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I have a 6 x 12 fastrack layout. I had been using Z-1000 transformer to run my conventional engines and accessories. I also wired up the switches, uncoupling tracks and operating tracks to fixed voltage.

I now have a Powerhouse 180, Legacy Powermaster, Trainmaster Base and Cab 1 remote. With  help from Gunrunnerjohn it all works great!

Now I want to reconnect my Z-1000 for accessories and fixed voltage to the switches and so on.

Any issues with that plan? From what I've read that the PW and Z-1000 need to be in phase.

Could someone give me an outline how to test the phasing or correct it if needed? If it's easier by phone that's an option as well. I tried to find local help but struck out.20240228_202809

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You're looking to connect the "common" of each transformer together.  That being the case, you simply connect one lead of each transformer together.  Next measure the voltage between the unconnected lead of each transformer with the Z-1000 set to full voltage.  If you're getting around 30-40 volts between those leads, the transformers are out of phase, swap the leads on one transformer.  If they're in phase, you should be reading low voltage, no more than a few volts.

From the two supplied photos, the Powerhouse's Molex connector appears to be plugged into the Legacy Powermaster.

Since there's 18VAC measured between the Legacy Powermaster A Post and the Z-Controller Red Post (with the PM's U post and Z-Controller's Black post tied together), here's the easiest way to swap the connections to make the two transformers outputs in phase with each other.

Simply reverse the connections from the Z-Controller's output; Red will become Common (tied to the Powermaster U Post) and Black will become the Hot.

Some will tell you to remove the ears from the Neutral prong of the 120V wall plug on the Z-1000, so that the plug can be reversed, like a postwar transformer.  Personally, I prefer to keep the UL Certification intact and swap polarity at the output instead of the input if the transformer has a polarized wall plug.

Either way, after reversing polarity of one transformer, repeat the phasing test as before with the revised connections.

Looking at the 2nd picture, Rick is measuring 18VAC between the A output of the Powermaster and the Red Output of the Z-Controller.  I think one reason the measured voltage isn't higher is because the Z-Controller's throttle is set to about 10-15% of max.  I suspect that if the measurement were taken (as connected in his second picture) but with both the Z-Controller and the Powermaster set to max, the no-load voltage would be over 36VAC.

Last edited by SteveH
@SteveH posted:

Looking at the 2nd picture, Rick is measuring 18VAC between the A output of the Powermaster and the Red Output of the Z-Controller.  I think one reason the measured voltage isn't higher is because the Z-Controller's throttle is set to about 10-15% of max.  I suspect that if the measurement were taken (as connected in his second picture) but with both the Z-Controller and the Powermaster set to max, the no-load voltage would be over 36VAC.

That was the instructions way up front.

You're looking to connect the "common" of each transformer together.  That being the case, you simply connect one lead of each transformer together.  Next measure the voltage between the unconnected lead of each transformer with the Z-1000 set to full voltage.  If you're getting around 30-40 volts between those leads, the transformers are out of phase, swap the leads on one transformer.  If they're in phase, you should be reading low voltage, no more than a few volts.

Looking at the most recent picture, it sure looks like it's set to full throttle.

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Hello Gents, I appreciate your patience and assistance! Here's a better photo and diagram. The throttle is on max, and if I switch the leads on the Z-1000 I still get 18 volts. Doesn't matter if I test from Z-1000 A post or U post on the powermaster it's still 18 volts when connect the volt meter to the Powermaster.20240302_12263920240302_122449

Just checking since the diagram is what I described, but the picture is not.  In the quoted picture, the blue test connection is going between the PM U post and the Z-controller Black (instead of Red).  Do you still get 18VAC with the blue lead connected to the Red while measuring voltage between PM A and Z-C Black?

Last edited by SteveH

Sanity check, ensure meter is set for AC voltage measurement, and is either auto range or 200V range for AC. (Edit, I see this meter has a 50V AC range which is OK for the expected possible worst case 18+18=36-40V scenario)

Step 1, ensure wiring is as shown, U connected, test output of powermaster to ensure it actually is on state and on fully. Should be around 18V. Possibly turn on and off to ensure the meter really is reading the output, but again last step leave on.

Check Powermaster

While leaving the powermaster still on, move the meter to to the Zcontroller and ensure it is full on and your meter reads that output. Again, vary the voltage to ensure the meter is actually reading that output. Leave the output turned up full on.

Check Zcontroller

now last- check across the 2 transformers as shown- Edit, again, both outputs should be full on approx 18V and measured individually first, before checking across the 2 transformers with U to U connected. We are then measuring hopefully the difference between the 2 transformers which should be low only a few volts to near zero. When the voltages add up to a voltage higher than either output- they are out of phase- flip only one the transformer AC cords at the socket and check again.

Check phasing

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Last edited by Vernon Barry

Edited after Vernon's edit.  I agree with Vernon's step by step check of both the Powermaster and Z-Controller independently to verify each is outputting 18VAC.

@Vernon Barry Normally I'd agree with you [edit: about connecting Black to U] on this if everything was working as expected.  However, if you go back and look at previous posts, he had the Z-Controller Black connected to the Powermaster U and was measuring 18VAC between the PM A and Z-C Red posts (pictured below).

Please check the photo to see the connections are correct to check phasing. I'm getting 18 volts. I great value your help with this. I don't understand how to swap the leads.20240302_082849

Vernon, as you are I believe you're aware, some Powerhouses and some Z-1000/Controller combos have been reported to have their outputs out of phase with their inputs.  I initially suggested a way to reverse polarity without grinding down the wall plug as many enthusiasts seem to think is the best way (others claim the only way) to "phase" a polarized plug transformer that's out of phase with another polarized plug transformer.  Point being, that one transformer's apparent polarity/phase relative to another can be matched to another transformer by reversing either one of the transformer's input or output connections.  Swapping red for black to phase an otherwise out of phase Z-Controller is IMO the simplest method, that retains the U = Common on the other 2 Lionel devices and requires no tools and retains its UL Certification.

Another method would be to modify the PowerHouse's output cable by reversing it's polarity, that's a bit more involved, but may be a more desirable fix in some circumstances.

Last edited by SteveH

Right, but 18V is a failed (edit- phase check) test. Less than 10 V or more than 30V would be a valid test result meaning at least you can properly determine phasing (with some degree of certainty that the test was conducted correctly).

18V just tells me, you messed up and should not trust the test.

18V would happen when one transformer is output is full on, and the other is off. Or maybe, when both where at some combination that adds up to 18 like 9+9.

Last edited by Vernon Barry

Right, but 18V is a failed (edit- phase check) test. Less than 10 V or more than 30V would be a valid test result meaning at least you can properly determine phasing.

18V just tells me, you messed up and should not trust the test.

18V would happen when one transformer is output is full on, and the other is off. Or maybe, when both where at some combination that adds up to 18 like 9+9.

Agreed, something is wonky.   Also I started editing (as noted above) my previous reply before your recent reply.

The PH is connected to the PM and the green light on the PM is on. When I put the voltmeter leads to the PM I get nothing.  If I test just the plug coming from the PH I get nothing. That's very confusing because ran my conventional engines with Cab 1 and it worked.

The Z-1000 is going to power accessories and put constant voltage the switches, uncouplers and so on.

Make sure both Transformers at set to maximum voltage and plugged in to powered outlet. Set meter at 50 AC Volts. Measure output between the two hot terminals. You should read between 0-5 AC Volts or close to it.  If you get approx 35-40 volts AC Voltage your Transformers are out of phase. I had two MTH Z-1000 Transformers that were out of phase. I cut off the factory plug off one cord, reversed the wires onto a new store bought replacement male plug, and labeled the plug as Reversed Polarity To Phase With Other Z-1000 Transformer. Label everything because you won't remember it years down the road. Now where did I leave that 10 mm socket?😁

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