I disagree on the comment on the three pole plug, I use a  power strip and when I put the three conductor on the transformer I  check the power side is the same location on the transformers.  There should be no problem as the power is the same polarity  using a outlet on one side of the breaker. the problem is when you use two outlets on different sides of the breaker box. Then phasing will not work and you got a problem. 

DougB posted:

I disagree on the comment on the three pole plug, I use a  power strip and when I put the three conductor on the transformer I  check the power side is the same location on the transformers...

There is no problem with using a three pronged grounding plug for the way you are using it. The problem comes up when the grounding plug wire is connected to a metal part of the transformer - a big no-no. Just cut it and leave it not touching anything.

Rob

ADCX Rob posted:
DougB posted:

I disagree on the comment on the three pole plug, I use a  power strip and when I put the three conductor on the transformer I  check the power side is the same location on the transformers...

There is no problem with using a three pronged grounding plug for the way you are using it. The problem comes up when the grounding plug wire is connected to a metal part of the transformer - a big no-no. Just cut it and leave it not touching anything.

I disagree - a polarized plug could be utilized for the same purpose and NOT give the false impression of grounding. I'll concede for a home user who did it them self, "whatever". A true professional would never ever consider that as acceptable.

I disagree, something goes wrong in the transformer, the metal plate on the bottom could get charged, if grounded by the three conductor the charge would go to ground kicking off the breaker and the user would not be in danger . Remember the PW transformers are not double insulated as are the new transformers are. Is the new MTH  and lionel  transformers three plug?   Remember the PW  transformers did not have a UL sticker and this indicates why. 

DougB posted:

I disagree, something goes wrong in the transformer, the metal plate on the bottom could get charged, if grounded by the three conductor the charge would go to ground kicking off the breaker and the user would not be in danger . Remember the PW transformers are not double insulated as are the new transformers are. Is the new MTH  and lionel  transformers three plug?   Remember the PW  transformers did not have a UL sticker and this indicates why. 

Classic transformers not UL listed? Guess you haven't seen a few:

 

 

 

 

I could be wrong, but I recall hearing that some of the more powerful PW transformers couldn’t get a UL tag not because of the plug or double grounding, but because they put out too much power.  I just looked at my Z and one of my ZWs.  Neither one had a UL tag.

Bob

You are correct on the UL sticker. Never the less, I like to ground all electrical devices. I always put a seperate ground on washing machine or dryer. Many years ago I noticed that the washing machine gave off a tingle when I put the clothes on it, I dismissed it as static electric. So I put a ground to a water pipe, what I got was one **** of a spark. What had happened in the  fuse box was that the clamp on  it wore through the main wire insulation and made the box hot, thus power  touches the ground but since there was no CB or fuse between that  and the meter pan, power ran through the ground to all appliances. Needless to say, I replaced all from the pothead to the new circuit breaker box. Later I got the power company to  change the wire to the pole from AL to 2 AWG copper , replace the rotted pole and replaced the transformer. 

Lehigh74 posted:

I could be wrong, but I recall hearing that some of the more powerful PW transformers couldn’t get a UL tag not because of the plug or double grounding, but because they put out too much power.  I just looked at my Z and one of my ZWs.  Neither one had a UL tag.

I have the same understanding. The VW (same design as the ZW) was UL listed at 150W, but the ZW, despite exactly the same in terms of isolation and construction, was not because it was "too powerful" for "toys"

One more comment on the UL sticker, codes change, what was ok then may not be code now, for example the electric dryer was a three wire connection, now its , Hot,Hot, neutral and ground. The  old transformers did not have a polarized plug, now we see such on double insulated tools.  A GFI does not need a ground to work, as it measures the power in vs the power to the neutral if not the same which would indicate a leak of power and shut off.  As a construction safety manager I can not tell you how many times I have been given a GFI and the worker says the gfi does not work, gee  the GFI found a leak and shut down the unit.  then an investigation on the problem occurs, most times its a defective extension cord.  when the PW transformers were sold we did not have GFI and Arc fault outlets or breakers, just look at the fuse boxes with round glass fuses against  the Circuit breaker boxes today.  House fires dropped significantly since we stopped using 14 AWG in houses or knob and tube type distrubition systems or fabric wrapped wires, which the rodents ate and caused fires.

Cute UL stickers from what the 1960's or earlier. UL today is far more advanced in electronics certification than it was 60 or 70 years ago.

Back then they used methods applicable to the THEN electronics.  If you are counting on your grand-daddy's certifications good luck!

AlanHN

All this talk of "UL" listings aside...getting back to the original question.

I have been running my "electronic" - equipped locos with an MRC 027 "Dual Power" unit; much newer than "old style lionel transformers". It runs them just fine.

I did try an American Flyer 15B with the same steam engines, just to see how they would perform. The speed control was not as precise, but they did put out more smoke...I'm guessing the 15B's minimum voltage is higher than that of the MRC unit, so the smoke resistor heats up quicker(?)

Mark in Oregon

Just glad I have a modern UL certified Z-4000!  (WINK) I have a Monster theatre quality surge device on the input side and either a Scott's Odds and Ends surge device OR a QSI Power Guard on the output side. Works for me. Also since my electric service installed a voltage regulator on my power pole, I rarely have to change any type of lightbulb.

vita sine litteris mors est  (Seneca)

Tinplate Art posted:

Just glad I have a modern UL certified Z-4000!  (WINK) I have a Monster theatre quality surge device on the input side and either a Scott's Odds and Ends surge device OR a QSI Power Guard on the output side. Works for me. Also since my electric service installed a voltage regulator on my power pole, I rarely have to change any type of lightbulb.

FYI the QSI Power Guard uses TVS's with some LEDs to indicate spikes. They were ahead of the curve long before TVS's became the talk of OGR. The main consequence of UL today is the 10 amp limit per channel on transformer outputs. 

Pete

KOOLjock1 posted:

People hate me for running my layout of Pre-War, Post War, Modern Era, TMCC and LionChief Plus off a 1949 ZW/KW combo with no added protection... but I've never had an electronics issue in over 20 years of operation.

Jon

 

Same here... run all my stuff old and new off of my trusty ZW’s with no added protection as well. Try to be quick with the handle if anything does happen, but have had no problems in doing so. 

ADCX Rob posted:
DougB posted:

I disagree on the comment on the three pole plug, I use a  power strip and when I put the three conductor on the transformer I  check the power side is the same location on the transformers...

There is no problem with using a three pronged grounding plug for the way you are using it. The problem comes up when the grounding plug wire is connected to a metal part of the transformer - a big no-no. Just cut it and leave it not touching anything.

I know I said that the subject is closed as far as I was concerned, but I have been advised to state as a final comment that the practice of installing 3 wire cords with 3 prong cords on the older transformers is correct. The facts are that if the transformer is in good shape it is not necessary. In the rare case that there is a short inside the transformer that makes its way to the transformer mounting plates, it will energize the base plates with power. It may only be a small voltage, but it could also be 110 volts. The grounding of the plates, will short out small voltages to ground, and in the case of a large voltage, it should blow the house breaker. It is for this reason that every appliance, tool etc that has exposed metal will have 3 wire grounding cords.

People use these transformers in all kinds of environments, from nice dry living rooms to damp basements some with water on the floor, some outside. If our practice saves just one life, the investment we have made is well worth it. I strongly encourage everyone who is changing a power cord on their transformer to follow suit and use a 3 wire cable. The procedure I suggest is wire the black and white wires first, then plug the transformer in and scratch the green wire on the outside plate of the transformer. If there is any spark at all, I strongly advise you to scrap the transformer, which is exactly what we do.  We have followed this procedure for over 200 transformers since we started this procedure and have not received one complaint of the transformer not operating perfectly or anyone getting a shock. How do I know of this number? Because we purchase our cords in 100 lot quantities, and we are in our third batch. I will not respond further on this issue. My intent is solely to do what little I can to help provide a safe train environment. If that is upsetting to some people so be it. Please consider our suggestion when you are replacing cords. If you have someone else doing this for you, ask them to do the same test. Thank you all for your patience. 

TinMan

Thank You for taking the time to reply, I agree with you. Our club is getting rid of old transformers, I advised since they are in poor condition they could be a liability if we sold them or gave them away.  That being said the three wire cord is the only way to go. I also agree with the method of testing the  transformer with the ground wire.. Thank you for your educated reply. 

TinMan3rail posted:

The procedure I suggest is wire the black and white wires first, then plug the transformer in and scratch the green wire on the outside plate of the transformer. If there is any spark at all, I strongly advise you to scrap the transformer

 This right there says all you need to know - a true professional would not recommend nor boast about performing a continuity test in such a fashion at line voltage. As such, recommend that others, as I, to treat any recommendations or conclusions as suspect.

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