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I was having issues with my caboose causing my Lionel Fastrack to short out and the engine kept stopping.  I traced it to the caboose as it went over the Fastrack Operating track, then I noticed that the center section by the magnet was slightly swollen.  This was causing the roller on the caboose to hit the wheel axle and cause a short.  Then I noticed a strong smell coming from the operating track.

I think it is obvious that there is some issue here and I'm thinking it is not something I can troubleshoot or fix and I should throw out the track and buy a new one but I wanted to check here first to see if others have had this issue or knew how to possible fix the issue?

The track is about 8 months old, I was also going to look and see if there was a Lionel Warranty.

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I suggest a PTC in series with the connections to the operating track, this insures that it won't be left on too long.  The operating track should only be energized for a second or two to perform it's function.  If the power is left on, the PTC limits the current to a very low value until the power is removed and the PTC cools down.

Here's one suitable part.

EPCOS B59910C0130A070

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@Jetsafl posted:

I was having issues with my caboose causing my Lionel Fastrack to short out and the engine kept stopping.  I traced it to the caboose as it went over the Fastrack Operating track, then I noticed that the center section by the magnet was slightly swollen.  This was causing the roller on the caboose to hit the wheel axle and cause a short.  Then I noticed a strong smell coming from the operating track.

I think it is obvious that there is some issue here and I'm thinking it is not something I can troubleshoot or fix and I should throw out the track and buy a new one but I wanted to check here first to see if others have had this issue or knew how to possible fix the issue?

The track is about 8 months old, I was also going to look and see if there was a Lionel Warranty.

Are you controlling it with the supplied buttons? Or by using a remote like a cab2 with an ASC?  

@Jetsafl posted:

using the included remote control that comes with the track.

Your buttons are bad or when you installed, the wires were not attached correctly OR if you bought it used the the wires were not attached correctly after removing it for sale.  
A lot of users disconnect the the wires to pass them under the layout to connect the track.  When do this, the wires should stay attached to the button box controller and removed from the track. So I would have to settle on the wires being incorrect on the underside of the track.  I made the same error once but caught it.  If you are running your trains through a remote system that requires continuous full power at all times, the issue would be immediately apparent as the meltdown occurs within a minute.  If you are running trains by varying the track voltage the issue may take a while to reveal itself.
The track will need to be replaced.  

Last edited by RixTrack

thanks for all the great feedback, I am using it on a Lionchief power pack the set came with on this line.  I was thinking of moving this over to a transformer when I get time. This was a brand new track so maybe I'll look into the warranty but for something this cheap probably will cost more in time and effort to get it back to Lionel.  I have ordered a new track from Henning's Trains. 

@gunrunnerjohn thanks for the info, I look at ordering that.  Do I use one per wire from the remote to the track? (there are four wires)

@Jetsafl posted:

I am using it on a Lionchief power pack the set came with on this line.

Well umm.... a few post up...

@bmoran4 posted:

It is not for use on a DC power supply like the cost reduced ones that come in the LionChief sets

And straight from the user manual (highlights mine):

https://www.lionelsupport.com/...315712054250Oper.pdf

Similar discussion: https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...oupler-track-ac-only

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Last edited by bmoran4
@Jetsafl posted:

@gunrunnerjohn thanks for the info, I look at ordering that.  Do I use one per wire from the remote to the track? (there are four wires)

See the diagram below. Also, note that the previous post pointed out that you must NOT use DC power as it will disspiate way more power in the coil and melt it! The coil is designed for 12 VAC, 12VDC would supply much more current as the inductance of the coil is not a factor. Finally, since the LC powerpack supplies.18 volts, that's too much power using AC and WAY too much power using DC!

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And one other thing to note - the lead next to the one @gunrunnerjohn identified does not need to be connected to the FasTrack section to get power from the track. You can take that wire from the controller and instead connect it to an auxiliary power bus at an appropriate AC voltage (presuming in phase common ground wiring).

An even greater tip/trick is that you can actually use that corresponding FasTrack connection to actually feed power to the track line in conjunction with doubling up on the ground terminal all the way on the left.

Last edited by bmoran4

Amazing, I would never have even thought that the track wouldn't run on DC!  I guess my work to move my layout from DC to AC has to accelerate.   I have a CW80 (improved) on preorder, supposed to be be in early Dec, I'm going to use that since my loop is small (12 foot loop).   I have maxed out my postwar ZW and it can't handle this line.  Maybe I can use this as an opportunity to get a ZW-L and upgrade to Legacy!  Not sure my budget will allow that though

I'm going to look into the notes above about how I could feed power from the AC lines I have running already for just that track in the interim while I wait on my transformer. 

@Jetsafl posted:

Amazing, I would never have even thought that the track wouldn't run on DC!

AC has been the standard for over a century and just about every piece of 3 rail equipment works on AC. There are very few 3 rail items that are incompatible with AC (eg. an inconsequential handful of sets form the '70s that are DC operated), but there are many many 3 rail items that are incompatible with DC including anything command control. I would drop the starter DC units (or relegate them to DC only lighting or what have you)  and grow up into the AC world as has been the tradition for 3 Rail O Gauge for over a century. Lionel only went with the less capable DC power supplies on the recent starter sets as a cost reduction both in being able to use a cheaper power supply and reduce weight of shipping said power supply.

A second postwar ZW would compliment your existing at much less cost than a ZW-L and just may fit your needs and budget.

Last edited by bmoran4

yeah good point @bmoran4 about a second ZW, I was thinking of taking my current ZW to Henning's for an upgrade to add breakers etc, maybe I'll do that and use one track for this loop with the operating track.  Then I have an old RW I can use on one of my O27 postwar loops that is currently hooked to the ZW.  Smart, economical approach but just not as fun as adding Legacy!  Considering all the supply chain issues I might as well figure out how to make due with what I have in the short term.

I did add a normal piece of Fastrack to my order so for now I'll leave the operating track off until I have a plan to convert that loop to AC.

@bmoran4 Above you mention -

"the lead next to the one @gunrunnerjohn identified does not need to be connected to the FasTrack section to get power from the track. You can take that wire from the controller and instead connect it to an auxiliary power bus at an appropriate AC voltage (presuming in phase common ground wiring)."

does that mean I connect the "power" wire from the operating track to my AC transformer that is powering my accessories at 10V and leave the track on the wall DC power for now until I can get the whole loop converted?  Can you / how do you Phase the AC transformer with the DC power brick?

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