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I am presently powering my MTH TIU two Fixed In ports separately from two Lionel ZW's, powering two separate track loops.  I cannot direct the power to Fixed In Two to run trains on that separate loop without first powering up Fixed In One to get the internal red light on, even slightly.  And if I'm running a train through Fixed In One conventionally, this presents a problem.  I'm thinking of removing the Fixed In ports from the ZW's and using an MTH Z-750 to power the TIU.  Does this make sense, and will these ports then be at a fixed voltage?  What am I sacrificing if I do this?  Or should I just go out of the two variable ports?  I just wish that the DCS system was as user friendly as Lionel Legacy....

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@firsttimer posted:

 

...I cannot direct the power to Fixed In Two to run trains on that separate loop without first powering up Fixed In One to get the internal red light on, even slightly. ...

Correct.  The TIU itself needs to be powered separate from your two loops.  The TIU "steals" this power from Fixed In One.  Or, you can apply TIU power via the AUX POWER INPUT jack on the side of the TIU using a 12V, 15V, etc. wall-wart which you might already have in a box...otherwise they are maybe $5.  Powering the TIU in this way keeps the "internal red light on" all the time so that you can independently operate DCS on your 2nd loop.

Here's what happens. You have two trains running on Fixed 1 and Fixed 2. something goes wrong on fixed 1. Fixed 1 power is turned off. Fixed 2 goes to full output voltage WITHOUT DCS signal. The fixed 2 train takes off at full speed and the only way to stop it is turn Fixed 2 power off.

External power to the TIU solves this problem.

Stan and GFT - thanks for the help; I think that I understand.  Frankly, I find the DCS system to be frustrating and not very intuitive.  I've watch the OGR video twice and read the manual thoroughly and still have issues with it.  BTW, Stan, what specific auxiliary power unit would you recommend to power the TIU?  I want my two ZW's to power the two separate tracks.

Firstimer, Stan is pretty much the man for electrical.  I can tell you that my ceiling layout is double-tracked, a total of 200 feet around, powered by one PWZW, one TIU, which is powered by a RS 16-24 watt wall wart.  Both lines run two engines, pulling 25 cars with no issues at all.  That's a total of 100 cars up there. 

Most of the guys will advise you to do it this way, for the reasons already mentioned.  Doesn't have to be a RS power source.   You can find a zillion online. 

Jerry     

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@firsttimer posted:

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BTW, Stan, what specific auxiliary power unit would you recommend to power the TIU?  I want my two ZW's to power the two separate tracks.

Check your garage or basement storage for an old laptop charger or what not.  As mentioned, adapters with voltages like 12V, 15V, 18V are common and pretty much any of them will work if the connector plug is correct.  If you post a photo of any candidate adapters with the printing/label I can confirm suitability.  Otherwise, I normally direct folks to their local Goodwill store or garage-sale where you can pick one up for 50 cents or $1 but these are not normal times. 

That said, here's one each from eBay and Amazon from US sellers.  You can save a bit if willing to wait for an eBay or Amazon seller in Asia.  If you prefer to buy local, tell me what stores are available and I will figure out a suitable adapter from the likes of Target, Walmart, Home Depot, etc.

12v 2a adapter

I think you are on top of this.  The deal is quite simple.  The TIU itself requires about 5-10 Watts of power.  If you "steal" this from Fixed In One, then you are depriving your engines of that much power from the ZW.  By powering the TIU with an external/separate adapter, whatever power your ZW can provide is now fully available to the track/engines on Fixed Out One.

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Last edited by stan2004

I would like to personally thank each and every one of you guys who took the time to respond to my question!  I'm relatively new to the hobby and to know that there is so much truly friendly and knowledgeable support out there is heartwarming.  And your patience with my question and easy to understand replies really helped - I'm really impressed with the OGR Forum site!

Thanks again!

PS - what the heck is a "wall wart...?"

@firsttimer posted:

Thanks again for all the helpful replies!  I'm learning something new every day.  BTW, more than sorry to hear about Mike Wolf's retirement and desire to close down MTH....hopefully he'll find a buyer!

Dont sell DCS short, it is a great system once you have the basics under your belt. And it sounds like you are there!  Many here including myself use DCS, TMCC, and Legacy together, and at the same time, without issue. 

Per above, if you are using only one tiu channel, Fixed 1, you don't need aux power. But if you are using more than one channel, you definitely should be using aux power. And any 12-24 volt wallwart, AC or DC, with at least 1 amp output, will work. You could also use one ZW output such as A or D to provide aux tiu power.

Rod

Rod - Many thanks for the support!  I initially found DCS to be counter intuitive and had a heck of a time getting it to work properly (train not on track, can't find engine, limited speed, eg.); the manual was of little or no help and the OGR video which I purchased filled in a lot of those holes.  I am now pretty comfortable with it, and as you indicated, experience is the best teacher! And I am now using Fixed In 1 and Fixed In 2 for my loops and am powering the TIU with a small power supply.  Everything seems to be working well!

Thanks again!

Firsttimer

@firsttimer posted:

Rod - Many thanks for the support!  I initially found DCS to be counter intuitive and had a heck of a time getting it to work properly (train not on track, can't find engine, limited speed, eg.); the manual was of little or no help and the OGR video which I purchased filled in a lot of those holes.  I am now pretty comfortable with it, and as you indicated, experience is the best teacher! And I am now using Fixed In 1 and Fixed In 2 for my loops and am powering the TIU with a small power supply.  Everything seems to be working well!

Thanks again!

Firsttimer

Firtstimer; you are more than welcome. Most anything you need to know you can get advice about here on the forum. There is also a publication called the DCS Companion, written by Barry Broskowitz, which you can search and download digitally. Barry was arguably the resident DCS guru, and his book is a huge wealth of information, more than most of us will ever need to know, but its a great reference. I believe the 3rd edition is still the most current. Unfortunately Barry passed about a year or so ago, but his legacy lives on.

Rod

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