Can an updated PW ZW be used for accessories on a layout controlled with legacy and Lionel 180 powerhouses?  What is the correct way to wire?  Should I use circuit breakers for protection?  I will be using buss wire.

Original Post

That is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. External TVS Diodes and Breakers should be used on all power sources both classic and modern. Simply just phase it with your existing setup.

Stephen G posted:

Can an updated PW ZW be used for accessories on a layout controlled with legacy and Lionel 180 powerhouses?  What is the correct way to wire?  Should I use circuit breakers for protection?  I will be using buss wire.

Stephen;

If I understand your question correctly, you have a layout which uses Legacy and 180 powerhouses and now wish to add a PW ZW. If that is correct, than I would say that there will be no problem running accessories from the ZW (I use 2 PW ZW’s to control my Legacy layout and all lights/accessories). Your current setup carries the Legacy signal, so the ZW is basically a stand-alone. You will just have to run the wires from the accessories to the common and A/B/C/D terminals on the ZW and then set the appropriate voltage for each terminal.

To the best of my knowledge, if you are just using the ZW for accessories, you shouldn’t need fast acting circuit breakers; they are only needed to prevent shorts from frying the electronics in modern engines when they derail - hopefully someone else will be able to verify that!!!

I use PW ZWs for my layout.  The terminals that feed the track get a 10 amp fuse and also a 3 or 4 amp Eaton FAZ breaker.  The terminals that feed accessories get a 5 or 10 amp fuse.  Ten amp for switch motors and solenoids and 5 amp for lights.

Accessories can have very small gauge wire.  While they never have a derailment, a short is possible and I don’t trust the ZW breaker to prevent melted wires, copious smoke and maybe worse.

Oh by the way does the common wire from the Post War ZW need be phased and connected to the track with the PH 180’’s?

Stephen G posted:

Oh by the way does the common wire from the Post War ZW need be phased and connected to the track with the PH 180’’s?

Since it only takes a second or two to phase them, I most certainly would.  Someday in the future, if you have a problem at least you will know that is not the cause.

Yes, phase them properly. It isn't hard, takes just a few minutes. At worst you swap two wires or flip a plug over.

I think the PH would trip it's breaker/not turn on if out of phase though. All my modern items shut off if out of phase at all, but I don't actually use a PH to know 100%.

Transformer breakers are not there to protect trains or accessories. They protect the supply.  By chance they also protect the trains SOMEWHAT but not ideally.

 Fuses should reflect amps expected to be used for the trains &acc. ,and/ or to protect the wire size used (like a long 18g wire hooked to a 15a ZW should be fused at just a few amps so the 18g CAN'T ever burn if directly shorted. (adding a second even lower amp fuse at the acc would be good second fuse location) (I ran 50+ fuses in a dune buggy so wires couldn't ever burn and strand me 50+miles from nowhere. Normally folks use 6 or 8 .

Breaker vs fuse... same thing really; thermal or electronic have different strengths and weaknesses.  (folks forget these super fast electronic versions fail too, and sometimes they fail to stop the power flow. So a thermal backup is always suggested imo.)

Mind that there are fast blow and slow blow fuse options too; and fractional amp sizes too(4.5a, 4⅛a, etc.). This allows you to really dial in design safety if you apply knowledge of what blows when and why.

 

How do you connect the wire on the PH 180?  It has I think it is called a molex connector.  How to connect with wire from ZW or any transformer?   Do I buy some type of adapter because I rather not cut the Molex off the PH?

Stephen, I don’t understand your question. The PH 180 does not get connected to the ZW. You can however connect a ground wire (outside rail) from the screw terminal on the PH180 to the ground screw terminal of the ZW to create a common ground. 

Apples55 posted:

...you shouldn’t need fast acting circuit breakers; they are only needed to prevent shorts from frying the electronics in modern engines when they derail...

Well, no. You need TVS protection even w/o derailments.  Those transient voltage spikes are ongoing and the damage is cumulative. 

The need for circuit breakers is a separate issue and involves current, not voltage.

romiller49 posted:

...connect a ground wire (outside rail) from the screw terminal on the PH180 to the ground screw terminal of the ZW...

Since the PH180 has no binding posts, just make the common connection at a convenient spot on the layout(center post of a 022, left post of a a RCS/UCS/1019, or Lockon Clip "2", etc.) to any "U" post on the ZW. That will provide a common ground and prevent "float" demons from popping up.

Last edited by ADCX Rob

Yeh,I understand the confusion.  When Mike Reagan gave his example, he had a CW 40 and CW 80.  That is why I said the PH 180 had a molex connector.  We worked it out.

Thanks to both of you.

If the postwar ZW is on a completely separate circuit (lights & accessories) than the modern ZW (track power) why would it be beneficial to phase them? What did I miss?

During an expansion in the future, the Post War ZW may be called for active duty. LOL. So it might as well be ready.

CoolHand posted:

If the postwar ZW is on a completely separate circuit (lights & accessories) than the modern ZW (track power) why would it be beneficial to phase them? What did I miss?

As noted, "it" happens. If your derailed cast hopper hit's the metal base of an accessory you'll be happier if those commons are in phase.

Plus many accessories interact with track too.   It's best to approach this as a "just do it" rule of thumb    Once you have a few plugs marked it pays for it'self in piece of mind.

CoolHand posted:

If the postwar ZW is on a completely separate circuit (lights & accessories) than the modern ZW (track power) why would it be beneficial to phase them? What did I miss?

Did you watch, listen and understand the video to know that out of phase contact could yield 30v-50v pretty easy (or 0v).  (I forget if notes outlets throughout a home/room or (old) power strips are not necessarily in phase with each other.)

At one time I used a ZW to power ALL the lights on my layout.  The thing I noticed the most is that an old core type transformer does not have a steady voltage so the lights flicker or fade out and get brighter at times.  I did at one time put in a full wave bridge rectifier to convert it to DC but then someone on the forum suggested using outdoor garden lighting transformers for lighting.  great idea but very expensive.

My method was that I went to Craigslist a few years ago and found computer transformers 650 watt for 10 to 15 dollars each.  Fantastic, they put out a  steady 3, 5,and 12 volts. and it is a pure DC voltage so your light bulbs will last much longer and the LED's use 3V.  I now have 3 of them under the layout table all with fans built into them.  Everything is fused and all the grounds are the one common black wire.  These have worked great for me for at least the last 10 years.

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