Electrical Help Needed - How to figure out how many watts a Lionel 167 whistle controller draws.

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Electrical Help Needed - How to figure out how many watts a Lionel 167 whistle controller draws.

  • I was wondering if someone could give me an idea of what is happening on my Lionel layout,

    I would like to understand what is needed to calculate the  volts & watts needed for my set up.
    I asked for help at the 2 local train shops and the only advise I was given was to "just  buy a bigger ZW style transformer."

    My question concerns a #167 lionel whistle controller, a 90 Watt type A transformer and a pair of O22 switches.
    My temporary layout is about 3x8 or 4x6 and only has a O gauge loop with a passing siding, I have 6 feeder lock ons and clean tight track with 1 RCS uncoulpler section.

    I'm running a 1947 675 and a 1949 671 turbine (only one engine is on the tracks at a time), both engines run OK with no whistle controller hooked up to the B&U posts as per the lionel instructions,   With the 167 controller hooked up correctly Both engines run slower and slow way down with the Whistle button pushed, the whistles both work.

    My 1947 catalog and instructions show this type of  transformer & whistle controller  running a much bigger layout than what I have. Everything is wired correctly.
    I have tried a 2nd different Type A transformer, and 4 different 167 whistle controllers, all 4 controllers will blow a whistle fine while the train is stationary.

     I would like to find out how many watts are needed to run this set up, Is 90 watts too small for what I have? How would I determine the wattage needed?
    Is the Lionel directions incorrect about the use of this style transformer and whistle controller?

    Also is there a way to figure out how many watts a 167 whistle controller draws? I can tell that all the 167s I have all use about 6-8 volts when hooked up.
    I belive it is a choke coil inside that holds back some voltage untill the whistle  button is pressed and then the DC pulse and a bypass of the coil gives a slight voltage boost to compensate for the  whistle motor. Correct?

    I really like the look of the early postwar transformer it came with the original set I have, I dont want to buy a newer ZW if I dont have to,   I considered a Z for the higher watts and 2 train control but I dont want to transfer the whistle controller problem to a 3rd transformer.

    I'm confused as what to do next for a power supply. Any help or advise would be appreciated.
    -Jason

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  • Can anyone recomend a good book on 3 rail A/C train wiring & electrical theory?  All my experiance is with small N scale DC trains.

    The 2 Books I have by Ray Plumer are kind of vague on trouble shooting performance issues beyond the usual how to hook up the track wires and how to make sure the e-unit is working.

    I'm looking to find out how many watts a 167 whistle controller consumes,  I figure the Loco,switch  lights, smoke, and whistle  should draw about 70-80 watts,   If the whistle controller uses 5-10 watts I should be OK but if it uses 25-35 watts that would explain my performance issues right?   Just wondering how much extra wattage beyond what is is required as a reserve is needed.   Is a 275 Watt Zw overkill for this set up?

    -Jason

  • I'm not Mr.electrical here usually gunrunnerjohn or bob nelson (lionelison ( I think it is) will give advice on this but in my thinking a zw is never a overkill as more than likely at some time you will be adding more and you have it there for you. I presently have a zw and I'm about to add another transformer just for accessories as my main line I run 2 dual pul-mor motor engines and have 8 passenger cars behind that and tmcc in the engines and the 2 B-units for couplers and lights in there. thats a lot of draw right there and I will probably have it power my other loops as I build them. so the accessories will need separate power supply.

      Charter member of Tardis Train Crew (TTC)

    http://rtssite.shutterfly.com/

  •   The wattage output of a Lionel PW transformer diminishes as it gets warm. It will put out 75% of its rated wattage continuously, in this case 60 watts.  I'm not quite sure about the exact watts but I believe it is 5 watts that a Lionel PW transformer adds to the output when the whistle button is pressed to prevent the engine from losing speed whistle is being used. 

    http://www.thortrains.net/manual3.htm

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

  •   I don't think much of the advice you received to get a ZW. A 1044, TW, LW OR  SW should be adequate,and much cheaper.

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

  • OK makes sense why everything picked back up when I swapped to the other spare "cooler" transformer WOW! I did not know the transformers drop wattage that dramatically in such a short time. 

    All this makes me wonder why the old 1947 Lionel Catalog lists this transformer for use in a small O gauge set up with some acessories?  It seems misleading to the newcomer to the hobby with little or no explination of the laws of electricity.   No wonder I was confused about 90 watts being plenty of power for what I am running.  

     I wish the guys at the train shops could have explained this to me instead of trying to sell a $250 transformer to me.Confused

    Using the Thor Trains website list of wattages shows I am already maxing out my transformer. 

    O gauge Loco - 40 Watts,  Smoke - 5 Watts, Bulbs in my O22 Switches - approx 22 Watts, 3 lit passenger cars - approx 8 watts   Total = approx 75 watts.....slightly more than my transformer should put out after it is warmed up (about 68 watts is 75% of 90 watts)   Total watts needed would be based on my current and future plans......so a modest 1044 TW LW etc would allow me to run what I already have and a big friggin Type Z or ZW would allow for much larger  future expansion or acessories.

    The type A  was ok for a 4'x4' x-mass tree loop for 65 years but the extra track & lamps in the pass cars & switches must be the straw that broke the cammels back LOL!  ....I think I am getting it now.

    Am I  Right so far?   

    Is this a normal thing for all A/C transformers to loose Watts as they heat up or is it a sign of an older unit  "on its way out"     Also is the 167 Whistle Controller's choke coil subject to the same type of heat loss i.e. would it start to draw more power as it warms up?     I'd love to know what I would need to do to a test for this.    I have seen on some guys layouts they run an A/C  Volt & Amp Meter, can anyone explain the correct way to hook these up to a layout and how to use the info they provide?

    Can anyone direct me to the Bob Nelson or Servoguy electronics 101 class arround here?!?!?!? LOL! Seriously if this has been covered already I had no luck finding it in a search of the forums, Any links to old posts or topics on this would be appreciated. 

    Thanks for the help & letting me ask questions about this!

    -Jason

  • The drop in wattage is normal for a PW transformer. Maybe one of the posters here will explain it to us.

    You might also want to use this source addition to this one.

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

  • My point on a zw was you would have room to build if needed. and you can get them a lot cheaper elsewhere. now for the drop in watts I have always heard that but not sure as stated earlier I'm not Mr. electrical. I was not trying to get you to buy one but just a thought if you were going to buy one as you brought it up. you can normally get a zw if you want one off of ebay for about $100 - $125 plus shipping. and if it don't work thanks to ebay rulings you can send it back and get your money and the original shipping back.

     

      Charter member of Tardis Train Crew (TTC)

    http://rtssite.shutterfly.com/

  • The whistle problem is not so much a matter of power as voltage.  The train running at a particular speed will draw the same current from the transformer whether the 167 is in the circuit or not.  The difference is that, when the 167 is wired in series with the transformer, the transformer must be able to reach a higher voltage to compensate for the voltage lost in the 167.  The 16 volts of the U-B connection is apparently not enough to get decent voltage to your locomotives after the 167 takes its deduction, particularly with the other loads that you have.

    Putting out the same current at a higher voltage does mean than the transformer is putting out somewhat more power; but, if you don't notice any great temperature rise and the circuit breaker doesn't trip, you may not be overloading the transformer.  But it seems likely that you're close.  In any case, a more powerful transformer that puts out no more than 16 volts probably wouldn't fix the problem.  If you want to continue to use the 167, you should look for a transformer with a higher voltage range.  The type A with an A-U connection can go up to 24 volts, which is plenty; but the lower end is 14 volts--probably too high for slow running.  The KW puts out 20 volts.  The VW and ZW put out 21 volts.  The V and Z put out 24 volts and have a late-prewar-early-postwar look that you might like.

    Bob Nelson

  • Thanks for all the advise guys!

    This transformer's major draw back is the goofy split range on the voltage posts. I never thought much about it not being the best transformer to use because it was with my set for 65 years, and it ran a X-Mas tree loop just fine. I'm the first one in the family to try & expand the track & acessories.

    I have found that using the A-U connection on this transformer works much better but at the expense of low speed control,  I have thought about why this was done and re-read some of the original Lionel papers I have and when this transformer is taken in the context of its time. It was probley only intended to run an O-27 setup or O setup with out a whistle.   I still dont know why I have some papers showing the B post as the hook up with the whistle controller,  Error in the instructions maybee? I have seen it printed both ways.

    My plan is to find a 47-48 Type Z,  I had thought about a V but the cost for the larger  Z is not much more. I will have lots of room to expand in the future, the 0-24 voltage range is all in one control and even with the whistle controller drop I should still see about 20 Volts to the track, I can also keep my 2 type A transformers to run lights & acessories and they should all match apperance wise.

    Any tips on what to look out for when buying a used Z and what I decent train show price would be? I checked ebay but I'm not crazy about buying a transformer unseen and having it shipped.

    Thanks again!  - Jason Rackawack

  • Be aware that the Z doesn't go down to zero:  It varies between 8 and 24 volts.

    I would expect to pay about $100 to $150 at a show.  Short of plugging it in and measuring the voltages put out, you can learn the state of the rollers just by turning the knobs.  The knobs should turn freely and quietly; and you should be able to feel through the knobs the washboard effect of the rollers rolling across the secondary winding.

    Bob Nelson

  • rack776

    Can anyone recomend a good book on 3 rail A/C train wiring & electrical theory?  All my experiance is with small N scale DC trains.

      -Jason

     Jason,

     Kalmbach has a new book out on wiring you toy train layout. You may be interested in.

    http://www.kalmbachstore.com/10-8405.html

    Joined 1-21-2011    TCA 13-68614

    Kev, From The North Bluff Above Marseilles IL. Whistling

     

  • How well your locos run, and how well the whistles work depends strongly on how well the locos, whistle motors and cars are lubed.  I recommend 5W-20/30 motor oil for everything because I have used it for 40 years and it never dries out or gets gummy.  Grease, 3 in 1 oil, Lionel Lube all dry out and either get hard or gummy.  

  • servoguy

    How well your locos run, and how well the whistles work depends strongly on how well the locos, whistle motors and cars are lubed.  I recommend 5W-20/30 motor oil for everything because I have used it for 40 years and it never dries out or gets gummy.  Grease, 3 in 1 oil, Lionel Lube all dry out and either get hard or gummy.  

    I like Mobil 1     20-50W racing oil even better.Wink

    Joined 1-21-2011    TCA 13-68614

    Kev, From The North Bluff Above Marseilles IL. Whistling