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Discussion Starter #1
Well, I finally have my small N scale track set, up and running! I took JerryH's advice and did a lot of thoughtful planning before the physical build and now I am running trains. WooHoo!!

I have attached pics of the top (triple loop where I can run 3 trains simultaneously) and below where I have wired 3 DS64's and 2 BXP88's. Yes, I know, overkill for such a small layout. But this was/is practice for a larger, more ambitious future layout.

I have only one issue with trains running and that is in the third picture. The black bars are where I have insulated joiners. The circles are where I have run power via the BXP88's.
Engines from spurs 3 and 4 run without any issue to section 5, which is on to the main track.

Engines from spur 2, however, stop dead once they cross into spur 3. And engines from spur 1 stop dead once they hit spur 2. Any thoughts on getting these spurs to run (besides making them all one block) or what I have mis-wired?

Still playing with TrainController. I do have all the turnouts running. Playing with the blocks and occupancy detection now.

Thanks for any advice! John
 

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Discussion Starter #3
On the entire layout, the Digitrax DCS 210 beeps for a short when a turnout is not thrown/closed in the direction the engine is headed.

I do not get this beeping when an engine in 2 hits 3 or when an engine in 1 hits 2.

I have checked the wiring and blue is on all the rails away from the bottom of the diagram. I have also checked the occupancy detection on 1-5 and they all light the LT5 tester appropriately.

I am wondering about the turnouts and their effect. As example, if I have an engine at the end of 3 and the turnout connecting 3 and 4 is switched to 3, the occupancy light is on. When I switch the turnout to head to 4 the occupancy light for 3 goes out even though the engine is still there.
 

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Are they power routing turnouts? That may have something to do with your "disappearing" trains.
 

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If your DCS is detecting shorts, I think the BXPs are not doing their job. They should trip before the DCS. Sounds like the turnouts are power routing. Time to get out the voltmeter and see what is actually happening.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Sorry guys, power routing turnouts? Not sure what that means. I do know that my turnouts are Kato Untrack #6. They are all wired to Digitrax DS64 stationary decoders.

Also, with my newness to all of this, I am not sure what i would be checking w a voltmeter...

Thank you both for your input!
 

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Power routing turnouts send power with the track route and removes power from the other route. A voltmeter is a handy tool that you need to learn how to use. You can start with it set to AC volts and read an approximate voltage between the rails. Once you have that then you can read the voltage across the insulated rail joint. 0 voltage is good and track voltage is reversed wiring feeders.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks, Jerry. I will get a voltmeter and learn how to use it as well as the impact of power routing turnouts. A new thing to learn! :- )
 

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As Jerry said, your Kato #6 N scale turnouts are power routing.

To keep power on your tracks regardless of how
the points are set you'll need to add track drops from
the turnout frog rails to your track bus. Note that the frog
rails are not the same polarity.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks, Don. I will be working on the power and voltmeter now. Will keep y'all updated. I do appreciate the support here...John
 

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Discussion Starter #12
OK, all...an update. I spent some time researching power routing turnouts, using a multimeter and what "other side of the frog" all mean and how they affect the layout. All were head scratchers for me when you gave me that input...

I started w the various books I bought and found a wonderful chapter in Basic Trackwork for Model Railroaders by Jeff Wilson from Model Railroader Books. The chapter on Laying Turnouts not only educated me on what a power-routing turnout is but also how to wire it.

In short (pun intended), both 2 and 3 were wired incorrectly. To Lemonhawk's point, I had both of those blocks wired on the frog end, not the point end. I have since changed those by adding a small section of track at the insulated joiners and putting the feeders on the point end of the turnout. See pic. Low and behold, all lines now work and my occupancy detectors all light appropriately!

I also bought a multimeter. I watched many videos on how to use it, especially on model train layouts. Toms Trains and Things videos were very helpful. I used the multimeter on all sectors and had equal readings across the board.

Again, I appreciate all the input! I didn't fully understand it all but it did get me to learn something more about my layout. Thanks for the lessons!! Now, I am going to run some trains for a bit and then start to tackle using TrainController to set up/run various train manifests. WooHoo!!
 

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Glad you got it sorted out.

One takeaway from all of this: don't be afraid to keep asking questions if you don't understand someone's reply. No one is born with this knowledge. You have to pick it up somewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks, Lemonhawk! It has been a blast learning all this stuff I knew nothing about...especially electronics.

I really appreciate your comment, CTValleyRR. I ask a lot of questions, sometimes too many. I want to learn and also be respectful of others and their time. I figured I could do some research on my own before turning into that pesky 4 year old!

This site and all y'all's input has turned out to be a very helpful resource! Thank you...

Will post again when I have some learning on computer control of the layout. Have a great long weekend...John
 

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I'm new as well to the hobby, lots to learn and I found this forum excellent for advice and ideas. This coming winter I will design my initial layout and leave openings for future expansion. This will give me lots of research and learning time.

Does anyone have a suggested solenoid/frog switch manufacturer suggestion?

Wouldn't mind experimenting with that on my temporary layout
 

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Rumrunner

It's not clear what you are asking.

The frog polarity could be switchable in some make and model turnouts.
Others use a non powered frog.

Tortoise turnout motors have built in switches for
frog control. Some twin coil motors have available
relays for frog control.

Give us more information...the make and model turnouts
you have...and what exactly you want to do.

Don
 

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I've purchased Micro-Engineering flex track with a couple turnouts....using the code 83. I want to motorize the track switches, I will have to purchase these separate?

Sorry if I'm not clear.....new to the hobby and still learning the terminology
 

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Probably should have started your own thread rather than reviving this one...

So, terminology: the things that move the track rails to allow trains to move from one track to another are typically referred to as "turnouts" to distinguish them from the electrical things, which we still call "switches". If you look at Don's reply, you can see why this matters. So you want to motorize the turnouts, right?

You can use twin coil solenoids, which throw the points hard over, which is both unrealistic and hard kn the turnouts. Or you can use slow motion machines, which use either stall motors or servos. The most popular of these are Tortoise by Circuitron. I myself prefer servos from Tam Valley Depot because I think they're easier to operate without fancy wiring. Walthers makes a similar system to the TVD ones, although TVD's tech support is lightyears ahead (it's a 5 person company -- you get prompt responses to inquiries).
 

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Rumrunner

Most model turnouts do not come with the motor to move the
points. You must buy these separately. There are two general
types of motors. Twin coil, (2 solenoids) which are operated
by momentary push buttons, also sold separately. They
'snap' the points.

The other type is the stall motor design, for example, by Tortoise. This
device slowly moves the points. They are controlled by
double pole double throw lever switches (DPDT).

Many times it is easier to install motors sold by the
maker of the turnouts.

Check with the dealer who sold you your turnouts. They
may have the compatible motors.

Don
 
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