Hello all,

I have thee RailKing PS3 switchers that don't like to lash up reliably.  The lash up can be created as normal but the three engines will not run in unison.  Sometimes the middle loco will not move, sometimes the front and middle locos will not move, there are variations in the sound levels coming from each, etc.  I am able to create a 2-unit lash up without any issues, but adding a third unit causes these things to happen.

My setup is as follows:

-TIU & WIU, both with most recent software/firmware; Throttle is iPhone SE running iOS 13.1.3 (latest version)

-power comes from a Z-1000 brick/controller.

-Small loop of Atlas track - Track has been thoroughly cleaned.

There are two things missing from my setup which I'm thinking may be the solution(s):

-No external TIU power supply

-No light bulb between TIU/track to "soften" the DCS signal, as has been recommended over the years.

Any Ideas?  Thank You in advance!!!

Original Post
NSPhil posted:

 

-No light bulb between TIU/track to "soften" the DCS signal, as has been recommended over the years.

Any Ideas?  Thank You in advance!!!

What version is your TIU?

How strong is the track signal when you add each engine to the track?

Do things improve if you...

turn the smoke off?

remove lighted cars or other things?

Do you have your loop broken in at least one spot electrically?

Do you get duplicate responses from any engines like two horn blasts with one press?

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!

Hello Joe,

-TIU is Rev. L. If that’s not what you’re asking, let me know.

-signal strength is 8-10 in all places.

-Yes, loop is broken on opposite side from power connection by an Atlas insulated rail joiner on the center rail, meaning that the distance from power to insulator is the same on both sides.

-None of the locos have smoke units.

-One lighted caboose... I’ll try without it.

-Duplicate responses YES... the middle loco and the head loco both shine the headlight when in forward direction... something definitely seems of sync in that way.

I lost faith in the signal strength test when my outside layout started acting up yet I was still getting all tens? I do still use the test as a guide. I believe it gives better results than the truth.

 I was asking to make sure you had a version L tiu. 

Can I ask more? Does the third engine added that's messing things up, always the same engine or is it just any third engine?

Are all the engines showing good cap performance?

How many power drops to the track do you have?

Does this occur on one specific TIU channel? Have you tried another?

When you build the consist, do you save (FSV) any changes you make?

Can you tie your outside rails together for a test? (if they aren't?)

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!

Whenever I've had these issues, if it wasn't the software (this release is good), it has been the power. If you add engines your increasing the power consumption. If the wiring can't handle it, it usually shows up like these symptoms your having.

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!

Joe,

Just tried without the lighted caboose - no improvement.

-Appears to be any third engine.

-Not exactly sure what you mean by "cap" performance, but all the engines operate perfectly by themselves.

-1 power drop (only 1 loop on a 4X8)

-I've only ever used TIU channel 1...I'll try channel 2.

-I've never made any changes to a lash up...To be honest I didn't know you could.  If I want to change the configuration of a lash up I've always just deleted and created a new one.

-I have not tried the outside rails... do you mean checking with a voltmeter? I could try that.  Never have any power issues when running single or double units.

All 3 locos are RailKing MP15s with two motors each - so 6 motors powered by one Z-1000... running max 25 SMPH...is this a stretch?  Maybe I should get a Z-4000? If so, I should fix that cause I've got a 4th on the way! LOL

You could try to tie the outside rails together electrically, incase the engines aren't getting good constant ground or return path.

I have to believe that the problem is the single wire right now to the track. It can be fine with one or two engines and be a problem with more.

What type of track? What size wire? How does this wire attach to the rails?

If an engine had a cap problem, it could stall on bad track sections or switches. It wouldn't play shut down sounds when you killed the power. More importantly here, it might not take commands like direction changes.

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!

Track is Atlas. no switches. Wire from transformer/controller to TIU is a RailKing wire harness (the same you get with an MTH set) and the lock on is the Atlas rail joiner lock on, attached straight to the TIU by the wires that come with it...not sure what gauge wire exactly...seems to be the same as the MTH wire.  It's a very small loop on a 4 by 8 platform with O-45 curves and five 10" straights in between.  Do you think I need another power connection to the track (ie a terminal block from TIU) or just a larger transformer, or perhaps both?  

What is an engine cap problem exactly? Are there any other symptoms besides lash-up behavior? None of the locos go silent immediately when power is cut...though I'll check again to confirm.

NSPhil posted:

Track is Atlas. no switches. Wire from transformer/controller to TIU is a RailKing wire harness (the same you get with an MTH set) and the lock is the Atlas rail joiner lock, attached straight to the TIU by the wires that come with it...not sure what gauge wire exactly...seems to be the same as the MTH wire.  It's a very small loop on a 4 by 8 platform with O-45 curves and five 10" straights in between.  Do you think I need another power connection to the track (ie a terminal block from TIU) or just a larger transformer, or perhaps both?  

Yes, I believe that's your problem. If it's not the smaller wire trying to carry enough juice for 3 engines, it's the single connection.

NSPhil posted:

What is an engine cap problem exactly? Are there any other symptoms besides lash-up behavior? None of the locos go silent immediately when power is cut...though I'll check again to confirm.

The cap problem I'm talking about is when a cap isn't working. You would tell by killing the power just like you describe. It can show up in many different ways like stalling on a switch and coming up immediately in conventional mode. It can go silent the second power is cut. It can forget changes made to it's memory.

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!

BTW, 3 Railking engines ( no smoke) should run fine on a single Z1000 pack. Unless it's not working correctly. I think it's the track wiring.

I feel that wire and connection point is only good for one engine.

I had gone over these types of issues before. I was having software problems when consists were made up of mixed PS2 with PS3 engines. It was suggested that my signal must be weak. It wasn't. I could run 6 PS3 engines without issues. My track wiring was also good. It never hurts to check stuff as we all can be wrong! A wire can fail, a connection, just about anything can go bad I've learned. We have to go over everything to find what is the weak link or fail point.

I use and suggest for others:

#14 multi strand wire. I've used speaker, low voltage outdoor lighting, and OGR cable with similar good results. It's soldered directly to Atlas 2 rail track in most spots. Some still have smaller short wires as jumpers.

Lionel PH180 bricks. I've used others and got good results including my Z4000 (currently on my 3 rail), Z1000, Z750, and Z500 bricks.

I have large Bridgewerks DC packs on my G scale using the #14 wire.

I removed my bulbs and filters after testing when using version L TIUs now. I still use them with my older TIU (upper 3 rail loop).

Each loop in my basement is divided into 4 blocks. I found that to work good for signal and power. I would divide more for largest consists with smoke on (more than 4-5 engine groups in each DP position) and larger layouts than mine.

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!

Hello,

I know this thread is older but wanted to report back that I did add a 2nd power drop and everything works perfectly.  I was skeptical since my layout is so small (4X8) but having 2 drops has completely resolved all lash-up issues.

Thanks again Joe!

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