Help me w/ DCC Specialties Auto Reverse Module

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by TrainNut, Oct 16, 2007.

  1. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

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    If I swap, the problem reverses itself. The loop is simple with each end taking off of a different Peco turnout (see first picture). The insulated rail joiners at the top of the picture are immediately after the turnout. After learning that the gaps should be 1/8? staggered, I moved the gaps at the bottome part over the bridge and just cut a couple gaps in the rail about 4" from the turnout.
    Further thoughts I could not get to earlier -
    You had said to change CV53 to a 1. That was a value I had not changed before but it still seemed to make no difference regarding the lcomotive operation. As far as that goes, I can not even tell if any of the values I am changing are actually changing. For all I know, I'm changing all kinds of values on my keypad with nothing actually happening. Does the bogus locomotive address need to be within a certain range? I've tried addresses ranging from 100 to 1010. Is my wiring having an impact on this? I'm using a 16 gauge speaker wire running approximately 9' from my Zephyr past all of my other rail feeds to eventually terminate at the end of the layout underneath the reverse loop. Do I need to run a seperate wire from the Zephyr to the reverse module? I had the reverse module screwed to the bottom of the layout but after laying upside down for a while, I got tired of it and placed it on top of that PB jar and started using alligator clips instead of screwing and unscrewing the wire clamps every time. Maybe with the pictures, you'll see something wrong.

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  2. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

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    I'm starting to get suspicious of the reverser! But, I have some ideas to try to at least prove that we know what is going on.

    To verify that we (well you) are actually writing to the unit, program a 4 into CV 53, then short the rail that actually is causing the light to flash and the polarity to change. If the programming took, I'd expect the Zephyr to shut down rather than the reverser to trip. Then put it back to 1, since that's what we want, for now.

    OK, that's fun. Now I'm thinking we try to test this thing without involving the layout. Just hook up loose wires on the output side of the reverser. Touch one of them to one of the input wires. The light should flash, or not (we don't know where we started). If it flashed, you should be able to touch the same wire again, and it should not flash. Then touch it to the other input wire, and it should flash. If the initial test did not flash, touch the other input wire, which should flash, then you should be able to go bakc and forth. Then redo the experiment with the other output wire. If my guess is right, one of the output wires will cause a short, rather than a flash, and the reverser won't clear it, so the Zephyr will shut down. If this is the case, I'm pretty convinced the reverser has a bad 'short sensor' on one of the lines.

    On the other hand, if this all works, it is in the layout somehow. I'm not sure how, but I'll think about it. If you have a spare DPDT switch around you could use that as a reverse loop controller and see if you get shorts going in and out of the loop.

    Jeff
  3. trainnut65

    trainnut65 Member

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    After seeing this post i now know i will never have a revers loop on any layout i build. And Train nut i don's see a revers loop there in the pic you posted. all the track is running in the same polarity unless it is on the side i cant see in the pic.
  4. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

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    The reverse is in the tunnel. Don't let this scare you off, the benefits of being able to turn the train almost certainly outweigh the difficulties.
  5. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

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    Are these the power routing Peco? Do you have both switches set for the loop? With the power off you could take an Ohm meter and see what's hooked to what, or a voltmeter when the power is on, for that matter (set to AC Volts).

    The only shorting one rail things is confusing me, though I think if it was the turnout the syndrome should not have swapped rails when you flipped the wires.

    Jeff
  6. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    A test I recommended to someone else was to take a 3' piece of flex track, gap both rails twice in such a way as to make 3 1' sections. Wire the middle to the reverser units output, wire the two ends opposite each other. Run a loco back and forth, if you get a short there is something wrong with the unit. This eliminates any layout problem.

    Jeff, I've never programmed any decoder other than the mobile ones, do the stationary ones read back cv's? The Zephyr has readback.
  7. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

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    That test is sort of what I was thinking by just shorting the wires, but taking almost all of the variables out, even the loco. Though I like that test, too.

    I don't think it is possible to read back CVs from the stationary decoder, since there's no motor, and current draw from the motor is how the command station reads things. Though I guess a decoder could use a load to do it. Don't hink they do, though. From reading the docs, it sounds like the decoder must program in response to any address, when it is in the program mode. The fact that it does see at least some shorts (based on the flashing light) seems to say the programmign is working, since the Zephyr is going to shut down long before the original setting.
  8. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

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    Guys, I'm hoping to get in there and try some of this stuff tonight! Thanks for all the ideas. I never intended to learn this much but I guess it's all good information to learn.
  9. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

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    If nothing else we are all going to know how to use these things. I've got three of them on the shelf at home, just got them last week. And no means of programming them.....

    Jeff
  10. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

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    TN...I feel for ya buddy! I would just ask if your turnouts are dcc friendly and do you have insulated rail joiners where you marked the track as "gaps"?.....sorry, that's all I got.............hang in there!!!!!
  11. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

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    I sent him an email two days ago with no response as of yet and I called him today only to have his office assistant answer (not Lynda). As she covered the phone with her hand or something, I heard her ask Bruce if he could take my call. He told her to tell me that he was too busy and would call me back later. As of yet, he has not called me back either.
    Well it's not pretty but it served its purpose. Still a no go. The locomotive will pass from the left end into the middle section and shorts out upon crossing the gaps for the right end.
    [​IMG]
  12. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

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    And if you start at the right and go left?

    Jeff
  13. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

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    sorry was editing my post above...
    If I start at the right and go left, it shorts out at the first set of gaps... (upon trying to enter the middle section)
  14. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

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    And now, I can't even get it to flop polarity by shorting one of the gaps. Both sides short out now.
  15. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

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    I think you've come about as close to proving it is defective as you can. I think I'd be on the phone to Bruce in the morning!

    Jeff
  16. woodone

    woodone Member

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    TrainNut- How far from your power booster are you. (how long are the wires) I think that if you have long runs 10-20 feet with speaker wire (16 GA) you might have some voltage drop. The wires will act as a resistor and just warm up rather than cause the devise to see a short.
    Reaching far out for some ideas. I think that 16 Ga is a little lite. I hate these little black boxes. (that is where the electron gremlins hide) You can't see what is going on inside.:curse:
    From what you have posted I would think that you have covered all of the bases.
    I would think that it is time for the heavy hitters to step up.
    Dr. DCC for one. He sold the thing to you, so he should be able to get you up and running.
  17. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

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    I will try to shorten up my distance between the Zephyr and the "test board" to see if that changes anything. Bruce finally did return my email with a bonafide excuse so I'll let him off the hook for that. He did give some advice for troubleshooting but it was pretty much a mixture of the same stuff we have already been trying. If shortening up the distance doesn't do the trick (9' of 16ga), I'm throwin' in the towell.
  18. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

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    Not much voltage drop with one N scale loco. Even with 16 gauge at 9 feet I don't think that's the problem.

    Jeff
  19. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

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    I shortened the distance up to about two feet and still having the same problem. Back it goes!
    A huge thanks to all who helped me out!
  20. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

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    Please let us know what happens!
    Jeff