Monday, December 14, 2015

Saybrook Strangely Shorting

Things have been busy around the Valley Line lately, but mostly with more Christmas-y things rather than model railroad-y things. Fortunately though, Randy, Bill and Tom were able to come over Friday for a work session where we mocked up the Shailerville Bridge scene as a prelude to figuring out how to plot East Haddam down to Essex. The skinny is that we disconnected and moved the Essex/Deep River peninsula, and lowered it by 2" in order to accommodate foam construction rather than the more-traditional plywood subroadbed and riser construction I've done everywhere else. I'm still not totally comfortable with the change, but looking forward to trying a new technique to see if it works as good for me as it has for others. More on that in future posts.

And, also for a future post, I got a super cool present. But, like Christmas, you'll have to wait to hear about it . . .

While Bill and I were in the Shailerville Bridge area, Randy and Tom were shaking down ops on the Shoreline. It looks like the ops there are gonna be pretty cool, but may require some track changes. Also, there is still a bit of a shorting problem on the reverse loop, probably having to do with using a Frog Juicer as a reversing unit. Annoying, but at least operable.

But things seemed to get a lot worse on Sunday. All I wanted to do was have a train running around the Shoreline while I did some other work. My DL-109 wasn't running that great but I've had some good success running a graphite block over the rails, and that seemed to make things better. Until this:

I've never seen anything like this. The high-pitched buzzer/squeal you hear is the PSX circuit breaker indicating a short. Yup - what you're seeing is the train shorting, then resetting, then shorting again.

I can't figure out what the problem is. There was already a shorting issue on the reverse loop, but now this is happening everywhere. The only thing that's occurred to me is that - perhaps - some graphite powder is mucking up around the turnouts and the freightcar wheels are shorting out on them (graphite powder is conductive - that's kind of the point).

Sooo.... tonight I'm going to vacuum out the turnouts and spray them with some alcohol to clean them out. Hopefully that'll clear things up. In the meantime, any other idea what the problem may be? Does my theory sound likely?

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