Date   
Power on or off to check continuity?

Bart Lowrance
 

Hello - new to model railrodaing, new to DCC, inexperinced electronics novice. I have my layout wired, divided into 4 powerblocks. My track is flextrack with 4 turnouts. Each section of track is fed to the bus wiring utilizing an A rail and a B rail wired to corresponding bus wiring. The turnouts (with insulfrogs) are similarly wired to the bus. When I run my locomotive, it runs fine on the rails, but stops when it crosses each turnout. Occassionaly I see a small spark on the wheel of the loco when it hits the turnout, but can't isolate the exact location where the spark occurs.I am trying to check continuity to see if I can isolate a place in the turnout where a short is occuring. Without power is get no buzz when cross checking across the rails (one lead on A, one lead on B). With the rails powered, I get a weak buzz when cross checking across the rails. Should the rails be powered for continutity checks? Any other suggestions for locating/isolating a short in a turnout or any other suggestions for the what the problem may be? Thanks in advance.

Re: What are the consequences?

asychis@...
 

My wiring has been untwisted for over 10 years with no known problems. My longest run is about 50 feet and am using #10 gauge wire for that run. Most runs are #12 gauge, with the shortest runs with #14, which is minimum. All main bus feeders use stranded wire.
 
Mike,I think you have the typical experience.  There can be too much hand wringing about specifications that have little effect on the typical DCC layout.
 
Jerry Michels

Re: Power on or off to check continuity?

Paul O
 

Name please,

Continuity is NEVER checked with power on!

 

You didn’t say, but when the loco stops, does the system show a short is occurring?

If so, you probably have  feeder wires crossed at the turnout.

If no short then it’s probably a dead rail at the turnout.

 

With DCC there is always voltage on the rails. Set your voltmeter to the AC scale and you should read about 14 volts AC across the rails (HO scale).

Leave one meter lead connected to a rail and move the other lead through the turnout checking the other rail. You should get the 14 volts at all points.

Try the same thing with the other rail.

 

Let us know what you find.

 

Paul O

 

Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2015 10:41 PM


Hello - new to model railrodaing, new to DCC, inexperinced electronics novice. I have my layout wired, divided into 4 powerblocks. My track is flextrack with 4 turnouts. Each section of track is fed to the bus wiring utilizing an A rail and a B rail wired to corresponding bus wiring. The turnouts (with insulfrogs) are similarly wired to the bus. When I run my locomotive, it runs fine on the rails, but stops when it crosses each turnout. Occassionaly I see a small spark on the wheel of the loco when it hits the turnout, but can't isolate the exact location where the spark occurs.I am trying to check continuity to see if I can isolate a place in the turnout where a short is occuring. Without power is get no buzz when cross checking across the rails (one lead on A, one lead on B). With the rails powered, I get a weak buzz when cross checking across the rails. Should the rails be powered for continutity checks? Any other suggestions for locating/isolating a short in a turnout or any other suggestions for the what the problem may be? Thanks in advance.

Re: Power on or off to check continuity?

Bart Lowrance
 

Thanks for the feedback Paul. The loco stops for 2 or 3 seconds, jumps a little bit, then continues, assuming it was going fast enough. If the loco is creeping, it generally stops and I can hear it making a clicking sound every second or so.


On Apr 9, 2015, at 12:58 PM, 'Paul O' pomilian@... [WiringForDCC] <WiringForDCC@...> wrote:

 

Name please,

Continuity is NEVER checked with power on!

 

You didn’t say, but when the loco stops, does the system show a short is occurring?

If so, you probably have  feeder wires crossed at the turnout.

If no short then it’s probably a dead rail at the turnout.

 

With DCC there is always voltage on the rails. Set your voltmeter to the AC scale and you should read about 14 volts AC across the rails (HO scale).

Leave one meter lead connected to a rail and move the other lead through the turnout checking the other rail. You should get the 14 volts at all points.

Try the same thing with the other rail.

 

Let us know what you find.

 

Paul O

 

Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2015 10:41 PM


Hello - new to model railrodaing, new to DCC, inexperinced electronics novice. I have my layout wired, divided into 4 powerblocks. My track is flextrack with 4 turnouts. Each section of track is fed to the bus wiring utilizing an A rail and a B rail wired to corresponding bus wiring. The turnouts (with insulfrogs) are similarly wired to the bus. When I run my locomotive, it runs fine on the rails, but stops when it crosses each turnout. Occassionaly I see a small spark on the wheel of the loco when it hits the turnout, but can't isolate the exact location where the spark occurs.I am trying to check continuity to see if I can isolate a place in the turnout where a short is occuring. Without power is get no buzz when cross checking across the rails (one lead on A, one lead on B). With the rails powered, I get a weak buzz when cross checking across the rails. Should the rails be powered for continutity checks? Any other suggestions for locating/isolating a short in a turnout or any other suggestions for the what the problem may be? Thanks in advance.

Re: Power on or off to check continuity?

Bart Lowrance
 

Sorry - name is Bart. I guess I thought it would auto-post.
So I checked continuity with my voltmeter w/o power on. No buzz when cross checking rails on either end of the turn out, nor on the rails in the turn out, so it seems good.

Powered up and set voltmeter to AC, switch indicator to-~V (imagine the squiggly line and dash on top of one another!) cross checked across all rails in and out of the turn out. Constant reading of 16.42 - 16.43 all around the track and in turnout.


On Apr 9, 2015, at 12:58 PM, "'Paul O' pomilian@... [WiringForDCC]" <WiringForDCC@...> wrote:

 

Name please,

Continuity is NEVER checked with power on!

 

You didn’t say, but when the loco stops, does the system show a short is occurring?

If so, you probably have  feeder wires crossed at the turnout.

If no short then it’s probably a dead rail at the turnout.

 

With DCC there is always voltage on the rails. Set your voltmeter to the AC scale and you should read about 14 volts AC across the rails (HO scale).

Leave one meter lead connected to a rail and move the other lead through the turnout checking the other rail. You should get the 14 volts at all points.

Try the same thing with the other rail.

 

Let us know what you find.

 

Paul O

 

Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2015 10:41 PM


Hello - new to model railrodaing, new to DCC, inexperinced electronics novice. I have my layout wired, divided into 4 powerblocks. My track is flextrack with 4 turnouts. Each section of track is fed to the bus wiring utilizing an A rail and a B rail wired to corresponding bus wiring. The turnouts (with insulfrogs) are similarly wired to the bus. When I run my locomotive, it runs fine on the rails, but stops when it crosses each turnout. Occassionaly I see a small spark on the wheel of the loco when it hits the turnout, but can't isolate the exact location where the spark occurs.I am trying to check continuity to see if I can isolate a place in the turnout where a short is occuring. Without power is get no buzz when cross checking across the rails (one lead on A, one lead on B). With the rails powered, I get a weak buzz when cross checking across the rails. Should the rails be powered for continutity checks? Any other suggestions for locating/isolating a short in a turnout or any other suggestions for the what the problem may be? Thanks in advance.

Re: Auto Reversing circuit rail gaps

Mark Cartwright
 

Hello all, 

I am having a similar experience with Paul on not cutting rails nor using AR-1 units etc.
---
Here is why....in my travels I buy other people's stuff. 
So why have I been coming onto Loop/Reverse AR-1 type device unused or at least opened in the plastic, yet not employed? 
The answer maybe Digitrax with Kato.
====
I also bought a not yet operational 30"x50" layout which was one insulator short of a  working track system.
The previous owner sadly was near driving himself nuts over DCC and the use of a single Kato Double Cross-over in his plan.
Seriously he was one short ...short of a simple insulator when he died. I came upon his layout, as his widow had found it...All the rest of the track laid but the double crossover hanging loose. His wiring skills were impeccable, everything cut to size and laid out precisely under the table. All his Kato Switches, also worked well with his Zephyr
But?
He was short of just one proper placement of just one insulator. Just follow the lines around and see where the conductivity places a + against a - and insert insulator...
Then test. He had installed an outside loop which then acted like a reverse loop. The Digitrax Zephyr and sorry I don't know why or how it does this or if My MRC controller could do the same...but it works as Paul states without problems. A few of my decoders have an issue at this juncture, but very few of them; and the ones that do don't seem to say Digitrax on them. When I set the switch further (outside loop)  back from the double crossover with a longer section of straight track in between, this transition of a confused stall at this location lessened; even in a very slow crawl speed of a locomotive. Anything faster and the locomotive quickly glides over this area. I  now believe that Packets between Decoder and Controller are not read as fast was we might be lead to believe.
Mark

Re: What are the consequences?

Mark Cartwright
 

I was living in San Jose/Silicon Valley when Offices began to incorporate LAN systems to tie all their computers together. I was working in a place which though using IBM computers, had Apple Executives as their clients....So..when it came for me to choose which computer system....I opted out of the LAN System and went Apple. So, I became the Graphics and Photography guy. I could make slide presentations on my Apple when Other HAL owners could not.  Also Steve and Steve had someone to smile with and talk to.
===
The best benefit? How is HAL working today for you? (That's what I called their IBM/LAN System)
It's NOT.
Their LAN or Local Area Network system kept breaking down and taking their array of IBM's with it.
Local area network - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

Maybe it's alive and has developed it's own consciousness. 
Yes a precursor to Battle Star Galactica and the Terminator Series. People would look at me, while I drank Pepsi and they would all drink Coke and vote Republican. But it was okay, I was the Apple/Photography guy when they needed a brochure or something so they put up with me and my strange alien ways. 
===
The LAN IT guys would come out and begin to trace all the wires for interference, attempting old fashion methods of wring in capacitors and such.
Eventually?
They ripped it all out and began over with twisted pair wire. 20-24 gauge wire was stricken from our shelves and everything went 18 gauge or higher except in some specific security systems, but even in this, our wire was of a higher grade (pressure extruded) than other security system installers. We tended to run 4 wire security systems, while others security agencies/installers ran two wire.
=======================================
Did they ever get their LAN system to work?
Well, yeah maybe...but I know that when they moved two years later and HOME systems such as Theaters and intercoms become more sophisticated...along with wireless nanny cams...Oops! They had to basically re-invest/re-invent the wheel on installation tactics and logistics.
Twisted Shielded Pair became a keyword in nearly any sentence. And even in that there were upgrades.
Here is a bit of knowledge...Relocate your transformers away from any communication device.
So....
What am I planning for my two parallel but not connected layouts to perhaps one day cover my 1200 square foot basement?
Well....
In 4 months, I am officially retired and so will be on a fixed budget. Meaning I am sincerely cheap.
At a local Habitat Restore...three old time bell wire looms/rolls of wire came in >> In three different colors.
Yeah ...old time twisted pair.
I think I paid $5 for each roll. It's perhaps 16 to 18 gauge and a bit better than the drop down leads that Kato Unitrack employs anyway.
Let's see to the now and how...Twisted pair at $15 versus anything else at ?$?$ which I can't really afford.   My plan, as much of my layout(s) has been planned by Others; has come down again to what deals have fallen in front of me at my feet.
Unless, your layout begins to resemble a LAN System.. > I wouldn't worry about it.
Meaning? 
My Layout is being taken over by Union Pacific and I am not sure why!

All my buildings are lighted, I will be using well over a dozen Miller Engineering Signs, several of my locomotives will be equipped with sound...and all of them  mixtures of many different brands of decoders.
98% of my layout has been bought used or at least second hand, the other 2% are scratch building supplies.
Train Stores got a right to hate me.
So...for now each layout is being controlled by different DCC Systems.
When I put the two large layouts together many years from now with a Helix?
Ka Boom!
Or worse = They may create their own consciousness and begin to think they are smarter than me.
What are the consequences?
Mark

Here is a video of me working on N Scale Steam and trying to make it work.
Charlie Chaplin - Modern Times : Full Documentary

Yes, it's better explained in French.

When Education Dies Crime Thrives...at 6:15

===

When you ain't got a 1200 square foot area for a layout > then it really don't matter if it's a LAN system with twisted pair no matter the cost of wire.



Re: Power on or off to check continuity?

Paul O
 

Bart, that sounds like you have a short of some sort at the turnout. The clicking you hear is the controller cycling the power when it detects a short.

Is it happening just as one of the wheels is exiting the frog?

With an ‘insulfrog’ type of turnout the actual frog is probably plastic and just past the frog, the two diverging rail are of opposite polarity and a wheel tread may be bridging those rails.

Three solutions are possible:

n  The wheels are out of gauge toward the wide side.

n  You can trim the spot where the rails almost touch to widen the gap between them.

o   See at the picture “Insulfrog1” in the Photos section of this group for an explanation of the problem.

n  You can shim the side of the guard rail to force the loco wheel away from the diverging rail.

 

Hop that solves your problem.

 

Paul O

Re: Power on or off to check continuity?

John White
 

I have some of the same issues. What I have found is that certain Loco's wheels come in contact with both rails at the frog point, which in turn makes the sparks. Sometimes it will stop the Loco and restart the system and also changes the direction. Other times it sparks and keeps going. I think most of it is the Loco and the fact that my switches are the older type Atlas with the frog being plastic. I don't think there is much I can do about it without changing all my turnouts or the possibility of wheel gauge. I do have some hand built turnouts that I made several years ago, that I plan on replacing the Atlas' with. But you got to be able to run a train or your interest will wain..Moving slow across the plastic frogs is sometimes a pain. But I do see a light at the end of the tunnel and maybe around the curve (pun intended).
T White

WiringForDCC Do You Need A Flicker Free Lighting Circuit?

george hohon3
 

This is an open question for the group members and for your modeling associates.

Manufactured lighting kits for DCC powered layout run about $25 to $35 each and are basically made for a specific car or application.  I know of several circuit designs, from multiple web sources, that provide a variety of different approaches with different parts and specifications, all coming from different suppliers, etc.  I know the greater majority of modelers working with DCC have some basic knowledge and skill for making one of these circuits at their workbench.  But, and here's the question, if a basic lighting kit were available for the purpose of lighting passenger coaches and cabooses with LEDs . . . would you be interested?

It's assumed the kit would include a printed circuit board, bridge rectifier, capacitor, and enough resistors to provide a small range of varied power outputs to the LEDs.  The circuit board would provide at least four separate LED connection spots.  Additional options with the kit may include track power pick-up arms, and LED lighting strips.

If such a product were available, at what price would you actually stop and buy it?  Around $5 for a basic kit, or around $7.50?  Would $10 per basic kit stop you, or would the convenience of having all the parts and pieces available be reasonable at $10 . . . . ?  Unfortunately, in today's market environment, this kit will probably have more costs associated with packaging than the components inside.

Thanks for your input.  If you have any comments or questions or suggestions on this little endeavor, please pass them along.

George
in SLO, CA

Re: Power on or off to check continuity?

Paul O
 

T.W., the fix for your Atlas turnouts is in my post to Bart, #9064 in this group.

 

Paul O

 

From: WiringForDCC@... [mailto:WiringForDCC@...]
Sent: Saturday, April 11, 2015 7:09 AM
To: WiringForDCC@...
Subject: [WiringForDCC] Re: Power on or off to check continuity?

 

 

I have some of the same issues. What I have found is that certain Loco's wheels come in contact with both rails at the frog point, which in turn makes the sparks. Sometimes it will stop the Loco and restart the system and also changes the direction. Other times it sparks and keeps going. I think most of it is the Loco and the fact that my switches are the older type Atlas with the frog being plastic. I don't think there is much I can do about it without changing all my turnouts or the possibility of wheel gauge. I do have some hand built turnouts that I made several years ago, that I plan on replacing the Atlas' with. But you got to be able to run a train or your interest will wain..Moving slow across the plastic frogs is sometimes a pain. But I do see a light at the end of the tunnel and maybe around the curve (pun intended).
T White

Re: WiringForDCC Do You Need A Flicker Free Lighting Circuit?

Hans LOEHER <hansloeher@...>
 

George
there are some ready to install lighting strips available from Germany incl leds,pot, cap, rectifier, hookup wire in various lengths  and colors incl tail lights if desired. Check on ebay. Hufing-tronic.de is one of them. No I'm not affiliated with them, just using their product for a number of years.  Kokologo.com sells their product also on ebay, you can get them for EU4.50 and 6.50 depending on the bidding war or buy-direct situation.
Hans



On Saturday, April 11, 2015 1:50 PM, "george hohon3 hohon3@... [WiringForDCC]" wrote:


 
This is an open question for the group members and for your modeling associates.

Manufactured lighting kits for DCC powered layout run about $25 to $35 each and are basically made for a specific car or application.  I know of several circuit designs, from multiple web sources, that provide a variety of different approaches with different parts and specifications, all coming from different suppliers, etc.  I know the greater majority of modelers working with DCC have some basic knowledge and skill for making one of these circuits at their workbench.  But, and here's the question, if a basic lighting kit were available for the purpose of lighting passenger coaches and cabooses with LEDs . . . would you be interested?

It's assumed the kit would include a printed circuit board, bridge rectifier, capacitor, and enough resistors to provide a small range of varied power outputs to the LEDs.  The circuit board would provide at least four separate LED connection spots.  Additional options with the kit may include track power pick-up arms, and LED lighting strips.

If such a product were available, at what price would you actually stop and buy it?  Around $5 for a basic kit, or around $7.50?  Would $10 per basic kit stop you, or would the convenience of having all the parts and pieces available be reasonable at $10 . . . . ?  Unfortunately, in today's market environment, this kit will probably have more costs associated with packaging than the components inside.

Thanks for your input.  If you have any comments or questions or suggestions on this little endeavor, please pass them along.

George
in SLO, CA


Re: WiringForDCC Do You Need A Flicker Free Lighting Circuit?

Glenn
 

I know I would like several. Plus I know a few friends that would like some. If they would fit in an N-scale car I know one more.

 

Of course the lowest price would be an advantage. One of the factors of pricing is, “How many cars would need conversion.”

 

Glenn

 

 

 


From: WiringForDCC@... [mailto:WiringForDCC@...]
Sent: Saturday, April 11, 2015 16:51
To: WiringForDCC@...
Subject: [WiringForDCC] WiringForDCC Do You Need A Flicker Free Lighting Circuit?

 




This is an open question for the group members and for your modeling associates.

Manufactured lighting kits for DCC powered layout run about $25 to $35 each and are basically made for a specific car or application.  I know of several circuit designs, from multiple web sources, that provide a variety of different approaches with different parts and specifications, all coming from different suppliers, etc.  I know the greater majority of modelers working with DCC have some basic knowledge and skill for making one of these circuits at their workbench.  But, and here's the question, if a basic lighting kit were available for the purpose of lighting passenger coaches and cabooses with LEDs . . . would you be interested?

It's assumed the kit would include a printed circuit board, bridge rectifier, capacitor, and enough resistors to provide a small range of varied power outputs to the LEDs.  The circuit board would provide at least four separate LED connection spots.  Additional options with the kit may include track power pick-up arms, and LED lighting strips.

If such a product were available, at what price would you actually stop and buy it?  Around $5 for a basic kit, or around $7.50?  Would $10 per basic kit stop you, or would the convenience of having all the parts and pieces available be reasonable at $10 . . . . ?  Unfortunately, in today's market environment, this kit will probably have more costs associated with packaging than the components inside.

Thanks for your input.  If you have any comments or questions or suggestions on this little endeavor, please pass them along.

George
in SLO, CA


Re: Power on or off to check continuity?

Bart Lowrance
 

Paul - thanks for the analysis and tips. I can't seem to locate the photo you referenced on wiringfordcc.com. am i looking in the correct place? Thanks again.

Bart


To: WiringForDCC@...
From: WiringForDCC@...
Date: Fri, 10 Apr 2015 18:25:34 -0400
Subject: RE: [WiringForDCC] Power on or off to check continuity?

 

Bart, that sounds like you have a short of some sort at the turnout. The clicking you hear is the controller cycling the power when it detects a short.

Is it happening just as one of the wheels is exiting the frog?

With an ‘insulfrog’ type of turnout the actual frog is probably plastic and just past the frog, the two diverging rail are of opposite polarity and a wheel tread may be bridging those rails.

Three solutions are possible:

n  The wheels are out of gauge toward the wide side.

n  You can trim the spot where the rails almost touch to widen the gap between them.

o   See at the picture “Insulfrog1” in the Photos section of this group for an explanation of the problem.

n  You can shim the side of the guard rail to force the loco wheel away from the diverging rail.

 

Hop that solves your problem.

 

Paul O


Re: Power on or off to check continuity?

Paul O
 

Bart, it’s in the photos section of this Yahoo group, not on wiringfordcc.com.

 

Paul O

 

From: WiringForDCC@... [mailto:WiringForDCC@...]
Sent: Sunday, April 12, 2015 7:42 PM
To: WiringForDCC@...
Subject: RE: [WiringForDCC] Power on or off to check continuity?

 

 

Paul - thanks for the analysis and tips. I can't seem to locate the photo you referenced on wiringfordcc.com. am i looking in the correct place? Thanks again.

Bart

Re: WiringForDCC Do You Need A Flicker Free Lighting Circuit?

Jim Keating <jim.keating@...>
 

George, I think around $10 a kit would be reasonable.  Do you have a little endeavor you're cookin' up?

Re: WiringForDCC Do You Need A Flicker Free Lighting Circuit?

wirefordcc
 

Please topics to wiring Q&A. Thank you

Allan

Re: Source for Track Bus Twisted Cable

Glen Duke <glen_duke@...>
 

Twist it yourself. It's easy.

Glen Duke

On 4/4/2015 2:10 PM, 'Marvin Pankaskie' thealchemist@... [WiringForDCC] wrote:

I am rewiring my track bus and would like to find a source for 2-conductor
14 AWG twisted pair wire. I have looked at a number of online hobby and
electronics stores, but can't seem to find this size in twisted cable. I
will be running my layout with the NCE PowerPro throttle + SB3a Booster (5
Amps). I have found the 22 AWG cable I will be using for my feeders, but not
the larger size. Suggestions?


Thank you kindly,

Marvin Pankaskie

Fairport, NY 14450








------------------------------------
Posted by: "Marvin Pankaskie" <thealchemist@...>
------------------------------------

http://www.WiringForDCC.com
------------------------------------

Yahoo Groups Links




Re: Source for Track Bus Twisted Cable

asychis@...
 

> I am rewiring my track bus and would like to find a source for 2-conductor
> 14 AWG twisted pair wire. I have looked at a number of online hobby and
> electronics stores, but can't seem to find this size in twisted cable. I
> will be running my layout with the NCE PowerPro throttle + SB3a Booster (5
> Amps). I have found the 22 AWG cable I will be using for my feeders, but not
> the larger size. Suggestions?
>
>
>
> Thank you kindly,
>
> Marvin Pankaskie
 
Marvin,  Our club uses two or three conductor extension cords with the plugs cut off for our busses.  In five years of use there have been no problems  with some bus runs over 30 feet, but not over 50.  I think the wires in the extension cords are "twisty" enough. We like the variety of sheathing colors to keep the busses ordered properly, and add bands of colored electrical tape to further differentiate busses.
 
Jerry Michels
Amarillo Railroad Museum

DCC O'scope signal images

Chuck Hart
 

Can you tell me the model # of the Oscilloscope Don Vollrath used for the DCC signals shown in the Wiring for DCC web site pages?

Thanks.

Regards, Chuck Hart