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My Little Railroad Buddy

Paving and Other Annoying Problems

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Halland Industrial Area Paving in Progress


I'm trying to pave the Halland Industrial Area, but can't seem to get it right.

I started out by pouring a coat of light weight hydrocal, which I mixed with too many bubbles. The bubbles made massive amounts of pock marks. I poured a second coat of lightweight hydrocal to correct the pock marks and then sanded and wound up with a lot of pot holes.

I tried to fill the pot holes and smooth the imperfections with Sculpt-a-mold, but that sands away too easily.

I tried a fourth coat of silicone grout/caulk that comes in a caulk tube. I smoothed it and let it dry. The end result was great until I tried to sand out the imperfections and the caulk started to peel away in large rubber strips.

I have a Woodland Scenics road making kit, but I haven't busted it open. I don't know if Smooth-It is pretty much just hydrocal. I'm also considering trying some spackle.

Power Problems

I haven't run anything in a while and when I tried over the last few weeks, it's been pretty crappy. I've done tons of work since I last ran anything, so I'm not quite sure what the issue was.

I did disconnect one track powered SMC4 servo controller, I suspect this was using a lot of power. Additionally I added a few feeders and cleaned the track. Things are starting to improve, but I'm still not happy.

Another Poorly Mounted Turnout Motor

was discovered in Halland Yard. It's actually mounted well, but I cut the actuating wire too short, and it is slipping under the throw bar when I close the turnout.

Servos Are Driving Me Crazy

I got real happy about servos again, after an intense but disappointing flirtation with them earlier in my project. The deal is I have several servos, a couple of SMC4s and a couple of Singlets.

My main problem with using servos for turnout control has powering the frogs. I thought the SMC4 was going to be my solution. I built a relay card and used the SMC4's auxiliary turnout motor outputs to toggle relays in correspondence with the servos. The relays seemed to work well when switching an LED, but now I've installed it and hooked it up to the frogs and nothing seems to be happening (aside from intermittent clicks and hums from the relays.)

My main sticking point with the Singlet decoder is that it overpowers the turnout and makes a continuous humming noise as the servo motor clicks away trying to reach an end point. It turns out the Tam Valley servo mounting kit is the solution to this problem. I bought two and installed them for use with my two Singlets and they work well. But that only directs me back to my main problem, I can't figure out a cheap and effective way to power the frogs!

I feel like I'm turning in circles and I should just install some Tortoise motors already and just go with what I know works. But part of me wants to stick with the challenge and make the servos work. Uggh!

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  1. gregamer's Avatar
    I fixed that problem Tortoise.

    I really hate having to drop a new actuating wire in from the top and get it into position. And despite having done it several times now, it never gets any easier. The easiest method is to remove the Tortoise first, however, this is one of the Tortoise motors that I glued to the layout with caulk (Not a good idea).


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