I have 250 ft of Fastrack, 20 switches, 25 uncoupler sections. Track power is 180W Powerhouse using a buss. Control is TMCC Cab1 and 990 Cab2 and 3 LionChief. I might Add a second Cab 2. I don't anticipate more than 4 Locos running at any one time. I am in the process of adding a second buss to power the switches and I was going to use 1 of my 2 CW80s to provide the power. I see a warning on my auxiliary power instructions for the uncouplers not to use the CW 80 accessory terminals. This leads to several questions.

 Do I need to use one CW80  accessory terminals for my switch buss and the second CW80 at 12V for second buss for the uncouplers? Could I do this just using one CW80 and both sets of terminals?


Original Post

Both were just purchased from the Lionel store. There is a G before the serial number on each one.So my question is can I run turnouts and uncoupler off of the same buss or do they require different voltages? I think that probably the voltage required to throw the turnout should be higher. When I measured the voltage of the transformer I got 15V from the acc terminals. So I could use the acc  terminals for the turnouts and use the variable terminals to power the uncoupler but crank the voltage down to 10V. Next is why not do this from 1  CW80?

Well,well another revelation . Thanks In light of this and my desire to have uncouplers and turnouts use auxiliary power I can stay out of all sorts of trouble by using the factory setting of 12V on one of the CW-80 for the uncouplers and and the 2nd CW-80 with the accessory V brought up to 18V  for the turnouts.  this would mean 3 buss lines with all attached to a common return . One for TMCC cab 1 running through  a Legacy 990. one for uncouplers running 12V and one running 18V for turnouts. Do you approve? 

Personal opinion from experience - it would be best to use both CW80's and only the handle. I don't know if any of the stuff you want to power has solid state devices but if they do please beware that there is a voltage spike on turn-on for the ACC terminals which can go over 30 volts. I have two CW80's and blew up about five DZ-1008 relays before a friend came over with an oscilloscope and measured the voltage spikes on both transformers - one at 30 and I believe the other at 32 volts. The relays were only good to 25 volts. Gunrunnerjohn has offered a fix for controlling the spike.

The handles are safe if you turn on the transformer with them 'off' then raise to your desired voltage. I have no idea if there is a voltage spike if the handles are left in an 'on' position when the transformer is turned on.

I raised this voltage spike issue with the Lionel rep who posted about a new CW80 design on another CW80 post. He has yet to answer the question.


Joe Fauty

Looking at the schematic, it seems the two outputs are handled exactly the same way, it's curious that one would have a spike and the other one not. I'll have to check that out...


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Not really, it's not worth the effort to retain the CW-80, cheaper to get a pure transformer and eliminate the cause of the spikes.

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