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Just got a Rev-L TIU + Remote and I'm in the process of hooking it up to my layout. I have a Z4k transformer powering 2 track loops and 1 yard line. Since I still have a few conventional engines that I want to be able to run along side my DCS ones on any of my 3 lines, is there a way to change one of the constant TIU outputs to work like a variable line? Or is there some particular way of wiring the system up so that I can accomplish this?

Thanks!

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You can use the Z4000 on the fixed channels, that way for conventional running, you can just use the transformer handles.  If you round up the Z-4001 remote receiver, you can also operate the Z-4000 from your DCS remote to run those locomotives.

Obviously, there is no way in the TIU to internally turn the fixed channels into variable channels.  If you need more than two outputs, you'll have to add a transformer or two.  I use PH180 bricks on my TIU, those would be perfect for the variable channels as they already have the variable capability internal to the TIU.

Could I, in theory, connect one of the variable outputs on the Z4K to a fixed input on the TIU to power the siding (which is not often used), and vary the voltage with the handles on the transformer? And then hook the two fixed outputs form the Z4K to the variable ports on the TIU and power the main loops with those while controlling the voltage for conventional engines from the remote? 

The MTH web site indicates that the Z4000 can put out 3amps on the fixed 14v, 3amps on the fixed 10v, and 180 watts each on the adjustable arms.  I don't think that's going to be sufficient at those voltages for running trains.

"400 Watts (1) 14v 3amp fixed output, (1) 10v 3amp fixed output, (2) 180watt track outputs"

The KW sounds like the ticket, just make sure you put a modern circuit breaker on it's output to protect the TIU and the load.

Last edited by gunrunnerjohn

Thanks again gunrunnerjohn for the replies. You always answer my questions. Sorry I keep asking more, but I just like to understand all of my options here.

Until I get all of my engines converted to PS2/PS3, I only really use the siding line for parking PS1 engines to keep their batteries charged. Would the fixed outputs from my Z4K be adequate enough to power this "parking space"? Or is it still not enough to do that? If possible, I like the idea of my TIU only having power from the Z4K since that will keep it a little more protected.

You could power idling locomotives with it.  However, do note that the PS/1 locomotives will be making noise all the time they're "parked".  Also, if you run with smoke, they'll be running the smoke units.

A better bet is to install BCR's in them, than no charging required.

If you're handy, you can make a supercap replacement for 9V batteries as well.  Two matched 1.5F supercaps in series and a battery clip.  I use heatshrink around the two caps when assembled.  Note that the red lead goes to the negative side as you're creating a battery, not connecting to one, so the polarity of the battery clip is reversed.

___9V Bat Replacement

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Last edited by gunrunnerjohn

You can use the Z4000 on the fixed channels, that way for conventional running, you can just use the transformer handles.  If you round up the Z-4001 remote receiver, you can also operate the Z-4000 from your DCS remote to run those locomotives.

Obviously, there is no way in the TIU to internally turn the fixed channels into variable channels.  If you need more than two outputs, you'll have to add a transformer or two.  I use PH180 bricks on my TIU, those would be perfect for the variable channels as they already have the variable capability internal to the TIU.

GRJ what is the Z-4001 remote receiver? Looked on MTH website and got nothing.

So the fixed lines *could* power the fixed output to the siding, but the result would be having to lift any PS1 engine off the tracks in order to move it to the layout's main lines... Possible I suppose, but not ideal.

I guess an alternative would be connecting one of the variable outputs on the Z4K to a variable port *and* a fixed port on the TIU. The variable line connecting to one of the main loops, and the fixed line going to the siding. That would let me vary voltage to the main line with the remote, and on the rare times I need to drive an engine in or out of the siding, I can use the transformer's handles.

As a separate question, can I power the TIU by connecting the fixed line 1 to one of the fixed outputs on the Z4K? Or is it better to use a 'jumper cable' from the variable port which is being powered by one of the variable outputs from the transformer?

As for the BCR, ya that's something I've already looked into. Not sure if it's worth it though since I plan to upgrade my last 2 PS1 engines to PS3, which will remove the need for a battery anyway.

Excellent!

So at the moment I have the two variable TIU ports powered by the two variable outputs on the Z4K, and the Fixed #1 port on the TIU connected to the 14v Fixed port on the Z4K in order to supply power to the TIU.

I might look into the BCR option as well... Especially since I don't know when I can get my hands on 2 PS3 diesel upgrade kits.

You could power idling locomotives with it.  However, do note that the PS/1 locomotives will be making noise all the time they're "parked".  Also, if you run with smoke, they'll be running the smoke units.

A better bet is to install BCR's in them, than no charging required.

If you're handy, you can make a supercap replacement for 9V batteries as well.  Two matched 1.5F supercaps in series and a battery clip.  I use heatshrink around the two caps when assembled.  Note that the red lead goes to the negative side as you're creating a battery, not connecting to one, so the polarity of the battery clip is reversed.

___9V Bat Replacement

Hello John,  Could be kind enough to post a picture of the completed assembly as I didn't grasp fully the how the cap should be properly wired?

Thanks!

Wire the black wire to the positive side of the two series supercaps, the red wire to the negative side.  Note the supercaps are joined in the middle positive to negative, just like batteries in a battery holder.  Mine don't look like what you'd build as I use Keystone battery clips and mount them right on the top so it has a battery form-factor.

Come to think about it, you could probably do that with the cheap battery cables, just remove the plastic cover over the contact assembly.  I may try that, the Keystone clips are about a buck each!

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