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I am baffled, what to do?

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  • From: Sturgis South Dakota
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I am baffled, what to do?
Posted by froggy on Monday, August 4, 2008 3:04 PM
I have my layout set up as far as track goes and I have a program track and the main track is also wired to the MRC Prodigy Express. I programmed a locomotive months earlier on a piece of flex track and it moved fine. Now My controller is just flashing the loco address and I can't get it to move the locomotive at all or any other locomotive.I am almost getting tired of DCC and I haven't even had a good chance to see what it can do yet.My outside rail is DC and runs good, the inside rail is DCC and I can't get any movement out of them.
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Posted by selector on Monday, August 4, 2008 4:06 PM
Hopefully an MRC user will jump in, but it suggests to me that you still need to "acquire" the loco whose number is flashing.  That's the way it works on my Digitrax throttle, but yours may be different.  What does your manual say in its description of how you go about acquiring a specific engine and then causing it to move?
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Posted by modelmaker51 on Monday, August 4, 2008 4:41 PM
Is your programming track isolated from your main DCC track?

Jay 

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Posted by froggy on Monday, August 4, 2008 5:06 PM
My program track is separate from my main DCC track. Do you think it is doing this because maybe I have a short with the DCC track? I have several switches and they are pointed the same way.I am going to wire the Dc track to the prodigy and see if it works out because the DC locomotives have no problems.
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Posted by selector on Monday, August 4, 2008 5:29 PM

I think what Jay is getting at, if I may speak for him at this point (if he doesn't return for some time), is that you still have to have the separated programming track able to receive the DCC signal, so you need a switch of some kind.   Also, if you are trying to programme a decoder, some DCC systems need a resistor across the track, or a special power output booster, to get the decoder to hear the programming inputs.  I don't know enough about the MRC to say that it is one of them.

Hang in there before you do much....someone will help out.

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Posted by froggy on Monday, August 4, 2008 9:18 PM
My program traqck is isolated from the rest of it and it has wires going to the program track that are labeled for it.The main track wires also go to the part labeled main track.Any way when I treid to use the track for DC, the powerpack showed an overload. Do ya think a switch or two are screwing me up?The points are all in the same direction.
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Posted by Vail and Southwestern RR on Tuesday, August 5, 2008 12:08 AM
You obviously have a short.  Whether it is a switch, or you just crossed a feeder somewhere, I can't say.

Jeff But it's a dry heat!

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Posted by Johnnny_reb on Tuesday, August 5, 2008 10:20 AM

Does your programming track work? Test the loco on your programming track. As for your mainline it does sound like a short. Check all trackwork for tools laying around. It's easy to forget something you've left laying on the track. If this is your first time with wiring a power buss you have more then likely just crossed your power feed drops. It happens, I've done it and will again. If you do not find something laying on the track shorting it out. Try removing some of the power feeds from your power bus, one at a time. Once you remove the shorted track sections power feed the short will vanish. But by removing the feeds one at a time you will know what section you need to examine more closely.  

 

As a test disconnect the wiring from your mainline and your control system. With no power to the track, take a volt-ohm meter set for ohms and touch both test leads to the track power feed wires. If you get a zero ohms reading the track has a short.

 

You may want to check into some sort of short protection. I have seen a setup made from an automotive light bulb wired into the power drop feeds. The current drew does not make the bulb glow under normal conditions but it glows brightly when a short in present in that power feed or the trackage it feeds power to.

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Posted by Bill54 on Tuesday, August 5, 2008 12:33 PM

 froggy wrote:
My program traqck is isolated from the rest of it and it has wires going to the program track that are labeled for it.The main track wires also go to the part labeled main track.Any way when I treid to use the track for DC, the powerpack showed an overload. Do ya think a switch or two are screwing me up?The points are all in the same direction.
It sounds like you are trying to use the DC power pack on the same tracks as the DCC.  I don't know about the MRC system but you cannot use both on the NCE that I have without having a switch to cut off one or the other while one system is in use.

I use a DPDT switch to isolate each system.  Only one can work at a time and they cannot be in contact with the track at the same time.

I would disconnect the DC power pack and see if the DCC system works. 

Bill

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Posted by froggy on Tuesday, August 5, 2008 6:49 PM
Does the program track have to be connected to the main track but also is isolated?I know for a fact the track used for the DC does not have any short.I can track that track for the DCC and see if my locomotives work.I have looked all over and don't see any thing laying on the track.
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Posted by Vail and Southwestern RR on Tuesday, August 5, 2008 10:19 PM

Ok....

I think we need a lot more info.  How do you have the power hooked from the DCC unit to the track?  And, do you have a Volt/Ohm meter?

Jeff But it's a dry heat!

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Posted by froggy on Wednesday, August 6, 2008 1:14 PM
I'm going to have to get a volt, ohm reader. I just took the feeder wires off the DC power pack and connected them to the DCC main line next to where it says program track. I put one of my DCC locomotives on the track and it runs good.I program other ones and the lights come on but they won't MOVE. What is the problem now???? The other track musat have a short but I'll have to find it some where.
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Posted by Rotorranch on Wednesday, August 6, 2008 4:53 PM

Froggy...the problem with the "dead" track is probably just a feeder crossed up. Disconnect each feeder one at a time, and check the layout each time. When the track runs, swap the wire on the last feeder and the track should run. Big Smile [:D]

On the DCC locos not running...maybe a decoder reset? Did you reprogram the loco addys? If so, did you try aquiring the loco with the new addy? Or try addy "03" to see if the loco "took" the reprogram.

Rotor

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Posted by froggy on Wednesday, August 6, 2008 8:30 PM
By saying feeders, do you mean the power wires? I only have one set of feeder wires to the dead track because it is not a big layout yet.Should I try the 003 addy and see if the locos work?I did program them and the lights came on but no movement.
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Posted by Rotorranch on Wednesday, August 6, 2008 8:41 PM

If you only have one feeder, or "power wire", it pretty much shoots down my crossed feeder theory.

Has your track plan changed since the pics of your layout were posted?

Did you fix the reverse loop you had? If not, there's your short! Whistling [:-^]

Rotor 

 Jake: How often does the train go by? Elwood: So often you won't even notice ...

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Posted by Rotorranch on Wednesday, August 6, 2008 8:44 PM

Try addy 3 on your DCC trains to see if they respond...sometimes they don't take the programming. Confused [%-)]

If that doesn't work, I'd try a decoder reset to see if that gets them going.

Rotor

 Jake: How often does the train go by? Elwood: So often you won't even notice ...

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Posted by froggy on Wednesday, August 6, 2008 9:19 PM
What does SPVD stand for?I get that on the prodigy sometimes.I treid addy ooo3 and the locos we're working. One of them would not respond to my commands, the another one did.At least I got them moving.I did take the crossovers out and I have two main lines, that's why I can't find a short anywhere.Still looks good with the crossovers out. Now that I'm almost getting the DCC to work, I feel like expanding the track.LOL.Still wondering what SPVD is and why one loco would not respond, but it still moved.
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Posted by froggy on Wednesday, August 6, 2008 9:29 PM
I've also tryed programming the locos from the start and nothing. Like I said one worked with the addy 0003 and another moved and I couldn't control it.
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Posted by Rotorranch on Wednesday, August 6, 2008 9:32 PM

Can you post a pic of the layout as it is now?

How are the feeders hooked up?

You might try acquiring the other loco using the addy you programmed and see if that works.

Glad you got one going. Smile [:)]

Rotor 

 Jake: How often does the train go by? Elwood: So often you won't even notice ...

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Posted by froggy on Wednesday, August 6, 2008 9:37 PM
Tomorrow I will take complete pics of the whole thing and send them to your email.Hopefully you will put them on this forum for me.
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Posted by Rotorranch on Wednesday, August 6, 2008 9:45 PM

 froggy wrote:
Tomorrow I will take complete pics of the whole thing and send them to your email.Hopefully you will put them on this forum for me.

Sure will.

Rotor

 Jake: How often does the train go by? Elwood: So often you won't even notice ...

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Posted by froggy on Friday, August 8, 2008 9:35 PM
The first time I had a reverse loop and I took the crossovers out and I do believe I have another reverse loop.I thought DCC didn't matter with reverse loops and switches.
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Posted by Rotorranch on Sunday, August 10, 2008 5:48 PM

 Jake: How often does the train go by? Elwood: So often you won't even notice ...

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Posted by Vail and Southwestern RR on Sunday, August 10, 2008 8:18 PM

 froggy wrote:
The first time I had a reverse loop and I took the crossovers out and I do believe I have another reverse loop.I thought DCC didn't matter with reverse loops and switches.

Reverse loops absolutley matter in DCC.  The good thing is that they can be completely automated.  Looking at the pics, I think there probably is a reverse loop, but I have to stare a while longer to try to describe where!

Jeff But it's a dry heat!

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Posted by Rotorranch on Sunday, August 10, 2008 10:10 PM
 Vail and Southwestern RR wrote:

 froggy wrote:
The first time I had a reverse loop and I took the crossovers out and I do believe I have another reverse loop.I thought DCC didn't matter with reverse loops and switches.

Reverse loops absolutley matter in DCC.  The good thing is that they can be completely automated.  Looking at the pics, I think there probably is a reverse loop, but I have to stare a while longer to try to describe where!

A wider angle shot, or more of an overall view would be better.

Rotor

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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Monday, August 11, 2008 6:35 AM
Track the left rail around the layout. If you come back around to your starting point without ever finding yourself suddenly tracking the wrong rail your problem is in the wiring. If however you find yourself tracking the left rail and it suddenly merges into a right rail you've found one end of a reverse loop. Marking the rail as you go along helps emensely. I use a red dry erase marker to make 1" marks on the rail head as I go around the layout. When I finish only one side of the track will have marks while the other side is clear. Cleanup is easy. Just wipe the marks off with a cloth.

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