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ZW vs. 30B

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ZW vs. 30B
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, March 22, 2005 4:47 PM
In a choice between a Lionel ZW (275 wt) and an American Flyer 30B (300 wt), what would you prefer?
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Posted by ben10ben on Tuesday, March 22, 2005 5:23 PM
Sorry to sound like a smart you-know-what, but, it depends on whether I'm running a Lionel or American Flyer.

I really like the built-in voltmeters, higher wattage, and dead-man's control on the 30B. It's an excellent transformer for running American Flyer, however its maximum voltage is really too low to operate a Lionel train well. It also lacks a whistle control.

The ZW goes up to 20 volts rather than 15, and has a whistle control. For this reason, I'd rather use it to run Lionel trains. In addition, it has two more variable throttles, so is better for running accesories
Ben TCA 09-63474
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Posted by spankybird on Tuesday, March 22, 2005 5:57 PM
I have to agree with Ben, it really depends on what you want to run.

Ben do you know if the AF is full sine wave [?]

If you are planing DCS or TMCC later, I would go with the full sine wave ZW.

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 www.spankybird.shutterfly.com 

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Posted by ben10ben on Tuesday, March 22, 2005 6:08 PM
Tom,
The 30B is really built just the same as a ZW. It has an iron core with two coils of wire and carbon rollers that wipe across the secondary coil. Yes, it does put out a full sine wave.

You also raise an interesting point with TMCC/DCS compatibility. In my experience, a Lionel Powermaster drops about a half a volt with a decent amount of current running through it, and I would imagine that the TIU and TPC do the same thing. Although this half volt is not significant under normal circumstances with a transformer that can put out more voltage than you will usually need, it becomes very, very noticable when you can't get any more than 15 volts. When I first started with TMCC, I was running a Lionel 2032 Alco with an American Flyer 8B(100 watts) and a powermaster. It would run at a fair clip with the transformer connected directly to the track and pulling no load, but would hardly move with the tranformer set to full and running through the powermaster and one or two cars behind the engine.
Ben TCA 09-63474
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, March 22, 2005 7:57 PM
For all around use, the ZW is a much better transformer, hands down. And I'm a big PW Flyer fan.

I've used both, and the ZW is far more versitile. If you are using modern Flyer diesel engines, the voltage on the 30B starts out at too high of a voltage which causes the engines to jerk when you start out and to jerk so hard when you stop that the engine sometimes derails.

I know that the gauges look cool and the deadman's control is a nice feature, but that feature can also drive you crazy at times. In spite of that, I've always tried to use the 30B's on my PW Flyer layuot. On my current LIonel layout, using the ZW seems to be the only logical way to go because of the TMCC set up. Also despite the 30B's advertised 300W compared to only 275W for the ZW, the ZW delivers much more voltage.This is obvious when you try them on the same engine in a heads up comparison.
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Posted by lionelsoni on Wednesday, March 23, 2005 8:37 AM
"PW"?

Bob Nelson

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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, March 23, 2005 1:15 PM
PW .........Short for Post War .Sorry, I guess that could be confused with Pre War.

Thanks, Jim.
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, March 23, 2005 6:57 PM
If you don;t need a whistle control, then the transformer with the most brute power is the lionel 250 watt Z (not ZW) The Z uses all it power to the 4 main outputs each with its own voltage control. Each output has 25 volts and the circuit breaker trips at 15 amps at 25 volts not 20 like a zw.
25 volts at 15 amps is 375 watts, vs 15 amps at 20 volts =300 watts. Measurements were made with my fluke in series for current rating, and my radio shack meter on the voltage. Actualy the zw was less as it would only muster 18 volts under full load which is 275 watts and the Z would hold at 24.7 volts or 370 ,5 watts.
Really a great transformer and it has plenty room inside so it does not get hot and will give full output all day while the zw gets very hot and loses voltage after awhile.
Dave.
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Posted by lionelsoni on Thursday, March 24, 2005 8:30 AM
I have both a Z (and a couple for parts) and a 30B. I like the 30B's handles, but I find myself usually using the Z.

The Z is the only thing that will get my 773 up to a reasonable speed with a big train. I think that prewar voltages tended to be higher than after the war; and the postwar Hudsons' gearing probably did not change from the prewar designs (like the trailing-truck wheels).

Bob Nelson

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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, March 27, 2005 1:43 PM
If you really want meters for your transformer Lionel made a set for the ZW, 6-14077. I haven't seen them in the catalog recently but I still see them at train shops.
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Posted by siberianmo on Sunday, April 3, 2005 3:15 PM
Don't know if any of you are "still around," but the info on this thread is really helpful.

I started a thread on April 2nd regarding some questions concerning A.C. Gilbert's American Flyer trains. One particular question was about transformers. Got lots of great info from a couple of guys - that, coupled with this thread helps a lot.

Thanx![tup]
Happy Railroading! Siberianmo
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, April 8, 2005 12:29 PM
Thanks to all. I bought the ZW.

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