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WaynePA,

The ZW-L essentially has 4 PowerMasters built into it already.  You won't need external versions if you use the internal ones.

You're on a good path though.  Newer PowerMasters, whether built-in or external, have special functions for PS-1, PS-2 and PS-3, like "Fast Horn" and "Fast Bell".

Look at the user's manual for your ZW-L.  There's a section describing these functions, and several more listed there as well.

Mike

Last edited by Mellow Hudson Mike

I believe the ZW-L, while having the 4 channel voltage control PowerMaster functionality internally, does not have the MTH Macros built in like the TPC or Legacy PowerMaster units. I personally use Legacy PowerMasters and find the builtin MTH Macros are very effective, but so is manually keying. Some example excerpts:

https://www.mthtrains.com/site...ction/20dl16606i.pdf

@Mellow Hudson Mike, the ZW-L manual does not have much to say about MTH control:

https://www.lionelsupport.com/...7921250ZWLManual.pdf

This is in contrast with the Legacy PowerMaster user Manual which has pages on MTH operation, the following just an sample:

https://www.lionelsupport.com/...EGACYPowerMaster.pdf

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Last edited by bmoran4

There is nothing in the ZW-L manual that describes any of those special functions like Fast Bell or Horn.

Frankly,  what is built into the ZW-L is not actually PowerMasters,  although for the price $900 or more they should be.  What is inside is some circuitry that allows voltage control to the track using a CAB1, 1L or CAB2.  None of the functions of a Legacy PowerMaster or TPC 300/400 are there.

WaynePA,

News to me.  I don't have a ZW-L but:

1.) Many, many people have indicated in previous threads here that the ZW-L has the same MTH-supporting functions as the PowerMasters.

2.) The ZW-C's appear to have these functions, although I'll be checking more closely on those too now.  It absolutely doesn't make sense that the ZW-L wouldn't have them as well, especially given the ridiculous price tag.

3.) I have, and have used, several different kinds of PowerMasters and TPC's and they do have them.  Not only that, they work very well.

Something's greatly askew here.

Mike

I too would like a definitive answer - I too assumed that the ZW-L would have the macros, but have been suggestively corrected. As you can see above, the ZW-L documentation is lacking on the subject and searching on the forum, it seems to be that the ZW-L does not have them, and those that claim the ZW-L does simply reiterate that they power their MTH trains successfully and don't know they are missing out on the macros being discussed.

@bmoran4 posted:

I too would like a definitive answer - I too assumed that the ZW-L would have the macros, but have been suggestively corrected. As you can see above, the ZW-L documentation is lacking on the subject and searching on the forum, it seems to be that the ZW-L does not have them, and those that claim the ZW-L does simply reiterate that they power their MTH trains successfully and don't know they are missing out on the macros being discussed.

If you look at the section in the ZW-L manual, where it shows the legacy remote, it shows that for example you can fire the electro coupler on Legacy and "selected conventional locomotives", but doesn't elaborate on that. I don't know why they would give that functionality to legacy powermasters and not to the ZW-L, but then again, maybe some bright boy figured you would buy a ZW-L for almost 900 bucks, then spend hundreds more to use a Powermaster with it to gain those functions, wouldn't surprise me (at that point, might as well buy a ZW and some powermasters).

Okay, I own a ZW-L and it does not have the same functions with respect to MTH PS2/3 engines as either a Legacy PM or TPC 300/400 do.  I’ve tried several times and the ZW-L does not respond to any of those commands.

ZW-L is programmed to operate with my CAB1L command set.  The only issue I have with respect to the command programming is you have no choice with respect to which handle numbers, either track or engine are assigned when you select the command option.

So, the only way to get the MTH operational features is to purchase either a Legacy PM or a TPC 300/400.  Even adding either of those components complicates matters somewhat.

In order to use either of them you would need to reprogram the ZW-L in the conventional mode which would require the operator to increase or decrease the voltage to the track using them rather than the ZW-L.  Not a deal breaker but a nuisance.  The overall increase in cost would depend on how many tracks you want to control.

Other options are a full DCS system, Remote Commander or a DCS Explorer. The latter two choices have limitations.

Lastly,  during a discussion with a very knowledgeable person he told me that it is not a hardware issue but a programming issue with respect to the ZW-L.  But I don’t know how you would change the programming to accomplish that.  Maybe someone here could weigh in on that.

@WaynePa posted:

Okay, I own a ZW-L and it does not have the same functions with respect to MTH PS2/3 engines as either a Legacy PM or TPC 300/400 do.  I’ve tried several times and the ZW-L does not respond to any of those commands.

Prior to Legacy, the choice was, a "powermaster" to control conventional locomotives, or the TPC unit for conventional locomotives as well as MTH conventional locomotives with the ability to access some of the PFA anouncements and operate electrocouplers. ( I've used a TPC with a 180w brick for MTH and it works well)

HOWEVER. unless I'm mistaken. The ZWL came along a few/several years earlier than the Legacy powermaster.

Is it possible the ZWL only has "regular powermaster" functionality, because the "Legacy powermaster" wasn't available /ready?

I believe the ZWL was Mike Reagans" baby" . Maybe an email to mreagan@twtrainworx.com would clarify.

So, the only way to get the MTH operational features is to purchase either a Legacy PM or a TPC 300/400.  Even adding either of those components complicates matters somewhat.

I'm not sure about the "complication". Your ZWL should be able to stay at full voltage while the TPC/powermaster unit is addressed and sends the conventional/MTH commands via voltage to the track.

FWIW, 2 TPC 400s just went up on the FS forum at a great price. Even less expensive than the Legacy PM.

The manual states 2/13 so I guess the ZW-L was introduced either late 2013 or early 2014.

I do like the transformer but in hindsight I should have just kept my TPC300’s and Powerhouses.

Maybe I can sell the ZW-L and go back.  Seems like the former arrangement was much more compatible with all the different control options.

@WaynePa posted:

I do like the transformer but in hindsight I should have just kept my TPC300’s and Powerhouses.

Maybe I can sell the ZW-L and go back.  Seems like the former arrangement was much more compatible with all the different control options.

I have 1 brick through a TPC unit for the trains, and 1 brick through an avc unit for my accessories, couldn't be happier.

No frills, just solid power. A $20 voltmeter tells me what I'm getting/putting at the outputs.

IMO the ZW L is almost too much of a good thing. It seems is more catered to folks who want a great big almost retro style transformer with the "whizz bang" light up guages.  Its the kind of transformer "Tool Time Tim" would have on his layout LOL!

More power!!! - Tim Allen | Meme Generator

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Last edited by RickO
@zhubl posted:

There are a small number of “issues” I have with the ZW-L. While I have no reason to use the MTH capabilities of say a Legacy PM. I do wish there was a way to bring a output to full voltage. @Mikado may be able to ahead some light on why certain features were left out of the ZW-L.

The only way is to use the ZW-L on conventional mode and adjust the handles to full voltage.  When in command mode you need to program the track as either engines or tracks.  Then address them and turn the red dial.

The ZW-L does not respond to AUX1 9 like the Legacy PM or TPC 300/400’s do.

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