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You're welcome, I did want to mention that if you set up the var channel in var mode with (menu/system/ Dcs set up/ and var mode, the channel  will not have voltage on the track until you scroll up the voltage with the remote,

  If you leave the channel in fixed mode the channel will fire up with full voltage, Not good for any engine that starts in forward in conventional mode  It'll take off.  

While on this subject I have been wondering if you can leave the transformer connected to both the variable and the fixed voltage inputs on the TIU at the same time while fed from the same transformer. Since you have to choose how you want to operate the track in the track setup, will this hurt anything or should you physically move the power leads from one to the other when changing from conventional to DCS? 

Felix, GRG and Gregg give great advice. You can run both on the same track. I'm not a big fan of doing this unless you find two trains, one commend and one conventional that can play nice. A command unit needs at least 13 volts. (give or take) At 13 volts the conventional will be a rabbit so to speak.

Patternpilot, You can, but no need to keep moving wires. First, this all depends on how much you're running and how you power the TIU. If you power the TIU using the AUX You can just run power thru Variable 1 or 2 and just choose fixed or variable from the remote or tablet. Or without Aux power, you must run power to fixed 1. You can jump power from fixed 1 to Variable 1 or 2 simply by jumping wires (from the input side) from fixed 1 to either of the three remaining choices. This way, you must power the fixed 1 input, but you don't need to use the output from it.


I'm going to jump on this feed now....Wow, you guys have been super helpful. So I have several postwar Lionel engines I inherited from my father, as well as PS2 and PS3 engines. I have a small 4x8' layout (essentially an inner and outer loop fully isolated from each other with insulating pins) and I want to setup the transformer and TIU properly so I can operate both the newer DCS engines as well as the older Lionels?

So I have a Z-4000, a Z-750 (brick) and the TIU. Some questions:

1) What's the advantage of using the Z-750 to power the TIU through the TIU power port vs. from the fixed input 1 from the Z-4000 fixed output? Why would I prefer one method over the other?

2) As for setup, it seems, if I should/could A) Connect the Z-750 to the power port B) Connect the left variable-out's on the Z-4000 to the Variable 1 inputs in the TIU, and the right variable-out's on the Z-4000 to the Variable 2 inputs in the TIU. C) Connect then Variable-1 out's from the TIU to the outer isolated loop track and Variable-2 out's from the TIU to the inner isolated loop track.

3) Assuming all of that is correct, how then should I program the remote/TIU so that I can operate both DCS and conventional engines on both of the loops?

Thanks for sorting me out.

  • Connect the Z-750 to the aux power of the TIU.  This powers the TIU all the time, even if you remove the voltage from Fixed #1.
  • Connect the Z-4000 channels to each of the inputs to the fixed TIU channels.
  • Connect the TIU Fixed channels to each of the track loops.
  • Program the DCS system for fixed voltage on the variable outputs.

Now you're ready to operate.  If you just run conventional with the transformer and DCS with the remote.

If you would like to run conventional from the remote, you can connect the transformer and track through the variable channels.  In that case, you'd just run the Z-4000 handles up to 18 volts and use the remote to control the trains.

In this scenario, I also set the variable channels to fixed mode.  This allows them to come up with full voltage upon power-up, but as soon as you address them with the TRACK key and vary the voltage, they automatically switch to variable mode.

Is there a reason that the conventional power using a different transformer cannot be fed directly to the track even though the TIU is powered up in order to operate switches and sidings power relays through the AIU? The reason I ask is i'm not a fan of conventional operation through the TIU using the wifi interface as it seems to have a delay adjusting power.

I have two post war ZW transformers, one for conventional and one for command. They are physically separated from each other by switches even though they are phased correctly. The connection for the conventional would be at the track section busses where the star wiring is for the command operation. I don't see why this would hurt the TIU as it is pretty much the same as running "passive TIU mode".

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