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Awesome Steve. Thank you for taking such time to break that down for me. I was just watching a really interesting video showing the use of a car tail light in series to both indicate a short, and draw max amps. You guys have probably all seen or use that.
 

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But a dragging derailed boxcar makes pretty sparks!! ⚡⚡
True enough . . . in fact, if the location is not convenient for re-railing and/or the sparks are entertaining, I've been known to just let the train run until either a) it arrives a convenient re-railing location, or b) the five amp circuit breaker finally pops! [This is the "True Confessions" thread, right? :rolleyes: ]
 

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...

For the third category, sometimes you don't even need an actual derailment -- for instance, to allow 'old school' activation of the crossing gate and bell at the dual track crossings on my layout, I used a separate power supply rather than track voltage to activate the crossing features through an insulated outer rail section on each track, relying on the rolling stock wheels on one track or the other to bridge the outer rails and provide a path to the common ground. Both crossings worked flawlessly . . . until trains on both tracks arrived at the same crossing at the same time, in which case the five amp circuit breaker protecting one or the other of the circuits would immediately pop open, every time, stopping that train in its, err, tracks! I still haven't figured out what I did wrong (I suspect there's some back voltage from the two running engines feeding a differential voltage back into the common ground that's at fault, but so far I haven't had the time to run it to, err, ground, and just ended up temporarily disconnecting the second track activation wires). sigh ...
Sounds like you may have a common ground problem or, perhaps, the two transformers are not in-phase. Which transformers are you using. The ground on many post war transformers is not the "U" terminal.
 

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Sounds like you may have a common ground problem or, perhaps, the two transformers are not in-phase. Which transformers are you using. The ground on many post war transformers is not the "U" terminal.
Yeah, that was my first thought, so I just reversed the secondary transformer's leads (it's a small post-war Lionel I use for some of the AC accessories, and the two tracks are separate throttle circuits on my ZW), with no joy, and I haven't taken the time yet to run down the problem. In fact, if I'm being honest, other than the mystery of it I'm actually O.K. with just disconnecting the one loop's crossings -- activating each crossing setup twice on each circuit for each of the two trains can be a bit much! :eek:
 

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Yeah, that was my first thought, so I just reversed the secondary transformer's leads (it's a small post-war Lionel I use for some of the AC accessories, and the two tracks are separate throttle circuits on my ZW), with no joy, and I haven't taken the time yet to run down the problem. In fact, if I'm being honest, other than the mystery of it I'm actually O.K. with just disconnecting the one loop's crossings -- activating each crossing setup twice on each circuit for each of the two trains can be a bit much! :eek:
See the chart for transformer grounds (Outside Rail).


Font Parallel Pattern Number
 

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See the chart for transformer grounds (Outside Rail).


View attachment 597492
Thanks, Mike -- as usual, good info, and at some point I'll get back to trying to solve the mystery! Right now, I'm awaiting delivery of a refurb'ed Echo Dot, so I can ask Alexa to help run my trains, and so I have other fish frying at the moment . . . 🤪
 

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Thanks, Mike -- as usual, good info, and at some point I'll get back to trying to solve the mystery! Right now, I'm awaiting delivery of a refurb'ed Echo Dot, so I can ask Alexa to help run my trains, and so I have other fish frying at the moment . . . 🤪
I cant see that ending well! Lol.

Alexa run the trains,

" train station, 4.6 miles away, would you like to know the scedual?

Alexa run THE TRAINS
"The trains, a song by.......

Alexa STOP! Bad Alexa

"Im sorry I don't know that one


May just be easier to do it yourself!
 

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Thanks, Mike -- as usual, good info, and at some point I'll get back to trying to solve the mystery! Right now, I'm awaiting delivery of a refurb'ed Echo Dot, so I can ask Alexa to help run my trains, and so I have other fish frying at the moment . . . 🤪
Could be the wiring from the transformer to one the track is reversed. Happens to the best of us :)
 
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