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Why does my DCC loco die at every turnout

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Why does my DCC loco die at every turnout
Posted by pls12 on Thursday, July 26, 2007 5:20 PM

I have 2 DCC locos my track shorted out and one was on it.

I sent it in for repair and they said everything checked out OK

I have 7 turnouts and at the beginning and end of the turnouts the loco dies for about 3 seconds then starts up again

The other loco runs fine all around the track even thru the turnouts

They are both Broadway Limited locos I have cleaned the track and loco and tightened all track

Any ideas what is going on

Sorry for incomplete info

When I run 2 locos and when the problem loco hits the turnout BOTH locos die for 3 sec

So it shorts out and kicks out the breaker then it resets

How do I locate the problem and how do I fix it

HO is the scale and Atlas code 83 remote turnouts

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Posted by selector on Thursday, July 26, 2007 6:09 PM

I have thought about what you are reporting.  If your wheels are in gauge, and if the turnout is in gauge, and if it is an insulfrog turnout (DCC friendly, power routing), it can be one of two things:

a. your joins at the ends of the turnouts are not "good" enough to maintain track power as this one locomotive, for whatever reason (weight, driver base length) traverses the join.  The joiner is too loose; or

b. the points rails get power only from contact with the stock rails, and when this one loco gets over and past the frog, the turnout is allowing the point rail to move slightly and to break contact with the stock rail.  It might be a flotation/support on the roadbed problem for the entire turnout, it might be wobbly point pivots, sagging middle of the turnout due to support at the middle under the frog, ...

Okay, and c. all of the above.

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Posted by jbinkley60 on Thursday, July 26, 2007 6:19 PM
 selector wrote:

I have thought about what you are reporting.  If your wheels are in gauge, and if the turnout is in gauge, and if it is an insulfrog turnout (DCC friendly, power routing), it can be one of two things:

a. your joins at the ends of the turnouts are not "good" enough to maintain track power as this one locomotive, for whatever reason (weight, driver base length) traverses the join.  The joiner is too loose; or

b. the points rails get power only from contact with the stock rails, and when this one loco gets over and past the frog, the turnout is allowing the point rail to move slightly and to break contact with the stock rail.  It might be a flotation/support on the roadbed problem for the entire turnout, it might be wobbly point pivots, sagging middle of the turnout due to support at the middle under the frog, ...

Okay, and c. all of the above.

I had a turnout with problem B.  One thing I do now when I build track is lay a straight edge long the rail head through turnouts and make sure I don't have any high spots or dips.  I also go side-to-side to ensure I don't have it leaning with one rail much higher than the other.  The point about insulfrogs is equally important.

 

Engineer Jeff NS Nut
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Posted by cacole on Thursday, July 26, 2007 6:28 PM

You mention the brand of locomotives, but not the turnout brand.  This could be very significant, especially if they are Atlas Snap Track or other cheap turnouts.

Loose rivets where the point rails swivel on Atlas turnouts can cause the exact problem that you're encountering due to the weight of the locomotive causing the point rail to move away from the stock rail, thus losing electrical contact.

I have had to use the point of a 10 penny nail and a gentle tap with a hammer to spread the head of Atlas turnout rivets to solve this problem.

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Posted by CNE Runner on Thursday, July 26, 2007 6:30 PM

Ah...a subject near and dear to my heart. First a little history: the Sweethaven Harbor division of the Central New England Railway is a fold-down switching layout. By switching layout I mean a lot of switches (19). I started operation on the S.H. using a Proto 2000 SW8 locomotive. The darn thing did exactly what your engine seems to be doing. I cleaned the locomotive wheels, polished the track until I could see my face in it (not a good thing by the way), even changed the wheelset having a traction tire for one that didn't...all with no lasting solution. A fellow modeler suggested that I take a piece of 600 grit sandpaper and sand the edges of the stock and point rails where they met...better - but not great. Finally I published my situation on this forum for the world to ponder - and ponder they did. Over and over again, I was advised to solder jumper wires from the point rails, through the roadbed to my bus leads. I had nothing to lose -but time- so I tried it. VOILA!!! It worked! Here's what you need to do: drill a small hole under each of your point rails on your turnouts (I use Walthers Code 83 DCC friendly turnouts), solder a piece of stranded 24 gauge wire to the outside of each point rail (stranded because it bends easier when the point rails move). The jumpers want to be near, but not on, the swivel joint (I count the space between the ties containing the throwbar as "1" and then at the 10th space I drill my holes and solder the wires). Now the tricky part: solder the jumpers to the bus feed being careful to maintain continuity (+ with + and - with -) - or there will be a short. That's it. There isn't an easier answer. I think you will see that your DCC locos will cruise through your switches (my Atlas MP15DC acts as if they aren't there). If you follow my advice, the only dead spot you will have, on the turnout, is the insulated frog (easily bridged by your locomotive).

Oh, I mentioned that I have 19 switches on the layout? Well, so far I have only "converted" 4 of them...I said it was time consuming didn't I? Good luck. If anyone happens to see the jumper wires (you did paint them grimey black didn't you?) and criticizes your craftsmanship...tell them they are standing much too close to your layout. Good luck.

 "Keeping my hand on the throttle...and my eyes on rail."

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Posted by Gandy Dancer on Thursday, July 26, 2007 8:19 PM
 pls12 wrote:
I have 7 turnouts and at the beginning and end of the turnouts the loco dies for about 3 seconds then starts up again...Any ideas what is going on
What kind of turnouts are they and how are they wired?
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Posted by Vail and Southwestern RR on Thursday, July 26, 2007 8:29 PM

I'm thinking (with a three second pause) you're shorting on the turnout, and the DCC system is resetting.  If there is another loco running does it stop, too?  As has been said, more info on the turnouts would be useful.

 

Jeff But it's a dry heat!

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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, July 26, 2007 8:41 PM

I use Kato Unitrack and if the engine is "Caught" on the wrong side when it's thrown it will be killed. Otherwise the engines dont even notice the power routing. Some turnouts are all live and no need to worry about this.

I second the soldering of the point rails very near the Joint as a possible solution.

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Posted by hswan on Thursday, July 26, 2007 11:36 PM
I would be curious as to reasons for that also. I too have a Broadway Limited loco, sw1500, that seems to hesitate at the beginnings and sometimes ends of turnouts. No other locos do that, so I concluded that it was in the loco, not the track, as I did the cleaning thing also.
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Posted by Vail and Southwestern RR on Friday, July 27, 2007 12:13 AM
In relative terms that's a little guy.  So, if the frog isn't powered, and there is even a little bit of dirst on track or wheels, or maybe a tiny, even nearly impercepible uneveness in the height of the railheads, or a little bump (you get the idea), you have a chance to lose power, especially at low speed.

Jeff But it's a dry heat!

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Posted by wm3798 on Friday, July 27, 2007 12:14 AM

You don't mention the scale you're using, or the brand of turnout.  Both bits of information would be helpful in narrowing down the trouble.

Lee 

Route of the Alpha Jets  www.wmrywesternlines.net

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Posted by Douglas Fir on Friday, July 27, 2007 12:15 AM

I had a similar problem with my Broadway Limited locomotive.  I use the Easy DCC system and apparently the QSI decoder in the locomotive for CV11 is set at the factory so the packet timeout causes the locomotive to stall or turn on and off.  I re-programmed CV11 to a value of 0 which disables the timeout packet and now the loco runs fine.  However, my loco was stalling where ever, not just on the turnout points, so this may or may not work for you.

Douglas

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Posted by Don Gibson on Friday, July 27, 2007 3:07 AM

INCOMPLETE INFORMATION:

WHO's turnouts, New or used?

WHAT BLI engines (wheel arrangement), & what gauge?

 

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Posted by wedudler on Friday, July 27, 2007 4:19 AM

Like:

Wolfgang 

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Posted by pls12 on Friday, July 27, 2007 5:42 AM
HO is the scale and Atlas remote code 83 turnouts
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Posted by basementdweller on Friday, July 27, 2007 7:26 AM
I have had to do the same as CNE Runner, I added the jumper wires and no more stalling locos. I am using Peco's.
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Posted by DigitalGriffin on Friday, July 27, 2007 11:55 AM

did you power the frogs through use of a switch?

 

Don - Specializing in layout DC->DCC conversions

Modeling C&O transition era and steel industries There's Nothing Like Big Steam!

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Posted by Gandy Dancer on Friday, July 27, 2007 12:12 PM

 pls12 wrote:
HO is the scale and Atlas remote code 83 turnouts
This type of turnout?:http://www.atlasrr.com/Images/Track/Trackphotos/506.JPG
If so have you run power to the frog?  We had this issue with the Atlas turnouts at the club.  Surprisingly it was the 6 axle locomotives that stalled.  It seems there was a bow in the track so the loco would teeter-totter on the center axle on the frog and loose connectivity.   We put power to the frogs and the problem went away.

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Friday, July 27, 2007 12:17 PM

First - will everyone please read the original post?  He clearly stated HO, Atlas code 83 turnouts.  Yet numerous posts said "what brand of turnout?" and "what gauge?"  Grrrrr.

Now my question:  When the engine stops, what happens to the rest of the layout?  Put another engine somewhere, anywhere connected to the same power district, and turn on the headlight.  Leave that engine stopped with the light on.  When the questionable engine stops on the turnout, what happens to the headlight?  If it stays on, then the engine on the turnout is just losing power.  If it goes out, and then comes back on when the other engine does, then you've got a momentary short that's kicking out a breaker.  The breaker resets after a couple of seconds, and by that time the short has cleared.

Do the problem engines have traction tires?  That basically takes an axle out of the power loop, and makes it much more likely that you'll lose power.

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

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Posted by selector on Friday, July 27, 2007 12:41 PM
All good points and observation, Mr. B.  My compliments. Smile [:)]
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Posted by Don Gibson on Friday, July 27, 2007 1:10 PM

BEAS:

Good points. Still no word on engines or wheel arrangement.

I'm going to guess it's the lack of electrical wheel pickup on the one engine over the dead frogs. You?

So much for 'Dead frog' turnouts and engines with rubber tires for more 'pull'.

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Posted by selector on Friday, July 27, 2007 1:29 PM

I couldn't agree more about the rubber tires.  I yanked mine on my newest loco, a little P2K SW8 because it stalled more often than I liked....okay, way more often than I was prepared to put up with.  Now, zero problems. 

In am not so certain, though, that the dead frogs should be the ogres that folks make them out to be.  That same little four axle diesel, and all other locos of about six different types and manufacturers have no issues at all with my Fast Tracks #8s, nor any of my dead Pecos and Walthers/Shinohara curved #7s and one curved #8.  I can always trace my problems to poorly supported track that twists and lifts and sags, dirty track, dirty tires, or dirty/worn pickups.  I think I may have had some dirty points not contacting their stock rail partners, but I can't be sure since I take the broad brush approach to correcting apparent continuity problems when I encounter them and do a whole bunch of fiddling....which, not surprisingly, always seems to work.

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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, July 27, 2007 1:31 PM
 Don Gibson wrote:

BEAS:

Good points. Still no word on engines or wheel arrangement.

I'm going to guess it's the lack of electrical wheel pickup on the one engine over the dead frogs. You?

So much for 'Dead frog' turnouts and engines with rubber tires for more 'pull'.

Let's break it down even further...

1- BLI does not make anything smaller than a 2-8-2 in steam

2- Let's leave off desiels for now, if there is going to be a problem at the switch, it will happen to steam first.

3- I used a Roundhouse 4-4-0 MRC decoder for a time until scrapped. That engine really only had the tender pickups and the one drive axle pickup... very poor method of pickups due to traction tire. That engine did not give me any trouble on the katos.

I do use a NW either by itself or paired with another NW. That does not give trouble either. It is the shortest BLI Desiel I own. If it is going to hit trouble it will do it at the frog of a switch.

Assuming for the moment that there is no flaws or change in horizonal or vertical planes of the switch and nearby tracks large rigid wheel base engines SHOULD make it across these switches at any speed.

Assuming that we are dealing with a switch without a powered frog... at some point below a certain speed the engine WILL stall.

With these truths self evident, what are we left with Gentlemen?

1- Plastic or non powered frog.

2- Flaws in track work

3- Steam engine wheelbase too long for the switch.

4- Wheels shorting on another rail like what happened to Selector on his switches.

What I dont know is the WHAT ENGINE?

 

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Friday, July 27, 2007 1:46 PM
 Don Gibson wrote:

I'm going to guess it's the lack of electrical wheel pickup on the one engine over the dead frogs. You?

If it's a steamer, then I'd say the problem is a short.  There are just too many wheels providing pickup for them all to be out-of-contact at the same time.  On the other hand, a long set of drivers in a row might brush against the wrong rail when taking the curved path.

Which brings up another questions:  Does this happen on both the straight and curved path, or only one?  Which one?

For a small 4-axle switcher, particularly with traction tires, then I'd say poor power distribution to one of the rails.  Either that or just really bad luck that the wheels are all spaced wrong and they all hit on plastic at the same time.

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

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Posted by Gandy Dancer on Saturday, July 28, 2007 4:53 PM
 MisterBeasley wrote:
First - will everyone please read the original post?  He clearly stated HO, Atlas code 83 turnouts.  Yet numerous posts said "what brand of turnout?" and "what gauge?"  Grrrrr.
Better take your own advice.  No he didn't.  Check the edit date.  That was added after the numerous posts, and he even says, "Sorry for the incomplete information," before the text he added.
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Saturday, July 28, 2007 6:51 PM

 Gandy Dancer wrote:
 MisterBeasley wrote:
First - will everyone please read the original post?  He clearly stated HO, Atlas code 83 turnouts.  Yet numerous posts said "what brand of turnout?" and "what gauge?"  Grrrrr.
Better take your own advice.  No he didn't.  Check the edit date.  That was added after the numerous posts, and he even says, "Sorry for the incomplete information," before the text he added.

Ah, good catch.  I didn't get to this thread until later in the day, after his edits.  I'd say "I stand corrected," but I'm sitting down.

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

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Posted by Gandy Dancer on Sunday, July 29, 2007 2:37 PM
 MisterBeasley wrote:
 Gandy Dancer wrote:
 MisterBeasley wrote:
First - will everyone please read the original post?  He clearly stated HO, Atlas code 83 turnouts.  Yet numerous posts said "what brand of turnout?" and "what gauge?"  Grrrrr.
Better take your own advice.  No he didn't.  Check the edit date.  That was added after the numerous posts, and he even says, "Sorry for the incomplete information," before the text he added.
Ah, good catch.  I didn't get to this thread until later in the day, after his edits.  I'd say "I stand corrected," but I'm sitting down.
Yeah, It is so hard to catch everything in this mode of communication.  There have been times I've read and reread a message and still didn't get all the info before I stuck my foot in my mouth anyway.

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