Electrical issues on my layout

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  • Member since
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Electrical issues on my layout
Posted by NNJRailfan on Sunday, July 08, 2018 8:49 PM

Below is the trackplan of my version of CTT's three-rail "Retro Railroad".  To make it portable, I divided it into four sections A through D which are electrically connected via a daisy chain of plugs and receptacles (voltage does remain consistent across all sections).  The receptacles distribute power from the U, A (common) and C binding posts on my TW transformer to terminal strips on each section which in turn power feeders to the tracks.  As noted on the trackplan, the red and black dots represent the power feeds from the U and A binding posts to the center and outside rails, respectively (although in the crossover and sidings it isn't entirely clear to me which should be the outside rails).

And now, the issues:

1) I have no problems running locos full circle when sections A+B, C+D or A+B+D are connected by trackpins.  However, when all four sections are connected by trackpins, I have a short circuit.

2) Switches 8 and 9 (an O22 and a modern Lionel three-rail switch, respectiively) refuse to stay in the straight position; they automatically snap back to the divergent.  I've found nothing that would short-circuit the switches, and for switch 8 I've tried a couple of units with the same result.

3) As on prior layouts and per the O22 instructions, I've connected the Fixed Voltage Plug on a couple of switches to directly to the C binding post.  However, no power is feeding into the swich motors.  Only the A post powers the switches, but that provides a variable voltage.

Advice, please!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/142900238@N07/42569700404/in/dateposted-public/

 

This car stops at ALL railroad crossings!

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Sunday, July 08, 2018 9:28 PM

OK, I see an inconsistency with your inner loop and the track that connects between the two.  The red dots are on one side track on panel B and on the other side of the track on panel C.  It could be your drawing, but if wired funny, it could be your problem.

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Posted by NNJRailfan on Monday, July 09, 2018 9:58 AM

I also gave that some consideration, but I'm not sure that's the issue.  The center rails in both panels are connected to the U post on the transformer.  My recollection is that either outside rail can be connected to the A post - consider that the metal wheels and axles would conduct electricity to either rail as grounds.

This car stops at ALL railroad crossings!

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Posted by Papa_D on Monday, July 09, 2018 11:00 AM

I would focus on section C wiring. With every panel in place but no connection to transformer check the resistance between the section C center rail and the sections B and D outer rails looking for short, i.e. low resistance. 

Papa D

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Posted by NNJRailfan on Monday, July 09, 2018 1:21 PM

Papa D,

I have a battery-operated multimeter - will that be enough to test this?

This car stops at ALL railroad crossings!

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Posted by BigAl 956 on Monday, July 09, 2018 9:01 PM

This track plan has a flaw in that the two loops overlap and will prevent you from running two trains at once. Given that why split the layout up into multiple power blocks? power the entire layout with the exception of sidings as one block. You just need on/off switches to turn off the sidings so you can park a train there.

Other than insulating pins on the center rail of the sidings the outer rail is common around the entire layout. The only place you need to insulate the outer rail is for the non derail feature of switches and to use an insulated track to power an accessory.

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Posted by NNJRailfan on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 2:53 PM

Hi Big Al,

Although the published article on the track plan allows for two-train ops, I have and expect to continue to run only one train at a time (too much noise otherwise!). I wired each panel separately to avoid using connecting track pins between panels - the original track plan was not designed to be modular, so despite my best efforts to avoid it there are spots where switches reach across panels and due to the varying angles it can be very difficult to get the pins to slide in.

Nevertheless, I decided to try the "brute force" method of alleviating the short -- I simply reversed the wiring on the plug coming from panel B -- and it worked.  With all tracks from all panels now connected with track pins, the short is gone.  I'm not sure why and I was hoping to avoid this, but if it works I'm happy.

Unfortunately the other issues remain...

This car stops at ALL railroad crossings!

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