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I am starting back in the hobby after a long break.  Basically what I like is newer MTH and older conventional lionel.  I will be setting up a basic layout up above the bar in the basement running two maybe three trains.  For the most part I will be running newer MTH with PS2 or PS3.  I do have some older lionel that I would like to run occasionally.  Will switching back and forth with the DCS remote system be difficult? I will be running one train at a time.  I have a new MTH z 1000 and a lionel zw transformer.  thanks

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Will switching back and forth with the DCS remote system be difficult?

Not at all.  Supply power to the variable input of the tiu, and wire the track from the corresponding variable output.  Use the fixed voltage connection on the z1000 brick to power the aux input to the tiu, or jump variable input 1 and fixed input 1 together.  The tiu gets power from the aux or fixed 1 input.

On your dcs remote,  select track (whichever variable output you are using, usually output 1) and use the thumb wheel to scroll the voltage up/down.  If you are running dcs trains this is just a short extra step before powering them up.  If you are running conventional trains, the dcs controller is now a walk around throttle to change the voltage to the track. 

Easy as pie.

Arnold, one pro of installing TVS diodes inside each engine is that if you take your toys to somebody else's house, you don't have to worry if their tracks and circuitry are protected - you're covered!!

For my engines/cars that contain electronics, I add a TVS inside each engine at the point where the power comes to a board from the collector assy. They are cheap enough, and rather than having only one diode to protect everything on a block or a whole power district, I have multiple points of protection, insuring that even if one TVS fails in the "open" position rather than the more common "short" type failure, you will still have protection via the other TVS diodes installed in other cars/engines. A shorted diode makes itself known quickly, but a single "open" diode gives you no indication that it has failed and is exactly the same as not having any protection at all.

I think in reality the location may not be that critical - I know many folks just stick one TVS across each transformer output line, but to me, I like to put the diode right next to the device it is protecting.


Mike Miller, HHarvey, I run conventional lionel and mth on my variable tracks all the time while running ps2/3 engines on the other loops, powered solely by one of the fixed or remaining variable dcs output (you have 2 fixed and 2 variable per tiu). As long as the line running the conventional engines is fed by a variable output, you will have no problems.  The dcs system is a breeze to control the voltage on the variable lines and run conventional trains, while also operating ps2/3 engines on separate lines fed by the other outputs.   Some guys try to run ps2 or 3 locos on the same variable track along with conventional. This has never worked well for me as the command engines require too much voltage and the conventional engines run too fast when on the same track.

Last edited by Strap Hanger
@Mike Miller posted:

Thanks Strap and John for the info.  Now that I know it's possible, what connections are made between the ZW-L and the TIU?  What outputs on the ZW-L connect to what channels on the TIU ?  Am I correct in assuming conventional can run on only one track and not the other or both ?


I have two z4000 transformers powering my pike and my tiu, but a friend of mine uses the zw-l with his dcs system. Not too sure how he connects, but maybe others here can chime in.

Last edited by Strap Hanger

There are two variable channels and two fixed channels on the TIU.  You can run conventional equipment using the DCS remote when powered by either of the variable channels of the TIU.  For tracks powered by the fixed channels, you can run conventional if you have a variable voltage transformer powering that channel.

Power goes through the TIU from the input side to the output side, and you can power one or more channels from a single transformer, or each channel from a separate transformer output.  Mine is fairly simple, four transformers, each powering one of the inputs of the TIU.  Obviously, two of the loops can only run command with my setup, but the mainline and sidings have variable voltage control from the DCS remote with this configuration.


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