Old Lionel ZW Problem

My Lionel ZW (post war), which I bought used about a year ago, has an issue where the red light lights up (circuit breaker trips) without good cause -- at least a good cause that I can find -- when I use my

2037 and 2046 engines together. It doesn't happen if just one circuit is going, and it doesn't happen if I use one of these engines with a newer (90s) Lionel engine that doesn't draw as much. I've gone through a process of elimination, using different engines, different cars, disconnecting and reconnecting the Gateman, using different lockons etc. Seems it's simply an issue of the transformer not liking running these older engines together. I also notice that when I have just one set going, when I turn on the other set the first slows down. Is this normal for a ZW?



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Either your circuit breaker is aging out and needs to be replaced, or one (or both) of you locos is pulling way too much current. The circuit breaker in the 250W ZQ should handle 180W @ 14A continuously.

Even together, your locos shouldn't be pulling anywhere near that much current unless there's something seriously wrong. Have you checked to see how much current each loco is pulling individually, and when run together?

If the current is in normal limits, it's time to replace the breaker. You can get a replacement from Olsen's Toy Train Parts, P/N ZW-232, $9.00 plus S&H.


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Excluding an internal problem with the ZWs cores, I suspect either one of those older locos is drawing too much current because running both of them should have no effect on the transformers circuit breaker. Check out those locos.

Or, in the alternative, the circuit breaker may be at fault. It is part # ZW-232 and is readily available. My Lionel parts dealer sells it for $7.50.

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