one TIU and 5 tracks

I need help trying to figure out how to power 5 tracks with 1 TIU.  I have a Z4000 transformer.   I am new to the TIU DCS system.  The manual doesn't really say how to hook up multiple tracks to one TIU.   


Thanks for your help.

Original Post

Have you heard about Barry's book of DCS? It would be helpful for you moving forward. I could guess and try to help you but I really need more info.

You can only hook up so much track to any one TIU channel.

You can divide each channel by connecting to distribution blocks or even just using wire nuts or soldered wires.

Usually a larger gauge wire pair is run to a central location and then divided up to each track block.

TIU inputs can be jumped so that more than one channel gets power from a Z4000 handle.

Maybe if you provided a track plan we could help you better?

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!


This is not a problem, many different ways to accomplish the wiring.  I recommend you purchase Barry's DCS O Gauge Companion book to start out with, and the OGR Video Guide to DCS, if you are a visual learner.  Everything you need to know about setting up a DCS layout is in these educational formats.

You can run numerous track set ups from an MTH Terminal Block coming off your TIU, no big deal to it.


Never worry about what other people think, be strong and walk in the way of the Lord.

I will look into that book.   I have an 11 x 7 layout with 3 upper tracks (an EL) and then 2 lower tracks under the EL.  I have MTH and Lionel Legacy engines.  I did manage to use the fixed output 1 for z4000 and the track block for 2 tracks.  I did not use fixed input 1 only the output 1.    I don't have a big layout.

If that's all the more track you are using, I would think one TIU would work. 

Sounds like you used the TIU in what's called passive mode? If the signal is low a choke maybe needed to boost or clean it.

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!

The issue you face is less about the TIU and more about how much power you need on each of the 5 tracks. Do you have a sense for how many engines you will be running simultaneously and how long of a train and whether the cars are lighted? Each of the two main Z4000 handles give you 180 watts of power. That is 10 amps each. You can't max these out without throwing the breaker on the Z4000. The most I have seen a train pull in command mode is about 1.8 amps. You could certainly pull more with multiple engines in a lash-up and lighted cars. However, you could probably run 4 engines per handle safely. It doesn't really matter too much how many tracks you have as long as they are blocked and the power to the trains is distributed evenly.


Engineer-Joe posted:
George S posted:

 The most I have seen a train pull in command mode is about 1.8 amps. 


I believe you mean a one engine train? You must have seen trains draw more than that!

That's correct. I thought the sentence after that made that point? "You could certainly pull more with multiple engines in a lash-up and lighted cars." Maybe not...


I have been using passive mode and have been able to run two tracks.  I attached two tracks to the fixed output/passive mode.  Right now i have three engines on each track....MTH PS3 and 2 lionel legacy engines.  I find Lionel Legacy more user friendly.  

I'm not sure what you mean by tracks or why you use passive mode.  You can connect two tracks to the same TIU output, and can connect two inputs to the same Z4000 handle.  If you set the Variable channels to fixed mode, the Z4000 handle will control the voltage on the two channels connected to it.  As George points out, the issue is how many trains you're running.  I have had 6-7 running on a Z4000 at the same time, on a 38'x16' layout.

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