Blocks, buses, DCC, help!

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Rusted, Mar 17, 2003.

  1. Rusted

    Rusted Member

    The current MR has an article about improving performance of your layout through the addition of buses (14g wire under the track, spliced into the track at specific distances to reduce voltage drop).

    I have a rather large loop of track and my DCC equipped engines do run slower on the far reaches. I ran the wire, spliced it in and then had new problems. As one of my best performing engines approached the "bused" area, it started to lurch and run poorly.

    My track isn't blocked and I was wondering if that is required to make the bus system work? My guess is that the engine is getting its data packets in duplicate and slightly off phase. Thoughts?

    Also, if I block the track, are you able to smoothly run from one block to the next with no noticable difference? Even at very slow speeds?

  2. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Rusted, There is absolutely no reason you would need blocks. Check the track to see that any residue from soldering has been cleaned off. I assume you ran the 14 gauge wire under the track and brought something like 20 gauge feeders up to the rail. Most articles I read suggest every 6'. This comes out to every other rail joiner when using 3' flex track. Bear in mind if you use the joiners with wires solderd on you are still relying on a mechanical joint to conduct power. I solder a feeder to every other joiner and that joiner to the rails it joins. This way every other joiner is not soldered to allow wiggle room.
    Try just cleaning the track well, I can't think of any other reason you would have jerky operation.
  3. Rusted

    Rusted Member

    Glad to hear blocking is not necessary.

    I just spent two evenings thoroughly cleaning the track and treating it with Zip (or whatever it is called).

    My cleaning car had pulled some ballast onto the rails and at first I thought that was my problem, I cleaned that up by hand and still had the problem - perhaps some of the ballast was pulled up into the wheel area?

    I'll inspect the engine and give it another go tonight. Thanks.

    (p.s. all flex track, etc. joined with solder, 20 g wire soldered to the outside of the rail then dropped below to soldered connection to the bus, rail top filed lightly to ensure no bumps, etc. - attempted to give it the old college try)
  4. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member

    You might want to check to see if a small piece of loose gravel got into the gears.
  5. Rusted

    Rusted Member

    Dirty wheels, all is running great now.


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