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How do I determine how much power (size of transformer) that I will need to power each mainline. I also have a shorter simple loop upper level. I have a double track mainline with a 5 track yard off of the outside line. I'm using TMCC and a Cab-2. I have a modern ZW with 4 180 bricks available.
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quote:
Originally posted by Dale Manquen:
The power required depends upon the trains you are running:
How many powered units
Modern can motor or old open frame
Lighted passenger cars
Smoke
Smoke/lighted caboose
Grades


Possibly ABA w/ 2 powered and 6 lighted pass cars
Can motors
Maybe a steam w/ caboose
No grades

The double track mainline is connected only at a ross dbl cross

I appreciate your help.

Doug
I have two bricks on a ZW, run the main on one, sidings on the other. With the train guys running four freights including two MUs...Challenger and FEF smoking and two GP30s smoking all on the one brick on the main.All can motors. All accessories and lighting are on CW80s. Switches all Fastrack. Seems to handle it well.
quote:
Originally posted by cjack:
I have two bricks on a ZW, run the main on one, sidings on the other. With the train guys running four freights including two MUs...Challenger and FEF smoking and two GP30s smoking all on the one brick on the main.All can motors. All accessories and lighting are on CW80s. Switches all Fastrack. Seems to handle it well.


Thanks Since I have 4 bricks, I was thinking of using 2 of them on the outer mainline (w/ the yard) and 1 brick for the inner mainline and 1 either for the upper line or accessories and lights. Are you saying that I would probably not need 2 on the main line?

Thanks Doug
quote:
Originally posted by Dale Manquen:
If you are running the 4 bricks on the new ZW, you will only get 10 amps and 180 watts out of any one output.


Wouldn't that be 720 watts total? I was trying to determine if I need to connect 2 180 watt outputs to my outer mainline.

I am not up on this sorry for my not understanding.

Thanks Doug
Last edited by Doug N
quote:
Originally posted by Doug N:
quote:
Originally posted by cjack:
I have two bricks on a ZW, run the main on one, sidings on the other. With the train guys running four freights including two MUs...Challenger and FEF smoking and two GP30s smoking all on the one brick on the main.All can motors. All accessories and lighting are on CW80s. Switches all Fastrack. Seems to handle it well.


Thanks Since I have 4 bricks, I was thinking of using 2 of them on the outer mainline (w/ the yard) and 1 brick for the inner mainline and 1 either for the upper line or accessories and lights. Are you saying that I would probably not need 2 on the main line?

Thanks Doug


I thought I did or would but don't seem to need more than the one brick. As I understand it, each output is electrically limited to an output of one brick, 10.5 amps. Lionel says that can power up to 6 locomotives on average. If you intend to use two of the outputs for main line tracks, Lionel says you should use an insulating pin between the two loops powered by the two outputs, each powering a separate loop..."failure to do so can cause excessive current which can damage locomotives". Page 14 of the ZW manual also describes how to properly test for all the bricks being in phase with each other. I think this would be most important when a loco or car with two pickups crosses an insulating pin in the center rail, temporarly connecting the two loops together.
If you connect the loops together, ie, connect say the A and D terminals together, you run the risk of this excessive current during a short as they say, but also if the two output voltages are not identical, then current could flow between them heating up the transformer.
Now, however, I unintentionally ran this way with B and C tied together by some considerable length of track wiring, but ultimately connected B and C together and powered one main loop, and experienced no ill effects. Both outputs were very closely 18 vac and shorts did not result in any series welding of wheels, track, etc. YMMV.
But now I run with only one output devoted to the one and only main loop.
Thanks Chuck. I guess I could try 1 brick for each line and see what happens. Is there a rule or thumb that a can motor draws "X" amount of power and an average for a lighted passenger car? Much of what I will run will be freight but since I am wiring now I wanted to not have to change later. Also I am thinking o using the common "return" for the layout as Dale has shown in the past with 14 gauge house wire and buses.

Doug
quote:
Originally posted by Doug N:
Thanks Chuck. I guess I could try 1 brick for each line and see what happens. Is there a rule or thumb that a can motor draws "X" amount of power and an average for a lighted passenger car? Much of what I will run will be freight but since I am wiring now I wanted to not have to change later. Also I am thinking o using the common "return" for the layout as Dale has shown in the past with 14 gauge house wire and buses.

Doug

I don't know of a rule of thumb, but I ran a TMCC diesel with two can motors and it took about 2.25 amps max on level track pulling 4 box cars. Then I put an 18 inch long heavyweight passenger car on the track by itself and it took about .75 amps. Well lit long passenger cars can take a lot of amps. Some are converting them to LEDs.
My example of the train club guys running four trains at the same time was 6 engines all running at reasonable scale mph on level track. No extra loads from passenger car lighting. I'm not sure how many motors total that was.
You could easily run 3 freight trains on one 180 watt brick and possibly 6. Passenger trains muddy the waters. As Cjack said, passenger cars well lit, take a lot of current. An F7 ABA with 2 powered units running smoke and pulling 10 well lit passenger cars could bring you very close or over the output of one 180 watt brick. Changing to LEDS in the cars would cut that in half. My advice is run the 4 channels off the ZW for now and in the future if you have overload problems change to a TPC system with double bricks. I have an around the room layout, under construction, running off of four 135 watt bricks divided into 4 blocks and I run 2 freight trains as long as I want at once with no problems. I intend to double them up in the future but not until the need arises.
Ron
If I had to use two bricks on one track loop, I would probably go to Lionel's TPC 6-14179 (Track Power Controller, 400 watts). Then with the adapter wire they sell, I could take two of the bricks from my ZW and connect them both to the TPC. This TPC has a 20 amp breaker for it's one output. Of course you run the risk of some considerable short circuit amps if you have a derailment. Lionel seems to think that's ok now that you bought one of these Smile.
Then you could run the ZW with the remaining two bricks for sidings and accessories. I like having the ZW, but it's sort of cosmetic a little...reminds me of the ZW I lusted for when I was 10 years old. So I'll always have it on the control table and sneak a TPC under the table if I ever need 20 amps.
I don't think I will though...need 20 amps that is.
Thanks Chuck & RailfanRon & Dale for your help.

It seems from what you are telling me that I might be able to run both the inside and outside tracks from 1 post on the ZW with 1 brick. One train on each, maybe 1 passenger and 1 freight? The Ross dbl crossover is isolated track to track so this would avoid any voltage differences between each track when crossing over. I could then use another post (D) on the ZW for the isolated upper loop. Then I would have 2 posts for different acc voltages. Does that sound doable?

Thanks

Doug
Yes it does as long as your passenger train isn't conventional bulbs and 15 cars long. Here are some estimates 8 passenger cars is about 6 amps draw plus motive power at 3 amps equals 9 amps. If the cars are converted to LEDs cut that figure in half. A 15 to 20 car freight about 4 amps. These are maximum estimates and may be less in your situation. Smaller trains and motive power would be less. A 180 watt brick is 10 amp so with the right trains you could get more.
Ron
quote:
Originally posted by RailfanRon:
Yes it does as long as your passenger train isn't conventional bulbs and 15 cars long. Here are some estimates 8 passenger cars is about 6 amps draw plus motive power at 3 amps equals 9 amps. If the cars are converted to LEDs cut that figure in half. A 15 to 20 car freight about 4 amps. These are maximum estimates and may be less in your situation. Smaller trains and motive power would be less. A 180 watt brick is 10 amp so with the right trains you could get more.
Ron


My passenger sets are mostly 6 car sets, although I do have a powered "B" for each set. I won't always run the powered B's. When I get time I'll have to look into LED's for the passenger sets but as you can tell electronics is not my specialty.

How will I know if I am exceeding 10 amps? Will the breaker on the brick trip? Is there a way I can measure the amp draw?

Thanks

Doug
While the trains (the load on the transformer) are running, you encircle the wire going to the center rail in question with the "clip on" ammeter. The field created by the current flowing thru the wire will generate a reading on the meter. Very handy for metering current without cutting wire, etc.
Post
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