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Old 02-12-2014, 01:25 AM   #1
Magic
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Baffeled in Reno

I've got a problem that makes no sense to me.

My layout is two ovals, one inner/lower and the other outside/upper. There are two turnouts to sidings on each oval. On the lower one two turnouts go to the rail yard with its own district.
These work just fine, the trains pass over the insulators OK.
On the upper level the two turnouts are identical, each going to an insulated siding. One has insulators on both rails and the other just the A rail.
Here is the layout.
https://www.modeltrainforum.com/showthread.php?t=22525

When I pull my SP Daylight off the double insulated siding some times it shorts out, other times not. On the other single insulated siding I parked a loco there one night and when I went to run the next day I had a dead short, took some time to find the problem. It was the loco I parked, it was right on the insulated joint and and was a dead short. Burnt the chip in the loco. Thankfully a cheep Bachmann switcher.

I have no idea why this happens and can see no reason for it.
I hope someone can help me here I've been battling the electric on this thing for almost a year, I have no one here in Reno to ask so I depend on the internet. I want to district the two ovals but not if I have dead shorts every time I pass over the insulators.

Thanks Magic
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Old 02-12-2014, 06:32 AM   #2
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Not so baffeled now

Well I solved part of the problem on the one turnout I found a bad toggle switch.
It would short if it was turned off, power on it was fine. Replaced toggle and all is good.

On the second it seems that the only train that shorts is the lead truck of my MTH PA, the rear truck and the powered PB all cross the insulators just fine as well as my Athearn GP-9s.
So I don't know what is going on there The PA will short most every time but if it's going fast enough it will pick up again, at very slow speed it stops on the insulator and just shorts??? I wonder if insulating just one rail would help? Try that tomorrow. 3:30 AM so I done for today.

Magic
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Old 02-12-2014, 10:57 AM   #3
DonR
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Magic

You mention 'districts'. Are you powering your layout with more than
one booster? If not, there should be no shorting even when crossing
insulated joints unless you have a reverse loop controller in use or
have drops wired incorrectly.

If more than one booster, It seems I've read that there must be a
'tie' of some sort between the boosters. Your instruction manual should
describe this, if so.

How are you powering the insulated siding where the shorting occurs?
It should be from the
same buss as the track to which it connects (via your on/off switch)
and it's rails should be matching polarity. That being the case,
I don't see how there is a possible short when metal wheels span the insulators.

If this shorting is happening on a Turnout it may be the frog.
Metal wheels can span the tiny insulator in some turnout frogs and cause
a short. I solved that on my Pecos with a tiny dab of clear fingernail
polish at the narrow point. Others gap the 2 rails diverging from the frog.

Fill in some of the above unknowns and maybe we can solve your problem.

Sure looks like the beginnings of a very nice layout.

Don
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Old 02-12-2014, 12:28 PM   #4
Magic
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Thanks for the reply Don

The layout is powered by only one power supply, a digitrax Zephyr no booster yet but I think I need one. There is a DCC Specialties PSX-1 circuit breaker at the Zephyr.

The siding is powered from the same power source so it's on the same buss and the polarity is matched.

The short happens at the insulators or at least I though it was till now. I just ran the PA over the other siding that I had problems with but fixed and it shorted there also and not at the insulators but at the turnout. They are both curved #7 Walthers. I just put in the second one and never ran the PA PB over it, looks like something to do with the curved turnout.

I just ran things again and believe that you hit the nail on the head about the turnout frog insulators. I think I'll try gaping the frog rails, no wife and I gave up finger nail polish several years ago.

Thanks ever so much Don as this was driving me nuts

I think the layout will be fun to operate, not the most beautiful or realistic but fun.

Thanks again Magic

Edit: Hooray Don did it.
I just gaped the frog and everything is as it should be. Looking at the turnouts there is a very small gap in the main line at the frog, this seems to be the problem I just gaped that one rail and we're good to go. Thanks Don I can go head and district the layout, gatta rewire everything anyway, it's such a mess with all the additions I put in.

I'm a happy camper right now. Magic

Last edited by Magic; 02-12-2014 at 01:03 PM..
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Old 02-12-2014, 01:26 PM   #5
DonR
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Sure glad the 'magic' worked.

That's why the Forum is so helpful.

Most of us have had the various problems on our
layouts and some member led us down the
right path. It's a pleasure to then help others.

Don
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Old 02-12-2014, 04:02 PM   #6
wingnut163
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????

question: i was under the idea that with DCC, there was no need to have isolating siding.
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:33 PM   #7
Magic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wingnut163 View Post
????

question: i was under the idea that with DCC, there was no need to have isolating siding.
I use them to park sound locos so I don't have to mute them all the time, just turn off the power to the siding.
I guess when I get into programing CVs I'll be able to have them shut down after a set time
but I no where close to doing CVs, I'm still trying to get them, instead of me, to go in circles.

Magic
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Old 02-13-2014, 01:01 PM   #8
wingnut163
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got ua.
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