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DCC Locomotives Stalling on Turnouts

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DCC Locomotives Stalling on Turnouts
Posted by corsiar on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 12:25 AM

Not sure if I should put this here or in the DCC section. Out of these 4 brands including KATO, Scaletrains, Intermountain, and Broadway Limited only the Broadway limited and Intermountain stall on turnouts the other two are OK. First I thought it might be dirt not sure if I can get the track any cleaner. To me it looks like the wheels and trucks dont have enough movement and the wheels are loosing contact with the rail. Has anyone else had this problem? 

The turnouts are code 55 PECO unifrogs. Te two locomotives in question are both 6 axle diesels. The intermountain is a SD40-2 and the Broadway Limited is a SD70ACe.

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Posted by gregc on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 8:21 AM

corsiar
To me it looks like the wheels and trucks dont have enough movement and the wheels are loosing contact with the rail.

that's a good observation.   Are you saying the wheels are actually above the track?

sounds like it's specific locomotives.  can you loosen the trucks?   

and it sounds like its specific turnouts.   can you make sure the track is flat and level?   at least side-to-side?

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by Doughless on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 10:53 AM

Its strange that six axle diesels are the ones stalling on turnouts.  Usually its shorter wheelbase switchers.

Two things come to mind.  The wheels of six axles generally are built with more play in them than four axle trucks.  This play can cause the wheels to shift too much and contacting the wrong polarity-ed rail in the turnout frog.

Since you mentioned that it appears some of the wheels are not touching the rails.  Six axle trucks are more sensitive to uneven tracks, vertical undulations, which causes wheels to lift.  

If your turnouts were not laid perfectly flat, or are not supported well enough to where they flex up and down when ridden across, this could cause poor wheel contact.

There culd be other reasons for your problem, but what you've described sounds like a trackwork issue and not a locomotive issue, IMO.

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 11:01 AM

Stalling or shorting?

Rich

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Posted by corsiar on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 2:31 PM

Definatley stalling and not shorting. Put another locomotive on the track with the head lights on and they never turn off when it happens. 

Glued the cork to foam. Sanded the top of the cork to make everything flat. Glued the track to the cork. All joints have been soldered.

 

This is the best pic I have on me. Will take another tonight. Most of the yard is cutoff in this pic.

 

Last night I ran the locomotive through the rest of the layout which is all PECO large radius or curved turnout electro frogs and it it never stalled even just crawling. Since they are electro frogs I have feeders on both sides of the turnout. On the unifrogs since they have jumpers underneath and I soldered every joint I only put a feeder running the entire yard ladder. Maybe that is the problem and just need more feeders.

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Posted by selector on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 3:10 PM

If the voltage meters out all along this length of track, it's not a feeder problem.

It might be an iffy jumper problem if you added turnout jumpers or if the turnout is engineered with them commercially. The weight of a locomotive is not to be dismissed in scale, and they can cause parting of what appear to be solid connections, especially soldered ones (no matter who does the soldering).

Unfortunately, even the act of touching meter probes to rails can cause contact where it doesn't exist otherwise, even with the weight of passing engines. Good luck with that process.

My bet, having run into this once or six times, is that the points are not reliably bringing forward current toward the frog.  By the time the first few axles reach the frog on longer turnouts, the rearward pickup axles have cleared the points and are solidly on them, now without power.

Also, is it at all likely that on the code your referring to that the flanges lift up the locomotive somewhere near the frog, or even along much/most of the points rails?

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Posted by corsiar on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 4:28 PM

I will investigate the flanges. PECO claims their code 55 is supposed to run all flanges. The flanges on Intermountains are like pizza cutters. The Katos and Scaletrains are very short.

 

If I push down or tip the locomotive side to side after it stalls it will start going again.

 

The layout is broken into 6 sections. I am trying not to rely on rail joiners at the joints to conduct electricity.

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Posted by corsiar on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 12:16 AM

Did some investigating and testing. The flanges dont seem to be lifting the wheels.

The turnouts are not flat side to side. They are higher at the points.

This one I dont understand. With the sound off they go through the turnouts fine no stalling but with the sound on they stall.

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 5:29 AM

corsiar

This one I dont understand. With the sound off they go through the turnouts fine no stalling but with the sound on they stall. 

I have a few HO scale diesels with Tsunami sound that do the same thing.

My Bowser switcher cannot make it down a stretch of track without starting and stopping like it has the hiccups. But, when I mute the sound, it performs just fine.

Rich

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Posted by BigDaddy on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 7:08 AM

corsiar
This one I dont understand. With the sound off they go through the turnouts fine no stalling but with the sound on they stall.

Sound requires more electrons.  If it stalls with the sound on, between the motor and the speaker, there aren't enough electrons to keep everyone happy.

Henry

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Posted by gregc on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 7:11 AM

corsiar
The turnouts are not flat side to side. They are higher at the points.

are you saying the point rails are above the stock rails?   or the rails near the points are higher than near the frog?

when I said side-to-side i ment the rails on either side of the track.   If the truck is stiff, it would make sense that the higher rail would lift the the truck and the wheels on the other side of the truck might be above the rails.

if this is the case, wedging something under the lower rail might correct the problem

corsiar
This one I dont understand. With the sound off they go through the turnouts fine no stalling but with the sound on they stall.

sound consumes more current and would discharge any capacitor quicker.  capacitors act as short term keep alives

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by NVSRR on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 7:52 AM

When you check the voltage with the meter did you also check amperage?  You can have the needed voltage 12, 13, 14,  depending on the system, but still not have enough power to run the sound.  That comes in the form of amps.   Somewhere in thos turns and track  a connection is not able handle the draw and somehow it ended up being the only power connection for that location.  Maybe some track removal, clean the locations for the joiners and the joiners  clean where the feeder points are and reassemble soldering the joiners as well.  Lots of times. Scenery glue and oxidation is the culprit creating the resistor to current flow.     Wouldnt hurt to clean the contacts in the locomotive either for the same reason.   Very odd for a six axle to stall considering all the contact points and frame length.  You would have to have one contact point on one truck working for that to happen.  

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Posted by Doughless on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 8:17 AM

corsiar

Did some investigating and testing. The flanges dont seem to be lifting the wheels.

The turnouts are not flat side to side. They are higher at the points.

This one I dont understand. With the sound off they go through the turnouts fine no stalling but with the sound on they stall.

 

Its what I was implying with my post.  Six axle trucks are more sensitive to non-flat track than are 4 axle trucks.  The added length tends to cause the front to stay above the rails if the rails dip, maybe even the middle wheels if one brand of loco has a bit stiffer trucks than others.  If this happens on a curve, you can get a derailment when the front finally dips to meet the lower elevation, because the front wheels are no longer aligned with the track that has curved away from its path. (It doesn't sound like you're getting a derailment however)

The break in the contact from all six wheels touching the rails to where only a few are touching the rails may affect certain brands of locomotives more than others, and have others have said, just enough to not get total current needed to run everything.

IMO, the solution is to not fiddle with the loco.  The first solution is to flatten and level the track. 

Which you should probably do regardless of this specific problem.

- Douglas

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 8:57 AM

 If there's a noticeable hump in the turnout - that needs to be fixed. For the locos, if you set the loco on something flat, like a sheet of glass, try sliding a piece of paper under each wheel. If all the wheels (well, the flanged) aren't touching the glass, then there is an issue with the truck being warped and that should be fixed. Either is a problem, both almost certainly guarantees stalling.

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Posted by kasskaboose on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 10:31 AM

Wow!  I thought I was the only one with turnout and six-axle loco issues.  The problem I found was similar to yours and it was VERY frustrating.  My problem was not having enough feeders connecting to the turnouts.  While mine were Atlas, the problem was the same. 

You not only three pairs of feeders, but make sure they are secure to the turnout. 

What type(s) of turnouts you have? That also can help in diagnosing the problem.  Some types of turnouts are more DCC friendly.  I know that term is not correct when you have a loco stalling on a turnout!

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Posted by Medina1128 on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 11:01 AM

I had the same issue with Atlas turnouts. I have some turnouts that have insulated frogs with the powering lugs. I tapped the lugs for 1-72 screws and am able to change the polarity of the frog with a SPDT toggle switch. When I install Tortoise switch machines, I'll let the machine handle the change in polarity.

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Posted by corsiar on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 11:03 AM

PECO code 55 medium radius unifrog. These dont have a powered frog unless they are wired with the jumper that comes pre soldered underneath. From the factory they come with jumpers to power every part of the turn out. The point rails still rely on getting power from friction in the hinge joint.

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Posted by corsiar on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 11:20 AM

The voltage is around 15.8 all around. Havent checked amps yet. I am using a NCE 3amp power cab only running the one locomotive. One time I had 4 locos running two sound and the power cab said it was only pull .5 amp.

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Posted by corsiar on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 6:04 PM

How do I fix a warped turnout. Put shims under the ties to raise the low parts or just file/sand down the high spots?

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Posted by Doughless on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 9:47 PM

corsiar

How do I fix a warped turnout. Put shims under the ties to raise the low parts or just file/sand down the high spots?

 

I would not want to file down a turnout.

Make sure your roadbed isn't the culprit.  Make sure there is no debri stuck under a tie.

I would probably remove the turnout and check it on a piece of glass or something to see if its truly warped.  If its a wiring issue, maybe one of the solders was not what it should be, then reinstalling it might solve that problem.

If the turnout is truly warped I would use a thin dab of caulk under the high spots, in places that doesn't gum up the points.  Weigh it down for a few hours or over night, and the dry caulk should hold it straight.

Once the turnout is reinstalled flat, hopefully that will solve your problem.  If not, at least you will be able to eliminate a couple of things

- Douglas

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, November 28, 2019 4:26 AM

How many of your turnouts exhibit this problem?

Rich

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Posted by gregc on Thursday, November 28, 2019 4:32 AM

corsiar
Put shims under the ties to raise the low parts

see if this fixes your problem.   If it does, relay the turnout and make sure it is flat

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by willy6 on Thursday, November 28, 2019 8:21 AM

I was glad to see this post. I have the same problem with Atlas # 6 turnouts. Only 3 locomotives do this at the same turnouts (2 ea). One Walthers Mainline loco, one Intermoutain and one Walthers Proto. After reading this, I am going to try to add feeders at all points.

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Posted by corsiar on Friday, November 29, 2019 8:54 PM

Have been trying everything I can think of. Glued the turnouts down that were not flat. Put shim under track that was low. Had to file the tops of a couple turnouts to get things flat. The brite boy seemed to make things worse so I have been using denatured alcohol and Q tips. A locomotive will go over a dozen times then will stall all of a sudden. I dont get it. As long as I dont go slower than speed step 5, no stall. The scaletrains and intermountain will do speed step 1 & 2 without stalling.

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Posted by Doughless on Friday, November 29, 2019 9:31 PM

Your first post indicated that the IM and BL locos were the problems.  Now you seem to be implying its the KATO and BL locos.  

If there are known problems with these locos, someone may know about them so it is important to be clear about which ones they are.

You implied that you used different methods to flatten different turnouts.

Is the stalling problem with all of your turnouts, or just  few?

Do the locos stall at the same spot on the turnout(s)?

Did you rewire the problematic turnouts?  Sometimes simply remelting the solder and adding a little more helps, if you soldered them to begin with.

Six axle trucks stalling over turnouts does not seem like it is the result of a loco NOT getting sufficient contact with the turnout, if its now flat, since the there is plenty of length and wheels with which to contact the rails and soak up current.

It seems like there is not enough current getting to a long-ish piece of rail, which could mean a defective turnout, or, the play in the six axle trucks is causing a short by hitting a rail near the frog that has it shouldn't be hitting.  That could happen with some brands of locos and not others as the play in the wheels may be more liberal.  The fix could be to isolate that portion of the rail that is causing a short, by using nail polish to cover the small spot where the wheel might be hitting both rails (typically stalling where the loco exits the frog)

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Posted by snjroy on Saturday, November 30, 2019 7:59 AM

There may be multiple things going on. I suspect that the turnouts are a bit short for your locos, or the frogs are lifting your wheels. I would put on my visors and see what is going on. Some have reported here (doctor Wayne) that it is possible and desirable to file down the frogs on some switches. Keep us posted, I don't have that problem but it appears to be the case for others...

Simon

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, November 30, 2019 8:41 AM

Doughless

It seems like there is not enough current getting to a long-ish piece of rail, which could mean a defective turnout, or, the play in the six axle trucks is causing a short by hitting a rail near the frog that has it shouldn't be hitting.  That could happen with some brands of locos and not others as the play in the wheels may be more liberal.  The fix could be to isolate that portion of the rail that is causing a short, by using nail polish to cover the small spot where the wheel might be hitting both rails (typically stalling where the loco exits the frog) 

The OP says that the locos are definitely stalling, not shorting. But, I also wonder if the locos are shorting.

The OP never answered my question. Is it all of the turnouts or just some of the turnouts?

Rich

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Posted by Mark R. on Saturday, November 30, 2019 10:51 AM

At one point, the OP indicates that when the engine stops, the lights are still on. THAT statement has me scratching my head ....

Mark.

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Posted by corsiar on Saturday, November 30, 2019 12:22 PM

Happens on all of the unifrogs. The electrofrogs are ok.

 

I didnt power the frogs or wing rails on the unifrogs so they are basically insulfrogs right now.

If there are two locomtives on the layout the head lights on the loco that is sittig its lights stay on and or prime mover sound never stops.

 

Frogs seem deep enough because the wheels will fall in the gaps. Some had high points on the frog those got filed down.

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Posted by Doughless on Saturday, November 30, 2019 1:02 PM

OK, my apologies if I misread somehting.

Do we not think its an electrical issue, but more of a physical issue?

Are the wheels getting stuck in the frogs?

That happened to me when I replaced proto 2000 axles and didn't get the wheels in gauge.

Perhaps the new Unifrogs have slightly narrower gaps between the guard rail and stock rails, or in the frgos themselves, that cause certain locos to bind up as they travel through them.

Maybe check the locos to see of the wheels are in gauge, or at least if you can see if they are getting pinched by the rails somewhere.

- Douglas

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