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Loco's stalling in middle of turnouts in my yard...

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Loco's stalling in middle of turnouts in my yard...
Posted by NSlover92 on Sunday, September 28, 2008 4:29 PM
Hey ya'll, I am working on the yard in on my layout, I just now got it all tracked down and my locos are stalling right in the middle of the turnouts, I have both inside rails insilated I am using a Digitrax Zypher. I suspect its a wiring problem because i just laid the turnouts they are new, the other ones in my yard (I have two legs one on the right for locos and stuff and one of the right for cars each one has 4 tracks.) I am running at a slow speed but you do that in a yard operation anyhow. What am I doing wrong? Thanks Mike
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Posted by retsignalmtr on Sunday, September 28, 2008 6:29 PM
how are you powering the frog? the points might not be picking up power from the stock rails to power the locos. you don't say what type of switch or switch machine you are using. the next time a loco stalls use a small screwdriver or hobby knife to touch the stockrail and point under the loco to see if you can get it to move.
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Posted by gandydancer19 on Sunday, September 28, 2008 6:34 PM

This is one of those cases where you could use a Multimeter. One that reads Volts, Amps, and Ohms (resistance). You would be able to check each section of rail to see if it has voltage on it. To effectively troubleshoot electrical problems, you need electrical troubleshooting tools. Otherwise you are fumbling around in the dark.

Other than that, install many track feeders, and solder a very fine jumper wire to the point rails and the rail that crosses the point hinge on all the turnouts.

Elmer.

The above is my opinion, from an active and experienced Model Railroader in N scale and HO since 1961.

(Modeling Freelance, Eastern US, HO scale, in 1962, with NCE DCC for locomotive control and a stand alone LocoNet for block detection and signals.) http://waynes-trains.com/ at home, and N scale at the Club.

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Posted by NSlover92 on Sunday, September 28, 2008 7:29 PM
I am not powering the frog I have a set feeder wires at the beginning of the turnouts I am using Shinohara's. Mike
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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Sunday, September 28, 2008 9:46 PM
If the rails from the points to the frog are dead and you're using a short wheelbase loco, that's your problem. The loco isn't big enough to bridge the gap to the next live rail and is losing power right in the middle. I'm using DCC also and my turnouts are live all the way through with the exception of the frogs. Never depend on the point rails to carry power from the stock rail to the diverging rail. That's asking for trouble later as the track ages and you'll be pulling your hair out by the handfuls. That was a lesson I learned the hard way many years ago. Like 'S' curves, power routing turnouts seem like a good idea, until they go wrong, which in my experience, they frequently do. I last used power routing turnouts over 20 years ago.

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Posted by larak on Sunday, September 28, 2008 10:29 PM

Jeffrey has it right.

In the mean time try cleaning the edges of the points and the adjacent rail edges. Also try the screwdriver trick mentioned above.  Your switch machine should hold the points tight, but a bit of dirt or oxidation will break the continuity. You may end up powering the frogs.

Karl

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Posted by tstage on Sunday, September 28, 2008 10:52 PM

Michael,

Jeffrey mentioned what I was going to add.  If you are running short-based 4-axle switchers, the pickups on your switchers may not span the insulated gap in order to run adequately at slow speeds.

I have and operate early diesel yard switchers on my layout and ran into the same issue.  That's why I opted to install turnouts with live frogs.  Problem solved.

Tom

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Posted by selector on Sunday, September 28, 2008 11:14 PM

I agree with the proposal to power the system and then try a gentle touch with the probes on a multimeter.  The idea is not to disturb the rails at all, especially the moving points rails.  You want a real-time, real case reading from the meter, and if it shows voltage, but not when the engine has just stalled, you know you have a problem due to contact and weight causing a break in it...maybe by twisting or depressing rail out of contact.

Second, once you sense that power is okay along the points rails, and also beyond the frog to the frog rails, you might try some emery cloth and gently swipe once or thrice between the stock rails and their contact footprints for the points rails.  In other words, you have four surfaces to buff.  Also, you may need to tweak the rail heads on the points so that they have a tighter abutment against the stock rails.  It's a suggestion, not necessarily the solution.

The problem might be resolvable in the engine.  If it could be modified, or is defective in terms of electrical pickup, that's an avenue to explore as well.  I have a tiny SW8 with decoder and speaker, plus a 0-6-0 with sound.  Both will traverse my insulated frog turnouts, two commercial brands and one hand-laid.  However, one of them, the SW8 diesel, did extremely poorly, and not just on turnouts, until I substituted a metal wheel driver set for the one shipped on the engine that had traction tires.  Afterwards, it has been faultless.  So, Tom may be on to something....you may need to power your frogs, or else modify your engines, or clean them up to get better contact.

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Posted by maxman on Sunday, September 28, 2008 11:38 PM

I think I'll ask a couple questions.  Are you using code 100 or code 83?

Although you say the turnouts are new, are they the new style DCC friendly turnouts, or the older style where the points are connected with the metal connection both at the throw bar as well as at the pivot point?

You said that you have the power feeds at the point ends of the turnouts and this is correct.  Is there anything feeding power to the rails beyond the gaps you described?

When the engine stops or stalls, is it because there is no power from the track to the engine, or no power to the track due to a short which goes away when you pull the engine back away from the point where it stalled?

Finally, have you installed any sort of mechanism that holds the points against the stock rails when the turnouts are thrown (switch machine or ground throw), or are the points just sort of remaining in position on their own right now and not getting good contact? 

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Posted by NSlover92 on Monday, September 29, 2008 10:03 PM
I am using HO scale code 100 Shinohara #4's. I have the two inside rails insulated. Thanks Mike
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Posted by wedudler on Tuesday, September 30, 2008 2:31 AM

I would give the points extra feeders. This is what I did with my Peco turnouts:

BTW, all my frogs are powered!

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Posted by maxman on Tuesday, September 30, 2008 9:25 AM

 NSlover92 wrote:
I am using HO scale code 100 Shinohara #4's. I have the two inside rails insulated. Thanks Mike

Okay, what about the other questions?  Any power feeds beyond the gaps? Turnouts DCC friendly or not? Points positively held over by hand throw or switch machine?

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Posted by Grampys Trains on Tuesday, September 30, 2008 10:09 AM

Hi Mike: I agree with Wolfgang, I'd try adding feeders to the points. Even if it doesn't take care of your problem, it's not a bad idea. Here's how I added feeders to my Atlas switches.

 

 

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Posted by maxman on Tuesday, September 30, 2008 4:29 PM
 Grampys Trains wrote:

Hi Mike: I agree with Wolfgang, I'd try adding feeders to the points. Even if it doesn't take care of your problem, it's not a bad idea. Here's how I added feeders to my Atlas switches.

 

 

Sorry, but I think I might have to disagree.  I keep asking if the turnouts he is using are DCC friendly or not.  He replied that he is using Shinohara #4 code 100.  Looking at the Walthers website I can't get a picture of a code 100 #4, but there is a picture of a code 100 #6, http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/669-103

The picture is not totally clear, but it appears that the frog is not insulated.  He has taken care of one potential problem by installing insulators on both inner frog rails on the exit end of the turnout.  However, if the turnout he has is constructed like the picture, you will notice that the two point rails are joined together by a metal bridle at the throw bar.  It appears that both point rails are soldered to the bridle without any insulating gap.

Therefore, if he powers the points as is being proposed, all that will happen will be that he will create a direct short.

(My opinion, and I'm sticking to it unless proven incorrect, or someone pays me to change my mind!)

Regards

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Posted by gandydancer19 on Tuesday, September 30, 2008 7:32 PM

maxman is right about the metal throwbar.  If I recall correctly, Shinohara turnouts also had a small metal (bronze) tab or finger attached to the throwbar and that made contact with the stock rail on the side that is closed (by sliding under it).  I also think that the polarity of the frog changed with the direction the turnout was thrown, so adding a jumper from the movable point rail to the stationary point rail would be OK, but not a feeder from the main bus.  Also, BOTH rails diverging from the frog must use insulated rail joiners.

As far as DCC friendly goes, I think that is more of a mechanical spec. than an electrical one.  If the point rail in the open position is too close to the stock rail, a metal wheel going through there might short the two together.  I think that the newer turnouts have been made with more room between the open point rail and the stock rail.  At least that is what I have experienced on my old N scale layout using Shinohara turnouts.

Elmer.

The above is my opinion, from an active and experienced Model Railroader in N scale and HO since 1961.

(Modeling Freelance, Eastern US, HO scale, in 1962, with NCE DCC for locomotive control and a stand alone LocoNet for block detection and signals.) http://waynes-trains.com/ at home, and N scale at the Club.

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Posted by Grampys Trains on Tuesday, September 30, 2008 9:58 PM
Hi maxman and mac: I just checked Alan Gartner's site, Wiring for DCC, and if Mike has the old Walther's Shinohara switch, it is not DCC friendly, the points, frog, and frog rails are all connected. For Atlas, new Walther's, Peco, and a few others, he recommends dropping feeders to the point rails, and they are DCC friendly. Mike, you may want to check Alan's site to determine exactly which type switch you have. Just a suggestion.
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Posted by maxman on Wednesday, October 1, 2008 12:32 AM
 gandydancer19 wrote:

maxman is right about the metal throwbar.  If I recall correctly, Shinohara turnouts also had a small metal (bronze) tab or finger attached to the throwbar and that made contact with the stock rail on the side that is closed (by sliding under it).  I also think that the polarity of the frog changed with the direction the turnout was thrown, so adding a jumper from the movable point rail to the stationary point rail would be OK, but not a feeder from the main bus.  Also, BOTH rails diverging from the frog must use insulated rail joiners.

As far as DCC friendly goes, I think that is more of a mechanical spec. than an electrical one.  If the point rail in the open position is too close to the stock rail, a metal wheel going through there might short the two together.  I think that the newer turnouts have been made with more room between the open point rail and the stock rail.  At least that is what I have experienced on my old N scale layout using Shinohara turnouts.

The picture I linked to at the Walther's site is, I think, what the latest version of a code 100 Shinohara looks like.  yes, there is a metal tab that makes contact by sliding under as you said.  The picture shows the turnout thrown for the straight direction.  If your computer browser has the capability of zooming in on the picture, you can enlarge the area of the point to throw bar connection.  If one looks closely, you can just see the metal tab  between the open point rail and the stock rail.

The Walthers/Shinohara code 83 turnout is a different story.  This turnout fits the definition of "DCC friendly" because it has the point rails insulated at the throwbar.  The frog is also insulated.  This is all shown clearly at the following link, http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/948-8890

They didn't have a #4 or #6 code 83 example, but the #2-1/2 wye turnout illustrates the point.

Regarding the necessitity of insulated joiners, I believe that it is only neccesary to insulate the inner frog rails at the exit end of the turnout when using the turnouts in a ladder situation.  If the turnouts are connected frog to frog as in a crossover, then I'd agree that both rails would need to be insulated.  In another thread concerning Atlas turnouts I also made the statement that both rails needed to have insulators in a crossover situation.  Someone came back and asked me "why".  My answer was basically that I was trained to do it that way.  I did some experimenting after the fact and I think I convinced myself that no insulators are required if you are using Atlas turnouts, even in a crossover.  I believe that the newer Atlas turnouts are of the DCC friendly style and that their unseen internal wiring allows everyting to work properly without and wiring complications.  On the other hand, it does not hurt to install these particular insulators, especially if the possibility exists that you might mix turnout brands.  For example, I have code 83 Walthers DCC friendly turnouts, Walthers old style turnouts, and Atlas turnouts.  If one of them goes bad, no telling what might get used in its place.

So far as the Gartner site droping leads to the buss from the points goes, I looked but I couldn't quite figure out what was happening.  Regardless, if there is one of those metal bridles connecting the points at either the point pivot or at the throwbar, a short will result.

Regards.

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Posted by Grampys Trains on Wednesday, October 1, 2008 12:58 AM

Hi maxman: I think you are right about the switch with the throwbar connecting the points. With the old Shinohara's, it looked to me like the polarity at the points should be switched. That's the impression I got from Alan's illustrations. I dropped feeders to the points of my Atlas switches  because I was getting intermittant power through the hinges, esp. after they were painted and ballasted. My locos would stop in the middle of the switch, but not all the time. After checking with my meter, I found some of the points had no power. If I jumped the hinge, I had power. So, I dropped feeders from the point rails on all my switches. Now all is well.

 

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Posted by NSlover92 on Wednesday, October 1, 2008 8:16 PM
Well guys I fixed it, actully I ran a jumper from the front of the turn out to the end of it on the outside rails and on one i realined the throw. Thanks guys, Mike
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