What a difference a week makes.
Last Friday, I'd about reached the limit of my patience with a reversing section located between Middletown and Wethersfield. It's kind of a big deal since that section is also where the flagship train of the layout ("The Valley Local", natch) is staged at the beginning of my ops sessions. If the polarity of the gaps at the Wethersfield end of the reversing section are aligned, then the train will enter the scene nice and smooth. But when it gets to Middletown and starts switching in the yard, it inevitably will cross the Middletown end of the reversing section - where it will short.
So I need that section to, um, reverse. I discovered it's easy enough to wire in a DPDT switch and just switch the polarity manually - and I was resigned to that solution as of last weekend - but it would be super nice if it would just happen automatically. Anyway, if you want more background/detail on the problem, check out this post.
I tried another PSRev (thanks Randy), as well as a Digitrax AR-1 (thanks Pete), and even a bare-bones MRC autoreverser (thanks Bill), and Every Single Time, I'd get a short when the loco would try to cross the gaps. THEN, Alex Wood (one of the members of the Valley Local Facebook Group) offered to let me try one of his PSX-AR units.
Could it really have been this easy?! And why?!
The short answer (excuse the pun) is that I don't really know, but I'm not going to question it (I will, however, just keep this temporarily hooked up while I run (quite) a few sessions with it...). Other than this PSX-AR unit, the only change I made was to have the reverser get its power directly from the booster, rather than getting its power from an adjacent, circuit-breaker-protected, power district. But all the other reversers I tried were direct-wired as well. Weird.
The longer answer is based on a little speculation: I suspect the ultimate issue had little/nothing to do with trip current, but with trip speed. Apparently, my PSRev - and the other reversers I tried - may not be switching the polarity fast enough to keep the circuit breaker on the adjacent track from sensing a short and tripping. The trip timing on the PSRev isn't adjustable, but it is on the PSX circuit breakers. Unfortunately, only one of my circuit breakers has the newer software that allows adjustment.
The PSX-AR, by default (and perhaps since it's the reversing unit companion to the PSX circuit breaker product), must switch the polarity faster than the circuit breakers.
At least that's our theory. Like I said - I'll just keep things wired temporarily while I put everything through multiple, thorough, tests. But for now, I am a VERY happy model railroader. Many thanks, again, to all of you who weighed in with help & advice.
Friday Fun, indeed! But WAIT! There's MORE!
The fellows behind the Hindsight 20/20 virtual RPMs have lined up a nice pair of upcoming events that will feature yet another array of interesting clinics.
First up is a single, mid-week clinic on Wednesday, September 22nd to be given by Hunter Hughson on Penn Central's fleet of EMD SW1200s. Who doesn't love end-cab switchers?!?
The timing of Hunter's clinic alongside Rapido's recent release of the SW1200 in HO scale is no coincidence.
You can sign up for Hunter's clinic on the Speedwitch web site here. And yes, it's FREE!
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For sign-up and clinic information go here.
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As always, attendance is free (!!!) but tips to cover overhead and to thank the presenters are indeed welcome and can by made via paypal.com to this email address: <email@example.com>
Please take good care,