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I am having difficulty running my MTH engines through my Ross Custom Switches.

I have a pair of left hand switches, O-72s, connected together giving access to an inner loop run, and then another pair of right hand switches connected together, returning/connecting the inner loop run back to the outer loop.

The problem is my engines stop and turn off when they are running between 5-10 smph right in the middle of the connecting arms of the switches.

When I tilt up the engines, both rollers are on the center(power)rail.

The rails have been cleaned and the volt meter reads 19 in most spots.

I say most because sometimes,  I may have a 0 reading in a  small area, and that is between the engine’s rollers.

I am looking for help and suggestions.

Thank you all in advance and look forward to your insight.



Images (2)
  • 92126F87-29C9-4674-A98A-191A5C9F4C46: Engine shut down
  • 9D041106-F39F-4090-ABB4-45822F23E1A5
Original Post

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Thank you Bob and Hokie 71 for responding.

I do not have power on the short segment between the switches. The short segment is actually the ends of two switches connected together. I do have a power connection between the two sets of switches on the longer segment of track which is on the inner loop. There is also a power connection just past the outer loop switches and one about 2 feet before the switch connection; both connection are on the outer loop.

Both loops are connected to a MTH Z4000 with wire drops at approximately every 6 feet to a MTH terminal block.

I do not know what “phased” means. I am still very new to wiring on a larger, more permanent layout.

Thank you again.


It sounds as if the turnouts were not wired properly and that a jumper wire is needed.

We have quite a few Ross turnouts and wired all of them. Once you figure out how they work it is pretty easy to check them out. There should be wiring diagrams on the website.

Call Steve at Ross and he will help. He is great to work with.

John is correct on the numbered turnouts. They work flawlessly in this application.

The first thing to check is if the track is ross ready, easiest way (if you can pull it up....) is to look underneath, if you see wires underneath rail to rail, it means it was wired ie ross ready (I always order mine ross ready, the extra 10 bucks or whatever is worth not having to wire more...). If not the instruction sheet or on the ross website they have a diagram of how to wire it.

A question for others, if you use 072 for crossovers, do you need to do what they recommend for #6 crossovers and use a relay like a dz1008 to power the frog?

The only place I've needed the relay is for the Ross Double-Slip switches and the curved switches.  The Ross Regular (100/101) and the #4 switches work fine for me without any switches.  I do have a couple of O72 switches in my layout, those also didn't need any relay.

Thanks, GRJ. Ross recommends it for the #6 if doing a crossover (which I have 2 such on my layout that is literally a slow boat from China) so I will be using them, even if I prob don't need it, it is my version of 11 on the amp *lol*.

The issue I see is that all your outer rails are broken by plastic frogs except for the one rail that goes past the station. Even with ross ready switches, I'd be dropping power feeds everywhere (at least between each pair of switches) in that section of track, to avoid the very problem you have now. I think you just have too many breaks in the rail continuity for the power to make it everywhere.  

Are both loops on a single transformer handle? If not then insulate the center rail in the crossover. You dont want to double feed it.

If you're using 2 transformers then you do need to check the phase (does the AC wave go "up or down" first). If theyre opposite, then they're "out of phase", but if they're out of phase, you usually get an arc welder (double voltage), not a zero.

Last edited by Boilermaker1
@bigkid posted:

Thanks, GRJ. Ross recommends it for the #6 if doing a crossover (which I have 2 such on my layout that is literally a slow boat from China) so I will be using them, even if I prob don't need it, it is my version of 11 on the amp *lol*.

Obviously #6 switches will work fine, they just take up a lot of space.  I used the regular switches and #4's at various places for crossovers.  The double-slip switches are also based on #4 switches.  I do actually have one #6 switch in my configuration, that's in the lead-in to the freight yard.

Here's one of the crossovers using the #4 switches, I also inserted a short straight run between them to maintain the desired track spacing.  Since the curves on this loop started right next to the switch, I had to trim a couple inches off the end of each of these to fit them into this loop.  Everything I have, including the large articulated locomotives, navigate these without any issues.

Ross #4 Crossover


Images (1)
  • Ross #4 Crossover


Here is what may be happening if you do not have Ross Ready switches (pre-wired).  If you have Ross Ready, ignore.  On Ross Ready switches, all these rails are connected to other rails with power (probably).

The area of the yellow arc has no power for the front truck, so only the rear truck would be getting power.  If for some reason you are not showing voltage (volt meter) between the center and outside rail your train will stall.

You stated you have already checked this, but just a reminder that the whole center rail between the switches would need a power drop since they are not connected to anything.

Again, all this is only if your switches are not fully Ross Ready.

Dead rail


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  • Dead rail
Last edited by CAPPilot

Good evening to you all and thank you for taking the time to help me with my switches. I now have a better understanding of what is happening on the switches. I believe the switches are RossReady.E3AAFD8B-9DC3-49C8-9387-D39A5288FC53
I can see where there are issues with the power breaks in the rails due to the frogs. (Thanks Boilermaker1) Both loops are on a single transformer handle.
What does insulating the center mean, and how is that done? And why?

CAPPilot, where the yellow arc is on the switch, this has been the constant issue, especially for the larger/longer engines.  I can see, and understand, what is happening, or in my case, what isn’t happening.

After viewing gunrunnerjohn’s picture of his #4 switches with a short straight between them, I think this would be a better option for me to work with on this area of Duffy’s Cut, my layout. I can definitely find another use for the turnouts in the future elsewhere on the layout.

What I am trying to learn and figure out next is how to wire all the switches to one main control board.

Any insight and suggestions how to begin?



Images (1)
  • E3AAFD8B-9DC3-49C8-9387-D39A5288FC53

Rich -

From you photo on the first post it looks like you are using DZ-1000 motors. I am not sure if you will ever want to add non-derail, a signal lamp to indicate turnout position or something else that would require a relay like the DZ-1008 to be connected to your turnouts so below gives you the capability to do all.

The switch motor has three wires - power and two 'ground' (the yellow and green wires). For a simple connection the red wire goes back to the power terminal on your transformer. The ground from the transformer is connected to a whatever control mechanism you are using (Ross supplied or after market like a DPDT mom toggle switch). For the Ross controller (again three wires) connect the black wire to transformer ground. For the DPDT toggle switch connect the ground wire from the transformer to the center post of the toggle switch. Connect the yellow/green wires from the switch motor to the yellow/green wires from the Ross controller or to the outside posts of the toggle switch. You should be good to go.

If you want the pair of 072 turnouts to operate in tandem simply connect the yellow/green wires together then go to the controller/toggle switch.

You have no choice with the turnout yellow/green wires. Each must feed back to the control board. However you can use a common ground wire for all controllers/toggle switches. I don't know for the Ross controllers (someone else may have a good idea like a bus wire system) but for the toggle switches bring one wire from the transformer to the center post of the first toggle switch then connect a wire from that post to the next center post on the next toggle switch etc, etc.

With respect to the power wire (red) you can bring one heavy wire from the transformer to a central terminal and connect from there to each turnout motor. You may need more than one terminal so just connect terminal to terminal with some heavy wire.

In my case I have non-derail and DZ-1011R detectors (electrical tape over the sensor)  connected to the turnout motors through a DZ-1008 relay. This means more wires under the switch machine plus a terminal for ground. I use European style terminal connectors. I have four 6-position terminals (the 12 position are easy to cut in half). One each for power, ground, yellow and green wires. I make all my connections for the switch motor, relay, DZ-1011R  and non-derail to these terminals.  

I may be wrong but I believe for non-derail to work track ground and turnout switch motor ground must be common to each other (ie connected together). I have a common ground on my layout and it works. I don't know if the function will work for separate ground systems.


Good morning!

I apologize for the delay in responding to you all. Everyone's advice has been very helpful in navigate my track layout.

I am working with DZ-1000.

Today, I am heading to my train store to purchase 2ea. left-hand #4 crossovers to replace the two O-72 turn-outs.

That being said, hopefully, I can then move ahead wiring about 10ea. of the track switches!

Joe Fauty, your detailed explanation for wiring the switches to the toggles/control button is just what I needed. I feel a bit more confident now as I approach the wiring of the switches.

I have seen post about non-derailing switches. How does the wiring work for that?

Why are you using European style terminal connectors ?  Do you have a picture of your wiring that you could share ?

Thank you all for taking the time to guide me through this stage in my layout.


@1Irishrover posted:

Today, I am heading to my train store to purchase 2ea. left-hand #4 crossovers to replace the two O-72 turn-outs.



We know what you mean, but if you have to order your switches make sure you order two #4 left-hand switches.  Ross does make a pre-built #4 left-hand crossover made up of two #4 switches and set at I think 3.5" C-C track spacing.  This is for yards and is probably too close for your tracks.

I have seen post about non-derailing switches. How does the wiring work for that?
Rich - see above. The non-derail works by creating an isolated portion of the inside rail (ground) of a track before the switch exit. When a car passes over the isolated track it triggers a ground connect to the switch motor which causes the motor to activate and move the point rails in the correct direction.  I don't like cutting into the switch track so I usually isolate the inside rail of the track section just before the turnout.
Since you are connecting track ground to switch ground via the left and right switch terminal only thing I would add is make sure the ground for both track and the switch motors are common to each other.

Why are you using European style terminal connectors ?  Do you have a picture of your wiring that you could share ?\
Just a pet peeve of mine. Spade connect terminals are just fine also. European connectors were originally made so that bare wire could be inserted without have to crimp on a connect but the wires in mind were solid core. We use stranded so I got into using wire ferrules. I crimp the wire ferrule onto the wire and insert the crimp connect into the terminal. For me this is a rock solid connection. I have had wires pull out of spade style crimp connects (probably poor crimping on my part) but I have never had a wire pull out of a ferrule crimp. Once it is screwed into the European terminal connector it is not going anywhere.

Below is a typical wire ferrule

Ferrules 003

If I need to make jumper cables then I do below. However a forum member told me about a source that supplies ready made jumper bars for a typical 8mm pitch terminal. A good source for both the wire ferrules and the European terminals is Ferrules Direct

Photo 13 European Style Terminal red [1)

Altech HCL8-12 (8mm pitch 12 position) - got these from Mouser but they are expensive - $4 each for 12 position. I ended up going back to making my own.



With respect to the basic connection for a switch motor to a control board see below.


If you want to add an indicator light at the track (I use DZ-1011R with tape over the detector) then you need a DZ-1008 relay. The wiring gets a little more complicated. This is why I have 4 wire terminals under every turnout. For non-derail I run the wire from the track to the appropriate green or yellow terminal.



Images (7)
  • Ferrules 003
  • Ferrules 004
  • Photo 13 European Style Terminal red (1)
  • ogr
  • hcl
  • 1
  • 2

Thank you Joe for the detailed advice and instruction on the wiring of the of the Ross z-1000 switches. I really appreciated the pictures as that helps understand the wiring as I learn this process.

Ron, I was able to purchase 2 each Ross Ready left handed #4 switches.

Gunrunner, I custom cut a piece of straight track to connect the 2 left arms of the switches.

Hopefully, I can get down to my "train room" and begin wiring the switch motors.

Thank you again to everyone who as taking time to share thier experience and advice.


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