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Digitrax Zephyr Install - Running ooo's

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  • Member since
    April, 2001
  • From: Birmingham, Michigan
  • 53 posts
Digitrax Zephyr Install - Running ooo's
Posted by jjackso8 on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 8:45 AM

I know that the running o's is the error message for a short citcuit. However, I am getting running o's with no track leads hooked up, not even the program track. Any suggestions? this is my first time to use DCC. I have three sections/districts all running off the Zephyr. Layout is HO scale and approx. 10ft. x 13ft. around the wall shelf with a central peninsula. I do have a turning wye with a Digitrax auto reverser set up.

Last night when I turned it on for the first time, it was OK until I truned on one of the districts and then i got running o's, running 1's and a bunch of other gobbledygook signals. I just hope that I did not fry my command station. Also when laying the track I ran feeders to each and every piece of flex track, individually. I took, what I thought was extreme care to connect them correctly to the bus wires. But this electronic/electrical stuff is my total downfall.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!!! 

John Jackson Birmingham, MI Detroit, Woodbridge & Birmingham RR HO Standard Gauge Protolanced from CN/NorfolkSouthern Industrial connector road located in northern Michigan No Particular Era
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  • Member since
    June, 2003
  • From: Northeast OH
  • 14,686 posts
Posted by tstage on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 9:05 AM

John,

Did you start seeing problems when you turned on the district with the auto-reverser?  Did it go away when you shut the district back off?  It's possible that you have the reverser wired incorrectly.  It's also possible that you have one or more track feeder wires reversed.

John, are your track feeders soldered directly to your power bus, or to a terminal strip then to your power bus?  Did you color-coat your power bus and track feeder wires so that you could more easily match them together?

Having your layout wired to terminal strips then to your power bus really comes in handy for troubleshooting situations like this.  If you can isolate and pinpoint the short, then you can eliminate it.

Tom

http://www.newyorkcentralmodeling.com

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

  • Member since
    January, 2007
  • 180 posts
Posted by Otis on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 12:45 PM

Hmmmmm, it's acting goofy with no power leads hooked up?

Don't know exactly, but my Zephyr went on the Fritz a week ago.  It just wouldnn't power up properly at all.  The power light flashed.  All signals/digits/numbers were running no matter which function I selected.

Don't know, but Digitrax tech didn't seem surprised. Wasn't interested in what I did to it or what odd things it was doing.....just told me to send it on in. I sent it down to Digitrax in GA for repair a week ago.  Will let you know what they do with it.

The warranty is good for 3 years.  Mine was a year old with less than 3 hours of use.

 

  • Member since
    September, 2007
  • From: Charlotte, NC
  • 6,095 posts
Posted by Phoebe Vet on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 4:18 PM

Since you have already talked to tech support and sent the unit in for repairs, I'm not sure what your question is.

But, since you asked.  While the Zephyr is out...

Remove all rolling stock from the layout.  Disconnect anything that draws power from the track buss.  Disconnect the reversing unit.

Then use a multimeter to check for shorts.  To start, put the meter across the track buss at the Zephyr connection.  Turn on each segment one at a time and then all together.

If a short is not found, then the problem is in the Zephyr.  If a short is found, post a better description of what you found here, and someone will help you trace it down.

When it comes back, do not reconnect the Zephyr to the system until you are sure you don't have a short.

Be VERY sure that the reverser is correctly wired.  A short should just shut the Zephyr down, so it is VERY possible that the problem is in the Zephyr.

Dave

Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

  • Member since
    January, 2007
  • 180 posts
Posted by Otis on Thursday, March 27, 2008 1:28 PM
 Phoebe Vet wrote:

Since you have already talked to tech support and sent the unit in for repairs, I'm not sure what your question is.

Phoebe, you have mistaken my response for one from the original poster.  I think he still has his Zephyr in his hand and wants some info.  Your advice is good nevertheless.

  • Member since
    April, 2001
  • From: Birmingham, Michigan
  • 53 posts
Posted by jjackso8 on Thursday, March 27, 2008 1:53 PM

Otis and Phoebe

You are correct, I still have my unit in hand. Tonight, I start to short proof my wiring. Tech support did tell me how to reset my unit and it appears to have worked. But, before I reattach the wiring I am going to double/triple check for shorts.

My son gave me a great multimeter for Christmas last year. The only problem is neither of us have any idea how to use it to check for shorts. After reading the manual several times, I have come to the conclusion that the manual writers figure you would not buy one if you did not know how to use it in the first place. but I am going to try to figure it out one more time. After of course clearing everything off the tracks. 

I used the suitcase connectors to connect the feeder wires to the buss wires, unfortunately. But I have gotten pretty good with taking them apart so that they can be reused. I have also figured out a pretty good  home made terminal "strip" to use in place of the connectors. Using self tapping screws and washers, I can drive the screws into the underside of layout, wherever I need a pair of connections. This has worked in other applications for relatively low movement, low voltage connections.

Thanks for your help and suggestions. 

John Jackson Birmingham, MI Detroit, Woodbridge & Birmingham RR HO Standard Gauge Protolanced from CN/NorfolkSouthern Industrial connector road located in northern Michigan No Particular Era
  • Member since
    November, 2002
  • From: Colorado
  • 3,942 posts
Posted by fwright on Thursday, March 27, 2008 2:19 PM

John

Some quick directions for a multimeter (assumes analog, digital should be similar but without as many scales).  For short detection, you are going to use the "ohms" or "resistance" scale.  Use the "1X" scale to avoid errors.  Touch the probe tips together, and the meter should read "0 ohms".  If not, adjust the calibration dial or wheel until it does.

As stated by other posters, remove all locomotives, metal tools, gauges, lighted cars, etc, from the track.  I prefer to start checking at the upstream point, and move downstream for short isolation.  Start by measuring at the wires where they connect to the DCC system (with the DCC system disconnected).  You should see an open circuit (inifite ohms).  If you do, you are done.  If you don't, next check the inputs at the auto-reverser, then the outputs (wires disconnected from auto-reverser for the output check).  If you still have a short (zero ohms), you will have isolated to either the main or the reversing section, or you have 2 shorts (if both outputs read zero). 

As you move downstream, you need to disconnect wires so you are only looking into the downstream portion of the circuit.

hope this makes sense and helps

Fred W

  • Member since
    February, 2008
  • 385 posts
Posted by UpNorth on Thursday, March 27, 2008 2:20 PM

Ah !...

Reset was going to be my suggestion also. But concluded from the thread the unit had been returned for service so what was the point of posting.

Reset are allways a good place to start.

  • Member since
    September, 2007
  • From: Charlotte, NC
  • 6,095 posts
Posted by Phoebe Vet on Thursday, March 27, 2008 2:33 PM

Otis:

Sorry about that.

I still haven't seen anything in his posts that indicates he has a problem.

The only complaint he made was that he seemed to have some current flow when he puts his little home made continuity tester across the terminals of the Zephyr.  That does not indicate a problem.  I'm still confused about what he thought he was testing.

The description that someone posted describing how to use his multimeter was probably the most help to him.

Dave

Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Westchester NY
  • 1,743 posts
Posted by retsignalmtr on Thursday, March 27, 2008 6:46 PM
one thing i've found with the digitrax systems is that a pushbutton may be stuck in the pressed position and will make the system go banana's from time to time. make sure all of the pushbuttons are free and in the released position.
  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • 6 posts
Posted by db200 on Thursday, March 27, 2008 8:45 PM

This is for Otis, and anyone else who has a problem with a Digitrax part that has to be sent back for repairs (don't worry, the story has a happy ending).

One day, I got a short in the track and my Zephyr's circuit breaker cut the track power just like it was supposed to. But then the thing started smoking and getting really hot. So I pulled the plug and let it cool down, but the Zephyr was toast (quite literally!).

I called Digitrax tech support, but they were basically no help. They recommended I send the unit in for repair. So I went to the Digitrax website and found the section about returning items for repair. The website says there is a minimum charge of $35.00 for repair of Command Station items not under warranty - mine was more than a year old and past the warranty. Well, I figured that would be better than buying a new Zephyr, so I followed the instructions and filled out the form and mailed it in with the Zephyr. I had also provided my credit card number as they requested.

It took about 4 weeks to get it back, but Digitrax had repaired it as good as new. I have not had one problem with it since they returned it. The good news is that Digitrax completed the repair for free! For whatever reason, they did not charge me anything for the repair, even though they could have.

So, needless to say, I am a BIG Digitrax fan now.

P.S. Otis, I'm not sure about the 3 year warranty you say is on your Zephyr, but the Digitrax  website clearly says all Digitrax products have a one year warranty.

 

 

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