Phantom Running

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by davidstrains, May 4, 2007.

  1. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member

    Has any one else experienced this? I use the Digitrax Radio Chief on my layout. Some times I just run multiple trains on the mainlines. I have had as many as 8 separate trains (which includes 3 sets of 2 MUed locos) moving at a time. Last night I was just running 3 trains on the 2 mainline tracks, Decoder numbers 3021, 100 and 021. They had been running for about 30 minutes when out of the corner of my eye I saw my #92 2-8-0 moving in reverse. I had not accessed that train during the session and when I called up the number on the DT400 saw that the speed was 00, but it was moving in reverse. I accessed 92 again, cranked the dial counter clockwise and the loco stopped. None of the other trains were affected.

    I am very deliberate when I shut down from operating that I stop each train separately in the yard or at a station on the branch line. Each train goes to 00 speed before I stop the next one.

    Any other ghost engineers out there?
  2. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

  3. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    I've "run" into this, but only after some mishap ocurrs...generally a short caused by a loco running into a switch thrown against it. That's set off more than one loco at once...!!! I also run D'trax...
  4. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    I'm somewhat new to the Digitrax world but already I have come to accept the fact that it can be a very picky, finicky system and often times it does (or flat refuses to do anything) really strange things. Again, I will accept the possibility that sometimes it could be operator error but most of the time, it leaves me scratching my head as to what the heck is going on. Yes, I get ghost train movement from time to time.
  5. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    About eight years ago when our club bought a DCC system, there was something in the literature about not leaving idle locomotives on sidings for long periods of time unless there was an isolation switch installed. Due to the small amount of current flowing through the loco. I don't know if this is of any signifigance to your question. Does anyone else remember seeing a warning like this in a DCC operating manual?
  6. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member

    Thanks Jim. I usually leave this 2-8-0 and train along with a GP9 and train on the branch track - which is powered all the time. I think that I will change my shutdown process to put them in the yard which is powered down when I throw the turnouts leading into the yard. No electricity=no movement right???:confused: :confused:
  7. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    Though others may disagree with me, i have found this to be a good practice to follow;). on the layout i have now, i am not doing it because i am only running one engine at a time, but on my dads layout i wired it so all the engine holding tracks have a toggle switch to shut the power down on them if the engine is not being used:thumb:. this is especially good if you have engines with sound decoders in them that don't "shut off" as long as there is power to the tracks.

    i don't use digitrax, so I'm not sure exactly what the problem is, putting an engine on a non-powered holding track when not in use is a GREAT idea in my book;-). :mrgreen:-Deano
  8. Travellar

    Travellar Member

    I've got two DCC equipped mainline engines, and one DC equiped switcher. Not to worry, my controller has DC capability for one engine! Anyhow, that one DC engine can be a bit 'noisy' sometimes, and one of my mainline engines will occasionally take off at full speed if the switcher is on the tracks. This doesn't affect my other mainline locomotive, and only occurs when the switcher is on active tracks.

    I would venture to guess that after a period of running, some random noise spike on your layout convinced your 2-8-0 that it needed to be moving.
  9. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    One thing that can possibly cause this, especially (and theoretically only) if you are using address 0 for a DC loco, is that a decoder can 'decide' either through noise, a bit of dirty track, or maybe the phase of the moon, that there is no DCC signal, and that it should run in DC mode. The loco will then take off because of the voltage on the track due to the address zero setting. Many advise setting the CV to disable DC operation (when it is available) to prevent this.

  10. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Is there a chance that another unused (for the session, at least) throttle has control over the phantom movements? I have experienced this once or twice where locos have been "stolen" with no warning. This happened at the local modular club which runs with Digitrax (and decoders from pretty much every manufacturer).

  11. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member


    In my case I only have one controller. I am the sole operator. And I clear (dispatch) the locos at the end of every session.

    I am leaning toward the theory that Steamhead mentioned. I did have an engine short a turnout as it left the yard about 10 minutes prior to my noticing the 2-8-0 moving.

    Maybe it's a disgruntled LPB out trainjacking. I am now storing all the locos in the yard and turning off poeer to the yard at the end of the session.

    Thank to all.
  12. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    Remember that Thomas the tank once felt that he could drive himself- he ended up in someones house!- check that 2-8-0, maybe he/she's feeling that way too!

    (Sorry, couldn't help it!)
  13. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member

    Thanks, J. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
  14. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    I asked my friend who is a Digitrax Dealer, here's what he said:

    I don't know which system/throttle your acquaintance is using so I can only answer in general terms. If after operating a loco/address one does not switch off all its functions and set the speed at a true zero, then that address will still occupy that slot. Now if you start-up again the info held in that slot is again sent to that loco and depending on that speed setting and type of loco/motor involved she may well go walkies!
  15. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member

    Thanks, J. I don't clear all the functions - just turn the speed to zero and dispatch the address at the end of the session. I will try it and see what happens.:-D

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