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(1)  May I connect an older Lionel PH-1 (131.4 W) PowerHouse to a new TIU to provide satisfactory power for a railyard, where I will run 1-3 locomotives at a time, usually at slow speeds?

(2)  Should I add circuit breaker protection, such as a Sensata/AIRPAX, PP11-0-5.00A-OB-V (SNAPAK series, snap-acting hydraulic magnetic circuit protector) or a DCC Specialties PSX1-AC 3 and 2 Rail Intelligent Circuit Breaker (both of which have been discussed on this forum)?  ...Or is the built-in circuit breaker for the older Lionel PH-1 PowerHouse adequate?

(3)  If additional circuit breaker protection is recommended, I prefer the Sensata/AIRPAX, PP11-0-5.00A-OB-V which is much less expensive than the DCC Specialties device.  Since the Sensata/AIRPAX breakers are only available as 5A or 7.5A versions, I presume the 5A is more appropriate for the PH-1 or should I use the 7.5A version, even though the PH-1 is rated at maximum 7.3A output?

(4)  If I must limit the PH-1s to a 5A external circuit breaker (as above), is 5A adequate for powering a railyard, or should I throw away these older PH-1 units and buy some new transformer(s)?

(5)  I also have one PowerHouse 180 (Model 6-22983).  I have been told that the circuit breaker for this transformer is adequate.  May I connect this PowerHouse 180 to one channel of a TIU and one of my older PH-1 units (+/- circuit breaker protection) to the other TIU channel (even though they have different outputs)?

To explain:  I have 4 older Lionel PH-1 (Model 6-12866) power supplies.  These were released before the 135-Watt PowerHouse which supplies 7.5 amps.  PH-1's are rated at 18VAC x 7.3A = 131.4VA.  I used them with Lionel Lock-Ons 20+ years ago (running only TMCC on a previous layout) before I bought some MTH Z-4000's and converted to TIUs and DCS.  I packed my old PH-1s away and forgot about them until now, when I realized it might be convenient to use them to power a yard (or 2) on my new (under construction) layout, connecting them to a new TIU (as one PH-1 per TIU channel).  However, I read that the older PH-1's (or PowerHouse 135's) did not have good, fast acting circuit breaker protection.  Hence, my questions above for this forum.

I apologize for so many questions, but I thought I should check in before throwing away so many transformers or running out to buy more.

Original Post


The information on the label found on the back of a PH-1 transformer includes it's nominal output values.  It can deliver more than 7.3Amps for brief periods before it's internal circuit breaker trips, like in the event of a direct short of it's outputs.  When properly functioning, its internal breaker is adequate to protect the transformer.

I believe your question is founded with concern for protecting the TIU and Train electroinics from damage in the event of a derailment.  In which case, if you were to use a PP11-0-7.50A-OC-V,  the PH-1 would trip this 7.5A external breaker instantaneously if a derailment causes a direct short circuit between hot (+AC) and common(-AC).


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Last edited by SteveH

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