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Trains shorting out after Atlas 45 degree crossing installed

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  • Member since
    December 2022
  • 5 posts
Trains shorting out after Atlas 45 degree crossing installed
Posted by catfishpaladin on Sunday, December 4, 2022 4:27 PM

Photos: https://imgur.com/a/mdKZY46

Hi everyone! Long time reader here, but first time poster. I'm in the process of building a fairly simple 5x10 HO scale layout. I'm currently in the track laying phase. I just installed a simple 45º crossing from Atlas as shown in the photos. After completing the first loop when I hook up just my standard track power to the rails (non-DCC) I notice one of the terminals will spark when it hits the rail and the power LED will dim on the power supply, indicating a short. The train will actuall run VERY slowly even on max speed, but eventually will stall out. 

It looks like the crossing has all the appropriate gappings with the plastic raills between all the live rails so I'm assuming I don't need any kind of equipment to shift the polarity? 

The only thing that I can figure could be contributing to it is the curved turnout I have (as shown in the photos) but, if it is, I have no idea why. I'm pretty new to all this so I'm sure there's something obvious causing the problem.

Any help would be so GREATLY appreciated!

  • Member since
    February 2005
  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
  • 23,241 posts
Posted by selector on Monday, December 5, 2022 12:12 PM

Without seeing the whole picture, my guess is that you have a loop of some fashion that closes on one of the four 'sides' of the crossing, and when your train tries to cross, it creates a short through itself due to conflicting phase.  Otherwise, the crossing is defective...somehow...don't know how that could possibly be unless a fragment of metal is bridging the rails below all that plastic.

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 20,832 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Monday, December 5, 2022 12:29 PM

Yes, if this is a track loop problem, we would need to see a more complete picture or diagram to find it.

I actually have come across a bad Atlas crossing that caused a short.  I replaced it with a Walthers crossing and that solved the problem.

Can you disconnect the other ends of the crossing and repeat the experiment?

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

  • Member since
    December 2022
  • 5 posts
Posted by catfishpaladin on Monday, December 5, 2022 1:10 PM

Alright so see below:

Track as is right now: https://imgur.com/a/PfI3kYh

Track when complete: https://imgur.com/a/MfKgRuv

So the first image is how much track I currently have down - the second image of course is how it will be when finished. So as it stands, I technically only have 3 sides currently connected!

 

  • Member since
    December 2022
  • 5 posts
Posted by catfishpaladin on Monday, December 5, 2022 1:15 PM

One more thing I should add now...if I disconnect the following track from the crossing - the short will go away! 

Diagram: https://imgur.com/a/cFP77rr

  • Member since
    August 2006
  • 62 posts
Posted by santafejeff on Monday, December 5, 2022 9:47 PM

Its because youve created a reversing section with the Y. Wire it as you would any other reversing section and the problem with be fixed. If straight dc then a polarity changing toggle switch is the answer. If dcc an auto reverser is your go to item. 

  • Member since
    February 2018
  • From: Danbury Freight Yard
  • 384 posts
Posted by OldEngineman on Monday, December 5, 2022 10:01 PM

Looks like the "finished" plan will have TWO separate reversing loops...

  • Member since
    February 2005
  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
  • 23,241 posts
Posted by selector on Monday, December 5, 2022 11:35 PM

Yup, it's that big X in the middle, with the crossing and all, that makes the loops...two of them.  One 'teardrop' with tails 180 degrees opposite each other.  The crossing is fine.

Simple fix, although it will cost you some: isolate the entire X, right up to the four accessing turnouts.  Leave gaps at the frog and stock rails.  Then, connect a reverser or DPDT to the entire X and let the reverser control the phase/polarity. Note that I'm assuming you're never going to have to trains entering the X at the same time.  If you are, you'll need to reverse each loop separately.

  • Member since
    December 2022
  • 5 posts
Posted by catfishpaladin on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 11:10 AM

Diagram: https://imgur.com/a/EKdOkVD

Okay, so if I wanted to be able to have a train on both sections at the same time, I would need to insulate the track with the red marks and the track with the blue marks, and then install a dcc autoreverser at each section - correct?

  • Member since
    February 2005
  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
  • 23,241 posts
Posted by selector on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 3:49 PM

Correct.  It would be simplest to have the practice of only one train occupying the entire X at a time, and use the one reverser to correct a phase phalt wherever it takes place, on either of the four entrances/exits.

  • Member since
    December 2022
  • 5 posts
Posted by catfishpaladin on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 8:32 PM

Awesome, that's what I'll do, I greatly appreciate everyone's help so much!!

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