Skip to main content

I'm fairly new to O Gauge.  I would like to get Lionel's Legacy Control Cab-2 System.  I wanted to get feedback on power options for the Legacy system.  I plan on running conventional (including my dads postwar 4-6-2 steam) and Legacy locomotives.  When I look at their latest track and power catalog, they say if you want to run conventional and legacy, you can get the ZW-L (which I'm not planning on getting because of the cost) or the powerhouse power supply and the Legacy PowerMaster.  I talked to my local train store and they said that you can just get a conventional transformer like the CW-80.  I want to be able to run 2 or 3 legacy locomotives at once or do a lashup.  What do you recommend? 




Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

I would recommend the PowerHouse 180 and Legacy PowerMaster with your Cab2.  The PH180 has plenty of power for your lashups and has a very quick circuit breaker.  You would need one PH180/LPM combo for each loop of track you want to run conventional.  Below is how I would set up the circuit.

The PSX-AC is an exceptionally fast circuit breaker (with other capabilities) that I use for extra protection even though the PH180's CB is very good by itself. You could also use a fast acting fuse.  I would recommend you add the TVS shown; many on this forum think it is very good protection for your engine electronics.



Images (1)
  • CmdBase_LPM_PH180

JR, both the store and CAPPILOT are correct.  You need to consider where you are going.  A transformer like the CW-80 will, probably, power 2 locos but you are talking about multiple Legacy (or TMCC) locos and running conventional. Transformers are a big investment, whether it is a couple of Powerhouse 180's, a ZW-L or a Z-4000 but without a proper power source you not going to be able to run your trains and accessories.

I will ditto; the store CAPPILOT and DANR. The Legacy Powerhouse 180s and Legacy Powermasters are a very good choice. The L Powermasters allow you to run your conventional engines from the Legacy remote. You might also consider the Legacy Cab 1L in place of Cab 2, much simpler to operate and from my own experience less troublesome.


Last edited by Rayin"S"

If you don't mind running the conventional stuff from the transformer location, you can just use a standard transformer for power, it'll be the cheaper option.  You can frequently pick up a reconditioned post-war ZW for around $150, just add some external circuit breakers in each track feed.

The other bonus of a PW transformer is the pure sine wave, certain older MTH locomotives with Protosound don't like chopped waveform transformers.


Since you stated you are fairly new to this, I want to add a couple more things that may (or may not) help.

John (above) is correct on lower cost and ease of setup by just using a PW ZW.  The PW ZW outputs about 190 watts, similar to the PH180 and much more than a CW-80.  It also gives you handles to control voltage, which many people like.  Plus, its easier to setup (see diagram).  When using an older transformer like the PW ZW, the 10 amp fast blow fuse (or a fast resettable CB) is mandatory for command engines because the ZW's CB is very slow.  Still use the TVSs.


If you are still looking at using a Legacy PowerMaster to control your conventional engines, and you have a transformer other than a PH180 (or PH135), you will need an adapter cable to connect to the Powermaster.  This is because the only connection available on the PowerMaster is through a Molex connector, or what Lionel calls a transformer jack.

Lionel sells a Power Adapter Cable (6-12893) but its expensive. 

Lionel Power Adapter cable 6-12893

You can also make your own much cheaper using connectors from Mouser or Digikey.  John and CJACK have done many posts on this; do a search for them.  I have in my notes the Mouser part number for the female connector is 538-03-09-2032.

All that said, I would either go with John's recommendation to use a ZW, or use the PH180/LPM combo. 


Images (1)
  • ZW-Legacy_only

I just wanted to thank everyone for their comments and feedback!  I am now thinking of eventually getting two MTH Z1000 transformers, one for each loop to provide the power.   I went back to the local train store and talked to one of the employees about this.  He said that the Z1000 provides plenty of power and circuit protection for the newer locomotives.



Add Reply


OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
800-980-OGRR (6477)

Link copied to your clipboard.