My Lord! Things actually went smoothly today!

I hooked up three DZ-1011 dwarf signals through 1008 relays to indicate turnout position. Plus the last two switch machines were wired. Everything works (see circuit diagrams from 2-19 and the correction from 2-26).

I wired the one dwarf signal to the switch motor previously wired just to make sure the connections were correct.

Prescott Layout 004Prescott Layout 005

I then wired the other two switch machines made sure they worked then their companion dwarf signals. Everything works just fine.

Prescott Layout 007

Because the 4-way was moved to a new position as mentioned earlier I had to move terminal boards under the layout to accommodate the new position. As a result almost all wires from the switch motors and the dwarf signals were too short. I am not much on soldering so try to avoid it as much as possible. To splice wires together I use a combination of wire ferrules and crimp splice connectors. My process is shown below.
Note I am using 22 gauge wire which is way too thin for the normal red crimp connector plus I never liked crimping a bare wire into a connector. They too often pull out (probably my technique).

I first crimp the wires with 22 gauge wire ferrules (blue)

Prescott Layout 001

These ferrule are too small for the standard red crimp connect but an 18 gauge ferrule (yellow) fits snugly. So I  crimped the 22 gauge ferrule into a 18 gauge ferrule.

Prescott Layout 002

I then crimped the ferrules from the two wires into a standard splice connector. These wires are going no where.

Prescott Layout 003

Joe Fauty

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Got some more work done on the yard. Spent most of the day placing track and roadbed. I had to cut some track to make the yard cross overs work. I also soldered wire to four tracks that will act as non-derail track for the 4-way. While not strictly necessary for the yard I think the non-derail is cool and is too easy to wire so why not............

A picture of the yard - already see where I screwed up. Luckily the track is not wired or screwed into place as yet. I envisioned the far yard cross over as a round around but allowed only 10 inches behind it. I am going to need to move it up another 10 inches - no big deal.

Prescott Layout 003

This is shot of the Gargraves and Atlas O De-coupling track.  Given the bar's lenght The Gargraves is definitely going to be easy to cite cars on.

Prescott Layout 004

I needed to place the Atlas O De-coupling track in-between two Ross tracks but could not use the Atlas O to Ross track pins. Below is a picture of the underside of the Atlas o track. As can be seen three of the four track joiners are soldered to the track.

Prescott Layout 001

So I attached a 1.75 inch Atlas track to one end and was fortunate that I had undercut the Ross track at the other end to receive Atlas joiners. So on one end I have the Atlas O to Ross joiners and normal Atlas O joiners on the other end.

Prescott Layout 002

Next W/E hopefully I will wire all the track for power and the attach the wires for the non-derail feature.

Joe

Joe Fauty

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Did some work on the yard this Sunday. As mentioned in the last post I had to move one yard cross over up further to allow enough room for a locomotive to back up into the next yard lead. It took some maneuvering of track and some more custom cutting track to length. I cut roadbed to fit then added power lines to all track (that's the mess you see in the second photo) and will connect to terminals next weekend. Then hopefully it is on to connecting the cross overs and non-derail features for the 4-way. After that connecting the decoupling tracks.

I also have been making sign posts (got this from a job I did for a customer) that designate the turnout number to coordinate with my control board. I think it is much better to say 'park the box cars on siding #5' rather than 'the fourth siding from the right'.

Prescott Layout 001

 

Prescott Layout 002

Joe Fauty

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Photos (2)
Model Structures posted:

 

...

Prescott Layout 002

Next W/E hopefully I will wire all the track for power and the attach the wires for the non-derail feature.

Joe

Do NOT use these joiners to join Gargraves/Ross track. Thermal expansion/contraction can cause gaps and/or gauge shift to form. You're better off filing/cutting out the webbing on the bottom of the Gargraves Rails and using regular Atlas track joiners. The design was a good idea, but if your layout environment is subject to changes in temperature and/or moisture you can get separation problems.

Matt Jackson
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Matt:

Thanks for the heads up.

I have the layout in a spare room in my house plus I screw down all track. Hopefully this will alleviate the issue. But I will monitor and see if anything happens. One thing I did notice. The joiners are pretty flimsy. Once inserted they will break if you need to remove for any reason.
The yard will be the only place I use these joiners. Everywhere else (especially the main lines) when I go from Atlas to Ross I will use the undercut method you mentioned. Since I am screwing down all track I have been thinking about just butting the ends together w/o any joiners at all. Power / ground will be connected on both sides. This method works for isolated ground track plus going form one power break into another. Your thoughts Matt?

Joe Fauty

Finished up laying track plus ground/power in the yard. Next W/E I will wire the non-derail and the two cross over turnouts. I have one track that doesn't look straight which I will have to fix plus for some reason the switched spur all of a sudden does not turn on so I will have to figure out what is going on there (probably pulled a wire loose crawling under the layout).

A while back I bought four cheap LED dwarf signals from Hong Kong (see photo below). I am going to try these with a DZ-1008 relay and see how they go. The signals come with a resistor attached so it should be a straight hookup.

I also bought a Gargraves gantry track (see photo). I had already built a gantry that would ride on rails however as you can see it is too wide for the Gargraves track. My plan is to use the existing gantry up front and build another one that will fit the Gargraves track.

Various 001

Various 002

It is hard to see but the dwarf signal is towards the middle of the photo.

Prescott Layout 001

The new Gargraves gantry track

Prescott Layout 003

My gantry is too wide for the gantry track so I will use it either up front or in the back depending on fit.

Prescott Layout 004

Joe Fauty

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Looks like my ambitions were bigger than I thought.

I fixed the issue with the spur not turning on. My diagrams said it was spur #2. My wiring said spur #8. Both now match as spur #2.

I also discovered one of the turnout indicator lights was now working either. Turns out the wiring runs over the pull out control panel and pulling out the drawer also pulled out the wires......... so I spent time re-routing and fixing this issue.

I did manage to drill holes for the turnout wiring and associated lights and crimp on ferrules in preparation for wiring next weekend. I have shown my system before but will repeat here. I am not much of a fan of soldering so use a method that involves wire ferrules whether they end up in old fashion spade connects or simply insert into European style connectors. since the wires for the switch motors and lights are very small I first crimp them into 22 gauge wire ferrules  ( the little blue ones) which fit very nicely into 18 gauge yellow ferrules. These in turn will fit into any 'red' standard crimp connect. To add more wire to route to the terminal connectors   I crimp the 18 gauge ferrules into red butt splices. This technique works great for me and gives a super strong joint.

I also discovered that the yellow 18 gauge ferrule will fit into 'push-in wire connectors (see last 2 photos). These connectors come in 2/3/4 and probably more ports. They are basically shorting connectors. So you can connect 3 wires from three different accessories to the connector and use the 4th wire to go to a terminal.

Prescott Layout [2)

Prescott Layout [1)

Prescott Layout 001Prescott Layout 002

Joe Fauty

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Photos (4)

Didn't post anything for the last week because what I attempted did not work. Even though not strictly required I had the isolated track so decided to make the 4-way in the yard non-derail. This should have been easy enough to do (I did it before) - see picture below

4way-with non-derailing

 

Well I hooked up everything and NOTHING WORKED!
Tried various combinations of wiring for about two hours then gave up. While eating dinner I had an A Hah moment. The switch machines have their own power separate from track power which means separate grounds. So the next day I made both grounds common, declared victory and tried the non-derail.  Needless to say NOTHING WORKED!
So this W/E I will move all the wiring/terminals to the top of the layout where it is much more comfortable to work and figure out what is going on.  I know these scheme works since I have done this before so I figure a simple routing error somewhere.

Having fun
Joe

Joe Fauty

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Joe, looks like a diode matrix. you are right about using a common ground that should work well now if you run across any other problems pick up the phone and call me I am up all night so far. Now the red boxes are the switches I take it. You did a great job of doing the work. 

It's all about Trains all scales

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ASC Independent Tech MTH Engineer Dan

AKA Engineer Dan, Train Shows

Ret USN ETC(SW) / DAV

Dan LePage

 

 

 

Joe,

One of the diodes needs to be reversed consistently - choose the same direction for the all of the L's and all of the R's. They are only needed to prevent the controller lights from flickering. All in the same direction will stop the current flow.

Z-Stuff DZ-1000 for non-derail

I like the way Ross suggests a 3" spacer track between the switches for the 4-way yard . I use that for power control and the non-derail trigger rail. It looks like you could move that point to the track after the switch end - the two short center straights and the two outsides curves to parallel.

Carl

Arctic Railroad

Dan - thanks. I'm going to keep the common ground. It's a good idea. Yep the red boxes are the switch machines. 

Carl - I was wondering. I had the diagram you gave the link for plus the diagram I got from somewhere. I will try reversing the L diodes before I go into the shop today.
I am also using 3" track on the inside straight portions but opted for making the curved transition track on the two outside portions of the 4-way due to lack of space. On all other Ross turnouts I am using the 3" track. It is so much easier to use plastic pins on the ends of the 3" then cutting into rails and filling with silicone.

Joe

Joe Fauty

Reversing the diodes did not work. I know I have a wire routing error. I just need to find it. But I will keep the diode reversing scheme.

confirmed with gunrunnerjohn it is no issue shorting grounds on the Z4000 so there definitely is a wirie routing problem.

 

Joe

Joe Fauty

Spent all day working the ground issue to no avail.

I have three power districts powered by two Lionel 180 watt power bricks and one tap (track 2) of the Z4000. Each power source is connected to a Legacy Powermaster then to a common ground under the table. The Turnout machines are powered by the 14VAC tap on the Z4000 with a separate ground.

As long as I keep the ground for the turnouts separate from the power district ground the track voltage and turnout machines along with Z-Stuff dwarf lights connected through 1008 relays to the turnout machines work just fine. Only the non-derail does not work since it needs a common ground between the switch machines and track ground.

Just to be sure about the Z4000 I disconnected the 14VAC wires, then shorted ground between the 14VAV tap and track 2 directly on the transformer (ie before the powermasters). The Z4000 acted just fine. As soon as I ran a wire from the 14VAC ground tap on the transformer under the table and connected to ground after the powermasters, track 2 of the Z4000 goes to 12 amps at about 1.2 VAC.

As I said earlier I did have the non-derail working on my previous layout. The only change I made was to switch a new legacy powermaster for an TPC400 that was previously connected to the Z4000.

Joe

Joe Fauty

Still playing around with the Z4000 - see https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...58#79142442707728458

Based on tracking the common wire last night I may have a potential feedback issue though am not sure as yet (diagrams on the other post).

I sort of declared victory last night and ordered another Lionel 180W power brick. This way I will have three bricks feeding three powermasters and use the Z4000 for switch motors, ITADS etc.

Joe Fauty

Good! That eliminates one potential problem.

This sounds as if you have a phasing issue between your power supplies. Have you checked that all 3 sources are in fact in phase with each other? Just because they have polarized plugs on the house side does not guarantee they will be in phase.

 

Chris

LVHR

Model Structures posted:

As I find time I am building a new layout. The figure below was my 'original' design. I had the yard work wired in then showed my design to a friend who I consider a hi-rail expert. The track module outlined in red is a half copy of John Allen's Timesaver switching game module. My intent was to have something for my friends to do when they came over other then watching trains go round a circle.

timesaver 2b

When I showed the design to my friend Peter he pointed out that the Timesaver module was too far inside the board so it would be difficult to place cars where needed to start the game - something I never thought about! Peter made some other suggestions. The bottom line is the design below.

timesaver 2d

With the new design I should be able to reach in to place cars (furthest track is about 30 inches in) plus I still have the yard where I can reach individual cars to manually uncouple them. Down the road I want to install some turnouts at the end of the yard for an engine run around track.

Another good thing about starting over is that I discovered from the reading a John Armstrong book the wonderful world of easements. For various reasons I chose to run O63 and O54 curves on the main lines so easement will come in handy. Since I don't have any flexible track I found out if I use O81 1/3 curves - two going into the curve and one on the end, I end up with the same total curve pattern in area - see below. This is not much of an easement but I think it will still make the trains look better going into and out of a tight curve.

The last curve on the right is actually both the all O54 placed over the one containing the O81 1/3 curves. It is a almost perfect fit. Note this particular track is Atlas O. I started out with Atlas O sectional track so have a good inventory. However for any new turnouts or track I use Ross. A lot of the interior siding and yard work is all Ross. Since Ross does not make partial curves probably the best course would be Gargraves flexible track or cutting down an O81 sectional curve.

Easement

Joe

It is a great thing to get great advice.  Most people have way too many spots on their layout which are difficult to access.  WELL PLAYED!  :=)

lehighline posted:

Good! That eliminates one potential problem.

This sounds as if you have a phasing issue between your power supplies. Have you checked that all 3 sources are in fact in phase with each other? Just because they have polarized plugs on the house side does not guarantee they will be in phase.

 

Chris

LVHR

Yep - checked all three  - in phase

Joe Fauty

With the Z4000 out of the loop everything is working. I have wired non-derail for for two of the three switch motors and all is working well. I will wire the one remaining switch motor tonight.

To do list:

1. Re-trace ground circuit and make sure it is ok
2. Wire reaming non-derail
3. wire switch motors for the two crossover turnouts
4. wire dwarf signals for the crossovers
5. wire the four de-couplers (two Gargraves and two Atlas O)

Joe Fauty

So phasing is not the issue. That leaves your wiring.

Just as a final check, try swapping a brick and the Z4K. If all is well with the transformers, there should be no change in status. Which definitely leads you back to the layout wiring. Somewhere you have to have at least one common and/or hot lead reversed. Can you pull the 4-way completely out of the layout and work on it on the bench?  Then you have only one (big) component to deal with.

Spent another 5 hours playing around with the Z4000. I disconnected all track wires. I disconnected all the power supplies then double checked the the power / common wiring to all terminal broads under the table. I reconnected the power supplies and checked voltages at each terminal with the track wires still disconnected. Since the power supplies share a common ground if I had an out phase Z4000 I assume I would see a much higher voltage between a terminal board for the Z4000 and one for the 180W power bricks plus a voltage between the power ('A' or pos) between the Z4000 and a power brick. All was well. Just to double check I turned the power plug for the Z4000 around in the power strip (I have a plug adapter that allows me to do this) and sure enough there was voltage between the 'A' terminals of the Z4000 and the power bricks.

So bottom line I know my wiring is good, I am pretty certain the Z4000 is in phase with the power bricks. If I short grounds ('U') terminals on the Z4000 for the track 1 voltafe and 14VAC before the Legacy Powermaster I have no issues, if I connect the grounds after the powermaster I have issues. If I connect one or the other I have no issues. So I am declaring victory and moving on. I have a power brick on order. I will use this to power the third track district and use the Z4000 for turnouts (common ground with power bricks) and accessories only. I have tried this already and it works.

Next Sunday it is back to wiring track and turnouts in the yard. I bought some LED dwarf lights from a Hong Kong outfit. It will be interesting plying around with these...............

Joe

Joe Fauty

I owe everyone a huge apology. I must have been testing phase the wrong way. I reviewed Lionel's YouTube video on testing phase and duplicated the light technique. Sure enough the Z4000 is out of phase with the two Lionel power bricks. The light was turning on when connecting red terminal to red terminal from the Z4000 to all three powermasters but not when connecting red to black.

I have a three prong into two prong adapter so used it to turn the Z4000 plug around in the power strip but this did not work for some reason. I tried turning the Lionel power bricks around but then they would not turn on the powermasters.

The one thing Mike ?Reagan's? video otherwise excellent did not touch upon was how to correct two power supplies out of phase with each other.  I have a feeling I would need to have someone go inside the Z4000????

I still have a third Lionel power brick coming in, supposedly tonight so will hook it up to the third powermaster. For some reason the 14V terminal if used by itself will work with the power bricks on a common ground. If it does not I have a small Lionel CW40 I can try.

Joe Fauty

Joe,

Is the Z4000 healthy? Throttles ok and such? Has anyone ever been inside for repairs? It shouldn't be out of phase, even though it's a strange beast to me.

I didn't like because it wouldn't turn on track power with the throttles preset.

Shoot an email to GGG and see what he thinks of this.

Carl

Arctic Railroad

Moonman posted:

Joe,

Is the Z4000 healthy? Throttles ok and such? Has anyone ever been inside for repairs? It shouldn't be out of phase, even though it's a strange beast to me.

I didn't like because it wouldn't turn on track power with the throttles preset.

Shoot an email to GGG and see what he thinks of this.

As far as I know it is ok though it is old - 2007/2008????). No one has ever touched the insides.

By GGG do you mean Gunrunner John?

I just received the 180 power brick. I will install tomorrow. I have the CW40. If it will power all my turnouts and dwarf signals then the Z becomes a boat anchor and goes sup for sale.

Joe Fauty

The new 180W power brick arrived. I replaced the Z4000 with the power brick for Track 1 plus I installed a CW80 (thought it was a CW40) for accessories. I programmed the accessory voltage for 13 volts (pretty cool add-on by Lionel!) to power the various turnouts switch machines plus all the dwarf signals. Got a photo of the revised power drawer below.

Prescott Layout 2018 001

I tested the three power bricks and the CW80 with the lamp and everything checks out. So all track wire plus the non derail wiring was re-connected. As Mark said - I am back on track again. I have non-derail working for both the forward two switch machines on the Ross 4-way. They work fine however when I try to connect to the non-derail to the approach switch machine the other switch machine points start to flutter so I need to do some more thinking here.

I also tried the non-derail with and W/O diodes and could not tell any difference in performance nor the lights so stayed with wire only. I wonder if this has to do with the flutter????

I barely mentioned I had a Z4000 'boat anchor' and a friend magically showed up and took it for his layout. I did contact MTH via their web page email about a week ago. So far no replies.

Joe

Joe Fauty

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Went back to the non-derail issue. But first I discovered that two outside rails coming off the Ross yard crossovers were isolated. These two rails are between the crossover and the intentional isolated rails for the non-derail feature. I broke a cardinal rule of mine (always wire track power and ground on each end of a turnout) because this track was sitting on top of my control board and I did want wire running over the area of the board. I had to take up a lot of track to fix this but it is done.

isolated track rail 002

isolated track rail 003

Back to the non-derail. I have the basic wiring done. I can control the two outboard turnouts  with the isolated track now. However as soon as I add the entry turnout into the wire scheme a lot of weird things happen - flutter, the entry turnout switching when I use a toggle switch control wired to one of the outboard turnouts. So next week I am going to remove the wires for the dwarf signals (they are connected to DZ1008 relays and ultimately to the turnout machines) and see what happens with the non-derail.

Joe Fauty

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Some stuff happened last week so this entry is really for last Sunday. I could not get the non-derail to work for the entry turnout and finally figured out why. When I first wired the 4-way in the previous design I used 2 toggle switches connected to the left and right outboard turnouts. Each toggle switch in turn  was connected to the entry switch in the appropriate direction. This time I wired in 3 toggle switches - gave the entry turnout its own switch. So if I tried to wire non-derail for an outboard and the entry turnout I created a back-feed which made the outboard turnout flutter. I am going to change this during the week.

Meanwhile thinking I was out of the woods (yea right) I used a small lightweight caboose with lights (I use this to make sure track power is on when wiring track) to test the non-derail but also sent it all the way through the crossovers. The bottom crossover worked just fine. However going through the curve on the top crossover the caboose kept shorting out and blowing the transformer fuse.

Ross Yard Cross Over 003

I tried thee other cabooses (cabeese???) with no issues. It was just this one little guy. As I mentioned above it went through the other crossover with no issues so it was not the caboose itself. Well after going through the turnout upteen times looking for issues I starting sending Steve at Ross Custom Switches emails. Steve kept giving me pointers to what to check. It was during the week I was trying some stuff Steve recommended when I needed to use both hands - one for the caboose on one on the track when I noticed the crossover would wobble side to side about 1/16 inch. Background - I don't glue the cork roadbed not do I glue track. I simply screw the track through the roadbed and into the homasote under layer. So I figured what the heck and put a screw smack dab in the middle of the crossover (see below). After four days of head scratching and exercising Steve the caboose started sailing through the crossover with no issues.

Ross Yard Crossover 001

Ross Yard Crossover 002

Now on to a new adventure. I am actually going to wire these switch machines..............NO NON-DERAIL

Joe

Joe Fauty

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No sweat - it is already gone!

I did try wiring the entry switch machine through the toggle switch to the two out board machines. It should have worked but once again nada. to add to my misery I think I blew a 1008 relay playing around with the crossover.

On to more diasters.................

Joe Fauty

I have been spending the last few W/E's working on the dwarf signals for the 4-way and the two cross overs. I am using DZ1011R dwarf signals and DZ1008 relays. Call this a learning lesson - wire the two exactly according to the diagram D. Zander supplies. I neglected to connect the yellow wire from the 1008 to the DZ1000 switch motor (so only the green wire was connected). The relays / dwarf signals worked great until they did not work anymore. So far I have 3 fried 1008 relays.......................

DZ-1008 and DZ-1011 indicator

Joe Fauty

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Joe,

How often in my 42-year career in electronics I could have written the same sentence;  The ______________ worked great until they did not work anymore.  I am glad you found your mistake, before more were destroyed.  I do not know if I will put in signals when I get to putting in my stock of Z-Stuff machines, but I appreciate your sharing.

Mark:

Thanks! If you do decide to place signals but don't want the hassle of all the wires necessary for relays the easiest thing to do is hook up the signals to IR detectors. Lionel and MTH make big massive ones. Z-Stuff makes a much smaller version but get the right one - I think it is the 1075. The other one (1070?) only works with Z-stuff signals. You can also eliminate the detectors all together and just go with Z-Stuff signals alone since they have built in detectors. When I use the DZ-1011R with the relay I place a piece of electrical tape over the sensor. If you use any Z-stuff signals with the 1075/1070 you have to do the same thing.

Joe

Joe Fauty

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