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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Having been bitten by the sound bug I have now converted 3 locos and have 4 more decoders on order. I have been testing and running them on a rolling road and today ran them after a long period of inactivity on my circuit. Well for the uninitiated what a disaster it has turned out to be.The first thing I discover is the track needs to be immaculate as these sound chips seem much more "sensitive" to any form of current interruption than an ordinary decoder.The slightest piece of "muck" stops the loco and sound but the big killer is Live Frogs.
Regretfully I have 2 and every time City of Sheffield and the other Pacifics go over them the whole lot shuts down, I have changed the bogie's with no luck, deepened the frog with a fine file, still the same I am now waiting for the paint to dry as I have tried a little paint near the actual live part of the frogs. I have to say I am a little disappointed as I had not given this any thought but felt it worth posting it on the forum to assist any one else who is now into sound.
I used the Dapol track cleaner for the first time on all of the track and it does get some muck off, but its not my day as that has packed up as well.
Could be a day for flying locos if things don't improve
 

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hi stmartins -

what rolling stock and track are you using? ... i have fleischmann piccolo (n gauge) track and rolling stock with 1 sound loco - its the dmu 2 car unit with 6 axles - all of which pick up power and 4 that drive as well ... it runs over the fleischmann curved electro-frog points with no probs/interruptions at all - i was also at the scottish model rail exhibition one layout was a modern day OO motive power depot with lots if not all locos running sound on electro-frog points - all without any probs in the 10-15 mins i stood and watched. is there any cv adjustments u can make to compensate for current variations? or even install something like the lenz non-interrutable power module - which supplies power to the module whilst the loco is going across dead sections of tracks.
 

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Just another modeller
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*** Actually live frogs properly wired are the best for sound - and all running in general... but that means live frogs with switched polarity.

I get the sense from your post that you actually perhaps have insulated frogs with point clips? There is no other logical reason to be using paint to insulate the frog tips.

if not, tell us of the track brand and how you have wired the points.

Richard
 

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I have the same problem on my harbour branchline but mine shorts the system, once I;ve reset it the loco goes on its way so Im unsure what's happening here!
 

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Hi
I feel the first question to be answered is -
What type of points are 'frame69' and 'stmartins' using? Insulated frog i.e. Hornby or Peco Setrack etc or Live frog (Electrofrog) such as the Peco Streamline SE-Exx range?

Until this is known help will be that much harder to offer.
My guess is its Insulated frog points and the large plastic frog is the give away.

Loss of power is often caused by unevenly laid point work as this will cause poor wheel riding through the point and can allow a set of wheels to lift off the rails momentary leading to loss of electrical power to the loco which causes sound decoders to revert to start up.
Check the point(s) are dead flat on all directions both longitudinally and across the rails.

Shorts on insulated frog points can be cured. These short circuits are often caused by the metal wheel bridges across both rails immediately before or after the insulated frog and causes a short. Checking and correcting all the wheels Back to Back gauge is the ideal way of resolving this, but sometimes a pair of insulated rail joiners fitted onto the ends of the two Vee rails will also help on a troublesome insulated frog point. New feeds to the two rails leading away after the IRJs will then be needed.
The frog problem and fix is shown on this web site Problems with Insulated frog Points
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Actually live frogs properly wired are the best for sound - and all running in general... but that means live frogs with switched polarity.

I get the sense from your post that you actually perhaps have insulated frogs with point clips? There is no other logical reason to be using paint to insulate the frog tips.

if not, tell us of the track brand and how you have wired the points.

Richard
=============================================================================

I am using Peco track ( not finescale) & each of the 2 Live frog points have been isolated on the "opposite sides"
Both the new Hornby Duchess's "short out" when passing over the points, yet the Hornby A4 Does not, The Bachmann A1 does.
I am assuming the wheels are shorting across the frog & track . as I stated its only noticeable since fitting sound chips,they just seem more sensative, it was not a problem before.
 

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QUOTE (stmartins @ 3 Mar 2009, 16:50) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>=============================================================================

I am using Peco track ( not finescale) & each of the 2 Live frog points have been isolated on the "opposite sides"
Both the new Hornby Duchess's "short out" when passing over the points, yet the Hornby A4 Does not, The Bachmann A1 does.
I am assuming the wheels are shorting across the frog & track . as I stated its only noticeable since fitting sound chips,they just seem more sensative, it was not a problem before.
Hi
I suspect as you're using live frog points your problem is the insides of the wheels of longer locos are touching onto the insides of the open switch rail which is at opposite polarity to the adjacent running rail. This normally occurs more on the curved route.
The answer here is once the B2B gauge of all wheels has been checked and if possible adjusted to the correct gauge and then the problem still exists is to make the points so called 'DCC friendly'. That is install insulated joints in both closure rails after the pivot and before the frog and then bond the two adjacent rails together underneath. If your point work is Peco Code 75 then the insulated joint is factory fitted and is linked out underneath by a little wire link. Cut link on both insulations and bond closure rail to outer adjacent running rail. If code 100 then it will be necessary to slice through the closure rails in between sleepers with the aid of a slitting disc and Dermal type drill. Once the two cuts have been made bond rails on the frog side of the cuts to their adjoining outer stock rails
Shown here Live frogs on DCC Scroll down to the item titled "Peco Electrofrog Code 100 Streamline Points"
 

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"Could be a day for flying locos if things don't improve"

I know exactly what you mean !

Please open the window and make sure you are on the ground floor first. Then have a drink or two and then cuddle the misses. Then collect the loco ready for tomorrow.

It doesn't help the problem but it saves a bit of money and the cuddle is nice anyway !
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The answer here is once the B2B gauge of all wheels has been checked and if possible adjusted to the correct gauge and then the problem still exists is to make the points so called 'DCC friendly'
=============================================================================I I note on a lot of postings that the B2B distance is referred to a lot, please what exactly is the distance.Plus looking at the newer Longer Hornby locos they do not have flanges on the pony trucks & "float" around rather a lot, If I rock it on a straight from side to side it must move around 1.5 cms. I am wondering if the combined float, the live frog & new chip are all combining to short out the DCC system and cause this mal function and shut down due to the short.
My circuit is 2 levels and its a sod to change this point it was all tested before I added to top layer and electric points , and was fine before the new "Duchess Locos "thats why I am hoping for an easy solution.
 

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I thought that you were having a go at the French for a moment, but the DCC problem is easy to fix.

As has been said, the wiring has to be right with the polarity of the frog being set by the turnout motor preferably as the point blades move; then the biggie that I've encountered is back-to-back measurements of the wheel sets - also mentioned above.

A minor problem that I had was a curve that was too close to a straight point and it twisted the locos in a way that they touched the frog in the front and the point blade with the other polarity. It only affected a few locos, but it was really annoying. I solved this after a few months of hair-pulling, but just moving the straight point 10cm further along the track.
 

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not having a go at the french ... but you could buy german instead! ... fleischmann points can be bought as electro-frog motorised or manual ... they have the frog electrical switching built into the trackbed (which can be nicely disguised and blended into your trackbeds of adjoining tracks) and they seem to perform flawlessly ( - make sure they are perfectly flat and well connected to adjacent tracks tho) with no shorting out and all the frustrating probs that peco seem to give!. and no complicated separate switches / isolating fishplates or wiring needed either to help simplify things. they really are just plug-in and go!. i cudnt figure out at 1st how they operated - they just do!.

once weathered and blended into surrounding other track brands i find they give very good performance.
 

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QUOTE (stmartins @ 3 Mar 2009, 18:11) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The answer here is once the B2B gauge of all wheels has been checked and if possible adjusted to the correct gauge and then the problem still exists is to make the points so called 'DCC friendly'
============================================================================= I note on a lot of postings that the B2B distance is referred to a lot, please what exactly is the distance.Plus looking at the newer Longer Hornby locos they do not have flanges on the pony trucks & "float" around rather a lot, If I rock it on a straight from side to side it must move around 1.5 cms. I am wondering if the combined float, the live frog & new chip are all combining to short out the DCC system and cause this mal function and shut down due to the short.
My circuit is 2 levels and its a sod to change this point it was all tested before I added to top layer and electric points , and was fine before the new "Duchess Locos "thats why I am hoping for an easy solution.
B2B measurement is being stated by The Double O Gauge Association in the UK as being 14.4mm +/-0.05mm.
The Double O Gauge Association wheel standards
B2B gauges can be purchased from good model railway shops or directly from the Double O Gauge Association - The 'Universal' gauge is the one for UK "OO" B2B gauge
 

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Bear in mind also that it's not just loco wheels that can cause this problem: any stock with metal wheels can cause shorts in this way if B2B gauge is too narrow. I have made the mistake of using a Peco code 75 Insulfrog long crossing and keep getting either shorts, or seeing sparks as the trains go over it. And my Maunsell coaches are just as bad as the locos. Not all shorts trip the booster, but slow moving trains do. I thought with no blades, and only straight roads, there would be no problem. Wrong! In my case it's wheels touching both rails at the frog, or bridging the outside rails where they join as the plastic insert is too small.

I'm having to install a DCC Concepts Masterswitch Plus to correct this, as it's too late to replace the crossing (all glued down and ballasted). The switch has 4 SPDT switches built in and is being used for the point that sets the road over the crossing (it's a double junction). Two of the SPDT switches provide power to the crossing rails according to how the points are set, and one will be used for the polarity of the frog on the point. All 8 rails on the crossing have been electrically isolated.
 

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QUOTE (stmartins @ 3 Mar 2009, 14:32) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Having been bitten by the sound bug I have now converted 3 locos and have 4 more decoders on order. I have been testing and running them on a rolling road and today ran them after a long period of inactivity on my circuit. Well for the uninitiated what a disaster it has turned out to be.The first thing I discover is the track needs to be immaculate as these sound chips seem much more "sensitive" to any form of current interruption than an ordinary decoder.The slightest piece of "muck" stops the loco and sound but the big killer is Live Frogs.
Regretfully I have 2 and every time City of Sheffield and the other Pacifics go over them the whole lot shuts down, I have changed the bogie's with no luck, deepened the frog with a fine file, still the same I am now waiting for the paint to dry as I have tried a little paint near the actual live part of the frogs. I have to say I am a little disappointed as I had not given this any thought but felt it worth posting it on the forum to assist any one else who is now into sound.
I used the Dapol track cleaner for the first time on all of the track and it does get some muck off, but its not my day as that has packed up as well.
Could be a day for flying locos if things don't improve

Hello.
What make of points are you using & Have you modified them so that the polarity of the frogs are switched by a switch attached to the point motor ? or are you depending on the switch blades to power the frogs ?
 

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QUOTE (Flashbang @ 3 Mar 2009, 17:16) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi
I suspect as you're using live frog points your problem is the insides of the wheels of longer locos are touching onto the insides of the open switch rail which is at opposite polarity to the adjacent running rail. This normally occurs more on the curved route.
The answer here is once the B2B gauge of all wheels has been checked and if possible adjusted to the correct gauge and then the problem still exists is to make the points so called 'DCC friendly'. That is install insulated joints in both closure rails after the pivot and before the frog and then bond the two adjacent rails together underneath. If your point work is Peco Code 75 then the insulated joint is factory fitted and is linked out underneath by a little wire link. Cut link on both insulations and bond closure rail to outer adjacent running rail. If code 100 then it will be necessary to slice through the closure rails in between sleepers with the aid of a slitting disc and Dermal type drill. Once the two cuts have been made bond rails on the frog side of the cuts to their adjoining outer stock rails
Shown here Live frogs on DCC Scroll down to the item titled "Peco Electrofrog Code 100 Streamline Points"

Nothing wrong with any of this but bear in mind that not only must the wheelsets be correct for B2B but also in line as well. seems particularly relevant on bogies. Trial and error are the only way and sometimes all is cured by swapping wheelsets around within a bogie.
 

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*** I see you have received several responses all with helpful info. Looking through them, if the problem is at the frog, then that flangeless wheel may well be the culprit with the pacifics, especially if you are using set-track or small radius points. If the problem is wheels crossing the gap between point rail and closure rail, then back to back adjustment will help it.

You really need to get down lose to the point, with the light dim, and drive the train into the point at a slow but not too slow pace. You will see a small arc as the short happens if it is a short.... If no flash, turn the lights up and repeat, watching closely to see where it stops. note which wheels are where ant it may help you narrow the problem down.

Also helpful to understand... Does the problem happen in both point directions, or perhaps more on points immediately after a curve?

regards

Richard
 

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QUOTE (Flashbang @ 3 Mar 2009, 17:16) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi
I suspect as you're using live frog points your problem is the insides of the wheels of longer locos are touching onto the insides of the open switch rail which is at opposite polarity to the adjacent running rail. This normally occurs more on the curved route.
The answer here is once the B2B gauge of all wheels has been checked and if possible adjusted to the correct gauge and then the problem still exists is to make the points so called 'DCC friendly'. That is install insulated joints in both closure rails after the pivot and before the frog and then bond the two adjacent rails together underneath. If your point work is Peco Code 75 then the insulated joint is factory fitted and is linked out underneath by a little wire link. Cut link on both insulations and bond closure rail to outer adjacent running rail. If code 100 then it will be necessary to slice through the closure rails in between sleepers with the aid of a slitting disc and Dermal type drill. Once the two cuts have been made bond rails on the frog side of the cuts to their adjoining outer stock rails
Shown here Live frogs on DCC Scroll down to the item titled "Peco Electrofrog Code 100 Streamline Points"
Apologies, I made an error in the above statement, which I have struck through...
The two bonding wires are connected onto the moving switch rail side of the cuts, connecting between the stock rail (outer rail) and the closure rail (fixed part of the moving switch rail)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well everyone thanks for all the advice.I have spent most of the morning watching the loco pass over the point and the gentle spark as the wheels come off the frog.I think the lesson I have learned here is to run every loco around the track, both ways before permanently fixing it all down !!!.
It would appear with clearances and tolerances on the newer models there will always be the odd wagon or loco that gives grief somewhere on the circuit. I feel most of us can resolve these issues by changing bogies, turning wheels around and many other "tricks of the trade" but some are not fixable without surgery
I am going to bite the bullet and "dig up the point" as I just cannot fix it. As I stated earlier its supprising just how much these new loco move side to side with this "floating rear pony" set up
We all learn by our experiences, lets hope I can run the sound locos in peace locked in my little room!!
The one good thing about modelling is the patience threshold increases all the time and I am pleased to advise the loco did not end up as the "Flying Duchess"
 

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hi st martins - i hope u find a solution to your prob here ... if i was closer, id lend you a fleischmann electro-frog point to try out. if your existing track is ballasted, the fleischmann profi track point can easily be blended in with existing ballast to "hide" it ... they have the electro-frog switching all built-in and contained inside the track-bed - no wiring required, put the point into your layout and it just works!.
i hav dcc and whilst my layout is still in early stages of construction, i often have a track set up and run trains so am used to the fleischmann electro frog points now and just luv how they are plug-and-play - no frog polarity wiring needed - its all automatic and built in!.

let us all know how u get on and what solution you use!
 
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