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DCC Wiring?

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  • Member since
    December 2005
  • From: Fredericksburg, VA
  • 692 posts
DCC Wiring?
Posted by Bill54 on Tuesday, March 18, 2008 9:17 AM

Sorry in advance for the long post but I want to explain everything so you get a better idea of what happened.

I am in the early stages of building my HO layout.  I just finished laying track in a staging area and a small section of the main.  I'm using NCE Power Pro R DCC System for the layout.

I set up the staging area so that I have DPDT switches for each of the eight staging tracks.  That will allow me to turn them on and off so when not in use any locos staged there won't draw current until I want it to.  

In 2006 I purchased a "Power Shield four" from Tony's Train Exchange which has now been replaced with PSX four.  The PS four is two PS two's all on one board.  I cut them apart so I now have two PS two's so they can be located in different areas of the layout.

Anyway, I am using two of the four power shields as power districts for the staging areas which is four tracks each. So (1) Power Shield is used for four tracks and the other Power Shield for the other four tracks.

The way I wired it up was like this:

1.  Power booster to the Main Line Power Bus with #14 wire.

2.  From the spot where the #14 wire is soldered to the Main Line Bus I "Teed" off and connected to the Power Shield booster inputs 1 & 2 with #16 wire.  That's the largest guage wire that will fit the Power Shield.

3.  I used #16 wire from the Power Shields 1A & 2A and 1B &2B DCC outputs to the switch pannel for my staging area.  The switch pannel is split into two sections with four tracks each. 

When I ran a loco it worked fine while on the main line but when it entered the staging area there was no power.  All eight tracks were dead.

I thought I may have shorted something out or forgot to turn on the tracks or that the switches were positioned wrong.  However, I had already ran a short check and everything checked out fine.

I didn't see anything lit up on the Power Shields but they were not working.

I disconnected the power shield and bypassed it with a jumper wire hooked up to the same wires that connected to the Power Shield.  I fired the system up again and ran the loco on the main and through all the staging tracks with no problem.

Knowing that my wiring was ok since it worked with the bypas wiring I took the PS two to my bench.  I disconnected my NCE Power Pro system from the layout and reassembled it on my desk. I connected the Power Shield straight to my booster and then to a spare piece of flex track for the test.  I put the loco on the track and it worked fine!  I checked out both A and B outputs and both worked fine.

I reconnected the NCE system to the Layout but this time attaching the power shield straight to the booster as I did on the bench then connected output A to the layout.  I fired up the system and the loco worked just fine!  It went through all the staging tracks with no problems.

So What is the difference between attaching the wire at the booster VS attaching it 2 feet further down the line.  I don't get it.  Was this just a fluke or what?  Or did I do something wrong on the first hookup?

Can anyone explain why this happened? 

You're suppose to be able to attach power districts where ever you need them.  Placing them down the power bus shouldn't be a problem.  Anyone else encounter this or a similar problem?

Bill

As my Mom always says...Where there's a will there's a way!
  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
  • 13,757 posts
Posted by cacole on Tuesday, March 18, 2008 10:44 AM
The location of the Power Shield should make no difference at all.  It sounds to me like you had it wired wrong or originally had some bad wire or a loose connection.
  • Member since
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  • From: Fredericksburg, VA
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Posted by Bill54 on Tuesday, March 18, 2008 12:23 PM

 cacole wrote:
The location of the Power Shield should make no difference at all.  It sounds to me like you had it wired wrong or originally had some bad wire or a loose connection.
I thought that too, however, I had the PS inputs soldered to the board and used wire connectors like used on house outlets to join to the power bus. 

The outputs on the PS were soldered to the board and the other end of the wire there is spade terminals screwed to a block terminal. 

All I did was to untwist the wire connectors and hook them to the bypass wire (red to red & black to black) and I had spade terminal connectors attached to the other end of the bypas wire that I connected to the block terminal.

Then everything worked. 

It is possible that for what ever reason, one or both of the solder joints where the wire was soldered to the board may have been a bad connection.  I had to unsolder the output wires to get it to my work bench.  They seemed to be soldered pretty good.  No cold joints that I could tell.

Bill 

As my Mom always says...Where there's a will there's a way!
  • Member since
    October 2004
  • From: Colorful Colorado
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Posted by Texas Zepher on Tuesday, March 18, 2008 1:55 PM

Nope, makes no sense to me.  Sounds like it should have worked the first way you had it connected.  All I can figure is that there was something not visible just a little wrong or not connected that was "fixed" either on the bench or when it was re-installed on the layout.  ??!??  Gremlins happen.

On another topic I noticed you were using DPDT switches for turning off the power?  Why not just simple SPST switches?

  • Member since
    December 2005
  • From: Fredericksburg, VA
  • 692 posts
Posted by Bill54 on Tuesday, March 18, 2008 2:20 PM
 Texas Zepher wrote:

Nope, makes no sense to me.  Sounds like it should have worked the first way you had it connected.  All I can figure is that there was something not visible just a little wrong or not connected that was "fixed" either on the bench or when it was re-installed on the layout.  ??!??  Gremlins happen.

On another topic I noticed you were using DPDT switches for turning off the power?  Why not just simple SPST switches?

I aggree, Gremlins do indeed happen.  I must have had something hooked up wrong but the way I hooked up the bypass wire by unhooking and rehooking exactly the same leaves me wondering where I went wrong. 

Actually they are three pole DT switches.  I'm using three leg bipolar LED's to show which track is activated (Green is active / Red is inactive). I already had them and didn't have SPST switches so that's what got used.

Bill

As my Mom always says...Where there's a will there's a way!
  • Member since
    February 2006
  • From: Gahanna, Ohio
  • 1,987 posts
Posted by jbinkley60 on Tuesday, March 18, 2008 4:30 PM

It definetly sounds like an input problem to the Powershield since none of the tracks had power.  If it had been an output problem only one section would have been impacted.   I didn't quite follow the comment about untwisting the wire connector and connecting it back.  It sounds like that was the problem.  Where you connect to the bus or booster should make no difference.  If you have the problem again try shorting the input wires and see if the booster trips.  If so then you know the input wiring is good.  If not, troubleshoot the input wiring.

 

Engineer Jeff NS Nut
Visit my layout at: http://www.thebinks.com/trains/

  • Member since
    December 2005
  • From: Fredericksburg, VA
  • 692 posts
Posted by Bill54 on Wednesday, March 19, 2008 7:19 AM
 jbinkley60 wrote:

It definetly sounds like an input problem to the Powershield since none of the tracks had power.  If it had been an output problem only one section would have been impacted.   I didn't quite follow the comment about untwisting the wire connector and connecting it back.  It sounds like that was the problem.  Where you connect to the bus or booster should make no difference.  If you have the problem again try shorting the input wires and see if the booster trips.  If so then you know the input wiring is good.  If not, troubleshoot the input wiring.

On the wire connector confusion, I used wire connectors that are used in house wiring. The kind that you slip over two or more wires then twist the connector sort of like a nut on a bolt. 

I basically disconnected the wire from the input side of the Power Shield and connected it to a jumper / bypass wire all the while maintaining the same polarity (black to black and red to red).  Then the staging tracks all worked.

Last night I went back and hooked everything back up like it was at first with the exception of using a short #14 wire from a spot on the main power bus that was even further down the line but closer to where the Power Shield was located.

Everything worked fine.  The only thing I can think of is like you said, it had to be an input problem.  That's the only thing that makes sense. 

Oh well...it's working fine now!

Thanks for all the input

Now I have to go back and install a terminal block coming off the booster and attach the Power Shield to it.  As it is hooked up now, if there should be a short on the main it will kill the power going to the Power Shield.  I should have done that last night.  One more night under the layout isn't going to be my last!  LOL!

Bill

As my Mom always says...Where there's a will there's a way!

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