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Author Topic: Auxiliary power to remote switches  (Read 261 times)


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Auxiliary power to remote switches
« on: November 16, 2020, 12:42:30 pm »
I put up and take down a complex Christmas layout each year.  The layout uses 6 remote switches.  I have Lion Chief 0-8-0 engine.  The track is powered by the 18 V DC power pack that came with the set. I like to use aux power on the switches because that way my controllers show both red and green signals.  I also have to use phone jacks and phone cords to allow me to pass the controller through the platform and reach 7-10 ft to the control position on my 13 ˝ ft x 7 ˝ ft layout.  This year three of the 6 switches would not respond to the the controller. One of those that operates properly was new the year before and had not operated properly last year out of the box.  It was under warranty, I sent it to Lionel, but it had not returned before Christmas. It finally arrived during the summer. I sent the three to our local Lionel service dealer who told me that he would most likely not get to them and have them ready before Christmas, so I bought 3 new RH O-36 remote switches.  The dealer had one on hand and ordered the other 2. The first one I installed using aux power and it didn't work.  No power to the switch.  I immediately sent it back to the dealer and the serviceman said he'd get right to it.  In the meantime my other older and refurbished O-36 remote switches worked fine on aux power and extended controllers. The other two switches arrived.  They were O-31 switches instead of the O-36 I use.  I was able to adapt them to the track, noted that they powered up on track power and the controllers worked fine.  So I installed them using aux power (using an old Lionel 18 volt transformer which was powering the 3 switches that were working fine) and cut the controller cables to pass them through the platform and extend them to my control station using phone jacks and 4 wire cable.  Everything worked fine that first evening except that one of the new O-31 switches worked in one direction only.  I checked my connections and found a loose contact on one of the phone jacks, repaired that and the controller then worked fine: all controllers worked in both directions, showing both red and green, the track had power with all the sounds and robust action.  I was elated and texted my contact at the Whistle Stop train store in Portland, OR that the O-31 switches were working fine.  I went to dinner and returned to the layout an hour later, powered up the track and switches and no power to the track at all, but all the switches worked fine. Now I have tried everything:  Returned the O-31 to track power, eliminated the controllers, switched the transformer from the DC power pack to a Lionel AC transformer, returned all the switches to track power, but nothing.  Right now I have power (not consistent) to the tracks using the DC power pack, I have all switches on track power and all controllers are connected to their switches  via the phone cable.  There are no lights on the controllers, the three older switches work anyway, but the two new O-31 switches don't work at all. What is the problem here and where do I go from here?  Are O-31 switches different than the O-36,? Are newer switches different than ones I purchased 3-4 years ago?  Have I destroyed these new switches?  Will I get the train rolling robustly before Thanksgiving?  The layout is a favorite for my grandkids, neighborhood, etc.  Will I have to resort to replacing the remote switches with manual switches (there is one in the middle of the layout that most can't even reach)?  Help

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