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Discussion Boards => General Discussion => Topic started by: squibbys on January 07, 2015, 02:02:41 PM



Title: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: squibbys on January 07, 2015, 02:02:41 PM
Hi Everyone -  I am new to model trains and have just bought a power pack to get things "rolling".  The problem I am having is there is no current coming from the dc track connection.  I checked with a multimeter (no amperage) at the source terminals so I bought another power pack (different kind) with the same problem.  The AC terminals are measuring voltage/amps. I just can't get the DC terminal to work  No shorts that I know of because other electrical machines work fine on the outlet. Maybe a circuit breaker trip. I have the atlas universal power pack.  Can anyone think what the problem is?  I am getting frustrated and am trying to get my 1st locomotive to run.  I have no idea what to do.  Please help.  :O)


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: jbrock27 on January 07, 2015, 02:09:29 PM
No amperage or no voltage?   Just so it is understood, are you measuring directly from the contacts on the power pack?  Where did you buy the packs you are having trouble with?  New or used?   Do you have an alkaline battery you KNOW is good to check it on the meter, just on the off chance, the DC measurement on the meter is no good anymore?  What brand meter is this?


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: squibbys on January 07, 2015, 02:18:01 PM
I am not getting any readings on the atlas universal power pack (from amazon), voltage or amps.  I just got off the phone with atlas and they told me the red light showing on the knob indicates a short somewhere.  From the very start there was a red light (thought that meant the power pack was "on", i guess not).  The multimeter is a craftsman.  The meter is good because I checked a computer power supply I had laying around.

Maybe I am doing something wrong because neither power packs work (the other is a generic with no labeling I bought at a hobby store - used though)

I check the tracks and the wires gong to the track terminals too.

Thank you for your help.  I really enjoy these model trains and don't want to get distracted from the fun :O)


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: ebtnut on January 07, 2015, 02:51:01 PM
It sounds like you have the pack wired to the track.  Based on your conversation with Atlas, disconnect the pack from the track and check the voltage and see if the red light goes out.  Of course, you have to crank up the controller some to get the DC flowing.  If the red light is still on and there is no voltage, I'm guessing that the pack(s) were faulty from the start or got damaged in shipping. 


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: jbrock27 on January 07, 2015, 03:01:23 PM
Agree.

You need to islolate whether the problem is at the pack or once the wires are connect to the track.  This is how come I asked if your checking voltage directly at the pack.  Once you start to turn the knob, you should begin to get DC readings if you are on the DC terminals of the pack.  It is odd you're having the same problem with 2 packs.  

Your meter is a good one ;)


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: Len on January 07, 2015, 03:11:12 PM
I saw this once when my repair shop was open. Customer brought in a "bad" power pack with one track wire under an "AC" accessory screw, the other under a "DC" track screw. Double check the track wires are all in the right place.

Also, if you're using extra power feeders to the track make sure none of them are reversed from the others. That will create a short.

Len


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: ACY on January 07, 2015, 03:30:14 PM
You are in the US or Canada correct? If not then it is likely you damaged the electronics if you didn't have the right converter.


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: jbrock27 on January 07, 2015, 03:42:54 PM
 ???


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: ACY on January 07, 2015, 04:12:43 PM
???
If the original poster is in another country and he plugs in the power pack, it could show an overload due to not being the correct voltage. US and Canada is 120V, other countries have 240V.


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: jbrock27 on January 07, 2015, 04:29:20 PM
I get that, thanks ACY,  but don't believe that applies here.  Unless Craftsman multimeters are common worldwide.  Not that someone outside of the US or CAN couldn't have one in their possession.
Why don't we ask the question of squibby?
Where are you squb?

PS-ACY-did you mean like the guy who is in South Africa and did not pay any attention to that aspect of different voltages?


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: ACY on January 07, 2015, 04:41:55 PM
He could have bought it in the US. Also they sell Craftsman tools in a few other countries too, Sears and Roebuck have holdings in a few coutries which stock Craftsman.


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: jbrock27 on January 07, 2015, 04:43:39 PM
Could have bought which in the US, the pack or meter?

Let's see what squibby sez.


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: squibbys on January 07, 2015, 05:02:32 PM
I live in the US. Everything I believe came from us supplier (atlas) :)


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: jbrock27 on January 07, 2015, 05:53:59 PM
Thank you squibby for clearing that up :)

Any luck checking anything further?


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: squibbys on January 07, 2015, 05:59:48 PM
Nope,  I sent the power pack back to atlas for repair.  I'll start anew when the new one is returned.  I'm sure everyone is riveted with the prospect of getting this working, me included. Lol,   ;)


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: squibbys on January 07, 2015, 06:50:16 PM
I tested my replacement and it is throwing ac voltage out of the labeled dc terminals directly on the power pack.  Is this normal?


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: ACY on January 07, 2015, 06:58:16 PM
This is all very bizarre. I have never experienced anything like this. Do you have any working power packs or do you have previous model railroading experience in which you successfully set up and could run trains?


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: Jerrys HO on January 07, 2015, 07:37:23 PM
I am going to play confused also.
By chance are you reading/using  the meter correctly? Another way to check is to take a bulb like a 1056 automotive bulb ( I keep one made up as a test light by soldering wires to the center probe and to the side with alligator clips on the other end and yes Jbrock I own a real test light also)  now take the leads and clip to the dc terminals you should be able to turn the power up on your controller and the bulb will brighten. If goes full bright then OH OH!
Do the same test to the AC side, they may have them marked wrong and if not I would be making another call.


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: jbrock27 on January 07, 2015, 09:01:33 PM
No squib, that's not normal.  How are you telling that the voltage is AC and not DC?  And yes, I am interested in getting this figured out.

Jerry's hand made light is good continuity tester (yes Jerry, I have one as well, just not hand made).  It works to tell you if there is continuity between 2 places but it will not measure anything for you.  Do you know how to solder squib?

And Jerry, why have to play confused, when it comes so naturally :D


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: Jerrys HO on January 07, 2015, 09:05:52 PM
Wow Jim,did you really have to go there. I am sure they already knew but now it's confirmed.


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: jward on January 07, 2015, 09:14:41 PM
I tested my replacement and it is throwing ac voltage out of the labeled dc terminals directly on the power pack.  Is this normal?

how much ac voltage does it show with the speed control turned all the way up? depending on how well filtered the power supply is, there could be some ac ripple to it. on a basic power pack, ac is converted to dc, usually by a bridge rectifier or a couple of diodes. at this point, all that has been done is to turn the negative portion of the ac wave into positive, giving a half ac wave @ 120hz, instead of the full ac wave @ 60hz. filtering, if any, would be accomplished with one or more capacitors wired across the dc terminals of the rectifier. they smooth out the ripple, but probably not completely. depending on the sensitivity setting of your meter, you could possibly read the ripple as very low voltage ac.


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: jbrock27 on January 08, 2015, 07:48:11 AM
squib, I just reread one of your earlier post in which you answered my question about the 2nd pack and see you said you got from a hobby shop, no markings (generic) and it was used but it had labels.  What kind of labeling does it have for the terminals?  Is it possible that the shop owner put his own labels on for the terminals and he got them reversed?  In other words, marked the DC as AC and AC as DC ??


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: Len on January 08, 2015, 09:18:56 AM
Or possibly a 'generic' AC transformer for the 3-rail folks?

Len


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: jbrock27 on January 08, 2015, 12:30:52 PM
Gotta watch those shop owners, right Len ;)?


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: Len on January 08, 2015, 01:30:50 PM
Maybe not the shop owner, but sometimes the people who work there...

Len


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: jbrock27 on January 08, 2015, 01:45:44 PM
Those rat bast....


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: squibbys on January 08, 2015, 04:07:58 PM
The AC runs around 2V and the DC is about half of that (.9V) on the multimeter's AC voltage setting. (hertz = 60)  DC does not give me a reading.  I have dabbled in soldering, but stink at it (not enough practice on expensive parts).  On the second power pack, it looks like it was from the factory.  I am thinking my ability to run a multimeter could be suspect.  Does anyone else think that? LOL. 

For continuity I get a reading of OL ("overload" maybe)


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: jward on January 08, 2015, 06:19:27 PM
I hope you didn't take a continuity reading with the power pack plugged in. during a continuity checque, the meter supplies battery power to the circuit on the assumption this is the only power the circuit is receiving.


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: jbrock27 on January 08, 2015, 08:12:56 PM
...I have dabbled in soldering, but stink at it...I am thinking my ability to run a multimeter could be suspect.  Does anyone else think that? LOL.

Ok, then you won't be able to make Jerry's handy, dandy continuity/circuit tester.  
You make a good point.    
Let's test the meter on something we know what the value should be, to determine if it is functioning ok.  Get an alkaline battery you know is good, like a AA.  Set the meter to DC and to measure just above 1.5 Volts (on mine this would be 2).  Put the probes on the ends of the battery and tell us what you get.  If you don't have a AA, tell us what DC battery you have.  
Did you get the meter new or used?  Did it come with instructions to tell you where to put the probes in the meter? Where the dial is, V with straight lines in for the DC measuring, V with the wiggly line is for measuring AC.  The probes go into COM and V to measure voltages, just in case you did not know.
And those are really weird readings you gave us, not normal, fer sure.


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: squibbys on January 08, 2015, 08:54:59 PM
The 9 volt battery test on my multimeter comes with a dc voltage reading a little over 9.5V.  I suppose this means the power packs are the culprit.  It just seems weird to have two bad power packs in a row.


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: squibbys on January 08, 2015, 08:59:45 PM
The 2nd power pack is throwing dc voltage now.  WOW!  I must have checked 80 times before and now its working.  Weird . . .I do own a house where a model train junkie lived (I found a whole bunch of trains that I gave back to the family when we bought).  Maybe he is helping me out some how beyond the grave. :O) (Spooky!)


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: squibbys on January 08, 2015, 09:26:51 PM
Power pack NOW registering 1 amp too.  Track getting power, train is still a no go :O(


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: squibbys on January 08, 2015, 09:42:06 PM
BOOM! Train ah-movin'!  Thanks everyone.  If only I could take a selfie of how excited I am.  :O)


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: jbrock27 on January 08, 2015, 10:05:29 PM
This is all very weird, but I am glad that the pack is working!

Just out of curiosity, what level DC voltage do you get from the DC terminals on the pack at full blast?   


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: squibbys on January 08, 2015, 10:12:38 PM
Me too!  I was determined.

Forgot the actual number for voltage, I think it was 16v or something like that.  Also, maybe the decimal is off because my multimeter auto ranges.


Title: Re: Power Pack with no DC current
Post by: jbrock27 on January 08, 2015, 10:22:23 PM
That's good.  That is just what you want.

Have fun!