Author Topic: Low voltage warning  (Read 5117 times)

roofintrash

  • Fireman
  • **
  • Posts: 31
Low voltage warning
« on: December 23, 2015, 08:44:22 AM »
 I'm having low track voltage warning issues with all of my brand new Athearn locos. 14 gauge buss with 22 gauge feeders to every piece of track. Multimeter is reading 14.55 volts while getting the warning on the controller. The wheels and track are spotless and I'm getting flustered. I never get the warning on my Katos or even on converted old spectrums. Am I worrying about nothing or is something else going on?
Rick

William Brillinger

  • Dispatcher (Admin)
  • Conductor
  • *****
  • Posts: 1119
    • Precision Design Co.
Re: Low voltage warning
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2015, 09:05:07 AM »
I'm assuming you are using the multi meter right at the location the loco is at?
I wonder what the measured voltage would be on the feeds inside the loco?
Is the warning only happening while the locos are moving, or is it all the time?
How is the module wired into the loco?
- Bill Brillinger, RPUG Admin

Modeling the BNML in HO Scale, owner of Precision Design Co., and RailPro Dealer.


Alan

  • Conductor
  • ****
  • Posts: 1014
    • LK&O Railroad
Re: Low voltage warning
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2015, 09:11:36 AM »
I too sometimes get the low voltage warning even when the track voltage is verified as correct. My power supply is a switch mode regulated 15v unit. Bus wiring is 12 AWG, feeders are 24 AWG, every rail has a feeder. Voltage measurement at the resistor dampening load point furthest from the power supply indicates 14.8v with the system fully loaded at 7A (using car headlights).

At one time I installed a small digital voltmeter directly on an Atlas FM H16-44 locomotive so I could monitor the voltage at the module connection. The low voltage warning would appear sporadically with the voltmeter indicating 15 +-0.5 volts. The operation of the locomotive doesn't appear to be any different when the warning occurs. I have noticed the warning is more likely to occur when I first start a locomotive in motion. Grew tired of trying to track down the problem and since it has no noticeable effect on loco operation I have since just disregarded it. It doesn't seem to matter whether there is a single loco or multi-loco consist.

The meter I used on the loco: http://www.buyincoins.com/item/16267.html#.Vnq3EhUwhjF

If someone knows the remedy I am all ears.
Alan

LK&O Railroad website

When I was a kid... no wait, I still do that. HO, 28x32, double deck, 1969, RailPro

roofintrash

  • Fireman
  • **
  • Posts: 31
Re: Low voltage warning
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2015, 09:21:37 AM »
It only happens when the locos are moving. Most are just plugged into the stock circuit board but I did hardwire one and no change. Ive tested the track where and when it's happening and it reads fine. I may have to purchase one of those mini meters to check the loco while running. The layout is divided into 2 power districts,one lower staging and one for the main and yard. Each section has it's own PWR 56. There is a feeder to every piece of track. I'm baffled and feel like I'm just missing something stupid.
Rick

William Brillinger

  • Dispatcher (Admin)
  • Conductor
  • *****
  • Posts: 1119
    • Precision Design Co.
Re: Low voltage warning
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2015, 09:23:39 AM »
did you "calibrate" each of the locos?
- Bill Brillinger, RPUG Admin

Modeling the BNML in HO Scale, owner of Precision Design Co., and RailPro Dealer.


roofintrash

  • Fireman
  • **
  • Posts: 31
Re: Low voltage warning
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2015, 09:27:03 AM »
If you mean the draw test when you first set them up,,yes. Even re did it to make sure.
Rick

William Brillinger

  • Dispatcher (Admin)
  • Conductor
  • *****
  • Posts: 1119
    • Precision Design Co.
Re: Low voltage warning
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2015, 09:32:25 AM »
well, I'm stumped.  I've only seen low voltage messages when I have the loco too far away from the power supply and adding more bus wire fixed that.
- Bill Brillinger, RPUG Admin

Modeling the BNML in HO Scale, owner of Precision Design Co., and RailPro Dealer.


roofintrash

  • Fireman
  • **
  • Posts: 31
Re: Low voltage warning
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2015, 09:32:50 AM »
The other strange thing, is if I have the status screen up while the loco is running the voltage bar doesn't change but the status message will still change between OK no faults and low track voltage. Zero change in speed or performance.
Rick

roofintrash

  • Fireman
  • **
  • Posts: 31
Re: Low voltage warning
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2015, 09:34:45 AM »
This will happen 2" away from the power supply or 20' from the supply. Also happens in both power districts.
Rick

Alan

  • Conductor
  • ****
  • Posts: 1014
    • LK&O Railroad
Re: Low voltage warning
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2015, 09:39:37 AM »
The other strange thing, is if I have the status screen up while the loco is running the voltage bar doesn't change but the status message will still change between OK no faults and low track voltage. Zero change in speed or performance.

I see the same.
Alan

LK&O Railroad website

When I was a kid... no wait, I still do that. HO, 28x32, double deck, 1969, RailPro

William Brillinger

  • Dispatcher (Admin)
  • Conductor
  • *****
  • Posts: 1119
    • Precision Design Co.
Re: Low voltage warning
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2015, 09:53:03 AM »
time to contact Tim. Sounds like a programming bug.  email support@ringengineering.com
- Bill Brillinger, RPUG Admin

Modeling the BNML in HO Scale, owner of Precision Design Co., and RailPro Dealer.


roofintrash

  • Fireman
  • **
  • Posts: 31
Re: Low voltage warning
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2015, 10:57:52 AM »
E-mail sent.
Rick

KPack

  • Conductor
  • ****
  • Posts: 666
Re: Low voltage warning
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2015, 11:08:38 AM »
Are the Athearn locos hardwired to the trucks?  I mean have you physically checked to see if the wires from the trucks are soldered to the sideframes?  Or are these some of the Athearn RTR locos that pick up the negative power from the frame?

I ask because the low voltage warning can come up if power supply to the module is intermittent.  I've seen it pop up before going over switches and have seen it on straight track in locomotives where the power supply isn't fully hardwired.  It will show up if the locomotive doesn't fully drop power (ie no loss in sound or movement).  It seems that a momentary cessation of power will trigger the fault even though it has no visible effect on the locomotive itself.  Like Alan I usually don't worry much about it because the locomotive will normally continue to operate just fine (unless I have dirty track/wheels).

With almost all my locomotives being hardwired at ALL electrical connection points I have not had this happen too often recently.  The fact that it shows up only on your Athearn's tells me there is likely something in the electrical path from the wheels to the module that likely could be improved.  However, like Bill said it could be a software issue that needs to be ironed out with an update.

-Kevin

Prostreetamx

  • Fireman
  • **
  • Posts: 27
  • Modern BNSF
Re: Low voltage warning
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2015, 11:36:35 AM »
Older Athearn engines are known for their low quality wheels ans poor truck pick ups. I have not converted any of my Athearns yet but did recently pick up a book at the hobby shop that gives you tips on how to upgrades these engines that includes wheel swaps. I moved the book recently so I can't find it to give you the title but will continue looking.
Modeling modern BNSF on 20x20 freelanced double deck layout under construction.

roofintrash

  • Fireman
  • **
  • Posts: 31
Re: Low voltage warning
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2015, 11:44:22 AM »
Yes,all soldered pick ups. Ive been trouble shooting this for a while now to no avail. I'm running out of ideas and will probably just ignore it as it doesn't alter the performance at all. Just bugs the crap out of me.

These are all brand new,dcc ready,purchased in the last 8 months. I'm well aware of the issues with the older series and the sintered wheels and crappy electrical pickup.
Rick