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Locomotive stopping on turnouts

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Locomotive stopping on turnouts
Posted by pathman on Saturday, January 06, 2018 9:30 PM

I recently bought a Broadway Limited steam locomotive (DCC with sound) and it is stopping on several turnouts.  None of my other locomotives are doing this.  I've cleaned the track, soldered just about all the rail joiners, and added a few extra feeder wires, but that hasn't helped.  The two small wheels at the front of the locomotive are also derailing at several of the turnouts - again none of my other locomotives are doing this.  I'm using both Peco and Atlas insulated frog turnouts. Any advice on how to rectify this problem?  Thanks.

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Posted by railandsail on Monday, January 08, 2018 12:46 PM

What specific locomotive?

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Posted by NVSRR on Monday, January 08, 2018 1:02 PM

Which wheel is on the frog everytime it stops?   That is an electrical pickup issue in the engine   Most locos nowadays have all wheel electrical contact to overcome such problems   By identifing the wheel tht stops on the frog  tells you which one is getting power . It is usually good starting point to identify where to look in the engine for a broken or unconnected wire.

As for the derailing pilot,  either the wheels are out of gauge or the pilot truck can not move freely because of some hang up around the pivot point. Most likely a little flash or a wire( figuring the truck is wired for pickup)

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Posted by selector on Monday, January 08, 2018 2:41 PM

railandsail

What specific locomotive?

 

...and on which turnouts?  A large non-articulated steamer would have trouble with a snap switch #4.

Modern toy steamers have multiple pickup between their various driving wheels and the tender's wheels.  It should NOT stall on a turnout unless something is quite wrong.  Assuming the turnout is okay, since other locomotives seem to have little or no difficulty, we would wonder about the suitability of the match between that turnout and the locomotive in question.  That's why I asked my first question.

Apart from that, it is worth checking two things:

a. if the wheels on each axle are in gauge; and

b. if all the wheels touch the surface at the same time everywhere along your track system.  One way to check if the axles are all free to float a bit is to place the locomotive on a shiny flat surface.  All flanges should touch the surface.  A mirror is a good place to check if that is possible.

If that all checks out, you have intermittent wire contact somewhere, or faulty wiper contact at the axles/wheels. It only becomes a problem with the tender and locomotive bent a certain way.  It could also happen when the locomotive or tender runs through the turnout, especially if the frog is low or high and bumps the locomotive down or up.

One last possibility - the tether between the tender and locomotive is not fully seated, or flush across....one side sticks out more than the other.

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Posted by pathman on Monday, January 08, 2018 3:08 PM

Thanks - I'll check out the things you suggested.  It's the Broadway Limited 5381 2-8-0 Consolidation, ATSF #1965 with Paragon3 Sound/DC/DCC/Smoke/HO Scale.  It has the most problems on #4 turnouts, but doesn't seem to be a large locomotive compared to some I've seen.

https://www.broadway-limited.com/53812-8-0consolidationatsf1965paragon3sounddcdccsmokeho.aspx

 

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Posted by CGW121 on Monday, January 08, 2018 3:26 PM

I belong to a club, dcc code 83 Shinohara minimum @#6, we had one turnout that lots of different, It  locos would stop on. I ran a track cleaner over it and it stopped. It was NOT visibly dirty  nnr were there other problems. In another spot a turnont in a crossover had been ballasted. It was fine before that after we had proplems with hesitations at it. Glue insulated the contacts. Things to look ints.

 

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Monday, January 08, 2018 10:26 PM

Peco turnouts in particular have a problem at the frogs.  The rails which come into the frog are sometimes too close.  When a metal wheel tread crosses the frog, sometimes the wheel bridges the gap at the frog, resulting in a short (as distinct from a stall.)  You can cure this by painting a short section of the frog with nail polish.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 7:12 AM

Peco INSULFROGS have this problem, Electrofrogs do not.

And I agree, this is more likely a short than a loss of power. Even a 2-8-0 plus tender is a far longer pickup wheelbase than the length of an entire #4 turnout, no way is it losing power, unless the pickups are bad on either the loco or tender, or the loco to tender connector is not fully plugged in.

                              --Randy


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Posted by Medina1128 on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 7:24 AM

I was having the same problem with my BLI Blueline locomotives, until, after getting serious about troubleshooting the trouble spot, realized that the insulating gaps were cut in the wrong place, leaving a dead section of track (the turnout, itself). Use a multimeter to determine that you have continuity and no shorts through the turnout on both routes. If you find a dead spot, there's your problem. This will probably be either: 1) an insulated frog, or 2) an non-insulated one, with the polarity reversed.

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Posted by thomas81z on Saturday, January 13, 2018 10:28 AM

can you post up a pic for a visual aid :)

MisterBeasley

Peco turnouts in particular have a problem at the frogs.  The rails which come into the frog are sometimes too close.  When a metal wheel tread crosses the frog, sometimes the wheel bridges the gap at the frog, resulting in a short (as distinct from a stall.)  You can cure this by painting a short section of the frog with nail polish.

 

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Posted by yankee flyer on Saturday, January 13, 2018 11:41 AM

I know this is going to sound dumb but I had a new loco that had simular problems.

After closer inspection I found a tiny piece of black foam on top of the the pilot. I guess it was put there to support the pilot while shipping.

Just an idea.

Good luck.

Lee

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Posted by gdelmoro on Monday, January 22, 2018 5:45 AM

I had a BLI 4-6-4 do that on an Atlas. After several days of checking this and that, it turned out that the turnout was not level between rails.

Gary

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Posted by Omaha53 on Monday, January 22, 2018 9:03 AM

I have a BLI Mikado that had an intermittent electrical pickup issues on turnouts since it was bought. When the front right tender truck crossed the dead frog it would often stop and then restart. The front right tender truck picks up eletricity from the right hand rail. This indicated to me that the electrical issue was in the locomotive and not the tender. I checked the electrical connections in the tender and locomotive and I did not find any issue that made a difference.

This is what I did discover, the first and fourth drivers are built to have springs between the drivers and the frame. These help make a better electrical contact. However on my locomotive there were no springs under the first driver and the fourth was largely dead electrically because it had traction tires. I obtained a set of springs and a non-traction tire driver from BLI.

Putting the springs under the first driver helped a little bit. The biggest change was replacing the fourth driver with a set without traction tires. That seemed to cure the electrical problem. However, the pulling power was horrible. It would only pull 4-5 cars on level track! I decided to put the traction tire driver set in the second position (the third position is not an option since it is the geared driver set). Traction is now almost back to the original ability of the locomotive. I ran the locomotive for 2-3 hours and there were no electrical issues.

Having the traction tire on the fourth driver would be the best option for traction, but that is not good for electrical pickup. I think it would be helpful to have springs under the second driver but there are no holes in the frame to hold them. At this time I do not want to try and drill them. Another possible option is to have non-traction drivers in the first, second and third positions (springs would be on 1 & 4) and then put some bull frog snot on the third driver that has the gear.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, January 22, 2018 12:40 PM

I had a similar issue with some Atlas turnouts, all #6s:  they worked fine for all of my plastic steamers (pick-up on all drivers and on alternate sides of the tenders).  However, when a friend brought several brass locomotives (pick-up on one side of locomotive and on opposite side of the tender) for an operating session, they would stop dead on some turnouts.  These were mostly locos with eight drivers - Mikados, Mountains, and Northerns.
What I discovered was that when the drivers were situated with the mid-point of the driver wheelbase on the frog area (unpowered frog), the lead and trailing drivers did not contact the rails, hence no power to the motor.  Placing a straightedge across the track and moving it across the turnout revealed that some frogs were higher than the rest of the rails within the turnout.  Not all of the Atlas turnouts had this anomaly, but a few passes with a mill file rectified the situation on those that did.

Perhaps that was from one particular batch of turnout production, as mine weren't all purchased at the same time, but it's an easy thing to check, and easy to correct if you find a similar situation.

Wayne

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Posted by BATMAN on Monday, January 22, 2018 1:25 PM

I have had similar issues that were quickly rectified. 

On a  Shinohara #8  turnout, the plastic between the rails at the frog had to be filed down as it was lifting the whole side up causing it to lose power.

The other was on a large curved Shinohara T/O that was not supported properly. My BLI 2-10-4 would cause it to flex and lose contact and/or the leading truck would derail. Once installed correctly it worked great.

 

Brent

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Posted by originaldirtguy on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 11:46 AM

doctorwayne
What I discovered was that when the drivers were situated with the mid-point of the driver wheelbase on the frog area (unpowered frog), the lead and trailing drivers did not contact the rails, hence no power to the motor.

Yup, I found this problem too on SOME of the locos. I did the same thing with the file. But, I also had to very carefully run my exacto knife through the flangeways of the frog. Basically, now that the frog elevation was lower, some of the loco wheels would ride up on the flangeway and cause the same problem. After scraping down the flangeway I got the locos to run very smoothly and consistently over the turnout.

I use N-scale, Peco, insulfrog, #6 turnouts - and in almost all cases I have feeder wires sending power to all 3 ends of the turnouts.

Hope this helps...

s~

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 12:16 PM

thomas81z

can you post up a pic for a visual aid :)

 
MisterBeasley

Peco turnouts in particular have a problem at the frogs.  The rails which come into the frog are sometimes too close.  When a metal wheel tread crosses the frog, sometimes the wheel bridges the gap at the frog, resulting in a short (as distinct from a stall.)  You can cure this by painting a short section of the frog with nail polish.

Sorry, my layout is in storage right now. 

You can try running your engine slowly in the dark, and you may see a spark as the wheels cross the frog.  Alternately, put another engine nearby so it will be covered by the same breaker, if your layout is so divided, and turn the headlight on while it's just sitting there.  Run the problem engine over each of the problem spots.  If the other engine's headlight stays on, your problem is a stall due to lost power.  If the other light goes out, though, you're getting a short.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by darrel480 on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 6:37 PM

I recently replaced all my Peco Insulfrog turnouts with Peco electrofrog turnouts.  I had nothing but problems with insulfrog turnouts.  I was having particular problems with dcc sound locomotives.  If all else fails, try replacing the turnout with an electrofrog turnout.  Remember to use insulated rail connectors on the inside frog rails.

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Posted by loosecaboose73 on Thursday, January 25, 2018 11:48 AM

I am building my layout, DCC, code 83 HO. My engine, a Bachman Pacfic kept stopping on switches. Then after thinking it was my track laying, track painting or ballesting, and trying to remedy the problem checking I noticed it only happen when going over trailing points. Looked up this thread and got an idea. The wipers on the Bachman Pacific can easily get caught and bend. I had it before and found on the Bachmans website others had the same complaint. I picked up my engine and the wiper on the third driver, enginers side was sticking straight down. Now it don't stop on switches. But this thread showed me there are many things to go wrong. Thanks folks.

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Thursday, January 25, 2018 12:00 PM

darrel480
I recently replaced all my Peco Insulfrog turnouts with Peco electrofrog turnouts.

Did you try the nail polish trick?  I had three problem Peco Insulfrog turnouts.  A cheap bottle of black nail polish from CVS fixed all three.

It only takes a tiny drop.  I've still got a lifetime supply, if I avoid becoming a Goth kid or something.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by Bubbytrains on Thursday, January 25, 2018 9:07 PM

In addition to the track, make sure that the (power-conducting) wheels of the locomotive and the wipers/pickups are clean. Even new locomotives straight from the manufacturer often have very dirty wheels and wipers, perhaps residue from the manufacturing process and/or sitting unused for a time. Even my most reliable manufacturer's engines (Atlas) need cleaning when they first come out of the package. 

Bubbytrains

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Posted by Doughless on Friday, January 26, 2018 6:04 AM

For the folks who experience locos stopping on Peco Insulfrog's, what kind of locos are stalling (shorting), steam or diesel?

I've never had a stalling problem with these turnouts, especially at the spot where the rails meet the frog.  Because I run short switchers, the compact frog area and short dead spot is one reason I choose Peco over other insulated frog turnouts.

I assume the narrowness of the frog rails, where nail polish is the remedy, effect steam locomotives with not a lot of play in the wheels, but maybe not.

- Douglas

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Posted by Canalligators on Friday, January 26, 2018 1:35 PM

No one mentioned putting a meter or two on it!  My system has an ammeter and voltmeter on the cab.  If the current goes to zero and the voltage to max, it is an open circuit - it lost contact.  If the current maxes and the voltage goes low or to zero, it's a short.  This is a good place to start in your troubleshooting.

A voltmeter is easy to add, you can even temporarily clip it across the rails.  An ammeter is not as easy, you have to put it in line with the power feed.  But you can pretty much tell what's going on with just a voltmeter.

Open circuit can be because of a lot of reasons: dirty wheels or track, bad contact at switch points, loco issues (like the missing spring mentioned), or bad contact tabs, etc.  Shorts on a turnout are probably due to debris, bad wheel gauge, things like that.  A spike or track nail that comes loose, or a turnout linkage that comes off, can short it out.

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Friday, January 26, 2018 2:37 PM

Doughless
For the folks who experience locos stopping on Peco Insulfrog's, what kind of locos are stalling (shorting), steam or diesel?

My first "problem engine" was my first steamer, a P2K 0-6-0.  The engine has larger drivers than any of my diesels, both in circumference and tread width.  I've also had problems with a Bachman Mikado.  All of these problems were shorts, not stalls.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by Doughless on Friday, January 26, 2018 3:40 PM

MisterBeasley

 

Doughless
For the folks who experience locos stopping on Peco Insulfrog's, what kind of locos are stalling (shorting), steam or diesel?

 

My first "problem engine" was my first steamer, a P2K 0-6-0.  The engine has larger drivers than any of my diesels, both in circumference and tread width.  I've also had problems with a Bachman Mikado.  All of these problems were shorts, not stalls.

 

Yeah.  I don't run steam locos but I think their tread width is probably a bit wider than diesels, which I can see could cause a problem with narrow frogs.

- Douglas

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