Here is a short video i did on lionel fastrak with voltage drop issues and it does not make any difference if its pullmor or can motor or tmcc or legacy engine they all slow down and speed up.
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Thank you for posting this!
I will tighten them up tonight!
It is definately my track.
I found pins so loose on one track section, it was making static type electrical noise.
Had to replace that piece.
The straights where it goes from slow to rocket fast were, kind of dirty, I cleaned them and the engines run much better, but there is still voltage drops.
Even worse, i have a very very low voltage spot that causes trains to stall out and loose all power, unless you are going very fast, and it is very hard to get to.
I will have to lift off that part of the layout, kind of a pain...but I am more concerned with what will happen of this ever happens again when the layout is done.
I dont want to rip up scenery.
i do have an access hatch there, but man...my body cant take getting down, crawling, and all that bending and kneeling.
I am gonna have to do it no way around it and get it RIGHT.
Kind of sad, because for about 10 minutes they were running pretty nice even for Pullmors.
Thanks for posting. I no longer use FT but had such problems last time I did. I wound up tossing it and going back to tubular. We do have some FT on the National Capital Tracker modules and will remember your tip!
Has anyone tried to solder the center and outside rail pins?
Can it be done without any overheating and damage to the plastic roadbed?
I would think it would be a more permanent solution?
Good pointers chessie!
If I may add,
1. I've found when crimping fastrack joints it works best to insert just the tips of either track into the open rail.
Then, gently crimp the open rail just past where the tips are inserted, this prevents overcrimping. After crimping push the track all the way together.
2. Fastrack is not the "golden power delivery" of track. It works very well, but its only as good as the transformer and more importantly the buss/feed wires going to it.
I have a 10'x 16' fastrack layout with roughly 150 linear feet of fastrack powered with 1 Lionel 180w brick with a 14ga buss and 14ga feeders soldered directly to the power tabs underneath about every 10'.
I initially started off fiddling with spade connectors to fit on the tabs but scrapped that idea went with soldering so I wouldn't have issues with loose connections in the future. Best thing I ever did.
This includes 9 turnouts and 2 operating crossings all powered through the track.
There are zero voltage drops anywhere, power out of my TPC unit is the same at any given point on the track anywhere on my layout.
The one and only fastrack "joint" issue I had was with an 1&3/8" fitter and it was easily fixed crimping in the method I described.
My layout has been up 9 years.
Good tips. I've also discovered pieces of fastrack where the rail wasn't seated all the way down to the roadbed. When this happens the plastic guides on top of the roadbed the rail is supposed to rest between can prevent the rail from being pressed against both sides of the pins. On these occasions I turn the track over, open the tabs. Using a c clamp and two wooden shims, squeeze the rail down into place making sure it rest against the roadbed between the plastic guides on the top then bend the tabs back into place.
so cleaning track with wd40 won't affect traction tires?
I didn't know about that and I have rusted rails near the pin areas. Is it possible for the track to make it draw 4 amps when running with the dual pulmor motor F-3s ? I checked to see if the engine is drawing that much but wasn't, its coming from the track ? The engine slows down one affected area then speeds up leaving that area. The FT is about almost 2 years old and been used a lot. Chessie did you received my E-mail I sent few days ago ?
the woman who loves the S.F.5011,2678,2003,200
I purchased a used vise-grip clamping type plier that is mainly used in welding. It has a 2 1/2" x 1" plate on either jaw. I intended on cutting that pad down to the size of the rectangle that you can see on the rail from the factory crimp. It was going to be a pain cutting them down. This would give a powerful crimp without messing up the rail.
I then went with the power and common drop every 5- 6 track joints approach first. That resolved all of the problems. The two tabs push one another apart when the track is connected, pushing against the rail. The rattlers don't bother me anymore.
I second Rick O's advice. Good gauge wire and sufficient power and common feeds. You'll have a reliable track.
Moonman feeders does not do any good when you have feeder four feet away then the track not making good connection in between the feeder wires because i tried it just as simple crimp the center rail and at the club we use fastrack at the shows and we have no feeders hooked up because we make sure the track is tight together when we screw it down.
at the club we use fastrack at the shows and we have no feeders hooked up because we make sure the track is tight together when we screw it down.
Which is sufficient. Because it is moved, and checked more often. More wires = longer tear downs. Cheaper without the feeds. Etc, etc. But copper buses and feeds move power more efficiently. And you would need two problems at once on the center rail (more on the outsides) and both between 2 feeds before even being noticed. It also narrows all weak links to one area quickly. I check out connections by default. Having done electronic servicing its natural. Your suggestions on improving them is great. But for more permanent, or large use, I'd say its smarter to stay on the big bus tip.
Just an FYI on what I did. I soldered all the pins before putting the track together. It`s a small 5X9 with two loops and two sidings. It`s been up for two years and no issues with voltage drop. I run DCS and LC+2. I used a Weller gun. Make sure the heat is concentrated on the pin.
I am assembling an around the walls Fastrack layout with single main and sections of double track with a couple sidings. I just want to run trains at this point.
Anyway, as I am laying it out, I am soldering jumpers for the center rail using the contacts under the Fastrack. As I plan on running DCS and Lionel Bluetooth engines, I am breaking this into 4 blocks with feeders to each block. So far so good. No issues running test locos so far with about 20 or so linear feet of track and switches are currently powered by the track with no issues.
I feel Fastrack gets a bad rap sometimes. With some planning and suggestions like the ones in this thread, it really works well.
My experience with fast track has not been all that positive especially when I added additional pieces to a complete oval that came with the Harry Potter set I received as a gift some years ago. The original oval worked well enough thought in terms of looks the plastic bed leaves something to be desired. The real problem started when I added additional track and I ran into a couple of problems. In some cases it was difficult to fit some of the pieces snugly together. The result would be voltage drop-off. To go to the lengths some of the replies above have to go to to get things to work correctly is beyond my patience level, especially when you consider their cost.
I had luckily come into a source of supersnap track (K-Line) and I wound up scrapping all my fasttrack and replacing everything with supersnap (now harder and harder to find). In fact I wound up replacing all the track in my 9' by 12' layout (originally tubular 0-gauge). I have never had voltage dropouts with the supersnap (using mostly 30" and 40" lengths which decrease the number of points where voltage will drop).