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@Lehigh74 posted:

I would recommend fast acting magnetic hydraulic breakers, not thermal breakers.  I use Eaton FAZ-B breakers rated at 3, 4 or 5 amps depending on what I usually run on each the track.

Here’s a thread discussing Airpax breakers.

Airpax Snapac Hydraulic-Magnetic Circuit Breaker Internal Mechanisms | O Gauge Railroading On Line Forum (ogaugerr.com)

Thanks for the link. There is so much information and technical talk in that thread that my head went 🤯🤯. I’m definitely going to read it again later.

The main thing for you to take away from that thread is that if you decide on the Airpax breakers, go with the instant acting ones.  Don’t make the same mistake that I did and get the slow ones.  You also want to get a breaker that isn’t rated too high.  I use a 5 amp Eaton FAZ on tracks that frequently run passenger cars.  For tracks that normally run one or two freights, I use a 4 or 3 amp.  You will also want to install TVS diodes near your track connections.

Last edited by Lehigh74
@Lehigh74 posted:

The main thing for you to take away from that thread is that if you decide on the Airpax breakers, go with the instant acting ones.  Don’t make the same mistake that I did and get the slow ones.  You also want to get a breaker that isn’t rated too high.  I use a 5 amp Eaton FAZ on tracks that frequently run passenger cars.  For tracks that normally run one or two freights, I use a 4 or 3 amp.  You will also want to install TVS diodes near your track connections.

Thank you, I appreciate you breaking it down for me. Can you tell me the  model number of the breakers you use?

@Brooklyn Corey I did a quick search on Digi-Key for the Airpax snapac style instant breakers and didn't see that style listed.  If these are what you're interested in having, I'd be happy to help you pick out what's right for your set-up, and try not to make your head hurt.   If you could answer these 4 questions, we can figure this out.

1) I have the 275 Watt post war ZW (the old style without external bricks).  Which one do you have?

2) How many Locos you plan to run at once (to figure the breaker Amperage rating)?

3) How many independently wired track loops, if more than one loop (to know how many breakers).

4) Do you plan to run all MTH DCS, or would it be a mix of Lion Chief, Conventional, and/or Legacy.

6A09E9BF-99CA-4C46-8F65-B8EB30E4BBF7@SteveH posted:

@Brooklyn Corey I did a quick search on Digi-Key for the Airpax snapac style instant breakers and didn't see that style listed.  If these are what you're interested in having, I'd be happy to help you pick out what's right for your set-up, and try not to make your head hurt.   If you could answer these 4 questions, we can figure this out.

1) I have the 275 Watt post war ZW (the old style without external bricks).  Which one do you have?

2) How many Locos you plan to run at once (to figure the breaker Amperage rating)?

3) How many independently wired track loops, if more than one loop (to know how many breakers).

4) Do you plan to run all MTH DCS, or would it be a mix of Lion Chief, Conventional, and/or Legacy.

Cool I appreciate I believe my ZW is the same as yours( see pic) I will be running one train at a time on one track. Maybe 2 if I’m feeling lucky. I have 2 different track loops. One DCS and the other conventional. I do have a Lionchief that I’ll run also.

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Last edited by Brooklyn Corey

@Brooklyn Corey So the good news is there are only a few relevant options for the ZW in the so called "Instant" variety of the Airpax Snapac breakers.  These are 5, 7.5, and 10 Amps.

The PW ZW has the capability of delivering about 10 Amps total through any single one or combination of its 4 outputs.  This should be more than enough power to do what you've described.  I would suggest, that you buy as many of the "Instant" breakers as separate loops of track you want to run. If you plan to connect accessories or power switches with Aux power run from any of the ZW accessory outputs ( B and/or C ), additional breakers there may also be a good idea.

I have no personal experience with DCS, just what I've read here on the forum, so hopefully someone else might suggest where to install the breaker within the ZW to TIU to Track circuit. 

For conventional operation, lets say for example you decide to use the ZW's A handle for speed (voltage) control. You'd want to connect that breaker in-line (series) somewhere between the ZW's A terminal output and the center rail track power distribution bus, assuming that you have more than one wire feeding the center rail distributed around each track loop (highly recommended).

So, now for the breaker details.  As we've already covered, 10 Amps is the highest useful option and would all but guarantee that the only time it would trip is during a derailment, which is why I chose this option.  If you want to go the more conservative/safer route, then 5A might be a better choice.  However, it could possibly also cause nuisance tripping, but I don't know for certain because I haven't tested this yet.  The reason I say might, has to do with breaker trip delay time.  As others have mentioned, breakers with a longer trip time and lower current ratings (3 -4 Amps) have worked for them.  As you may know, when a motor starts, it has a momentarily higher current draw, at a given voltage, compared to when it reaches the set speed.  With the "Instant" breakers, I think it's possible they could trip unnecessarily during an abrupt locomotive start.  In other words, under a high start load situation, a 5 Amp "instant" breaker might trip before a 4 Amp slow trip breaker.  If anyone has a chance to test this, I'd like to know.

That leaves the middle option of the 7.5Amp breaker.  It would likely provide more than enough current for most situations, but may or may not trip before something melts, depending on the circumstances.  I wish I could give you a more definitive answer about which option would be the best choice, but I'm still trying to figure this out too.

Here are links to the 3 different Airpax Snapac Instant series breakers:

5 Amp
PP11-0-5.00A-OB-V
https://www.onlinecomponents.c...00aobv-10090638.html

7.5 Amp
PP11-0-7.50A-OC-V
https://www.onlinecomponents.c...50aocv-10090644.html

10 Amp
PP11-0-10.0A-OB-V
https://www.onlinecomponents.c...0aobv-10090622.html#

If you have any more questions about using and/or connecting them I'll try to help.  If you go with one of these, please let us know how it works out.

@SteveH posted:

@Brooklyn Corey So the good news is there are only a few relevant options for the ZW in the so called "Instant" variety of the Airpax Snapac breakers.  These are 5, 7.5, and 10 Amps.

The PW ZW has the capability of delivering about 10 Amps total through any single one or combination of its 4 outputs.  This should be more than enough power to do what you've described.  I would suggest, that you buy as many of the "Instant" breakers as separate loops of track you want to run. If you plan to connect accessories or power switches with Aux power run from any of the ZW accessory outputs ( B and/or C ), additional breakers there may also be a good idea.

I have no personal experience with DCS, just what I've read here on the forum, so hopefully someone else might suggest where to install the breaker within the ZW to TIU to Track circuit.

For conventional operation, lets say for example you decide to use the ZW's A handle for speed (voltage) control. You'd want to connect that breaker in-line (series) somewhere between the ZW's A terminal output and the center rail track power distribution bus, assuming that you have more than one wire feeding the center rail distributed around each track loop (highly recommended).

So, now for the breaker details.  As we've already covered, 10 Amps is the highest useful option and would all but guarantee that the only time it would trip is during a derailment, which is why I chose this option.  If you want to go the more conservative/safer route, then 5A might be a better choice.  However, it could possibly also cause nuisance tripping, but I don't know for certain because I haven't tested this yet.  The reason I say might, has to do with breaker trip delay time.  As others have mentioned, breakers with a longer trip time and lower current ratings (3 -4 Amps) have worked for them.  As you may know, when a motor starts, it has a momentarily higher current draw, at a given voltage, compared to when it reaches the set speed.  With the "Instant" breakers, I think it's possible they could trip unnecessarily during an abrupt locomotive start.  In other words, under a high start load situation, a 5 Amp "instant" breaker might trip before a 4 Amp slow trip breaker.  If anyone has a chance to test this, I'd like to know.

That leaves the middle option of the 7.5Amp breaker.  It would likely provide more than enough current for most situations, but may or may not trip before something melts, depending on the circumstances.  I wish I could give you a more definitive answer about which option would be the best choice, but I'm still trying to figure this out too.

Here are links to the 3 different Airpax Snapac Instant series breakers:

5 Amp
PP11-0-5.00A-OB-V
https://www.onlinecomponents.c...00aobv-10090638.html

7.5 Amp
PP11-0-7.50A-OC-V
https://www.onlinecomponents.c...50aocv-10090644.html

10 Amp
PP11-0-10.0A-OB-V
https://www.onlinecomponents.c...0aobv-10090622.html#

If you have any more questions about using and/or connecting them I'll try to help.  If you go with one of these, please let us know how it works out.

Wow thank you so much for all that information and help. I really appreciate it. I’m going to check out the site and decide which one to buy. I don’t have a layout, I’m running my trains in my living room floor right now. It’s not a lot, but it works for me. Here is what I’ll be running the DCS on. The second track will be an elevated loop near where the platform is.

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@Brooklyn Corey  Corey, glad you found the information to be helpful.

I really like your floor set-up, especially the double crossover loop design.  The elevated love seat tunnel is also cool and a good use of available space.  The elevated loop will add even more interesting ways to run your growing collection of trains.  That Canadian Pacific steamer's cuffing really sounds great.  Thanks for the picture and videos.

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