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Understanding the NCE EB1 Circuit Breaker (in Combo with PSX-AR)

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Understanding the NCE EB1 Circuit Breaker (in Combo with PSX-AR)
Posted by mlehman on Sunday, March 12, 2017 6:52 PM

My layout is powered by a NCE Power Pro 5 amp command station with another 5 amp booster. These each feed 1/2 of a bus made of 12 gauge THNN wire from a central location. I've run a number (6) PSX-AR to manage auto-reversing and provide some short protection beyond what's onboard the command station and booster with few issues for the last decade.

After adding on the Cascade Extension in a separate room, the additional opportunity for trains to find trouble and the isolation of operators when over there led me to start thinking of some independent power management.

Being on a budget, I picked up a NCE EB1 circuit breaker and ran wire back to the other room where the boosters are. I connected it to the one half of the bus that is devoted to DCC power now. The two boosters are grounded to each other.

The line to the new EB1 takes off where the first drop from the bus also connects to a PSX-AR. This point is less than 3' by wire from the boosters. It's all 16 gauge. It's is about 20 feet over to the room where the Cascade Extension runs. I initially placed the EB1 over there so it's LED could be checked by operators there.

I expected the EB1 to shut down the Cascade Extension in the event of a short, leaving the other circuits on that booster free to operate. Instead, the booster shuts down and blinks its insolence at me.

After doing some initial review, I found I should revise the trip current, so both the old PSX-AR and the EB1 are at 3.81 amps.

Still the insolent LED blinks on the booster when I do the quarter test.

I've confirmed there are no sneak paths to the Cascade Extension by disconnecting the known feed through the EB1 and getting nothing still powered.

I would guess that the EB1 should operate much like a switch. Everything past the point on it where it connects to the grid would be off, but I would think that the grid itself should be unaffected -- that's the point of having it protect parts of the system, right?

Is my EB1 bad or what?

Do I need to delve more into the various other settings that can be done via jumpers and configuring the access points?

Could there be a wiring issue that laid fallow until the EB1 was connected (seems unlikely).?

Wire for the supply to the EB1 too long/too thin?

Could the EB1 and the PSX not play well together and be interferring with each other?

Mike Lehman

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Posted by BigDaddy on Sunday, March 12, 2017 9:37 PM

I'm not the guy that can solve your problem but I would like to follow along.  Like many other trackwork questions, what is clear to the OP isn't quite clear to rest of us.  So let me see if I understand what you have posted.


1/2 your layout is powered by the Command Station and 1/2 is powered by a booster.


mlehman
I connected it to the one half of the bus that is devoted to DCC power now.
  Does that mean the entire layout is DCC or 1/2 is DC and 1/2 is DCC?


The line to the new EB1 takes off where the first drop from the bus also connects to a PSX-AR.
  Does that mean the PSX is connected in parallel to the EB1 or does the EB1 supply power to the PSX


There has been a lot of confusing discussion in the past of upstream and downstream with regard to placement of circuit breakers and reversers.  Electrons are trucking along at the speed of light.  What goes on in Vegas should stay in Vegas. 


My take on these issues are one component reacts faster than the other and if instead of being connected in parallel they are connected sequentially, they interact with each other. 

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Posted by mlehman on Sunday, March 12, 2017 10:04 PM

BigDaddy
1/2 your layout is powered by the Command Station and 1/2 is powered by a booster.

The command station controls both boosters. One feeds half the bus, the other feeds the other half of the bus. Pretty conventional DCC stuff AFAIK.

BigDaddy
Does that mean the entire layout is DCC or 1/2 is DC and 1/2 is DCC?

Yeah, that wasn;t clear, but not feeling so good today, so wrote the post over several hours. Everything is DCC, no DC involved. Again, standard DCC fare. What I think I meant there was I just was noting that I had it connected to one half of the bus/booster. Later, in troubleshooting, I moved it to the other half bus/booster. Didn't help things.

BigDaddy
Does that mean the PSX is connected in parallel to the EB1 or does the EB1 supply power to the PSX

They're in parallel to each other. When I trip the PSX-AR, they shut down just the section of track they control. With the EB1, tripping it does the job of shutting down, but this doesn't prevent the booster from also tripping and shutting down. That doesn't seem right to me, as I was expecting the EB1 to basically act like the PSX does, shutting down just the section that it controls while allowing the booster to keep supplying power to the rest of the bus. But maybe I'm expecting too much of the EB1? Or there's a problem with it that allows it to trip but which also forces the booster to trip?

BigDaddy
There has been a lot of confusing discussion in the past of upstream and downstream with regard to placement of circuit breakers and reversers.

Yeah, exactly. I'm not sure if my system architecture is right or I have an equipment settings problem or I have an equipment failure?

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Posted by mlehman on Monday, March 13, 2017 2:27 AM

After some further digging in the storeroom, I came up with a PSX-1. Installing it in the original location that solved the problem of isolating the short from the rest of the bus/booster.

It's worth noting that many of what I called PSX-AR above were likely PSX-1. They look very much the same in a quick survey of what's under the layout.

What's still a mystery is why the EB1 couldn't insulate the short versus the booster as the PSX is able to do.

Mike Lehman

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, March 13, 2017 5:32 AM

Good morning, Mike.

Interesting thread.

As I read through your initial post, my suggestion was going to be replacing the EB1 with another PSX circuit breaker. It is probably a difference in timing rather than a defective EB1.

I have a very similar setup to yours.  I have a wireless 5 amp PH-Pro and a second NCE 5 amp booster that divides my layout in two.  

I have a total of 7 PSX units, three PSX and four PSX-AR.  At one time, I tried to run AR1 units along with PSX circuit breakers and gave up.

Now, the problem with the AR1s was the mechanical relay versus the PSX solid state. That is not your problem with the EB1 but I still suspect a timing difference between the two different solid state units.

Maybe timing is the wrong word. What i suspect is the sensing of different voltage settings. For some reason, your second booster is reacting faster than the EB1.  

Where is Randy?

Rich

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, March 13, 2017 6:27 AM

Mike, I went back and re-read your initial post as well as your reply to Big Daddy.

I am a bit confused on how exactly you have set up your wiring protocol.

You mentioned that each booster feeds 1/2 of your bus. "The command station controls both boosters. One feeds half the bus, the other feeds the other half of the bus". I am trying to visualize that wiring protocol.

On my layout, the original booster (PB105) is grounded to the second booster (DB5), and the two boosters are wired in phase to one another. But each booster has its own primary bus. Each bus connects to the first PSX and then daisy chains to the remaining PSX (or PSX-AR) units on the input side.  On the output side of each PSX (or PSX-AR) unit, a separate sub bus controls all of the track sections for a separate power district. The two primary buses never come into contact with one another.  

Are you saying that both of your boosters share one common bus?

Rich

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, March 13, 2017 6:48 AM

 Silly idea - flip the EB-1 around - ie, swap the bus input and the track output, side to side. So if you have a red and black wire feeding it, swap the red and black, and do the same on the output side so your track polarity matches across the gaps. The EB-1 only breaks one side of the circuit instead of both, and it's possible that the side you are breaking is the one referenced to the case ground on the boosters so it's not really opening the circuit completely.

 Since it's a completely different district not wired downstream of a PSX, there won't be any timing issues.

                                --Randy

 


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Posted by mlehman on Monday, March 13, 2017 11:38 AM

richhotrain
Are you saying that both of your boosters share one common bus?

Rich,

No. They each support one half of the bus. The boosters are linked via the command station, as well as grounded together per NCE instructions.

The bus was first set up as a centrally-located T, actually 2 Ts, as I used 2 Controlmaster 20 units to provide dual cab control under DC. Each served one bus, the whole way. When I went to DCC, I took the B bus out of service and split the A bus in half in the middle where the command station/boosters were located, with each taking one-half of the original A bus. I leave the former DC cab selector switches in the A position, except when needed for troubleshooting purposes.

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Posted by mlehman on Monday, March 13, 2017 12:03 PM

rrinker

 Silly idea - flip the EB-1 around - ie, swap the bus input and the track output, side to side. So if you have a red and black wire feeding it, swap the red and black, and do the same on the output side so your track polarity matches across the gaps. The EB-1 only breaks one side of the circuit instead of both, and it's possible that the side you are breaking is the one referenced to the case ground on the boosters so it's not really opening the circuit completely.

 Since it's a completely different district not wired downstream of a PSX, there won't be any timing issues.

                                --Randy

 

 

Randy,

Once I got the PSX-1 working, I found a mismatch across the gaps for the Cascade versus the main part of the layout and had to correct it. I saw that issue in the instructions and thought I had it aligned right. But I'm a bit dyslexic, so it's possible I did have things swapped around. A good point to keep in mind if you think it's been checked and right, as it might not be.

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, March 13, 2017 2:15 PM

mlehman

 

 
richhotrain
Are you saying that both of your boosters share one common bus?

 

Rich,

No. They each support one half of the bus. The boosters are linked via the command station, as well as grounded together per NCE instructions.

OK, so just to be clear, each booster powers its own bus. In effect, you have two primary buses, one on each booster. Correct?

Rich

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, March 13, 2017 2:20 PM

richhotrain

 

On my layout, the original booster (PB105) is grounded to the second booster (DB5), and the two boosters are wired in phase to one another. But each booster has its own primary bus.

That is key that the two boosters be wired in phase to one another. The two boosters should be grounded to one another, but that alone does not ensure that they are wired in phase. If the two boosters are not wired in phase, that could well give rise to a slight pause, affecting the timing of the various circuit breakers and auto-reversers.

Rich

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, March 13, 2017 3:17 PM

mlehman

 

 
rrinker

 Silly idea - flip the EB-1 around - ie, swap the bus input and the track output, side to side. So if you have a red and black wire feeding it, swap the red and black, and do the same on the output side so your track polarity matches across the gaps. The EB-1 only breaks one side of the circuit instead of both, and it's possible that the side you are breaking is the one referenced to the case ground on the boosters so it's not really opening the circuit completely.

 Since it's a completely different district not wired downstream of a PSX, there won't be any timing issues.

                                --Randy

 

 

 

 

Randy,

Once I got the PSX-1 working, I found a mismatch across the gaps for the Cascade versus the main part of the layout and had to correct it. I saw that issue in the instructions and thought I had it aligned right. But I'm a bit dyslexic, so it's possible I did have things swapped around. A good point to keep in mind if you think it's been checked and right, as it might not be.

 

If you had the two out of phase, you'd get a short when a loco crossed the gaps. What I'm saying it to swap which wires are the A amd B on teh EB-1 - on both the input and output of it. End result, the A side still goes to the same rail, and the B side still goes to the same rail, but they are flipped on the EB-1. FOr example, if you look in the instruction sheet at the wiring diagram, I am saying to take the bus wire you have on the top left and put it on the bottom left, and the current bottom left on the top left. Then on the right side, the rail wired to the top right, connect to the bottom right, and the one on the bottom right, connect to the top right.

 Make sure you don't have the setup jumper connected. Either no jumpers on the current setup for 2.5 amps or just one on the A position for 3.5 amps.

                          --Randy

 


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Posted by mlehman on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 2:55 AM

richhotrain
OK, so just to be clear, each booster powers its own bus. In effect, you have two primary buses, one on each booster. Correct?

I prefer to think of it as each booster powering its part of a bus. I used to have two primary buses when I had 2-cab DC. Now I have one of those "retired in place" and the other split, with each half powered by its own booster. Since none of the bus duplicates itself, I consider it one bus that's split between the boosters.

 

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Posted by mlehman on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 3:09 AM

rrinker
If you had the two out of phase, you'd get a short when a loco crossed the gaps.

Yeah, no shorts when crossing from one booster zone to the other. Seems copacetic in that regard. This happens dozens of times a week, so there'd be obvious, repeated issue there that would be noticeable.

I tried to set-up the EB-1 again and made the connections everyway possible and still didn't achieve isolation of the shorts from the bus. And even remembered to take the setup jumper off. Tried a reset to default values, too. No joy in it working beyond shutting everything down when tripped.

This did cause me to dig into things and find a working PSX-1 and PSX-AR, plus I managed to find the fried diode that needed replacment on another PSX-AR to get it going. In each case, these worked like a charm - just hook them up and they're good. So got my bases covered, plus a spare (if I don't hook it up, which I may do.

The LED on the EB1 seems to indicate it's working -- and it does respond promptly, just causes everything else on that booster to go out, too, when it does.

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 6:47 AM

mlehman
 
 
richhotrain
OK, so just to be clear, each booster powers its own bus. In effect, you have two primary buses, one on each booster. Correct?  

I prefer to think of it as each booster powering its part of a bus. I used to have two primary buses when I had 2-cab DC. Now I have one of those "retired in place" and the other split, with each half powered by its own booster. Since none of the bus duplicates itself, I consider it one bus that's split between the boosters. 

I would be interested in a simple drawing that illustrates this wiring protocol. It seems to me from your description that the two bus outputs are not isolated from one another.

Rich

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 6:48 AM

Mike, have you done as Randy suggested and flip the wires? I believe that Randy and I are both suspecting that something is out of phase.

Rich

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 7:36 AM

 Not out of phase, just the EB-1 only breaks one side of the circuit and I'm suspecting that still alows a sneak path back to the booster causing it to trip as well. But swapping the phase of both the input and output terminals should have fixed that. The overall layout is all in phase or else he'd get a short running a loco in or out of the district controlled by the EB-1.

                 --Randy

 


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Posted by mfm37 on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 7:45 AM

I would test the EB1. Disconnect the layout bus from one of your boosters and connect only the EB1 to it. Power up and short the EB1's outputs. It should trip, booster should stay on. If not, you have problems with the EB1.

If the EB1 checks out, then try swapping it out with one of the PSX units to see if it functions properly in that setting.

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 8:55 AM

rrinker

 Not out of phase, just the EB-1 only breaks one side of the circuit and I'm suspecting that still alows a sneak path back to the booster causing it to trip as well. But swapping the phase of both the input and output terminals should have fixed that. The overall layout is all in phase or else he'd get a short running a loco in or out of the district controlled by the EB-1.

                 --Randy

 

 

Randy, what about Mike's bus wiring setup?  Does it make sense to you? Maybe I am just not getting it but it sounds to me like Mike is saying that a single pair of bus wires are running off of both boosters.  I have to be misunderstanding that but it just seems odd to me.

Rich

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 8:57 AM

rrinker

The overall layout is all in phase or else he'd get a short running a loco in or out of the district controlled by the EB-1.

                 --Randy 

When I first installed a second booster, it was wired out of phase and a "pause" occurred as the loco crossed the gaps. Obviously a short, but a momentary short as locos then continued on.

Rich

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Posted by mlehman on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 9:36 AM

richhotrain

 

 
rrinker

The overall layout is all in phase or else he'd get a short running a loco in or out of the district controlled by the EB-1.

                 --Randy 

 

 

When I first installed a second booster, it was wired out of phase and a "pause" occurred as the loco crossed the gaps. Obviously a short, but a momentary short as locos then continued on.

 

Rich

 

Rich,

Here's a crude diagram, with the existing bus in black and the previous, retired bus in dotted red. I omtted the bus control link, along with the wired and wireless control links. The diagram is for the output side of things only.

As Randy and you've both noted, there would be sparks flying over the gap between the two halves if something was amiss/out of phase there.

Once again, I emphasize, only ONE bus. It delivers the same power and commands no matter where you are on it. If there were two buses, that would not be the case.

For instance, sometimes people who use NCE want the signaling aspects of Digitrax and they use a second bus dedicated to signaling alone. I've got that 2nd bus already in place, but don't anticipate using it for that.

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Posted by mlehman on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 9:45 AM

mfm37

I would test the EB1. Disconnect the layout bus from one of your boosters and connect only the EB1 to it. Power up and short the EB1's outputs. It should trip, booster should stay on. If not, you have problems with the EB1.

If the EB1 checks out, then try swapping it out with one of the PSX units to see if it functions properly in that setting.

Martin Myers

 

Martin,

Good idea on the test scenario. May give that a try and report back if I get a chance.

I've already subbed the EB1 in instead of a PSX and tried hooking it up in all the possible variations, with the negative results as noted.

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 10:03 AM

mlehman

 

 
richhotrain

 

 
rrinker

The overall layout is all in phase or else he'd get a short running a loco in or out of the district controlled by the EB-1.

                 --Randy 

 

 

When I first installed a second booster, it was wired out of phase and a "pause" occurred as the loco crossed the gaps. Obviously a short, but a momentary short as locos then continued on.

 

Rich

 

 

 

Rich,

Here's a crude diagram, with the existing bus in black and the previous, retired bus in dotted red. I omtted the bus control link, along with the wired and wireless control links. The diagram is for the output side of things only.

As Randy and you've both noted, there would be sparks flying over the gap between the two halves if something was amiss/out of phase there.

Once again, I emphasize, only ONE bus. It delivers the same power and commands no matter where you are on it. If there were two buses, that would not be the case.

For instance, sometimes people who use NCE want the signaling aspects of Digitrax and they use a second bus dedicated to signaling alone. I've got that 2nd bus already in place, but don't anticipate using it for that.

 

Ahh, OK Mike, I guess it is a matter of semantics.  I would consider that as two separate primary buses, one running from each booster, just like mine.

Rich

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Posted by mlehman on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 10:26 AM

richhotrain
Ahh, OK Mike, I guess it is a matter of semantics. I would consider that as two separate primary buses, one running from each booster, just like mine.

I thought it would look familiar.

While you might consider the parts of your bus "separate" physically, which they are in order to achieve isolation, electrically they are all managed as one bus by the command station.

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 11:00 AM

mlehman

 

 
richhotrain
Ahh, OK Mike, I guess it is a matter of semantics. I would consider that as two separate primary buses, one running from each booster, just like mine.

 

I thought it would look familiar.

While you might consider the parts of your bus "separate" physically, which they are in order to achieve isolation, electrically they are all managed as one bus by the command station.

 

I agree, Mike.

Meanwhile, we still need to solve your problem.

Rich

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Posted by mlehman on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 12:57 PM

Rich,

It would be good if I could get the EB1 to work. The reason I got it in the first place was to resolve one of the most irritating issues for my operators, having the Cascade mysteriously shut down because of something going on in the main layout room they couldn't see. Got that covered now that I discovered my stash of surplus and almost working PSXs.

I have one spare PSX-AR right now and would have two circuit breakers if I can figure out the EB1. Would have spots to use both, but that would leave some districts still on only the booster for short protection, although these are mostly low incidence-of-shorts situations like the mainline, etc. Major switching locations where shorts are most likely would be covered if I can get one or two more protected.

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 1:13 PM

mlehman

I have one spare PSX-AR right now and would have two circuit breakers if I can figure out the EB1. Would have spots to use both, but that would leave some districts still on only the booster for short protection, although these are mostly low incidence-of-shorts situations like the mainline, etc. Major switching locations where shorts are most likely would be covered if I can get one or two more protected.

Mike, let me ask you to restate your power supplies. Your have two boosters. Ideally, how many PSX units and how many PSX-AR units would you need to provide maximum circuit breaker coverage.  In other words, how many units do you have on hand (on the layout or available to place on the layout) and many more do you need, excluding the EB1?

Rich

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Posted by mlehman on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 4:28 PM

Rich,

Tapping the bus involves soldering #12 wire overhead. Scary stuff simply based on the (hot!) run-off alone. At smaller stations, there was basically one tap each, A and B, with only the A now in use.

For Durango, there are maybe 10 taps, because of the density of yard trackage and the need to discriminate the wiring down to the individual track level for DC control purposes.

I have about 8 or 9 power districts now. About half are actually reverse loops. The others support high density switching areas prone to shorts simply because of their complexity and the associated operator error rate.

Just guessing, I could use a couple of dozen more PSX-1s, if I was to install one at each drop from the bus. Realistically, I have zero budget right now, which is why I got kinda excited when I found the box with the leftover PSXs. That let me add protection to 3 more power districts. If I get the EB1 to work, that'll be a 4th, so should have about a dozen at that point operating.

The plan is to do what I can for high density/short prone areas and start to move on to the various branches. The Cascade was an obvious first take, so that took one of my rehabbed PSXs. It's junction at Tefft with the Silverton Branch was covered by the second. I'll be hooking up the third to cover the Silverton RR and Silverton Northern RR branches next. There's usually just one train up there on both at a time, so no need for a breaker on both, one is sufficient.

If I get the EB1 figured out, I'll use it at Rockwood on the Silverton Branch. That leaves the Durango area as the main area that will remain dependent mostly on the breaker in the booster. That's how things will stay for the immediate future due to budget limitations.

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 5:29 PM

mlehman

Just guessing, I could use a couple of dozen more PSX-1s, if I was to install one at each drop from the bus. Realistically, I have zero budget right now, which is why I got kinda excited when I found the box with the leftover PSXs. That let me add protection to 3 more power districts. If I get the EB1 to work, that'll be a 4th, so should have about a dozen at that point operating.

Geez, that is a heckuva lot of power districts if you still need a couple of dozen more circuit breakers.

On my layout, I have 3 PSX circuit breakers and 4 PSX-AR auto-reversers/circuit breakers.  All of these units are set at factory default of 3.81 amps so that they break ahead of the booster.  I have been careful not to wire any PSX-AR units downstream of any PSX units. H

Here is my wiring schematic. 

Rich

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Posted by mlehman on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 4:08 AM

Rich,

That is nice and tidy. Nothing like that here...Whistling

I tested the CB1 linked by itself to my booster. Whenever the CB1 shorted, so did the booster. Not sure what else I could do after trying it wired in multipl ways as best I could.

Thought I had my last PSX going, as I could get both LEDs working on it and power to the track. First short, though, and it would jjust lay down and blink. Or it would stay powered, but any DCC commands were ignored -- the loco would continue on, zombie style.

So I'm still a couple of bottles shy of a six-pack on this project unless someone else know a trick to revive the PSX or can suggest a new tack on what to do to get the CB1 working right.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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