how much wattage ?

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by lawnchoker, Dec 21, 2002.

  1. lawnchoker

    lawnchoker New Member

    anybody know if 80 watt transformer is enough to cover about 100 ft of track ? is there a rule of thumb so many ft of track before train slows, is there a better place to hook the power to the track ie the middle ? running atlas nicklesilver thanks jeff:confused:
  2. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hi Jeff, Just a little bit confused on your question. What kind of train are you running? DC O or G Scale or AC Lionel? The reason I ask is because DC power packs are rated in amps rather than watts.

    The reason that I ask this is that 80 watts @ 12 Volts = 6.6 amps AC or DC (watts/volts=amps) and thats a pretty hefty power supply and is more than sufficent for any DC powered train that I know of. Even if we step that up to a 20V rating for AC Lionel we still have 4.0 amps which is still pretty stout for many of the smaller Lionel engines. In any event either is sufficent for 100' of track. The type of rail used doesn't matter as the resistance factor is not large enough to be of concern. Where you attach the power feed to the rails does not matter either.

    Bear in mind one thing also...If you are running AC Lionel trains. The wattage rating of their transformers was a total wattage rating including the accessory terminals. So the more accessories that you added the less wattage was available to operate the locomotive. Thats why the loco would slow down when for instance you turned on an accessory. Their solution to this was to offer larger transformers such as the KW or ZW which could provide up to 250 watts depending on the model.

    Hope you are not going to try to operate a DC train with an AC transformer....that won't will only burn out the motor in the loco. It won't even move...just go up in smoke!!!

    I may have confused the heck out of you so if I have just let me know and I or someone else will come up with the right answer. Hope this helped.
  3. lawnchoker

    lawnchoker New Member

    sorry vic, thinking and typing get a head of myself sometimes:D o guage, lionel 80 watt, with railsounds, ac, i want to make atlas layout #029 12by14 ft, i have ample room for this, the 30by 71 starter set i have slows down alot when i use the rail sounds, for a layout of this size with some buildings and all the goodies would the zw be what i need or would that be over kill thanks jeff
  4. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hi Jeff, Don't feel bad...I do the same thing myself:D :D :D

    To be honest I'm not familar with the newer Lionel with railsound.
    My expereince (although I have none now) has been with the older post-war Lionel.

    It does sound like though that the railsound "draws off" some of the operating current/voltage and cause the train to slow down. This was true too with the older whistling tender locos too and usually a higher wattage transformer was needed. It may be just "the nature of the beast" to do that.

    I don't think that the ZW would be overkill especially if you are going to operate more than one train at a time...its designed for two or more. Another solution would be to operate lights and accessories with one transformer and the train with another. That ZW even used is terribly expensive.

    Hopefully someone who is more familar with the operation of the newer Lionel will come in and offer you a better solution but gald that I could pass on what little I knew.
  5. pcentral

    pcentral Member

    Hi Jeff,
    First of all, great track choice, you will be happy with it. As for your power supply, I would suggest using the 80 watt transformer for accessories and lights in buildings, etc. I'm not familiar with the track plan you chose so I don't know how many trains can run at the same time. If you will be running more than one train at a time and lighted cars you will need more power. I suggest the new ZW from Lionel. It is TMCC equipped and comes with either 2 135 or 180 watt powerhouses, depending which version you get. It is expandible up to 4 180 watt powerhouses. You can only use one powerhouse per each track though. I always follow a rule of thumb of power feeds every 4' of track, with a continuious buss wire all the way around the layout back to the transformer. I would also recommend using 14 gauge stranded wire for your buss lines. I hope this is understandable, I know it is hard to transfer your thoughts into the computer sometimes(for me anyway). Steve
  6. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    ZW Transformer

    Holy Smokes Steve, You can tell how long I've been away from Lionel:eek: :D They must have done a total redesign on the ZW...a total of 720 watts available!!!:) :) :) Man would I have loved to have had that!!!! :) :D
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    The original question asked about feet of track. That shouldn't matter. If there is a slowdown at the far end of the layout it's caused by resistance building up in the track joints. The solution is extra feeders using a largish wire. If you do this, the trains should run at the same speed all over the layout, until you put an extra load on the system.
    I never had anything larger than a 90 watt transformer (1033) for my Lionel, and even had a smaller one. (still have them, running my OO/HO layout).
    Lionel used to make track pliers which had a round slot that could be used to tighten up the rail ends where the track pins went.
  8. lawnchoker

    lawnchoker New Member

    thanks for the info steve, vic, david, think i understand the wiring your talking about, i want to run more than one loop of track locks like the zw maybe in my future, whats another 350.00 i mean 99.95 dear :D :D :D thanks jeff
  9. wsdimenna

    wsdimenna New Member

    There is virtually no voltage loss with ATlas track, except at the joints. Generally use feeder every 6-8 joint sections. Others have used feeders about every 4 joint sections. Most transformers will give you about 70-80 percent of rated power.
    You will be able to run one passenger consist (engine + 4-6 cars)
    At 16 volts that will equal about 64 watts (4amps* vopltage).
    For freight you should be able to dbl head two engines, or run them separately, depending on manufacturer. Anything after that you could be looking at a blown fuse as you turn up the voltage and exceed the rating.

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