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Reply to "Lionel 6-18058 "Century Club" 773 Hudson"

Jim R. posted:
Bill S. posted:

I would recommend a more "electronics friendly" transformer, something with fast tripping breakers. I use a ZW-C on my newer items.

Too many people keep making this incorrect assumption. Modern transformers won’t prevent damage to a locomotive’s electronics as a result of high-voltage transient spikes.

The circuit breaker is designed to protect the transformer, not the train, and do so when there is a surge in current, not a transient voltage spike.

To protect the locomotive, you need a TVS diode installed. It would be best closest to the electronics it is protecting, inside the locomotive, but for simplicity’s sake, most put the TVS between the transformer and the track connection.

Here’s a good thread from a few years ago, but this topic has been addressed often since then on the forum.

I wasn't referring to voltage spikes. I am well aware of the TVS diode and have them installed in several engines.  I have a Rio Grande SD50 from 1995. It was powered by a PW ZW, I was working and running trains years ago (wow, probably 20 years ago!) before the ZW-C. I was not near the transformer when the train stopped, did not derail and the electronics sizzled for a while before the breaker tripped on the ZW and the sounds went into shut down. Had it been a fast tripping breaker, it likely would have tripped sooner, it is amazing how fast the bricks trip. The board still would have been bad but the wiring likely would have been spared. As a safer practice, if it has a circuit board, it runs with the ZW-C.

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