Greetings,

I am getting back into building another layout after a 5 year absence because of a house and basement renovation project. Previously, I had a layout that I dismantled in order to do the renovation.

At that time I was using the new (at that time) ZW with the external 180W powerhouse bricks. I configured the ZW to use 4 180W bricks. My layout was basically 4 loops. I was also using TMCC with a CAB 1 controller. All of my engines were/are command. I do not run any conventional equipment and do not plan to. With that being said, it became obvious to me that the need to move the levers on my ZW to the max of 18 volts every time I ran the layout was somewhat silly. However, I already bought the ZW so continued to use it in that manner until I tore the layout down prior to the house renovation.

Now fast forward to today and I am starting a new layout build. I will only be running Command engines. My question is this:

Can I connect the 180W bricks directly to the track, eliminating the need for the ZW? Or should I use either a Powermaster or TPC in conjunction with the 180W bricks? What are the advantages and/or disadvantages of connecting directly to the track?

I realize that using either the Powermaster or TPC allows me to remotely turn on track power. I'm not sure how important that feature is really. I do like the ability of combining two 180 W bricks to deliver 20 amps of power to the track, so that seems like it might me an advantage.

 Is the circuit breaker protection faster with a Powermaster/TPC than the circuit breaker that is already built into the Powerhouse brick?

I guess finally my point is, I don't want to have to move handles to increase track power like an old post war transformer or my somewhat newer ZW since I will never run any conventional engines. With that being said, what is the best way to go about delivering 18 volts to the track?

Thanks In advance for all advice/suggestions.

Kwas

 

 

Original Post
kwasny posted:
...Can I connect the 180W bricks directly to the track, eliminating the need for the ZW?..

Quick answer, yes. BUT you need to somehow be certain that your Command Base is up & powered before the track to prevent possible runaways.

Also, for another layer of protection for the trains, read up on the recommendations to include Transient Voltage Suppression for each of your power districts with the use of the recommended TVS diodes.

Rob

kwasny posted:

Greetings,

I am getting back into building another layout after a 5 year absence because of a house and basement renovation project. Previously, I had a layout that I dismantled in order to do the renovation.

At that time I was using the new (at that time) ZW with the external 180W powerhouse bricks. I configured the ZW to use 4 180W bricks. My layout was basically 4 loops. I was also using TMCC with a CAB 1 controller. All of my engines were/are command. I do not run any conventional equipment and do not plan to. With that being said, it became obvious to me that the need to move the levers on my ZW to the max of 18 volts every time I ran the layout was somewhat silly. However, I already bought the ZW so continued to use it in that manner until I tore the layout down prior to the house renovation.

Now fast forward to today and I am starting a new layout build. I will only be running Command engines. My question is this:

Can I connect the 180W bricks directly to the track, eliminating the need for the ZW?

Or should I use either a Powermaster or TPC in conjunction with the 180W bricks? What are the advantages and/or disadvantages of connecting directly to the track?

I realize that using either the Powermaster or TPC allows me to remotely turn on track power. I'm not sure how important that feature is really. I do like the ability of combining two 180 W bricks to deliver 20 amps of power to the track, so that seems like it might me an advantage.

 Is the circuit breaker protection faster with a Powermaster/TPC than the circuit breaker that is already built into the Powerhouse brick?

I guess finally my point is, I don't want to have to move handles to increase track power like an old post war transformer or my somewhat newer ZW since I will never run any conventional engines. With that being said, what is the best way to go about delivering 18 volts to the track?

Thanks In advance for all advice/suggestions.

Kwas

 

 

I don't use them and someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but since no one has responded, I don't think it gets much simpler than plugging them both into a power strip and wiring them directly to the track, about 180 degrees from each other. To run trains just turn on your remote and the power strip and start running. You could always wire the power strip to a sufficiently rated switch on your control panel if you desired.

 Given your parameters, I don't know of any disadvantages.

Thanks for the info.

Rob: Thanks for the advice. I thought it might be OK to use the powerhouse directly. I read about as much of transient voltage suppression info as I could and still not sure how it should be used??? On the hot center rail I suspect. Any particular source or brand of TVS?? Again thanks in advance.

Richie: You seem to confirm what I suspected. Thanks!

 

 

kwasny posted:
..transient voltage suppression info as I could and still not sure how it should be used??? On the hot center rail I suspect. Any particular source or brand of TVS?? ..

THIS POST has the part number and placement recommendations. For placement, wherever, the TVS diode(s) is(are) placed, it is in parallel with track power connections.

Rob

Rob- Thanks so much for the link to the appropriate post about TVS diodes!!

May I ask another question:

What is the preferred wiring scheme these days? In the past I ran both hot (+) and common  buss lines around the bottom of the layout and then tied into those main buss lines with drop down feeders from the track at somewhat regular intervals.

Now I see that possibly a star wiring method is preferred at least for the hot (+) wire???... Especially when using MTH equipment???? I do not plan on using MTH equipment, but wonder if there is some advantage of the so called star method that I am unaware of???

Thanks again.

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