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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,

I’m new to how this new stuff works for trains now. When I used my dad’s set in the 70s, you just attached a transformer and that’s how you made the train and accessories work.

Now that I have two “conventional” (?) train sets coming, along with some fastrack and “normal” (Tubular) O track (black ties) to set up some layouts, I’m trying to figure out how a “command” is supposed to work. I’m confused.

None of the train sets I purchased are special. Meaning no LionChief, no legacy, no Bluetooth, none of that. They are just “normal” train sets (like the ones in the 70s). I’m thinking of running two sets of train tracks and putting one train set on each track set. Basically what I call two layouts.

With that being said, can I use a Lionel command system to run both track setups at the same time? I was considering getting a ZW-C transformer to run the two tracks and the accessories for both tracks. (4 connections). Do I still need to buy this transformer if I want to use a command? Does the command setup replace the transformer or do I need it on top of the transformer?

Then I read that if you use the ZW-C to run trains normally (off and on, faster and slower) that it will break and that it won’t run “legacy” trains because of some chip problem. ??? So I’m looking into the ZW-L, but it is much more expensive. However, if I don’t need to get the transformer at all for the command, then that would be great.

Anyone that can help me decipher this, it would be appreciated. I don’t want to buy all the extra stuff if I don’t need it. There is also which type of Lionel command set to get. Should I get the legacy command (I think it is CAB2?) or get the CAB1L setup? Also, will either of those run both tracks at once or do I need to buy two command systems? (One for each track set?)

Again, I’m super confused. Any help would be appreciated.

Take care,
Mat
 

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The Lionel ZW transformer has two controls. You can run train A on track A while
you run train B on track B and control them individually. However you cannot have individual control of two trains on the same track with the ZW. To do that you would have to install a
modern digital control system such as the Legacy. Many of our members use the system and
can help you should you decide that. Do not buy the ZW until you have decided whether
or not you want to invest in the more modern controls. Get the advice of our many
0 scalers who have experience with these controls.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The Lionel ZW transformer has two controls. You can run train A on track A while
you run train B on track B and control them individually. However you cannot have individual control of two trains on the same track with the ZW. To do that you would have to install a
modern digital control system such as the Legacy. Many of our members use the system and
can help you should you decide that. Do not buy the ZW until you have decided whether
or not you want to invest in the more modern controls. Get the advice of our many
0 scalers who have experience with these controls.

Don
Don,

Thank you so much for the info. That helps. Right now, one set came with a CW-80 (I think that’s it) transformer and the other set came with a small black transformer from the 70’s.

With that being said, as you mentioned, I could get the ZW to run both track A and B from one transformer. (Along with acc A & B on those tracks with the same transformer). So that would be a win for me.

However, if I understand you properly and I wanted to run both trains A & B on ONE track, then I would need to add the Legacy command controller to do that. Would that controller allow me to control both “normal” trains/engines on one track? Or would I need to buy “special” engines to use that feature?

Only other question (so far. Lol) that I have is will one Legacy command control pack/set run track A & B? Or do I need a separate Legacy controller pack/set to run each track A & track B?

That is my biggest question. If I need to buy a $350 controller for every track, then it isn’t really worth it to me. I’d rather just use the one ZW transformer to control both tracks.

If I should post these questions in a different part of the forum for answers, please let me know where so that I can get answers before my purchase. :).

Thanks for your help!
 

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Where are you 0 scale guys when we need you? Our new friend here needs
experienced advice from those with Legacy knowledge.

I can talk a good game with it comes to DCC on N and HO layouts, but
the Legacy system is different.

Demon, hang in there...we have a very large 0 scale membership and
they'll be along in time.

Don
 

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I'm in the same boat is Don in that I don't know much about O scale offerings. But I do notice a couple of misconceptions in what you posted. First of all, you can run several trains on ONE track with one transformer, IF you don't mind all of them responding more or less identically to any control input. The control them independently, you would need Legacy command or whatever they call their digital control systems. Also you only need ONE of these systems to control several trains, even on independent tracks.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Don & CT Valley - Thank you a bunch. CT’s last comment helps me a ton. I was wondering if I had to buy a Legacy controller set for each separate track setup I would run. If not, then I wouldn’t mind getting one Legacy Controller set and the ZW-C transformer to run tracks A & B with trains A & B on their respective tracks.

I just did not want to have to buy two separate Legacy controller (one for each separate track) at like $350 each. Then if I added another track later (track C) I would have to buy yet another. :-o

Now as long as I can use the ZW-C with both tracks and the one Legacy controller, I should be good.

I will try and wait to hear more from others. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Oh and I also need to find out if the Legacy controller will control “normal” trains. Not just the new LionChief/LC+/Legacy/Bluetooth units. Otherwise it is pointless for me because I would have to go out and buy new train sets. :-/
 

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Lionel .com has videos on their products. It might be worth a visit. Conventional will not run on these systems. They run a constant 18 volts ac. Conventional engines do not do well at top speed. Engines that can run, have a switch to run conventional. My simple explanation.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Lionel .com has videos on their products. It might be worth a visit. Conventional will not run on these systems. They run a constant 18 volts ac. Conventional engines do not do well at top speed. Engines that can run, have a switch to run conventional. My simple explanation.
Ok, so in short, for me to run my conventional trains, I am better off just getting the ZW-C transformer and running the trains that way, correct?

I will look for their videos on their site. Sorry, I was trying to find the info in the user manual on their site and was reading through it but it wasn’t exactly answering my questions.
Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ok. Did some more searching and another forum had a post about running conventional trains on the Legacy command system. In short it says you can do it but you need the following:

  • A Legacy PowerHouse transformer (180W)
  • A Legacy PowerMaster control unit (controls the power flow - see below)
  • A Legacy Command set (#990) to use the remote on the conventional trains
Below is more info I found off of a purchase site for the PowerMaster:

The Lionel Legacy PowerMaster is a high output control unit for use with any Lionel LEGACY or TMCC control system and an external power supply, providing your railroad with up to 180 watts and ten amps of alternating current. The LEGACY PowerMaster allows you to vary track voltage, change direction and operate whistle and bell sounds on your non-command locomotives using your TMCC or LEGACY Remote Controllers.

So, it almost seems to me that instead of the ZW-C or L, that I should get a PowerHouse as my transformer, a PowerMaster to control that PowerHouse and a Legacy Command #990 (CAB2) to run the trains.

Does that sound right to anyone?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
After a ton more reading, this is what I have come up with:

I can either

A) buy the previous post items and add the PowerHouse and PowerMaster and PowerMaster Bridge for each track I want to run (A & B). Then use a separate transformer to run accessories.

or

B) Suck it up and only buy the ZW-L and the Legacy Command 990 to run both tracks and run the accessories independently because the ZW-L already has the PowerMasters integrated.

So, I guess I should look up the pricing on each and compare, however, option B seems to allow me to expand much easier in the future.

Am I overthinking this?
 
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