Friday, March 29, 2013

Houston, we have a problem...

Green lights good.. Red lights BAD.  I was seeing nothing but glaring red LED short indicator lights burning on my main power control panel and it was giving me fits. 

Houston.. We have a problem..

Each and every section I brought online showed a short and I started eliminating possible causes one by one.  Checked under the layout for cross fed feeders, looked for shiny metal objects laying across the tracks, checked the inputs and outputs to the breakers from the bus lines.. Nothing fixed it.  In a moment of despair I reached out to the guys in our round robin group for answers and possibly a visit to have extra sets of eyes to look for the problem.  Both Dave Ramos and Craig Bisgeier told me to recheck the PC ties on the Fast Tracks turnouts to make sure the cuts in the ties were complete with no traces of copper connecting both rails.  I had already gone over every single one with a file but still was getting shorts in each block.  Finally it dawned on me to pull up the PDF file of a Fast Tracks Turnout template (you can get these for free on the Fast Tracks website) and make sure I cut every tie that needed to be cut to prevent shorts.  Low and behold I saw one tie, right above the frog, that needed to be gapped and when I checked each turnout on the layout I realized I did not do this.  Every single turnout had the same mistake.  At least I'm consistent.  So after going over every single turnout to correct the mistake, I got what I was looking for.. All green lights on the power panel. 

All systems GO!

Ah.. The sweet smell of success!  Or is that just the smell of PC tie dust from rotary tool grinding?  Anyway, below are two short videos of both #6 and #28 running on different parts of the layout under DCC control.  :) 

Thanks go out to Dave and Craig for helping figure out the fix.

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