Switches occasionally fail to respond

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remerson
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Switches occasionally fail to respond

#1

Post by remerson »

I'm a newbie having fun with trains and Traincontroller. I'm using a Digitrax 240 command station, with Kato solenoid switches and either Digitrax DS64 or Digikeijs DR4018 decoders to control switches. It generally works fine, but occasionally, maybe 1 time in 100, a switch fails to respond when a route is set. I'm detecting the failure using Hall effect sensors attached to the switches - that works well and prevents problems, but I'd like to fix it.
Has anyone else encountered this problem, and, if yes, were you able to fix it?
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Brian
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Re: Switches occasionally fail to respond

#2

Post by Brian »

Hi
I have no knowledge of either accessory decoder, but I assume they take their operational power from the DCC system Bus?

My only questions would be...
A) Is all the wiring from the Accessory Decoder to motor in 16/0.2mm and only one motor per set of wires?
B) Are you operating several motors one after another - route setting. If so, you may need to add a delay in between each motors operation, to allow an internal CDU to reach its fully recharged state before the next motor is feed.
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RFS
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Re: Switches occasionally fail to respond

#3

Post by RFS »

I did suggest a solution for this topic you started yesterday on the Traincontroller forum (use TC's turnout interval delay) which you acknowledged? Have you tried this solution?
Robert Smith
remerson
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Re: Switches occasionally fail to respond

#4

Post by remerson »

That's tonight's project :). I'll let you know. Thx
remerson
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Re: Switches occasionally fail to respond

#5

Post by remerson »

Thx Brian, RFS. The switches are solenoid operated, not servo (only about 18" under the train table surface, so can't crawl under). They are activated by a capacitor discharging in decoder that controls the switches. Digitrax recommends 1 second between switch activations for capacitor recharge, so I think that's the problem. And, I just realized that TC sends switch commands when a route changes, even if a particular switch doesn't have to change positions. I tried RFS's suggestion, but with 100 and 500 ms delays; 500 ms seems to work better (testing takes a while, because failure are rare). I'll try 1000 ms, and I bet that fixes it.
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Re: Switches occasionally fail to respond

#6

Post by RFS »

I too was using solenoids, and having TC fire all points for a route even when the direction was already correct was something of a pain but I understand why TC has to do it (ie it cannot guarantee that the turnout is set correctly). I was using Lenz LS150s which didn't involve capacitor discharge but all the LS150s were using the same 3A power supply, so setting the interval to about 200ms was OK.

I did try setting to 500ms, but if your layout is quite busy it can start to cause delays to trains having to wait until their points are set. This was certainly a problem for me.

In the end I invested some retirement cash into Tortoise slow-action motors. These are not only much quieter but also practically 100% reliable. Because they're powered at all times, a change sent when they're in the correct position means nothing happens so there's no constant thump-thump when setting routes. I have the turnout interval set to 50ms just to ensure that TC doesn't send too many change requests simultaneously as this can occasionally result in one not being actioned by the command station.
Robert Smith
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