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Help, my layout isn't working.

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Help, my layout isn't working.
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, April 7, 2008 12:18 PM
I built a 4 x 8 layout for my grandson, but I'm having a problem.  I built the Grand valley system from Woodland scenics with the Atlas track plan and sectional track (HO Code 83)  The problem is that when the trains run over one of the two crossings everything stops.  They have electricity on the left side no problem, and electricity on the right side no problem, but the actual cossing is dead on the one set of tracks.  I'm thinking about soldering feeders directly to these rails for this little section, but I'm worried about catching the layout on fire, or melting the foam underneath.  Any suggestions?  I'll try to take pictures to illustrate what I'm talking about.
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Posted by loathar on Monday, April 7, 2008 12:44 PM
What kind of locomotives are you running? Older trains like Tyco had limited power pickup wheels and would stall on crossings and turnouts. Short wheel based steamers like 0-4-0 and 0-6-0 can do this too. Newer locos with all wheel pickup shouldn't do this.
Are you shorting out at the crossing? When the train stops, do you still have power to the rest of the layout or does it all go dead?
You shouldn't have to solder feeders to a crossing with newer locos.
A little more info and pictures would help.
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, April 7, 2008 12:52 PM
I'm running brand new proto 2000 dcc diesels and one proto 2000 dcc 2-4-0 engine as well.  It doens't appear to be shorting out the entire layout.  I will take some pictures and double check everything, and it works fine in one direction across the X but doesn't work on the other side of the X.
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Posted by loathar on Monday, April 7, 2008 1:12 PM
Those should run fine on it.Confused [%-)] Did you use insulated rail joiners anywhere? Did you use multiple sets of power wires (feeders) to power the track or just two wires for the whole thing. Sounds like your going to have to take an electronics meter and trace down all the track to find any dead spots. Then add some power feeders to that spot. The inner rails of the crossing "shouldn't" need any extra power feeds.Confused [%-)]
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, April 7, 2008 3:01 PM

I ran 6 power feeders around the layout, and there's one about 18" away from where the trouble spot is.  There are no insulated sections.  Here's what I suspect is happening.  I suspect there is a little bit of flex in the X over.  I can't confirm it since I don't know what a crossover looks like on the underside, but I suspect that there are connections to the various pieces that are insulated from each other by the plastic rail portion of the Xover.  I think that one or more of these has cracked.

I've been taking a HO street light, putting it on the rails to see where I have power and where I don't and it's just the diamond of the X over that's dead.  Power is everywhere else.

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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Monday, April 7, 2008 3:40 PM
You can try to run feeders to the rails of the diamond, but make sure none of those rails aren't contacting other rails.

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Posted by loathar on Monday, April 7, 2008 8:19 PM
I just checked mine (30 degree Atlas code 83) I have power to all four rails in the diamond. If you don't, I would guess you got a bad one. I don't really see any easy way to add jumpers. I would recommend changing it out for another. I know that stinks but it's probably the best thing to do.
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Posted by rolleiman on Monday, April 7, 2008 8:39 PM
 ChessieRR wrote:

 

I've been taking a HO street light, putting it on the rails to see where I have power and where I don't and it's just the diamond of the X over that's dead.  Power is everywhere else.

--- and you have power on the legs of the crossing just outside of the diamond?? Or is the entire crossing section dead? I'm still not quite clear on that. Do you have more than one, and is that the only one you're having trouble with?? Seems to me that with a P2K loco, you shouldn't be stalling on the diamond if you are able to pick up power outside of the diamond. At least 2 of the wheels (left and right) should be getting power.

I'd suspect you have a bad rail joint. Park your loco on the trouble spot and apply track power. Take a small screwdriver and gently bridge the railjoints near the crossing. If the loco moves, you've found your problem.

 

Modeling the Wabash from Detroit to Montpelier Jeff
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 9:41 AM

Okay, I did some more experimenting, and this is what I found.

I ran two locomotives simultaniously, one an old lifelike DC and the other a brand new DCC engine.  The DC engine went around with no problem although all my engines run much slower on 00 DCC than they do on just regular DC (1/4 speed or so).  So, I had one engine run on 00 the other on 03.  The lifelike engine could negotiate the entire track without stopping, the proto 2000 stopped in the same spot every time.  While it was stopped (no lights, sound etc) the DC engine running on 00 would continue around without an issue.  I removed the proto 2000 and put on a brand new atlas DCC, exact same thing stops at the same spot, other engine works fine.  Then I put on a brand new DCC steam engine 2-6-0  It navigates that spot okay, but shuts down at 4 other rail joints pauses for a second and then begins running again.

Any ideas?   

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Posted by Johnnny_reb on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 10:33 AM
 rolleiman wrote:
 ChessieRR wrote:

 

I've been taking a HO street light, putting it on the rails to see where I have power and where I don't and it's just the diamond of the X over that's dead.  Power is everywhere else.

--- and you have power on the legs of the crossing just outside of the diamond?? Or is the entire crossing section dead? I'm still not quite clear on that. Do you have more than one, and is that the only one you're having trouble with?? Seems to me that with a P2K loco, you shouldn't be stalling on the diamond if you are able to pick up power outside of the diamond. At least 2 of the wheels (left and right) should be getting power.

I'd suspect you have a bad rail joint. Park your loco on the trouble spot and apply track power. Take a small screwdriver and gently bridge the railjoints near the crossing. If the loco moves, you've found your problem.

 

Sign - Ditto [#ditto]and with your steamer stopping at four other joints it sounds like loose joints to me.

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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 1:15 PM

 Johnnny_reb wrote:
and with your steamer stopping at four other joints it sounds like loose joints to me.

I agree. The old Life-Like loco is probably a light weight. The Proto 2000's are much heavier and would stress the joints more and the steamer, not being as heavy as the Proto's, would still stress the joints but to a lesser degree. Tighten up those rail joints. If you want to remove all doubt solder the rail joints. 

Running Bear, Sundown, Louisiana
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15 year veteran fire fighter
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Running Bear Enterprises
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beatus homo qui invenit sapientiam


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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 1:41 PM
The rail joints seem awfully tight.  I have the entire track glued to the foam risers, and the joiners don't budge an inch. I'll go back around and solder them.  Any advice on how not to catch my finished layout on fire, or melt the foam that's under the entire thing?
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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 1:44 PM
Put folded pieces of wet paper towels between the joiners and the layout.

Running Bear, Sundown, Louisiana
          Joined June, 2004

Dr. Frankendiesel aka Scott Running Bear
Space Mouse for president!
15 year veteran fire fighter
Collector of Apple //e's
Running Bear Enterprises
History Channel Club life member.
beatus homo qui invenit sapientiam


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