What voltage do N scale model trains run on

What’s the best voltage for N scale trains to run on?

They may be small but inside every model train is a motor that needs electricity.

And for DC models, the ideal and maximum voltage for N scale is 12V, with 10V being the recommended.

In DC trains, electricity is passed pass from the rails, through the wheels to the motor. As you turn the dial on the controller up, increasing the voltage, the motor runs faster, increasing the speed of the train. Turning the dial down has the opposite effect.

At peak, a controller designed for N scale will send a most 12V, which is what the motors in the trains are rated for. Any more than this may damage them.

Any less, as they will run slower until they stop.

This is a defined international standard, set by the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) in America and in the Normen Europäischer Modellbahnen aka NEM (“European Standards for Railway Modelling”) standards managed by the European model railway association — MOROP.

The best way of ensuring you don’t over supply and damage your trains is to use a transformer and controller provided by the manufacturer (Graham Farish, Bachmann or Kato) or one of the excellent units made by Gauge Master. I have no links to them but having used them over many years I’ve come to trust them and now recommend them for N, OO and HO scale model railways. See the lastest prices on Gauge Master controllers.

> A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.  
Founder of ModelRailwayEngineer, Andy Leaning

Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of modelrailwayengineer.com. He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.

Afflliate disclosure:The links on this page may take you to carefully selected businesses, such as Hornby, Amazon, eBay and Scale Model Scenery, where you can purchase the product under affiliate programmes. This means I receive a small commission on any orders placed although the price you pay does not change. You can read my full affiliate policy here. I also sell my my own ready to use, pre-made and painted buildings and terrain features. browse the range.

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