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Author Topic: Power totally gone from one loop, what next?  (Read 273 times)

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Offline LukeB

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Power totally gone from one loop, what next?
« on: March 12, 2018, 09:55:27 am »
Iím having a bit of trouble with one loop of my layout and donít really know where to go next. I went to use it last night and the inner loop does not work Ė locos wonít register at all.
Hereís an old photo that clearly shows the track formation.



Each piece of track is fed by a dropper wire, soldered to the side of the rail, which is connected to a circuit of wires and chocolate block type connectors underneath. Each rail has its own connector with a positive and negative wire going in from the previous connector, and a positive and negative going to the rail and another positive and negative going to the next connector going out.

The main power feed goes in to a connector at the back of the photo above. Iím using a Hammant and Morgan Duette controller (I know itís old, but it works well for me). Iíve gone around with a multi meter and thereís good readings at the controller, and at the end of the wires from the controller. Then at the connectors in the circuit and at the rail thereís nothing.

Itís worked for 2 years then last week I put my OO gauge layout under it and I thought Iíd snagged some wires and now it doesnít work. Iíve looked carefully to see if any of the wires have come disconnected from either the connectors or where theyíre soldered to the rail. One connector looked a little crusty and Iíve just noticed that two of the points have tiny bits of green corrosion on them where the wires are soldered on, but theyíve probably been like that for ages. A couple of wires had come out of the connectors, but sorting this didnít fix it. Other than that, there's nothing visually wrong.

Points are electrofrog, all set correctly, and the switches thrown the right way.

The outer loop is fine.

As the multi meter isnít reading anything at all for the whole circuit, how do I determine where the problem is? Or would I be better starting from scratch?

Thanks for any help!




« Last Edit: March 12, 2018, 09:57:04 am by LukeB »

Offline LAandNQFan

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Re: Power totally gone from one loop, what next?
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2018, 10:05:08 am »
If the power is good "at the end of the wires from the controller", then I would start checking continuity from there, through each choc block and through every wire and choc block in succession. Is there a chance that in replacing wires you have inadvertently tightened the screw down on insulation rather than wire?  After that a snapped wire inside the insulation seems less likely, but possible.
Perhaps the proof that there is intelligent life in outer space is that they haven't contacted us.
Layout thread: http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=23416

Offline dannyboy

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Re: Power totally gone from one loop, what next?
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2018, 10:39:36 am »
The suggestions by LAandNQFan seem quite likely. I had a 'non-connecting' connector a few weeks ago. After about an hour of checking every connection, I found that one of the screws in a choc block was tightened onto the insulation, not the wire.   :doh:
David.
I used to be indecisive - now I'm not - I don't think.

Offline Train Waiting

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Re: Power totally gone from one loop, what next?
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2018, 11:14:51 am »
That's a very nice layout, Luke.

Here's a quick and dirty way to reassure yourself that there is not a serious problem: connect a couple of wires direct from your H&M controller to the track, then try with your meter or a locomotive (please make sure that there are no insulated rail joiners in the way).  If there is power, your problems are small ones!

As has been said, it's likely that the problem is with the connectors.  Either screwed tight on to the insulation rather than the wire, or screwed tight but not on to the wire (I've done that!).  The best thing to do is to work your way around all the connectors for this circuit, unscrew, check the wire is in good condition (if not, cut it back a bit and strip off the insulation and the re-make the connection by screwing up tight onto the wire).  As you have power at the controller and not for any of your connectors - I assume that you have several for the circuit - then the prime suspect will be where the wires from the controller go into the connectors.

Good luck and please report how you get on.

Best wishes.

John 
'Why does the Disney Castle work so well?  Because it borrows from reality without ever slipping into it.'

(Acknowledgement: John Goodall Esq, Architectural Editor, 'Country Life'.)


The Table-Top Railway is a train set trying and failing to be a model railway.

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Offline LukeB

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Re: Power totally gone from one loop, what next?
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2018, 08:36:55 am »
Right, I've made a bit of a start. I had to fit some new points to create a fiddle yard on the side furthest from the camera in the photo above so took the opportunity to replace all the choc blocks along the back of the layout. Still no joy, but some improvement in that the locos now move a few inches.

Here's a summary of what's going on-

- The outer loop is still fine.

- When power is applied the loco will move a few inches, very slowly, then stop, then after a few minutes move again.

- On the volt meter, power peaks at 2.3v then drops to 0v. It will then stay at 0v for a while then rise to 2.3v for a few seconds then back to 0v. This is the same when the volt meter is placed at the track, at the choc blocks and at the controller. With the wires removed the controller reads 16v. Everything for the other loop reads 16v (at full power).

- When I put power directly to the wheels from the controller it works fine.

- When I put power directly to the track the loco moves slowly the stops, as it does with power running through the dropper wires.

- The controller has two outputs. If I swap them then the outer loop is still fine and the inner still doesn't work right.



- Power on both sides is fed into one choc block, which is part of circuit of choc blocks that follow the track. There's one block per piece of track, with a dropper wire from the track to the block.



- I've checked all the dropper wires, and the circuit to make sure they all go to the right rail, and that there's no cross over and I can't see any issues. The wire into the controller seemed to only have a couple of strands exposed so I trimmed that and stripped a new section which made no difference.

I'm not quite sure where to go from here. Does this behaviour indicate short circuit somewhere?

I'm testing with two locos, one's brand new and the other is my best runner.


« Last Edit: March 15, 2018, 08:39:38 am by LukeB »

Online ntpntpntp

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Re: Power totally gone from one loop, what next?
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2018, 08:45:07 am »
Unfortunately I can't see the photos here @ work (must be blocked by our firewall so I assume you've hosted them externally rather than upload to the forum?). 

The symptoms clearly indicate that you have a short in the trackwork and the controller overload protection is cutting out.  The usual way to diagnose is to isolate sections of track until you locate the problem - easy to do with DC cab control but trickier if you've got everything droppered to a DCC bus.

Hopefully someone who can see your post in full can advise where the problem may be.  Do you have electrofrog points? Could be a a back-feed if you've forgotten to use isolating joiners at the frog V.
Nick.   2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of "KŲnigshafen" exhibition layout!

Offline LukeB

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Re: Power totally gone from one loop, what next?
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2018, 08:51:01 am »
The original points, in the first photo in the thread for those that can see them, have insulating joiners on both sides of the "v". Where the points to the sidings meet the points to switch between the loops there are two isolating joiners so the track isn't a full loop.  It's worked perfectly like this for a while, until last week.

The new points, which I'll get a photo of tonight, are set up with two right hand points in a row then two left hand points in a row. Each has two insulating joiners on the "v" and two insulating joiners between the last right hand point and the first left hand point.

Does that sound correct?
« Last Edit: March 15, 2018, 08:56:08 am by LukeB »

Offline amsie

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Re: Power totally gone from one loop, what next?
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2018, 11:15:57 am »
I usually connect a couple of wires directly to the affected rails then work back from there.

Offline LukeB

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Re: Power totally gone from one loop, what next?
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2018, 11:17:34 am »
Amsie - I've tried that and the effect was the same.

 

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