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Topics - ON28

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RailPro Discussion & Help / The Case of the Phantom Short
« on: September 18, 2020, 05:27:02 PM »
Thought I'd pass this on. Was wiring some Atlas snap switches (with plastic frogs) crossover, four wire feeds per switch plus shim brass bus bars from stock rails to closure rails, as well as shim brass under stock rails and points. (A little extra work but works for me.) Anyway, I am testing with an RP+KA diesel to see approximate voltage, and getting a voltage drop moving through the crossover followed by a return to full power after a few seconds All the feeds are good, and the drop only occurred in one direction. Listening, I here a clicking typical of a short. Turns out the metal wheel of one car was bridging the stock rail and wing rail at the open end of the frog. Who knew?

I'll tell you who. By coincidence this past week my knowledgeable train store guy Warren said he had seen this in some higher quality Peco switches, solved by painting the too-close rail tops with insulating clear enamel. I tried this and it worked. Warren said another way to detect a short is to turn out the room lights and look for sparks...


RailPro Discussion & Help / Loco current draw question
« on: September 13, 2020, 11:33:11 AM »
Hello all--

I've been wiring my HO NCE-powered layout and came across an interesting issue. My Intermountain F3 RP-Keep Alive-equipped loco showed a substantial voltage drop on a short (full wheelbase) segment of unwired track, slowed, then picked up speed when the KA kicked in. Conversely, my Atlas dual-mode GP38 -- without KA -- showed little hesitancy when crossing from powered to unpowered track. Is there a difference between these locos' minimum voltages? Should there be any slowing with a KA-equipped loco?  Thanks for your input.

RailPro Discussion & Help / RailPro in MRH
« on: September 07, 2020, 07:09:25 PM »
In the August issue of Model Railroad Hobbyist, Ken Patterson covers progress on layout by Campbell Rice, who uses RailPro.

RailPro Discussion & Help / Low voltage warning
« on: July 31, 2020, 07:25:48 PM »
Per an earlier question about a low voltage warning, I checked my NCE base station output and it was 14.25v, I don't want to increase it. On hard-wired layout segments the warning usually turns off soon enough, and all my LMs are up to date. I also have KAs in my locos, and I try to get a feeder to every rail except my Atlas metal frogs, which are unpowered. I guess I'll just live with it.

RailPro Discussion & Help / Repeated Motor Over Peak Current alert
« on: July 22, 2020, 04:46:36 PM »
I have an older DC Kato/Stewart F3 with original motor. It ran for some time on DC until I installed a used (but working) LM3-S and used KA-3. It functioned well until one day it stopped and the HC showed a Motor Over Peak Voltage message. I tore it down, the motor tested fine on DC, then reassembled. Worked for awhile, then got the same message. Tore it down again, saw no binding in the trucks, motor fine.  Reassembled with different LM3-S and KA. When I auto-set the voltage, it ran up to 680mAh from around 380 the previous time. Ran for a couple of hours until it shut down and I got yet another Over Voltage message. HC is fine and operates my other RP locos without issues. So I am throwing it out to the group for advice here, and thanking you in advance. I use NCE for track power.

Today ran my trusty Atlas GP-7 with an LM3-S and KA-3, when voltage suddenly decreased, eventually down to 3 and change, so I shut down. Found a screwdriver partially on the rails, though the PSX circuit breaker did not trip. Restarted and the loco ran a bit, but again showed fluctuating voltage up and down, then to 3 and change again. I tried auto-resetting max motor current (530 Mah) and it reset to 630. Tried to run and got a Motor Overload alert. I ran other locos and had no problem, though this same situation weeks earlier occurred with a Kato F3/LM3/KA4 after it ran on underpowered track, which I have yet to fully investigate. Any suggestions here? Are my modules damaged, or can they be reset? Thanks!

RailPro Discussion & Help / RP circuit breaker compatibility
« on: July 05, 2020, 02:34:49 PM »
Hello group--

Asking if the RP CB-1 is compatible with other makes of circuit breakers. I have a quintet of PSX breakers from DCC Specialties, will the CB-1 daisy-chain with these for my RP/NCE layout? Same question about the reverse loop module. RP claims no delay in crossing insulated blocks at low speed, I recently saw a video showing how to adjust a CV to eliminate loco hesitation when moving from the PSX-AR block to a PSX block, I'd rather not deal with that if I don't have to. Thanks!

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RailPro Discussion & Help / Unusual speed number display
« on: July 03, 2020, 04:39:08 PM »
Was running today and noticed a smaller type, whole number in the same box and below the speed number. It was the decimal speed as a whole number -- 1% for speed 0.1-1%, 2% for 2.0-2.9%, etc. It was not the brake percentage, which is below the speed number box. Anyone know what this is? It occurred in the lead unit of a three-unit consist running on NCE power at 14.25v.

RailPro Discussion & Help / HC won't turn on
« on: June 04, 2020, 12:17:06 PM »
Hello all--

Tried to power on my HC, I got the home page briefly before it shut down. The power button would not turn it back on. It was fully charged and last used a week ago. Any help is greatly appreciated.

I have a Roundhouse EMD Model 40 critter that has insufficient space for a module. Can I control the loco by connecting the module to a given segment of track instead of directly to the engine? This would be for an industrial plant electrically insulated from the rest of the layout. There is a small TCS DCC decoder to fit the 8-pin plug in this loco but I'd rather go RP.
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General Discussion / All about iPhone speakers for MRR sound
« on: May 04, 2020, 06:22:54 PM »
Kaylee Zheng's excellent recent NMRA clinic on installing iPhone speakers for sound. She also talks about other cellphone speakers. I use iPhone speakers for my locos, they're cheap and easy to install.

RailPro Installations / Atlas GP7 with keep-alives
« on: April 27, 2020, 02:14:33 PM »
Hello all. This is an upgrade of my previous install. I installed keep-alives in two RailPro locos, the difference in performance is startling. Like having the convenience of a battery without the inconvenience of a battery. I used TCS KA4s, which are about the size of a sugar cube and wire directly into the RailPro module without a bridge rectifier. Here's a photo of the Atlas GP7 install, I located the KA4 with double-side tape on a styrene strip under the cab.I had to bend brass wire conductors for the headlight around the keep-alive as it was the easiest way to correctly position the LED behind the headlight lens. Amazing how the loco crawls through my unpowered Atlas C100 and 83 frogs, and -- bonus! -- because RailPro modules "talk" to each other the non-KA locos run better in MU configuration!

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RailPro Discussion & Help / Consisting questions
« on: February 24, 2020, 04:14:20 PM »
First, thanks to Bill for hosting this board, very helpful. I am a new user, and have a mix of LM2s and 3s in an HO consist of (older) Intermountain F3, Atlas/Kato GP7 and Proto-2000 BL2. I tore down and cleaned up the drive trains of each, then installed the LMs (see photos on other threads). All LMs and HC are up to date. My question is, just how well are these locos supposed to MU together? The Proto unit seems for the most part best run alone. All have lights, the Geep and F3 have sound. I'll add that the Kato drive is far superior to the others, and I added bronze phosphor wipers to the Proto. How much of the differences among these units is supposed to be ameliorated by RP's MU function? Because RP seems to promise a much better MU experience than the tedious process of fiddling with CVs in traditional DCC, but actual results are short of perfection. Do I expect too much? 

RailPro Installations / Intermountain F3 install
« on: December 04, 2019, 09:32:52 AM »
Sharing this, an LM-3S in an HO 8-pin DCC-ready Intermountain F3. I first tore down and cleaned up the drive components, a process which is essential for most efficient performance, since I acquired this loco second-hand. Stiff pickup wires caused the original trucks to derail -- a known issue -- Intermountain provided replacements. I retained the factory light board for plug-in convenience and added a Yelo-Glo Miniatronics LED headlight, mounted on a styrene base that will also support crew figures. The LM is at the rear, with an iPhone 4S mounted on top, and both fit with no frame or shell modifications. I downloaded a generic diesel sound which offers more bass rumble than the ULT 567-16. An older model that's nicely-detailed and a good runner with RailPro.

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RailPro Installations / Proto BL2 install
« on: November 17, 2019, 04:49:36 PM »
My second install, pulled the light board and hard-wired an original late-issue BL2 with an LM-2. I left in the plastic board to mount the module and lights. The headlight and rear light are Miniatronics 3mm YeloGlo LED with resistors, shrouded in heatshrink. I added heatshrink tubing to cover solder joints and other bare wire. For neatness, I removed unused wires from the JST plug. The crew figures got some detail paint, as well. Still have some work to do to seal light leaks in the cab, and to add phosphor wire pickups to the trucks. Interestingly, this loco runs better in a consist than alone.

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