This is going to take a minute. I have to explain my set up to ask my questions.
I have an elevated track I set up for my grandson's train. Goal was to run it off a Z 1000 MTH transformer hooked to the Variable In 1 port of my TIU so I could use my remote to dial up and dial down the power to it. Two engines to choose from. One is a 1971 truly conventional, no frills, forward-backward-stopped position selector switch that has to be manually set each time you wish to change directions or keep it stopped. Next is a more modern GP 20 Burger King engine with directional control that actually lets me use the DIR button to stop it, then send it backwards or forwards. Finally, I bought one of those Southern railroad Mikado style steam engines that uses its own remote to operate, a Lion Chief style which we know is not a conventional engine, but in order to run it I have to use the only open track available and that's the elevated track.
Here are my problems. When I set either of the true conventionals on the track, especially the 1971, they act like the track has no power or they're confused as to what they are supposed to do. I thought maybe since they were old and hadn't been used in awhile they might be defective, so I put them both on the main track. The main track system is the one I run my modern PS3 engines. I set the DT&I (1971) on the outer track, turned on the system, and it shot down the main straight like it had been fired out of a cannon. Same for the Burger King. So defective motors or power pickup isn't the issue.
The Burger King has one of those directional control levers you can set to ON or OFF. I had it set in the middle because ON seemed to mess with its mind. It didn't seem to know what to do. Setting it in the middle got a response that I thought had taken care of my issues. Not so fast Jonesy. Yesterday I was playing around with some back and forth between elevated track and main system running trains, ignoring the Burger King train because all it was doing is going around and around, and all of a sudden, after what seemed like 50 revolutions, it stopped right above my head and just made that irritating gurgling noise it makes in neutral before you press DIR and tell it to go backward or forward depending on where it was before it stopped. I pressed DIR, pressed it again, and off it went. Got back to the exact same spot, stopped again. DIR, DIR, DIR, off we go. One good turn of the track, two good turns, started to ignore it again, and guess what, it stopped again in the same spot.
I don't know if because my lever was in the in between OFF and ON location that it was causing an issue, if that spot on the track was shorting out. But I do know the Lion Chief runs flawlessly regardless of power setting on the DCS remote. As long as the DCS remote is dialed up to 5.5 or higher, my Southern 4501 works just fine using its remote as the driver system. The only issue with 4501 is that when I try to activate the couplers, the rocker buttons either sound the whistle or the bell. The whistle works to specifications, the bell works to specifications, the cab chatter works. But neither coupler will fire when the respective rocker button is pushed in its direction. Any ideas on that?
With what I have told you, can anyone give me some suggestions as to what might be the issue with two conventional engines? Again, they work. 18 constant volts pouring in from the fixed out 1 port cattle prods them to immediate speed. But when set on the variable port driven track, they start sluggish, and never seem to build up any speed. Am I trying to run them too slow? I don't want to fling them off the track, especially 7 feet in the air. I used 18 gauge wire to hook it up and run my booster drops. Any help, suggestions, or training on how to do this properly is greatly appreciated.