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Loco no go.

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  • Member since
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  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
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Loco no go.
Posted by SpaceMouse on Monday, October 12, 2020 4:31 PM

First off, I'm using a Zephyr. Connecting track to bus for the first time. Track status=on. 

I connected a pair of feeders to the bus. Put the 0-6-0 on the track, and with a little shove, it took off. I ran it back and forth a couple times. 

Connected two more feeders to the bus. 0-6-0 no go. Status=on Tried two other locos. No go. Cleaned the track (brand new was filthy.) Still no go.

Shut down Zephyr and clipped DC leads to bus. Climax A ran like a big dog.

I'm open to suggestions.

Bonus question: Why isn't anything easy?

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by selector on Monday, October 12, 2020 4:49 PM

Have you metered the rails here and there, Chip?  With a loco attempting to suck up some wattage?  I'm wondering about the power supply.  I hope it's not your Z.

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Posted by richg1998 on Monday, October 12, 2020 4:59 PM

With an AC multimeter you should see about 12 to 14 volts. Depends on meter.

With controller disconnected, measure at controller for a baseline. Meters vary. DCC is not really AC. I have used different meters and a Scope.

Also put a quarter on the rails. Controller should trip.

Do a reset of decoder.

This is DCC. With new users, there can always be issues. Wait until you get into programming.

Edit. I use the Power Cab so I could not mention how to use you controller Randy is the expert.

Rich

If you ever fall over in public, pick yourself up and say “sorry it’s been a while since I inhabited a body.” And just walk away.

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, October 12, 2020 5:09 PM

 Did you solder the second set of feeders while the Zephyr was turned on, or still connected to the bus? I don't want to say it's aliens in the form of stray energy but, it may be aliens.

 Hook the Zephyr to a piece of track you have laying around, see if it runs a loco. If so, still good to go. If not - Try the OpSw 39 reset int he back of the Zephyr manual (if you lost yours, it's on the Digitrax site under Retired Products).

                                      --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, October 12, 2020 5:29 PM

rrinker
Did you solder the second set of feeders while the Zephyr was turned on, or still connected to the bus?

Emphasis mine.

Does that mean any system should be disconnected from the bus, while soldering feeders?

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, October 12, 2020 5:50 PM

 It's not a bad idea, even an ESD safe iron/station is so because the tip is grounded. Touching that to a live rail can definitely cause issues. ANd one that's not ESD safe could actually flow current back in to the track, so even if the system is shut off you can do some damage.

                                       --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Monday, October 12, 2020 5:53 PM

Rich
With an AC multimeter you should see about 12 to 14 volts. Depends on meter. With controller disconnected, measure at controller for a baseline.

Disconnected Zephyr --read 14.89V.

Reconnected it, now everything works. I guess you could call that a soft reset. Track has problems. Tim at Fast Tracks recommends spray painting the turnouts after the ties are on. He didn't say that the turnouts wouldn't pick up power from rail joiners if you do. 

I also have to connect ground throws and the other half of the feeders. 

BTW: I'm not completely new at DCC. I ran my first couple layouts with this Zephyr. The club I belonged to ran an Empire builder and when our tech guy quit the club, I was the guy that got things running. I've operated on all three major DCC systems. Never did Lentz.

Selector-- it wasn't the Zephyr. Don't say things like that. Bang Head

Randy
Did you solder the second set of feeders while the Zephyr was turned on, or still connected to the bus? I don't want to say it's aliens in the form of stray energy but, it may be aliens.

Maybe? Not sure. I think we should still go with aliens.

rrinker
Try the OpSw 39 reset int he back of the Zephyr manual (if you lost yours, it's on the Digitrax site under Retired Products).

I still have the manual. The only reset listed is resetting CVs to factory settings. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, October 12, 2020 6:01 PM

 Yes, that is the OpSw 39 reset, resets the whole thing to factory settings.

Well, when you paint track, paint is pretty much an insulator so.....

It's not a bad idea to drop feeders tot he two outside most rails of the turnout. If you didn't add more gaps than called for in the PCB ties, this will provide a solid power feed to the closure and point rails as well. As opposed to allowing the power feed to be via the rail joiners to the adjacent section of track.

                             --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 6:46 AM

I don't use DCC, I don't use FastTracks, but in the whole 53 years I have been doing this I don't trust rail joiners (solder) and I don't paint, weather or ballast track until it is running and well tested.

And my 2nd and 3rd layouts were hand layed, the first was TruScale, so that's more or less the same as FastTracks.....

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 8:53 AM

SpaceMouse
still have the manual. The only reset listed is resetting CVs to factory settings. 

I believe he means Option Switch setting; see here:

https://dccwiki.com/Digitrax_Zephyr_OPS_Mode_Decoder_Programming

I did not look far enough to find the OpSw table for the Zephyr, but here is one for a different Digitrax model, and I suspect many of the values will be comparable:

https://www.digitrax.com/tsd/KB266/db150-option-switch-table/

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Posted by richg1998 on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 10:46 AM

Well that explains a lot. I thought you were fairly new. My Bad. Sorry.

With DCC, stuff does happen.

My layout and the club I belonged to had all hand laind track and turnouts, plus NCE five amp system.

I had the Power Cab. All trouble free.

Rich

If you ever fall over in public, pick yourself up and say “sorry it’s been a while since I inhabited a body.” And just walk away.

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 2:38 PM

richg1998
With DCC, stuff does happen.

It's always the wierd stuff that gets you. And I do have a lot to learn. This layout I'm going to learn to program the locos with JMRI. I have a old Win7 dedicated computer for it.

It swings out on a lazy susan.

Luckily as far as the layout goes, everything is simple. No power districts or circuit breakers, or AR loops, or turnout control.  Just a bus, some track and a few engines.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 2:42 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
I don't use DCC, I don't use FastTracks, but in the whole 53 years I have been doing this I don't trust rail joiners (solder) and I don't paint, weather or ballast track until it is running and well tested.

Experience is that thing you get right after you need it.

I spent the morning scrubbing paint off the six turnouts that got doused. I won't forget that lesson.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, October 14, 2020 4:01 PM

Light paint.

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Posted by snjroy on Wednesday, October 14, 2020 4:30 PM

I also learned that one the hard way. I hand brush all my track...

Simon

 

 

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Wednesday, October 14, 2020 6:07 PM

snjroy
I hand brush all my track...

I did on my last layout. But this was Tim Warris of Fast Tracks speaking personly to me on CDrom video. I didn't even think to question it. 

Now I do.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by snjroy on Wednesday, October 14, 2020 6:50 PM

Well, many spray track outdoors and hand brush their turnouts and crossovers. I prefer to lay the track first, solder the joints and feeders, then hand brush. 

Simon

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, October 14, 2020 8:25 PM

 Spray aheadof time, or afterwards - you have to clean the rail tops off. A brite boy or similar works well, or if you do it before the paint actually dried, a towel with some laquer thinner or similar will clean the paint off the railhead. As for the sides where rail joiners go - the brass wire brush in a Dremel would make short work of that. No need to strip all the paint off and start over.

                                     --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by Mark R. on Wednesday, October 14, 2020 9:57 PM

When cleaning track, especially after painting, it's also important to clean the paint off the inside edge of the rail head as well, not just the top.

This is especially important on curves where the wheel to rail contact is more against the inside edge of the outside rail and less on the top.

Mark.

¡ uʍop ǝpısdn sı ǝɹnʇɐuƃıs ʎɯ 'dlǝɥ

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, October 14, 2020 9:59 PM

I have seen his videos, he uses an airbrush and a light touch, bet you rasttle caned it.

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Posted by Paul3 on Wednesday, October 14, 2020 10:49 PM

Never, ever solder to live DCC track.  Don't do it.  It's just not worth the risk.

At my club, we had our track chairman make a switch repair while the layout was on.  The soldering iron was shorted/grounded through the tip, and it basically nuked a bunch of the electronics on our layout.  We ended up replacing the brain and several boosters & power supplies because of that.

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Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, October 14, 2020 11:16 PM

Paul3
Never, ever solder to live DCC track.  Don't do it.  It's just not worth the risk.

With the proliferation of all the bug-zapper static grass applicators I'll pass on a warning about those, too. I don't have any first-hand experience but I'd rather err on the side of caution. I'm nearly certain decoders and command stations don't fare well with 20-30 kV zipped into the rail.

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Thursday, October 15, 2020 12:50 AM

rrebell

I have seen his videos, he uses an airbrush and a light touch, bet you rasttle caned it.

I bombed them good--with a light touch of course.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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