Stalling troubles

EugeneS Oct 4, 2020

  1. EugeneS

    EugeneS TrainBoard Member

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    I just finished rewiring my layout with a main bus and the feeders are soldered int the bus for the best connection. The bus is 14 gauge awg, the feeders are the stock kato wiring that are on the unijoiners. I'm having troubles in the turnout areas. I have an atlas SD35 with an MRC decoder and a broadway limited SD40-2. The BLI tends to stall a lot on the turnouts in the yard areas but runs just fine out on the main lines. The atlas rarely stalls but it will on occasion, again on the the turnout areas. I've cleaned the track over and over with alcohol and a shop towel, I've even used scotchbright on the worst areas. The turnout areas are the troublesome spots. Doing all of that made it much better but it's still not running like it should. In the pic, all of the red lines are my feeder locations. Now, would it be best to add more feeders between each turnout, 7-11 and 12-15? I'm thinking I may go that route. I have to get my layout running flawlessly before I move on with the scenery. This has started to become frustrating. I'm starting to loose faith in Kato track, I went with it because it was easy and people love it.
    DSCN0002.JPG DSCN0101.JPG
     
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  2. OlyPen

    OlyPen TrainBoard Member

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  3. Carl Sowell

    Carl Sowell TrainBoard Supporter

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    OlyPen,

    Could/would you please elaborate on your above statement regarding the use of isopropyl alcohol.

    Thanks,
    Carl
     
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  4. digimar52

    digimar52 TrainBoard Member

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  5. Donstaff

    Donstaff TrainBoard Member

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    Hi EugeneS,
    Sounds like your biggest problem is with the switches. Both the SD35 and SD40-2 locos, if both front and read trucks are clean and maintaining track contact everywhere for both axles, should be able to to make it through the switches without stalling. However, if one of the trucks is not conducting properly, that would cause a stall. So first, make sure that both front and rear trucks are functioning properly. If they are, take a look at the contact surfaces on the Kato switches. They can get dirty to the point of preventing proper conductivity. To clean, WITH THE POWER OFF, use a small brass brush to clean the inside vertical surfaces where the switches make contact. Clean all four vertical surfaces, with the switch both closed and thrown. Now, turn the power back on and try running your locomotives through the switches.
    Don
     
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  6. EugeneS

    EugeneS TrainBoard Member

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    That is an excellent write up. I'll be trying that out. I was inspecting things farther and on some of the turnouts it looks like the closer rails have a glaze buildup. That could definitely cause an issue.
     
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  7. sams

    sams TrainBoard Member

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    I couldn't help but chime in on this one. I have learned a lot about "cleaning track" Throughout this last year.

    Aye.... all the ways to do it are endless. I use to use the good ol' track eraser to clean the track. I later found it wasn't the best for the track since its a type of metal and slightly scratches the track when you rub it. It also leaves a mess underneath as you move it around. Isopropyl alcohol Is another one I heard mixed views on and still don't know about it.

    However I do clean the wheels of my locomotives with it. That would be my first step. Take a loose piece of track and lay a paper towel over it. Then remove trucks from locomotive. Add alcohol to the paper towel so it gets soaked and then run the wheels back and forth on the track. You should see black lines above the track on the paper towel if that makes sense. (if your wheels are really dirty)

    I would also check the contour of your track. For example I have a AC6000 broadway limited locomotive. It is really long so when it hits certain parts (graded curves) of the track the wheels would lift up and loose connection with the track. You gotta get down really low and maybe use a flashlight. run the loco real slow and see if any of the wheels raise up going over the trouble spots where it stalls.

    When it comes to turnouts that's another fun one. I've never personally used KATO so I dont know much about how they are put together. If the locomotives are stalling on turnouts the frog of the turnout could be the culprit. you mentioned you soldered the buss wires but have you soldered the track rail joiners together as well ? If not I would start there. you want to have "sections" of track soldered as much as you can. Basically solder them in groups that way (since your still building the structure of your layout) you can move them around if needed without having to un-solder the connections.
    In the end when your done laying track you want to have every single rail joiner soldered. That way you know you have a solid connection.


    Random thought:: (lol) You could also create harness connectors on the feeder wires just below the exit hole of the bottom of the layout for easy removal.


    I clean my track like this just FYI. Start buy getting a metal washer and use the shiny side and run it all over the track. This clears the surface and does some other cool scientific stuff to the track that basically "resets" the track. I then take a stick and wrap a microfiber cloth around it. I apply 3-1 oil (I may get flaq for this lol:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:) Then run the stick with a cloth attached over all the track and clean it until you dont have any black marks on the rag. If you have to use multiple rags. After that I take another clean towel and rub the track down really good until most of the oil is gone that way the track isnt to slippery. Since I've been doing this method. I have had no problems whatsoever.

    Cheers. Let us know what happens !!
     
  8. OlyPen

    OlyPen TrainBoard Member

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    Actually, it's less. It's from an article in MRH: https://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/magazine/mrh2019-05/publishers-musings

    IPA attracts or helps collect black gunk, the result of micro-arcs between the locomotive wheels and the rail.

    No-Ox and other non-polar treatments help to greatly reduce micro-arcing and the buildup of black gunk. Even Wahl hair clipper oil does this, as many modelers have known for decades.
     
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  9. sidney

    sidney TrainBoard Member

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    was this track all new or used track ? if used replace the uni-joiners with new.(thats has been my problem with stalling locos. those turn outs are power rouring so you should not need feeders on every one of those you have in red unless you like power there all the time. . need feeders at the start of every turn out will help. as far as cleaning track i use crc and a stick with a pad of some sort on it and i sray that with crc then use the stick to wipe down every piece of track.the areas in blue are must have feeders .
     

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  10. logging loco

    logging loco TrainBoard Supporter

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    Somebody correct me if I'm wrong (yeah like I really need to ask!)

    Did you install insulated rail joiners at the frog end of the turnouts. All the Kato insulated rail joiners I've used are black, looking at your first photograph I don't see any. If you ran feeders to the passing sidings and spurs you would need to insulate the frog end of the turnouts.

    Adding feeders to the areas marked in blue wont help if the turnouts aren't insulated at the frog end. I marked some of the areas in yellow, bellow. For some reason I can't scroll around the downloaded picture so I was not able to mark them all, but you should get the idea. As for that cross over someone else will have to help you with that. I've never installed one.
    20201005_092822[1].jpg
    20201005_093006[1].jpg



    Feeds to the ladder tracks should only be from the point end of the first turnout. If you put feeders between the point end of one turnout and the frog end of the next you will have the same problem of feeding from the frog end. The Kato switches should have no problem feeding reliably through a ladder with out additional feeders . The feeder doesn't have to physically be at the turnout, just somewhere electrically connected to the point end.
    20201005_095702[1].jpg

    I hope this helped and hopefully someone else will come along and explain it better than I can.
     
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  11. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Unless you have multiple power districts (with multiple DC power packs), or reversing sections (which you don't) there is NO NEED FOR INSULATING joiners.

    Kato #6 switches and crossovers are power routing, so the non-selected route out of the switch is not powered through the switch.

    This can be a problem if you are trying to run more than one (DCC) loco in a yard, unless you provide feeders for every exit of every switch (i.e. not the point rails). Technically, the fixed outer rails of a switch are always powered (from the point rails), it's the interior (frog) rails that are unpowered when not selected. So you actually only need a feeder wire on each of those two inner rails rails, if you are trying to conserve powered unijoiners. Since these two rails need to be powered opposite anyway, a single pair of powered unijoiners will serve both rails (you just have to keep the polarity right).

    Crossovers do not need additional feeders (excepting in reverse loop situations, of which you have none), as long as all tracks entering them are powered (I guess that's true of any switch..). That means the siding at the bottom, served by the double crossover, needs a feeder.
     
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  12. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    I left out another potential reason for using insulating joiners: If you are using DCC and have multiple boosters. Each booster and its powered track needs to be treated like a DC power district (but for a different reason), and needs to be isolated from other districts by insulating joiners.

    However, on a small layout like this, I wouldn't expect to need separate/additional boosters, but it would depend on the command station/booster's capacity, and how many locomotives the user wants to run simultaneously.
     
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  13. logging loco

    logging loco TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks Big Jake!
     
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  14. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Yet another reason you might want to use insulating joiners, is if you use current-based train location detection among separate blocks on your layout.

    Didn't look like the OP was going there, but it is an important application for some modelers, for automated train operations, controlling track signals, etc.

    There may be yet other reasons to use insulating joiners, but for basic operation on a small layout, they are rare.

    Funny how when you put something in all caps, you end up having to eat (or at least nibble at) those words...
     
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  15. Ralph Grassi

    Ralph Grassi TrainBoard Member

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    I use 100% acetone to clean wheels and track. Lust do not let the acetone stay in contact with plastic, and do not let it touch any paint or decals...found that one out the hard way.
     
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  16. S t e f a n

    S t e f a n TrainBoard Member

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    Acetone seems a bit harsh (and unhealthy) as a solvent. I would only use it if alcohol fails.
     
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  17. sams

    sams TrainBoard Member

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  18. Ralph Grassi

    Ralph Grassi TrainBoard Member

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    It can be. But, it removes oil and grease, like whel cleaning and lubing a locomotive, and the black gunk off the wheels and rails very well. I use cotton swabs when working on wheel sets and locomotive motors. A rag and rubber gloves when wiping down track. It is also nail polish remover, but much cheaper than buying it with the Revlon name.
     
  19. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    As described by my father, a Chemical Engineer, a major health danger with common solvents (assuming they do not dissolve your skin) is whatever they may have dissolved and then will transport into your body through the skin, that the body wouldn't ordinarily have been able to absorb through the skin.
     

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