Tuesday, July 05, 2011

LocoNet issues with Uhlenbrock 63400

Wow. This is really confusing. 

The Uhlenbrock 63400 is connected to its own 16V AC transformer. The Intellibox is on its own transformer as well. The 63400 is connected to the Intellibox via short LocoNet cable. The track connection from the Intellibox is directly connected to a portion of the layout that doesn't have trains on it (one of the three power districts on the layout). And LocoNet communication is still affected.

If I unplug the transformer connected to the 63400, LocoNet communication is still affected.

If I remove the 16V AC feeder to the 63400 (i.e. make it a passive device), no issues.

Similarly, there are no issues if I remove the tracks from the Intellibox track connection. 

I.e. the mere fact that about 40ft of Maerklin track and the respective bus wiring is connected to the Intellibox moves the needle from "LocoNet works" to "LocoNet doesn't work".  I double-checked the cabling to ensure no crossed wires. There is no connectivity between the power districts, either.

While Uhlenbrock Support responded to my first two emails within a couple days each, the last update apparently got lost in the ether.

So, at the moment I'm putting this issue to rest and may get back to it when I build the panel for staging. Meanwhile, a TeamDigital SRC16 in combination with jmri logix is pressed into service to drive the panel. Not exactly the most economic or simplistic option, but it should do the job nicely, plus allows for some bells and whistles that make the Talheim block a bit more fun, too.

Unfortunately, the 63400 is too light as a paper weight.

Update 07/08/2011:
Uhlenbrock got back to me and suggested another test regime only involving the Uhlenbrock components and a short piece of track with a loco to weed out any influence from other components or wiring. I'll do that over the weekend.

Update 07/10/2011:
And that test had all the components working correctly.

I removed (even) more components from power and busses. By now all twin-coil turnouts are disconnected, the somewhat messy Talheim panel is completely removed and cabling cleaned up. No DS64's have push-buttons connected any more, DS64 power is disconnected (not that it matters for the test).

There are no obvious ways any more I can think of that would inject non-DCC power into the system, yet LocoNet communication is still affected.

I don't get it. There must be something wrong with how the track is wired, but I have no idea what it could be.  Need to find an oscilloscope, and re-read Wiring for DCC for any hints.

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