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Discussion Starter #1
What causes some of the lights and talking station lights to dim when i use track switch or when train goes by signal bell danger or regular flasher. Any i deas

Thanks Al
 

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Those items just do a power draw. Only way to get away from it would be to power lights with a separate transformer. Maybe a bigger transformer would help but I would guess you would still get some dimming. The more I think about it, a bigger transformer won't help. I
use a Lionel ZW, 275 watts, when a turnout is flipped, any locomotive running on track will
hesitate due to sudden power loss. Separate transformers is the answer. When I get a layout
I think I will run the turnouts with separate transformer. I do not like it effecting how loco is running. Dims the loco headlight also.
 

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mo-pac has it. I run my accessories on a separate transformer, so there is no effect on my trains on a track. However, I have the old AF incandescent street lights, as a matter of fact, ALL my lighting is the old incandescent bulbs. That said, if I move a switch, sound a billboard whistle or horn, the lights dim. It's a nature of the beast. I suppose you could reinvent the wheel, but this is the 1950's all over again. My grandkids do ask, "Grampie, how come the lights do that??" "Everything is old, like Grampie!" flyer nut has a 440volt service coming into his house along with multiple step-up transformers. He also has direct wiring from Niagara Power and Light, so he NEVER has any dimming issues!!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks i have seperate transformers 3 small ones. Unless it the way wired it. The trains run fine just wondering. I have a 30b 300 watt dual transformer and like i said 3 small transformers .
Thanks al
mo-pac has it. I run my accessories on a separate transformer, so there is no effect on my trains on a track. However, I have the old AF incandescent street lights, as a matter of fact, ALL my lighting is the old incandescent bulbs. That said, if I move a switch, sound a billboard whistle or horn, the lights dim. It's a nature of the beast. I suppose you could reinvent the wheel, but this is the 1950's all over again. My grandkids do ask, "Grampie, how come the lights do that??" "Everything is old, like Grampie!" flyer nut has a 440volt service coming into his house along with multiple step-up transformers. He also has direct wiring from Niagara Power and Light, so he NEVER has any dimming issues!!
No iam not reinvent the wheel i was just wondering i didnt think about that thanks guys your the best. This why i like this forum.

Al
 

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The turnouts should be on their own transformer and not more than 12 turnouts (6 pairs) on a 100W transformer like a 4B. Just the incandescent lights in the lanterns and the control boxes for 12 turnouts draw 4A and the max output of a 4B is 5A continuous, 6A instantaneous, but that is with a lot of output voltage sag (the cause of the dimming.) I have put 15 turnouts on one 4B transformer but it got really hot. When a solenoid is actuated to operate an accessory there will be some incandescent light dimming. Motorized accessories, like a log loader, have efficient motors and only will cause dimming if the transformer is overloaded.
Remember postwar transformers are input power rated. the continuous output power is 20% to 25% less than the nameplate rating. The dimming is a part of the charm of the postwar trains. I you absolutely want to eliminate it power the accessories with high current regulated power supplies. The postwar transformers are just two coils of wire wrapped around a core of stacked steel plates, They are completely unregulated and have a moderately high internal resistance.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The turnouts should be on their own transformer and not more than 12 turnouts (6 pairs) on a 100W transformer like a 4B. Just the incandescent lights in the lanterns and the control boxes for 12 turnouts draw 4A and the max output of a 4B is 5A continuous, 6A instantaneous, but that is with a lot of output voltage sag (the cause of the dimming.) I have put 15 turnouts on one 4B transformer but it got really hot. When a solenoid is actuated to operate an accessory there will be some incandescent light dimming. Motorized accessories, like a log loader, have efficient motors and only will cause dimming if the transformer is overloaded.
Remember postwar transformers are input power rated. the continuous output power is 20% to 25% less than the nameplate rating. The dimming is a part of the charm of the postwar trains. I you absolutely want to eliminate it power the accessories with high current regulated power supplies. The postwar transformers are just two coils of wire wrapped around a core of stacked steel plates, They are completely unregulated and have a moderately high internal resistance.
Have 3 pair of track switches witch r on the main transformer witch is a 30b 300 dual watts thankyou for the infor i didnt about the other stuff.

Al
 

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Those items just do a power draw. Only way to get away from it would be to power lights with a separate transformer. Maybe a bigger transformer would help but I would guess you would still get some dimming. The more I think about it, a bigger transformer won't help. I
use a Lionel ZW, 275 watts, when a turnout is flipped, any locomotive running on track will
hesitate due to sudden power loss. Separate transformers is the answer. When I get a layout
I think I will run the turnouts with separate transformer. I do not like it effecting how loco is running. Dims the loco headlight also.
Mopac, I too have a ZW 275 watt transformer but it is only for running trains, nothing else. Love it. Since I can control everything with my TMCC system, I have 2 1033 90 watt Lionel transformers to power switches separately if I choose. As Tom said, I have 12 switches hooked to one and 6 to another. My street lights, only 6, are also powered buy one of them. I do have 1 8b to power accessories. I have 2 18 B's and 2 other 8b's but not in use. The 18B was just too big to fit on my control stand with my ZW and the TMCC equipment. I thought it would provide all the power I would need plus look cool with those 2 handles. But not to be. Call me crazy but I do like the Lionel 1033's which I got free years ago and never used until I built my larger layout.

Kenny
 

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I much prefer the Lionel transformers. I can get the trains to run much slower with them.
Most Lionel start voltage is around 2 volts. Most AF start is around 7 volts. Big difference.
I love my ZW also. flyernut has 2 of them.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
What is a zw and do you guys run your trains on original af tracks our you have the more modern tracks. So what teansformers do most of you have AF OR LIONEL. and thanks for info.

Al

Al
 

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Al, I will post a pic of my ZW in a bit. You will recognize it when you see it. You have seen them.
I also have an AF 12B transformer. The only thing wrong with an AF transformer is the start voltage.
Their volt range is 7 to 15 volts. So the lowest volts to your trains is 7 volts. That's half speed.
Sometimes you want less than half speed. My ZW volt range is 2 to 18 volts. At near 2 volts your trains
will run a lot slower. Like coming into a station. 18 volts is a little too much volts for a locomotive.
But I never run full speed. Loco would fly off the curves.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ok thanks. Right i bidding on a 353 flying circus needs a lot of work not test but free shipping. By 2 pm or 2:30. I put in max i will spend.
 

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Ok Al, here is a couple pics of my ZW. Nice transformers. They are from the 1950s also.
Fairly easy to work on. I have replaced the rollers on mine. It was easy. They have 4 throttles.
You can actually run 4 separate trains. Price range is 125.00 to 175.00. 2 whistle blowing buttons,

IMG_0744.JPG
IMG_0745.JPG
 

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I much prefer the Lionel transformers. I can get the trains to run much slower with them.
Most Lionel start voltage is around 2 volts. Most AF start is around 7 volts. Big difference.
I love my ZW also. flyernut has 2 of them.
I forgot to mention the low 2 V starting point as another reason I use a ZW for train control. That sure makes for a nice slow running speed if needed. I checked eBay last night and the prices are all over the place for a ZW 275 watt transformer. Some are well over $200 and some are in the $150-$175 range.
Now if you really want to spend some money on a ZW, check out the prices for a modern day 6-37921 ZW-L which is produced to operate Lionel's Legacy control system and has 620 watts. They are fancy with all kinds of up grades and 4 built in gauges to monitor voltage and watts. Those are in the $750-$800+ range. No thanks. I will stick with the ZW I have. When the ZW-L first came out, I could have bought one from my local hobby store, since closed, for $690 when I was buying my TMCC equipment. Now they are selling for $750 to over $800???

Kenny
 

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Sounds like the ZWs have risen a bit in prices. That happens. They are worth every bit. LOL, of coarse I got a deal on mine. Seller said it had been serviced by Charles RO train shop. It has a Charles RO sticker on it. Within 30 minutes of unpacking it, I pulled the top off to look inside. Was not happy. 2 of the rollers were very flat. I sent seller a message saying it may have been serviced by Charles Ro but not for many years. Told him about the flat rollers. He apologized and said he knew about the rollers and thought he had replaced them. He sells a ton of these ZWs. I paid 125.00 for mine and seller refunded me 30.00 and sent me 4 new rollers and pins. I was happy then. One thing Charles Ro did do was installed a new modern circuit breaker. The original circuit breaker in a ZW took around 10 seconds to blow. A lot of damage could happen to a locomotive in 10 seconds. My modern circuit breaker blows in 2 seconds. I have tested it. Anyone with a ZW should make sure they have what is called a modern circuit breaker. They cost about 10.00 and should be easy to change out. I forget what size breaker to get.
 

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I hope to get a ZW-L someday. They are very cool. They have really gone up in price the last 2 years.
2 years ago you could get a brand new one for 650.00. Forget that now. Over 800.00 now.
Lionel raised the price on them. Just because they can.
 

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The ZW-L's are expensive but they are modern state of the art power supplies. They can be bought for $700. In addition to accurate volt and ammeters they have complete output protection far beyond just a breaker. Another feature is they include four powermasters so the track voltage can be controlled with a Cab1L or a Cab2. I look at it this way. A ZW is 275W input, the output was 225W on the best day of its life. Using 225W and $150 they cost 75 cents/watt. A ZW-L is 620W output, at $700 they cost $1.15/watt. Given what is included beyond a basic transformer I think it is a bargain. Track voltage starts at zero and is linear from zero to 18V.
 

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I will get one someday. If nothing else but for the blue light on the front. Just kidding about that.
They are the ultimate transformer. I don't always like paying for the best but I do like the best
equipment. I did not know the volts start at zero. Very nice. Total control.
 

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Thank you. My biggest hit was 14,700.00. LOL, but I am still losing. They are going to reopen next Tuesday. Not going back at it like I was. LOL, we probably do have another stimulus package coming. We are suppose to spend it, right. I have not spent the first one yet. I had a couple hundred in my wallet when the lock down started back in March. Most of it is still in wallet. Sure have not bought gas lately. I have been staying home. I think I could be a prime candidate for the virus. 69 years old, diabetes, heavy smoker, COPD, heart trouble,2 heart attacks over 10 years ago that required stents, and who knows what else. I am in pretty good shape for the shape I am in. My heart doctor which I see at least once a year says "Al, one day you are just going to drop dead". He says that because I won't quit smoking. That would be better than being sick for 6 months or longer and then dropping dead.
 
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