Phasing Transformers

I watched the Lionel video on phasing transformers.  the video shows modern transformers.  I want to phase a post-war ZW and a KW.  Is it done in the same way as the modern transformers ?

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

Original Post

Dan;

Haven't seen the video, so I can't comment on it, but I had to phase two post war ZW's and this is what I found:

  1. Run a wire from the common on one transformer to the common on the other
  2. Set the appropriate handle on each transformer to 10 volts 
  3. attach a wire to the hot on one transformer, then touch the wire to the hot on the second - if you get a spark, they are out of phase, so you should try reversing one of the plugs. I put green electrician's tape on one side of each plug in case I ever have to disconnect the plugs - of course, the one time I had to, I forgot to check the tape, put one in backwards, and my switches had a hissy fit (proving, once again, I am a techno-peasant!!!)

 

Hope this helps.

Paul

Techno-Peasant of the First Order

Provisionary Member - Brotherhood of the Crappy Basement Layout

 

   It is done the same way for the KW & ZW.

 It is possible to run new & old transformers together. You should phase to the new as the master transformer because they are usually in proper phase to the "big blade, on the plug. Always choose one transformer as master to phase to with trhee or more..I forget why . Something odd and not likely using/ crossing the accessory taps.

I use voltage measuments or bulbs(18-24v or you might cook it). Sparks are guess work ime; I've crossed them before doing it.... bright street lights

 Mixing other transformers may require more thought and limit tap functions because the variable posts letters/taps change, but those two are easy; U to U then check voltage across the throttle posts at even throttle positions. Do the test of choice, and flip an ac plug if you have to.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





OK, dumb question.  I saw Mike Rs video on phasing transformers together.  So you run a black ground wire connecting the ground poll of the master transformer to the ground poll of the 2nd transformer.  Then, from the ground poll of the 2nd transformer, you connect yet another ground wire to the ground poll of the 3rd transformer and so on.  You leave the ground wires connected.  You only involve a red power wire from the hot poll to test the phase on each succeeding transformer and then remove the red wire and leave the black ground wires connected.  Is that the correct process?

RickM46

And now it starts.

Phasing in 3 steps:

phasing

No meter? ... use a light bulb instead of the meter....dim or off = in phase, bright = out of phase

To phase a 3rd, 4th transformer... just disconnect transformer 2 (just turn it down, remove common wire, and leave it plugged in) and  connect transformer 3 in it's place, then steps 1,2,3.

Home of the Union Eastern, Thomaston & Williamstown Railroad

Attachments

Photos (1)

Thanks EddieM for the schematic.  But now I am confused on a much higher plane.  After you have phased transformer #2 to transformer #1, do you still keep the black ground wire connected between them from that time on?? 

RickM46

And now it starts.

No need to keep the black wire in place once your transformers are all in phase.  They will probably all get connected together through the track connections you make, but there is no need for all common terminals to be wired together.

On my layouts, I have a ground strip that I connect to track, transformers, lighting, accessories, etc.  So the commons all meet there for everything I connect to the layout.  No need to wire the common terminals together.

Home of the Union Eastern, Thomaston & Williamstown Railroad

RickM46 posted:

Thanks EddieM for the schematic.  But now I am confused on a much higher plane.  After you have phased transformer #2 to transformer #1, do you still keep the black ground wire connected between them from that time on?? 

We  connect the U connections together  with 8 postwar ZWs  . Yes the track does act like a wire but around switches (turnouts) there is always some type of break....  We also run TMCC and have a solid common.

eddiem posted:

...No need to wire the common terminals together.

But it's a good idea... to keep the common referenced to ground, and prevent the odd "floating ground"(or in this hobby example "floating voltage") scenario if a connection somewhere fails w/o notice.

Rob

AMCDave posted:

Does this method work with more modern transformers??? I am using two MRC 1980/90's era power packs.  Both are dual control. I am conventional runner. Thx

Check how Marty does it here. If you are using the MRC Dual Power O27 270 supplies, the answer is maybe. They are unique among transformers.  I have only one and have not used it with other transformers.

You would have to designate the common on each supply and try Marty's method. I have on recent Christmas layouts phased RS-1 transformers with CW80s and a 1949 ZW.

Rob

AMCDave posted:

Does this method work with more modern transformers??? I am using two MRC 1980/90's era power packs.  Both are dual control. I am conventional runner. Thx

Yes.  But most new style tranformers will drop out as soon as you power up if they aren't in phase.

But I know MRC did things a little different at times compared to "the others". I've never found much technical info on them though. I'd try contacting them. I've heard they are helpful somewhere along the line.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





MattR posted:

Because I'm simple........ what is the benefit of phasing?  

If you don't phase multiple transformers feeding the track on your layout and locomotives cross from one transformer to another, bad things can happen to the electronics of newer locomotives.  See the explanation mentioned by MartyE at http://www.martye.com/TipsandTricks/TipsandTrick2.htm

 

RickM46

And now it starts.

  I haven't watched Marty's vid yet. I usually refer folks to Lionel's Youtube vid. I find Mike easy to follow and slightly entertaining as well. There is a graphic explaination of what happens when they aren't phased.

MattR posted:

Because I'm simple........ what is the benefit of phasing?  

How about not feeding your track twice the voltage you expect for starters?

I learned to do this over the phone with Gramps as an elementry school kid,

Not hard, and very necessary if 2+ transformers share any common circuit.

Not a bad saftey precaution if they don't actually share a circuit either.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





   Some of the modern ones are phased backwards at the factory, so you should always check them, but... in my experience, if the phasing isn't correct, the new transformers just go right into overload (breaker trips) as soon as you crack a throttle open... so not much need to check if it works one way and not the other.

  I also had a pre war Marx transformer that in phase lights a bulb pretty well with almost 7v between hots . Thinking that was out of phase I switched the plugs and got about 36v.... and quickly switched back. Had I used a 6-12v bulb, it likely would have cooked it

Also "the spark method" isn't very reliable for folks without the experience to gauge a sparks power. And it also isn't reliable because you don't always get a spark, and/or may get spark on both ways (thats where experience comes in; which spark was "stronger"?)... so, it works, but isn't totally fool proof....a volt meter or 14v-24v bulbs along with some good judgement are the way to go imo.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Gentlemen,

   One further word of note for the men using a single new type transformer that is phased opposite of all your older ZW's and KW's.  Find an old style plug adaptor, these old adaptors are usually red in color, they have equal sized adaptor plug blades, plug the newer transformer into the adaptor, mark the adaptor and the plug from the newer Transformer with permanent magic marker, for ident purposes.  Then simply turn the adaptor with the new style plug in it, around when you plug it into the wall or multi plug.  Your new style transformer is now in phase with your older Transformers, no cord alteration required.  

Wally,

When setting up numerous Blocks for DCS using more than one transformer determines how far you can expand your layout.  I have numerous Z4K's, old ZW's and KW's all in Phase.  The Transformers old or new must be in phase to run using the block engineering.  The amount of track you are using usually determines how much power you need thru out your full layout.  DCS runs great with 18V, thru out the entire layout, so does Legacy.

PCRR/Dave

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

Wally,

My layout is not huge but I run conventional, I have three loops (three z-1000 transformers) sharing a ground return.  Then I have  two  transformers (ZW and 1033) for accessories, switches, etc....

They can mount up!

Hokie 71

Chief of Operations, Free Union, Blacksburg, and Albemarle Railroad (FUBAR)

.......And I use four small transformers for my four livingroom lines. (3-1033s & 100w Marx)

  Another room, 2 lines, a prewar Z for grades w/blocks (4 throttles), and a KW (1 throttle is track, 1 is lights & turnout coil power for all lines) . The Z and the KW lines also share a 1 track mainline block along a wall. (on Z#4)

  All small ones were $20 or less and rightly sized for a 4.5x9. Each has a whistle control and direction lever.(well, not the Marx...but that runs Marx mostly anyhow...no whistles. 1033 #4 is now by itself in a bedroom)  I dont know about the new ZWs, but I have more whistles and easier direction change than I would have with a ZW, for about half the cost, maybe a third.

(not knocking, had a ZW presented itself at a low price, I would have gone for the extra wattage; My favorites oldies can be run wide open throttle with a 1033. and two of them, if pulling a really heavy load, may even stall or trip the breaker after about ½hr. 

That's right, 4 throttles 100% open, and no 100 smph running....kid proof

Except when I WANT to go too fast, then I just pluck a few cars off 

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





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