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Loss of lane power
#1

I'm now on my second ARC Pro power station. The unit works well for a few days and then the power to the inside lane goes away. The lane change function has also gone. Am I just the unlucky victim of 2 defective power station or is there something in my track layout that could be causing this. I've renewed my interest in slot cars after about a 50 year time away and gathering an understanding of the new digital technology with the help of great tools like the site. But I know there is alot I don't know so any help in tracking down the possible reason for this power loss would be greatly appreciated. I have 2 of the Scalextric transformers plugged into the power station and I'm running 85 feet of track. If I reinstall the wired digital power station everything works fine, full power and lane change.  I'm ordering my 3rd ARC Pro power station unless someone can tell me why I'm having this issue and how to eliminate it
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#2

Hi gravityguy and welcome  Wavegreen

You can test if it is a problem with the ARC Pro powerbase by placing the powerbase in a small oval of track. See if the power issue re-emerges. If it does, turn the powerbase 180-degrees and see if the problem stays on the lane or swaps with the powerbase. 

If the issue keeps moving with the powerbase, then it’s a problem with the powerbase - either the track joins (see fixes below) or the electronic unit itself (you’ll need a new one). If the problem stays on the track, then it’s a problem with the track. I presume you’ve tried different cars and controllers to eliminate a fault with one of those.

In my experience, almost all power problems (including lane changer power) can by solved by careful track building and maintenance - particular care being taken of the connections. 

So no gaps, only nice straight joins - no forcing that final connection at an angle. Track should be kept clean (and conditioned with INOX - see here). Probably the most important maintenance step to avoid conductivity issues such as yours is tightening the tabs underneath the metal track connectors...



If a tab is very loose, the cars will stop on that track piece every time. Lots of ‘quite loose’ tabs will have a cumulative effect and the exact problem might not be so clear-cut. I check tabs every time I build a track and tighten them if necessary.

At 85 feet, your track probably needs a ‘power tap’, ‘booster’ or ‘jumper’ to distribute the power to the furthest parts of your layout. Even when the track tabs are nice and tight, every connection will create a small power drop. By the time you get to 40 feet away from the powerbase, that’s 40+ connections and 40+ small power drops. I wonder if your power issues are worse the further away from the powerbase you get? Is this where the glitchy lane changers are?

Power taps are simply wires that attach one metal rail near the powerbase straight to exactly the same rail on a track piece further round the track. One tap would go to halfway round the circuit. Two power taps would go to one-third and two-thirds distance.

Scalextric used to make ready-to-fit power tap cables. Some retailers now make and market their own versions (see here). Or you can make your own with the correct components and tools - including basic soldering skills.

So... Check powerbase in an oval to diagnose the problem. If the issue is the track, clean and condition the rails, check metal and plastic connections, tighten rail tabs under the track and consider a power tap or two.

I hope that helps and gets things working nicely  Thumbup
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