Wiring a Lionel OTC to a FasTrack Operating Track

To wire a Lionel OTC to a Lionel FasTrack Operating Uncoupling Track (6-12054) you’ll need to make a few modifications to the track itself. For more basic info on wiring, programming and using the OTC itself, you can see all the details on it’s own page. We also have a separate wiring page for connecting the OTC to traditional O and O-27 operating tracks.

We want to isolate the uncoupling magnet from the accessory activation rails so that the uncoupling magnet will activate when you press “Aux 1″ and the accessories on “Aux 2.”

Step One: Remove the remote controller and wires.

Simply unplug the four wires (blue, black, red and green) which connect the manual remote controller to the OTC from the circuitry on the underside of the track. You can save this wire for future use in this conversion if desired, or replace it with new wire.

Step Two: Isolate the Magnet Coil

Clip the wire from the coil to the operating rails where shown. Solder a new wire here to connect to the OTC. Click on photo to enlarge.

The coil comes prewired to one outside rail and one activation rail.

  1. Cut the wire to the activation rail near the connection to the rail so you have a wire lead to work with. (The wire to the rail remains intact.)
  2. Remove the insulation and the thin protective coating from the end of the wire. The plastic insulation will slide off easily. Gently remove the remainder of the coating with a hobby knife.
  3. Solder a new wire onto this lead. That wire should be long enough to reach the OTC. We will cover that connection shortly.
  4. Apply heat shrink tubing or electrical tape to insulate the new wire connection.

Step Three: Wire the Rails

Attach new wires from the OTC to the operating rails at the locations shown. The arrows show tabs where the old wire connectors can be used. You could also solder directly to any of the tabs shaded in blue. Click on photo to enlarge.

Next we need to attach wires to the two sets of operating rails. You can save yourself some soldering by reusing the old wiring harness here. If you do use new wires, or if you splice longer wires onto the old control wires, remember to solder and insulate them properly as we did with the magnet control.

Note that the rails are connected in pairs by bus plates under the track, so only one wire connection to each pair is needed and it can be made at any of the contact points.

  1. Connect one wire to the pair of rails to the left of the magnet coil.
  2. Connect a second wire to the pair of rails to the right of the magnet coil.
  3. Both of these wires will be connected to the OTC on the other end – we’ll cover that in the next step.

Step Four: Connect the Track to the OTC

Connect the wires to the OTC as shown. Click on photo to enlarge.

We now have three wires leading from the track base back to our OTC: one for the uncoupling magnet and one for each of the accessory rail pairs. To finish the installation, connect the wires as follows:

  1. Connect the No. 1 position to one set of Accessory Activation Rails.
  2. Connect the No. 2 position to the Uncoupling Magnet.
  3. Connect the No. 3 position to the second set of Accessory Activation Rails.
  4. Connect the No. 4 position to “AC Hot” from your accessory power supply. Note that we are not using AC Ground as with most other applications!

To review all of this, follow along again with this video: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tjf3mn6-Uo]

0 thoughts on “Wiring a Lionel OTC to a FasTrack Operating Track

  1. Can someone help me? I have followed the instructions in this blog and the 10:48 minute video at the end, but the OTC does not activate the Fastrack Operating Track. I hear a clicking and the green LED lights up, indicating that it is getting the AC accessor power and the Com signal from the Legacy base, but no track activation is happening. One possibility is that the OTC is bad. I tested the “track side” — the 8 screws, and no power is reading on my Volt meter when I press Aux 1 or Aux 2. I should be able to get a voltage reading when I try to activate the operating track with the OTC, right?

    • Geoffrey,

      Before you send the OTC back, let’s try one more thing. First, make sure you are putting power into the OTC, as the OTC itself is merely connecting a relay, so if the input is low or low amperage then nothing will happen when the relay connects. Then test the device with an operating car on the operating rails or a coupler plunger over the center magnet, as trying to use a voltmeter will generally yield poor results.

      If you’re still not having any luck, please give our Customer Service team a call directly at 586-949-4100 or email us at TALKTOUS@lionel.com. Thanks!

      • Hello,

        I would like to ask two follow-up questions. Last night, after re-reading the instructions from the Fastrack Operating Track Section, No. 71-2054-250, I saw on page 7 of those instructions that there is a recommended set up that connects the track side of the OTC to an accessory power supply (both “A” and “U” connections, and has the other two wires going to the activation rails on the bottom of the operating track. I tried this, using a 10 volt accessory terminal on my Z-4000 transformer, and using the separate 14 volt terminal to connect the “power” lines on the other side of the OTC (and the “Dat and Com” ports are connected to the Legacy Base of course). And it worked—it successfully powered the operating track, and when I pressed Aux 2 on the Legacy Remote, the coal car dumped the way it is supposed to.

        My follow up questions are: (1) – is this set-up, the one on page 7 of your instructions No. 71-2054-250, going to cause me any problems, such as shorts to the transformer, since a separate variable 0-22 volt terminal powers the overall track, of which the operating track section is one piece? (I’m assuming not, because I believe that when the Aux 2 button is pressed, the “relay” switch in the OTC connects only while the button is pressed to connect the 10 volt power supply on the track side with the 2 activation rails, but I’d like to be sure.)

        And (2), since this set-up, from page 7 of No. 71-2054-250, works to power the activation rails of the operating track, why does the blog and video recommend a more complicated connection that includes cutting a wire, etc.?



        • Geoff,

          To answer your first question, no, it should not pose a problem as long as all of your transformers are in phase.

          As to number two, the track will work as shown in the diagram, but we the uncoupling magnet will also engage when you use Aux 2 for the rails. If you don’t mind this, then there is no need to make the change.

  2. Thank you very much for all your help earlier this week. It’s great to have the operating track working!

    May I ask for your help with two new questions. Last night, I tried to wire my No. 397 Lionel Coal Loader with the SC-2 to respond to the Legacy, and it didn’t work, even though I followed the instructions at the end of the 397 Lionel manual and the SC-2 manual.

    To try to figure out what was wrong, first, I took the SC-2 out of the picture, and I just hooked power straight to the Coal Loader. The good news was that the loader ran. But the bad news is that it shorted out all the other things on the same circuit within about one second. When I first tried 14V accessory power from my MTH Z-4000 transfomer, it shorted out all the other accessories. This happened again after I re-set the circuit breaker. Next, I tried variable power, from the track side terminal. This powered the Coal Loader but was clearly causing problems for the transformer, which flashed a red overload light at me. Same thing happened when I tried the other variable power output which only had one Lionel Superstreets vehicle connected. With the Z-4000 having 400 watts of power, and just some lights and switches so far on my layout, the 397 should not be exceeding the power load.

    Next I took the Z-4000 out of the picture and just hooked the 397 Coal Loader to a spare CW-80 Lionel transformer. This caused the green light on the CW-80 to blink, indicating a short, and the loader did not work.

    So here are the two questions:

    (1) What am I doing wrong with the 397 coal loader that’s causing all these short circuits, and how can I get it to work without shorting? (I just have ½ of bare wire on insulated 16 gauge wire connected to the two terminals on the 397)

    (2) Once I solve #1 above, is there anything else I should try to make it work on the SC-2 with Legacy? (I’m using the SC-2’s power pack for power (the green light is lit), and I successfully programmed the SC-2 to be all accessories per the SC-2 instructions and got the SC-2’s red light to light indicating it was receiving the programming).

    • Let’s try the easy things first. It doesn’t look like the problem is the SC-2, since you are getting a short without it. Try reversing the AC Hot and ground leads, you may simply have it wired backwards. If that’s not the case, it may be that the loader is simply drawing too many amps – which may indicate a problem there.

  3. That was it! The instructions manual does not show which binding post is power and which is ground. So last night, I switched the wires, and boom, it worked. The SC-2 followed, after careful programming.

    The interesting thing is that you really have to have the connections tightly secured, especially to the loader’s own binding posts, otherwise, the loader’s draw can still short the other things on the circuit. But with tightly attached wires, it worked through the SC-2 and Legacy Remote several times in a row with no overloaded circuit. So I think I’ve got it.

    The rest of my wiring is just houses, lights, and the 153IR controller hooked to an overhead signal, so it should be pretty straightforward. Thanks again!

  4. the green light on the controlled was working fine and the train was doing well, while I was rewiring to add power to the far tracks, I noticed that the green light was blinking and the train would not run. I pressed the whistle button and then everything went off. No green light no sound. I have backtracked on everything that I did before I had the problem and still nothing. I have a suspicion that a fuse was blown. Any advise and can I find a triangle shaped screwdriver to take the controller apart?

    • A blinking green light indicates a short circuit. When this happens, the best thing to do is power down the transformer immediately. If the light does not stop blinking, unplug the transformer. If you plug it back in and the short reappears immediately, then you need to power down again and disconnect the power supply from your layout and accessories. Power it up. If the green light does not come on, or comes on and blinks, then you have damaged the power supply.

      If you have not already done so, test the power supply without any track or accessories attached. If you still have a problem, do not try to fix it yourself. Not only could you do more damage to the transformer, you could seriously electrocute yourself. (That’s why we use the odd screws.) Give our customer service center a call at 586-949-4100 or email us at talktous@lionel.com and they’ll tell you how to send it in.

      You may still also have a problem with your wiring on the layout. If the short is still there, you’ll have the same problem when your transformer comes back from service. It sounds like you’ve already taken the right first steps there however, undo everything you did just before you noticed the short. When you know you have a working transformer, you can go back and try your wiring changes again, just keep an eye on that light and stop as soon as you have problems.

  5. I just installed an OTC to operate an operating track on my Legacy controlled layout. I followed the instructions in the instructional video “OTC Wiring for FasTrack Operating Uncoupling Track” and encountered a problem – The operating track will not operate my operating cars (coal car and log car). The uncoupling magnet does work properly (activated by the Aux 2 button).

    I am using a ZW with 2 180 watt bricks) – terminal A to power the track and terminal D to power the operating track (through terminal 4 on the OTC). I am using a separate accessories transformer to power the OTC ( terminals A & U) and verified that the power to the OTC is 14 volts. I programmed the OTC to accessory 98 and then then to accessory 1.

    I can hear the relays click and see the OTC green light flash whenever I press Aux 1 or Aux 2.

    I checked the OTC voltage at the OTC terminals leading to the operating track with the following results:
    Terminal 4 (hot – coming from the ZW) – 14 volts (constant)
    Terminal 3 (blue to operating rails) – 14 volts ( when pressing Aux 2)
    Terminal 2 (magnet coil) – 14 volts (when pressing Aux 1)
    Terminal 1 (green to operating rails) – 0 volts (when pressing Aux 2)

    Is the OTC defective or is there another explanation?

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