I'm thinking about replacing my 275 watt ZW transformer with a 250 watt Z transformer. My layout is fairly small and the difference in the watts is not a concern. The issue is the two upright handles on the ZW interfere with my access to part of the layout. My fat gut (which was not there when I first built the layout) keeps getting hung up on those handles ever time I reach over them. Someone is offering me a recently serviced Z transformer for not a lot of money. The Z is just so big and ugly, but it might solve my problem. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
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I do not think you will be happy with a Z. It is hard to use and does not have whistle controller or reverse button. But it does run at a higher voltage, max is about 25 volts. I would look at a KW or RW.
Thanks David Johnston. You're absolutely correct. I need the whistle controller and reverse for my layout.
I'll check out the KW and RW transformers. Thanks for your reply.
I saw on a dvd that someone mounted their ZW's on there side so that the handles were top and bottom. He then used the throttles towards him and away.
I operated for 10 years or so with a Z and a pair of whistle/bells buttons. I was fine operating that way, although I did eventually replace it with a ZW that I picked up. I still have as standby power.
If you are otherwise happy with the ZW why not simply move the location of your transformers?
My father had a Z and loved it. He also got started with pre-war Lionel and was perfectly happy to use an auxiliary whistle and direction controller. Those things are cheap enough on the bay. However for him that was an upgrade from his original transformer. For you it would be a sideways move at best. If it is cheap enough I would say buy it. You can always use it for accessories later, or use it to control the around the Christmas tree loop for kids and grandkids if you ultimately decide you like the ZW better. If you are of a more frugal mindset then I would say keep the ZW and move or lower it so that it is no longer in the way.