locating a short circuit

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by TCH, Dec 20, 2007.

  1. TCH

    TCH Member

    have just spent 3 days locating a short.

    my layout started small and has grown over the years to what would now be classed as medium to large. 2 levels area about 20 x 10 with a 10 x 10 transition area.
    as I operate alone I didn`t worry about isolating sections [ blocking ] because if a train shorted out the whole layout it wouldn`t effect anyone but myself.

    over the last week I have been working on building and installing a couple of bridges and when finished thought I would see how a train looked going over them.

    fired up the DCC only to hear those dreaded 5 beeps indicating a short.
    as I had been working on the bridges I naturally thought I must have done something at that part of the layout to cause a short

    to cut a long story short [pun] 3 days later I discovered the cause of the problem at the entry to my staging loop nowhere near the bridges I had been working on

    the problem was a solder joint had given way on a handbuilt turnout and the rail had moved slightly to cross a gap in the pcb tie and cause the problem.
    to locate the short I had to cut the bus wires to finally isolate the area containing the turnout.

    1 block the layout so areas can be turned off to more easily isolate problems

    2 make sure solder joints are good. my problem was trying to make them look better by not having too much solder

    hope my experience will save someone from making the same mistakes
  2. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    good detective work trever. when I get ready to wire my layout I already plan on doing the block set up even though I will be using dcc. I here of all the shorting problems and being able to isolate would be a nice plus.
  3. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Definitely sounds like a plan.

  4. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    I was pulling my hair out for 30 minutes the other night trying to find a short on my layout the other night.

    It was like,

    Gaps cut? Check!

    Feed wires to correct bus line? Check!

    Metal track guage removed from rails after handlaying another 3 ft. of track work?

    Aww...nutz! wall1

    One thing is for sure, I know the quarter method to short out the trackwork will work on my layout.
  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I had Rob over here this week to see my layout and look at his problem locos. All sorts of little irritations and it became very annoying when I had a short in one section that wouldn't go away. Finally found it was a stored loco spanning two block sections with the turnouts set against it.
  6. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Heh. I once had a difficult to locate short caused by the same thing. Apparently, a loco selected on one of my throttles still had a speed setting of 1. Digitrax throttles have two throttles each, and someone must have turned the wrong throttle just a bit. It took awhile for the loco to creep until it crossed the gap of a turnout which was thrown against it. Lots of head scratching followed!

Share This Page