Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Locomotive shorting track

766 views
15 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    August, 2008
  • 8 posts
Locomotive shorting track
Posted by twincreeksRR on Friday, March 17, 2017 9:09 AM

I have a Life-Like Proto 2000 diesel locomotive that was running with a Digitrax DH123 decoder. While crossing an AR1 reversing loop gap the loop shorted. I was trouble shooting this AR1 as it was not reversing for any locomotive. After a couple of times with this loco it will now not work anywhere on the layout. It shorts the track.

I know the AR1 is bad and I'm replacing it with a different brand.

I want to get the loco running again. Trouble shooting I've done was to remove the decoder and try it in DC mode but it still shorts so that tells me the decoder is not the problem. Could the circuit board in the loco be shorted out? Can I still find a part for this? Would it be cost prohibitive?

  • Member since
    May, 2010
  • 1,602 posts
Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, March 17, 2017 9:35 AM

That's a bummer!  Maybe you can start by calling Walther's, and see if you can get a replacement board.

Mike.

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 17,127 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Friday, March 17, 2017 10:57 AM

Have you opened the locomotive up and checked for loose wires that may be shorting?  Bits of metal, screws and track spikes sometimes get picked up and may be stuck on the motor magnet, too.  Once the shell is off, spin the motor a bit to make sure it's not frozen up.  I had one motor go bad once.  The symptom was that it had a dead spot each rotation where it would short.  I needed a new motor, and unfortunately a new decoder as well.

Bad news: You have probably toasted the decoder, or perhaps the circuit board.

Good news:  You don't really need the circuit board.  It contains some electronics to control the lights, but that's about it.

More good news: The DH-123 is an old, bottom-of-the-line decoder.  Replacing it will not set you back much, and the next one you get will perform better.

If the decoder is a wire-in instead of a plug-in, you can remove the circuit board and just hard-wire in the decoder.  This may involve adding some resistors for the lights, and yes, you'll have to do some soldering.  If it's a plug-in decoder, you might be able to get a harness which will convert it to a wire-in.

Or maybe it's telling you it's time to go big and put sound in this engine.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

  • Member since
    September, 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 15,788 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Friday, March 17, 2017 2:25 PM

twincreeksRR

I have a Life-Like Proto 2000 diesel locomotive that was running with a Digitrax DH123 decoder. 

Which type of diesel is it?

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    August, 2008
  • 8 posts
Posted by twincreeksRR on Saturday, March 18, 2017 8:47 AM

It's an E-6

  • Member since
    November, 2013
  • From: Ledyard, CT
  • 1,522 posts
Posted by BMMECNYC on Saturday, March 18, 2017 8:59 AM

Is the factory lighting board still installed?  If so one of the plastic clips holding the wire to the board may have failed, resulting in your short circuit.

Rule 108: In case of doubt or uncertainty, the safe course must be taken.
  • Member since
    September, 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 15,788 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, March 18, 2017 9:49 AM

twincreeksRR

I have a Life-Like Proto 2000 diesel locomotive that was running with a Digitrax DH123 decoder. While crossing an AR1 reversing loop gap the loop shorted. I was trouble shooting this AR1 as it was not reversing for any locomotive. After a couple of times with this loco it will now not work anywhere on the layout. It shorts the track.

I know the AR1 is bad and I'm replacing it with a different brand.

I want to get the loco running again. Trouble shooting I've done was to remove the decoder and try it in DC mode but it still shorts so that tells me the decoder is not the problem. Could the circuit board in the loco be shorted out? Can I still find a part for this? Would it be cost prohibitive? 

So, let’s restate the problem. The loco worked fine on a DCC layout until it crossed a gap supposedly protected by an AR-1, but the AR-1 failed to match the polarity causing a short circuit. 

Now the loco won’t run without shorting the layout, no matter where you place it. 

So, you pulled the loco off the layout, removed the decoder and tried to run it on a stretch of DC powered track, and it still shorted. 

Is this all correct? 

When you tried to run the loco “in DC mode”, do you mean on a DC powered section of track and not on your DCC layout? 

Have you tested the decoder to see if it works or if it is fried? 

If the DC circuit board is fried, that will present a problem. 

The thing is, though, it is hard for me to imagine that a faulty AR-1 would cause such problems. A dead short should shut down your DCC booster. 

What type of DCC system are you operating?

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    August, 2008
  • 8 posts
Posted by twincreeksRR on Saturday, March 18, 2017 4:53 PM

Your restatement is correct.

I originally tried the loco in DC mode on my DCC track, which is all Digitrax BTW.

After reading your post I tried on DC track and it still shorts.

I agree that a faulty AR1 should not cause this but that is where the loco stopped working so I mentioned it. (I was also using another loco previously to trouble shoot the AR1 and it is working fine.)

The only circuit board that I am aware of, now that I researched it, is the MARS light board which also has the 8-pin connector. All clips are good and no touching wires.

I did not test the decoder. I figure if the loco is shorting without the decoder the decoder is not the problem.

Thanks for all the help guys, please keep the suggestions coming and I will keep you updated.

Rich

 

 

 

  • Member since
    November, 2013
  • From: Ledyard, CT
  • 1,522 posts
Posted by BMMECNYC on Saturday, March 18, 2017 5:12 PM

Do you have a multivoltmeter?  If so remove the decoder, place the chassis on a separte section of track (connected to nothing else) and check continuity between each rail and each motor lead.  You should have nothing when you check the motor leads with the decoder removed and no shorting pin installed.  This should narrow down where the short is occuring.

Rule 108: In case of doubt or uncertainty, the safe course must be taken.
  • Member since
    August, 2008
  • 8 posts
Posted by twincreeksRR on Saturday, March 18, 2017 5:45 PM

BMMECNYC

Do you have a multivoltmeter?  If so remove the decoder, place the chassis on a separte section of track (connected to nothing else) and check continuity between each rail and each motor lead.  You should have nothing when you check the motor leads with the decoder removed and no shorting pin installed.  This should narrow down where the short is occuring.

 

 
Thanks. I removed the light board and connected pick ups to the motor leads and all works fine. It appears the MARS light board, photo attached, is the problem.
 
So I guess my question now is, does anyone know if these are still available? I'll start calling around Monday.
 
Edit: Sorry, I'm having trouble attaching the photo
 
  • Member since
    November, 2013
  • From: Ledyard, CT
  • 1,522 posts
Posted by BMMECNYC on Saturday, March 18, 2017 5:49 PM

twincreeksRR
 
BMMECNYC

Do you have a multivoltmeter?  If so remove the decoder, place the chassis on a separte section of track (connected to nothing else) and check continuity between each rail and each motor lead.  You should have nothing when you check the motor leads with the decoder removed and no shorting pin installed.  This should narrow down where the short is occuring.

 

 

 
Thanks. I removed the light board and connected pick ups to the motor leads and all works fine. It appears the MARS light board, photo attached, is the problem.
 
So I guess my question now is, does anyone know if these are still available? I'll start calling around Monday.
 
 
 

Check out the sticky thread at the top of the general discussion on how to post photos.

Walthers probably does not carry the original P2k Lightboards anymore.  Your best bet would likely be finding an aftermarket decoder that has a mars light effect programmed into it (I believe this is a thing, I dont know for certain because my railroad did not use Mars lights). 

Rule 108: In case of doubt or uncertainty, the safe course must be taken.
  • Member since
    September, 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 15,788 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, March 18, 2017 9:07 PM

twincreeksRR

I removed the light board and connected pick ups to the motor leads and all works fine. It appears the MARS light board, photo attached, is the problem.

 
So I guess my question now is, does anyone know if these are still available? I'll start calling around Monday.
 
Edit: Sorry, I'm having trouble attaching the photo

I'd like to see that photo because I may have a replacement board.
 
Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 21,939 posts
Posted by rrinker on Saturday, March 18, 2017 10:59 PM

 If the only thing dead is the Mars light board, just repalce the odd dual filament bulb they used with an LED hooked to the decoder and use the decoder's Mars light effect on that function. It looks better anyway.

                                        --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

  • Member since
    August, 2008
  • 8 posts
Posted by twincreeksRR on Sunday, March 19, 2017 12:10 PM

Here's the picture

 Light board

  • Member since
    August, 2003
  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
  • 4,078 posts
Posted by gmpullman on Sunday, March 19, 2017 1:39 PM

Just as a possibility, here. Check the gauge of the wheel/axles. One or more may have been pushed too close together and that will short if there is no gap between the axle ends.

I have dozens of spare light boards. Like a ball of yarn, I just never threw them away, just tossed them into a box. If it turns out to be a bad board, although I don't think it is, send me a PM and I'll see what I can do.

Good Luck, Ed

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 21,939 posts
Posted by rrinker on Sunday, March 19, 2017 3:38 PM

 With the decoder out, does it still dead short instantly on the rails? THe track input comes in on the lower right there and you cna see the traces go to the 9 pin socket and ONLY the 9 pin socket. So with no decoder and no DC dummy plug in place, there can be no short caused by the board. If it DOES short witht he board as pictured, no decoder, then one of the track pickup wires is probably rubbing the frame somewhere and is shorting out. If it only shorts when you plug in the decoder or if a dc dummy plug is put in, then it probbaly is something on the board. As I suspected, there is no reason to retain that board. The wires then go to the lower right are the track pickups, they go to the decoder's red and black wires. The two wires on the upper left are the motor wires, they go to the decoder's orange and gray. I no longer have the pictures of the P2K E unit I installed a decoder in, so I don;t recall the other wires.

 Also it appears you have the blue and red crossed - look at the labels on the board, the red is connected where it says B and the blue is connected where it says R. That maight be the problem.

                             --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!
Popular on ModelRailroader.com
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Search the Community

Users Online

ADVERTISEMENT
Find us on Facebook