steamers and reverse loops...

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by NCMRailroad, Aug 20, 2006.

  1. NCMRailroad

    NCMRailroad Member

    I understand that one must modify the pick-up wires in his/her steam locomotive in order for the steam loco to properly corespond with reverse loops. Is this necessary for steam loco's that are wired for and equiped with DCC?
    Thx all!
  2. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    There should be no need to re-wire any DC-powered loco in order for it to negotiate reverse loops, whether the control system is DC or DCC. While I can't give you any info about DCC operated layouts, a DC-controlled layout requires isolating gaps at both ends of the reverse loop, and a separate switch to control the direction of the current within that area. By the way, welcome to the Gauge.:wave:

  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I'd be interested in knowing where this bit of misinfrmation came from.
    To expand a touch on Wayne's post, for DC you need a reversing switch for the reversing section and a separate one for the main layout. Possibly a reversing switch for each reversing section, if it simplifies things. This is for each controller.
    DCC only need a reversing unit for each reversing section. The only loco wiring needed is for the DCC chip.
  4. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    People add extra pick ups to steam engines because compared to most diesels steam engines will tend to have smaller surface area picking up power. Therefore they will tend to stall on turnouts. Putting pick ups on both sets of drivers as well as both sides of the tender, will make them run more reliably.
  5. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Actually, there is some truth to this statement. My experience with MRC's auto reversers was that they didn't work most of the time with steam locos. After some experimenting, I believe that these reversers only work dependably when the first wheelsets which cross the gaps (the ones that trigger the reversal of polarity) are involved in the picking up of power. My steamers with pilot wheels would fail to trigger the modules. I connected a lamp across the gaps of one rail and shorted the gap with a screwdriver. If the module flipped polarity, then the lamp should have gone on/off as I bridged the gap at either end of the reverse block. I found that using a screwdriver (or two, one for each rail) would not often trip the reverser. It might after a couple seconds (!!) However, diesels almost always worked. This admittadly unscientific method made me believe that only wheelsets conducting power would reliably throw an MRC reverser. I then bought some of Tony's reversers. These flip polarity when just one rail gap is bridged with a screwdriver. And I no longer have any problems with my steam locos either. There are the only two brands of auto reversers I have used. I believe the MRC uses a relay, while Tony's is electronic. Perhaps the key to a reason lies there.

    An additional item: After years of faultless service, I had one or two of Tony's reversres start intermittantly failing to flip polarity, always on just one end of the revers block. I called and spoke to Tony, who sent me replacements at no charge (great service!) Unfortunately. the problem was unchanged. It turned out that the Atlas turnouts I used had developed high resistance in the rivets that conduct power, a few soldered drops solved the problem.
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Now that you mention it, I think I've heard of the same thing at the railroad club. I don't think the problem is so much to do with the first wheel sets as it has to do with whether the locomotive picks up on both sides at the same wheel set. Diesels typically have the center of the trucks insulated so that both the right and left side of the trucks pick up power. On many steamers, the locomotive picks up on one side while the tender picks up on the other side. For some reason some of the automatic reversers don't function with steamers for this reason.

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