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Hi Folks

 

HELP ! I have built my layout as per attached diagram; connected feed droppers, common return bus wire and installed a mix of old Peco, H&M, Seep and Tortoise point solenoids/motors. I shall be installing servos under the remaining points controlled by Megapoints servo controllers and Multipanel processors. All track is Peco Streamline Code 100 and points are Electrofrog with alterations to enable "live" frogs. Tortoise motors excepted, the old point solenoids have Gaugemaster G500 relays linked to facilitate live frogs and l.e.d's on mimic control panels. Switches for the points on mimic panels are either 3 position toggle switches ( centre off ) or DPDT for the Tortoise motors.

However, having connected feeds and returns and point switches I have short circuit(s) in the layout and leds not illuminating. I made the mistake of not checking each section as I wired it up. The feeds have been connected at numbered locations on attached plan. 

I would very much appreciate please if a more experienced modeller could annotate on the plan (a) where best to have the feeds (b) probably more crucial, where to have insulated joints.

Could the "shorts" be caused by the G500 relay wiring ?

Unfortunately my laptop hard-drive went u.s. and I hadnt backed up the Anyrail file though I have a paper copy.

 

All advice would be welcomed

 

Best regards

 

Ian B

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IB Layout.jpg

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That's a complicated layout and it's impossible to say where the shorts are occurring without much more detail.

The simple answer is that a turnout mudtv only be fed from the toe end. If there is power supply from the other end, then you must use isolating joiners.

Unless that fixes it, the only way you will solve this is to disconnect everything and start again, doing one section at a time. Test that section and only when happy, wire up the next one. You don't say how your LEDs are powered so I can't say why those don't work.

Ian C

 

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I hate to say this, but you are going to have fun removing the shorts from that lot!

 

The first thing you need to do, is put electrical gaps, where two opposing points are. An example is between points next to 16 & 18 and also the slip 12 & the unlabelled point to the left & below of it.

Until you do that around the layout, you have no hope.

 

Can you run trains, anywhere at all?

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2 hours ago, RobinofLoxley said:

You will finish up dismantling large sections and rebuilding bit by bit.

 

Ian,

 

I would hope that "Robin of Loxley" is wrong about that. One can insulate sections without wholesale relaying. But he is right that wiring is something that can not easily be resolved via internet communication.

 

Whereabouts are you based? It might be easier for a local modeller to meet up with you (as Covid restrictions allow) and sort things out.

 

Assuming that you have insulated sections correctly, the most likely cause of the shorts and non-working LEDs would seem to be that you have wired the G500s in reverse, i.e. two wires need to swap positions.

 

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It could be faulty wiring, or it could just be a conductive foreign body on the track.  I assume you've already done the obvious and searched to see whether you've left a screwdriver or a track pin across the rails.  I would look particularly carefully at the slip and three way points as they tend to be more troublesome.  And look at those rail gaps that you have got - make sure they are indeed still gaps.

 

But even the wiring is OK and it had all worked, you would have trouble with this layout from time to time locating faults such as short caused by say a small piece of metal dropped somewhere on the track anyway.  With that large a layout you need to be able to narrow down the problem, which is why people divide layouts into power districts. 

 

OK, so I wouldn't have have started from here, if it is indeed a wiring issue how to sort out the problem now?  Try setting your points to the main line.  So no routes into sidings, all loops set with both entry and exit to the same line, no crossovers between lines set.  If thats still a problem you've probably got a pair of feeds transposed on one or more of your main lines

 

I would consider inserting on-off switches (preferably double pole) into the feeds so that I could isolate them in future as well as now (like a DC layout, but the switches don't need to be centralised on a panel).  if they're all turned off, you should be able to turn  on one at a time till you find a pair of switches that cause a short when turned on.

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Hi All.

 

many thanks for taking the time and trouble to help with my problem. I should have clarified in my initial request

 

1 Layout is DC with power feeds working through 3 position toggle switches with centre 0ff position. This should enable power from my Gaugemaster dual control. Each main feed from the controller can be isolated by on-off toggle switch.

2 I have inserted insul-gaps at point frogs and other positions where I feel there are polarity conflicts. However, I may be missing gaps which are less obvious to me ! I hadnt shown the gaps on my Anyrail plan before my hard-drive went phut.

On studying your suggestions Im hoping that Joseph and Michael offer the best hope although I may have to do as Ian C suggests and disconnect all and start one at a time. My initial concern was that the relays may be wrongly wired and causing a short. The led problem must wait until power shorting is solved.

I stay in Renfrewshire and don't have any close friends with model railway experience.

 

Ive probably been over ambitious with the layout but I enjoy having station, goods yard, engine shed and ( to be added ) military depot included.

I shall now go into the garage and get my Sherlock magnifying glass and multimeter out and try eating the elephant a bit at a time :-)

 

Many thanks again everyone

 

best regards

 

Ian B

 

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You need to divide the layout into manageable chunks - more rather than less. Then you activate each section using a switch to the controller. Personally I wouldn't use common return in your circumstance but use DPDT switches to switch power and ground together.

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3 minutes ago, BLK4Y said:

 

 

1 Layout is DC with power feeds working through 3 position toggle switches with centre 0ff position. This should enable power from my Gaugemaster dual control. Each main feed from the controller can be isolated by on-off toggle switch.

2 I have inserted insul-gaps at point frogs and other positions where I feel there are polarity conflicts. However, I may be missing gaps which are less obvious to me ! I hadnt shown the gaps on my Anyrail plan before my hard-drive went phut.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It may not help to troubleshoot, but I use IRJs after every point, whether I think I will need them or not. I then re-feed the siding/loop afterwards.

It is extra wiring but there are advantages:

I have never got a strange short-circuit & this is through design rather than luck.

Small sections are easier to manage & troubleshoot than larger ones. The bigger the layout, the more this is true.

You can make the layout as big as you like but the electrics will not get complicated. You will simply have more wires.

Sections are easier to connect & disconnect is they are wires below the board. If they are rails joined together in the middle of a loop or point ladder, this will be far more awkward.

Isolating & re-feeding means that above the board I would wire up a DC layout exactly the same as a DCC one. It is below the board which is different.

Because I manually switch on each section from the panel, I can see from the panel if it is live. Some view this as a disadvantage, preferring to use points to isolate sidings and also because it is extra wiring & I can understand this but I have got used to using a panel.

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Some photos to help explain my setup. Pete, with hindsight I tend to agree with you although my research tended to favour a common bus, hence my modus operandi. My section feeds are located as numbered on my earlier layout image attachment.

 

Regards

 

Ian B

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4 hours ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

 

Ian,

 

I would hope that "Robin of Loxley" is wrong about that. One can insulate sections without wholesale relaying. But he is right that wiring is something that can not easily be resolved via internet communication.

 

Whereabouts are you based? It might be easier for a local modeller to meet up with you (as Covid restrictions allow) and sort things out.

 

Assuming that you have insulated sections correctly, the most likely cause of the shorts and non-working LEDs would seem to be that you have wired the G500s in reverse, i.e. two wires need to swap positions.

 

I would hope fervently it turns out to be something simple. But in the Layout and track planning subsection a few days ago there was a problem tabled by someone with just a single short and after several days with plenty of advice given and a few questiosn not being clearly enough answered, there was no 'Problem solved' post to celebrate. Here there could be multiple shorts, wiring errors, and kit failure. It will have to be broken down into small sections for reliability testing, trouble-shot, and re-assembled in my opinion. Nightmare to resolve with miles of cabling in place

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Starting to make headway. Have identified polarity conflicts in feeds and Im reversing feeds and returns to resolve. I've one conflict which I think is emanating from relay wiring; will attack tomorrow.

 

Ian B

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  • 2 weeks later...

I can now run trains on the whole inner track circle. There were a couple of wiring conflicts, two 3 way points which I'd wired for live frog electrofrog ( but were in fact insulfrog) and two double slips which I re-wired using DPDT switches. Now for the outer circle and wiring live frogs via relays. Plenty to do but at least making progress.

Thanks again gents for your support 

 

Ian B

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On 26/11/2020 at 08:03, BLK4Y said:

Starting to make headway. Have identified polarity conflicts in feeds and Im reversing feeds and returns to resolve. I've one conflict which I think is emanating from relay wiring; will attack tomorrow.

 

Ian B

A good way of avoiding this, is to use a multimeter with a continuity function. Connect it across the input feed from the controller (turned OFF, but preferably disconnected) )and if you get a short, it will beep at you straight away!

Test it every so often by putting a definite short somewhere, because some multimeters automatically turn themselves off after a while - just when you most need it!

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Hi Kevin

 

Thankfully I've been using a multimeter and couldn't progress without it. My first meter gave up the ghost on the continuity buzzer but luckily I have two. With hindsight I should have tested each section when laid but I wanted live frogs with relays so that complicated things ! Also I've leds feeding to mimic panels so maybe too ambitious.

 

 I hope you have a better year in 2021 and that you get some relief from extreme weather and  Covid restrictions. It's a frosty 2 degrees here near Glasgow so perhaps we could swop weather for a day:D

 

regards

 

Ian

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