2021_01_08 Chasing gremlins again

 2021_01_08  Background sky, DCC lost signal , LT1 tester.


Over the Christmas break, friend Graeme came for a visit and started tackling the skies once again.

The top level has been improved with a lighter blue (mixed some cloud white) Then the bottom of the back drop was sponged and wiped with neat cloud white, introducing some natural haze. You may notice the bottom level is unfinished with the blue over the bridges untouched.

A long shot which tends to make your eyes ignore the sky, which was too intense before.

Top and bottom level repainted. The layout was clean to allow the drop cloth to be used without damaging rolling stock. Two days later Al and I were building point servos and installing them. I am so damn messy.

Two weeks of misery

The DCC bus failed (and I cant remember what killed it)  Here the throttle shows the engine on the track. No lights or sound as indicated by throttle. And no movement.

On a test track the locomotive responds as it should.

(imagine the two pictures above were reversed as I set this up after the "fix"

Both throttles are set the same (7 turns on marker lights)

The problem was difficult to work out. It came suddenly. I shut down the layout and the problem was there, next time I started it up. Any locomotive that had been returned to Decoder Pro was dead. All locomotives not recently being run on decoder pro, worked ok.. What the......?

Anyway this was a distraction, because when Graeme came to visit, I demonstrated the problem to him.

Finally we decided to swap the test command station into layout and remove the one there.

That solved the problem. It seems the 5 amp command station was unable to run the layout. Mind you I am able to isolate the 9 other blocks to lighten the load.  Anyway I need to return the unit to Digitrax.

Working on the Loconet!

Their must be a reason why the first command station was only failing after a loco was run on Decoder pro.


 The Digitrax LT1 test the loconet. When a controller is plugged in, all 4 LED's light up.

If the right hand led is out  you need to plug in a controller.

I tested every UP5 and found several problems where  One, the two middle led's were off and 2, the two outside Led's were off

So after testing every connection, I found in a couple of cases that the wires were not connected in the plugs correctly.


This special tool trims and strips the outer cover.

This is the clip with the lock tab on top.

Looking at the connection the lock clip is on top, holding it this way, and the blue wire is on left.

And so I had to correct the errors. Mind you the errors had been there for 10 years or so.  I am thinking that the errors might have cancelled each other out, as I would make up a cable and hold both ends together to ensure wires matched. I guess I might have got both ends wrong?  Later on I bought a cable tester which would have tested only that all wires were connected.

The last part I tested was the New Helix. This is where I only got two test lights to show.  And so I removed the loconet back to where it tested ok. I then double checked the cables . The only thing I found was one UP5 had been connected with a third connection out the side port and running up to Honeysuckle panel. This was then connected all the way to the BG station on top of the new helix. I decided to remove this connection. I then connected the new helix UP5 to the last UP5 on the bottom level, which was only 5 feet  or less than a meter and a half.

This corrected the bad tests that I got on this side of the layout.

And so two weeks of misery was now fixed and trains seem to be running just fine.

Next week after a frustrating Thursday just past, Al and I are going to solve the Tam Valley Singlet Servo problem that has us stumped. It just never ends.



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