Question on Athearn Bigboy stalling on Peco Electrofrog switches

NP/GNBill Aug 8, 2017

  1. NP/GNBill

    NP/GNBill TrainBoard Supporter

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    Has anyone had problems with this happening. The engine stall on practically every switch, even though they are Peco Electrofrog units. I've never had any locomotive do this before.
     
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Other units and steamers pass will, problem free, through those switches?
     
  3. NP/GNBill

    NP/GNBill TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yeah, no problems, only the Big-boy doesn't like them for whatever reason. I've had earlier Challengers and Big-boys that never had any problems with electrofrog switches.
     
  4. Hansel

    Hansel TrainBoard Member

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    Hmmm......after looking at my Peco Electrofrogs, the only way I could see that a loco would stall would be if a wheel flange touched a point that was not supposed be used for electrical pickup, meaning if the loco was go thru a facing point turnout and with the points switched to the Normal setting (straight thru) that the point that is not touching a rail must be coming in contact with a wheel that is powered. It looks like the guard rails are plastic and the whole frog should have one polarity so I can not think of another reason that the loco is stalling. Do you have a multimeter to see if there is a short?

    The only problem I have had with these turnouts if dust, dirt or groundfoam get in between the point and the rail and then the point does not receive current. If this was your problem then most of your other locos would not work either. Is it stalling in the Normal and Reverse positions going both as a facing point and a trailing point turnout?
     
  5. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    Is this a crossover between parallel tracks?
     
  6. NP/GNBill

    NP/GNBill TrainBoard Supporter

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    No crossover, just switches in the mainline for industries etc. Nothing else stalls on them, just the Bigboy. I'm wondering if there may be an out of gauge wheel or something hitting the switch wrong.
     
  7. gatrhumpy

    gatrhumpy TrainBoard Member

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    Either something is causing a short or the wires in the locomotive are not conducting electricity properly for pickup. No way with THAT many wheels should it stall.
     
  8. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Is this a power feed stall? Or a short circuit?
     
  9. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Bill - are you running DC or DCC? If DCC, it should be easy to tell if there is a short (just listen for the chirping).

    Is the problem only at this one turnout? And is it directional (i.e., everything is fine on the other leg and/or if coming from the other direction)?
     
  10. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    Based on the information given, I'm thinking this has to be a problem with the locomotive. By all means check the wheel gauge but I doubt that is the problem unless I misunderstand the Peco electrofrog turnout. Then again, Spookshow says the locomotive has electrical pick up from twelve drivers and fourteen tender wheels so a contact problem is sort of questionable. One question (of many) I have is what size switch is it stalling on. You said it does this on all switches; are they all the same size? If so what size are they, set track, small, medium or large radius?
     
  11. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    The thought in my mind is wondering if all the possible wheel pickups are functional.
     
  12. Mike C

    Mike C TrainBoard Member

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    Don't Peco turnouts have a well known problem ? Putting some kind of shim on the guardrails fixes it ?
     
  13. Jim Reising

    Jim Reising TrainBoard Member

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    In the for what it's worth category, my 4014 was sent in for warranty repairs. The DCC and sound loco would reset itself on a rail joint - never mind a switch. After cleaning to the point of pain I realized I had a pickup issue, 14 wheels or no.
    It came back fairly quickly and now runs as well as Challenger 3985. Thank you, Athearn!
     
  14. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    Only the Code 80 which are made to NEMA standards (European). The C55 are made to NMRA standards. In addition the OP said they were Electrofrog not the Insulfrog switches. On Insulfrog switches the frog is plastic and thus insulated from the rails. On Electrofrog the frog is metal.
     
  15. locomcf

    locomcf TrainBoard Member

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    It isn't clear (to me) whether the loco stalls on both routes through the turnout, or only on the diverging route. If it only occurs on the diverging route then I'm inclined to think that the back of one of the drivers is contacting the "open" point rail and causing a short.

    AFAIK, Peco HO/OO Electrofrog points come as 'power routing' but can easily be converted to 'DCC friendly' as demonstrated by Allan Gartner on this page:
    http://www.wiringfordcc.com/switches_peco.htm
     
  16. NP/GNBill

    NP/GNBill TrainBoard Supporter

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    Sorry guys I run DC. It stalks in both directions on the switches. None of my other steamers or diesels do, so I'm thinking it's got to be the locomotive.
     
    BoxcabE50 likes this.
  17. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Considering the fact this engine stalls, others are fine, I agree it is this Big Boy. I would start by checking to be certain all the pickup wheels/axles are feeding power as desired.
     
  18. dualgauge

    dualgauge TrainBoard Member

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    I don't have any Big Boy to look at. I say an HO scale T-1 that would have some drivers slide over to the other rail and short. Could it be touching both rails at same time causing a short.
     
  19. brokemoto

    brokemoto TrainBoard Member

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    I do not use DCC. Many times, I have had locomotives stall on turnouts of various manufacture. If this happens with regularity, when the locomotive stalls, I check the "pilot" lamp on my power supply. I use MRC power supplies that have a "pilot" lamp. Turn up the throttle. If the lamp is not bright, it is a short. The short could be in the locomotive or the track. A voltmeter also accomplishes the same thing. In my experience, most of the time it is the track. What makes me suspect the locomotive, in this case, is that Original Poster states that it occurs going both ways through the turnouts. In my experience, the locomotives that have caused shorts due to track conditions, cause the shorts only one way through a turnout.
     
  20. Thomas Davis

    Thomas Davis TrainBoard Member

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    Strikes me that the first thing to look for is any metal on the locomotive other than the wheels coming into contact with a rail, or some other form of short. Electrofrog turnouts are electrically hot everywhere, so the other thought I would have would be a short caused by a wheel touching a positive and negative at the same time (touching the stock rail and the point rail). But even with an old fashioned power pack, a short ought to cause a red light to pop on the pack.

    Questions that occur to me that might bear on the issue...
    Short, medium or long radius turnouts?
    Code80 or code 55?
    Does it stall if the turnout is aligned with the main (which is to say, when going straight through), or only when the turnout is aligned with the siding?
    Is the siding parallel to the main, and if so, what is the radius of the reverse curve off the turnout?

    In a couple of "tight" situations, I have had problems with longer locomotives and the "S" curve that is formed by the turnout and reverse curve to bring it back to parallel to the main. A Big Boy is almost always the longest locomotive that anyone has, and so is a likely candidate for problems caused by tight radii- even if they don't effect any other locomotive in your roundhouse.
     

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