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!

Problem adding a new Digitrax DB210 booster to existing layout....

1759 views
14 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: East Central Florida
  • 339 posts
Problem adding a new Digitrax DB210 booster to existing layout....
Posted by Onewolf on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 2:02 PM

I have a question/issue with the Digitrax DB210 I recently added to my layout.

My layout already has:

- DCS 100, and two DB150s powered by a Digitrax PS2012 (station #1)
- DB150 powered by Dcc Specialties Magna Force 5amp power supply (station #2)
- DB150 powered by Dcc Specialties Magna Force 5amp power supply (station #3)
- There are 13 Dcc Specialties PSX circuit breaker zones. Each circuit break zone is electrically isolated from the other circuit breaker zones.

All of these work great. Locomotives can enter/exit each (double gapped) booster/breaker district/zone with no problems.

The new Digitrax DB210 is powered by an NCE P515 5amp power supply and it drives a PSX2 with 2 circuit breaker zones.

The booster power district being driven by the DB210 is double gapped in both locations where it meets the 'existing' booster districts.

Inside the new DB210 power district everything works fine, but when a locomotive attempts to cross into/out of the DB210 booster district I get a short and shutdown.  I have verified the polarity/phase of the DB210 district matches the existing layout.

I have read the Digitrax DB210 manual (http://www.digitrax.com/media/apps/products/command-stations-boosters/db210/documents/DB210%2BDB220_rev0.pdf) chapter 3 but I'm not sure how I should configure the ground/general return wires since I have one booster station (#1) that shares a power supply, and three booster stations (#2, #3, #4) with dedicated power supplies.  All the power supplies plug into the same wall outlet.

And theories/advice?

Thanks.

Booster Station #1



Booster Station #2



Booster Station #3



Booster Station #4

Modeling an HO gauge freelance version of the Union Pacific Oregon Short Line and the Utah Railway around 1957 in a world where Pirates from the Great Salt Lake founded Ogden, UT.

- Photo album of layout construction -

  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • 761 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 2:15 PM

There's a toggle switch on the front of the DB210 that indicates using the booster as a reversing section. Did you flip that? Obvious first question. 

Robert

LINK to SNSR Blog


  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: East Central Florida
  • 339 posts
Posted by Onewolf on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 2:29 PM

ROBERT PETRICK

There's a toggle switch on the front of the DB210 that indicates using the booster as a reversing section. Did you flip that? Obvious first question. 

Robert

The 'Autorev' switch is OFF.  Neither this power district nor the power districts connected are reversing sections.

Modeling an HO gauge freelance version of the Union Pacific Oregon Short Line and the Utah Railway around 1957 in a world where Pirates from the Great Salt Lake founded Ogden, UT.

- Photo album of layout construction -

  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • 761 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 2:44 PM

Onewolf

 

The 'Autorev' switch is OFF.  Neither this power district nor the power districts connected are reversing sections.

Right, I read that in your post.

I've heard stories that Rail A and B are reversed in the boosters. I don't remember where I heard that and I don't have my manual handy. Have you tried reversing the wires inside the DB210 section? Did you say there were no problems going into the section, only problems exiting?

Robert

LINK to SNSR Blog


  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: East Central Florida
  • 339 posts
Posted by Onewolf on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 2:55 PM

ROBERT PETRICK

 

 
Onewolf

 

The 'Autorev' switch is OFF.  Neither this power district nor the power districts connected are reversing sections.

 

 

Right, I read that in your post.

I've heard stories that Rail A and B are reversed in the boosters. I don't remember where I heard that and I don't have my manual handy. Have you tried reversing the wires inside the DB210 section? Did you say there were no problems going into the section, only problems exiting?

Robert

 

 

Problem exists in both directions, entering and exiting.  I will try reversing track polarity in the new booster district and see what happens....

Modeling an HO gauge freelance version of the Union Pacific Oregon Short Line and the Utah Railway around 1957 in a world where Pirates from the Great Salt Lake founded Ogden, UT.

- Photo album of layout construction -

  • Member since
    August, 2003
  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
  • 6,603 posts
Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 5:42 PM

ROBERT PETRICK
I've heard stories that Rail A and B are reversed in the boosters. I don't remember where I heard that and I don't have my manual handy.

I had that issue when I added a DB-150 to my DCS-200 some years ago. Drove me nuts trying to figure it out and, if I recall, the Digitrax "Knoweledge Base" didn't exist at the time.

http://www.digitrax.com/tsd/KB534/short-circuit-when-adding-a-db100-or-db150-booster/

This means that Rail A on a DCS100/DCS200 is the same phase as Rail B on a DB100 or DB150. A short occurs when a locomotive passes from one phase to the other. The easiest solution is to reverse the Rail A and Rail B wires connected to the DB150; you can also set the Booster to auto-reverse to reverse it's phase. 

I thought Digitrax would have corrected this issue with more recent models but maybe not?

Good Luck, Ed

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 24,994 posts
Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 5:56 PM

It's easy enough to test - use an LED with a 1K resistor and connect it on either side of the gap (on the same rail). Or use a meter, either way workds. Across the gap on the SAME rail, it should not light. If it does, the phase is backwards on one of the boosters. Diagonally across, north rail on one side of the gap and south rail on the opposite side of the gaps, it should light (here's where a meter might be a better choice - because if things are miswired, the diagonal across gaps will show DOUBLE track voltage). ANd of course north and south rail on one side, and north and south rail on the other side, should both work if the track power is turned on.

If you have done so, I would recommend disconnecting the ground wire from 2 of those 3 Magna Force supplies. It passes right through the power supply to the ground pin, linking it to the AC mains ground. And that should be done only ONCE across the entire system if you do it. Better to not hook ANYTHING to mains ground. There's a whole write up on this on the Digitrax Yahoo group in the files section. You DO need a wire connecting the GND terminal on each booster and the command station, which should be as thick as your main bus wiring. Club found this out the hard way, I was there first time they tried the whole thing on DCC, with a DCA100 and 4x DB150's. Trains wouldn;t cross the power district gaps. I said they needed a ground wire. The DCC guy said no you don't, it doesn't say that int he manual. After arguing a bit, I just said humor me, grabbed some spare wire, and hooked the GND terminals. Suddenly it worked.

                                                     --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
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 24,994 posts
Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 5:58 PM

 Hold on, did you say you are using an NCE P515 to run the DB210? Turn it off before you fry it. Unless NCE's web site is wrong, the P515 is a 15V AC power supply. The DB210, like other new Digitrax command stations and boosters, needs a DC input. If you don;t have something suitable, you may have to shuffle equipment, the PS2012 is a DC supply.

 I'm surprised the the DB210 even turned on with an AC power supply. There must be a reverse polarity protection diode on the power input to keep it from being damaged if the DC is hooked up backwards.

 

                                --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, 2003
  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
  • 6,603 posts
Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 6:31 PM

rrinker
 Hold on, did you say you are using an NCE P515 to run the DB210? Turn it off before you fry it. Unless NCE's web site is wrong, the P515 is a 15V AC power supply.

 NCE-1 by Edmund, on Flickr

Randy is right on the AC output! Says so right on the housing.

Just tryin' to help,

Cheers, Ed

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 24,994 posts
Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 6:47 PM

 BTW I think they did fix the out of phase startup on the new ones. I recall reading something about the method used when the microcontroller initializes that self-corrects somewhere. No idea, all I have is a single DB150 and my Zephyr, and I ran ALL the track from the DB150 so it didn't matter what phase it started up in. I'll be needing more when I start my basement layout. Just to make it simple I may end up with more boosters than I actually need since the current plan has two loop staging yardds which are both reverse loops. Upper and lower main, large yard, and a branch line. 

                               --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
    June, 2014
  • From: East Central Florida
  • 339 posts
Posted by Onewolf on Friday, February 16, 2018 11:03 AM

Thanks for all the replies/information. I'm not sure how I missed the DB210 requirement for a DC power supply.  I have several 15V AC power supplies, but no viable DC power supplies so I ordered one that will hopefully be delivered today.

FWIW, the DB210 was working ok with the NCE AC power supply other than at the booster district 'intersections'.

Modeling an HO gauge freelance version of the Union Pacific Oregon Short Line and the Utah Railway around 1957 in a world where Pirates from the Great Salt Lake founded Ogden, UT.

- Photo album of layout construction -

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 24,994 posts
Posted by rrinker on Friday, February 16, 2018 11:40 AM

 Just swap it out for one of your DB150's on the PS2012.

That the only issue seems to be the district gaps - that might be fixed by changing the order of the input wires to the DB210, but it's really intended for DC power input. It's possible that depending on the phase order of the input, it makes the common between boosters result in a short when the gap is bridged. There are similar issues sharign power between other Digitrax devices, which is why the recommend everything have its own power supply, or at best only share with like devices (such as, if you have 4x SE8C's, you can use a single power supply with sufficient capacity to run them all, instead of 4 seperate supplies.) The main reason for this is some devices have a full wave rectifier just past the pwoer terminals, and other devices have just a single diode. Depending on the phase of the AC power supply connections, you can get situations where a direct short exists, sometimes through the Loconet cable conencting all the devices  mostly because of where the common is sourced from the power supply.

I suspect that with a DC power supply, the problems crossing the gaps will go away. Kind of surprised there isn;t a significant voltage difference as well - or maybe there is, do the locos change speed compared to the same loco runnign in a DB150 powered area?

                                --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
    January, 2014
  • 761 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Friday, February 16, 2018 12:09 PM

I don't know about the AC/DC business, it doesn't sound too healthy, but Randy is right about Digitrax clearing up the Rail A/B polarity debacle. I think the problem arose when mixing new equipment with old. In those days Digitrax was always looking for new ways to shoot themselves in the foot.

On my current layout I'm using a new DCS210 (Evolution) with a new DB210, and they function perfectly well together with no surprises. I initially had the booster set up in auto-reverser mode, but I have since changed it to straight booster mode.

At my former club a few years back, we had a complete mish-mash of all kinds of Digitrax stuff. Wires all over the place, and shorts and shutdowns were common occurrences. Fortunately  (or unfortunately) there was a self-appointed guru there who handled all the electrical/electronic stuff. Who knows what they'll do if he leaves or quits or gets run over by a bus.

Bottom line, OneWolf, even though a DC power supply is on the way, you might still not be out of the woods just yet. But I'll continue to keep my fingers crossed and send some positive vibes your way.

Robert

LINK to SNSR Blog


  • Member since
    May, 2002
  • From: Massachusetts
  • 2,577 posts
Posted by Paul3 on Saturday, February 17, 2018 12:01 PM

I echo the call for the ground wire connecting all Digitrax devices.  My club went through the same thing when we started; locos would not transit a booster district gap without shorting.  Then we connected the brain "ground" to all boosters, BDL168's, etc.  We ran a green 10AWG wire all along the layout (it's to be a 6300 sq. ft. layout), then tapped off that with 14AWG to each device.  It worked, and we haven't had any trouble going between booster districts in the 17+ years since.

Important tip: do not repeatnotconnect the Digitrax "ground" to actual earth ground.  The Digitrax ground is more to synchronize all devices.  It is not an actual ground wire to earth ground.  This can lead to "bad things"(tm)

BTW, I noticed that on booster #4, you don't have the loop of wire on the front of the booster like you do with the older ones.  I know that used to be required for boosters to only be boosters; is that no longer the case with the DB210's?

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 24,994 posts
Posted by rrinker on Saturday, February 17, 2018 6:39 PM

The DB210 and DB220 are pure boosters, they don't have the command station feature like the DB150, so there is nothing to set. Operation as an auto-reverse booster is controlled by an OpSw setting. The microcontrollers in all the new Digitrax command stations and boosters uses non-volatile memory, so none of them have batteries to maintain settings any more as well.

                                               --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!

Users Online

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!