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I have an MTH 20-3148-2 Premier 0-8-0 USRA Steam Engine with 3-volt PS2 and scale wheels that had never been run. I installed a BCR2 and have been running it on my conventional layout with clean Atlas O 3-rail track, O-72 curves and Z-4000 transformer. At voltages up to 13 volts, the engine and sounds operate perfectly. At 14 volts and above, the engine runs properly but the sounds drop out at one location and restart immediately. None of my other locomotives do this. I’ve substituted another BCR2 (no change) and checked the tether and drawbar ground connection. If the whistle is blowing at the problematic track location, the sounds don’t drop out even above 14 volts. At shutdown, the sounds play for more than five seconds. The wheels are painted black, have paint on the treads and no traction tires. The tender has two pickup rollers and the engine has none. Any suggestions to correct the problem? Would more capacitance than the BCR2 be useful?


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If you run the engine in reverse, does it dropout at the exact same location?

If you face the engine the other direction, does it dropout at the exact same location?

I realize at 14V the engine is moving along and may be hard to pin-point the problem location down to a track-tie...but above experiments might help isolate if the drop-out occurs when one or the other pickup roller passes some particular point...or maybe when the driver wheels with the traction tires passes some particular point...or may uncover some other unusual behavior.

My guess is some mechanical mis-alignment in the electrical pickups in that specific the rollers or the wheels or both.  And that specific track section has some slight anomaly that forms the perfect storm relative to just that engine.

I believe it's safe to assume the whistle keeps the sounds running because the transformer puts out a modified track voltage when the Whistle button is held down.

If you release the Z-4000 Whistle button just before you reach the problem area...and the whistle is playing its several-second "tail" sound as it fades off (assuming your engine's whistle has that) I'll bet the whistle sound cuts out.

Last edited by stan2004

Given the one location and the voltage variation affecting it, I'd look closely at the track and any joints near that location.

I did that. Took up three sections of track, replaced one (rail separated from ties when removed) and replaced all rail joiners. I don't have a functional multi-tester right now. The problem location is two 10-inch track sections from a power feed and occurs at the same and some other locations when running opposite direction. No other locomotive has any such problems on the layout. I think it's the locomotive power pickup or paint on wheel treads. Thanks for responding.


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