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I bought a used ZW controller with 2 bricks about 10 months ago. It was working great until last night. The controller showed a red light then the red/green alternated about 10 times. Even with nothing on the track. I hooked it to a single track, same thing. Once power is applied the lights blink. Tried 3 different bricks. TIA

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#1 These controllers are end of life. Parts are VERY limited from Lionel.

#2 I'm not saying for sure it is that part (output FET), it could be other problems and other parts. Ideally you need someone who is smart enough to reverse engineer the circuit, find the fault, and fix it, if it even can be fixed.

#3 Given that again, this is end of life- no longer supported, if the microprocessor is damaged- even just an output or single pin, because we cannot get the firmware to program a new one, or copy the firmware off the old one, it might well just be dead and a pile of parts.

Last- obviously check with NOTHING connected, not even a piece of track to ensure it is not some fault externally.

Last edited by Vernon Barry
@CALNNC posted:

Well, that clears that up, thanks.  A corded wall wart after a fashion, with more current capability  You never know how nicknames get applied, like CB'ers who call the power transistor in an illegal amplifier a 'pill'.

More than glad to explain. You might have seen the title ZW controller and not been aware that unlike the postwar ZW you might use or be familiar with. A more modern unit was created with UL standards and regulations of the time likely at play, along with command and control desired of modern electronics, the ZW-C is a different animal than your old school ZW.

The ZW-C is an electronic based controller that takes the incoming constant voltage 18V AC from one or more of the "Powerhouse" 180 Watt "bricks" and varies that voltage to the track. It uses transistor and electronics rather than rollers and a core transformer. And that is why you may see discussions of them, because when those electronics fail- they tend to do bad things.

Also, this series was discontinued- and then replaced by the ZW-L- similar concept, but with a large transformer internally rather than the external Powerhouse modules.

Thanks, folks. I was able to figure out a few things based on some of the advice. Had a laugh over the 'brick' section; I've been using that term for many years, at least 25.

Back on track, I found a couple of issues with the bell buttons. But I couldn't do much today because I had electricians doing work and had no power for several hours. I'll work on it some more tomorrow. Tim

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