HI fellas,  I have been thinking of the best way to keep power consistent on my 2 outer mains.  I am using Realtrax solid rail 072 curves.  I could measure the distance of circle.   I am using 100 watt z1000 bricks for the 2 fixed channels to these mains.  do you run power from TIU to a couple of Bus strips and then run leads to the track every so many feet to a lockon?  Use 14 guage stranded wire?   

I have heard of a star shape pattern also used.  no idea what this entails.  

I used to run like 2 wire leads from TIU to the real-trax lockons and that was fine for the smaller 4x8 or 4x10 layout.  

The outer loops will be 16x16 approximately 

 

any help is appreciated!  

Chris 

Original Post

Chris, I have a large table layout and a newer ceiling layout that runs around the rec room.   To provide you an example, the ceiling layout is double-tracked, 100 ft. around.  There is a small yard, with a long spur so that I can park a whole consist.

The two main lines are powered through the TIU with one PW ZW, and the 14 gauge wire runs a bus for each, to each corner, and in opposite directions.  So, only 4 power drops on each main.  The spur and yard use one of the inside sliders for separate power.  There are no dead spots or power drops, both mains reading 10, and always have.

One difference is that it's all Gargraves flex track and is necessarily screwed through the roadbed, and into the wood.   The black Gargraves screws are perfect, hard to see, and the tracks don't move.

20170507_105309_001

I've never used Realtrax or a Z1000.  I use a Z4000 on two upper mains of my table layout, running 3 LCP's about 70 feet around.  I've found I only needed one power drop for each of those, which surprised me.  My conventional engines on PW tubular track suffer occasional power drops on my lower levels, but, never the Gargraves.

Hope this gives you some idea.

Jerry

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Assuming one brick is connected to Fixed 1 and the other to Fixed 2. Not an expert on Realtrax, but my suggestion would be to run each fixed output from the TIU to a separate MTH (or similar) 12 port terminal distribution box centrally located near the physical middle of each loop. You can then run wires from each terminal on the distribution panel out to lock-ons, in a "star" shaped pattern.

If it's like Fastrack, you would use a lock-on every 6-8 sections of Realtrax, so each MTH terminal block would allow you to hook up to 72-96 sections of track in each loop. Obviously, you might not need to use all 12 terminals on each MTH block, depending on how many sections of track you have in each loop. If you have substantially more than 96 sections in each loop you can either space the lock-ons further apart , say every 8-10 sections of track, or buy an MTH 24 port terminal.

Instead of using the lock-ons, I believe RealTrax has copper connectors underneath to which you could solder the two wires coming from each terminal.

 

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JerryG posted:

Chris, I have a large table layout and a newer ceiling layout that runs around the rec room.   To provide you an example, the ceiling layout is double-tracked, 100 ft. around.  There is a small yard, with a long spur so that I can park a whole consist.

The two main lines are powered through the TIU with one PW ZW, and the 14 gauge wire runs a bus for each, to each corner, and in opposite directions.  So, only 4 power drops on each main.  The spur and yard use one of the inside sliders for separate power.  There are no dead spots or power drops, both mains reading 10, and always have.

One difference is that it's all Gargraves flex track and is necessarily screwed through the roadbed, and into the wood.   The black Gargraves screws are perfect, hard to see, and the tracks don't move.

20170507_105309_001

I've never used Realtrax or a Z1000.  I use a Z4000 on two upper mains of my table layout, running 3 LCP's about 70 feet around.  I've found I only needed one power drop for each of those, which surprised me.  My conventional engines on PW tubular track suffer occasional power drops on my lower levels, but, never the Gargraves.

Hope this gives you some idea.

Jerry

Hi jerry,  I am not familar to the Z4000, how many watts are you taking to each fixed channel? 100 or more?  THe z1000 is a 100 watt brick that you connect to the TIU.  so I use 4 bricks so each channel has 100 watts.   I might do the 4 corners with power and centralize my bus.  

Rather than run wires directly from the underside of the track to the MTH terminal block, I ran short wires from where I soldered to the track to a small two-gang block I mounted to the underside of the layout at each location. I then ran wires from there back to the MTH terminal block (not connected yet in pic). Seemed easier than going direct. Just keep track of your polarity. Also, took the opportunity to solder a TVS suppressor in place for additional protection.

Let us know how you make out.TERMINAL BLOCKSINSTALLED BLOCK

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Chris, the Z4000 is a 400 watt transformer.  The two handles for your mains are advertised as being 187 watts at full power.  The transformer has large readouts for volts and amps but, not watts.  It also has 14 volt and 10 volt terminals for accessories.  I highly recommend it, as will most of the guys on the forum.

If you're running command/control engines like MTH or Lionel, all the guys will recommend that you run them between 16-18 volts.  The max is 22.  I run one engine at 16 volts on one upper level.  The other upper level runs two engines at 18 volts.

Star wiring is often recommended.  I have never had an issue with bus wiring, and it will save you a lot of wire!  Not to mention having to hide it all.

Jerry

Chris,

I have run DCS on our club's 20x40 layout w/ a Z1000 on one mainline. The layout is buss wired. It ran trains without issues. One key issue will be to insure that the two loops are isolated from each other. If you have switches connecting the two loops make sure all three rails are isolated from each other.

The Z4000 is a very popular transformer. But, it is overkill for many applications. Since you have the Z1000's, I'd suggest using them. Buy a couple of ammeters and wire them up. The Z1000 is good for 5 amps. If you're seeing 4+ amps in operation, go ahead and think about buying a larger transformer. 

On the club layout, we use a Z4000 but seldom see more than 3 amps. Incandescent lighted passenger cars are probably your #1 power sucker. Keep the consists short and you should be OK.

It may sound counter intuitive, but the bigger the wire, the better. If you're buss wiring, I'd suggest at least 14ga. and preferably 12ga. wire. For star wiring, 14ga. will be fine. Plan for a feeder every six track joints.

You should probably pick up a digital or paper copy of Barry Broskowitz' (RIP) DCS Companion. It is basically the bible of DCS.

TIU's have a TVS on each output, but additional ones are a good idea. Across the main feed wires to each MTH power distribution block is a good spot. I personally use one also at each transformer output. You can't really go wrong with a Z4000, but your Z1000's will work fine too. 

Rod

We are never too old to learn something stupid....

Rod Stewart posted:

You should probably pick up a digital or paper copy of Barry Broskowitz' (RIP) DCS Companion. It is basically the bible of DCS.

TIU's have a TVS on each output, but additional ones are a good idea. Across the main feed wires to each MTH power distribution block is a good spot. I personally use one also at each transformer output. You can't really go wrong with a Z4000, but your Z1000's will work fine too. 

Rod

Rod, I have a DCS companion, got the revised one too.  didnt think about opening it up for wiring!  cool.    as far as the TVS, what is this?  and you said across the main feed wires?  like from the TIU output to the distribution block?  across the red and black?     thanks for the help

Gilly@N&W posted:

Chris,

I have run DCS on our club's 20x40 layout w/ a Z1000 on one mainline. The layout is buss wired. It ran trains without issues. One key issue will be to insure that the two loops are isolated from each other. If you have switches connecting the two loops make sure all three rails are isolated from each other.

The Z4000 is a very popular transformer. But, it is overkill for many applications. Since you have the Z1000's, I'd suggest using them. Buy a couple of ammeters and wire them up. The Z1000 is good for 5 amps. If you're seeing 4+ amps in operation, go ahead and think about buying a larger transformer. 

On the club layout, we use a Z4000 but seldom see more than 3 amps. Incandescent lighted passenger cars are probably your #1 power sucker. Keep the consists short and you should be OK.

It may sound counter intuitive, but the bigger the wire, the better. If you're buss wiring, I'd suggest at least 14ga. and preferably 12ga. wire. For star wiring, 14ga. will be fine. Plan for a feeder every six track joints.

I was thinking 12 guage.  with my L design plus 3 lift outs I think Bus is going to have to work.  what I think Ill do is do a main bus, then another one and split the power.   Im also doing inner line.  and 2 more levels so ill be doing alot more but ill keep it organized. 20191212_125435

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Gilly@N&W posted:

Chris,

I have run DCS on our club's 20x40 layout w/ a Z1000 on one mainline. The layout is buss wired. It ran trains without issues. One key issue will be to insure that the two loops are isolated from each other. If you have switches connecting the two loops make sure all three rails are isolated from each other.

The Z4000 is a very popular transformer. But, it is overkill for many applications. Since you have the Z1000's, I'd suggest using them. Buy a couple of ammeters and wire them up. The Z1000 is good for 5 amps. If you're seeing 4+ amps in operation, go ahead and think about buying a larger transformer. 

On the club layout, we use a Z4000 but seldom see more than 3 amps. Incandescent lighted passenger cars are probably your #1 power sucker. Keep the consists short and you should be OK.

It may sound counter intuitive, but the bigger the wire, the better. If you're buss wiring, I'd suggest at least 14ga. and preferably 12ga. wire. For star wiring, 14ga. will be fine. Plan for a feeder every six track joints.

I will be converting my passenger cars to LED strips.  I did a few sets already.  so should not be any biggy.   what kind of Ampmeter setup did you use?  glad to know the z1000 worked well on a layout your size!  

Gilly@N&W posted:

Voltmeter is wired in parallel. Basically connect one wire to + the second to -.

Ammeter is wired in series. From the Transformer + connect to one side of the ammeter. The other side of the ammeter connects to the Fixed Voltage IN terminal on the TIU.

thanks tom!  big help!  ill order 4 one for each track.  

AC 0-30V Voltmeter 181390575716 (Vintage) 350740411129 (Modern)

AC 0-10A Ammeter 183884691310 (Vintage) 231094079716 (Modern)

Check the item numbers on eBay. I bought the modern style for my layout. Sorry I didn't pay attention to the digital meter you were looking at. I was more focused on the hookup. You want this connected BEFORE the TIU.

Gilly@N&W posted:

AC 0-30V Voltmeter 181390575716 (Vintage) 350740411129 (Modern)

AC 0-10A Ammeter 183884691310 (Vintage) 231094079716 (Modern)

Check the item numbers on eBay. I bought the modern style for my layout. Sorry I didn't pay attention to the digital meter you were looking at. I was more focused on the hookup. You want this connected BEFORE the TIU.

opps!  I did not order anything yet.  good thing.  Ill check those out.  thanks tom

Gilly@N&W posted:

AC 0-30V Voltmeter 181390575716 (Vintage) 350740411129 (Modern)

AC 0-10A Ammeter 183884691310 (Vintage) 231094079716 (Modern)

Check the item numbers on eBay. I bought the modern style for my layout. Sorry I didn't pay attention to the digital meter you were looking at. I was more focused on the hookup. You want this connected BEFORE the TIU.

tom, found an AC version on amazon.   they show a hook up diagram.  3 wire

https://www.amazon.com/DROK-Ac...76268956&sr=8-76

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