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Sudden DCC Section Power Failure 

Steven asks the following:

“I have an HO layout that is on 3 levels. Yesterday I had a derailment on a track joint in the start of a track segment where the middle level has a climbing segment to get to the upper level. Everything was fine up to that point but after the derailment the entire upper level is dead as a doornail. Prior to the joint where the derailment occurred, everything is normal.

There is no “clicking”, no flashing lights or other obvious signs on the track decoder board. I’ve pulled the plug and allowed time for an attempted system reset without success. I’ve swapped locomotives without success.

I am a complete idiot when it comes to electricity (the wiring was done for me). So forgive me for that.”

6 Responses to Sudden DCC Section Power Failure 

  • Peter Pococksays:

    Try connecting “around” the suspect joints with a wire, we would call that wire a jumper cable! Same thinking as the jumper cables to start a flat battery in a car. Obviously don’t use that size cable !!
    Any way before you make the connection put a loco on the dead track, turn some power on the rails then make the connection! If the loco moves you’ve found the problem! Fish plates, if they’re loose, will trip you up very quickly.
    However, any multi Meter set to DC volts for DC control will give a reading and AC volts for DCC. This is better than using a loco, especially for a DCC layout. You need to avoid sparks (spikes) with DCC. The decoders don’t like it all. No need to know how I know!
    Finding faults is an elimination process. Start where you think your problem begins then methodically work your way through, and suspect everything!
    Good luck
    Pete

  • Skip Duldsays:

    GO TO HARBOR FRIGHT AND BUY A MULTI METER ABOUT 20 $. PLUG IN THE SYSTEM AND PUT THE TUNGS ON THE TRACKS LOOK AT METER IF THE METER HAS A – ON IT CHANGE THE BLACK AND RED TUNGS AROUND . ON THE TRACKS THAT WORK U SHOULD GET 5 V DC.
    FORGET MAKE SURE THE METER IS ON DC.

  • Kevin Chingsays:

    The problem may be in the way the points are set if using live rog points then you will need to read up on the wiring of these for DCC. Insul frogs are better but need drop wires on the track onto the main bus but these need to be connected the right way round otherwise they could short out on switching the track to the other rails.

  • Gerald R Hyinksays:

    With power off use a multimeter on resistance scale. Put one lead on good side of track and the other to its connecting track. If it shows no reading you have broken the electrical connection. Try both rails. You will probably ending up putting jumpers in.

  • Kevin Chingsays:

    Further to my comment do not rely on track to connect the power through the fish plates or joiners run a bus wire right around the layout and connect to every section of track make sure the polarity is right,

  • Good luck.says:

    At times I have had the same problem, I found that just moving the train by hand a foot or so frees up the problem. If this works, next time this happens,cut all power. Then using an ohms meter clamp one lead to a rail, the attach the other by hand if you read a short, start at either end of you consist and remove one car at a time making sure that the rest of the consist does not move, until you have found the car giving the short. The repair that car.

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