New Product Spotlight – GW-180 Transformer

21 01 2013

Model railroads come in all sizes – so should their power supplies! Lionel’s new GW-180 transformer offers a step up for layouts that have outgrown their starter set power supplies.

GW-180

The GW-180 provides familiar controls and added power for growing layouts.

Engineers who have been running with our CW-80 transformers found in today’s starter sets will have no trouble learning the controls of this new transformer. The power lever, bell, whistle and direction buttons are all in the same place.  The connections for track and accessories are the same as well.

The only external difference is the external power pack which plugs into the back of the control box and your wall outlet. This pack boosts the power from 80 to 180 Watts – offering a full 10 Amps of power to run your trains and accessories. (See our Understanding Electricity page for a review of these terms.)

This means more power for your growing empire. Lighted cars, operating accessories, powered switches, even multiple locomotive lash ups will operate more reliably with this additional power. Of course, you can still optimize your power by following the many tips found on our Wiring Your Layout pages. And you can use this new GW-180 alongside your existing or additional power supplies as your layout continues to grow.

The GW-180 offers variable AC voltage for track power up to 18 Volts and additional terminals for AC voltage for your accessories. This can be set to any level (we recommend 14 Volts) just as with the CW-80.

Modelers have been requesting a mid-sized power supply like this for quite some time. The GW-180 will be arriving at dealers very soon – just in time to start expanding on that set Santa brought! The GW-180 retails for $279.99.

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13 responses

21 01 2013
DON FAORO

I HOPE IT’S MORE RELIABLE THEN THE CW-80 WHICH ARE WORTHLESS . AFTER TWO SET I HAD TO REPLACE ONE WITH AN OLD RELIABLE TRANSFORMER AND NOW AGAIN WITH A CW-80.

21 01 2013
Jon Brooks

The new CW-80’s are actually very nice power supplies. The first run had some problems with the phasing of the posts that has since been fixed. I’ve run some hefty Post War stuff with a CW-80 on a display layout for hours at a time, weeks on end without an issue. The GW-180 uses a proven platform in the 180 PowerHouse, and should be a good reliable transformer.

21 01 2013
Keith

Why can’t these transformer be opened up to easily repair like the ones from the good ole’ days? Back then, a fuse blew, you open it up, fix and you are back to running. These days, fuse blows or shorts out and you’re hosed and this ends up in the trash.

22 01 2013
lionelllc

Keith, we are required to build in these safeguards to prevent electrical shock.

22 01 2013
DON FAORO

KEITH, THE CW-80 CAN BE OPENED WITH A TRIANGLE SCREWDRIVER .THE ONLY THING YOU CAN CHANGE IS INLINE FUSE WHICH NEEDS TOO BE SOLDERED IN ,

29 01 2013
Joe Iuliucci

I think Lionel should also release just the rheostat as a separate sale item (reasonably priced). It would allow the use of the thousands of 135w and 180w “bricks” already out there to be utilized even more.

22 04 2013
Jason

are they suitable for 50Hz yet or still limited to 60Hz

22 04 2013
lionelllc

It is still designed for the 60 Hz market. You’ll need a converter for it to work properly on 50.

24 04 2013
Jason

Thanks .. i’ve already done this. Decided to use other controllers based on 50Hz, which has meant that I’ve had too update some of my engines to get smoke generation to work. Any plans for Lionel to go more global? Here in the Uk, Lionel is not really available at all, which is a shame.

23 04 2013
Joe

The current CW-80 is “QC-50” rated, and this CW-180 is new.

So, I don’t understand the “still” part of the question.

18 08 2013
Nick Hannaford

Current CW-80 is 50hz compatible look for “QC-50OK” sticker on base.
GW-80 uses 180W Powerhouse which is exsisting Lionel technology so would probably would need redesigning to be ok on 50Hz.
Better to use a post war ZW on a step down transformer as Lionel Collectors Club UK members have been running these for years on 50Hz. They do run a fraction warmer but no other issues.

Jason, I use a 12VDC to 120V 60Hz AC pure sine wave inverter to get 60Hz power here in the UK so I do not have any frequency problems. I am with you
on Lionel having a bigger profile in the UK, the UK club would very much like
to involve Lionel with this.

To be fair Lionel has been pro active with eliminating power frequency issues.
The new Lionchief sets now use DC and have a international power supply
120V to 240V 50/60Hz. All you need is a plug adaptor from US to UK. This is great step forward. The next step would be CE marking of power supplies
so they could be sold in the EU.

Maybe we could have Mike do one of his service videos on 50Hz operation?

19 08 2013
Jason Wylie

Hello Nick, Does that mean that new engines are gradually going to go DC rather than AC?

It would be good for a video to demo 50Hz operation. There are a few alternative approaches.

I’ve often thought about becoming a dealer, given the niche in the UK, I’m sure it would be possible. I need to join the UK club, only managed one trip to your shows in Ilkley, which was very enjoyable.

Have a look on youtube for thewylies to see my previous layout (just starting a new one).

23 08 2013
Nick Hannaford

Hi Jason,
The new LionChief engines are AC/DC they have a built in rectifier
so they can also run on 18V AC as well as the DC power included in the set.

I guess a DC power supply is cheaper to help get the price point of the sets down and a nice side benefit is you have avoided any power frequency issues.

Glad you had good time at Ilkley. Next years show is at Leicester.
Club website http://www.lccuk.org.uk/

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