random 'blackouts' occuring

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by nolatron, Jan 5, 2005.

  1. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Hi all,

    Got kind of an unusual problem pop out of nowhere on me.

    i have the Digitrx DCS-100 booster on my layout and three locos: a Kato UP & Amtrak, and a Atlas SP.

    All of a sudden tonight, i'm getting these random power loses on the layout. It's a small layout, still under work. Only recent changes was this evening I wired two turnouts to their atlas switches, and a few days ago I soldered just 5 rail joiners, but after that I tested running the locos right on the joints and everything was running fine.

    I can take my SP loco and run it over a stretch of track and it see it kinda die out a bit, lights flicker, and stuggle for power. It'll make it through, or sometimes not and I have to help it along. But I can reverese and go right back through the same area it just died with no problems a lot of time, only to have problems someplace else.

    I have most of the track blocked of with isolator joiners and feeders on each block so there's adequate power being supplied. I tried the quarter trick and the booster responds to a short everywhere I have these power loses.

    I thought maybe the soldering but it's even occuring on other blocks that I didn't touch yet.

    The Amtrak and SP have the issue the worst, the UP will have flickering lights but doesn't loose power totally and keeps on chugging along 95% of the time. And the slower the loco is going, the more likely it is to die totally until I even just touch, or give it a little push.

    I'm totally lost on what's going on. It seems like the power is fluctuating but I can have two locos in the same block, one die and the other not. Funky, huh?

    Hope I haven't totally confused anyone.

    Anyone have any ideas?
  2. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    oh, and tomorrow if i don't forget I'm gonna bring the multimeter from work home to measure the voltage on the track and see what the track power is doing when this problem occurs.
  3. theBear

    theBear Member

    You might want to try cleaning the wheels on your locos and the track.

    Are the problem points on turnouts or bridging the insulated sections or anywhere at all?
  4. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    The locos and track are brand new, but I'll see check them out.

    It's totally random, sometimes coming off a turnout over/near insulated joiners, or on a long flex strectch away from any joiners totally, or right on top the feeder joiners sometimes on two pieces of flex track.
  5. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    odd. this morning I was able to run pretty much trouble free, only 2 times did the 2 locos cut off, usually it's in the staging yard more often than anywhere else it totally dies when I'm running at a low speed. Chugging on through it slows down but usually makes it. I'm gonna go ahead and clean the yard track and see what happens. Maybe there's some tiny dried plaster/water drops on the track from some recent plaster work I did that I can't see on there causing this.

    My guess as to why the UP doesn't have this issue as often as the SP and amtrak is that is has 6 wheels on each pickup while the other two only have 4.
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    In the modular club I belong to we have found that track, wheels, and pick up[s have to be extremely clean at all times. Just a little dirt on wheels or track will cause problems like you are describing. It doesn't matter if the track and locomotives are new, there is enough dirt in the are to cause problems after even one operating session.

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