zw and other multi train transformer question

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zw and other multi train transformer question
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, March 10, 2004 8:18 PM
now with those bigger transformers, do they need like special electrical blocks? or do you just put four trains on the track and you can control them idividualy on the same block or track?[?]
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Posted by spankybird on Wednesday, March 10, 2004 9:00 PM
Hi Jerry,

To put simple, each control lever controls one block. On my large layout, track 1 was the outside loop, track 2 was the inside loop, track 3 was the down hill grade (set a low voltage so trains would not run too fast and derail). The last control I used for fix voltage to the switches.

Without a lot of block controls and relays, it is hard to run two trains on the same loop in conventional mode.

You can check out my layout by clicking on the web icon below. It has a track plan.


I am a person with a very active inner child. This is why my wife loves me so. Willoughby, Ohio - the home of the CP & E RR. OTTS Founder 

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Posted by hrin on Wednesday, March 10, 2004 9:03 PM
As far as I know... the old zw has train control for 4 trains. Each of the 4 controls would be wired to its own block or its own oval of track. The new zw could do the same with 2-4 of the Lionel power supply things.

The new MRC Pure Power Dual is nice and runs 2 trains for under 200 bucks.
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Posted by MartyE on Wednesday, March 10, 2004 9:10 PM
Actually you only need 2 Lionel bricks as long as you have the "jumper Plugs" from Lionel which should be included with the transformer.

Most of the older ZW will in fact control 4 trains but...Only 2 of the outputs have whistle controls and reverse switches and it would be hard pressed to run 4 trains with too much going on with them like lighted passenger cars and multi motor uniits.

The newer ZWs are setup basically the same way with the addition of a bell button. When using just 2 bricks the outputs can be limited but adding 2 more bricks gives each output 180watts.

Trying to update my avatar since 2020 Laugh

MartyE and Kodi the Husky Dog! ( 3/31/90-9/28/04 ) My O Gauge Web Page and Home of Kodiak Junction!

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Posted by Chris F on Wednesday, March 10, 2004 10:39 PM

As tom indicated, you will need to create electrical blocks by isolating the center rails. You will need one more block than the number of trains you want to run. For example, you would need four blocks to run three trains.

If you try to run more than one train using the same center-rail power, each wil be operating at the same voltage, but probably at a different speed due to different motors, different cars, manufacturing tolerances, curves vs. straights, etc. Eventually one will catch up to the other. Even if you have multiple blocks, this still can happen unless you monitor each train's speed closely and adjust the individual throttles accordingly. To avoid constant throttle adjustment, you can use relays to cut power to the block a train has just left so that a following train will stop. Of course, then the reversing unit must be locked in the forward position,

The above issues are why some of us prefer to run multiple trains on the same tracks using command control, either Lionel's TMCC or MTH's DCS. The costs are higher, the wiring may be a bit more complex, and there's a locomotive reliability issue because of all the extra electronics. But it sure is a lot easier to run the trains.[:)]
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Posted by Phil1361 on Thursday, March 11, 2004 12:53 AM
If you ever decide to go to Command Control as suggested by Chris F. make sure you use some kind of surge suppressor between the power supply and the tracks. This will greatly increase the life of the electronics and greatly decrease the chances of frying a board or some other similar problem. QSI used to make something called a Powerguard. I don't know if they are still available. If you run the newer locomotives with electronics even if you are doing it conventionally I still suggest picking up one of spike protectors/surge suppressors.

Happy Railroading

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