electrical problems

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Collyn, Apr 29, 2007.

  1. Collyn

    Collyn Member

    I have been having problems recently with the electrical on my layout. I am barley getting any power. It is not dirty track or wheels. Any ideas?
  2. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Hi Collyn. It would be helpful if you filled us in with a little more information, such as system (DC vs. DCC), type of powerpack, size of layout, scale, number of engines running at any one time, and so on...Is the "current" drop constant, or is it OK when you turn it on and then starts dropping. It could be due to any number of things, so the more info we have, the more likely some one can come up with a likely cause.
  3. Collyn

    Collyn Member

    sorry:oops:. Dc current. N scale. One loco at a time. 3 by 6 feet. Double loopish.. Basic no frills power pack. I also have several jumper wires wired in. Most of the track is flex track while some is sectional.
  4. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Do you have a multimeter to check the output voltage from your power supply and then the voltage at various points on the track?
  5. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Hi, Would you have another power pack lying around..or could you borrow one..? It'd be good to see how things behave with another PP. If you have several engines, do they all exhibit this "slowness"? Or is it just a couple..??
  6. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Hi, if things worked well before and don't now I'd check out that power pack as a potential problem. I had a similar problem a few years ago and that was the answer!
    Good luck!
  7. Collyn

    Collyn Member

    It is all of the locos. I do have a multimeter. I do not have anything to compare the voltage to. Can one of you test your track and tell me what it should read.
  8. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    The voltage should vary from zero (throttle closed) to possibly 14 volts DC wide open. There is also the possibility of dirty track, dirty wheels or a loose wire somewhere. Thats why I suggest taking a reading at the output of the power supply. If you get a reasonable reading at the power supply, go to the track end of your power leads and take another reading and compare it to the readings you got originally. If voltage is good there, work your way outward from the power supply along the track.
  9. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    If your track checks out okay, try using jumpers directly from the power pack to each individual loco. I had one loco with an internal short (I guess that's what it was: electricity/schmelectricity, vat do I know!:? ). All of the trains would still run, but v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. Turned out that the weight was bridging the split halves of the metal frame.

  10. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Since you have a multimeter, you can do the following:
    1. read the track voltage at full throttle, but without any locos on the track. Also disconnect any accessories you may have off of this power pack. Check the voltage at the power pack output, they should be the same.
    2. Now put a loco on the track and measure the voltage again, it should be lower, but not that much. Measure the voltage at the power pack, it should also compare close to what you read on the tracks.
    If you get different readings in #1, then you have a problem with your wiring. If the track and power pack readings are significantly different in #2, then you still may have a wiring problem. If both the track voltage and the power pack voltage drop around ten volts, than I'm guessing your power pack is bad or grossly underpowered. If the readings remain high on the track in #2, then you should look closely at your loco as the problem. Dirty wheels, bad connection, dirty motor and just needs cleaning.

    Some typical wiring problems are:
    1. Poor solder joints
    2. Poor connections to the power pack
    3. Undersized wire
    4. Dirty track
    5. Poor connections between track sections.
    Just some thoughts that may help you.

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