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.