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I read most of what I could find, including the current discussion in the other circuit breaker post.  I'm still a little confused.  As I understand it, it would be prudent to have protection between the wall socket and the transformer, then again between the transformer and the track.   But then again something else to protect the electronics in the modern engines, yes?

So, I'll put a surge protector between wall and transformer, that's obvious.   I'm using 14ga wire from my MODERN ZW-L for my bus wire. (2 independent loops running conventional, A and D on my ZW-L)    I see a lot of discussion from folks that understand way more than I regarding this.   In the end, what is the absolute best type of breaker (specifically what and where to buy, a link would be helpful) that I should put in line between the transformer and the bus wire?   SO, I think that is what protects the transformer?   But what for the modern locos?  thx guys,  please make it easy on me!   What amp/type breakers should I be wiring in?

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You may be reinventing the wheel

A little information is required…

1. What type of Electrical Panel is in your home? Fuses or Circuit Breakers..How old if Circuit Breakers? If a newer panel, it may already have protection  

1a. A power strip may be false security..is it a Surge Protector or a Surge Suppressor?   “What is the difference between a surge protector and surge suppressor? Surge protector avoids voltage spikes in electrical devices while Surge suppressor regulates the voltage making power constant if a splurge occurs.”

2. The ZW-L has fault detection and protection built in that monitors the track, and any issues that might occur from that part of the system…but in-line protection to your track, can add peace of mind.
I am not certain on the Amp/Current rating that the ZW-L trips at, on each throttle…or the speed it trips the internal breaker…but they do make in-line fuses that trip ultra fast…

https://www.swe-check.com.au/p...learn_fuse_speed.php  



I run MTH DCS with an MTH Z-4000…and I have no in-line fuses to my track, because the MTH built in protection is fast and reliable…

one concern is that you add fast acting protection and it “acts to fast”, which interferes with your railroad operation enjoyment…because it trips at the slightest issue or it’s rated to low…



But, it’s your peace of mind (or that of your significant other😁) that matters here…my wife is always concerned about Fire risk…to the point of being a “Karen”…and it does not help that her name actually is “Karen” 😀

But once I start recording-she stops…so that’s a blessing😁

Here’s my MISC

The Manchester Intermodal Service Center…I run alternating power blocks with parallel feeds-to 12 sections.
https://youtu.be/h96jQEJ__oo



Good Luck.

@Hp289 posted:

I read most of what I could find, including the current discussion in the other circuit breaker post.  I'm still a little confused.... type of breaker (specifically what and where to buy, a link would be helpful) that I should put in line between the transformer and the bus wire?   SO, I think that is what protects the transformer?   But what for the modern locos?  thx guys,  please make it easy on me!   What amp/type breakers should I be wiring in?



Here's a link to a bit more reading for understanding the locomotive protection issues you're asking about:

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...circuit-breaker-help

@Hp289 posted:

I'm not sure.  I'm seeking to build in protection in while I am in the design and construction phase of my 17x12 layout before I fry something I wish I hadn't.   It seems to me (novice) that you guys already with great layouts already probably figured this out, so I'masking.  Protect the house, ZW-L, layout and the trains.

I used automotive glass fuses, (7.5 amps or less)  Fuse holders were from Grainger electrical supply.

9ac400cc-a46d-462c-82e5-c4285d04fab4_zps8d1ba44c[1]

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Last edited by Mike CT

My layout is 10 x 23. I feel perfectly safe relying on the 15 or 20 amp circuit breakers in my home's electrical panel.

I use lionel ph 180 bricks that have their own fast acting circuit breakers. These are 180 watt so the max current draw is 10 amps, well under the house breakers.

The MTU TIU I use has internal 20 amp fuses as well as voltage spike protection (TVS) on each channel.The absolute best place for TVS is in the engine protecting onboard electronics but I will probably add a few TVS around the track at drop locations.

I do use a 4-plug gang box that has a on-off switch coming from the wall socket which everything plugs into just for convenience.

I don't feel the need to add anything more to my electrics.

"These are 180 watt so the max current draw is 10 amps, well under the house breakers."

10 amp being drawn from a PH180 causes about a 1.5 amp draw from the house 120-volt service, plus a minor adjustment for transformer efficiency.  This is the basis for ADCX Rob's observation.

Using a ground fault protection 120VAC receptacle would be a good idea.

@RJR posted:

10 amp being drawn from a PH180 causes about a 1.5 amp draw from the house 120-volt service, plus a minor adjustment for transformer efficiency.  This is the basis for ADCX Rob's observation.

Uh, nope. 10 amps is 10 amps.  10 amps x 18vac = 180 watts. That is the maximum power available.

I believe Rob is assuming a 2 amp draw under normal operating conditions.

Uh, nope. 10 amps is 10 amps.  10 amps x 18vac = 180 watts. That is the maximum power available.

I believe Rob is assuming a 2 amp draw under normal operating conditions.

Uh, nope.  A 120 volt 20 amp household circuit is capable of delivering 20 amps / 2400 watts.

10 fully loaded PH180 bricks(1800 watts / 100 amps output) would draw about 2500 watts from the mains, so 10 bricks at nominal usage is easily supported with some overhead available.

Last edited by ADCX Rob
@ADCX Rob posted:

Uh, nope.  A 120 volt 20 amp household circuit is capable of delivering 20 amps / 2400 watts.

10 fully loaded PH180 bricks(1800 watts / 100 amps output) would draw about 2500 watts from the mains, so 10 bricks at nominal usage is easily supported with some overhead available

Well I must apologize as I am failing to apply the ratio to the current. Using power calculations you can theoretically get 2400/180 = 13  on the 20 amp circuit. This doesn't account for loss in the step down and assumes all 180s are seeing just under a full load, so I doubt the max is that many. I doubt I'll ever need more than 4 anyway.

Guys, we are a little sidetracked from my original question.   Assume the following, conventional setup with modern ZW-L.  Running postwar with some new Legacy/visionline engines.   My initial drawing shows generally what I'm up to.  So, I will install either the Airpax breakers Steve seems to like...

https://www.onlinecomponents.c...00aobv-10090638.html

or the...

PSX1, GRJohn seems to like...  Have ya'll come to consensus which is "better" for our model train application?   I do not have the knowledge base to pick one.  And, the PSX, when it trips, how do I reset it?   On the airpax, why 5amp?  shouldn't I want a 7.5 or 10 amp?  

Moving to the TVS... zooming in on one of my loops... excuse primitive drawing...



The system I'm going with (see my test mock up) uses Post-tap connectors to tap into my 14ga bus, 16ga coming out to a crimp on spade.  Actually, based on what I've been reading I'll probably have 2 16ga wires coming out of the tap to have one to outside and one to inside rail.  (Gargraves/Ross).   I read this is preferred over just one to the outside.

Using this system, where do you suggest I wire in the TVS?   Every feeder?  I have 2 independent double-loops.  So that's going to be like 40 feeders I think.  

I was not planning to use the black terminal strips, and don't care to if possible.

I would be most grateful for constructive instruction/comment on point.  

thank you for sharing your knowledge.

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@Hp289 posted:


PSX1, GRJohn seems to like...  Have ya'll come to consensus which is "better" for our model train application?   I do not have the knowledge base to pick one.  And, the PSX, when it trips, how do I reset it?   On the airpax, why 5amp?  shouldn't I want a 7.5 or 10 amp?  



Money is one of the two key factors in the decision.  The PSX1 is more expensive than the Airpax breaker.  The old maxim "You get what you pay for" applies here.  If you'd like to go a little less expensive then use the recommended Airpax breaker, and check out @SteveH's recommended links to help you with it.

A I understand it the PSX1 can either reset itself when the excessive load (current) clears, or you can set it up to require that you push a button to reset it.  For the money it should have both options.  I believe as well that there's also an option to add a noisemaker that will alert you the instant it trips.

With either solution choosing the trip current is a fairly important task.  Since you're not worrying about protecting the transformer (because the ZW-L is supposed to protect itself, as mentioned above) you need to be concerned about the precise current that your train will draw when it's operating, considering the maximum current draw of the motor(s) in the locomotive(s), any other electronics in the locomotive(s), e.g. sound, any smoke units, and any lamps or LED's in the locomotive(s) or cars.

The easiest was to do this is to set up your entire train and run it temporarily without the PSX1 or Airpax breaker in place.  Let it warm up and measure the current it draws, via a Volt-Ohmmeter or a dedicate ammeter installed between the transformer connection going to the center rail, and the center rail.  Remember that your curves, and any grades you have, will affect max current so you might want to make your measurement when your train is passing over them.

The last step is to install the PSX1 or Airpax breaker in place of your ammeter.

What value Airpax do you buy?  One "slightly higher" than the your max current measurement.

This is not an issue with the PSX1.  It's adjustable, so you set it to trip "slightly higher" than your max current measurement.

Define slightly higher?  This is easy with the PSX1.  Take a guess on the low side and run the train.  If it trips too much for your taste adjust it upward slightly and try again.  Repeat if necessary.  Note: Be sure that you use a known good train on known good tracks.  If the train has short-circuit problems inside it, or between it and the track, then the PSX1 should be tripping at lower currents so that the electronics inside the train don't overheat and fry because of excessive current draw from the short circuit.

Easy? Definitely not the simplest thing to do.  Do you have an alternative?  Yes, put PTC's (little self-resetting solid-state circuit breakers) inside each locomotive and each car having lights, smoke, StationSounds, etc. within it.  @gunrunnerjohn has mentioned many times over recent years why this is the best solution, and that all equipment should come from the factory with these already inside.  I agree.  Why isn't it already done?  We're back to money again -- it costs a little more to do so.

Good luck.  In spite of being a relative newbie you can do it.

Mike

Last edited by Mellow Hudson Mike

One has to be careful with how many TVS diodes are across any individual track if you run any DCS locomotives.  Each TVS adds significant capacitance across the power that can and will degrade the DCS track signal.  If you have half a dozen across the track, it's a significant factor.

If you're really worried about the effectiveness of the TVS, put one in each locomotive, the absolutely best place for EMI protection is right before the protected electronics.

The ZW-L has been brought up more and more recently in these breaker threads. I feel like we tend to beat around the bush on the ZW-L, myself included. The ZW-L has the same technology all new Power Masters, CW-80, and GW-180 use. When the excessive current is detected it folds back the voltage to give you time to fix it or prevent more damage if the short isn’t fixed or if it’s still a very large current draw it immediately shuts off power. It also has 12A (I think that’s what they are) breakers. I have had zero issues with my ZW-L and can’t ever remember a time when I tripped the separate breakers before the electronics shut off power.

you can also get information from the horses mouth (Mike Ragon)

With my new train room it's all new 20 amp breakers. I have a ZW-275 which I like better each time I use it. To keep from melting things I bought Lionel #91 breakers from "back in the day" that I think were made for it. I found 5 of them. I also have a 1033 that I do not use to much yet. The breakers are adjustable. I just crank them up and then run a train and then crank it down until it trips then back it off 1/4 to 1/2 turn until it runs. Derailments pop them immediately and I am far more confident than I was before. I had melted wire twice before this. And fried a loco that I have a new board for. It's good as it lets me vary the cutoff amps since the trains vary in what they draw depending on the engine and what the other cars pull.

Frank

Last edited by ftauss
@zhubl posted:

The ZW-L has been brought up more and more recently in these breaker threads. I feel like we tend to beat around the bush on the ZW-L, myself included. The ZW-L has the same technology all new Power Masters, CW-80, and GW-180 use. When the excessive current is detected it folds back the voltage to give you time to fix it or prevent more damage if the short isn’t fixed or if it’s still a very large current draw it immediately shuts off power. It also has 12A (I think that’s what they are) breakers. I have had zero issues with my ZW-L and can’t ever remember a time when I tripped the separate breakers before the electronics shut off power.



@ftauss posted:

With my new train room it's all new 20 amp breakers. I have a ZW-275 which I like better each time I use it. To keep from melting things I bought Lionel #91 breakers from "back in the day" that I think were made for it. I found 5 of them. I also have a 1033 that I do not use to much yet. The breakers are adjustable. I just crank them up and then run a train and then crank it down until it trips then back it off 1/4 to 1/2 turn until it runs. Derailments pop them immediately and I am far more confident than I was before. I had melted wire twice before this. And fried a loco that I have a new board for. It's good as it lets me vary the cutoff amps since the trains vary in what they draw depending on the engine and what the other cars pull.

Frank

Excellent.  These last two posts wrap things up on this topic nicely, at least on the current (amps) side.

@zhubl has indicated that the ZW-L does indeed behave like a PH-180 alone.  Its current sensing and control functions are the same and so the ZW-L alone will do the job.  No need for a PSX1 or Airpax breaker downstream.  No settings for "slightly higher than the your max current measurement" needed because the ZW-L is smart enough to handle the current draws presented by different trains without adjustment.  Thank you Zachariah for your comments, and for the link to Mike Reagan's video to illustrate.

Last but not least, @ftauss has brought us an all-old-school method for a current monitoring and control method that uses classic Lionel #91 adjustable breakers.  You still need to set them at "slightly higher than the your max current measurement", and he's mentioned a good way to do that, one that works for him.  Thank you Frank.

Here's what a #91 looks like:

@Hp289, let's hope that this is now clear, and that you can proceed using what we've provided.

Good Luck, and let us know how it turns out.

Mke

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Last edited by Mellow Hudson Mike

While there are layouts with trains that require 20 amp breakers on the track, personally I feel that is too high for the ordinary layout.  A postwar ZW, for example, should not be breakers for more than 10 amps.  If you use 20 amp breakers and have a power supply that can produce that amperage, you may well have hookup wire overheating.

Sorry guys, swamped at the office today.  Ok, so you've convinced me I don't need anything extra after my ZW-L as it goes out to the bus wire.  That's settled.  Is the #91 mentioned above meant to be that breaker, or is it meant to fill in for the TVS?   I'm still a little weak on that part of it.   Where to put those?  I'm not going to put them in the engines.  Is there a reasonable solution that goes with my planned construction method.   thx.

I don't think you need any surge suppression or extra breakers at all. I would also suggest that if you have no plans to use DCS the TVS diodes sprinkled around aren't really doing much. A DCS TIU has a TVS on each of the 4 outputs that interface to the track, these are between the track and the electronics inside the TIU.

As GRJ stated, TVS diodes are meant to protect sensitive electronics and the best place for them is right at the board being protected. If a spike comes down the line the diodes short the excess to ground so they don't travel into the electronics. That is why there is a recommendation to install one in the engine.

Sprinkling a few TVSs around the track may give some protection. But if you think about an engine sitting on the track between diodes that engine will be subject to any spikes between the diodes. So are they really helping?

That's my opinion, subject to slunk jeep.

Excellent.  These last two posts wrap things up on this topic nicely, at least on the current (amps) side.

@zhubl has indicated that the ZW-L does indeed behave like a PH-180 alone.  Its current sensing and control functions are the same and so the ZW-L alone will do the job.  No need for a PSX1 or Airpax breaker downstream.  No settings for "slightly higher than the your max current measurement" needed because the ZW-L is smart enough to handle the current draws presented by different trains without adjustment.  Thank you Zachariah for your comments, and for the link to Mike Reagan's video to illustrate.

Last but not least, @ftauss has brought us an all-old-school method for a current monitoring and control method that uses classic Lionel #91 adjustable breakers.  You still need to set them at "slightly higher than the your max current measurement", and he's mentioned a good way to do that, one that works for him.  Thank you Frank.

Here's what a #91 looks like:

@Hp289, let's hope that this is now clear, and that you can proceed using what we've provided.

Good Luck, and let us know how it turns out.

Mke

Thanks Mellow Hudson Mike.

I should point out a couple of things. I'm using the TVSs recommended by GRJ. And even though I have Proto 2 and 3 engines, 2 Legacy engines and a half dozen LC/LC+/LC2/LC2+ I am only running conventional right now. Modern, MPC and postwar.

Frank

@zhubl posted:

I have had zero issues with my ZW-L and can’t ever remember a time when I tripped the separate breakers before the electronics shut off power.

Ditto!  Exactly, my experience with my ZW-L.

My switch machines and accessories run off the ZW (not the ZW-L) where I've added 5amp breakers & TVS's.

Last edited by Dennis-LaRock

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