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Ok I got a problem  and hoping someone can help.im trying to add more power to the layout.here what I got.i have one 180 power brick and it doesn't seem to be a enough power to the layout when I power up.pops the breaker alot.i have alot of engines on the  track.so I bought a lionel lockon and hook up another 180 brick but it just throw the breaker.i know its wire correctly. So I'm not sure what to do.someone told me to split the table up by insulate half the table and put one power source on one and one on the other.if I do that what when a train crosses the insulate area. I just learn about a lionel  tpc 400.maybe I should get one of thoses.any idea ????Help!!!!

Brian

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Last edited by bkm
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Layout about 20 ft long by 12 ft wide double decker.have about 12 engine on two main lines and a bunch of siding.i had one 180 brick power the whole table but have added about 6 or 7 more engines and now it seem to pop the breaker alot unless I take a few engine off so that's when I thought I could add another powerhouse brick 180 with a lionel  lock on but it just shorts out.

Brian

20 engines sitting powered on a layout whether your running them or not is a BAD idea.

In case of a short you risk damaging much more than whatever causes the short.

Isolating a siding or an entire yard. Whatever your case may be ,and putting them on a toggle switch is the way to go.

Otherwise put unused motive power on a shelf.

1 brick should be adaquate on your layout to run at least 4 locomotives simultaneously , but you only want to power what your using.

Additionally, Lionel recommends wiring the brick to the track with 14 GA wire. It's also a good idea to have power feeders at least every 10' of track length.

You need to break the layout into a few power districts, with each district power by a PH180 (or other transformer like one side of a Z-4000).  You can isolate these districts by just cutting the center rail where you want the electrical break (you don't need to isolate the outside rails).

I personally have my engines parked on isolated tracks where I can turn on/off the electricity to the track with simple 10 amp SPST toggle switches.  No need to power the engine electronics when not running it.  All my engine storage tracks are on one power district, with the multiple isolated tracks controlled by toggle switches off a distribution block.

There is no issue with the engine going from one district to another as long as all transformers are in phase.  Should not be a problem with the PH180s unless you plug them into different outlets and your house wiring was done incorrectly (NOTE: there are a few older PH180s wired wrong).

Last edited by CAPPilot

I missed that you also had a PowerMaster.  You will need to have a separate PM for each district.  One PH180 and one PM for each district.

You mentioned the TPC 400.  If you go that route, I would get the new 360 PM and not the TPC. With the 360 PM you can connect two PH180s to it to get twice as much power to the track without doing anything else. That may solve your problem but 20 amps to the track is a lot and it might be better to go with power districts. I’m not sure what kind of CB protection the 360 PM has.

You only need one Legacy base for the whole layout.

@bkm posted:

I bought a lionel lockon and hook up another 180 brick but it just throw the breaker.i know its wire correctly.

The Lionel TMCC Direct Lockon handles a MAXIMUM of 10 amps, so that's really not doing anything for you.  You really need the Legacy PowerMaster 360 or a TPC-300/400 to have more than 10 amps on the track with dual transformers.

That being said, I strongly recommend you consider revising your running plan so you don't need all that power, when you get 20-30 amps on the track, a derailment can turn into a welding party, and your train is a participant!  I can tell you from first hand experience that the breakers on multiple ganged transformers don't always trip as you'd expect.

I personally won't run on a layout with more than 10A on a power district.

For this photo of a dozen engines with smoke units OFF, the Z4000 powering the turntable indicated 9.9 amps and couldn't hold that current for very long.  Some of the whisker tracks had to be turned off between shots.

Festival of Trains 2014 -1719

The O.P. should first isolate the engine storage sidings so they can be powered off.

10 amps is sufficient to run two or three trains on a loop.  Each loop should be isolated from the other (if they are connected)  with fiber pins in any crossover tracks.  Each loop should be powered with a separate power brick.

Don't switch to a TPC.  The breaker is less sensitive than the internal breaker in the 180 Powerhouse bricks.   As GRJ mentioned, those of us who have tried the high amperage the TPC 400 is capable of are wary of the heat and damage caused by any derailment/short. 

A 12x20 layout should not need multiple power districts on the same loop - just power each loop separately.  If you have a big yard then that could be its own power district with its own power supply.

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Reading these responses has me thinking about a future expansion I’m planning.  If I have a large layout and power it with two isolated sections (each having its own power brick), when an engine crosses the isolated section (ie goes from one powered section to the next independently powered section), does it hesitate at all?  What’s the best way to actually isolate assuming Fasttrack?

@NoviceBen posted:

Reading these responses has me thinking about a future expansion I’m planning.  If I have a large layout and power it with two isolated sections (each having its own power brick), when an engine crosses the isolated section (ie goes from one powered section to the next independently powered section), does it hesitate at all?  What’s the best way to actually isolate assuming Fasttrack?

Lionel Fastrack block section.  On the bottom are three jumper wires.  You will only need to remove the center rail jumper.  See CAPPilot's response above.  There should be no hesitation if the voltage in each section matches and the power supplies are phased.

Brendan

Last edited by Brendan
@Steven posted:

Brendan

I have Lionel fastrack on my layout, 8X12. 3 parallel loops with manual switches to among the three loops.

Other than the terminal track, other sections do not have wires underneath. There are tabs to add wiring.  That said, how do I isolate Lionel fastrack to set up blocks? Due I cut the center rail? Or remove the center rail connector pins.



Thank you

Maybe the manual switches didn't come with the short section with the jumper.  Here is a photo of the jumper piece

IMG_6849

Brendan

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