Use of Z4k tracks or not?

Hi everyone, I am in the process of prewiring my layout and was wondering from the folks that run DCS and use Z4K tracks if its worth it or should I just use the var 1 and var 2? 

I am just trying to get some feed back and from what I read it is nice and easy to use the side receiver for the Z4000 and run both conventional and DCS with Z4K tracks.

Please give all input you feel like!

Mike

USMC 5/11 Battalion Oscar Battery 155 Big Guns!

Semper Fi !

Menards addiction Meeting member! /  LCCA# 41824

Original Post

I have 2 TIUs on my layout, using 6 channels controlling various areas.  On TIU #1 both FIXED are powered by a Z4000 using the side receiver.  These feed the two main lines. Both VARIABLEs are powered by separate handles on an ancient ZW.  These control two large storage areas on the lowest level. On TIU#2, FIXED are not used and both VARIABLEs are powered by a singly PH-180; they had used a second ZW but when I bought, and didn't use, the PH-180 for a grandson's layout, I replaced the ZW with the PH-180 to save space. These two channels serve the main yard and a branch line, respectively.

There are external breakers on all transformer outputs.

All hot feeds go from the TIU outputs to a large control panel and feed my 70+ blocks, each of which has a toggle switch set in maps of the layout.  DZ switch controllers are al,o on the maps.

Ground is via a 12-gauge common buss loop around the layout.  Ground is not fed through the TIUs, but all black TIU outputs are connected to the buss.

You can run the Z-4000 transformers on all the TIU channels. Just set the Variable channels to FIXED. No need to change anything to run just conventional trains. (PS1, PW Lionel, Loco-Sound, etc.) The DCS signal does't do anything for them. But to run MTH DCS PS2 and PS3 trains conventionally, you need to just turn off the DCS signal by using the menu / system / DCS setup .

The Z4K tracks just vary the voltage on the Z-4000 with the remote, the same as using the handles. I had the Z-4000 remote with the receiver before I had DCS, and I found the Z-4000 runs my PW engines better than my original PW ZW. The speed doesn't slow down when blowing the horn on my 736 and turbine and they seem to run much smoother.  

Thanks Joe! From reading on it, it looks easy and fun to run that way! So can you confirm that I can run conventional and DCS engines at the same time on Z4K tracks?

Mike

USMC 5/11 Battalion Oscar Battery 155 Big Guns!

Semper Fi !

Menards addiction Meeting member! /  LCCA# 41824

As Joe points out, it can be done but is a hastle.  Bear in mond that you can speed up the conventional without affecting the DCS loco speed, and you can slow the DCS without affecting the conventional's speed.  So always have the conventional train heavier, so it wants to run slower.

Before DCS, I would run conventionals on the same "loop,", which is why I have 70+ blocks:  I couldm stop a loco gaining on another train.

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