This past weekend I did quite a few things.
First, I was having issues with one of my turnouts. When I’d try to flip the switch, it would buzz and not switch. I read on here somewhere that one of the outside rails in the “V” could be touching attached ground rails so I taped them off, still the buzzing and not switching. Assuming I had a bad switch, I figure eh, what the heck, I’m just going to run a train around a few times and worry about that later. Mistake. The train went over it without any problems for a while, then it happened. The engine sparked at the track, shut off, and I smelled something burning. Shut everything down, pushed the engine to another location, fired it up, whew, it wasn’t the engine burning. Okay, I figured I burnt the switch motor since it wouldn’t work anymore. When the engine would go over it, it would briefly shut off until it hit the next piece of track. Finally I took it apart and found the issue that caused the buzzing and also what burned and why the engine was shutting off. One of the ground contacts underneath had come apart and one of the 4 copper ribbons under that “slide” had been burnt through. Of course that had to be the one for power to the center rails. I was about to throw in the towel, but figured, what the heck, if it’s junk already, I can’t hurt it. I soldered the ground contact then pulled the bad copper ribbon out and replaced it with 4 single strands of copper from 20 gauge wire. The trick was, I laid the strands flat, held them in place near the end, twisted the protruding end, and soldered it. I did this to both sides. After that, I laid it right where the copper ribbon was and soldered it to the wire at each side, covered with electrical tape, and then reassembled the entire thing. Tried it out, success! No more buzzing or engine shut off and it switches flawlessly. Note, the pictures below are not mine. I google searched and they linked back to posts here on the forum.
Once that was fixed, I figured I’d try out the Norfolk Southern SW1500 PS2 switcher that I bought from someone on FB. Well, that was about par for Friday night. Check Track, Engine Not found, perfect. Searched here on the forum (as I always do before asking questions) and found the possible answer, the battery. The next day I went down to my LHS and bought a BCR. Now, I know everybody talks about them, but I have never used one so didn’t care much. Plus, I’m terrified of ruining the engine electronics somehow. Anyway, I took the old battery out, put the BCR in, put it on the track, waited 1 minute, success. Now I have the BCR bug.
Last night I replaced the 9V battery in my Southern F3 ABA PS1 with a BCR I bought a few months back. Man those things are great and so easy to replace!! Before I put everything away to start on the train room, I was running my RK Allegheny 2-6-6-6 and noticed squealing when the smoke unit was on. Of course I did my usual search here on the forum and found the issue. Took the shell off, took the smoke unit apart, oiled it, put it back together, another success!!!
I had one more thing to complete which I was sort of dreading, adding the latches to my door. I bought two spring plungers from McMaster-Carr and wasn’t sure they’d work how I intended. Last night I went for it, recessed them into the wood, closed the door, and yet another success!!
After that, for the first time on my layout, I was able to run some trains, and all I can say is this is fun!!
My only issue now is that I have WAY too much rolling stock. I’ll be posting in the For Sale Forum at some point.