DCC system resets when accelerating locomotives


Phil T.
 

On my NCE DCC Power Cab layout, after over 10 years of successful operation, my DCC locomotives began to reset the system after I had accelerated above 3 or 4 on the 28 speed setting. By reset, I mean that the system turned off and then went through its starting cycle.

Using my multi meter I looked for residence and found heavy resistance in one rail leading to a turnout. I suspect it must be the problem, but I don't know what to do about it. Should I make new wiring connections there? Should I get a new turnout? What is the best way to handle resisitance?

Additional info:

My layout is small. It's the Yule Central from the Small Railroads You Can Build, edited by Bob Hayden in 1983. It's an oval on a 4 x 6 foot table with two spurs, a tiny run around track, and a small two track stub yard. There are six Atlas snap turnouts and four DPDT switches for block control.

I coverted to DCC around 2010 by upgrading wiring. I installed a 14 gauge bus line and attached the 22 gauge feeders with solder and suitcase connectors.

I sent my PowerCab into NCE and they tested it and found that it was working perfectly (I have the 1.28C Chip). They suggested I test my decoders and wiring, and perhaps consider purchasing a Smart Booster.

Further testing my PowerCab system on an EZ Track oval showed my decoders and PowerCab were working fine. Some of my decoders required resets to factory defaults.

I tested my wiring for short circuits using the "quarter test," and each time the quarter was laid on both rails my system turned off.


Jim Betz
 

Phil,

  The PowerCab is seeing a short/high amp draw - there's enough power
for the layout to come up but not enough for the added draw of trying to
move a loco.  Sound locos draw more than non-sound.  Did you add more
locos sitting on the track?  Even one more than you used to use can cause a
problem. 
  Take everything off the track (including cars), test one loco at a time to see
if it is one of your locos - no?  Now start adding additional locos one at a time
to see if it just too many at once.  Start adding cars back - say 3 or 4 at a
time - still no?
  Look for a tool laying on the track just out of sight - such as a screw driver
or pair of pliers.

  If you've made any recent track changes - look there.  If you've done any
recent scenery work look for possible shorts caused by same.

  You -will- find this and when you do it will be an "Ahah moment".  The
basic premise is "divide and conquer".
                                                                                                        - Jim


wirefordcc
 

Hi Phil,

 

I’ve been thinking about your problem.  Can’t say that I’ve seen it before, but I try to give you some useful thoughts.

 

You may have a couple of unrelated problems.  First, you talk about “heavy” resistance.  Do you mean high resistance?  If so, what reading did you get?  If the suitcase connector did not go together just right, you might a high resistance or nothing at all.  High resistance in wires going to your track is something you do need to fix.  I don’t think a high resistance is the cause of your Power Pro resetting.

 

Regarding the Power Pro resetting, I’m thinking you have a load, like a locomotive that is drawing just enough current to pull the power supply for the Power Pro down enough that causes it to reset.  The Power Pro has a neat feature where it can display track current.  (Note:  I believe this only works with the Power Pro and I do not think it works if you got a SB5.)  With no locomotive or any lighted cars on the track, the reading should be zero or nearly so.  If you are reading an amp or more, something is definitely wrong.  If you are reading about 2 amps, then any additional load applied a locomotive that is starting up, MIGHT cause the problem you are seeing.  See page 58 for setting your Power Pro to display track current.  You may have to back up a page or two to find out how to get the Power Pro to display the screen on page 58.

 

Allan Gartner

Wiring for DC

 

From: w4dccqa@groups.io <w4dccqa@groups.io> On Behalf Of Phil T. via groups.io
Sent: Wednesday, September 15, 2021 2:42 PM
To: w4dccqa@groups.io
Subject: [w4dccqa] DCC system resets when accelerating locomotives

 

On my NCE DCC Power Cab layout, after over 10 years of successful operation, my DCC locomotives began to reset the system after I had accelerated above 3 or 4 on the 28 speed setting. By reset, I mean that the system turned off and then went through its starting cycle.

Using my multi meter I looked for residence and found heavy resistance in one rail leading to a turnout. I suspect it must be the problem, but I don't know what to do about it. Should I make new wiring connections there? Should I get a new turnout? What is the best way to handle resisitance?

Additional info:

My layout is small. It's the Yule Central from the Small Railroads You Can Build, edited by Bob Hayden in 1983. It's an oval on a 4 x 6 foot table with two spurs, a tiny run around track, and a small two track stub yard. There are six Atlas snap turnouts and four DPDT switches for block control.

I coverted to DCC around 2010 by upgrading wiring. I installed a 14 gauge bus line and attached the 22 gauge feeders with solder and suitcase connectors.

I sent my PowerCab into NCE and they tested it and found that it was working perfectly (I have the 1.28C Chip). They suggested I test my decoders and wiring, and perhaps consider purchasing a Smart Booster.

Further testing my PowerCab system on an EZ Track oval showed my decoders and PowerCab were working fine. Some of my decoders required resets to factory defaults.

I tested my wiring for short circuits using the "quarter test," and each time the quarter was laid on both rails my system turned off.


wirefordcc
 

Hi Phil,

 

I’ve been thinking about your problem.  Can’t say that I’ve seen it before, but I try to give you some useful thoughts.

 

You may have a couple of unrelated problems.  First, you talk about “heavy” resistance.  Do you mean high resistance?  If so, what reading did you get?  If the suitcase connector did not go together just right, you might a high resistance or nothing at all.  High resistance in wires going to your track is something you do need to fix.  I don’t think a high resistance is the cause of your Power Pro resetting.

 

Regarding the Power Pro resetting, I’m thinking you have a load, like a locomotive that is drawing just enough current to pull the power supply for the Power Pro down enough that causes it to reset.  The Power Pro has a neat feature where it can display track current.  (Note:  I believe this only works with the Power Pro and I do not think it works if you got a SB5.)  With no locomotive or any lighted cars on the track, the reading should be zero or nearly so.  If you are reading an amp or more, something is definitely wrong.  If you are reading about 2 amps, then any additional load applied a locomotive that is starting up, MIGHT cause the problem you are seeing.  See page 58 for setting your Power Pro to display track current.  You may have to back up a page or two to find out how to get the Power Pro to display the screen on page 58.

 

Allan Gartner

Wiring for DC


Bill Wilken
 

Perhaps the simplest way of debugging a problem like this is the classic “halving” strategy.  In short, disconnect half of your railroad.  Find which half provokes your problem.  Then repeat the process in the troublesome half until you locate the specific area that is causing your problem


On Sep 15, 2021, at 3:22 PM, Phil T. <affirmtraining@...> wrote:


On my NCE DCC Power Cab layout, after over 10 years of successful operation, my DCC locomotives began to reset the system after I had accelerated above 3 or 4 on the 28 speed setting. By reset, I mean that the system turned off and then went through its starting cycle.

Using my multi meter I looked for residence and found heavy resistance in one rail leading to a turnout. I suspect it must be the problem, but I don't know what to do about it. Should I make new wiring connections there? Should I get a new turnout? What is the best way to handle resisitance?

Additional info:

My layout is small. It's the Yule Central from the Small Railroads You Can Build, edited by Bob Hayden in 1983. It's an oval on a 4 x 6 foot table with two spurs, a tiny run around track, and a small two track stub yard. There are six Atlas snap turnouts and four DPDT switches for block control.

I coverted to DCC around 2010 by upgrading wiring. I installed a 14 gauge bus line and attached the 22 gauge feeders with solder and suitcase connectors.

I sent my PowerCab into NCE and they tested it and found that it was working perfectly (I have the 1.28C Chip). They suggested I test my decoders and wiring, and perhaps consider purchasing a Smart Booster.

Further testing my PowerCab system on an EZ Track oval showed my decoders and PowerCab were working fine. Some of my decoders required resets to factory defaults.

I tested my wiring for short circuits using the "quarter test," and each time the quarter was laid on both rails my system turned off.


Don Vollrath
 

Allan and others, an NCE Power CAB can measure and display the ampere demand. It is rated for only 2 amperes. A PowerPRO system (with the right power source/supply) is rated for 5 amps but cannot display the amp demand. Which system is being used? Monitor the voltage from the power supply. Is it also dropping out or is it only the internal booster?

Look also for other clues. Does it occur with the same or group of same loco(s)? Does it occur near the same
Section of track? Look for an internal wiring short due to something in the loco touching the frame due to flexing or a loco to loco short through metal couplers as they bump one another. If it is only happening with a multi unit consist, try removing the locos one at a time. Does it occur when pulling no cars?

DonV


Jerry Michels
 

It might be other reasons, but this as happened on our museum layout a number of times, and it has always been too many sound-equipped locomotives and/or lighted cars in the same block. Too much amperage draw which looks to the system like a short. Lighted passenger cars are often overlooked as a sink I agree with Don, try running a train with a single locomotive through the section, stop and then start, then add a locomotive, and another, and so on, yu should reach a maximum that the system can take. Jerry Michels


Phil T.
 

First, you talk about “heavy” resistance. Do you mean high resistance?  Yes.


If so, what reading did you get?  I'm not sure. Looked like 2.1 but I'm not sure how to read the meter.


If the suitcase connector did not go together just right, you might a high resistance or nothing at all.  High resistance in wires going to your track is something you do need to fix.  I don’t think a high resistance is the cause of your Power CAB resetting. I appreciate that.

 

Regarding the Power Pro resetting, I’m thinking you have a load, like a locomotive that is drawing just enough current to pull the power supply for the Power Pro down enough that causes it to reset.  The Power Pro has a neat feature where it can display track current.  (Note:  I believe this only works with the Power Pro and I do not think it works if you got a SB5.)  With no locomotive or any lighted cars on the track, the reading should be zero or nearly so.  If you are reading an amp or more, something is definitely wrong.   My Power Cab reads zero amps with no cars on the track.


Thanks for your detailed analysis. I'm going to search for whatever could be creating the excess load. I wonder if it could be a lack of maintenance on the locomotives?


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Phil T.
 

Thanks. I do have a Power Cab, and I have repeated tried five or six different locomotives by themselves, with no other locos or cars on the tracks.

Thank you all for your help!

Phil

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On Sat, Sep 18, 2021 at 10:19 AM Jerry Michels <gjmichels53@...> wrote:
It might be other reasons, but this as happened on our museum layout a number of times, and it has always been too many sound-equipped locomotives and/or lighted cars in the same block.  Too much amperage draw which looks to the system like a short.  Lighted passenger cars are often overlooked as a sink I agree with Don, try running a train with a single locomotive through the section, stop and then start, then add a locomotive, and another, and so on, yu should reach a maximum that the system can take.  Jerry Michels






wirefordcc
 

Hi Phil,

I'm still perplexed by your problem.  Since you have your Power Cab displaying track current, what is the last reading you see before the system resets?

Are you maybe using a wall transformer other than the one that came with Power Cab?

At the moment, I'm still thinking something is pulling down the Power Cab's power supply.
If you are not reading anything when no loco is on the track, that is good.

Locos that are in need of maintenance could draw more power than one in tip-top shape, but a loco that does that I don't think would cause the Power Cab to reset.

What scale do you model?

Regarding your high resistance, that still probably isn't causing your resetting problem.

Allan 
Wiring for DCC


Marcus Ammann
 

Hi Phil

 

You said NCE returned the PowerCab saying it is working normally.

You said you tested the PowerCab on a circle of track and you can run locos.

You said you do the “Coin Test” and the PowerCab shuts down. Was this on the LAYOUT or on the test circle of track?

 

If on the layout, then there is nothing wrong with the layout.

If on the test circle, then there could be a problem with your layout.

 

Saying the PowerCab Ammeter shows ZERO when connected to the layout, with a loco on track, suggests:

There’s a wiring issue to the layout.

A problem with the PCP (fascia panel).

A problem with the Flat Cable

A problem with the PowerCab, but NCE tested it okay.

 

Is the PCP (fascia panel) LED illuminated with the PowerCab plugged in?

 

If yes, place a 12 Volt 5 to 20 Watt Automotive lamp (Tail Lamp), “across” the track.

Does the lamp illuminate?

What wattage lamp did you use?

What does the PowerCab’s Ammeter display?

Try the lamp in different places on the layout.

 

All of the above confirms whether you’re getting power to the layout.

 

With the lamp illuminating, there’s nothing wrong with the PowerCab, wiring etc, the problem is in the loco.

 

Lamp NOT illuminating, problem with PowerCab and/or wiring.

 

You have to identify the EXACT problem to rectify the culprit.

 

Please get back to us with your results.

 

Regards

Marcus

 

 

From: w4dccqa@groups.io <w4dccqa@groups.io> On Behalf Of Phil T.
Sent: Tuesday, 21 September 2021 5:00 AM
To: w4dccqa@groups.io
Subject: Re: [w4dccqa] DCC system resets when accelerating locomotives

 

Thanks. I do have a Power Cab, and I have repeated tried five or six different locomotives by themselves, with no other locos or cars on the tracks.

 

Thank you all for your help!

 

Phil

 

Virus-free. www.avast.com

 

On Sat, Sep 18, 2021 at 10:19 AM Jerry Michels <gjmichels53@...> wrote:

It might be other reasons, but this as happened on our museum layout a number of times, and it has always been too many sound-equipped locomotives and/or lighted cars in the same block.  Too much amperage draw which looks to the system like a short.  Lighted passenger cars are often overlooked as a sink I agree with Don, try running a train with a single locomotive through the section, stop and then start, then add a locomotive, and another, and so on, yu should reach a maximum that the system can take.  Jerry Michels





Phil T.
 



On Mon, Sep 20, 2021 at 3:28 PM wirefordcc <bigboy@...> wrote:
Hi Phil,

I'm still perplexed by your problem.  Me too! Since you have your Power Cab displaying track current, what is the last reading you see before the system resets? Usually .09.

Are you maybe using a wall transformer other than the one that came with Power Cab? No.

At the moment, I'm still thinking something is pulling down the Power Cab's power supply.
If you are not reading anything when no loco is on the track, that is good.

Locos that are in need of maintenance could draw more power than one in tip-top shape, but a loco that does that I don't think would cause the Power Cab to reset. I agree. I think I'm just going to have to clean and inspect every joint in the wiring as well as make sure my locos are clean and maintained.

What scale do you model? HO

Regarding your high resistance, that still probably isn't causing your resetting problem.

Thanks Allan, I appreciate your help and ideas. 

Allan 
Wiring for DCC


wirefordcc
 

Hi Phil,

Have you tried any of the things Marcus Ammann suggested?

Allan 


Phil T.
 

Not yet, but I'm planning to. Dealing with an aging dog who has  been an extraordinary companion. 


On Tue, Sep 21, 2021, 5:06 PM wirefordcc <bigboy@...> wrote:
Hi Phil,

Have you tried any of the things Marcus Ammann suggested?

Allan 


Jim Betz
 

Phil,

  Don't forget to also check all of the gaps - the ones you want/plan to have.
If one of those has closed up ... most of the way but not all the way ... that
can cause a short/intermittent short.  The way those gaps get closed is
usually due to cleaning track and using too much pressure - "if the rail
moves you are using too much pressure" is a pretty good rule.  Guys will
then say "but it doesn't get clean that way" to which I reply "use more
repeats not more pressure".
                                                                                               - Jim


Phil T.
 

Good point!


On Tue, Sep 21, 2021, 11:34 PM Jim Betz <jimbetz@...> wrote:
Phil,

  Don't forget to also check all of the gaps - the ones you want/plan to have.
If one of those has closed up ... most of the way but not all the way ... that
can cause a short/intermittent short.  The way those gaps get closed is
usually due to cleaning track and using too much pressure - "if the rail
moves you are using too much pressure" is a pretty good rule.  Guys will
then say "but it doesn't get clean that way" to which I reply "use more
repeats not more pressure".
                                                                                               - Jim