TPC 400 & 2-Lionel 180 Powerhouses

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November 25, 2013 3:30 PM

I recently hooked up through my TPC 400 2-Lionel 180 powerhouses.  My layout is not that big but I struggle to get more then 16 volts of power on the track.  I realize that I now have 20 amps, but where is my voltage hiding.  I am getting 17.6 out of the cord on both powerhouses.  I would think that I should be getting closer to 17 on the track.  Connections are good all around the track.... Puzzled ?

Any ideas here.... Oh one more thing I am using a hefty 14ga wire, as the instructions on the TPC 400 suggest.   Thanks in advance.

 
 
 
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November 25, 2013 3:49 PM

What is your TPC programmed to do?  If I recall correctly, you can program the voltage level sent to the track via the TPC.  Have you programmed it?

 

George

 

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

 
 
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November 25, 2013 3:56 PM

George,

I programmed the TPC, and where my hookup is on the track, completely disassembled, so right out of the TPC on one piece of track is at 16.2V.  Hmmmm

 
 
 
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November 25, 2013 4:00 PM

I also switched over to manual mode and still is at 16.3V on one piece of track.  Does the TPC take voltage away from the power packs?  Defective TPC?

 
 
 
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November 25, 2013 4:11 PM

On page 11 of the TPC manual is the section on setting power to the track.  Have you done this?  How do you know what voltage you are setting (at the time you set it)? 

 

If you are not setting it to a specific value, maybe the TPC is defaulting to 16V?

 

George

 

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

 
 
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November 25, 2013 4:18 PM

The TPC does drop the power a bit to the tracks, the electronics that controls the voltage has losses, usually .8 to 1.0 volts.

 

TCA, North Penn O-Gaugers, MTH ASC Certified Technician

 

Nothing is so easy as the job you imagine someone else doing.

 
 
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November 25, 2013 4:38 PM

Hi George, thanks for the quick replies. Yeah, I tried that. I cranked the wheel all the way up clockwise and the max voltage is 16.3v. So, I decided to test the power coming into the TPC 400 with my multimeter,from my 2 power block 180's. My mulitmeter says is 17.3v each.  I then tested the wires coming out of the TPC and they are 16.3v before it even goes into the legacy base and the track. Once it hits the track it is still at 16.3. I also thought that my mulitmeter could be faulty. I don't have another one on hand, so tested that by using a command control crane car that needs high voltage to shoot out outriggers on the track. Outriggers would not all shoot out upon command, just a couple on each side, even on test track. I figure the voltage must be under 18v then. Can someone test the voltage going into the TPC 400 and coming out of it, and let me know what it should be? It would be greatly appreciated. Thanks 

 
 
 
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November 25, 2013 4:49 PM

Thanks John, Didn't see your post in time, before I replied. Do you think the TPC can have issues? Any other ideas?

 
 
 
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November 25, 2013 4:57 PM

If the TPC works other than the small voltage drop, I'd say it's working normally.  The reason for the aluminum case and large heatsink is to dissipate the heat generated by dropping that voltage at 20 amps!

 

TCA, North Penn O-Gaugers, MTH ASC Certified Technician

 

Nothing is so easy as the job you imagine someone else doing.

 
 
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November 25, 2013 5:00 PM

Your voltage is fine, the TPC unit steals a volt as John said.

 

The problem your having with the outriggers has nothing to do with the voltage, it is a well known glitch with the outriggers themselves.

 

I have one of the TMCC crane/ boom sets as well, same issue with the outriggers. The rest of the crane features are so awesome I could care less about the outriggers and it will still pick up plenty of stuff without them.

 

IMO the fact that even when the outriggers work correctly they still have to be pushed back in by hand takes away from the rest of the realism of these cranes anyway.

 

14GA wire is ideal. Exactly how "not that big" is your layout? I used to run a 2 powerhouse through a TPC setup on my 10x16 layout,( thanks to some wise advice from John) I discovered I could run my trains fine with just one.

 

A derailment with 2 180w bricks at 18v will spark and leave weld marks on the rails, its a ton of power.

 

To minimize the arcing I actually dialed the voltage down to 14v. Soon after that I just sold off the extra brick and now run one a full voltage, without sparks.

 

 

 

 

"But you don't want to be bamboozled. You don't want to be led down the primrose path! You don't want to be conned or duped. Have the wool pulled over your eyes. Hoodwinked! You don't want to be taken for a ride. Railroaded!"

 

 

 
 
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November 25, 2013 5:10 PM

You will have a voltage drop coming out of the TPC's. I have mine set to 16 volts on the track. Your voltage is plenty for the out riggers to work. The outrigger adjustment can be seen below on the last page.

 

http://www.lionel.com/media/se...ts/5608719899256.pdf

 

Bill

 

Lionel Factory Trained Repair Tech


Independent Lionel Service Station


Electric RR Sales and Service/Installations


U.S Army Retired

 

LCCA 20494

 

Modern Toy Train Parts

 

B.I.T Alumni

 

We are Professional Grade

 
 
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November 25, 2013 5:19 PM

What is your household line voltage at the wall receptacle?   My 180 PoHos produce 18 volts and the TPC 400 17.6 when i have 118-120 VAC at the line unless I lower the track voltage to 16 which I often did.

 

A&Y RY[NC's Southern/N&W connector].

 
 
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