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Strombecker Track Wiring

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  • Strombecker Track Wiring

    I am checking all connections on my track and controllers since nothing seems to work consistently. The way the controller connections are jumpered together does not make sense to me! The way this is wired (factory), the controller is positive when plugged into one lane and negative when plugged into the other lane. Why would they not be identical? Does anyone know what gives
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  • #2
    When I first set up my Well used collection of Strombecker pieces none of the start tracks worked so I wired it up just like you would a routed track with brakes and all. It worked great.

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    • #3
      You probably would be better off in the long run if you dumped the Strombecker wiring and used standard club style wiring. If you like the thumb operated controllers you can chop off the plug and add some alligator clips, otherwise you might invest in trigger style controllers.
      Here is how club tracks are usually wired.

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      • BIG E
        BIG E commented
        Editing a comment
        Rich, I've handed that PARMA diagram out to dozens and dozens of people over the years.
        Gotta make some copies, I'm out of the box cut outs! -- Ernie :>)

    • #4
      Thanks Guys. I believe I will wire it as per the diagram. The only difference I see in the controller is that the colors are reversed for the power and wiper wires. What size of fuse would I want to add since there is none now (two of my four controllers had overheated and partially melted at some point).

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      • #5
        I guess I will re-route the jumper strips on this start section also. I don't know why the Lane 1-black(+) and Lane 2-red terminals (and vice-versa) would be connected unless the two lanes are supposed to interact somehow??
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        Last edited by NOBLNG; December 4, 2019, 09:04 AM.

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        • #6
          Most of the tracks here in the Portland area use a 5amp fuse.

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          • #7
            While you are doing this re-wire, go ahead and find a couple Parma controllers from Ebay or maybe somebody here and use them with a regular hook up controller station. Not sure what ohm rating guys here use, but probably 25-35 ohm?? I know on the shorter, twisty tracks you can't get by with the 1-3 ohm units used on big fast tracks. Those used controllers are around usually pretty cheap.
            Matt B
            So. In
            Crashers

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            • #8
              The way I connected mine as my terminals were bad, I just doubled over the stripped end of the wire and shoved it into the holes in the bottom of the track then used a dab of hot glue to hold them in place. We ran it for several years and never had to fuss with it.

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              • #9
                If you are using a set type power supply those are good for an amp at most, so you could get by without a fuse. If you are using a larger power supply you do need to use fuses and there should be a separate fuse or circuit breaker for each lane. A 5 amp fuse would not give you much protection, 5 amps can burn out a controller or even melt the insulation on your wiring unless that is a heavy gauge. 1 or 2 amps should work.
                See this article for more information: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1r_m...ew?usp=sharing

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                • #10
                  Thanks All!
                  From dragging the probe of my multi meter across the windings, it goes from 55 ohms down to zero. I checked the three wires leading into the controller for continuity, and only the black one reads zero resistance. The others I cannot get a decent reading on...so I suspect that some or all of the strands are broken somewhere along the way.
                  If I replaced these with 35 ohm controllers it would just mean that the cars would have more available power to start and would "jump" a little quicker off the line correct?

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                  • #11
                    yes, and more trigger operating range through the ''speeds'' giving better proportional control

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                    • #12
                      Well I replaced the wires on one controller with 22 gauge hook up wire and it seems to be working fine now. The supplier was out of white, so I used yellow instead and used black for the wiper as per the diagram above. I made a stand for my soldering iron and I must say this method that I stumbled across on you tube works fabulous for soldering finicky stuff!
                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DwHPqgxY38
                      Last edited by NOBLNG; December 6, 2019, 09:47 AM.

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                      • #13
                        Now, back to the track! I believe the Strombecker stuff was originally positive to the left side rail, however that is easy to change just by switching the jumper wires under the start track, and crossing over the car's wires at the pickup brushes. The reason to do this is to match the "standard" wiring posted above so that it is possible to run modern cars on my track, or run my cars on someone else's track.
                        So far so good,right....nope! The way the Start track is wired means that one lane must have the red(brake) and black(wiper) wires reversed at the pickup rail connections in order to get both lanes to run in the same direction. One lane has the power go to track and back to the controller, and the other lane has the power go to the controller and out to the track.

                        Edit: I suspect that They wired things like this to somehow balance the power between the two lanes?
                        Last edited by NOBLNG; December 6, 2019, 12:08 PM.

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                        • #14
                          Sorry for confusing everyone(or is it just me?) I just want to understand what Strom's purpose was for wiring things this way. I have two melted controllers, and I don't want any more. To be clear I will describe these circuits as if current flows positive to negative.
                          Lane One: From (+) on power supply > track(car) > wiper arm > rheostat windings in controller > (-) on power supply.
                          Lane Two: From (+) on power supply > rheostat windings in controller > wiper arm > track(car) > (-) on power supply.
                          Can someone verify which is a better way to have the controller operate...or does it even matter? I suspect Lane one would generate less heat in the windings?
                          Last edited by NOBLNG; December 6, 2019, 12:26 PM.

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                          • #15
                            I see from your picture that the controller is wired for brakes, but although red, white and black wires are used they are not the same as modern controllers are wired. Your controller has the red wire going to the brake contact and that is the same with modern controllers, but the white wire goes to the wiper and the black wire goes to the resistor, which is the opposite from the standard method. In your last post you did not say were the brake wires went, presuming that the track is actually wired for brakes. If a track is wired for brakes dynamic braking is what you have. In that case when the controller is in the full off position the power supply is out of the circuit and a short is applied across the car's motor terminals. Any time that a DC motor is turning it will generate a voltage that is the opposite polarity from the track voltage. If your controller is in the full off position track voltage is no longer applied but the motor will still be generating a voltage as long as the car is moving. If the track was not wired for brakes that voltage would have no effect, but with the brake wire connected in the right place and the motor terminals shorted current will flow through the armature coils and cause the poles to get magnetized slowing the car down more quickly than if the car was just allowed to coast.
                            It does not matter which way electricity actually goes through a resistor controller. Controllers get hot because current is going through the resistor. In the full on position the resistor is bypassed and the controller will stay cool. If you have to run your car at reduced speeds much of the time the controller will tend to run warmer.
                            I believe that the brake circuit could be your problem. One brake wire might be going to the wrong place causing a short circuit across the power supply.
                            You should be aware that there are two ways to wire a track, this is the other way and it is the way modern set type tracks come wired.



                            Things are fairly simple if you are not using controllers with brakes and/or the track is not wired for brakes, otherwise everything had better be right.
                            I once ran on a track that used one wiring scheme for some of the lanes and the other scheme for the rest of the lanes. I can't recall if the track was wired for brakes. People using resistor controllers did not have a problem, but people with electronic controllers were in trouble because electricity can only go one way through an electronic controller.
                            Last edited by RichD; December 7, 2019, 06:58 AM.

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