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Walthers lighted passenger cars

Jerry Michels
 

Hi Folks,

Our layout has been operating quite well recently, with the phase problems solved and not repeating for a couple of months.  However, we recently started testing a few passenger trains, and we are running into a curious problem with lighted Walthers passenger cars.

Although a string of up to four locomotives pass from one block to another with ease as they straddle two independent blocks, even those junctures crossing blocks powered by different boosters, the Walthers lighted passenger cars short out the blocks.  When we insulate one set of trucks (putting tape across the contacts), the problem goes away, but then we get flickering lights across the blocks.

Has anyone else had this problem?  Causes?  Solutions?

Thanks.

Jerry Michels
Amarillo Railroad Museum

Carl
 

Hello:

May I suggest a pair of diodes, one to each truck so the power can't flow from one block to the other.

I had a similar problem with my K-Line passenger car. I was using a ZW to power two blocks and had parked the passenger car across the gap. The ZW has no over current protection between the power taps. The high voltage burned all the insulation off the roller wires.

Carl.

On 11/8/2019 9:55 AM, Jerry Michels wrote:
Hi Folks,

Our layout has been operating quite well recently, with the phase problems solved and not repeating for a couple of months.  However, we recently started testing a few passenger trains, and we are running into a curious problem with lighted Walthers passenger cars.

Although a string of up to four locomotives pass from one block to another with ease as they straddle two independent blocks, even those junctures crossing blocks powered by different boosters, the Walthers lighted passenger cars short out the blocks.  When we insulate one set of trucks (putting tape across the contacts), the problem goes away, but then we get flickering lights across the blocks.

Has anyone else had this problem?  Causes?  Solutions?

Thanks.

Jerry Michels
Amarillo Railroad Museum

Chuck Gevaert
 

Carl:

Would you explain how you would attach the diode to a truck in this situation? Also what size diode would you recommend?

Thanks for your help

Chuck

Carl
 

Hello Chuck:

A small diode should do, it just needs to carry the current of the lights in the car.

For the rest I'll need some more details.

Are we talking 2 rail HO? Are the trucks picking up power from one rail, or both?

Is the passenger train long enough to reach 3 blocks, or from the first, across the second block and back to the first?

Are the blocks at the same "polarity"?

Thanks, Carl.


On 11/10/2019 3:28 PM, Chuck Gevaert wrote:
Carl:

Would you explain how you would attach the diode to a truck in this situation? Also what size diode would you recommend?

Thanks for your help

Chuck

Chuck Gevaert
 

Carl:

I am running 2 rail HO. I am not powering lights in my Walthers passenger cars but am trying to run them from one power district to another which includes a reversing circuit. The second district is not long enough to fit the entire train on the reversing circuit so the reversing circuit stops the train. Would installation of a diode on each truck stop the reversing circuit from stopping the train? If so, where do I install the diode and would a 1 amp diode be sufficient?

Thanks for your help.

Chuck

Jerry Michels
 

Hi Carl,

Our club is running two-rail HO scale.  Each truck picks up power from the rails.  I am not sure of the circuitry, but all four of the right-hand wheels pick up power as do the left-hand wheels.  Our blocks are in phase with each other, so call this polarity.  This is a DCC system.  In our case, the passenger train is not long enough to reach 3 blocks.  Our problem is that when the lighted cars cross from one block to another, they short.  I like the idea of a diode, I suppose the first thing to do is open one of these cars up and look at the circuit.

Jerry Michels

Carl
 

Hello Chuck:

Thanks for the information.

If you could make the reversing section longer than your longest train would be best, but I figure you have a limit to keep.

Here are my suggestions:

1) Insulate the trucks from the car frame, if not already.

2) Cut in a short block at each end of the reversing block, a bit larger than the passenger trucks. Just let this be dead track, 8cm perhaps.

Your locomotives should be able to bridge these new blocks, and still allow enough space for the passenger trucks to cross with out shorting.

The other option is to insulate all the passenger car wheels. I know metal wheels roll better, could you switch to plastic side frames? Or perhaps insulate the axles from both wheels.

What you don't want is the wheels connecting the rails at the gap when the current is reversed.

Hope this helps.

Carl.

On 11/10/2019 11:06 PM, Chuck Gevaert wrote:
Carl:

I am running 2 rail HO. I am not powering lights in my Walthers passenger cars but am trying to run them from one power district to another which includes a reversing circuit. The second district is not long enough to fit the entire train on the reversing circuit so the reversing circuit stops the train. Would installation of a diode on each truck stop the reversing circuit from stopping the train? If so, where do I install the diode and would a 1 amp diode be sufficient?

Thanks for your help.

Chuck

Carl
 

Hello Jerry:

Thanks for the additional information:

So one option would be to power the lights from just one truck. You would still need the "dead" section.

If you want to avoid flickers and have power over the gap you could add 8 diodes, four for each truck. Lets just assume LED lights so we know the current can only flow one way. So the wheels on each side would be routed to two diodes. These diodes would be routed to the appropriate side of the LED lights. The diodes only need to be large enough to carry the LED lights.

Carl.

On 11/11/2019 12:14 PM, Jerry Michels wrote:
Hi Carl,

Our club is running two-rail HO scale.  Each truck picks up power from the rails.  I am not sure of the circuitry, but all four of the right-hand wheels pick up power as do the left-hand wheels.  Our blocks are in phase with each other, so call this polarity.  This is a DCC system.  In our case, the passenger train is not long enough to reach 3 blocks.  Our problem is that when the lighted cars cross from one block to another, they short.  I like the idea of a diode, I suppose the first thing to do is open one of these cars up and look at the circuit.

Jerry Michels

Don Vollrath
 

Jerry you have rediscovered the reason to make all AR sections longer than the longest train. Many passenger cars have multi-axle pickup where two or more axes on a Truck are electrically connected together even if the power pickup is not being used. As a result the multi-axle truck acts like a Long jumper across each isolating gap In the rails. This causes confusion and even short circuits to the AR controller when a loco or other multi-axle pick up truck also happens to be crossing an isolating gap at the other end of the AR section. I don’t see any way adding diodes will resolve the issue.
Fixes. ... adjust the length of the AR section slightly to avoid simultaneous crossing of the gaps at both ends of the AR section using your particular train car lengths.
Be sure to fill AR section gaps so that steel wheels cannot fall into the gap while touching both rails.
Avoid using wires inside the car to achieve multi-truck pickup to reduce light blinking. (Use some other electrical technique)
If you are not using car lighting use plastic wheels to avoid bridging the gaps.

DonV

Jerry Michels
 

Don,

Our problem is not a reversing loop, it is on the mainline as the cars cross from one block t another.  Thanks.

Jerry

Vincent Ficca
 

Hi Jerry:

I am building a large layout and have not had any problems with walthers passenger cars with lights (UP), going through blocks that are protected with NCE EB1 breakers.  I never seen a problem with lighted cars at the club layout I belong to.  You can go the web site and see if any information could be helpful.  "www.pacificsouthern.org"  I will ask some club members who understand electronics at a high level.

Regards,

Vince
 

On Tue, Nov 12, 2019 at 10:05 AM Jerry Michels <gjmichels53@...> wrote:
Don,

Our problem is not a reversing loop, it is on the mainline as the cars cross from one block t another.  Thanks.

Jerry