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Author Topic: Leaving Digital engines on track idling  (Read 4549 times)
scrimshaw

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« on: February 23, 2009, 09:22:54 AM »

Is there any harm in leaving a digital engine on track idling while running other engines?  If so, how long is it safe to allow engine to idle?  I am currently running 3 Bachmann Spectrum DCC engines with Tsunami sound.
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Scot
Tim

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« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2009, 09:30:10 AM »

Scrimshaw

No harm at all, let them idle as long as you like.

Tim Anders
Souderton, PA
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Nathan

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« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2009, 10:19:35 AM »

There is no problem with a unit just sitting there.

You did not tell us which DCC system you use.  If you end up with several more locomotives then you need to look at how much idle current they all draw at one time and how much current the trains you are running draw.

A lot of us have way more locomotives then we can run at one time.  If this is where you end up as your roster grows, you may want to have a 'Locomotive Service Area' with tracks you can turn off when a group of locomotives are not in use.

Remember that car lighting and DCC controlled turnouts also use some current.
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GN.2-6-8-0


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« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2009, 10:26:37 AM »

Not true....just last night while running for the public ,this on a large layout with plenty of power the we found our yards were kicking off the breakers and the breakers would not reset as they should have, on checking found we had 4 or 5 sound equipted engines had been left idling while several other trains were still  being run and they were popping the breakers.
On removing several of the engines the breakers reset as they were suppose to. keep in mind that sound equipted locos do draw substanial power even when just sitting idling.
Best to either shut them down or remove them from trackage when your not running them .
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Rocky Lives
Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2009, 11:35:09 AM »

Letting the locomotives idle in a yard is a nice sound effect, but there is a price to pay in terms of power.  As GN.2... points out, an underpowered yard can cause problems, including the usual start up problem.  One alternative is to provide that power with an extra booster.  Another is to shut down the locomotives and use a fixed sound system for the idling sounds.
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SteamGene

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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2009, 12:10:30 PM »

My locomotive storage tracks and the visible yard are all wired so the track can be powered or dead - to reduce noise and to reduce start up "shock." 
Gene
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Virginia Tidewater and Piedmont Railroad
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scrimshaw

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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2009, 12:40:24 PM »

Thanks for all the replys!!!  I am running the Bachmann EZ Command system.  So, if I am understanding correctly, there will be no harm to the Engines themselves if left idling such as overheating etc...?  The only problems may be power drain for other engines that may be running on the track!   Correct?Huh??
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Scot
Nathan

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« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2009, 12:50:44 PM »

Yes, as long as your system can supply the power needed by all the trains you are okay.

In the future as you add locomotives, lit cars and DCC controled turnouts, this will change.  There are several sources of DCC current meters that you may want to look at for the future to keep track of the current needs of your system.

One source is tonysdcc.com , they have the RRamp series of meters.  I have several of them.  I use one on the output of each of the boosters, and use one for general trouble shooting, since they also have a volt meter built in.
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scrimshaw

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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2009, 02:56:37 PM »

Thanks.  All of my turnouts are powered on a different system, so only my trains are running through the EZ Command controller
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Scot
Yampa Bob

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« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2009, 04:49:27 PM »

Gene,
You mentioned "start up shock".  When I first turn on the master switch to the layout, any sound loco is defaulted to "sound off". I only get sound if I select the address and throttle up.

When I park a sound loco, I never leave it "idling", I turn the sound and lights off.

Are you saying that when you power up the track, all sound locos start idling?

Anyway, I usually have 10 DCC locos on the layout but only run one at a time. Like Scrimshaw, my EZ Command only runs my trains, the turnouts are remote with the usual selector switches. 
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Rule Number One: It's Our Railroad.  Rule Number Two: Refer to Rule Number One.
pdlethbridge
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« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2009, 05:04:15 PM »

The most I keep on my layout is five. 4 of those on the roundhouse storage tracks that have their own power on/off switch. The turntable is decoder equipped as well and has its own on/off switch. This makes for an easy system that allows for operating 2 locos on the main line if my brother comes over with his power cab. Alone, I only run 1. 
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SteamGene

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« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2009, 05:11:44 PM »

Bob, No I added the switches to prevent drain from locomotives on powered track which aren't going anywhere soon. 
I have a couple of sound locomotives which have active sound if the track under them is powered.  When I'm not running/cleaning/testing, all power is off.
Gene
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Virginia Tidewater and Piedmont Railroad
"Only coal fired steam locomotives"
Yampa Bob

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« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2009, 09:37:22 PM »

OIC....thanks.  Cool

Since I don't as yet have a RRAmpmeter, I only run current tests while on DC power.  Therefore I have a question.....

When I first power the layout, it is my understanding that a communication "packet" is sent to any DCC locos on the tracks. Basically the decoder recognizes the packet and says "Ok, I'm awake and ready to receive commands".   My question is, do the decoders draw current when not addressed to maintain the packet information?

My theory is they do, since if I inadvertenly place or remove a loco with the track powered, I hear the decoder make a slight "click".  Actually, I have heard these subtle clicks from several locos on the tracks when I power up the layout.

If this is true, then all DCC locos on the tracks would be "idling", whether sound equipped or not.  Hmmmm?  Cool
« Last Edit: February 23, 2009, 10:08:03 PM by Yampa Bob » Logged

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Rule Number One: It's Our Railroad.  Rule Number Two: Refer to Rule Number One.
Nathan

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« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2009, 11:31:12 PM »

Bob,

Yes the do draw some current.  There is a some 'start up current' untill it can get it self orginized.  This will be a larger then the 'stand by' current.  The click you here may be a small pulse to the motor.  They will then go to a 'listen' state looking for their address in a packet from the system.

Sound decoders will draw more current then a non sound unit because of the audio amp in them.  The amount of current depends on if they can be set to 'no sound' at power up or not.
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Yampa Bob

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« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2009, 11:48:25 PM »

Nathan,
I have asked several times if anyone has measured the current draw of a sound equipped locomotive, at "idle" sound off and on, at creep, mid and top speed, sound off and on, with no cars.  To date, I have not received an answer from anyone.

Since my EZ Command will run two sound locos at a good speed, I am just theorizing the current draw to be on the order of .5 to .6 amp, about double that of my non-sound locos.

I think you mentioned having a RRAmpmeter, if so could you run some current tests and report the findings? I'm mostly just curious and for future reference.

I would also like to know the "idle" current of a non-sound DCC loco in both non-addressed and addressed modes, zero throttle just sitting on the tracks, and at full throttle.

Even at 70 years, my inquisitive mind never rests.  Cheesy

Thanks
« Last Edit: February 24, 2009, 12:21:34 AM by Yampa Bob » Logged

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Rule Number One: It's Our Railroad.  Rule Number Two: Refer to Rule Number One.
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