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I'm puzzled. My layout is powered by a ZW-L running command mode and each power handle controlled separately running through a TIU.  My layout has two loops connected by switches, and a third elevated loop. Each powered by a separate transformer output: A,C,D. The 2 connected loops are isolated using the Fastrack 1 3/8" track. I removed the wire that bridges the gap in the center rail. It's been working for years.  Then one day the two loops that should be isolated started acting as one.  I've determined the TIU is working properly as is the ZW-L.  Here's what happens. I power up the layout, and as soon as I give power to either A or D (each powering the outer and inner loops) both loops get power. If I have A and D connected and power A, for example both loops are powered and D is also supplying power. If I remove power from D, A supplies power and both loops are powered. I ran continuity checks on the two "block track sections" on one the isolated middle rail shows no continuity...the other shows continuity always.  Does this make sense?  A power block isolation section suddenly becomes "un-isolated?"  The only other thought I had was something is funky with the command switch, but I don't see how that could physically occur. My track is ballasted and other issues make pulling it apart to check a real PITA . I would like to not have to do that if I'm missing something that may be the problem....

Two sections are shown. One of them isn't behaving...I'm considering just using a Dremel and cut though one of them until the center rail does not have continuity.  The seems easier than removing  ballasted Fastrack and a switch.  Any suggestions/comments welcome.  Thanks.

Inkedswitch

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Ed,

There could be another way for those two rail segments to be electrically connected even though they don't appear to be.  As John has suggested a steel filing would be one way but there are others.

I love the term used when we encounter this kind of thing in building pre-production prototype cars -- "sneak path".

You definitely have something sneaky going on here.

Have you checked your wiring for an alternate path from the rail segment on one side of the gap to the one the other?  It might go through a convoluted routing to electrically bridge that gap but not be easily visible.

Any changes in wiring anywhere since it last worked correctly?

Time to start probing, with the power off, between various points using an ohmmeter with a test lead in each of your outstretched arms, looking for an unseen and unexpected short circuit between those rail segments.

Mike

I can tell you that in my case, I removed the section from the layout and tested it with an ohm meter.  With the jumper removed from the bottom, there was still continuity between the two ends!  How, I don't know but I yanked the pin from one end of an adjacent track, filed back the protruding center rail, and then wrapped it in electrical tape just for good measure.  That solved my problem, but it wasted a lot of time.  So much for "plug-and-play!"

Last edited by Ted S

Well, I've tried all the suggestions regarding the block sections.  Didn't solve the problem.  So the only troubleshooting I've not yet done is, essentially track the buss wires and the drops to see if there is a "sneaky path."  Walt, while I have rewired one accessory, but that was well before this problem showed.  However, I have begun reorganizing the boxes under my layout and it's possible while rummaging around (at 75 I'm not as nimble as I used to be, )  I may have done something. So, next week I'll start the detective process.  Can't wait!  Thanks again fellas for your interest in my problem.  When I figure it out and fix it I'll get back to let you know. 

@ToledoEd posted:

Well, I've tried all the suggestions regarding the block sections.  Didn't solve the problem.  So the only troubleshooting I've not yet done is, essentially track the buss wires and the drops to see if there is a "sneaky path."  Walt, while I have rewired one accessory, but that was well before this problem showed.  However, I have begun reorganizing the boxes under my layout and it's possible while rummaging around (at 75 I'm not as nimble as I used to be, )  I may have done something. So, next week I'll start the detective process.  Can't wait!  Thanks again fellas for your interest in my problem.  When I figure it out and fix it I'll get back to let you know.

I'm sure your detective work will discover a suspect'... and action will be taken'....👍😁

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