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16  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: electrical on: April 08, 2020, 05:40:03 PM
If I read the OP's question correctly, he has multiple 12V DC lamps connected to a 22 AWG bus by individual 24 AWG feeder wires.  And, it was one of the individual 24 AWG feeder wires to one lamp that burned-up.

That sounds to me like a short circuit in the one lamp, affecting only its wires.

If the problem had been too many lamps on the 22 AWG bus, I would expect the 22 AWG wires to burn out between the power supply and the first lamp on the bus.

17  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Speed adjustment on Eggliners on: March 01, 2020, 10:47:59 PM
Why try to calculate a fixed resistance value?  It doesn't seem at all straight forward to figure out the resistance that will slow one Eggliner down to the speed of anther Eggliner.  After all, they were built the same way, so, if everything was perfect, they would already be running a the same speed.

So, why not put a variable resistor in the motor lead, and tweek it until you get the speed you need.  (Of course, you have to put the resistor in the faster Eggliner, not the one that is slow to begin with.)
18  Discussion Boards / N / Re: #4 turnouts producing shorts when paired on: February 22, 2020, 12:34:42 PM
Sorry that you took my last post as being "testy".  I was just stating the facts that apply to the type of help you were asking for.  I was trying to tell you how to isolate the problem without the voltmeter/continuity tester that you did not have when this started.  But, we were not getting anywhere because you were not taking any of the suggested steps, or maybe just not telling us what happened when you did.  Now that you have the continuity tester, those steps are not necessary, and you have isolated the problem to the RH turnout.  So, apparently the problem is a defective turnout.  While you could have figured that out with the steps I already suggested, it is obviously much easier with the proper test gadgets.

Anyway, you seem to have your answer.  No hard feelings.  Feel free to ask for help, again.

Also, others may be interested in what you find when/if you take that RH turnout apart, so posting the results here would be nice.  But, if you want to get a refund or replacement, it might not be a good idea to take it apart.

19  Discussion Boards / N / Re: #4 turnouts producing shorts when paired on: February 21, 2020, 10:16:56 AM
If you want help, you need to start answering the actual questions that I am asking.  I could probably solve your problem in a couple of minutes if I were there, but I am not there.  So, I need you to be my eyes and hands to see and do the things that I would do if I were there and then clearly communicate the results to me.

So, at least tell me if you have only one track power feed wire going to all of your track.  If you have more than one, please tell me where they are connected.
20  Discussion Boards / N / Re: #4 turnouts producing shorts when paired on: February 20, 2020, 10:12:12 PM
The only wire I use is the red one from my EZ Command controller that I plug into a 10 inch re-railer.

So you are saying that there is only one feed to all of your track?  The red wires to the two Bachmann turnouts are not connected?
21  Discussion Boards / N / Re: #4 turnouts producing shorts when paired on: February 20, 2020, 09:06:10 PM
I read the thread, and it really doesn't add anything to my understanding of your situation.

You really do need to get a meter and learn how to hunt for short circuits, because it is very hard for others to look at your words and figure out whether you have a bad component or simply have misunderstood how to properly connect a good component.

One possibility that you words suggested is that you may not know how to hook up a "remote" turnout properly. I see two wires coming from the turnouts in catalogs, and only the green wires in your pictures.  So, I am guessing that you have used the red wires to put track power on your turnouts, and not yet hooked up the "remote" control buttons?  I don't have the info on how to properly hook them up, but it occurs to me that you could get a short by (1) accidentally hooking the turnout track power plug up in reverse phase to the adjoining straight track, or (2) accidentally hooking the remote control power to the track connections, or (3) accidentally hooking the track power to the remote control connection.  Have you checked for those 3 errors?  One thing to do without the meter is to disconnect both the track power feeds and the remote control feeds from both turnouts and see if there is still a short circuit.
22  Discussion Boards / N / Re: #4 turnouts producing shorts when paired on: February 20, 2020, 10:42:45 AM
Since they are Bachmann turnouts, I am not going to be any help on actual turnout issues, because I have never used them.

But, if it is not a bad turnout, I might be able to help with whatever wiring issues are causing the short.

My first question is: do you have a volt meter?

My second question is whether you have tried disconnecting the LH turnout from the track to see if there is still a short?  If so, then, can you take that RH turnout off and replace it with what looks like one of the RH turnouts I think I see down by the roundhouse?  Is there still a short when you substitute another for the RH turnout that comes off the oval, with the LH farther down still removed? 

But, if there is not still a short when the LH turnout is removed,  try connecting the two branches beyond that turnout (one at a time) with pieces of track, (a straight for the straight path and a curved piece for the branching path).  If there is still a short when one of those sections of track bridges one of the paths, then the short is somewhere in that path, not the turnout.
23  Discussion Boards / N / Re: #4 turnouts producing shorts when paired on: February 19, 2020, 09:44:51 AM
Not sure what you mean by "as pictured".  When I click on your link, I see a picture of a layout with two left hand turnouts creating a crossover between what appears to be 2 ovals.  The turnouts appear to be Katos.

If that is the area that is causing the problem, my first guess would be that you have the ovals wired with opposing phase - that is, the inner rail on the inner oval is the opposite phase (wire color) from the inner rail on the outer oval.  So, when the two ovals are connected by the crossover, it creates a short circuit.

If that is not the problem, then yYou will have to give us more information before we can help you.
24  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: HO powering and soldering on: February 17, 2020, 10:00:36 AM
A lot of the differing experience and recommendations has something to do with the different environments that people use for their layouts. 

If you are using sectional track that is not glued down on a layout that is inside the house, then just a few track feeders are needed and rail joints really don't need to be soldered.  The joiners are not going to corrode very quickly, and all that really needs to be done is to slide them a little to break the corrosion if they develop a lot of resistance.

If your layout is using flex track that is glued down and ballasted, then soldering a high resistance rail joint is harder to do without  melting some ties, at least in the small scales like N and Z.  And, if that layout is in a garage or attic that is not controlled for temperature and humidity, then the likelihood of corrosion on the rail joiners in much higher.

So, most people try to do things to ensure a long reliability period on the finished layout if they expect it to last.  However, that still should consider issues like the potential for turnout mechanical or electrical failure.  Good practice is to not solder turnouts to the adjacent rails, and to solder independent feeders to the turnouts before laying them, plus ballast them with water soluble glue.  That way, turnouts can be replaced without very much disruption to adjacent track and scenery if that has to be done.
25  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Antiques what do I do with them? on: February 15, 2020, 08:16:48 PM
The 3 usual ways of disposing of old train sets from another family member are (in no particular order):
1. Try to sell them on eBay
2.  Sell them to an "estate buyer" who specialize in model trains
3.  Donate them to a local model railroad club for them to sell at a "white elephant table" at their club or train show, with proceeds going to support the club.

You can get an idea what your item will sell for on eBay by searching for the same item (by name or product number) and seeing what they actually sell for.  (Don't just look at what other sellers are asking, because some of the asking prices are ludicrous, and those listings are sometimes on there for a year without selling.)  Typically, old N scale stuff does not sell for much if it sells at all.  On the other hand, some old Lionel stuff sells for surprisingly high prices.  It just depends on the particular items.  There are a few old N scale items that still sell for decent prices, and some Lionel stuff can't be given away.  And, remember that the highest price something sells for on eBay is what only 2 people think it is worth.  Sometimes the third highest bidder is not willing to pay anything like the final bid price.  You can get an idea of how many people value an item by looking at the amounts bid by all of the bidders.
26  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Engine only runs backwards on: February 09, 2020, 05:18:54 PM
I did HAPPEN to learn something about Bachmann BLUETOOTH decoders that may or may not be applicable to your situation.  For the Bluetooth decoders, Bachmann designed them to run with Bluetooth decoder control or DC, but not DCC on the rails.  To get THOSE decoders to run in DC when put on DC rails, Bachmann told me to increase the throttle (to about 11 o'clock on their DC throttle) and then CYCLE THE DIRECTION SWITCH BACK AND FORTH 4 TIMES to get the decoder to go into DCC mode.  Seems like a terrible PITA, but the only choice if the owner of a Bluetooth decoder equipped loco doesn't have a smart phone.  I don't know what happens when the throttle is turned down to stop after the Bluetooth decoder is in DC mode, because that seems to me like it would be the same as taking the train off the track, so MAYBE it stays in DC mode or MAYBE it reverts to DCC/Bluetooth mode and the throttle needs the 4x direction cycling again just to change directions.

Anyway, it occurs to me that something like that might have happened in your testing, if you cycled the direction control several times in DC mode.  And, I have no understanding of how an MRC Tech 6 throttle is switched from DC to DCC mode, either.  So, just another piece of info for you to think about as you try to figure out what is really going on with your combination.

I still think your best bet is to join the MRC discussion group on to get better info.
27  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Engine only runs backwards on: February 06, 2020, 11:00:24 AM
If you have enough uncovered track to see what direction the locomotive runs when you test the track with the voltmeter, that should be sufficient.  It is important to make sure that the voltage measurements are done in the condition where the unexplained loco behavior is really happening.
28  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Engine only runs backwards on: February 04, 2020, 10:34:32 PM
OK, with the clarifications, it seems that the DCC decoder in the locomotive is sending the motor the same polarity no matter what you intend.  That decoder is between the electric motor in the locomotive and the track, with a bridge rectifier between the track and the decoder.  So, no matter whether there is AC or DC on the track, and, if DC, no matter which rail is + and which is -, the decoder always sees the same DC power polarity as its input.  It needs to determine which wire from the decoder to the electric motor gets the + and which gets the minus, based on programming in the decoder and maybe programming in the MRC controller.  It is possible that the 2 are not completely compatible, or maybe one or the other is malfunctioning.

I really don't understand how the MRC Tech 6 is designed.  It would help to know what is really happening when you push the direction buttons on the controller.  Do you have a voltmeter?  (You really do need one to work in this hobby, but it can be a simple. cheap one - you don't need a special DCC meter, even when using DCC.)

If/when you have a voltmeter, measure the voltage across the rails as you increase the throttle.  In a normal DC controller, it should  go from zero volts to about 12 volts on the DC scale.  With it somewhere in the 10 to 12 volt range, push the direction buttons and see if the polarity on the rails changes.  For a regular DC controller, the rail that is + should become - and the rail that is - should become + to change the direction of a DC electric motor that is directly connected to the rails.  Knowing whether your controller is actually doing that will help us to figure out what is happening.  Most DC controllers use a simple dp/dt slide switch to change the rail polarity.  Because your controller has buttons and is designed to send some DCC sound signals to sound decoders, I am suspecting that those buttons might do things differently.

Another question is whether you bought the locomotive second hand.  If so, it is possible that the previous owner had changed a CV (configuration variable) in the decoder to not run on DC.  A lot of people who run DC/DCC capable decoders turn off the DC capability when they run them on DCC systems to prevent full speed runaways that sometimes happen when a decoder doesn't see a DCC signal soon enough after it gets power, so it assumes it is on a DC system, and, because it is really on a DCC system, it sees full track power and sends that to the electric motor.  Without the ability to use a DCC controller to read the appropriate CV in your particular decoder we are going to have a hard time figuring that out.

Have you joined the MRC discussion group on  That is the place that is most likely to be able to give you advice on what your controller is actually doing, and whether they have seen this problem before and know how to fix it.
29  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Engine only runs backwards on: February 03, 2020, 09:53:13 AM
I am not familiar with your particular locomotive, but, since you are not getting any other replies, I'll take a stab at helping.

I see that your MRC Tech 6 Sound Controller has direction control buttons and assume that you know how to use them.  So, I am going to focus on the locomotive, which I am not familiar with.  I suspect that it has a decoder installed in it to produce sounds, and that it might run on DCC as well as DC.  Please let us know if this is the case.

Also, please tell us what you mean by "only" and "backwards".  To try to be clear, let's say that you place the locomotive on your track with the "front" facing right, and when you turn up the voltage, it runs from right to left, that is, backwards.  When you try to change the direction by pushing the direction buttons on your controller, I am assuming that it still runs right-to-left, even though you tried both buttons.  And, the way I read your post, it seems that if you turn the locomotive around on the track so that it faces the opposite direction, it now runs left to right, that is still "backwards" with respect to what you consider to be the front of the locomotive.  

Is that all correct, or do I misunderstand something about what is happening?
30  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Track level on: January 19, 2020, 10:34:30 PM
There are also small circular bubble levels, often seen on camera tripods to make the pivot vertical.  Then work well for small scales like N.
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