Question on old Lionel O-gauge uncoupler track operation

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  • Member since
    December, 2010
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Question on old Lionel O-gauge uncoupler track operation
Posted by Capt.Herp on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 8:30 PM

I'm working on a medium sized layout using old Lionel tubular track, totally postwar (within reason) and found that my layout needed ten UCS tracks.  I have several of these wired in with no problems, but two of them, both on the inside loop, seem to have current running through them to some extent regardless of whether or not the controller buttons are being pressed.

As you probably know, there are two buttons on the controller that accompanies this track section; all of them have been rewired to replace the old crunchy cables with new cable.  Both buttons have been tested on all controllers and work fine.  What I am noticing, though, is that while the "uncouple" button, which operates the electromagnet at the center to open the mechanical couplers works fine, on several of these there seems to be enough current running through them that the center rails which activate coil-style knuckle couplers by sending current through the little hotshoe under these cars open coil-style couplers and even trigger cars like the horse car to open their doors as they pass over the track.

Can someone give me some idea as to what they think is going on?  I've replaced track sections and tried alternate controllers in case THAT was the problem, and these sections keep doing the same thing, which leads me to think that I've got something connected wrong to the transformer (ZW).  Any engine or tender that I run over these tracks with coil-style couplers has these couplers automatically opened and leaves the rest of the train behind.  If I disconnect the controllers completely, it doesn't happen.

Any ideas would be appreciated.

Thanks

Tony

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  • From: Hotchkiss, Colorado
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Posted by steve24944 on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 8:57 PM

 

Are you using track power ? or do have the #3 terminal on the UCS track (  third screw from the left ) wired for constant voltage to one of your accessory posts on your ZW  ( the B or C posts ) ?   If the control rails are making  your horse car activate  with out pushing the button on the controller - then you might have a cross connection inside the UCS track section that is powering the control rail from the track power....

any one else got any ideas ?

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Posted by steve24944 on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 9:12 PM

Let me amend my previous post -  the power connection for constant voltage should be to the 3rd wire at the controller - not the post connection on the UCS track .......

Steve

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Posted by Capt.Herp on Thursday, February 24, 2011 7:54 AM

Yep, I'm just using track power.  I have no idea what I'm doing wrong with this.

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Posted by steve24944 on Thursday, February 24, 2011 8:55 AM

I'm assuming that you are using the O gauge UCS track, not the 6019 O-27 track section.   Try disconnecting the #3 wire at the screw terminal on the UCS track and run that wire to your B or C terminal post on your ZW, set the voltage to 12-14 volts.  I have each of my UCS controller wires run to a 4 screw barrier strip.  From the barrier strip the #3 wire is tied to the B or C post on the ZW,  I daisy chain a wire from each barrier strip to the next to power my UCS tracks.  I use telephone wire to run the other 3 wires to the terminals on the UCS track.  That way you are not using track power.  Adjust the voltage to get the necessary power to run your accessory and uncouple your cars. 

If the control rails are still showing power with out pushing the button, then you have a crossed wire or some kind of short in the UCS Track.

Steve

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Posted by Capt.Herp on Thursday, February 24, 2011 9:14 AM

I'm not sure I understand the barrier strip concept.  I understand running the transformer directly to the third screw terminals, but I don't understand the rest of it (the other three wires, telephone wire).  So you don't just disconnect the third terminal and connect the transformer to that?  You have to do something else also?

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Posted by steve24944 on Thursday, February 24, 2011 10:08 AM

OK  -   Get some 4 post barrier strips ( 8 screws total - 2 for each post )  at Radio Shack, 1 for each controller,  For each controller, run the 4 wires to the 4 screws on one side of the barrier strip.  Keep the wires in proper order, left to right.  Using 4 wire telephone wire, ( I got mine at Lowes, 100 feet for 10 bucks ),  on the other side of the barrier strip run a wire wire from the 1,2+4 screw to the UCS track, ( I use the green, red + black wire )  Run a separate wire from the #3 screw on the other side of the barrier strip to your B or C accessory power on the ZW.  On mine I have a wire from each post on the ZW run to a terminal strip, then from that terminal strip you can run additional wires out to where accessory power is needed.  I have maybe 30 barrier strips under my layout, I lost count.   ( my layout is quite modest, 5 UCS tracks and 6 O22 switches )   You can have a barrier strip at your control panel for connections to the controller, run your wire to the location of the UCS track, switch, or accessory and have another barrier strip under the layout, then run the wires up to the posts on the UCS or switch.  

I do the same thing with my switches, run the 3 wires from the controller to the barrier strip.  Then run the telephone wire to to the switch.  I use the red, green, black for the 3 terminal posts on the switch, and the yellow wire for the constant voltage plug.   Every time I go to radio shack I buy  more terminal strips,  The 4 post  ones and the 2 post ones are good for track power.   For track power I buy thermostat wire,  I think it was 15 bucks for 100 feet at Home Depot,  Home Depot did not have the telephone wire that I found at Lowes.

Hope that helps,    Steve

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Posted by steve24944 on Thursday, February 24, 2011 10:59 AM

Here are some schematics that may help - http://pictures.olsenstoy.com/searchcd31.htm?itm=689

Look at the 3rd page for the detail of the UCS track.  The #3 wire is the power.  Run the #3 wire from the controller to the accessory power on your ZW,  So there is no connection at the #3 screw on the UCS track.  That way the track power is not used.  Use the Barrier strips I was talking about to make your connections at your control panel, and maybe a second one under the layout at the location of the UCS track.

Look at the detail for the underside of the UCS track shown on the drawing.  See if you might have a crossed wire on the track sections are giving you problems.

Steve

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Posted by Capt.Herp on Thursday, February 24, 2011 8:53 PM

I appreciate your help with this -- what are you calling my control panel?

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Posted by steve24944 on Saturday, February 26, 2011 9:18 PM

Don't you have your transformer,  your switch controls and remote control track controllers located in one location ?   That would be your control panel -

Steve

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Posted by steve24944 on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 12:12 AM

Capt.Herp,

You get your UCS track problem solved ?

Steve

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Posted by Capt.Herp on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 7:17 AM

Actually, not yet.  It's really weird, but I'm just going to sideline that while I add other things to the layout, and then I'll get back to it.

Three sections away is another UCS track that has no problems.  I've changed the track, I've changed the controller -- next step, I suppose, is your barrier block, but I am not sure what that does so I hesitate to go out and buy them and have nothing change.  Right now I suppose I am in procrastination mode.

 

Tony

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  • From: Hotchkiss, Colorado
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Posted by steve24944 on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 12:11 PM

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Tony -

       The barrier block connection will not solve any problem if the UCS track or the controller has a problem,  the barrier strip is just a handy way to make connections.  The wire from the controller is only 3 feet long, and most of the time a longer length of wire is needed to get from the controller to the location of the UCS track on the layout.  You said in your original post that when you disconnect the controller that the problem does not happen.  That leads me to believe that the problem is with the controller.  Have you swapped controllers and see if the problem stops with a different controller ?  And does that move the problem to the track that you have swapped the controller to ?   

If you look at that link to olsenstoy.com, there is a drawing showing the inside of the controller.  When the buttons are pushed the metal tabs inside make contact to power the control rails on the UCS track.  If the tabs inside the controller are bent and are making contact, even when the button is not being pushed, then the control rails will have power and that will activate the electro-magnet couplers, or the door on your horse car. 

You can make a controller by using 3 cheap plastic doorbell buttons. The terminal connections refer to the terminals on the UCS track - the numbers are molded into the plastic above the screws connections.  The telephone wire works well for this.

Run a wire from the #1 terminal to one connection on doorbell button No.1

Run a wire from the #2 terminal to the other connection on doorbell button No.1

Run a wire from the #3 terminal to one connection on doorbell button No.2

Run a wire from the #4 terminal to the other connection on doorbell button No.2

When both doorbell buttons are pushed at the same time the control rails will power, activating the coil couplers or the door on the horse car.

Run a wire from the #2 terminal to one connection on doorbell button No.3

Run a wire from the #3 terminal to the other connection on doorbell button No.3

When doorbell button No.3 is pressed the uncouple magnet will energize.

This uses track power and will not work unless track power is applied.  If you want to use power from your accessory power on the transformer ( post B or C on the ZW ) and not rely on track power, then do not hook the #3 wire to the #3 terminal on the USC track, instead run that wire to the hot post on the B or C post on the ZW.  Adjust the voltage to get the best action, about 12-14 volts.

This set up works but does not look as cool as those black Lionel controllers with the red buttons.  I have 3 Lionel controllers for my 3 UCS tracks and 2 doorbell buttons that are for 2 other uncouple magnets, one is an old K-Line uncouple magnet track and the other I cut down a O-27 6019 track section just to use the uncouple magnet.

Steve

 

Art
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    August, 2019
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Posted by Art on Monday, August 26, 2019 12:19 PM

I am haveing the same problem with a Williams Dummy unit, I beleive the roller is picking power up from the center rail and also rubbing on the outer rail to ground.

It only happens with this Unit. Any suggestions, I heard the roller is not tapered and hitting one of the other rails.

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