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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have set up my track and the train is running fine with a few slow downs and sparks, nothing I don't think I can't figure out.

However, I tried to introduce 2 switches for a kind of turnout (not sure of the term, see pic below).

The switches I am using are Lionel 6-5121 (L) and 6-5122 (R) but in this situation I am using 2 5122's.

View the pic to see what I am describing:


In the pic you can see the 2 switches as well as the power coupler. Both of these switches are Rt switches.

When I set the switches to run straight, both work fine - the train goes over the switch without a problem.

When I place the switch in the lower portion of the track, the train runs over it fine. When I flip the switch to send the train toward the other track (far) it also works fine.

However, as the train meets the other switch above - it stops and derails or tries to run backwards.

I think the problem is with the insulator joiners - I've tried several combinations to no avail. Not sure what is wrong or what I am missing.

Any and all assistance/guidance is greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for reading.
 

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Check the leading and trailing trucks (wheelsets) on your loco. They might be "bouncing around" a bit going through the switch, to the point where they are creating a momentary short between middle and outer rails. I have a similar problem with my prewar tinplates on these O27 switches. A momentary short will make the motor think you've sent it a throttle-down e-unit reverse instruction.

If this is all the case, you might eliminate or minimize the problem by putting a few, select small strips of electrical tape on the switch's exposed metal rails (in way of the frog, perhaps) in the specific problem areas. A bit of a band-aid fix, but it might help.

Maybe ...

TJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
TJ, thanks for the advice.

It appears the problem occurs as the train runs over the track portion where the last connecting track in line meets the switch and then the train goes bananas.

Depending on my configuration of the insulators, it's like it stops getting power at that point, or jumps the track and tries to go backward.

I'll try your suggestion - I think you are saying to place to tape over the metal piece at frog?

I thought the insulators should be at the same location for both based on the documentation for the switch.

Here is a pic of the switch from the manual:


You can see the insulator on curved portion.

Perhaps I have the leads set up backwards?

I'm terrible with this electrical stuff - takes a lot of time to figure this out.
 

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Railroad Tycoon
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What happens if you use all metal pins?
No insulators.
 

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Railroad Tycoon
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Big Ed - if don't use the insulators the switch shorts out (buzzes like crazy) when it is engaged.
I don't have those switches. I don't have any insulated pins in mine.
I figured it was worth a shot.

Did you try hooking up the controller to it?

Did you buy them used?
Maybe the one has a short?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Big Ed - I've had them for years. They may have a short, don't know how to test for that though.

I have the instructions for th switches which says not to remove the fibre pins which of course have been removed years ago.

I have the plastic pins to take the place of the fibre pins.

gunrunnerjohn - ring them out? do you mean hook them up in a circle?

Thanks for the suggestions guys.
 

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Railroad Tycoon
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Big Ed - I've had them for years. They may have a short, don't know how to test for that though.

I have the instructions for th switches which says not to remove the fibre pins which of course have been removed years ago.

I have the plastic pins to take the place of the fibre pins.

gunrunnerjohn - ring them out? do you mean hook them up in a circle?

Thanks for the suggestions guys.


Plastic pins are fiber.

Make sure that where you have the plastic pins the metal part of the rail is not touching the other side of the rail, as that would be defeating the plastic connection.
Just a guess, I doubt if that is the problem, but easy enough to check.
You know what I am talking about?


John must think they are wet.:D ring them out.:laugh:
 

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Yard Master & Research
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I presume you have no buzz but two insulators are needed, on both inside rails on the Y.

So the problem is the e unit cycling from loss of power over the switch or you have two supply wires to the track that are crisscrossed and are somehow insulated from a short.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Big Ed - thanks - the plastic insulators have a kind of lip around them to separate them from completing joining the metal - but I will check to make sure. Good idea.

Yes T-Man Exactly - the insulators are at the Y inside rails on both.

Perhaps my logic is screwed up but -

There are 3 rails in the track
The power connector is connected to the bottom 2 rails which means the top rail or 3rd rail is the ground?

The switch insulated rails then are on the 3rd track correct?

However, as you follow the track around to the 2nd switch and assuming the insulators remain in the same place on the 2nd switch, then the insulator is now on the 1st rail causing the loss of power?

Does that make sense?

I tried to change the location of the insulators with that logic in mind but it didn't work.

Perhaps I can't have 2 right switches connected by a series of track and have to alter the configuration?

Does that make sense at all?
 

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Actually, both outside tracks are the "ground", and the middle track is the power feed. For the non-derailing feature, the track pins indicated are replaced with fiber pins to isolate those track sections. If that doesn't work properly, there's probably something wrong with the switch.

 

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Per John's comment, on any generic 3-rail track, the outer two rail are connected to each other via the track ties. The middle rail is isolated, and is the "hot" lead. Outer two are ground.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks guys - your help is greatly appreciated.

I changed the fibre pins to match the diagrams. The train now runs around the track again but derails or stops.

When I look closely at where the stoppage/derail occurs - it appears it occurs directly over the swing arm where the switch is activated.

It looks to me like the loco gets raised slightly - just enough to derail it. There doesn't seem to be an adjustment on the switch so I was wondering if the problem can be with the loco itself?

Under the loco is a round contact that seems to run along the center rail. How do you clean these and the wheels? I saw a thread somewhere about cleaning the wheels but can't find it now - should have bookmarked it.

Thanks as always - you guys are tops :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You know sometimes I just feel like a complete idiot even though I know I'm not...

I think I solved the problem - thanks to everyone...

What I did:
  • I set the insulator plugs to the way they are supposed to be in the image above.
  • Put some electrical tape on one of the arms that was sparking
  • Cleaned both the wheels and the connectors at the bottom of the loco - I used Goof Off - my tried and true cleaner LOL

This set of tracks and switches seems to be working ok manually.

Still having a problem using the remotes though so I'll try to isolate that issue after I get the left side switches working.

Next I'll set up the left side switches.

Thanks everyone for all your guidance and patience.
 

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Nov,

Very glad to hear that things are getting better. I've used that "tape on the rail" trick myself ... it's a bit of a kludge, but it works. You'll likely have to replace the tape down the road after it gets chewed up a bit.

Can you remind me what loco you're running? Some locos (like my prewar tinplate ones) are notorious for having light leading and trailing wheel trucks that just love to bounce around going through the switches, invariably having their wheels short out the track momentarily while navigating through the "frog" area.

Cheers,

TJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
TJ - Where do I get the loco model number - is it the number on the side?

If so it says - 8757 Conrail - it came with the Great Plains Express Lionel train set - given to me by the father in law.

I'd like to get a steamer as that would fit the layout much better, but it is what it is :)

The switches are all now working - not 100% but 90% and that's good enough for me.

Even the remotes are working - I'll start to bury the wires this weekend if I get time. Got lots to do this weekend lol.

Gunrunnerjohn
- I'm on a budget and very glad I didn't have to buy more switches - they are just too expensive at this point. I'll look out for these 022 switches though in case I see a deal - the 5121/5122 are all over $30.00
 

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Well, you have to change your track if you go with 022 switches, they're O31 style. Bigger pins and taller rails, and 31" diameter curves at a minimum.

If you want more 5121-5122 ( or the later model 6-65121-22 ones ) switches, I'll make you a better deal for like new ones in the box. PM me if you have any interest. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks gunrunnerjohn - I think I have enough of those switches now - 4R/4L and all seem to be working now - thanks to you guys.

I certainly appreciate the offer and if I do need more - you'll be the first to know :)
 
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