Problem with turnouts

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Maxitrains

Member
Hi all,

I am new in here, I found this forum while I was browsing for some help, and got in here, read a couple of threads, and joined. I am a beginner in model railroads, and unfortunately we have no trains on our Island ( since its small ), and if you are wondering which Island I am talking about, its the Island of Malta ( Europe ).

Back to the point, I am building a layout approx 9 feet x 4½ feet, and most ot the turnouts ( rail points ) are close the the PSU & switchboard, but then I got 2 other turnouts which are at the furthest point of the layout ( 4½ feet ) and in total I can calculate that there is a lenght of 6 feet of wiring from teh switch to each turnout. My problem is that, when I switch over the ones that are near, the celenoids click hard and so the points get properly in place, but the ones that are further I can hear the celenoids click very faint, and sometimes when I check them, they are not fully touching teh side they were turned to. I am using the thinnest wiring I can think of ( computer peripheral wiring ), and I also made a simple CDU, with a diode and capacitor ( 4700 ), but this still doesn't help. I am not good in electrics and so I was wondering if the voltage was dropping in its travel through the wires.

BTW the rails I am using are LIMA ( nickel Silver ) and the turnouts have the celenoid switches attached to them ( not under the table ).

Kindly help me with this problem as I cannot go any further until I solve this problem.

Thanks
 

kjd

Go make something!
Welcome! I would try larger wires. Computer wiring is good for milliamps but solenoid switch machines draw an amp or more.
 

Maxitrains

Member
OH!, I was trying thinner wires because I thought that thicker ones would drain more power :S, dang! I will try some thicker ones see what happens.

Thanks m8.
 

Maxitrains

Member
Now I am wondering if all the wires I am using, including the ones for the tracks, are good or not. The wires I'm using, are normally used for telephones, it is normally a cable with many coloured strands inside ( like 20 different coloured strands ), the thickness is roughly 1.0 mm mostly 1.2 mm.
The lenghts vary according to where the wires are soldered to the tracks, some are 3 feet from track to switchboard, others are approx 6 to 7 feet from rail to switch board. The whole layout will not be running more then 4 locos at a time, and not more then 2 on the main line.

Kindly advice

Thanks
 

kjd

Go make something!
Think of wire like a pipe, a bigger wire can carry more current longer distance without dropping the voltage. You could also just double or triple up the wire you are using instead of replacing it. I had a layout with two cabs then I converted to DCC. I had big drops because now instead of powering one train it was powering the whole layout. I just tied the two bus wires together where the toggle switches used to be and all was well. Just don't get them crossed or it will short.
 

Maxitrains

Member
Thanks for your explenation, that made me understand more how electricity flows through wires. What about the CDU that I have, the one I built is a very simple one having only a Capacitor and a Diode, I saw photos of CDUs which have 2 capacitors and also a transistor on them, could that help more in my case? if yes, I don't know how to start building it though, even if its a small circuit, I'm not much into electronics, even though I would like to.

I have about 9 turnout points on the layout, and I am planning to have some advanced point controllers built, so with by pressing one button I will have a set of turnout point, set to a pre-set way, switched simultaneously, so that a train going through a certain path, will have all the switches already set for it, without forgetting any and having a derailment. Its a little experiment I would like to try to build, For this there is surely need of a CDU since alot of current needs to be drawn. But this will come later, first I have to solve the further points problem, then check for a better CDU.

Thanks for your help so far.
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Maxi, kjd has it right in the larger the wire...the less resistance...the less voltage drop. However, the distance you are talking about shouldn't cause more than a very small, almost nil loss. I run old Cat3 cable,small 24awg (American Wire Gauge), all over my large layout to Tortoise machines without problems. I would check to make sure that the voltage being supplied to those troublesome solenoids are what the Specs. calls for. ;) :)
 

Maxitrains

Member
I will check again the voltage and currents to these celenoids, but one of these turnout (points) is brand new, not even 2 weeks since I bought it, and its still giving me the same problem. Next time I will start wiring the same turnout all over again and will change the push to make switches too, maybe they are causing the problem.

As I said earlier the wires I'm using were used for old telephone sets, each cable having about 24 isolated coloured strands, approx 1.0 or 1.2mm dia. approx the size of the Cat5 strands. I will change these with slightly thicher cables and check again.

Regarding the Capacitor Discharge Unit (CDU) can anyone give me a hint, if the one I made is enough for turning 6 points at a time, and also if it should make the turnout points,that are far on the layout, work with same strenght as the ones that are near. Or do I have to build a more powerful one?

Thanks
 

Maxitrains

Member
Hi Ken, thanks for the site, it looks there's much that can be done. I was looking at Circuit B but there's no indication of the components type. Could the transistor be a 2N3904 ? and what about the Capacitor, 4700 uf should be ok? there's a DIODE which I presume it could be a 1N4001, and an unknown resistor.

Hmm somthing to think on :S ( I'm sry but I'm not that good to guess electronics )
 

NZRMac

In Training Down Under.
If you scroll down and look for 'Current Blocking Switch Machine Power Supply'
there is some component details.

Ken.
 




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