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Discussion Starter #1
I have been using a CW80 power pack to run my layout, but decided to move to a 180 watt Powerhouse since I will be running multiple locomotives. Per Lionel's instructions, I got a TMCC direct lockon to connect the Powerhouse to the layout. I connected per the manual setting the internal switch for 180 watt, and everything seemed to run fine, at first, but now I have a problem.

About every 4th or 5th time I operate an uncoupling track, the lockon sees this as a short circuit and trips. I'm only holding the button for about 1/2 second. I then added an external 14VAC power supply to power the uncoupling track (following the phasing instructional video) but the same thing happens. Since the power to the uncoupling track is now separate from the track power, I can't see why the lockon would think there is a short. And it is the lockon that is seeing the short, not the powerhouse. I disconnected the lockon and reconnected my CW80 and everything seems to work fine - the CW80 does not think there is any short.

Has anyone else seen this behavior and have a solution? Alternatively, is there another way to connect the Powerhouse directly to the track without cutting off the (molex?) connector on the end?
 

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Double check the phasing. If it is reversed, your putting the load through both the external transformer and the 180 W power-pack.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I did check. And the problem occurred when I powered the uncoupler with track power withour the accessory power.
 

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Are you using the older magnetic uncoupler for tubular track? The magnet's coil is very low impedance and draws a fair amount of current. The lock-on sees that excessive load and trips.

Is the TMMC direct lock-on switch set to 180 W (versus 135 W). The lock-on may change its trip threshold based on that setting (don't know).

If the lock-on is sensing excessive current on the ground leg, it wouldn't matter whether you power the uncoupler with the Powerhouse by itself or a separate transformer. The separate transformer is using the same ground as the Powerhouse.

Try a test, put some incandescent lighted cars on the track (without a loco or a loco idling n neutral). And see if it trips more often than 1 in 4/5. The extra lights will increase the power drawn through ground. If your tripping intermittently, the extra current draw of the lights in conjunction with the uncoupler's draw should cause it to trip more often.
 

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One other test you can do is put an ohmeter across the Lock On output with power off and press the uncoupling button. If it reads below two ohms the problem is the uncoupling track.
Two ohms may be normal for the track but it will still trip the Lock On breaker.

Pete
 

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Junk the TMCC Direct Lockon, it's a waste of money! The PH180 has an excellent circuit breaker, so IMO the lockon brings nothing to the party. FWIW, I used to have them, and every time I drove a number of my locomotives past the lockon, it would trip and they'd stop! :( In addition, it kills the DCS signal, so if you're running or intending to run MTH ProtoSound 2 or 3, it's going to have to go any way.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I spoke with one of the Lionel dealers I use, and he told me Lionel sells a cable kit which includes a pig tail which will allow connecting the Powerhouse to a terminal strip and then to the layout. I have one on order. I tend to agree with the admin that the direct lockon seems to have too much circuitry for the simple task of connecting a powerhouse to track. I only got it because one of the Lionel videos showed it as the best way to connect power to track.
 
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