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I have two Lionchief engines and I've been running them both at the same time with my son the last two nights without issue. Currently our layout is an 8x4 table with a 6x4 addition.

Tonight both trains stopped working on the far side of the layout. The track seems to be in good shape and its clean. The power doesn't cut off and the lights on the caboose car are still on. The engines shut off completly and wont restart unless I totally power off the table and turn it back on.

 

Its happening with one locomotive now too, same area.

 

Power is a GW-180

Any thoughts? Tips? Ideas on where to start looking?

 

thanks

 

issue

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Last edited by Laker80
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If you're using Fasttrack you may have two or three bad track sections in the circled area that are not conducting electricity.  The caboose lights stay on because power is still flowing to the rest of the layout.  If the caboose has two couplers, put it right behind the loco, or run only the loco and caboose for troubleshooting.  See if the lights go out when the loco stops.

If it really is a few bad tracks you'll have to identify them and replace them.  I helped a friend build a layout with Fasttrack.  He had a mixed lot and for whatever reason, some sections just wouldn't reliably conduct electricity.  We replaced them and the problem went away.

Whether you're using Fasttrack or not,  you should probably run another pair of wires from the transformer to the problem area.  For just a little effort doing this can really help matters.  Nice track arrangement BTW!

Last edited by Ted S

44480FC5-2CB8-4A2D-A8AC-3437161F18C7B8E24F5C-EEDD-4111-BFC8-49EC704D2072Well I thought I had a quick fix. I found a connection that I didn’t secure properly. I fixed that and even switched it out for a new piece of o36 curve but I’m still having issues. The engine and caboose stopped on the 30” straight section before the curve at the top left of the layout and the caboose lights stayed on. I ran it again and it died in the top right corner before the curve section I replaced. I did this twice, lights on the caboose stayed on once and went off once. I’m hoping it’s not the switch itself that’s bad because it shut down right after the switch section. The switches all operate. 

overall the track is clean. I removed one bit of carbon from one of the rails with my thumb but it was on an area that isn’t causing any issue.

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Last edited by Laker80
@Ted S posted:

you should probably run another pair of wires from the transformer to the problem area.  For just a little effort doing this can really help matters. 

I'm going to give that a try this weekend. I was wondering if my additional section would require some additional wiring. I guess I can try that and if not consider replacing the switch... or maybe moving it and seeing if the problem changes to the new location of the switch.

Last edited by Laker80

I just noticed that I have two 6-102047 separator sections in place of 6-12073 1 3/8" sections. That would be an issue between those two points, correct? The issue is happening above the upper right section but maybe there is less current getting there because of this? I'm going to look for some regular 3/8 sections tonight. 

Edit: of course they’ve been there when I was running the layout without issue that shouldn’t be the issue. 

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Last edited by Laker80

You probably have done this, but weak LC remote batteries will act like this.  Changing triple A's  is a lot simpler than trying the layout to find poor connections between sections.  Not just voltage but high voltage is important.

I had a Universal Remote that kept losing signal, with fresh (the finest *** Hardware) batteries.  I sent the remote to Lionel, who returned it saying nothing wrong, but "we don't recommend this brand of batteries".  They hit the can never to return.  Now, I change remote batteries at the first sign of signal loss, and only use name-brand cells.  (Note: I have seen problems lately w/ D***C***s leaking.)

I THINK the TMCC system was FM; and the Legacy system is 2.4gHz.  My "other" major hobby: racing RC model sailboats using 2.4 gHz radio. 

1. One would think that the LC remotes have a minimal antenna in them because of their size.  So, not holding the remotes up high enough - at say waist level or by a child at a train table - can be a signal-loss problem especially on LC and LC+ locomotives.  (The  TMCC/Legacy control system relies on antennas in the loco for receiving signals- the TMCC ground relies on the track connection through the power plug ground prong and the house wiring).  

2.  As above, weak batteries in Lion Chief remotes and Universal Remotes.

3.  Antenna not extended far enough on TMCC Cab 1 remotes- this affects certain locos more than others.

4.  AC voltage to the track, when using a transformer- pretty much 15v is needed, and I have found myself with the ZW set too low sometimes.  Affects performance and smoke unit output.

 

Last edited by Mike Wyatt
@Mike Wyatt posted:

You probably have done this, but weak LC remote batteries will act like this.  Changing triple A's  is a lot simpler than trying the layout to find poor connections between sections.  Not just voltage but high voltage is important.

I had a Universal Remote that kept losing signal, with fresh (the finest ACE Hardware) batteries.  I sent the remote to Lionel, who returned it saying nothing wrong, but "we don't recommend this brand of batteries".  They hit the can never to return.  Now, I change remote batteries at the first sign of signal loss, and only use name-brand cells.  (Note: I have seen problems lately w/ DuraCells leaking.)

I THINK the TMCC system was FM; and the Legacy system is 2.4gHz.  My "other" major hobby: racing RC model sailboats using 2.4 gHz radio. 

1. One would think that the LC remotes have a minimal antenna in them because of their size.  So, not holding the remotes up high enough - at say waist level or by a child at a train table - especially on LC and LC+ locomotives.  (The  TMCC/Legacy control signals rely on antennas in the loco for receiving signals- the TMCC ground relies on the track connection through the "common" prong and the house wiring).  

2.  As above, weak batteries in Lion Chief remotes and Universal Remotes.

3.  Antenna not extended far enough on TMCC Cab 1 remotes- this affects certain locos more than others.

4.  AC voltage to the track, when using a transformer- pretty much 15v is needed, and I have found myself with the ZW set too low sometimes.  Affects performance and smoke unit output.

 

I will check the batteries. The universal remote batteries are new but the RS3 could be old. I’ll try using the app too, it shouldn’t have any issues if I run it that way. I don’t think it’s batteries though, it’s always happening on the area of the layout.

@Mike Wyatt posted:

You probably have done this, but weak LC remote batteries will act like this.  Changing triple A's  is a lot simpler than trying the layout to find poor connections between sections.  Not just voltage but high voltage is important.

I had a Universal Remote that kept losing signal, with fresh (the finest *** Hardware) batteries.  I sent the remote to Lionel, who returned it saying nothing wrong, but "we don't recommend this brand of batteries".  They hit the can never to return.  Now, I change remote batteries at the first sign of signal loss, and only use name-brand cells.  (Note: I have seen problems lately w/ D***C***s leaking.)

I agree that batteries are key.  BTW, I don't buy Duracell or Costco Kirkland batteries anymore.  I'm pretty sure the Costco ones are rebranded Duracell, and they both LEAK!  Battery leakage warranties are a joke, try collecting on one sometime!

@Mike Wyatt posted:

I THINK the TMCC system was FM; and the Legacy system is 2.4gHz.  My "other" major hobby: racing RC model sailboats using 2.4 gHz radio. 

1. One would think that the LC remotes have a minimal antenna in them because of their size.  So, not holding the remotes up high enough - at say waist level or by a child at a train table - can be a signal-loss problem especially on LC and LC+ locomotives.  (The  TMCC/Legacy control system relies on antennas in the loco for receiving signals- the TMCC ground relies on the track connection through the power plug ground prong and the house wiring).  

I think you may be mixing the command remote links with the track signals, TMCC/Legacy have exactly the same track signal characteristics, it's FSK at 455khz center frequency. The track signal has no direct relationship or connection to the remote to command base communications signal characteristics or frequencies.

The TMCC CAB1 communicates to the command base at 27mhz, (and oddly, to the TMCC PowerMaster at 27mhz as well).  The CAB1L & CAB2 communicate to the command base at 2.4ghz.

When I buy batteries, I tend to buy DuraCell, only if they are made in the USA, but you need to look on the batteries themselves to see where they were made. The outer packaging will only refer you to the batteries themselves. I’ve found that the large bulk packaging at stores will have a mix ofUSA, and EU manufacturing in the same pack.

@Richie C. posted:

Rather than just randomly replacing track sections, it would be easier and more effective to take a digital voltmeter (DVM) and use it to test for continuity/voltage all around the track to insure that you are getting the proper voltage to all parts and sections of the track.

I agree Kind Of. I just got done trouble shooting this exact problem on a friends layout. DVM did not pick up problem. How I found it was I actually had alligator clips on the end of the DVM and got up on the layout. I hadn't taken the clips of a track section yet and when I put my hand on that section to lean on so I could remove the clips with my other hand the meter went to ZERO. I thought it was a fluke and tried it several times with the same results. I pulled the section as I thought it was a pin issue. Negative it was in the section. I replaced it and everything was fine. So just putting a meter on may not give you true results. The weight of my friends engine was enough to cause the section to go dead. So be careful when checking with a meter.

@Richie C. posted:

Rather than just randomly replacing track sections, it would be easier and more effective to take a digital voltmeter (DVM) and use it to test for continuity/voltage all around the track to insure that you are getting the proper voltage to all parts and sections of the track.

 

 

im going to borrow my father in laws voltage meter tomorrow and do just that.

I'm not sure what it is about Fasttrack, but there are some sections that are just plain bad.  The issue could be mechanical  (in other words, the weight of the loco pressing down on the track section causes the problem); or electrical (i.e., when high current is drawn through the track it stops conducting.) 

My friend built a large (12' x 20') Fasttrack layout with multiple loops, sidings, two levels, etc., and had trouble like this.  Some of his track was purchased used, and was a little rusty on the surface.  Most of the bad sections were from that batch.  Once we excised them and replaced with new Fasttrack, the problem went away for good.  Of course by that time I had already added a lot of extra feeders.  After this experience, there are other brands of track I would rather use!

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