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Hello Citizens,

I'm currently running two relatively small loops of 'test' track (working on benchwork, etc. that will accommodate the 'real' layout) - both in conventional mode.  One loop is powered using Lionel's GW-180 transformer (180 Watts) and the other is powered using an old-but-reliable Lionel 1033 transformer (90 Watts).  The reason I have two separate test tracks is this: I have one locomotive, an MTH BL-2 that is PS1, that will NOT operate under the GW-180 but works fine with the 1033 (I gather this has something to do with the actual shape of the sine wave produced by the transformer).

For at least the first iteration of my 'real' layout, I'm also planning on running two independent loops of track - both considerably larger compared to my test tracks.  I want to be able to run the BL-2, and figure I will need more than the 90 watts available from the 1033.  I was considering trying to get my hands on a KW transformer.  The KW is rated at 190 watts, and is capable of powering two independent trains.  My question is this: If I use the KW to run only ONE train (I have the GW-180 for the other loop), are all of the 190 watts available?  Or, do you only get 95 watts per track (0.5 x 190 watts), regardless of whether you run one or two trains?

Another question, since I'm at it: I'm planning on running, for each loop of track, a main bus line and multiple power drops spaced at more-or-less regular intervals.  Might I just be better off going for ONE of the newer 'big' transformers, and using that to run both loops on the new layout?  The loops on the new layout will each be about 69' total length.

Thank you, and good morning,

Sam

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@CurlSnout posted:

Another question, since I'm at it: I'm planning on running, for each loop of track, a main bus line and multiple power drops spaced at more-or-less regular intervals.  Might I just be better off going for ONE of the newer 'big' transformers, and using that to run both loops on the new layout?  The loops on the new layout will each be about 69' total length.

One option would be to use the KW for loops 1 and 2 and use your 1033 or GW-180 for all of the accessory power on the board.

My MTH locos only draw an amp or so each - so figure 30W per locomotive conservatively.  Postwar stuff is another story.  I think you shouldn't have two much trouble running 3 or 4 locos from a KW if they are a mix of modern and postwar.  Depending on how many passenger cars you have that can change things - but if you switch those to LED lighting, that will remove them from the equation almost entirely.

Thanks, guys.  Good to know about the difference between wattages at which a transformer might be 'rated' and what it is actually capable of delivering.  My question had less to do with the actual absolute values of the wattages, and more to do with whether the watts available from the KW could ALL go to one track (assuming the other 'channel' remained empty) - or if the total available watts from the KW would be split in half, irrespective of whether one or two trains were operating.

I had considered buying a ZW-L to run both loops on the new layout, but since the ZW-L delivers a chopped sine wave it won't be compatible with my BL-2 - and it seems like having a ZW-L to run just one loop would be overkill.

So my current thinking is to use the GW-180 to power one loop, and look for a reconditioned KW, or possibly a ZW (275 watt) unit - in order to get a smooth sine wave with which the BL-2 should be happy on the other loop.

Hi-Ho,

Sam

@CurlSnout posted:
If I use the KW to run only ONE train (I have the GW-180 for the other loop), are all of the 190 watts available?  Or, do you only get 95 watts per track (0.5 x 190 watts), regardless of whether you run one or two trains?

All 140 watts output(190 is the input rating) of the KW is available in any combination, up to 19-20 volts. You will notice an improvement over the 16 volt 65 watt output of the 1033.

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