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Loosing power to Electric Lego Train.

Hello,

I am not sure if anyone can help me,

I have bought an Electric Lego Train [ from England/ I'm from Australia]
It works OK on a simple loop, but as i add more tracks to the train line it seems to get slower and slower and at times stop. do i need some sort of booster or extra wires connecting to the track from the control box?

OR

Is it the black electric box/plug that plugs into the power outlet [ via Euro to Australian converter]? it is a 240V - 50 Hz SEC 10V - 7VA? if i change the plug [ if possible] do i gain more power to the train?

Thank you for your time and help.

kind regards

Andrew

Comments

  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,402
    @fletch The only thing I can think of beyond a short circuit somewhere is. Do you have the track connecting wires on the same side of the track or the opposite side?
  • ecmo47ecmo47 North CarolinaMember Posts: 2,085
    http://railbricks.com/

    Im a power functions guy but perhaps you might find your answer at this website.
  • fletchfletch Member Posts: 5
    @oldtodd33 thank you, i have the wires on each side of track.. as mentioned, it does work, be it very slower, almost as if it needs a booster transformer?

    @ ecmo47 thank you, i am not sure if you mean this actual web sit or if you left a link but i can not see it? thank you.

    kind regards

    Andrew
  • fletchfletch Member Posts: 5
    fletch said:



    @ ecmo47 thank you, i am not sure if you mean this actual web sit or if you left a link but i can not see it? thank you.

    kind regards

    Andrew


    sorry, i found the link..thanks again

  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,402
    edited August 2014
    @fletch The wires should be on the opposite sides of the track. You have some sort of resistance in the system, don't know what it is though without seeing it. You should be able to put at least 50 pieces of track together before you see any slowing down of the motor. Check the track connections and make sure they are all good and tight.
  • beegeedeebeegeedee Galway, IrelandMember Posts: 380
    edited August 2014
    @fletch‌ You may need to clean the track. Brasso works along with a soft cloth and firm rubbing. I had issues with some 9v track before and this was the problem.
    Don't press too hard as you may crack the metal and also be aware that it leaves a white residue on the plastic part of the track when it dries - I used a soft toothbrush to get rid of that.

    Also, I know from the past and real train sets as a kid that if the track is too big it does lose power.

    I'm not sure if it's simply the case of adding a second power supply to the track or how it works as my current 9V setup is quite small when I use it - 10 straights and 16 curved sections though I have a load more curves...
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,354
    Adding another connector from the power source to the opposite end of the track should make up for the power loss. I wouldn't use a second power source as it may burn out the motor.
    Farmer_John
  • fred67fred67 USA - GAMember Posts: 15
    Pitfall69 said:

    Adding another connector from the power source to the opposite end of the track should make up for the power loss. I wouldn't use a second power source as it may burn out the motor.

    Was going to say this... there is ALWAYS resistance, so the farther away from the power source, the more attenuation and the less power the train will get. If you're using 9V trains, hooking up a second set of train contacts to a more distant location (possibly needing a 9V extension cable). Just be certain you are attaching them to the correct sides of the tracks, otherwise you'll create a short and possibly destroy some stuff.

    You may also have problems from bad track connections... I actually have bad 9V track that I've isolated and removed from use on layouts because of it. I couldn't tell you exactly what's wrong with them, just that they create dead spots.

    Lastly, since I'm writing a novel here, if that might be an issue, ME Models is pre-selling 9V compatible track. I bought from them when they previously had it, and it worked great, but they went back to the drawing board and created a kickstarter project to fund a new design. The interesting aspect is that you can get double length sections (and in their first incarnation, quadruple length sections) that reduce the connectivity problems by requiring less track joining. I have no idea when they will actually ship, though... the drop dead sign up date isn't until October.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,354
    How large is your track layout? How many pieces? The tracks obviously have little gaps between each track when snapped together. Each gap can represent a power loss and the bigger the layout, the greater the loss. Buy yourself a Multimeter to measure where you are losing the most power.

    Some tracks just go bad. I had a few that just didn't work. I tried cleaning them and fiddling with them and they were just poorly made.
  • Farmer_JohnFarmer_John USA - 4,035 Miles from 62 West Wallaby St., Wigan, Lancashire, UKMember Posts: 2,401
    Pitfall69 said:

    Adding another connector from the power source to the opposite end of the track should make up for the power loss. I wouldn't use a second power source as it may burn out the motor.

    You're increasing the total impedance as each track section is added to the circuit. As @Pitfall69 says, adding another connection to the adjacent side of the track should help. We're only talking about 10 volts at the point where the power is connected, which is already a low value for even short distances. Placing loads on it (e.g., the train) will only make the voltage drop worse. As the train moves further from the point at which the power is connected, the voltage drop will become greater along the track because the current flowing to the train has to go through more track to reach the train.

    So yes...multiple connections along the track will ensure the voltage level is maintained. Just make sure the polarities are correct at the points of connection.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,354
    http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItem.asp?P=5306bc162

    You can buy these to hook to your track connectors.
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,402
    @fletch How many sections of track are you connecting together in your layout?
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,354
    oldtodd33 said:

    @fletch How many sections of track are you connecting together in your layout?

    I've already asked that, but maybe I didn't ask loud enough ;)

    madforLEGO
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,402
    edited August 2014
    He is in Australia, maybe he can't hear us:)

    The reason I am asking is because I have had approximately 130 feet of track connected in a single line, not a continuous loop and finally encountered his problem near the end of the line.
  • GIR3691GIR3691 Member Posts: 655
    I'd second trying to clean the track. If it sits around for a few years it can get some patina on it and lose conductivity.
  • fletchfletch Member Posts: 5
    Sorry for my late reply, i have been away.
    thank you all for your help. i will give cleaning the track a go and i think that due to have over 50 tracks i will need to Add another connector from the same power source.
    Is there a limit to the connectors that can be added ?

    Again thank you for all your advise and help.

    kind regards

    Andrew
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,354
    50 tracks? That really isn't that much. Clean the tracks and then if you are still losing power; find out where by using a multimeter. You can add a few connectors throughout the track. I don't know if there is a limit, but I have seen as much as 4 connectors on large layouts.

  • fletchfletch Member Posts: 5
    thank you. i will clean all tracks over the week end. i got them second hand so it's most likely the problem. thank you very much..
    hopefully i can give some good news next week.
  • whataslackerwhataslacker Member Posts: 4
    I recently had this very same issue. There is a short in the electric motor. As the motor heats up the "crack" inside the engine expands and the connection is lost. I have yet to take apart my engine and try re-soldering all connections.
  • fred67fred67 USA - GAMember Posts: 15
    Also, as mentioned, if 50 tracks doesn't seem like a lot, check the connections between track segments, and also keep in mind that sometimes tracks are just dead... both Pitfall69 and I mentioned tracks that just don't seem to work. If the train slows on certain pieces of track, try replacing that segment.
  • NellyNelly Member Posts: 77
    I was actually about to start my own thread on this but I am glad a little search brought me here.

    I must have about a 250-300 9V track layout, with several splits. They have been on display in my room for many years, and some are even from way back in the early 90's. A few years ago I found that, after not using them for a couple years, the ability to run my train on them became very limited. So I used a damp cloth and had to vigorously rub them. I had assumed the accumulation of dust had coated the rails and negated the contact between the rails and the train. I was surprised at how much rubbing it did require. I had to apply firm pressure often with the very tip of my fingers (definitely a brutish technique). @GIR3691 you mention patina, but there was no visible sign of any patina or like-defect on the track.

    Well, my desire to run trains took another hiatus (2-3 years) and today I find that my track is back to the same condition. I really had a tough time cleaning all the tracks the previous time, and was hoping to find an easier solution. I see above @beegeedee mentioned Brasso. I wonder if anyone else has other ideas. Using a soft cloth seems reasonable enough but I feel like something more abrasive would have been better to use.

    @fletch I agree with some above that just a thorough cleaning will solve the problem. But what is the best technique is the real question.
  • beegeedeebeegeedee Galway, IrelandMember Posts: 380
    Brasso is a metal cleaner and when you clean te tracks you get this black muck off them. There's probably other similar cleaners out there. You could check with a model railway specialist as I imagine they have similar problems.

    My understanding is the dirt is due to oxidisation from the electric current running through the track but I may be wrong.
  • PeteMPeteM Gallifrey (near Bristol)Member Posts: 397
    I use white spirit and a rag on my 12v conducting rails and it works well. Not sure if it affects any plastic it comes into contact with though?
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