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Everyone,

I could use some advice with an issue.   I have tried all of the tricks that I can think of.  Whenever I run my dad's 726rr steam engine on my layout, it wants to stop whenever it run overs two fastrack switches.  The two switches are back to back.  They're also in the main layout loop.  The main layout loop is approximately 20ft x 8 ft.  One switch allow the engine to enter a small freight yard that I have created.  The other switch will allow the Engine to run into a 8 ft x 4 ft extension that I built last year.   FYI, I used some newer Lionel Tube Rack and some re-built O22 Switches for the extension instead of buying more fastrack.  I have three power connections on the main loop that is 20 ft by 8 ft.  The power connections are fed from a Main power rail that runs around the entire layout, which is connected to a MTH Z4000 Transformer.  The two power rails are 12 AWG wire.   I have also solder jumpers between sections of fastrack as recommended by lionel for smoother operation.   The extension also has one power connection on the incoming track and three section power connections that are controlled via a couple toggle switches.     I have checked taken all of the cars and engines off of the track.  I then checked the track power with a volt meter at multiple locations around the entire layout.  The voltage fluctuates roughly 0.1 to 0.2 Volt.  Any suggestions?

Stephen

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John,  it will not run over the swtiches with the transformer set to less than 15 volts.  It just stops. as soon as the engine hits it.  It will not move forward or reverse, when I press the direction buttons on the transformer.   It will go over them with voltage set at 16 volts or greater.   It will run around the rest of the track at any voltage.  

I agree with @JohnH that your engine roller spacing is matching gaps in the switches, causing a momentary loss of power. At a higher voltage, the engine is travelling a bit faster, reducing the time the rollers are in the gaps - thus the e-unit is not triggered, and the engine goes on.

With the engine on the track, do the best you can to use a ruler to measure from one roller contact spot to the track to the other roller's contact spot to the track. Engine on track to measure because rollers spacing will change slightly when being pressed upward by the track contact.

Then you can slide the ruler along the center rail thru the back to back switches and see if the rollers would line up with the gaps.

@Roeschs1 posted:

Thanks for the feedback.  I will definitely do that.   If that turns out to be true, any suggestions for what I can do?   I am not having the same problem with my modern engines.  Is it, because they have electronic e-units instead of electro mechanical unit like what is it in my dad’s old engine?

Your modern locomotives likely have a different spacing of the pickup rollers (some even have a total of three or four pickup rollers under them now) so at least one is always in contact with the powered section of rail.  No power is no power, so the electronics won't have anything to do with that.  Your 726 as mentioned above, sounds like its pickup rollers are both landing on one of the plastic, non-powered, portions of the rail (which prevents short circuits when going through the switch when it is lined in either direction) which is preventing the motor, lights, etc from getting power.  When you go through it at 15 or 16 volts, the momentum carries it over the non-powered section and it's able to continue on its way.  Any slower and it just stops before it can hit the powered rail again.

About the best you could do aside from modifying the track plan to space the switches out is perhaps make a wired tether like some modern locomotives have to tie the power pickups from the tender to those on the locomotive.  That will give you one more set of pickups to help carry it through the switches.

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