Question about power source(s) for Lionel Legacy Cab-2 system.

I plan to purchase a Lionel TMCC Legacy Cab-2 system and need a recommendation on a power source.  Every magazine article, video, DVD, or operator's manual shows the Cab-2 system wired to a ZW transformer for power.  My old KW from 1958 doesn't operate reliably.  I don't want to repair a 60 year old piece of equipment that will eventually fail again anyway.  I'm also pretty sure investing $$$ in a ZW is unnecessary.  

I've read about Lionel's "TPC" unit (Track Power Control) but I'm confused.  I can't determine if it serves the purpose of supplying necessary power to the track like a transformer.  Do I actually need to buy a new transformer, or is there a particular piece of equipment designed to integrate with the Cab-2 system to supply power for the tracks?  Thanks for any information or advice you can offer.  -Cooper

-Cooper 

Original Post

First off, are you running strictly TMCC/Legacy command mode?  If so, I recommend the Lionel PowerHouse 180 bricks, great circuit breaker and a true 180 watts of power in a small package.

If you're wanting to run conventional mode as well, consider the PowerHouse 180 paired with the Lionel Legacy PowerMaster, that will allow you to run conventional locomotives from the CAB2 remote.

You can use the original ZW, however for any locomotive with electronics, I recommend adding a modern circuit breaker between the ZW and the track.

I am a member of a large Lionel club in Illinois.

We power our layout (6 separate mainline tracks) using the 180 watt brick (2 each track) and the Legacy power master (1 per track). The Legacy Power Master replaces the old TPC units.

You want to use the power master as it's response to a short is virtually instant. It's so fast that the circuit breaker on the brick does not trip. 

Don't use the ZW. We had instances where a locomotive burned out due to the slow response of the ZW.

We run both command and conventional engines on our layout.

lisleflyer posted:

I am a member of a large Lionel club in Illinois.

We power our layout (6 separate mainline tracks) using the 180 watt brick (2 each track) and the Legacy power master (1 per track). The Legacy Power Master replaces the old TPC units.

You want to use the power master as it's response to a short is virtually instant. It's so fast that the circuit breaker on the brick does not trip. 

Don't use the ZW. We had instances where a locomotive burned out due to the slow response of the ZW.

We run both command and conventional engines on our layout.

I'm building a fairly small layout, about 7 ft x 12 ft.,  just 2 tracks.  I have mostly conventional engines plus a few TMCC.  No Legacy engines YET

-Cooper 

Be careful when you go shopping for electronics because there is a difference between TMCC equipment and Legacy equipment.  I believe the TMCC controller is called Cab 1 while the Legacy controller is Cab 2.  There is also a Cab 1L out there which I believe is a less complicated version of a Cab 2.  Anyway, all of these systems (including MTH's DCS system) require the use of a power transformer of some type to move the trains.  The previous suggestions should get you moving in the right direction, but heed the ones about protecting your equipment.  You don't want to see "magic smoke" rising from any of your engines!

Chuck

Columbus, OH Union Station
Columbus, OH Union Station

 

 

The Legacy system will run all your TMCC and Legacy engines, so unless you never expect to buy and Legacy stuff, the #990 is the way to go.  If you just want TMCC, I'd recommend the CAB1L/BASE1L, it's an updated version of the old TMCC system, and it's currently supported.

Since you have conventional, I'd consider the 180W bricks and one or two Legacy PowerMasters to run tracks in conventional mode.

Thanks to all for the information and advice.  Since I'll be running conventional, TMCC, and Legacy engines (in the future), sounds like PowerHouse bricks plus the PowerMaster is the way to go.  It'll be great to finally control and enjoy ALL the features on the TMCC engines I already own! 🚂

 

 

-Cooper 

And just to mix things up, the MTH z-4000 transformer is a modern, fast acting and reliable power supply that also provides dual handles for separate track operation and two additional outputs (14v and 10v) for running accessories, all in one reasonably priced package. Street price should be under $400.00 and is compatible with Legacy.

https://mthtrains.com/40-4000

We use a Z4000 on our club layout to provide aux power to our FasTrack switches.

Stick with the bricks and the Legacy Power Master. Also, here is some info on the Cab1L.

The CAB-1L will not work with a TMCC Command Base, essentially it is "Legacy Lite" which means it will operate Legacy engines on a limited function basis as well as TMCC engines thru the Legacy Base or the Base-1L. The CAB-1L operates on the same frequency as the Legacy system which is not compatible with the TMCC Command Base.

Since you will be running TMCC locomotives it is important  that you assign the correct values to the parameters for the Engine ID you are using in the Legacy database. The two most important parameters are "EQPT"  and "Control System".

The equipment parameter gets you the correct set of icons for the equipment in the CAB2 display.

The control system parameter  sends the correct signal type for the equipment being used.

There is a major difference in the message format for  a TMCC  equipped locomotive than for a legacy  equipped locomotive. 

While a legacy equipped locomotive will respond to a control system setting of TMC, a TMCC equipped locomotive WILL NOT respond to a control system setting of Legacy.

If you find one of your TMCC locomotives not responding to your CAB2 for the ENG ID assigned to it, check the Legacy Database to make sure the Control System is set to TMCC.

We have more than 50 members in our club that run equipment on our layout. I am responsible for assigning "ENG ID'" numbers to their equipment. I currently have numbers assigned to more than 250 pieces of equipment. Since there are only 99 numbers available (you cannot use Eng ID 99) this means that members share numbers. The pieces of equipment sharing a number cannot be run at the same time. The most common problem we have is that a member will change the database control system parameter for the Eng ID from TMCC to Legacy making the member with TMCC equipment unable to run. This is not a problem for an individual on a home layout unless he has more than 99 command controlled pieces of equipment.

If you have any questions about the Legacy system and setting up your bricks and the power master or using the CAB2, please feel free to contact me at havli_lisle@sbcglobal.net .

Welcome to the wonderful world of command equipment and enjoy the running or your equipment and accessing their many features.

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