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Help with Point Motors! At wits end


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1 hour ago, Michael Hodgson said:

However if you operate a R044 at anything like a normal speed it will be too fast for the CDU to recharge...

 

The OP stated in his first post yesterday, and again in another post earlier today, that he is not using the Hornby switches with his CDU because he knows that they won't work.  Can we please stop banging on about this, it's simply not relevant to this thread.

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2 hours ago, Michael Hodgson said:

I don't have experience of the Peco CDU myself ...

I'm generally a Peco fan - but I have to say I found their CDU to be almost useless. Certainly, replacing the one I tried with the Gaugemaster heavy duty one made a huge difference and I now use the Gaugemaster product as my default 'go to' CDU.

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3 hours ago, JohnR said:

Thanks Pete, that IS impressive. What Transformer is that you are using? Does having a 24v supply make a difference?b

It is just a 2x12v toroidal I stripped out of something.

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I need to operate two remote points and are considering electric point motors.  I have no experience of point motors and my railway is entirely steam or battery electric.  What is CDU that many of you are talking about?  I just need a motor to move a single point from a remote location.

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39 minutes ago, TonyHM said:

I need to operate two remote points and are considering electric point motors.  I have no experience of point motors and my railway is entirely steam or battery electric.  What is CDU that many of you are talking about?  I just need a motor to move a single point from a remote location.

CDU (capacitor discharge unit) to paraphrase what somebody said earlier in this thread, is a method of storing up current and letting it out in small, controlled bursts - it is wired up between the output and the switch(es).

It gives greater control over the point motors than just switches alone, and prevents overloading of the solenoid.

I had a peco brand one for many years and had no problems, they can be picked up on eBay etc...

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7 hours ago, TonyHM said:

I need to operate two remote points and are considering electric point motors.  I have no experience of point motors and my railway is entirely steam or battery electric.  What is CDU that many of you are talking about?  I just need a motor to move a single point from a remote location.

 

I'd recommend a Tortoise unit.  Realistic slow action, very reliable, no need for a CDU.  They do usually need to be installed under the baseboard.

 

DT

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7 hours ago, Torper said:

 

I'd recommend a Tortoise unit.  Realistic slow action, very reliable, no need for a CDU.  They do usually need to be installed under the baseboard.

 

DT

 
Not sure if you are aware, but Tortoise can provide a remote fitting kit to allow you to mount the motor above board and up to 18” away with a fine cable control. Ideal for areas with limited access or where you need to hide a motor under a building etc.
 

 

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15 hours ago, TonyHM said:

I need to operate two remote points and are considering electric point motors.  I have no experience of point motors and my railway is entirely steam or battery electric.  What is CDU that many of you are talking about?  I just need a motor to move a single point from a remote location.

I would guess that you have a garden railway or similar and by remote you mean a considerable number of feet away. One solution would be to use a servo as the point motor with radio receiver and detachable battery, preferably in a water proof box. Then use a simple radio transmitter to switch the point. 

 

Micron Radio Control have a range of suitable equipment and I find they are always helpful with advice

http://www.micronradiocontrol.co.uk/index.html

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Thanks everyone for their assistance. However, after a few more days of me managing to bodge the layout I am on the point (!) of starting over again.  Long story short I have managed to create a short on the layout with superglue. I've made so many mistakes now, I think the situation is beyond saving, or at least beyond my personal ability to save it.

 

So, can someone advise me on the cheapest and simplest method of electrical point control which involves the minimal amount of soldering possible. Something basic idiot proof and bomb proof. Idiot proof is probably the key issue, as I also fear I've bitten off more than I can handle.

 

I wonder if it is just as simple as repeating what I did, but with the benefit of hindsight, however my confidence is blown, and fear that I will invest time and money and end up in a similar place.

 

Apologies for another rambling post, just had a very frustrating few days.

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I recently had one of my five pm2 point motors only fire one way.

Powered off cdu with gaugmaster frog juicer.

As others said it was alignment issue.

The point motor needed moving about 3 mm and it's fine now. 

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17 minutes ago, Ray Von said:

https://www.hattons.co.uk/123352/expo_drills_tools_28069_eze_wire_point_motor_switch_box/stockdetail.aspx

 

I had one of these on my last layout - foolproof, no soldering (great shame that I only sold it recently along with Peco point motors and wiring looms etc!) Out of stock at Hattons but available on eBay I suspect....

 

 

I really wanted the aesthetic of proper leavers, rather than centre off toggle switches - hence initially going for the Hornby R044 and then changing to the Peco SL26 switches. To reduce the soldering, I also got the SL50 switch module, but have had problems with wires coming out, so am slightly regretting that.

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, JohnR said:

 

I really wanted the aesthetic of proper leavers, rather than centre off toggle switches - hence initially going for the Hornby R044 and then changing to the Peco SL26 switches. To reduce the soldering, I also got the SL50 switch module, but have had problems with wires coming out, so am slightly regretting that.

 

 

 

Ah, ok - I had the EZE Wire on my last layout for similar reasons (lack of soldering iron!)

As it turned out, I discovered that I didn't like the "Whack!" of the point motors and my most recent setup is all manual, brass rods.

I suppose that's out of the question for your layout?

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12 minutes ago, Piemanlarger said:

I recently had one of my five pm2 point motors only fire one way.

Powered off cdu with gaugmaster frog juicer.

As others said it was alignment issue.

The point motor needed moving about 3 mm and it's fine now. 

 

Yes, alignment is absolutely key. Hence why, after having spent weeks getting the things aligned properly (or at least as good as I could get them), I was so frustrated today that when trying to solve one problem (the point motor was not totally secured to the mounting, so I just tightened up the screws. Which ended up with the mount coming away from the board. And that only happened because I had decided to superglue them to the board, as I had been unable to find any solution to screwing them with the thickness of board I am using, 

 

It feels to me at the moment that as soon as I solve one problem, another is directly created as a result.

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49 minutes ago, Ray Von said:

Ah, ok - I had the EZE Wire on my last layout for similar reasons (lack of soldering iron!)

As it turned out, I discovered that I didn't like the "Whack!" of the point motors and my most recent setup is all manual, brass rods.

I suppose that's out of the question for your layout?

 

I am using electrofrog points, and the 3-way point at least needs a switch for the polarity. To be honest, the layout is so small, if I was going down the manual route, I might as well just flick over the tie bar by hand - i think if the 3-way could work like that I'd be sorely tempted, although I really really wanted to have point motors for once.

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14 hours ago, JohnR said:

Thanks everyone for their assistance. However, after a few more days of me managing to bodge the layout I am on the point (!) of starting over again.  Long story short I have managed to create a short on the layout with superglue. I've made so many mistakes now, I think the situation is beyond saving, or at least beyond my personal ability to save it.

 

 

That sounds drastic, besides you haven't even really started making mistakes yet. On my layout I've managed to

  • create shorts thanks to forgetting the one bit of colour coding I have for my wiring
  • position points so that the tie bar is right over the baseboard frame
  • make arrangements for points assuming the point motor will sit on the surface without making sure there is space (cutting a hole in the plasterboard did not get wife approval for some reason)
  • laid points with the intention of operating them with a surface point motor, neglecting to spot that I had trimmed the end of the tie bars and hence there was nothing to connect to
  • create baseboard joints that my Bachmann 47s refuse to negotiate (which in turn comes from my woodworking shortcomings, where right angles are usually wrong and level relies on a different sort of spirit level - you need to drink a few spirits before it looks level)
  • knock off my (thankfully cold) soldering iron while I was under the baseboard, the plug landing on me (sharp side down) and the bit bending at an angle that was terminal 

So don't give up! I've been thinking about creating a layout thread but it would be less modelling prowess, more for the amusement of others at my misfortune / ineptitude.

 

When you say "create a short with superglue" have you resolved that? Superglue isn't conductive so either what you superglued has caused the short or it is coincidental. Finding a short can be time consuming but is not hard. Divide and conquer if you can - i.e. if you can completely isolate sections of track then do so you can narrow down where the problem is. It's also helpful if you can remember what you did since you didn't have a short, so you have a shortlist (!) of things that might cause it. If you put up some photos we may be able to spot the issue. Things to consider in order of simplicity are:

  • Did you use insulated rail joiners on the points? On standard electrofrog points, you need them on each side of the V, so it's a fair bet that would apply for the 3 way point too (never used one so not certain)
  • Does the short happen all the time or just when points are in a certain position? That may help narrow down the issue
  • Are you wiring each piece of track to a power feed (e.g. a DCC bus); if so, have any of those wires become transposed?
  • Have you bonded any tracks in the points (again, something you can do with 2 way electrofrogs). If so, that might be worth checking
  • After that, it's a case of tracing each wire to see what it touches until you find something that's not right

 

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@MartynJPearson great post! Definitely deserves more than just a “like”. Funny, informative, friendly/supportive etc.

 

@JohnR good luck with the layout, hope you resolve the problem. I’ve never used the solenoid type point switch so can’t offer much help, sorry.

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Thanks both @MartynJPearson and @GWR57xx.

 

I may well be wrong that the superglue has caused it [the short] however, it was the most recent thing I had done, when I noticed the problem, so naturally assumed it was the cause. For a layout thats just 1m long and 250mm wide with 4 point motors, it sure seems to have caused me no end of headaches. 

 

I am fairly sure I have a short, and I think it is connected to my 3-way point. There is one frog that doesnt seem to get changed, and it was trying to fix that that I got the superglue everywhere. 

 

Maybe its a good idea to expose my wiring to the world, so I've attached a couple of pictures. I cant see an obvious problem, but then maybe I cant see the wood for the trees (or should that be 'short for the wiring'?)

PXL_20210224_083517056.jpg

PXL_20210224_083824041.jpg

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Ive come a bit late to this but looking at the close-ups of the wiring, you need to check really carefully that there are no loose strands of wires touching each other on adjacent soldered joints on the point motors. Would have given a tip for soldering these but its too late, in any case you have done a decent job, but with the cables twisted, its typical for individual strands to fray off the main joint.

 

Can I see a red to black connection on one of the pictures? Hard to be sure with perspective...

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6 minutes ago, RobinofLoxley said:

 

Can I see a red to black connection on one of the pictures? Hard to be sure with perspective...

 

I had a problem with the polarity on two of the frogs on the 3-way point, and came to the conclusion that I had wired them up the wrong way round. So I switched them over, and it seemed to cure the problem.

 

I've now swapped them back and I've still got the short.

 

Will examine all the joints carefully for stray threads.

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54 minutes ago, JohnR said:

Thanks both @MartynJPearson and @GWR57xx.

 

I may well be wrong that the superglue has caused it [the short] however, it was the most recent thing I had done, when I noticed the problem, so naturally assumed it was the cause. For a layout thats just 1m long and 250mm wide with 4 point motors, it sure seems to have caused me no end of headaches. 

 

I am fairly sure I have a short, and I think it is connected to my 3-way point. There is one frog that doesnt seem to get changed, and it was trying to fix that that I got the superglue everywhere. 

 

Maybe its a good idea to expose my wiring to the world, so I've attached a couple of pictures. I cant see an obvious problem, but then maybe I cant see the wood for the trees (or should that be 'short for the wiring'?)

PXL_20210224_083517056.jpg

PXL_20210224_083824041.jpg

 

It's difficult to tell from those photos.

 

But Solder connection A should come from a switch.

B from the switch to go the other way.

C is the common and should be the same for all point motors to the other side of the CDU. In fact best to wire them altogether.

D From rail 1

E From rail 2

F Is connected to the frog.

 

What is the yellow & blue pair of wires, how many volts on that? It should be a supply with about 16 Volts DC.

 

I certainly wouldn't use red and black wires for totally different functions. It's a good way of confusing yourself!

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9 minutes ago, kevinlms said:

 

It's difficult to tell from those photos.

 

But Solder connection A should come from a switch.

B from the switch to go the other way.

C is the common and should be the same for all point motors to the other side of the CDU. In fact best to wire them altogether.

D From rail 1

E From rail 2

F Is connected to the frog.

 

What is the yellow & blue pair of wires, how many volts on that? It should be a supply with about 16 Volts DC.

 

I certainly wouldn't use red and black wires for totally different functions. It's a good way of confusing yourself!

 

Thanks Kevin. I agree it would (in hindsight as with everything else on this layout!) been better to use different coloured wires. But I had purchased some Gaugemaster point motor wire (Red, Black and Green) and their Power feed wire (red and black). 

 

The yellow and blue wires are from the Peco SL-50 switch module, which contains the Peco SL-26 switches. For some reason I cant fathom (got enough trouble working out everything else), it is designed to have both power feeds go into the switch, and the common plug in at the back with the red/black (you can see the wiring going up for each of the 4 point motors just above the 2 PM1s.

 

 

52 minutes ago, GWR57xx said:

Brian Lambert’s website is full of good information if you haven’t found it before:

 

https://www.brian-lambert.co.uk/Electrical_Page_2.html

 

Covers exactly your setup I think.

 

Thanks mate - I would certainly recommend Brian's website, its very useful, and is what I have been trying to follow here. Any errors are, I am sure mine.

 

In some good news, I think I have discovered my short.  However, I have caused myself a problem in my haste to fix my previous problem.

 

It wasnt the superglue which made the short, but when I replaced the PM1 into the point, I didnt have it in the centre hole (I had previously cut down the actuator rod, thinking that everything was working and I now needed to test some locos over the points - hence why I didnt see the issue). The result meant the actuator rod was touching a rail, and of course, they are live and hence shorting out. 

 

However, past-John has created another problem for future-John, in that the superglue means the SEEP PM1 is now bonded to the mount, with the rod cut down, making it very difficult to fix it back in place - or at least accurately. 

 

Going to make a fresh cup of tea and have another look at it.

 

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