Points not throwing completely (partial range of motion using EPL drive)

curtis

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As some of you may be aware. The track has been down for several months but the points haven't been wired up until now. This is affecting 2 points - an Trainline R3 (similar to LGB's R3) and Piko's curved point. I'm using LGB 12010for the motors.

Troubleshooting I've done so far:
  • Added LGB's maintence oil to the pivot point and the end of the blades - no improvement
  • Tried an alternative switch drive - no improvement/same issue
  • Tried the switch drives without a load (disconnected from the points - I get the full range of motion with the loud "thunk"
  • Tried the official LGB (Orange/White) wire (as opposed to the one I was using) - no improvement
  • Tried a different power source/control. I was using my DCC system and controlling them from my switch decoder. I tried an LGB transformer and LGB momentary siwtches - no improvement

Given what I've tried above I suspect it is a mechanical issue and not electrical (although I'm happy to be corrected on this). For whatever reason, there is too much resistance from the blades for the switch drive to complete the motion.

Has anyone experienced this before or does anyone have thoughts on how to address this?

(note - I also posted this in the Garden Railways Facebook group in case any of you think you're seeing double)
 
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dutchelm

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The usual reason for this is that the point motor is not centred correctly. Easy test is to see how much slack is on the throw bar on each position. Cure is to take the top of, centre the armature, centre the throw bar & carefully put it back together. It happens for no reason.
 

curtis

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The usual reason for this is that the point motor is not centred correctly. Easy test is to see how much slack is on the throw bar on each position. Cure is to take the top of, centre the armature, centre the throw bar & carefully put it back together. It happens for no reason.
Oh this is interesting. I hadn't considered this. And it may just be unfortunately that I've experienced this in multiple drives (x3 at this point)

When you say check the slack - what do you mean?
 

dutchelm

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Is the motor operating bar tight at either end. You should be able to wobble it in either position. If it is tight it is not centred correctly.
 

JimmyB

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I have a Piko curved point with a similar issue, if using a motor drive Piko recommend removal over the over centre spring. However, with mine that is not the the issue is the shape of the moving blade, having done some close up inspections, although the blade will move all the way across, when moved by the tie bar, the is a lot of resistance in the last couple of mm, which I have determined as a blade issue. currently I can live with mine, so have not attempted remedial work.
 

Ralphmp

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I had similar problems with my Trainline R2 points. I found that unless the points were absolutely level then the resistance created by the gizmo that links the blades together was too much for LGB EPL motors (I tried a couple of brand new ones) to overcome completely. It baffled me for a while as the points had worked fine using the TL decoder/motor that came with the points. However, this works differently to the LGB ones as it seems to “drive“ the blades (sorry, don’t know the technical term!) to effectively “lock” them in the selected route (so no “push through” is possible which may rule out using TL motors for some folk).

I checked everything to do with the point mechanism on the bench and it worked flawlessly. It also worked fine with a LGB motor on the bench but when put back in the layout - nope, binding of the mechanism. In desperation I put a spirit level on the points and they were out of true. I added a couple of shims to level them up and they worked fine.

If recentring the motors doesn’t fix your problem, the above might help.
 

PhilP

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Funnily enough, I have been fettling points today..
16526220661465454544016344459255.jpg
If it should not move, screw it down..
If it should move, grease it!
:D

PhilP
 

a98087

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Had a thought, does it work with two motors fitted wires in parallel?

Or does it need swapping to a servo based drive, that might have power, and can drive for longer??

Another thought on dcc can the time length of the pluse or the voltage be adjusted? I don’t use dcc so haven’t got a clue if it’s possible
Dan
 

curtis

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Is the motor operating bar tight at either end. You should be able to wobble it in either position. If it is tight it is not centred correctly.
This turned out not to be the case for in this situation motors - however, I did have one of my workbench that couldn't figure out from a while ago. I sort of threw it in the drawer in frustration. However, I went back and this was the cause so thank you! I'm up 1 EPL drive

I have a Piko curved point with a similar issue, if using a motor drive Piko recommend removal over the over centre spring. However, with mine that is not the the issue is the shape of the moving blade, having done some close up inspections, although the blade will move all the way across, when moved by the tie bar, the is a lot of resistance in the last couple of mm, which I have determined as a blade issue. currently I can live with mine, so have not attempted remedial work.
Thanks, Jimmy. I did remove the spring in the end which along with some other remedies appears to have resolved it.

A note on the curved points - I have x2 new and x2 second hand. I'm not sure how the previous owner used them but the screws used to fix the connecting wires between the different rails rust terribly over time. I managed to clean up about half of the screws but the rest are in terrible. If you have chance, I'd recommend adding a dab of silicon on them if you can. Disappointing given the nature of their job but I did it to my new ones.

I also have a similar problem to you with the blade fitting on one of other curved points. It periodically causes an issue (when heading into the points) but it is infrequent (which in some ways is more annoying!)

I had similar problems with my Trainline R2 points. I found that unless the points were absolutely level then the resistance created by the gizmo that links the blades together was too much for LGB EPL motors (I tried a couple of brand new ones) to overcome completely. It baffled me for a while as the points had worked fine using the TL decoder/motor that came with the points. However, this works differently to the LGB ones as it seems to “drive“ the blades (sorry, don’t know the technical term!) to effectively “lock” them in the selected route (so no “push through” is possible which may rule out using TL motors for some folk).

I checked everything to do with the point mechanism on the bench and it worked flawlessly. It also worked fine with a LGB motor on the bench but when put back in the layout - nope, binding of the mechanism. In desperation I put a spirit level on the points and they were out of true. I added a couple of shims to level them up and they worked fine.

If recentring the motors doesn’t fix your problem, the above might help.
I was still having issues on the bench which is perfectly flat - they really were struggling. I eventually worked out the cause. There was too much friction at the pivot point (even after using maintenance oil) and at the tie bar (it was brushing under the plastic between the rail and the tie bar.

My solution for both points was to:
  • Remove the screws from the pivot point of each blade, clear the blade with microfibre cloth and then the track rubber (given they also conduct power, I thought I may as well)
  • Clean the top of the tie bar as best I could
  • Add a small dab of copper grease and reattach to the blades. However, I left the screws a little bit looser. I noticed when I first reattached I could barely move the blades at all.
At this point, they were almost perfect and were throwing correctly most of the time. However, there was still a bit of a gap. In response, I added another very small dab of copper grease on top of the tie bar and now they're working perfectly!
 

curtis

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Had a thought, does it work with two motors fitted wires in parallel?

Or does it need swapping to a servo based drive, that might have power, and can drive for longer??

Another thought on dcc can the time length of the pluse or the voltage be adjusted? I don’t use dcc so haven’t got a clue if it’s possible
Dan
I was actually going to check about making these changes but I wanted to check the mechanical side first. I have the same decoders working on similar points without issue so I figured there was something else before simply throwing more power at it!
 

Gizzy

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I had a problem with one of my earlier TrainLine R2 points too.

An LGB motor would not throw the blades far enough.
My solution was to buy a TL motor from (now closed) Glendale Junction, which had the longer movement.

This is a slow acting geared motor and is rather satisfying to watch in action. It has proved to be temperamental in use though. The LGB solenoid ones work with very few problems.

The thread for my previous layout where I used it can be found here....

 

Diesel2000

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I've definitely had the same issues with the Piko curved switched. It drove me nuts to the point I just replaced it with a new one and that one also started to stick over time. I've found that any pull on the curves will cause the blades/tiebar to bind and the LGB EPL to stick. If i pull up on the switch (out of the roadbed) and push against the curve then it tends to free up.

I've also resorted to using an MDW DWA slow motion switch drive, which is an actual motor that has more force to overcome the stickiness. The only downside to using this is that you cannot manually push the points open if coming from the branch direction and direction on the switch is not set properly. Since I'm mostly computer control this isnt much of an issue for me as the computer will never forget to set the route properly, unlike us humans who get distracted and forget to engage the switch route.

The switch is a great solution and in my case really made the entrance/exit at one end of a railyard much nicer, but its an important position and therefore is not working properly present a real issue. I've had similar issues 16000 LGB switches and the solution typically is the point blade screws on the underside get tight and that inhibits the blades moving freely. I've loosened those screws and the function typically returns to normal.
 

mradd

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As some of you may be aware. The track has been down for several months but the points haven't been wired up until now. This is affecting 2 points - an Trainline R3 (similar to LGB's R3) and Piko's curved point. I'm using LGB 12010for the motors.

Troubleshooting I've done so far:
  • Added LGB's maintence oil to the pivot point and the end of the blades - no improvement
  • Tried an alternative switch drive - no improvement/same issue
  • Tried the switch drives without a load (disconnected from the points - I get the full range of motion with the loud "thunk"
  • Tried the official LGB (Orange/White) wire (as opposed to the one I was using) - no improvement
  • Tried a different power source/control. I was using my DCC system and controlling them from my switch decoder. I tried an LGB transformer and LGB momentary siwtches - no improvement

Given what I've tried above I suspect it is a mechanical issue and not electrical (although I'm happy to be corrected on this). For whatever reason, there is too much resistance from the blades for the switch drive to complete the motion.

Has anyone experienced this before or does anyone have thoughts on how to address this?

(note - I also posted this in the Garden Railways Facebook group in case any of you think you're seeing double)
I had a similar problem with my piko curved turnout, which i fixed by putting a v shape wire to link the LGB point motor and the piko turnout using some spring steel . The V shape allows the tension to be kept on the turnout rather than a straight wire. I had also released the spring that is in the turnout from the manufacturer its under the little ramp covering the movement. Good luck, i can attach a photo if required
 

RhB Oregon

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Earlier this spring I removed all 22 LGB EPL switch machines on my layout and took each one apart, cleaned, and adjusted the rotating gear and lever throw rod to the same location on each switch machine. There is a little tab on the gear and I placed it on top to the right side (or left) and placed the geared throw lever (flat plastic part that moves the switch points) to the appropriate side so that it has complete movement. Replaced top and checked for movement. The next item I had to look very carefully for was very small pieces of ballast stuck somewhere between the points to prevent them from completely closing. It could be on top of the ties, or a bigger piece lodged just high enough to interfere with the rail movements. It doesn't take a very large piece of gravel to obstruct the movement. That was 90% of the problem on every turnout. Some little unsuspecting piece of gravel, 1/8" or smaller interfering with the movement.