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Author Topic: Losing power away from where power clip located  (Read 203 times)

Kenster

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Losing power away from where power clip located
« on: December 25, 2018, 01:01:36 pm »
Hi All, first post here.  I don't know what that thing is called where you clip on the power source to two sections of the track--where the wires from the controller go to the track.  I have a 1948 Lionel and have track nailed down to a board all around my Christmas tree.  For many years now, the train loses power as it is going away from this power clip but regains power as it gets nearer to it/returns to it.  I have checked all the track connections, they are all snug and before I remounted this many years ago I crimped tight any loose holes where the pin from the track inserts into the next section, so I would hope that the electrical connections are good. I have cleaned the track with acetone and have removed any build up of dust, etc from the track and the contacts underneath the engine.  Running under load or just the engine itself this slowdown/loss is still noticeable but less so when only the engine running.  Any help in diagnosing this issue is appreciated!  Thx, Ken

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djacobsen

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Re: Losing power away from where power clip located
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2018, 08:11:32 am »
Kenster
Hello & Welcome to the Forum!
Sorry to hear about your power problem. 
You've already done step one one dealing with it, next, get out your multi-meter, power up the track and check section by section to see where you are losing connectivity.  It is quite possible that you have corroded/dirty pin and ends on your track & not getting good connectivity a possible problem with permanently attached track to layout. If your continuity is bad, you might want to consider attaching another feeder at the center point where your power drops or take up the track pieces clean and the ends or just replace them with new good track.
You didn't mention how much track you have laid and how much power you are trying to use...

Happy Rails!
dave


Kenster

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Re: Losing power away from where power clip located
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2018, 11:12:27 am »
Thanks Dave, so I can attach as second feeder along the track?  So just run another set of wires off the same points on the controller?  I have taken the tracks apart and no sign of corrosion, rust on the pins themselves, but perhaps on the inside of the track hole is a better place to look. Running 10 pieces track total, rather small circle around my tree.  Mostly curved pieces (8 out of the 10), so also wondering if that has something to do with it? 

TrainLarry

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Re: Losing power away from where power clip located
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2018, 05:55:32 pm »
You can add as many lockons as you need to distribute the power to your layout.

If you do not have a multi-meter to check for voltage drop across the track sections, use a lighted car, or just a bulb with pigtails. Check each section of track and when you get to a section where the light is dimmer, pull that section out and pull the pins out and clean or replace them. Rust inside the track is more difficult to clean out, so it is easier to just replace any like that.

You also need to clean the track and all the wheels of all your rolling stock with Naphtha. Do not use the acetone, as it will melt any plastic it comes in contact with.

Larry

Kenster

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Re: Losing power away from where power clip located
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2018, 09:42:11 pm »
Thanks Larry, I'll try that, using the caboose with the light to test power drop. Ken

Kenster

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Re: Losing power away from where power clip located
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2019, 09:34:02 pm »
All,
I got my second lockon a couple days ago and installed it at the point where the train is losing some power around a turn. It seemed to have solved the problem, but when I ran my train tonight after cleaning the old (presumably 1948 vintage) lockon, which worked fine before, the train stalled out/stopped running at the point of that old lockon.  I have two questions--I have the lockon installed on a curved piece of track as my layout is a small circle around the Christmas tree so only two straight pieces total--should I be installing the lockons on the straight track only?  Second question--there was a old soldered spot on the original lockon that had a wire from the crimp to the composite base. I removed that as my new lockon did not have that.  I don't know how that would affect anything but asking in case that was common practice a long time ago.  I cannot make sense of it as a wire from the crimp to the composite base is going nowhere in essence.  Thx, Ken

TrainLarry

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Re: Losing power away from where power clip located
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2019, 10:06:59 am »
Glad to hear you got your trains running better now.

Lockons can be installed on either straight or curved track, as long as the lockon and track are clean and free of corrosion.

A wire would be needed only if the connection between the rivet and metal were bad.

If your train stalls at the lockon, replace the lockon.


Larry

Kenster

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Re: Losing power away from where power clip located
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2019, 10:10:32 pm »
Well Larry, what do they say?  Fix one thing and something else becomes the weakest link?  So I took off that little wire that was soldered to the base and it made no difference, so all was well I thought.  No power loss areas on the track!  Consistent speed all the way around.  Again, I've got 4 curved pieces each side and one straight piece between them to form a small oval around the tree.  Now, the train (once warmed up), just stops then starts again after a moment right at the area of the new lockon as well as a area almost directly across from it.  I removed the old lockon to see if it made a difference and it did not.  Using either both or just the new one makes no difference.  Now I'm thinking it was another issue all along that is highlighted with more/better power.  What else could this be?  Contact with track was my first suspicion and I did see a small flash at the same point each time it goes around near the new lockon.  I know my inquiry is now only expanding possibilities of the issue, but I am not knowledgeable on these things.  I just get it out and turn it on every year and it runs.  Thanks for any additional advise and help. 

TrainLarry

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Re: Losing power away from where power clip located
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2019, 09:58:05 am »
Watch the light in the caboose as it passes these two spots on your layout. If it dims, you have a power problem, most likely a bad connection between track sections - could be dirty/rusty pins.
Check the pins on all track sections, and use a needle-nose pliers to crimp the track at each end to make sure all connections are tight.

Make sure the track and the wheels and roller pickups on the locomotive are clean. Clean everything with Naphtha.


Larry

Kenster

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Re: Losing power away from where power clip located
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2019, 12:55:12 am »
Thanks Larry, I think the cleaning did the trick as no power loss now.  Some of the goo I removed from the wheels (presumably a build up since 1948!) was almost like the wheels had a rubberized coating. I know rubber does not conduct electricity!  The rollers had some crud too. I would surmise that some of this could be oily buildup mixed with charged particles/dust.  I have never oiled anything but the engine in the weep hole on the bottom and only twice since I've had the train (since 1970), but I am guessing over time someone may have oiled the axles thinking it needed it.  Do they?  Thanks again.  Ken

TrainLarry

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Re: Losing power away from where power clip located
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2019, 10:00:28 am »
General maintenance including cleaning and lubricating our trains is necessary for good performance and longevity of our equipment. A drop of light oil like Labelle 107 on the axles where they go into the bearings is needed. Do this to the locomotives especially, and also to all your rolling stock.

The motor needs a little lubrication also with a drop of oil at each end of the armature. The gears need a little grease on them also.

Larry

 

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Re: Losing power away from where power clip located by TrainLarry
January 11, 2019, 10:00:28 am

Re: Losing power away from where power clip located by Kenster
January 11, 2019, 12:55:12 am

Re: Losing power away from where power clip located by TrainLarry
January 10, 2019, 09:58:05 am

Re: Losing power away from where power clip located by Kenster
January 09, 2019, 10:10:32 pm

Re: Losing power away from where power clip located by TrainLarry
January 07, 2019, 10:06:59 am

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