I just purchased a used Lionel TrainMaster Command Control System (TMCC) with TMCC locomotive and tender.    I have been told about "circuit protection" for the electronics in the TMCC locomotive, so I am planning to purchase a PowerHouse transformer for power and a PowerMaster for the track power controller.

My question is what power do I need??   PowerHouse 135W with the TrainMaster 135W??  or, PowerHouse 180W with the switchable TrainMaster 180W??

I also need to understand the advantages of using a TPC 300W or a TPC400W, (in lieu of either PowerMaster).

What does the extra power provide??  Is the TPC a better "track power controller"??  Also, would I need to purchase 2 PowerHouse 135W to power the TPC 300W  or,  2 PowerHouse 180W to power the TPC 400W

I am just starting into this, so I will only have 1 train running.  Whether I expand to additional trains depends on how the grandkids get into it at Christmas; I might just be running 1 train around the tree pulling lots of Christmas themed rolling stock and having Christmas lighted accessories - who knows. . . .

I greatly appreciate any and all input, suggestions, etc,   Please help me understand the differences and/or the  advantages of each.   Any questions, just ask.

Thanks in advance --


Original Post

ROYBOY - thanks for your reply, however, I don't know what you mean " . .  . settings for zero, 30% and 100%  . . ."

What advantage does that offer to running the train??  

Also, help me understand, if the PowerHouse has 135 or 180 watts of output, why would I need a track controller that has 300 or 400 watts??

Thanks again ---

I'd actually recommend the PowerHouse 180 transformer as it has a MUCH better circuit breaker than the PowerHouse 135.  As for the TPC, I'd instead buy the Legacy PowerMaster, it has all the features of the TPC as far as MTH Protosound locomotive, it doesn't require a serial data wire, and the 180W is a good match for the PH180 transformer.  Did I mention the Legacy PowerMaster is also considerably cheaper than the TPC 300?  With one transformer, the extra power capability is wasted.

Father Christmas posted:

ROYBOY - thanks for your reply, however, I don't know what you mean " . .  . settings for zero, 30% and 100%  . . ."

What advantage does that offer to running the train??  

AUX1-9 = 100% track power

AUX1-8 = 30% track power

AUX1-0 = track power off

If you have an MTH proto one with a BCR in it, you can hit AUX1-9 and instantly get full power to charge the BCR for one minute. Then hit AUX1-8 for 30% track power. Then hit DIR and off the train goes at a reasonable speed.

Certain TMCC locos do not always/consistently boot up properly if the track voltage is raised slowly with a chopped wave. ERR Cruise Commander-M is one of them, but I have seen Legacy locos do that also on occasion. Hitting AUX1-9 gives 100% track voltage instantly and boots them up properly.

Hitting either F or R will send the requisite short whistle and bell signals to the track to open either the front or rear coupler on MTH Proto 2 or Proto 3 locos.

As John says, the Legacy Power Master is supposed to contain all the features of the TPC units, but I have never used one as my TPC units are working fine for me.



Thanks for the input, especially theadvice for "the less expensive" Legacy PowerMaster. 

However, concerning your recommendation for the PowerHouse 180, Lionel has 2 different part #'s

#6-85226   $149.99  http://www.lionel.com/products...werhouse-10a-6-85226 

#6-22983   $149.99  http://www.lionel.com/products...power-supply-6-22983

1.  They look physically the same, and have the same price, do you know of any difference??

2.  Also, you refer to the PowerHouse 180 as a "transformer",  in the description of both PowerHouse's they refer to them as "mighty power supply" not a transformer - what is the difference??

3.  Lastly, what do you mean when you say the PowerHouse 180  "doesn't require a serial data wire"??

As always, thanks again in advance for all of your valuable input ---


I don't know why there's to listings for the PH180, but as long as you find it at a retailer, it'll be he right one.

It's the Legacy PowerMaster that doesn't require the serial wire, the TPC 300 or TPC 400 both require a wire from the serial port on the command base to the TPC.  The Legacy base also doesn't have the drive that the old TMCC command base had, so if you have more than a couple serial devices, you'll end up with a whole different issue, all the stuff connected to the serial data will have issues.  Since there is a Legacy PowerMaster 180W and a 360W model, I see no benefit in buying the older TPC boxes.


gunrunnerjohn posted:

I don't know why there's to listings for the PH180, but as long as you find it at a retailer, it'll be he right one.

6-85226 is the "new" one, I'm not sure if these are even available yet. Nothing wrong with the trusty old 6-22983 version.

The real question is. Are you planning on running conventional trains? If not, the TPC unit is uneccesary as its primary function is to allow variable voltage from the fixed voltage brick via your TMCC handheld.

As far as circuit protection goes. In my experience the breaker on the TPC never pops, the brick will always go first even with 2 bricks going into one TPC unit.

Plug your powerhouse into a TMCC lockon for extra breaker protection. Its more sensativ ethan the breaker on the powerhouse and it automatically resets.  Lionel TMCC Direct Lockon 6-34120


Image result for TMCC lockon


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Photos (1)

Thanks for all your replies --

How can I run a command control locomotive withjust the PowerHouse 180W ?? 

Per the PowerHouse 180W, #6-22983 operators manual on-line,

Figure 1:  how to connect the PowerHouse to a PowerMaster,

Figure 2:  how to connect the PowerHouse to a TPC unit,

Figure 4:  how to connect the PowerHouse to a ZW transformer. 

Figure 5:  how to connect the PowerHouse to a TMCC Direct Lockon (according to GUNRUNNERJOHN, this setup apparently dis-ables MTH DCS)

I intend to only run the TMCC locomotive & tender, pulling various rolling stock.  Per your answers, I do not need the PowerMaster;  I would only need that if I wanted to run a post-war conventional locomotive/tender.

This keeps getting more confusing, please help - Thanks again

If you have all command stuff, all you need is the PH180 transformer connected to the track.  You don't need the TMCC Direct Lockon, and besides the issue of killing DCS, mine (three of them) actually tripped occasionally when a locomotive would roll by for no reason.  Never did get to the bottom of that, when I found out they were killing my DCS signal, I ditched them.  The PH180 has an excellent electronic breaker, no additional breaker needed.  I do recommend adding a 1500W 33.3V TVS directly across the track feed to damp electrical transients.

We're talking about the plain brick.

Your images never show up, you're doing something wrong.  Here's what I see for all of them.


Photos (2)
Father Christmas posted:

Thanks so much for the info, sorry about the pictures.   Would you be so kind to reply to this post and  let me know if the picture I attached shows up for you to see??

That picture came thru fine.


I think I finally got it, one more question -

What is the part # of the Lionel cable that I can use to connect the PowerHouse Molex connector to the track ??

I have heard from GRJ that this exists and will keep me from cutting off the perfectly good PowerHouse Molex connector.

It does not have to be Lionel part, I understand I can buy from Molex or AMP, but I need to know the specifics, what is the part # ??

thanks ---

ps - If (and that is a big IF) i want to run conventional in the future, I will then need to buy a PowerMaster and connect that to the TMCC base unit and the PowerHouse - correct??

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