After months of work I finally got my loft layout to a stage where I
felt I could invite a couple of friends over to test out the currently
laid track before moving on to scenery or other parts of the layout.
Before they arrived I double checked that every part of the track work,
especially the recently laid temporary 'branch' and the 2 Lenz point
control LS150's which control the Tortoise switch machines, worked.
Tested the recently purchased and upgraded (Version 3.6) Lenz LH100 (2)
and LH90 handsets and the XpressNet buss bar. Everything worked
perfectly! I put 6 locos on the track ready to use later. I even took my
camera to the loft to take photos of what I hoped would be a 'historic'
first! Sod's Law had other ideas!
I welcomed my guests. We enjoyed our evening meal (my wife is an
excellent cook!), then went into the loft. We were just starting to
settle down when I noticed that, after about 15 minutes of working
perfectly one of the LS150 wasn't working and none of the points it
controlled would throw. My first thought was that there must be a loose
wire so I started to trace the wiring from the LS150 back to the
connection point. While I started to do this I asked my friends to use
the point work that did work (go to mikehughes627.fotopic.net and click
on loft layout to see what I'm talking about). Within 10 minutes, this
second LS150 also appeared to fail and all points stopped operating.
At the same time we noticed that in two locations the hand controllers
were not working, but they did from the 'master' bench mounted location.
Sod's Law had struck with a vengeance! I checked, dismantled one handset
location position which had two sets of control wires wired to the BAMR
locations, then replaced this with one wire to each which connected to a
plug and remove 'chocolate block' connector to make it easier to test
each bit. I eventually found that one wire had come loose near the start
position - this problem solved the handset situation.
However, it didn't matter what else we did, including taking off all
locos except the one I'd used to successfully test the system earlier
that day, I just couldn't find the answer to my LS150 problem. In the
end we all gave up, spent a little time talking trains and then my
The next day, determined to find the fault I went into the loft,
switched the layout on and found that everything worked perfectly. I
then decided to try to recreate the previous nights situation, put all
the locos (3 sound fitted) back on the track. Everything work OK for
about 10 minutes when the first LS150 then failed. Time was against me
so I've had to leave it but will be trying to solve the problem soon.
This is where you come in. Does anyone have any idea just what may cause
this intermittent problem. Here are some facts that may help you decide.
I use Lenz Set 100 plus two additional hand held controller - total 2
LH150,s plus one LH90
The transformer and the base set are kept in a plastic box that I use to
transport everything I need for my portable layout - that way I just
need to plug in two wires, switch on the mains and everything works.
I have three locations for plugging in handsets. Initial problem solved
and all appear to be working perfectly now.
The LS150's use the main buss bar wiring to receive their control
signals but switch the Tortoise power from a separate transformer (AC
with diode wiring as seen at
The LS150's receive their control signals from two different 'mains'
circuits which are currently wired together so there should, in theory,
be no difference in the way they receive their control signals.
When the LS150's failed all voltages appeared to be nearly the same at
the start and end of the wiring run.
The LS150 furthest from the wiring connection point failed first. Is
I hope to solve this problem on Tuesday. I have one or two ideas but
would really like your help for suggested answers!
I'll let you know what progress (if any) there is in due course.
13 years ago