Sunday, October 16, 2011

FIRE!!! (almost)

Last week there was burning odor in the basement that I could not identify. It had an electrical burn smell that was pretty strong. When I went into the Franklin Grove / Rochelle room the smell was even stronger. I checked the entire layout, especially the underside, but could not find the source. I even had my wife, who has a very strong sense of smell, come down and check, but she could not find it either. I finally concluded that it must be one of the florescent light ballast burning out so I turned off the lights and the layout to see if the smell would go away. After a couple of hours the smell did decline and then eventually went away altogether. I still used the layout over the past few days, but never more than an hour or so and the smell stayed away. I figured the lights needed to be on for a few hours before the burning would begin again. Yesterday, I was running the BNSF switcher in Rochelle when I needed to move some auto-racks from the BNSF tracks that I had hastily put there when the BLMA spine cars came in and I needed a train to put them on. This is what I found under one of the auto-racks. Looks like I did not put the auto-racks on the track correctly and one of the wheels shorted out the turnout. You can't see this from the picture, but the insulated wheel closest to the short was melted off the axle. What I can't figure out is why the short did not trip the PM42 power manager which was set to trip at @ 3.5 amps. Even with all the soot, the turnout frog passes the "quarter" test. Anyway, I set the PM42's to trip @ 1.5 amps. This new setting may cause a problem during operating sessions. We'll see. The auto-rack actually looks kinda cool. Might just keep it that way.


  1. "The auto-rack actually looks kinda cool. Might just keep it that way." weathering better than real weathering...even the track looks pretty cool.

  2. That could make a pretty cool car! You could even take a couple of flats and model a "damaged load." Glad you caught it before worse things happened!