Power Question

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by WM-N-fan, Oct 19, 2002.

  1. WM-N-fan

    WM-N-fan Member

    Ok, I was having electrical trouble on my layout on a series of spurs, that branch of of my 12 track railyard. After spending a few afternoons trying to figure out why trains wouldn't work, reinstalling new track, and soldering connections, the trains still won't move there. After some research I believe that that track is as far away as possible from the transformer connection (a cheap LL controller that came in a set.) Is it possible that the transformer is maxed out to that area? Is it time to get a new controller, or just wait a few months until I buy the new Atlas DCC? Do you think a slightly better temporary transformer would make sense?
  2. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    Have tried adding feeder wires from the live rails to the dead ones? Just a possibility.

    Matt--Hershey, Pa.
  3. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi WM,
    Does your engine come to a certain point in the track and then stop??

    If so, is that point at a frog??

    Have you measured voltage at the tracks with a voltmeter??
    What are your readings, zero or just low??

    Does this occur with just one loco on your layout??

    You have either a bad connection, no connection, or a short circuit at some point in those spurs. It's prolly not the fault of the controller.

    Post more info:D :D :D
  4. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Sounds like there's a problem between the points and the frogs of the turnouts. What kind of turnouts are you using.?
  5. WM-N-fan

    WM-N-fan Member

    Well, actually it's an Atlas switch. There is that one switch off a sub spur, that heads to a scrap yard, Cargill Supplies, and Supierior Paper Pulpwood loading area. I haven't tried a voltimeter. This problem occurs always with all my engines, from Bachman to Kato. However, it occurs with other engines on the layout, derailed. I store about 5 of my 25 locos on powered track, but I make sure the wheels don't touch the rail. Is this a factor?
  6. WM-N-fan

    WM-N-fan Member

    Maybe I should try the new connection idea. It may cost me a trip to the nearest good hobby shop however (20 miles away)
  7. tomfassett

    tomfassett Member

    Like some of the others said, it has got to be a bad wire/connection. The distance from the transformer would not be a problem, unless we are talking about sending DC current a few miles... If you were trying to send DC too far, it would just degrade (and derate) to a lower current available, but would still light the lights and make the engine hum, at worst. The voltmeter would be my first step in figuring out the problem. If there is no power at the rails, do a step by step check to find out where the power stops. If no power at the rails, check the next "broken" connection (the place where the wire connects to the rails or beyond the switch). If none there, go to the next point, and the next point, all the way back to the transformer. Somewhere in the line, you will find you have power before the connection but not after. This is the connection that needs to be replaced.
    I have gone with the "block" idea and feed all areas from a "commoned" screw buss. This allows me to remove a section that is acting up and run the rest of the layout as normal until I get around to checking it. It also gives me the fewest connections between the transformer and each block, making it easier to trace down problems. I even have "sub blocks" inside blocks to allow for easy access to the wiring points. It makes it easier to expand and gives you a junction to tap off from when you add anything new.

    Tom F
  8. Rossford Yard

    Rossford Yard New Member

    I had a similar problem once. I looked very carefully, and after much searching, found that when soldering rail, I had accidentally dropped a blob of solder right between the diverging routes inside rail, thus causing a short. I have also seen old disused rail joiners connect two rails and cause a short. Clean up the layout, if it needs it.

    It sounds like a short similar to that to me.
  9. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi, First of all if you are having trouble with power getting to tracks, this problem will still be around even if you go DCC, so lets see if I can help. You ask (Is it possible that the transformer is maxed out to that area? ) the answer to that is NO, no need for a new controller friend, power is just not getting to that area. Now can I ask you to post some sort of track plan so I can look it over please. Might just be something simple, you never know.



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