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Well, I did it. Last night I pulled the 2 CWs off the layout and put up the ZW. Ran everything carefully to avoid a derail. Every loco I tested that did not run with the CWs runs with the ZW. I'm still waiting for the #91 circuit breakers to test the MTH. I have a Kline/RMT switcher conventional that would not run and it is fine now. A MPC 4-4-2 that would not run with the CWs is running now but that might be the E unit. After a few runs around the layout it started running in reverse only. The MPC 44 tonner was quieter. My conventional early 2000s RS-3 that was not particularly loud was even quieter. I can't wait to get the Christmas stuff out. I have a RMT Beep that completely spazzed out last Christmas. I suspect it will be fine now.

Had a rough day at work yesterday. Company wide outage of a critical system. I worked with a tech all day, then had to run my stuff manually. So a bit of bourbon and properly running trains was heaven.

Old school rules!

Frank.

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The ZW was indeed a crowning achievement by the Lionel engineering staff. Had my first (new) one about 1955-56 and my second (used) in 1989. Both performed flawlessly with my then analog trains. MTH's crowning achievement in the modern era was the UL approved Z-4000 which, like the ZW, is an iconic performer. I have two Z-4000's that are decades old with no issues. Kudos to Lionel and MTH for these innovative and durable transformers!

Last edited by Tinplate Art
@ftauss posted:

I'm looking to protect the MTH trains. 2 Christmases ago I had a derail with NPC 0-6-0 Lionchief. It blew the circuit board and the wires cooked off and burned the rug, I ain't worried about the ZW, I'm worried about the delicate electronics.

This has been talked a lot on here, you do a search you will find a ton of discussions about using modern electronics with older transformers. It boils down to 2 things:

1)Having a quick blow circuit breaker or fuse in line with the power from the transformer to the track. Some use a quick throw breaker, others use things like quick blow auto fuses. Depending on your usage, they prob should be between 5 and 8 amps IMO, others may disagree.

2)TVS diodes across the power feed to the track (Some put it right across the U and other terminal on the transformer you use for track power, others at the track between the hot and common wires. A TVS is a voltage clamp, it prevents the kind of surge that can happen when a short occurs that can do real damage to modern electronics.



If you search the threads on here for TVS and circuit breaker, you will find a lot of recommendations. Modern transformers should not have this problem, though I think a tvs still makes sense.

ftauss,

You're right on the money.  Burning of anything is never acceptable.

However, when wires burn through the problem is not delicate electronics.  That wire wasn't fat enough to withstand a direct short circuit --  it's an electrical problem, and not an electronic one.

So in addition to protecting your electronics (a relatively new thing), you also have to protect your electricals (very old things).  It might surprise some people to learn that there's old technology mixed in with the new, and that in spite of common belief some old technology might not be up to the task.  In order to be adequately safe, fuses and breakers, whether traditional or electronically-controlled, are necessary to protect both.

Thanks for sharing your story and approach.

M.H.M.

@ADCX Rob posted:

I run all my MTH with the ZW. The operation of the ZW breaker is unaffected, it works fine.

@ftauss posted:

I'm looking to protect the MTH trains. 2 Christmases ago I had a derail with NPC 0-6-0 Lionchief. It blew the circuit board and the wires cooked off and burned the rug, I ain't worried about the ZW, I'm worried about the delicate electronics.

OK, that's a different problem, not an over-current issue. I use TVS diode protection when needed on the MTH stuff to clamp spikes.

@ftauss posted:

Well, I did it. Last night I pulled the 2 CWs off the layout and put up the ZW. Ran everything carefully to avoid a derail. Every loco I tested that did not run with the CWs runs with the ZW. I'm still waiting for the #91 circuit breakers to test the MTH. I have a Kline/RMT switcher conventional that would not run and it is fine now. A MPC 4-4-2 that would not run with the CWs is running now but that might be the E unit. After a few runs around the layout it started running in reverse only. The MPC 44 tonner was quieter. My conventional early 2000s RS-3 that was not particularly loud was even quieter. I can't wait to get the Christmas stuff out. I have a RMT Beep that completely spazzed out last Christmas. I suspect it will be fine now.

Had a rough day at work yesterday. Company wide outage of a critical system. I worked with a tech all day, then had to run my stuff manually. So a bit of bourbon and properly running trains was heaven.

Old school rules!

Frank.

Well said Frank...ZW's rule......

We sell a 5 amp quick pop breaker, self setting which is ideal for use w/ the various electronic items.  You place 1 on the hot feeder line ( center rail ), for each lead.  (cut the lead, solder in to reconnect), Done!!!  Just remember that the original circuit breakers installed in the transformer are to protect the transformer, NOT you train.  We have sold over 2000 pcs. w/o one complaint.  Harry

The Lionel postwar 91 circuit breaker is excellent. Maximum current 6 amps. It is easy to install, just wire it between the A or D post on the ZW and the track lock on. It is a very fast acting magnetic circuit breaker. If there is a derailment, you will hear the circuit breaker snap and the red light go on.  Fix the problem, push the reset button, and you are back in operation. It opens so fast you will not even see sparks at the derailment site. Lionel must have made a lot of them as there are still lots of them around, some still new in the box.

feet,

There's a recent large, deep thread on breakers, probably more than you'd like to know.  However if you drop into this post in the middle of it you'll find Eaton breakers mentioned, and recommended by @harmonyards:

  Airpax Snapac Hydraulic-Magnetic Circuit Breaker Internal Mechanisms - Updated 5/12/2021

The whole thread focuses primarily on fast breakers for protection of modern stuff.  Using them with a ZW is a good idea if you're going to be running modern things.

M.H.M.

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