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Short answer is maybe, depending...

If both LC engines are dual motor and/or with smoke on pulling long or heavy trains with incandescent lights uphill, probably not.  The main throttle controlled output on the Z-1000 is rated at 100Watts, so it really depends on the trains you try to run. To a lesser degree, the wiring and length of track and connections will also add some resistance that will slightly reduce the power available to the motors.

You may be able to run two short single motor trains simultaneously with smoke off and no or few incandescent lights on the trains.  I believe others have mentioned previously that this lesser option works for them.

100 Watts

18 Volts

5.5 Amps

Watts is like foam on a mug of beer

it really ain’t beer..

just as Watts ain’t what’s powering your engines…it’s the Amperage

test your engines to see what Amperage they draw under strain…connect a Multimeter set to Amperage in series…hold your engine from moving…apply power…see how much current it draws

To expand on Steve's point, the Lionel lionchief power supply is 72  watts.  This was probably sized for a single  top end power user loco and consist. So you can consider that as Lionel's estimate of a power hungry lionchief unit.  I have run two locos and rolling stock on a z-1000 but not two longer passenger trains (I still have some incandescent cars). 


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@1drummer posted:

Watts is like foam on a mug of beer

it really ain’t beer..

just as Watts ain’t what’s powering your engines…it’s the Amperage


Unfortunately Watts are indeed powering your engine.

Locomotives need both voltage and amperage to roll down the track.  Not enough of either and you get poor operation, or none at all.  For any given transformer, from the smallest to a ZW, Voltage will fall as amperage increases, quickly in fact as you approach the maximum amperage that the transformer can produce.  So if you look only at Amperage you'll end up short on performance at some point.

Looking at it another way here's the technical reason that Watts are (Power is) more important: Power = Voltage x Amperage.  Unlike Amperage alone this accounts for both Voltage and Amperage limitations associated with the size of the transformer, thus is a better indicator of total performance.

If you concentrate only on Amperage you're missing half the boat.


Last edited by Mellow Hudson Mike

D445C94F-9D6E-423F-93F7-7393000A4F09Mello Hudson Mike, “the power conveyed by a current of an Ampère through the difference of potential of a Volt".

The measurement of a Watt is a mathematical byproduct of the interaction of electromotive force created when resistance occurs in the transference of energy, in this case, as a measurement of work.

in an electrical circuit, the three components are Voltage, Resistance and Current…Watts is only a measurement of the output of those entities.

And it’s a marketing representation at best, because it sounds better to have 400 Watts than to have 10 Amps.

in a Alternating Current system, the most important aspect is the Amperage

Yes, the Voltage is relevant.

here’s the math that supports it

we have 18 volts that forces up to 10 Amps, that’s 180 Watts  

if we only focus on the Watts, 180

we can increase either volts or Amps in many ways to get 180 watts

but those combinations will not adequately run our trains…

therefore the current is the crucial measurement..because we require a specific range to run our Alternating Current driven devices  

And we achieve that current by applying a specific voltage across a specific resistance to get the current we need  so that our engines can draw what they require to function  


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I think all posters here have made some good points.  To summarize:

Watts are the way electrical (and motive) power is universally measured (which is the unit in question in the OP).  .

It's also true that electrical current flow in Amps is the number of electrons flowing through a conductor in a given time time (6.242 × 1018 electrons per second) and this is what produces work (energy in the forms of magnetic fields and heat).

And without sufficient Voltage (Electromotive Force) to drive the load resistance, the work won't get done sufficiently to move the trains.

So then maybe the question could be restated to be: How many trains running does it take to equal the minimum load resistance (reactance) of around 3.27 Ohms before this circuit powered by a Z1000 will still function before its circuit breaker trips at around 5 to 5.5 Amps?

There are several different ways to figure out the answer to the question including testing by running 2 specific locomotives and some number of cars on a given track with the tightest curves and steepest grade on that layout and either measuring the current flow or making the Z1000 breaker trip.

Last edited by SteveH
@hokie71 posted:

... I wonder why gasoline and electric motors are rated in horsepower? And we all know 746 watts = 1horsepower.

Just sayin....

Here's an article I found that tells an interesting story of how James Watt may have decided to rate his improved design steam engines that he was trying to sell predominantly to farmers to replace horse drawn equipment.  It goes on to tell about how horsepower rating became a common way of referring to how much work could be done by a steam engine and also how this unit of measurement continued with the invention of electric motors.

From other sources, when the internal combustion engine was invented, horsepower continued to be a common way of measuring the amount of work they could do.

It's also interesting to me that James Watt not only improved on the invention of the steam engine and defined horsepower, but also another unit of power, the Watt, is named after him.

Last edited by SteveH

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