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DCC voltage on track

Tom Anderson
 

I am trying to trouble shoot what appears to be some wiring problems with my new layout.
I am using a Digitrax DCS-210 with a PM42. I have 4 sections wired. Also, have 4 6 port Frog Juicers connected.

Basically, the train runs just fine on the 2 main lines but stalls when trying to enter a siding off the main line.

In trying to fix this problem, I tried to read the track voltage with my multimeter. I am getting no voltage on any of the tracks. I checked the multimeter on other isolated AC sources and it reads just fine.

So what am I missing here? Stumped. Any help greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Tom Anderson

Re: DCC voltage on track

vincent marino
 

My brother I was faced with the same situation a while back. Let tell you what it was on my layout. You can go through the same check list as I used and you might find your problem before the end of the list. 

1) make sure all the track joiners are either tight or soldered or both. 

2) make sure the power district with the problem has no shorts, no criscrossed track leads to the power bus, all connections are tight.

3) finally, this is what was wrong with mine. The turnout leading to the power district with the problem, make sure the locomotives are crossing over the turnout without shorting the frog or the frog alignment assist. Especially if your using a consist. Wasn't until I started syncing the locos using JMRI. It put the consist in a smooth pulling motion which eliminated the push/pull of the middle and rear locos over the turnout. Thus no more shorts from power district to power district. 

Hope that helped. 

On Sat, Feb 16, 2019, 4:37 PM Tom Anderson <tanderson@... wrote:
I am trying to trouble shoot what appears to be some wiring problems with my new layout.
I am using a Digitrax DCS-210 with a PM42. I have 4 sections wired. Also, have 4 6 port Frog Juicers connected.

Basically, the train runs just fine on the 2 main lines but stalls when trying to enter a siding off the main line.

In trying to fix this problem, I tried to read the track voltage with my multimeter. I am getting no voltage on any of the tracks. I checked the multimeter on other isolated AC sources and it reads just fine.

So what am I missing here? Stumped. Any help greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Tom Anderson

Re: DCC voltage on track

AD
 

Do you power your tracks on the other side of the switch or do you depend on power being sent to sidings thru the switch

Tony


On Feb 16, 2019, at 4:06 PM, Tom Anderson <tanderson@...> wrote:

I am trying to trouble shoot what appears to be some wiring problems with my new layout.
I am using a Digitrax DCS-210 with a PM42. I have 4 sections wired. Also, have 4 6 port Frog Juicers connected.

Basically, the train runs just fine on the 2 main lines but stalls when trying to enter a siding off the main line.

In trying to fix this problem, I tried to read the track voltage with my multimeter. I am getting no voltage on any of the tracks. I checked the multimeter on other isolated AC sources and it reads just fine.

So what am I missing here? Stumped. Any help greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Tom Anderson

Re: DCC voltage on track

vincent marino
 

That's a good question. I had the foresight to put all the turnouts (14 of them) on one power district. My shorts we're isolated to that district. Specifically I track powered each turnout, occasionally because of proximity 2 turnouts shared a powered rail joiner. All my frogs are powered and frankly that was the issue until I synced the engines. 


On Sat, Feb 16, 2019, 6:23 PM AD <bklyns_baseball_club@... wrote:
Do you power your tracks on the other side of the switch or do you depend on power being sent to sidings thru the switch

Tony


On Feb 16, 2019, at 4:06 PM, Tom Anderson <tanderson@...> wrote:

I am trying to trouble shoot what appears to be some wiring problems with my new layout.
I am using a Digitrax DCS-210 with a PM42. I have 4 sections wired. Also, have 4 6 port Frog Juicers connected.

Basically, the train runs just fine on the 2 main lines but stalls when trying to enter a siding off the main line.

In trying to fix this problem, I tried to read the track voltage with my multimeter. I am getting no voltage on any of the tracks. I checked the multimeter on other isolated AC sources and it reads just fine.

So what am I missing here? Stumped. Any help greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Tom Anderson

Re: DCC voltage on track

Tom Anderson
 

OK, I am beginning to isolate the problem. I disconnected the suspect power district from the PM42 and now I get a voltage reading on the remaining 3 (11.6 volts).

 

So, tomorrow I begin the search for the problem.

 

Just FYI, all switches are Peco Electrofrog and the switches do no power routing.

 

Thanks to all for the assist.

 

Tom

 

 

 

Tom Anderson

 

Business Information Systems, Inc.

P.O. Box 160396

Boiling Springs, SC  29316

 

(864) 621-8607

 

From: w4dccqa@groups.io <w4dccqa@groups.io> On Behalf Of vincent marino
Sent: Saturday, February 16, 2019 7:28 PM
To: w4dccqa@groups.io
Subject: Re: [w4dccqa] DCC voltage on track

 

That's a good question. I had the foresight to put all the turnouts (14 of them) on one power district. My shorts we're isolated to that district. Specifically I track powered each turnout, occasionally because of proximity 2 turnouts shared a powered rail joiner. All my frogs are powered and frankly that was the issue until I synced the engines. 

 

On Sat, Feb 16, 2019, 6:23 PM AD <bklyns_baseball_club@... wrote:

Do you power your tracks on the other side of the switch or do you depend on power being sent to sidings thru the switch

 

Tony


On Feb 16, 2019, at 4:06 PM, Tom Anderson <tanderson@...> wrote:

I am trying to trouble shoot what appears to be some wiring problems with my new layout.
I am using a Digitrax DCS-210 with a PM42. I have 4 sections wired. Also, have 4 6 port Frog Juicers connected.

Basically, the train runs just fine on the 2 main lines but stalls when trying to enter a siding off the main line.

In trying to fix this problem, I tried to read the track voltage with my multimeter. I am getting no voltage on any of the tracks. I checked the multimeter on other isolated AC sources and it reads just fine.

So what am I missing here? Stumped. Any help greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Tom Anderson


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Re: DCC voltage on track

John Johnston <towboatjohnston@...>
 

Tom,
I will be fascinated to hear what you learn. I am in the process of wiring a similar scheme with Peco electrofrogs, 3 frog Juicers and an AR-1 that reverses a balloon track (N-scale code 55). Haven’t tested the branches yet.

 I see you are in Boiling Springs. I’m in Seneca. If you get stuck we have some smart people at the Central Railroad Museum who might be able to help. Hope you made it to our big Expo in Easley last weekend.

Good luck!

John Johnston
(713) 240-1687
Sent from iPhone via gmail

On Feb 16, 2019, at 6:53 PM, Tom Anderson <tanderson@...> wrote:

OK, I am beginning to isolate the problem. I disconnected the suspect power district from the PM42 and now I get a voltage reading on the remaining 3 (11.6 volts).

 

So, tomorrow I begin the search for the problem.

 

Just FYI, all switches are Peco Electrofrog and the switches do no power routing.

 

Thanks to all for the assist.

 

Tom

 

 

 

Tom Anderson

 

Business Information Systems, Inc.

P.O. Box 160396

Boiling Springs, SC  29316

 

(864) 621-8607

 

From: w4dccqa@groups.io <w4dccqa@groups.io> On Behalf Of vincent marino
Sent: Saturday, February 16, 2019 7:28 PM
To: w4dccqa@groups.io
Subject: Re: [w4dccqa] DCC voltage on track

 

That's a good question. I had the foresight to put all the turnouts (14 of them) on one power district. My shorts we're isolated to that district. Specifically I track powered each turnout, occasionally because of proximity 2 turnouts shared a powered rail joiner. All my frogs are powered and frankly that was the issue until I synced the engines. 

 

On Sat, Feb 16, 2019, 6:23 PM AD <bklyns_baseball_club@... wrote:

Do you power your tracks on the other side of the switch or do you depend on power being sent to sidings thru the switch

 

Tony


On Feb 16, 2019, at 4:06 PM, Tom Anderson <tanderson@...> wrote:

I am trying to trouble shoot what appears to be some wiring problems with my new layout.
I am using a Digitrax DCS-210 with a PM42. I have 4 sections wired. Also, have 4 6 port Frog Juicers connected.

Basically, the train runs just fine on the 2 main lines but stalls when trying to enter a siding off the main line.

In trying to fix this problem, I tried to read the track voltage with my multimeter. I am getting no voltage on any of the tracks. I checked the multimeter on other isolated AC sources and it reads just fine.

So what am I missing here? Stumped. Any help greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Tom Anderson


ExchangeDefender Message Security: Check Authenticity

Re: DCC voltage on track

Carl
 

Hello Tom:

You are following the scheme I like to use: Divide and Conquer.

Now you know where the problem isn't. Look for shorts in the problem district. Can you clear the fault by moving points?

I have a buzzer with a battery that I use a lot.

Carl.

OK, I am beginning to isolate the problem. I disconnected the suspect power district from the PM42 and now I get a voltage reading on the remaining 3 (11.6 volts).

 

So, tomorrow I begin the search for the problem.

 

Just FYI, all switches are Peco Electrofrog and the switches do no power routing.

 

Thanks to all for the assist.

 

Tom



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Re: Power for Z-Scale Decoders

Don Vollrath
 

Hmmm. Makes me wonder what;s inside the UP6Z box. there are plenty of misc connectors but according to the sales info no real need for a power supply. Anyone ever open the box? Could be just a bunch of 4 amp rated silicon diodes connected in series parallel to give a relatively fix 4-5 volt drop with either polarity.
DonV 

Re: Power for Z-Scale Decoders

Jay
 

Hi Don,
Inside of the UP6Z it appears to have 3 resistor arrays.
With a Capacitor & a Fusible link to track output.
That & 6 Loconet ports.

Jay

Re: Cleaners & Lubricants

Alex Hempel
 

Hi Jay,

just making sure because I live on a different continent: is this the CRC2-26 you're talking about?

https://www.repco.com.au/en/brands/crc/crc-2-26-electrical-spray-400g/p/A3698939

Cheers

Alex

Re: Cleaners & Lubricants

Jay
 

Hi Alex,
I am not sure.
The CRC 2-26 here in the states is "Plastic Compatible"
I am not sure yours is, I would check for that because it could damage the ties in the track.
Amazon has it here: https://www.amazon.com/CRC-Plastic-Multi-Purpose-Precision-Lubricant/dp/B07GBD9GZ7.

Jay

Re: Cleaners & Lubricants

Alex Hempel
 

Yeah, gotta be careful. The stuff I linked does not specifically state that it is plastic safe, so I'll probably refrain from using it until I know more.

Thanks

Alex

Re: Cleaners & Lubricants

Greg Elmassian
 

It was recommended long ago by Lewis Polk of Aristo-Craft.

I tried using it as a track cleaner, and it did "break down" all the junk on the rails and wheels on my outdoor G scale loco.

It also reduced friction so locos would not climb grades and made an even dispersal of black goo on all my rails and wheels.

Took a while to clean it off. My recommendation is that it makes rails too slippery, and if you use it, clean it off completely after, and don't get it on your wheels.

Greg

Re: Cleaners & Lubricants

Don Vollrath
 

I agree. CRC 2-26 is listed first as a lubricant tnen as a cleaner. Putting on the track will help remove unwanted residue, But... it will also act as a lubricant which will reduce the friction and therefore the pulling power of locos. Works great for other sliding type electrical connections.  
DonV 

Re: Power for Z-Scale Decoders

Mark Gurries
 

With respect to the USA

Z scale track voltage and Z scale decoder voltage ratings are not directly related.  The voltage rating of the DCC electronics are typically the same as N and HO.  30V is common standard of electronic parts used.  The voltage rating of the power devices used to drive the motor does not define the physical size of the parts.  

The NMRA does not define specific voltage for specific scales.  They have one standard for all scales: 12V.  Does not change with DCC.

The purpose of having a specific track voltage as a standard is for reliability purposes for both the motor and lamps.

DCC track voltage typically is a bit higher than the DC track voltage because of voltage losses inside the DCC decoder.  The goal is to get 12V at the motor terminals, the same motor operating condition under DC without a decoder.



On Feb 12, 2019, at 8:25 PM, Jay <jayfmn@q.com> wrote:

Hi!
Z Scale recommended voltage should be 9V.
12V is pushing the upper limit of the true Z Scale decoders in Z Scale engines.
The UP6Z is recommended by Digitrax for operating Z scale.

Jay

Best Regards,

Mark Gurries
Electrical Engineer
DCC Website & NMRA DCC Clinics: www.markgurries.com



Re: Power for Z-Scale Decoders

Carl
 

Hello Mark:

I've converted Lionel three rail locomotives and the 12 volt limit is a problem. Lionel and MTH locomotives are wired for 18 volts and some barely move at 12 volt. I'm not quite willing to change to 12 volt motors.

Carl.

On 2/18/2019 1:18 PM, Mark Gurries wrote:
With respect to the USA

Z scale track voltage and Z scale decoder voltage ratings are not directly related.  The voltage rating of the DCC electronics are typically the same as N and HO.  30V is common standard of electronic parts used.  The voltage rating of the power devices used to drive the motor does not define the physical size of the parts.  

The NMRA does not define specific voltage for specific scales.  They have one standard for all scales: 12V.  Does not change with DCC.

The purpose of having a specific track voltage as a standard is for reliability purposes for both the motor and lamps.

DCC track voltage typically is a bit higher than the DC track voltage because of voltage losses inside the DCC decoder.  The goal is to get 12V at the motor terminals, the same motor operating condition under DC without a decoder.

,_

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Re: Cleaners & Lubricants

Glenn
 

It also makes a good glue.

I have a friend with a 30-year old layout. 90% of his switches are Atlas Custom Line with the attached switch machine.

I like to call him quick draw. It seems he always a can of CRC in his hand and uses it liberally.

On one visit he asked me about a stuck switch.He admits to spraying CRC into the slot on top of the switch machine.

"It worked three times. Now it will not move, even by hand."

I gave him a tube of lock graphite.

Glenn

-----Original Message-----
From: Don Vollrath
Sent: Feb 18, 2019 12:25 PM
To: w4dccqa@groups.io
Subject: Re: [w4dccqa] Cleaners & Lubricants

I agree. CRC 2-26 is listed first as a lubricant tnen as a cleaner. Putting on the track will help remove unwanted residue, But... it will also act as a lubricant which will reduce the friction and therefore the pulling power of locos. Works great for other sliding type electrical connections.  
DonV

Re: Power for Z-Scale Decoders

whmvd
 

Mark,

Try G-Scale at 12V. That's virtually a non-starter!

Wouter


On Mon, 18 Feb 2019 at 18:18, Mark Gurries <gurriesm@...> wrote:
With respect to the USA

Z scale track voltage and Z scale decoder voltage ratings are not directly related.  The voltage rating of the DCC electronics are typically the same as N and HO.  30V is common standard of electronic parts used.  The voltage rating of the power devices used to drive the motor does not define the physical size of the parts.  

The NMRA does not define specific voltage for specific scales.  They have one standard for all scales: 12V.  Does not change with DCC.

The purpose of having a specific track voltage as a standard is for reliability purposes for both the motor and lamps.

DCC track voltage typically is a bit higher than the DC track voltage because of voltage losses inside the DCC decoder.  The goal is to get 12V at the motor terminals, the same motor operating condition under DC without a decoder.



On Feb 12, 2019, at 8:25 PM, Jay <jayfmn@q.com> wrote:

Hi!
Z Scale recommended voltage should be 9V.
12V is pushing the upper limit of the true Z Scale decoders in Z Scale engines.
The UP6Z is recommended by Digitrax for operating Z scale.

Jay

Best Regards,

Mark Gurries
Electrical Engineer
DCC Website & NMRA DCC Clinics: www.markgurries.com



Re: Cleaners & Lubricants

Jay
 

Hi!
Spraying the CRC directly onto the track is not a recommended practice.
It is best applied in a thin layer on the track.
Then let it dry.
There are 3% grades on my layout & I have no slippage issues when I run 25 unit trains.

Jay

Re: Power for Z-Scale Decoders

Al Silverstein
 

A little history here might help clear up the DCC voltage to the rails issues on several different levels.
 
At one point in time many years ago the NMRA Standards and Recommended Practices did include voltage to the rail ratings for the scales of N, HO, O/S, and G. Over the last 10-15 years the NMRA has modified and/or deleted many Standards and Recommended Practices. The DCC Standards and Recommended Practices are a perfect example. Several of the DCC Standards have been modified and most of the Recommended Practices have been deleted. Unless you know where to look finding the older Standards and Recommended Practices are very difficult. I have since DCC was first introduced back in 1994 tried to keep up with any and all information dealing with DCC. It has not always been an easy task. I have a complete set of the DCC Standards and Recommended Practices as they were back in 2002.
 
In the latest Electrical Standard S-9.1 (Version 2006), on page 3, there are four charts which indicated the various voltages of the different scales for DCC. If you are curious about the voltages please follow this link:
 
 
Now lets take a minute to look at the DCC Decoders. If one were take a close look one would find that any DCC decoder is supposed to accept an input range anywhere from about 12 volts to 22 volts. This holds true for most non sound mobile decoders. Sound decoders in general cannot handle voltages above, I believe, about 18 volts. This is a component issue dealing with sound chips. But all things being equal it is the motor in the scale that determines what voltage is needed on the rails.
 
Now as for the voltage output to the rails the issue deals with the market place. HO has been the most popular scale for at least 30-40 years and HO layouts have a history of using 0-12 volts DC for operation. With HO being by far the most popular scale the manufacturers lean in the direction of HO for most of their support. Just look at Walthers. Walthers today only produces two general catalogs: O and HO-N-Z. It was only a couple of years ago that Walthers produced three catalogs: O, HO, and N/Z. The number of products in HO in their HO-N-Z catalog is much larger than their N scale products which is much larger than their Z scale products.
 
DCC manufacturers are in the business of making a profit and thus they place their major support to the market with the greatest potential for profit which is the HO market. Thus most of the DCC command systems are HO scale based when it comes to voltage to the rails. There is a general drop of about 1.4-1.8 volts through a decoder thus in order to get the 12 volts to the motor the voltage on the rails must be at least 13.8 volts.
 
It is easily understandable why most of the DCC command system manufacturers have only one voltage to the rails output and that is most of the purchasers of their command stations are HO scale modelers. Besides N and Z being much smaller markets when it comes to model railroading note that N and Z scale decoders are more expensive because the parts need to be smaller and also note that it is much more difficult to install a decoder in a N and Z scale model railroad engine. I have a HO 0-4-0 yard switcher that is over 35 years old and it was easy to install a N scale decoder in it once I isolated the motor from the frame. It appears to me that over the last several years there has been a general drop in the number of model railroaders in the scales of O/S and above.
 
The only DCC manufacturer that I am acquainted with that provides easy to adjust voltage to the rails is Digitrax. All of their command stations with the exception of the Zephyr have an external voltage to the rails adjustment switch for N-HO-O/G with the output voltage dependent upon the command station power source. The current PS615 is great for HO and below while the PS2012e can easily handle all scales to include the scales above HO. Digitrax a couple of years ago added to their product line the UP6Z which can easily adjust the voltage to the rails for Z scale operation to about 8 volts.
 
The above paragraph is not intended to indicate that Digitrax is any better than any other DCC command system but only that the Digitrax hardware is geared to handle a wider variety of model railroading scales. Each DCC command system manufacturer has chosen which market it wants to support. When choosing a DCC command station or any other DCC related product one must make the decision that best fits his, or her, situation. I operate on several different layouts from time to time and I enjoy every moment no matter what the scale or which command system is being used.
 
The one aspect of DCC that I appreciate the most is the ability to move with my engine without the need of having to keep track of the rail power routing switches.
 
Al Silverstein