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Discussion Starter #1
Hi I am finishing a room in my basement and once it is done I want to put a loop or two around the room.

Some questions I had are:

Does a CW-80 have enough power for a single loop around the room, the room is 13'x13'?

For this loop I will be using Fastrack, do I only need to attach the wires to it in one track or do I need multiple?

At some point, I would like to add a second loop, but this one would be O-27 track. Is there any difference between that and Fastrack for power to the track?

Is the CW-80 a good transformer? I mean, I love the one I have it came with a set that I got in 2006 PA Flyer. I remember years ago you could pick one up on eBay cheap like under $50 but now I can't seem to find any under $100. I have a KW that was serviced and a new cord on but I would rather use a CW-80 just because it has the Bell and Whistle function and the KW doesn't. My other running train is a LV GP-9 and I use a train sounds box car so the KW doesn't seem to work well with since it was mainly a Postwar transformer right? I was thinking of selling the KW on eBay and then buying a CW-80, would that be a decent swap? I always loved the ZWs but they are more pricey and have the same issue as the KW. That is why I like the CW as it looks similar to the ZW with the way the handles are as opposed to the KW.

I have seen a lot of CW-40s on eBay for $50 but I don't know much about them are they any good or would they have enough power to run a loop for the size of the loop that I am planning?

Anyway, thanks for reading and looking forward to see if you guys could help me out.
 

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Hi LVR,

Good questions. For any sizable layout/loop, you should definitely have multiple power feeds to the track, spaced more-or-less evenly around the loop. These will bypass the track's inherent resistance (power) loss.

Check out this thread for a discussion of used-market (but rebuilt) transformers. Gunrunnerjohn points toward a very reliable source (at very affordable prices) for KW's, ZW's, etc.

https://www.modeltrainforum.com/showthread.php?t=175680

With power feeds to the track, your CW-80 will likely serve your big loop, but you're limited to just one train running with this transformer. A KW or ZW will give you two throttles for that planned second loop.

There's no real difference on power required for O vs. Fastrack vs. O27 track. It's more a question of the size of the loop, power losses over distance, etc. And what you're planning to run on the track, of course.

Enjoy!

TJ
 

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As tj said , and you have 2 transformers allready. The kw shold work fine on eaither loop, you van add in a whistle button. Much cheaper then buying a new transformer. The cw 80s if you have a good one will work fine as well. Yoy will need to add the extra feed wires, you dont need to get the special track for that eaither. Look up adding feeds to fasttrack. You can add it easily yourself. Good luck. It sounds like you dont need much to get this done.
 

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I went through this myself when I got back into trains.
First of all, the CW80 is not a bad transformer, but it won't have enough "horsepower" to accomplish what you want. I would suggest a good new or used MTH Z4000 transformer. This transformer has 2 throttles. These can provide 21v and 10 amps each, one for each loop. It also has two other outputs: a 14v constant and a 10v constant, which are neat for running accessories.

Now let's talk wiring for a minute. There are guys out there using super heavy gauge wire for their layout wiring. 12 or 10 gauge (AWG). This is a waste of material IMHO. Even Lionel in their videos says you only need two sizes of wire for ANY layout: a 16 gauge stranded copper bus line with 18 gauge stranded copper feeders. My layout is hundreds of feet long. This wiring runs it all, and easily. Google automotive zip wire for 16 ga and 18 ga. That's the stuff you want.

How to wire it: A bus line is simply a loop of wire that goes around the room or under your layout tabletop. There is 1 bus line for each loop of track. One bus line connects to the right transformer throttle, the other to the left. Both of the bus line ends dead end. They connect to nothing.

Now, you take the 18 ga wire and make feeders (small 6-12 inch wires). These feeders do exactly what they sound like. They feed power from the bus line to the track every 6-8 feet. Some do more feeders, some do less. 4 feet apart is way overkill IMHO. Every 6 feet seems to work well for most guys. Solder some .080 brass female connectors (these fit the small spades under the track) to one end of the feeders, then solder the other end to the bus line. Black to black, red to red. Red is always power (center rail) and black is ground (any outside rail).

Power up and start running trains! Wooooo!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks to all for the replies so far!!!

I just now a little more confused:eek: as the replies seem to be contradictory...

So a CW-80 will not have enough "horsepower" to power a train around a loop in the size room that I am thinking about?

If I keep the KW, and run 2 trains from it, would each line be able to be powered?
 

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The kw has enough power for both loops. And 2 controlles for speed. The cw is fine to run one loop as it has one controlle for speed. You can add a seprate bell whistle controller to the kw. You can run one loop off of one transformer as well. Up to you, 5 different ways to do it. You dont need a new transformer. If you add stuff you can use the cw for lights and accessories or the constant voltage outputs from the kw. The kw has plenty of power.
 

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Thanks to all for the replies so far!!!

I just now a little more confused:eek: as the replies seem to be contradictory...

So a CW-80 will not have enough "horsepower" to power a train around a loop in the size room that I am thinking about?

If I keep the KW, and run 2 trains from it, would each line be able to be powered?
Not sure what kind of trains you are into, but CW80s only provide 5 total amps on paper, and in reality, 4.69a before things start popping breakers. They also produce voltage to the track with ZERO throttle. This can be confusing to some Legacy and LionChief Plus engines, as their voltage sensing boards tend to think you want to run in conventional mode, not command.

The CW80 is fine for Christmas tree displays and shorter passenger trains. It is also great for powering accessories.

The KW will produce 11 amps. That is almost equal to only one of the MTH Z4000 throttles (10A). So that's still about 5A per loop. Get started with the KW, but your needs will grow sooner than you think. Keep your eyes open... Z4Ks can sometimes be had for $250.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The kw has enough power for both loops. And 2 controlles for speed. The cw is fine to run one loop as it has one controlle for speed. You can add a seprate bell whistle controller to the kw. You can run one loop off of one transformer as well. Up to you, 5 different ways to do it. You dont need a new transformer. If you add stuff you can use the cw for lights and accessories or the constant voltage outputs from the kw. The kw has plenty of power.
Ok thanks for clarification.

And yes, there is a Whistle switch for each loop on the KW. I would have to look into the Bell one though. I remember reading that the postwar KW and ZW etc transformers might not be good to run with non-postwar (pre-war) engines.

Is this true? Like I remember reading that you need to buy some circuit protection stuff for the trains... not exactly sure as I am not very technical.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Not sure what kind of trains you are into, but CW80s only provide 5 total amps on paper, and in reality, 4.69a before things start popping breakers. They also produce voltage to the track with ZERO throttle. This can be confusing to some Legacy and LionChief Plus engines, as their voltage sensing boards tend to think you want to run in conventional mode, not command.

The CW80 is fine for Christmas tree displays and shorter passenger trains. It is also great for powering accessories.
My trains that I currently have and would run in this loop would be:
4-4-2 PA Flyer from 2006
GP-9 LV from 1978-79
Pre-war 1668

and future ones (someday):
Postwar 681 Steam
Postwar 2023 FA Diesel

But I do have a Box car with Trainsounds as well as a tender that has Trainsounds as well. And wanted to run these on this loop. Not sure if the KW would not be good for these as they were not intended for these sound cars...

Sorry but I am a total Noob when it comes to the power part, as I have no idea about how many amps or voltage is needed to do what I am looking to do.

I am not planning any accessories, just a loop for the trains to go around the room. The only accessory that I have would be a activating track for a Log Dump car or Mail car.

So sorry if I am not understanding or getting this but I am trying :)

I really do appreciate all the feedback it is very helpful!!
 

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My trains that I currently have and would run in this loop would be:
4-4-2 PA Flyer from 2006
GP-9 LV from 1978-79
Pre-war 1668

and future ones (someday):
Postwar 681 Steam
Postwar 2023 FA Diesel

But I do have a Box car with Trainsounds as well as a tender that has Trainsounds as well. And wanted to run these on this loop. Not sure if the KW would not be good for these as they were not intended for these sound cars...

Sorry but I am a total Noob when it comes to the power part, as I have no idea about how many amps or voltage is needed to do what I am looking to do.

I am not planning any accessories, just a loop for the trains to go around the room. The only accessory that I have would be a activating track for a Log Dump car or Mail car.

So sorry if I am not understanding or getting this but I am trying :)

I really do appreciate all the feedback it is very helpful!!
Count on using 2.3-2.7 amps on average for a postwar loco only. Not sure on prewar items. Trainsounds cars are A-Ok. They don't pull much. You should be fine with the KW, just don't add a ton of lit passenger cars behind the engines! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Count on using 2.3-2.7 amps on average for a postwar loco only. Not sure on prewar items. You should be fine with the KW, just don't add a ton of lit passenger cars behind the engines! :)
So a postwar loco would use 2.3-2.7 amps, how many amps does a KW put out per line?

I have a set of Pullman passenger cars 6-30111

http://www.lionel.com/products/pullman-passenger-expansion-pack-6-30111/

Actually I bought an extra passenger car on eBay and a Visa Dome roof and swapped the roof so it is a 4 car set :) Would that be too much?

I would think that my engines would only pull at most 5 cars plus a caboose..
 

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Discussion Starter #16
About having multiple power feeds...

How far apart do they need to be? And do you attach the wires all on the same Post on the KW?
 

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Look at figure 3.
Your first loop bus line connects to A and U. U is always ground (black wire).
Second loop bus line connects to B and U. The feeders connect off these bus lines on whichever loop you are working on every 5-6 feet.

This video will help you too.

 

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Discussion Starter #18
Look at figure 3.
Your first loop bus line connects to A and U. U is always ground (black wire).
Second loop bus line connects to B and U. The feeders connect off these bus lines on whichever loop you are working on every 5-6 feet.

This video will help you too.

I was going to ask what is a bus line :) but I watched video and that helps A TON and now I understand what a bus line is and how the drops/feeder wire work.

Thanks so much for this!!!!
 

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Power is power , no matter what the transformer. Some of the newer stuff has more electronics that need protecting. This protection can be built into the conections, from what im seeing you have i dont think its needed. The newer stuff used remotes and such, it can be complicated so im keeping the answer overly simple. As for the acessories, some ,like the ones you have or want need special operating track. There are 2 types for the 027 and 1 for fastrack i believe. Not sure on the fasttrack as i only run that under the x mass tree! Best to read up on simple layout wiring. I still like the basics in the old manuals, lol. For conventional running of trains, which is what you want to do ots still relavent. Additionally, im not sure how the newer bell thing work, if you dont have it its not needed, or probably can be added.
 

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Oh and im not sure about the trainssounds, i think that was the original command stuff. That is diffrent, but im sure can be used conveniently, someone else may know more on that.
 
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