Whole-house surge protection at the power interface is ideal but not inexpensive. I have quality, high-joule rating surge protectors on ALL electronics and anything with a digital keypad including my Keurig beverage maker. The one on my home theatre system is a multi-hundred dollar Monster unit with about ten different outlets. A direct lightning strike where I live is not very probable, so reasonable surges would be handled. I also requested and had my local power company install a line voltage regulator on the feed to my home.

vita sine litteris mors est  (Seneca)

Dewey Trogdon posted:

owned 5 pw ZWs over time and never saw one produce over 10-11 maximum amps under load. Current surges can change the railpower environment, but the published high wattage rating on the pw ZW is input not output.

Try setting  B to 19 volts and C to 6 volts, measure the voltage difference between them.  Then put a 1 ohm (or zero) resistance load across the two posts with a 0-100 amp ammeter in series with the load and see just what the ZW is capable of in unprotected mode(no 14 amp circuit breaker).

I've done this, and with just a 7-8 volts difference in throttle settings, the 0-30 amp ammeter was pegging / off the scale.

Rob

I was taught when my layout was in my childhood home, never leave with out unplugging the transformers. Now, I still follow that advice and unplug the transformers (ZW and LW) from the wall outlet when done. They plug into the ckt  breaker strip first then the wall.

I had a similar problem with my ZW and had to make the repair to the bus bar. Running like it just came off the line.  I only have one Lion Chief engine. All others are either Postwar or MPC era loco's.

Regards

 

Frank San Severino

Chief Financial Officer D&F Railway

Attleboro, MA

CP-198 on Amtrak's NEC

TCA 11-66660

LCCA 31196

My layout is an island in the cellar so I have an extension cord with a switch on the series of AC jacks. It is plugged into a wall outlet behind a bookcase so I use the switch to control the AC power to the transformers, etc, for the trains, etc. Therefore, it is obvious to see when the layout is "alive".

Art

B&MRRHS

LCCA

LOTS

harmonyards posted:

Remove the lid and look at the common (U) post bus bar....the studs that are riveted to that bus bar are known to pop away from the brass strip. If they are, there are simple repair studs available with studs at both ends to spin a nut on the back side and lock it down to the bus bar strip......

as far as the throttle not turning off all the way, look at the arm for that particular throttle lever, and see if it’s coming all the way off the coil when set all the way back. .....hope all that helps........Pat

Well....harmonyards nailed it on the head.

I removed the lid and sure enough, all four posts at the U post bar were very loose. Even post A which was working was loose.

Since I wanted this to work NOW,  I decided I could come up with an immediate solution and not take the  time required to order and receive new studs.

To get better access to the brass U post bar, I turned the transformer upside down and removed the four hex head screws/bolts that hold the lower plate to the transformer case and also hold the main internal windings and the main transformer assembly to the base. This allowed me to carefully removed the  brass post bar without disturbing the main solder connection at the bar which was in good condition.

I decided that Lionel's idea of riveted studs was not the best idea. Especially after 60+ years of use. These are being tugged at every time the thumb nuts are tightened.

I went to the local hardware store with one of the original Lionel  wire terminal thumb nuts and one of the damaged studs in hand. I bought four brass screws, with matching lock washers and nuts. I believe they are size 10. I got screws that were a little bit longer than the original Lionel studs.

I positioned the screws with the heads facing inward on all four of the post bar holes and inserted them through the plastic transformer case.

I then slipped a lock washer on each stud and one of the brass nuts. The lock washer allowed me to get the screw head good and tight and also made the screw head have full contact onto the post bar. The screw head provides much more contact surface than Lionel's original studs.

This gave me four posts with very solid connections to the post bar and more than enough threads left to screw the original Lionel thumbscrews onto the new brass studs (screws). With the hex nut securing the studs, there would be no more tugging when the thumb screws are tightened or loosened.

If you remember, when I first tried this transformer, Terminals B, C and D did not work at all and Terminal A was always on even when the lever was pulled back all the way in the off position.

With the cover off, I could see that the roller was not coming off the coil as harmonyards had thought.

To remedy this, I had to take the roller arm of and reshape it a bit. This was easy as there is just one pin that holds the roller lever to the spring loaded shaft.

Since I had the cover off, I used some electrical cleaner to clean all four rollers and the coils. The original rollers looked to be in good condition. A check of the internal wires and solder joints looked good. A prior owner replaced the cord so that was not an issue.

I reattached the main internal unit/coil assembly to the base plate.

Now the moment of truth......(drumroll please).

I connected the transformer to a couple of loops of track. 

First I connected terminal A: It was no longer "on" when the lever was in the off position. So far, so good. I then pushed the lever carefully forward and the train was instantly speeding down the track. 

So far, so good....

I then connected terminal B. Same thing, train is powering itself from off to on with a full head of steam.

Terminal C connected: We are still winning, 3 for 3.

Last but not least, Terminal D: Yup, performing perfectly. Success: Four out of four. ( Going to buy a lottery ticket later....).

With all four terminals working properly, I reattached the lid and buttoned it all up. All four terminals are working great as are the two lights and both reverse/whistle controls.

TIME AND COST SUMMARY:

Cost of bolts, washers and nuts to replace the old Lionel studs: 2.00

Amount of time (excluding the trip to the hardware store and lunch): About an hour and a half.

Overall experience and personal satisfaction: Priceless.

THOUGHTS:

This was my first experience operating and "operating on" an original, postwar ZW transformer. Once you take the lid off and look at the innards, you can see how amazingly simple the whole unit really is. There is nothing confusing about anything inside. Even the solder joints are clearly accessible and could be re-soldered if needed. This is a real simple and straight forward piece of equipment that anyone can service or repair.

From an operating standpoint, I had no prior experience with a ZW. I noticed that my old original postwar and prewar trains would either be basically "on" or "off" with other transformers. There was very little controlled acceleration. With this ZW, I can control the acceleration from a snails pace to faster than they can stay on the tracks. I am impressed.

Everything on this old transformer is working great and I promise I won't burn down the house or neighborhood as some people above have been concerned about. 

I have attached some photos showing my repair. To restate what I said before, IT WAS REALLY SIMPLE!!!

Thanks again to everyone who offered advice and tips. You all are just great.

 

 

 

 

 

1ZW2ZW3ZW4ZW5ZW6ZW

Attachments

Photos (6)
GZ posted:
harmonyards posted:

Remove the lid and look at the common (U) post bus bar....the studs that are riveted to that bus bar are known to pop away from the brass strip. If they are, there are simple repair studs available with studs at both ends to spin a nut on the back side and lock it down to the bus bar strip......

as far as the throttle not turning off all the way, look at the arm for that particular throttle lever, and see if it’s coming all the way off the coil when set all the way back. .....hope all that helps........Pat

Well....harmonyards nailed it on the head.

I removed the lid and sure enough, all four posts at the U post bar were very loose. Even post A which was working was loose.

Since I wanted this to work NOW,  I decided I could come up with an immediate solution and not take the  time required to order and receive new studs.

To get better access to the brass U post bar, I turned the transformer upside down and removed the four hex head screws/bolts that hold the lower plate to the transformer case and also hold the main internal windings and the main transformer assembly to the base. This allowed me to carefully removed the  brass post bar without disturbing the main solder connection at the bar which was in good condition.

I decided that Lionel's idea of riveted studs was not the best idea. Especially after 60+ years of use. These are being tugged at every time the thumb nuts are tightened.

I went to the local hardware store with one of the original Lionel  wire terminal thumb nuts and one of the damaged studs in hand. I bought four brass screws, with matching lock washers and nuts. I believe they are size 10. I got screws that were a little bit longer than the original Lionel studs.

I positioned the screws with the heads facing inward on all four of the post bar holes and inserted them through the plastic transformer case.

I then slipped a lock washer on each stud and one of the brass nuts. The lock washer allowed me to get the screw head good and tight and also made the screw head have full contact onto the post bar. The screw head provides much more contact surface than Lionel's original studs.

This gave me four posts with very solid connections to the post bar and more than enough threads left to screw the original Lionel thumbscrews onto the new brass studs (screws). With the hex nut securing the studs, there would be no more tugging when the thumb screws are tightened or loosened.

If you remember, when I first tried this transformer, Terminals B, C and D did not work at all and Terminal A was always on even when the lever was pulled back all the way in the off position.

With the cover off, I could see that the roller was not coming off the coil as harmonyards had thought.

To remedy this, I had to take the roller arm of and reshape it a bit. This was easy as there is just one pin that holds the roller lever to the spring loaded shaft.

Since I had the cover off, I used some electrical cleaner to clean all four rollers and the coils. The original rollers looked to be in good condition. A check of the internal wires and solder joints looked good. A prior owner replaced the cord so that was not an issue.

I reattached the main internal unit/coil assembly to the base plate.

Now the moment of truth......(drumroll please).

I connected the transformer to a couple of loops of track. 

First I connected terminal A: It was no longer "on" when the lever was in the off position. So far, so good. I then pushed the lever carefully forward and the train was instantly speeding down the track. 

So far, so good....

I then connected terminal B. Same thing, train is powering itself from off to on with a full head of steam.

Terminal C connected: We are still winning, 3 for 3.

Last but not least, Terminal D: Yup, performing perfectly. Success: Four out of four. ( Going to buy a lottery ticket later....).

With all four terminals working properly, I reattached the lid and buttoned it all up. All four terminals are working great as are the two lights and both reverse/whistle controls.

TIME AND COST SUMMARY:

Cost of bolts, washers and nuts to replace the old Lionel studs: 2.00

Amount of time (excluding the trip to the hardware store and lunch): About an hour and a half.

Overall experience and personal satisfaction: Priceless.

THOUGHTS:

This was my first experience operating and "operating on" an original, postwar ZW transformer. Once you take the lid off and look at the innards, you can see how amazingly simple the whole unit really is. There is nothing confusing about anything inside. Even the solder joints are clearly accessible and could be re-soldered if needed. This is a real simple and straight forward piece of equipment that anyone can service or repair.

From an operating standpoint, I had no prior experience with a ZW. I noticed that my old original postwar and prewar trains would either be basically "on" or "off" with other transformers. There was very little controlled acceleration. With this ZW, I can control the acceleration from a snails pace to faster than they can stay on the tracks. I am impressed.

Everything on this old transformer is working great and I promise I won't burn down the house or neighborhood as some people above have been concerned about. 

I have attached some photos showing my repair. To restate what I said before, IT WAS REALLY SIMPLE!!!

Thanks again to everyone who offered advice and tips. You all are just great.

 

 

 

 

 

4ZW5ZW

Great news and work! 

One thing I noted was that you used brass bolts. You might worry about galvanic corrosion with the Lionel thumb nuts if the thumb nuts are steel. You might want to look for some brass, copper or type 410 stainless steel thumb nuts. 

I think brass bolts were the way to go, because it is a brass bar you were attaching to. I'm not sure what those Lionel thumb nuts are made of.

George

George S posted:
GZ posted:
harmonyards posted:

Remove the lid and look at the common (U) post bus bar....the studs that are riveted to that bus bar are known to pop away from the brass strip. If they are, there are simple repair studs available with studs at both ends to spin a nut on the back side and lock it down to the bus bar strip......

as far as the throttle not turning off all the way, look at the arm for that particular throttle lever, and see if it’s coming all the way off the coil when set all the way back. .....hope all that helps........Pat

Well....harmonyards nailed it on the head.

I removed the lid and sure enough, all four posts at the U post bar were very loose. Even post A which was working was loose.

Since I wanted this to work NOW,  I decided I could come up with an immediate solution and not take the  time required to order and receive new studs.

To get better access to the brass U post bar, I turned the transformer upside down and removed the four hex head screws/bolts that hold the lower plate to the transformer case and also hold the main internal windings and the main transformer assembly to the base. This allowed me to carefully removed the  brass post bar without disturbing the main solder connection at the bar which was in good condition.

I decided that Lionel's idea of riveted studs was not the best idea. Especially after 60+ years of use. These are being tugged at every time the thumb nuts are tightened.

I went to the local hardware store with one of the original Lionel  wire terminal thumb nuts and one of the damaged studs in hand. I bought four brass screws, with matching lock washers and nuts. I believe they are size 10. I got screws that were a little bit longer than the original Lionel studs.

I positioned the screws with the heads facing inward on all four of the post bar holes and inserted them through the plastic transformer case.

I then slipped a lock washer on each stud and one of the brass nuts. The lock washer allowed me to get the screw head good and tight and also made the screw head have full contact onto the post bar. The screw head provides much more contact surface than Lionel's original studs.

This gave me four posts with very solid connections to the post bar and more than enough threads left to screw the original Lionel thumbscrews onto the new brass studs (screws). With the hex nut securing the studs, there would be no more tugging when the thumb screws are tightened or loosened.

If you remember, when I first tried this transformer, Terminals B, C and D did not work at all and Terminal A was always on even when the lever was pulled back all the way in the off position.

With the cover off, I could see that the roller was not coming off the coil as harmonyards had thought.

To remedy this, I had to take the roller arm of and reshape it a bit. This was easy as there is just one pin that holds the roller lever to the spring loaded shaft.

Since I had the cover off, I used some electrical cleaner to clean all four rollers and the coils. The original rollers looked to be in good condition. A check of the internal wires and solder joints looked good. A prior owner replaced the cord so that was not an issue.

I reattached the main internal unit/coil assembly to the base plate.

Now the moment of truth......(drumroll please).

I connected the transformer to a couple of loops of track. 

First I connected terminal A: It was no longer "on" when the lever was in the off position. So far, so good. I then pushed the lever carefully forward and the train was instantly speeding down the track. 

So far, so good....

I then connected terminal B. Same thing, train is powering itself from off to on with a full head of steam.

Terminal C connected: We are still winning, 3 for 3.

Last but not least, Terminal D: Yup, performing perfectly. Success: Four out of four. ( Going to buy a lottery ticket later....).

With all four terminals working properly, I reattached the lid and buttoned it all up. All four terminals are working great as are the two lights and both reverse/whistle controls.

TIME AND COST SUMMARY:

Cost of bolts, washers and nuts to replace the old Lionel studs: 2.00

Amount of time (excluding the trip to the hardware store and lunch): About an hour and a half.

Overall experience and personal satisfaction: Priceless.

THOUGHTS:

This was my first experience operating and "operating on" an original, postwar ZW transformer. Once you take the lid off and look at the innards, you can see how amazingly simple the whole unit really is. There is nothing confusing about anything inside. Even the solder joints are clearly accessible and could be re-soldered if needed. This is a real simple and straight forward piece of equipment that anyone can service or repair.

From an operating standpoint, I had no prior experience with a ZW. I noticed that my old original postwar and prewar trains would either be basically "on" or "off" with other transformers. There was very little controlled acceleration. With this ZW, I can control the acceleration from a snails pace to faster than they can stay on the tracks. I am impressed.

Everything on this old transformer is working great and I promise I won't burn down the house or neighborhood as some people above have been concerned about. 

I have attached some photos showing my repair. To restate what I said before, IT WAS REALLY SIMPLE!!!

Thanks again to everyone who offered advice and tips. You all are just great.

 

 

 

 

 

4ZW5ZW

Great news and work! 

One thing I noted was that you used brass bolts. You might worry about galvanic corrosion with the Lionel thumb nuts if the thumb nuts are steel. You might want to look for some brass, copper or type 410 stainless steel thumb nuts. 

I think brass bolts were the way to go, because it is a brass bar you were attaching to. I'm not sure what those Lionel thumb nuts are made of.

George

The original thumb nuts are just plated brass anyways George, I doubt he’d ever have a problem with dissimilar metal issues.......Pat

The Water Level Route.......You Can Sleep

harmonyards posted:
George S posted:
GZ posted:
harmonyards posted:

Remove the lid and look at the common (U) post bus bar....the studs that are riveted to that bus bar are known to pop away from the brass strip. If they are, there are simple repair studs available with studs at both ends to spin a nut on the back side and lock it down to the bus bar strip......

as far as the throttle not turning off all the way, look at the arm for that particular throttle lever, and see if it’s coming all the way off the coil when set all the way back. .....hope all that helps........Pat

5ZW

Great news and work! 

One thing I noted was that you used brass bolts. You might worry about galvanic corrosion with the Lionel thumb nuts if the thumb nuts are steel. You might want to look for some brass, copper or type 410 stainless steel thumb nuts. 

I think brass bolts were the way to go, because it is a brass bar you were attaching to. I'm not sure what those Lionel thumb nuts are made of.

George

The original thumb nuts are just plated brass anyways George, I doubt he’d ever have a problem with dissimilar metal issues.......Pat

Yes, if they are both brass, then there is no issue. They looked like steel, and mine is a newer version so I couldn't check.

George

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