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I wired my first DZ-1000  / Ross turnout for non-derail. It was as easy as isolating a section of ground track just before the turnout, soldering a wire to the track and running that wire to the appropriate side of the DZ-1000. worked like a charm.

I will use the non-derail as a back up for turnouts I can't readily reach.
Joe

Ran into something new setting up non-derail on one switch. I test the function by rolling a car over the insulated track (by the way if the switch machines are connected to the same ground as the track then track power does not need to be on to test the non-derail function). On both sides the car wheels kept sparking when passing from one track section to the insulated track. My first thought was dirty tracks from soldering the non-derail wire in place. I cleaned both and the problem went away on one side. The other side kept sparking. After some head scratching I noticed the two tracks were slightly off in alignment. I fixed the alignment and no more sparks. Crazy thing this was not a major alignment issue.  I added an extra screw to make sure the track did not move again.

Still busy wiring turnouts. I learned something new today. One can not wire a Ross turnout using a DZ1000 motor for non -derail if an Atlas O 200 snap relay is used to control a dwarf signal indicating turnout position. Once a car passes over the isolated track that triggers the relay, the relay stays 'on' until the connection is broken. If if the car sits on the isolated track or say there is a long consist the relay will stay on until it burns out; which takes no time at all. To make this work a DZ1008 needs to be substituted in for the 200 snap relay.

Joe

John:

You are correct the 200 is just a miniature version of their motor but set up like a DPDT relay. It did not take long for the relay to freeze up. I should have known better with my experience with the switch motors. I am slowly changing out my Atlas switch motors with DZ1000 motors as the Atlas motors die - however when they work they work great. Most of the time the turnout points start to move real slow and don't complete the switch over to opposite rail. I disconnect the motor from the turnout and it works fine so I assume position wrt to the turnout is critical with these devices. I have zero issues with the turnout itself. These turnouts are quality product.


For the time being I am going to switch out the 200 relays with DZ1008 relays where ever I have non-derail set up on DZ1000 motors.

It has been a while since I posted. The inside of my home is undergoing complete renovation - new tile and cabinets throughout, fireplace makeover with stone and a nice tiled in shower. The stuff I had was 15 years old and looked like sub par quality. Anyway the furniture is piled up in the garage and there are about 1M boxes stored in the various bedrooms.

I was able to get into the train room for some today. As mentioned in the previous post I am replacing Atlas snap relays with DZ-1008's wherever I have Ross turnouts with DZ-1000 motors and non-derail wires attached. I did three today an d the results turned out real good. There are  two major issues in using the Atlas snap relays in  non-derail-
1.  (I know why for this) - when a car passes over the isolated rail the relay will work fine but the problem is if there are a whole bunch of cars passing over the isolated rail. Then the relay keeps being activated till it heats up and melts plastic.
2. (I don't know the reason for this) - with the snap relay in the circuit as a car passes over the isolated track the wheels spark like crazy. Track power and turnout motor power are separate however the grounds are all tied together. Once I switch in the DZ-1008 the sparking disappears. I am still scratching my head over this one.........

So my plan is this:
I have a mixture of Atlas turnouts with Atlas O motors, Ross turnouts with DZ-1000 motors and Atlas O turnouts with DZ-1000 motors. I will use the Atlas snap relay with all Atlas turnouts/motors and the 1008 relay with all Ross and Atlas turnouts with DZ-1000 motors. I have DZ-1011R detector/lights connected to both Atlas snap relays and DZ-1008's to indicate turnout position with no issues. I have some MTH dwarf signals I am going to try also. There should be no issue using them with either the snap relay nor the 1008's.

No mystery with the Atlas Snap Relays, they are limited duty devices just like the Atlas dual-coil switch machines.  Leave them energized for more than a few seconds and they're a puddle of plastic!  The DZ-1008 relay is a continuous duty relay, you can leave it energized all day.

John:

How do you plan to power your turnouts and are you using any kind of position indicator?

Joe

Joe, my switches all have the DZ-2500 switch machine, so they have position indication built in, and I'll be bringing the line back to a control panel for a visual look at the layout and the switch status.  Each DZ-2500 also has a red & green LED to indicate the path.  If the "out" path is your "main" path, you can also switch the sense of the LED's so the green is active for the "out" path.  Finally, the DZ-2500 are command controlled, so I'll have control of all the switches from the TMCC or Legacy remote.

Joe, my switches all have the DZ-2500 switch machine, so they have position indication built in, and I'll be bringing the line back to a control panel for a visual look at the layout and the switch status.  Each DZ-2500 also has a red & green LED to indicate the path.  If the "out" path is your "main" path, you can also switch the sense of the LED's so the green is active for the "out" path.  Finally, the DZ-2500 are command controlled, so I'll have control of all the switches from the TMCC or Legacy remote.

Thanks John - I would be interested in knowing how the 2500's act as you start using them.

Spent the day changing out Atlas O switch machines for Z-Stuff DZ-1000's. There was only one Atlas machine that was not functioning but I ended up replacing three. I have only 2 Atlas machines left but they are at the edge of the train board and are working so I will leave them connected till they stop working. When I started out replacing the Atlas O switch machines with DZ-1000s I could not find any relevant info on how to set up the DZ-1000 for proper functioning other than finding out the eye of the 1000 control arm is supposed to be parallel to and 1/2 inch from the eye Atlas O switch rod so I ended up writing a little tutorial on what I learned and submitted it to OGR for possible publishing. The most important thing is to notch the roadbed under the Atlas O switch rod if you are using it otherwise the roadbed interferes with the spring pin and prevents it from closing the turnout point rails. You can see the notch I cut below.

2021-02-07 Replace Atlas O with Ross DZ1000 006

2021-02-07 Replace Atlas O with Ross DZ1000 007

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  • 2021-02-07 Replace Atlas O with Ross DZ1000 006: Curved position
  • 2021-02-07 Replace Atlas O with Ross DZ1000 007: Straight position
Last edited by Joe Fauty

I think I have determined there is a basic electrical incompatibility between Atlas O 200 snap relays and DZ-1000 motors. I was using the relays to power a DZ-1011R detector (tape over the IR detector) to indicate turnout position. Like the DZ1000 the center post on the 200 is connected to power. However the L and R posts of the DZ1000 go to common while it appears the L and R posts of the 200 go to power. I connected these wires between the DZ1000 and 200 so that throwing the DZ1000  would activate the relay and change the light indication on the DZ1011R. My DZ1000 switch machines would work most of the time but with some the motor (control arm on top of the machine ) would not fully switch positions.
While not a hard short I think the 200 relays were affecting the performance of the DZ1000 motors. I removed them from the circuit under the train table and found the switch motors to be a lot more 'lively' now. Time will tell if this is the issue.

Looks like I will be purchasing a bunch of DZ1008's.........................

I removed all the
Atlas snap relays and finished wiring a 3-way and a double cross over - two of my more complicated turnouts. They are working fine. I also went back and checked all the other turnouts (both Atlas and Ross - all with DZ-1000 motors) I have wired and they are functioning like they should. I have a bunch of DZ-1008 relays on order to replace the Atlas relays. When everything is done each turnout will have a DZ-1008 / DZ-1011R connection to indicate turnout position.

I am trying to think of something I can do with the Atlas relays since they are honestly very good devices with advantages the DZ-1008 doesn't have.

I have 5 more turnouts to wire then this portion of the layout building is done.

I finished wiring the last turnouts and everything is working. I am waiting on a bunch of DZ-1008 relays to set up the DZ-1011R's I'm using for turnout position indicators.
This Sunday I am going to clean track and run a locomotive around real slow to see if I need to add more power connections. I have wires soldered to the diamond on the Ross double cross over but have not connected them as yet to a relay. I will wait and see how my various locomotives perform first. I do have two locomotives from my childhood days I know will not make it through the cross over in the curved position but when I run them they will go straight through.
Joe

I bought my home in 2014. It took 7 years of Sundays starting from bench work to get here. I RAN TRAINS YESTERDAY! So far every thing looks good with respect to power drops. I ran a diesel real slow over the layout with no hiccups. I then ran a Lionel 4-8-4 steam locomotive which is advertised for O54 curves. It will work on the O54 curves (however I have 1/3 O72 curves leading in and out of the curves but the loco has issues with O54 turnouts.

I also have a Ross double crossover. When set to curve the locomotives run through the turnout just fine but I forgot about the tender for the steam locomotive. It has all the sound electronics. The rollers are too close together to stay in contact with power crossing the diamond so I loose sound. Looks like I need power the diamond.
Joe

Thanks John and Junior
On the lead into my yard track I have two turnouts back to back that go into a service area I wanted reserved for my steam locomotives. The locomotive enters the turnouts then goes to a short track. I switch the turnouts to straight and back the locomotive onto the service track. Lo and behold the track was 2 inches too short. The tender wheels were sitting on the turnout swing legs. Fortunately I have 3 inch straights on both ends of the turnouts so I simply moved the turnouts 3 inches which gave me the room I needed.

Amen to that GRJ! Just yesterday I was running a MPC/Lionel F3 I just converted using ERR components that does not have the Cruise option. Lo and behold, the engine encountered 2 power blocks where the engine slows down dramatically. I will definitely need to investigate those areas.

The point here is, I've been running trains on my layout for a couple years now and just came across this "opportunity". Yep....tinkering never ends.

Last edited by Junior

I got comments about how many power drops I was using, words like "excessive" and "overkill".  Maybe, but I can run conventional stuff on the mainline and they make the whole 140 foot run without encountering any power issue.   After having so many experiences with poor power on the tracks, I decided this layout would not have that issue.

John - no such thing as excessive or overkill, especially when you get to see your locomotives run around the track at a crawl with no issues.

@Joe Fauty posted:

Question - when a locomotive with cars attached slows down in a curved section is it a lack of power drop or is it the locomotive having to work harder?

The slowdown occurs because the locomotive is working much harder due to the increase in friction.  The sudden, added friction from entering an un-eased curve (i.e., uniformly curved sectional track) is much greater than the constant friction from the trailing cars.  I'll bet if you run just the loco (and tender) by itself, the slowdown would be even more pronounced, to the point of being noticeable and unrealistic.

I'll also bet that the loco has at least one pair of rubber tires on opposite sides of the same axle.  Bad idea.  On sharp curves, the inside rail is shorter than the outside, so one wheel or the other must be allowed to skid.  Unfortunately rubber tires prevent this.  Because most operators don't know better, 3-rail locos are geared for fast "toy-train" top speeds.  But at normal speeds, the motor(s) isn't turning enough RPM to overcome that sudden increase in friction when the loco enters a curve.  So you get a slowdown.  On sharp tabletop layout curves it can be pretty significant.

Instead of using an appropriate gear ratio and large flywheels (which have been used successfully for YEARS in 2-rail O and other scales), 3-rail manufacturers chose to address the problem by adding closed-loop "speed control" that instantaneously feeds the motor more voltage to overcome the added friction.  They also get to charge an extra $200 for it .  If the increase is done quickly enough, it's hardly detectable.  But it can sometimes make running the train a robotic experience.  If it's not done thoughtfully, you end up with a "lurch," surging, etc.  Electronic speed control is a complex solution that may require an additional sensor, and introduces new failure modes.  It's widely accepted now, but not strictly necessary, and not my favorite thing about our trains.

Last edited by Ted S

Ted,

Your analysis is generally spot on about the advantages of the use of flywheels and appropriate gearing to overcome the slowdown seen in curves.

I'd like to disagree however because I don't think that it would help the 3 Rail situation.  While 2 Railers commit to the use of large radius curves for more realistic operation 3 Railers love their tight curves and smaller layouts.  Flywheels and better gearing are no match for them.

I know that there are some 3 Railers that will disagree with me, and I'll grant them some leeway, but only if their layouts have curves that are O-72 or larger.

Unfortunately most of us 3 Railers have to live with the complex speed controls.

Mike

Ted,

Your analysis is generally spot on about the advantages of the use of flywheels and appropriate gearing to overcome the slowdown seen in curves.

I'd like to disagree however because I don't think that it would help the 3 Rail situation.  While 2 Railers commit to the use of large radius curves for more realistic operation 3 Railers love their tight curves and smaller layouts.  Flywheels and better gearing are no match for them.

I know that there are some 3 Railers that will disagree with me, and I'll grant them some leeway, but only if their layouts have curves that are O-72 or larger.

Unfortunately most of us 3 Railers have to live with the complex speed controls.

I have O72 and larger curves and I still disagree.

As I mentioned a several post ago, I discovered I have a power block or two that appear to be having power drops by running a conventional engine that does not have a flywheel or speed control (sorry for the run on sentence).

The point being, I've been running PS2/PS3 and TMCC engines and had no clue I might be having power issues in some of the power blocks. So.....speed control does what it's supposed to; but hides the fact you might have power issues.

I guess the question is, what are you willing to live with. For me, I need to do some investigation to what make sure everything is copacetic .

Last edited by Junior

@Mellow Hudson Mike I don't have any track set up right now, so I can't post a video. But if you come to my house in Fort Worth, TX, I'll gladly set up a loop to show you.

The vast majority of people on this board have NEVER run a properly geared 3-rail loco, because so few exist.  Especially stock out-of-the box.  But the 1,000,000 modelers who were in 2-rail O and every other scale (and I mean before the advent of DCC decoders with Back-EMF, etc.) would disagree with you.  I strongly encourage you to experiment and enlighten yourself...

One of the easiest locos to obtain is an MTH RailKing 0-4-0 docksider from circa 2001-2002.  This is a chunky all-metal toy train with a tiny, cut-rate motor.  But it has a big flywheel and a favorable gear ratio.  Try it on O31, or even O27.  You'll see- it WON'T slow down going from straight to curved track.  It will also creep consistently at about 6 scale mph or less (assuming you have fairly uniform track voltage, no pinches in the gauge, and no wide joints that would snag wheels and rollers.)  And it will do that running light.  Maybe even better pulling a string of cars!

Another loco that's currently produced is the Bachmann-Williams 4-6-0 Ten Wheeler.  It can be had for under $200 street price.  I'll bet John has never seen one of these on his bench.  Why? Because there's very little inside of it that might fail. AND they run so well stock that there's no need to "upgrade," add speed control, etc.  They just don't need it for smooth operation!  40:1 or bust!

Some 3-rail trains use chains or pulleys to transfer torque from the motor to the wheels.  Even before Lionel introduced the Odyssey motor, I found that by changing the ratios I could achieve very slow and consistent operation on par with the best HO diesels.  With enough RPM and flywheel mass, the loco will utterly ignore curves and *small* grades (such as a mismatch in thickness across the seam between adjacent plywood surfaces.)  Now, if you want to climb a Lionel #110 trestle set, it will do that too, and even maintain a controlled speed on the way down!  But like a real train it will slow a little going uphill and speed up a little going downhill.  If you need absolutely constant speed in that scenario, you could create an insulated block, and install variable resistor(s) in series with the track feed.

Maintaining a set speed on graded track is probably the best "use case" justification for closed loop speed control.  It's NOT a blanket exemption from sound engineering practices like BIG flywheels (maybe more than one) and gearing that puts the motor in the linear part of its RPM-voltage curve at a scale coupling speed of 4 MPH.  IMO the RIGHT way to build a train is to gear it low, and attenuate any resultant NVH.  This is quality, and yes, it adds cost!  A Hudson geared for 100 scale MPH?  How big is your layout?  How many seconds will it take before it travels out of your sight?  Arguably slow speed is more important on small layouts than on large ones.  And the sharper the curves, the greater the need for low gearing because of the friction problem discussed above.  What the world needs (and doesn't know it) is a toy sized train that runs like a fine scale model.

Speed control gets bundled with almost every loco today because most hobbyists nursed in 3-rail O are willing to pay a premium for "features."  I could make a case that Lionel O peaked in 1939.  Smoke was a gimmick.  Magne-traction was a gimmick.  And speed control is a gimmick too.  I'm grateful for this opportunity to explain to the community at large that there IS an alternative, a road not taken.  And the best defense against buyer's remorse is an enlightened consumer.

Last edited by Ted S

Ted, since we don't have many locomotives built to your specifications, we do the best we can with cruise control.  As it turns out, it works very well, and doubtless is why it survives and grows in popularity to this day.

Smoke may be a "gimmick", but it's one that is in high demand, and your railing against it isn't likely to change that fact.

As for not seeing high geared locomotives, perhaps you should simply look around for my posts about Williams 44:1 geared locomotive upgrades.

Found some more power issues - did not practice what I preach. I forgot to add power drops on all three ends of some of my turnouts especially with those connected back to back. Once again my steam loco tender's sound cut out (the train kept going) . The common is good just the power so this is an easy solder job.

Joe

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