now, as I have to use odd ones, and they are not as good.

 

I did have a problem when I bought the two most modern locos - the Bachmann G2 and the Fairburn tank. These would only run if I placed another loco on the track with them!

I stripped out all the electrical gubbins from the locos, leaving a hot-wired motor. Now, they run like a dream.

If you don't use yours, and go for something else, you can send them to me - I would cherish them.B)

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Greetings from just down the road !

 

I do have one ancient AMR which still works but more importantly a nearly new transfomer made by Kent Panel Controls giving 2 x 16 vac for controllers and also 1 x 24 vac for a CDU.

 

Also three 'pure dc' controllers made by a mutual friend on the coast, which although somewhat bigger than the AMRs ( in project boxes about 5" x 3" x 2" but still manageable), performed very well with my 12 vdc Swiss 'Om' stuff you may remember operating at Skeg Meccano Exhib some 21 years ago !!

 

Email me off-group if you are interested !

 

Bob

 

PS so you gave up modelling before we met in 1983 ??!!

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Many thanks to all the replies on this one. With all the positive comments I would be stupid not to use the AMR's, and I'll stop looking at the pretty looking Gaugemaster range.

 

Thanks again guys.

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Just starting again with a small project and dug out a couple of old AMR units that I used way back when..... (approx. 30 years ago)......

 

I do stand corrected.....it would have been between 20 - 25 years since I last used these controllers.

 

Cannot remember all the exhibitions but Boston, Kings Lynn, Stickney School and a fund raising event at, I think, Sutterton do come to mind. Happy days.

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  • 3 years later...
  • RMweb Gold

I have a query regarding what type of hand-held controller might be considered a fitting successor to the AMR type unit.

 

I have one of the 'slow speed' AMR hand held controllers, and it is superb, better even than either of the two old Tasma hand-helds that I used to use, before they both failed.

 

My AMR is still working OK, but I'd like to buy something that is comparable to it. I do have a Gaugemaster handheld unit, which is OK, but doesn't seem to have the finesse of the AMR.

 

As AMR are no longer in business, what other type would folk recommend, please? Clearly I am in OO and P4 on a non-DCC basis. I've checked the Morley Controllers website, but their handhelds only seem to be available if you buy one of their mains units, which I don't need.

 

Thanks.

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Hi Tim

 

Have you tried the "Pictroller"? - a derivation I think of the old Pentroller. I have heard many positive coments about them (but havn't tried them myself). I gather they are just made by one man, so supply could be a problem. Another make that used to advertise was Helmsman, but I know little about them. Just a couple of thoughts, but possibly someone else may have more up to date info. Best of luck & hope to see you soon

 

All the best

 

Dave

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  • RMweb Gold

Thanks Dave, hadn't heard of the Pictroller. Had heard of Helmsman (but not recently..). My AMR actually does have a fault, the power cuts out intermittantly. This afternoon I was using it, and was holding it more or less flat in my hand - no problem. Each time I turned the unit by 90 degrees, the power to the loco cut out, with complete regularity. Took the back off afterwards, but couldn't see anything immediately amiss...

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Thanks Dave, hadn't heard of the Pictroller. Had heard of Helmsman (but not recently..). My AMR actually does have a fault, the power cuts out intermittantly. This afternoon I was using it, and was holding it more or less flat in my hand - no problem. Each time I turned the unit by 90 degrees, the power to the loco cut out, with complete regularity. Took the back off afterwards, but couldn't see anything immediately amiss...

The problem will almost certainly be a break in the cable, probably somewhere it goes from being flexible to fixed. Replacement of the cable would almost certainly fix it. A short term solution, is to try taping the cord to the controller so it can't move.

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  • RMweb Gold

Captain K - an excellent alternative would be http://www3.sympatico.ca/kstapleton3/Index.html - they are supplied readymade so if you are not happy doing it yourself you can still have one - very happy indeed with mine - Hope it helps

Thanks Jack - looks to be exactly what I'm after!

 

Their site seems to say that they will work off 12 - 18 volts AC (just like a Gaugemaster over).

 

Do you know if they cause problems with Portescap motors? I still have a few locos with these motors, although most now are either Mashimas or whatever is fitted to current RTR locos.

 

Many thanks again.

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TBH - I have never had anything fitted with a Portescap so I can't answer that one - It may be worth an email to ask, Nice guy and very approachable - Yes, 12-18 volts AC input is needed and the ( mine at any rate) locos run smoothly and controlably on it - I use 5 pin DIN plugs on all my controllers so that they are interchangeable, & feed in on the pins one side - ignore the pin top centre, and feed out to track on the 2 pins the other side. AFAIR "in" is yellow/blue - "out" is red/black

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I have a query regarding what type of hand-held controller might be considered a fitting successor to the AMR type unit.

 

I have one of the 'slow speed' AMR hand held controllers, and it is superb, better even than either of the two old Tasma hand-helds that I used to use, before they both failed.

 

My AMR is still working OK, but I'd like to buy something that is comparable to it. I do have a Gaugemaster handheld unit, which is OK, but doesn't seem to have the finesse of the AMR.

 

As AMR are no longer in business, what other type would folk recommend, please? Clearly I am in OO and P4 on a non-DCC basis. I've checked the Morley Controllers website, but their handhelds only seem to be available if you buy one of their mains units, which I don't need.

 

Thanks.

 

Take a look at the Pictroller - the handheld model is similar in ergonomics to the AMR, knob and toggle switch so one handed operation is comfortable. It is a PMR but automatically detects coreless type motors and adjusts the feedback level to prevent long term damage to the motor.

 

I use it with modern Farish and Dapol N Gauge locos - slow running is superb and has a switchable intertia mode as well

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • RMweb Gold

I'm pleased to say that today I have (i) received in the post a hand held controller from Stapleton Electronics in Canada (thanks for the recommendation, Shortliner), which was very reasonable and works very well.

 

I have also taken my AMR unit apart and found the fault, which was two of the feed wires fraying against each other where they enter the hand held unit. Very pleasing all round and thanks for all the advice on this thread.

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  • 2 years later...

Hi all

Has anybody got AMR controllers they are not using?  I took a long time to decide which controller to use but then it was out of production. Now building a layout and I could do with another controller, I have one.

 

Await reply in anticipation.

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  • 1 year later...

im currently showing my layout for the first time, ive got a hand held AMR but i know nothing about them and have never seen another, i dont know how old mine is or how good it is, it was bought or given to second hand by my dad when i was little, so maybe a roughly around 20 years ago or maybe earlier, i'm using it on my o gauge layout running little locos at slow speed, im running it through a Hornby transformer such as in this link, but im having problems with speed, after many hours running its becoming a "stationary or road runner" with the slightest movement of the knob and the point at which locos move has moved up the numbers around the knob

 

after reading this thread, ill have a look inside for loose wires but should i change the power source?

 

the controller, dont worry about the hook that was put on many months ago and checked inside it wasnt going to foul anything

32479793764_39fdc9e920_b.jpgDeffors (76) by Sam, on Flickr

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May be worth a check inside the plug - looks as though the wires may be pinched or damaged. - BTW FWIW the Bachmann train-set DC controllers - (cheap on Ebay) though a bit bulky as a handheld, (together with their wall-wart power supplies, work VERY well and efficiently with good slow running - I have several

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