Aug 31, 2023
Is it possible to get a pinned group for FreeMon like the T-Trak for posting on that subject?
This topic is now pinned. Go for it!
Awesome. Thank you BoxcabE50.
I am new to the hobby and was introduced to FreeMon by a gentleman here in Oregon, found it interesting. I would like this to be a place to discuss Building Modules, layout design, etc...
One our Staff members was very much into FreeMo. In addition to his regular layout, he also built some very beautiful modules. Unfortunately he passed away.
I do not know if his website still exists, but his RailImages albums are still here. You might scroll through them, and see if his uploaded any FreeMo stuff. Click on the "RailImages" in the black bar at page top, above, and try "Search Media" for RBRodzinsky
I've seen FreeMo but have never really stopped to learn much about it. This thread might be a good opportunity. Thanks for getting it started.
I hope some module builders can post on construction and wiring.
I did find the link to the official website. Looks like there are specs there. The one that jumped out at me right away is must be code 55 track
Sorry, 3 strikes on requirements (for me):
Code 55 rail
Min 22R curves on mainline
I found this presentation (slides only) while learning about freemo for N scale not too long ago. It has some neat ideas for the legs and making modules transportable.
I'm new to modelling and I'm curious, what makes these strikes in your eyes (apart from the expense of Loconet gear because yikes, that's pricey.)
Note, these are just my preferences, and thus I don't expect others to have the same.
I understand why Free-moN chose LocoNet (they had to choose something, and it works well enough, but it stands in the way of adopting better, open standards.)
Given that there is a Loconet-LCC gateway available, it is possible to build one or more otherwise Free-moN compliant modules that use LCC/OpenLCB*, and yet achieve Free-moN LocoNet compliance via that gateway, so that they can operate on a Loconet layout.
Code 55 rails rule out Unitrack, and some older rolling stock. But Code 55 rails look great, and I can understand why Free-moN chose it.
22" min radius does not fit in my available space. Yeah, I could build a Free-moN compliant module that fits into a non-compliant home layout.
Free-moN's required Digitrax Loconet is a proprietary bus, rather than an open standard, like LCC/OpenLCB, and requires a central controller to operate (unlike LCC/OpenLCB). Granted, OpenLCB/LCC was not around when Free-moN came along.
As for the expense, I'm not at all sure that, as of yet, LCC/OpenLCB is any cheaper than Loconet, perhaps other than that LCC/OpenLCB can operate without a central controller (e.g..detection, signals, track switches/routes with panels.) Sure JMRI (or similar software) is required to configure the LCC nodes, but once configured, the nodes can operate autonomously and cooperatively with other LCC nodes, not necessarily including a computer**.
*As I understand it, LCC is the NMRA-standardized portion of OpenLCB. OpenLCB is still growing in scope, and updates will likely be incrementally adopted by the NMRA into the LCC standard as updates.
** AFAIK, most LCC nodes incorporate a microcontroller, with embedded SW to handle the bus communications, LCC node configurability, and other functions. But configuring an LCC node does not require writing SW. In JMRI, LCC node configuration is accomplished via a GUI.
I would rather have CD55 on my sections/modules than toy train track with pre-made roadbed. If unit track is what you like, then you should look into TTrak
I have made my home layout out of Free-mo N sections. The layout has been displayed at 2 RPM's, 1 train show in Austin, Tx. Here recently my 15 sections/ 2 modules were part of the Free-mo N/ operations road show layout at the NMRA National convention this past August. Great bunch of guys! The layout was set up for Timetable and Train order operation sessions. There was also a section that was switched with JMRI ops swicth lists. The JMRI switch lists were ran on the part of the layout that had my sections.
My track plan:
Some random pictures:
The main thing that attracted me to Free-mo N was the ability to model prototype locations.
Good, we all have different preferences within our model train hobby.
But who are we kidding? We all play with our toy trains!
I like grades and changes in elevation, fly-overs, etc., which are difficult to incorporate within a modular standard, but are easy, even on an HCD with Unitrack.
However, I designed a T-Trak elongated end cap module ensemble with a front-back flyover, and posted the plan here somewhere. So it can be done, but it ain't easy. And it requires a set back-back module spacing.
you know i had much to say about this toy track beswax crapola, but ill keep my peace (which by the way is very hard for me to do)
PEACE and have fun and in the end its really dont matter does it
GREG i love the track plan with the module thing. been thinking about this for my next layout if i ever get a new used house. i have a sorta track plan ready to go sort of.....
I've been involved in Free-moN since 2011 when I took my very young sons to the setup at the National Train Show in Sacramento, CA.
I really enjoy the possibilities with the Free-moN standard allows modelling of prototype locations.
Rick Brodzinsky was a good friend and we miss him.
Rick worked on a 6-section New Yard and was about 80% complete when he was diagnosed.
His yard had not seen a show but that changed with effort from Hein and Steve Williams to make the National N Scale convention in Reno, NV during June 2023.
His New Silicon Valley yard build thread is here:
Free-moN is growing...In the Summer of 2021, more than 50 of us traveled to Evanston, WY and put together the largest Free-moN layout in the US and we're doing it again in 2024 July 25-28.
Here's the video from that show:
Rick's Silicon Valley Station:
These kinds of modules are what I'm here for; long vistas with mainline track running through. There are some cool bits of track that I've seen in my travels for work that I'd like to maybe re-create as modules. Stuff like embankments with underpasses for farmers, right-of-ways along wild rivers in the mountains, sleepy villages with big switching yards surrounded by wheat fields and forest...
It'd be kinda cool to do something like Horseshoe Curve in a big set of modules.
I like the concept behind 'modules'.
Even if you are a 'loner' at home and don't take them to shows it is a great way to go. To me it doesn't matter if you use Unitrack or all the way up to hand laying your track. If you plan them right you could actually change up your home layout. Moving modules around inside your train room could be fun I suppose.
If you move you don't have to destroy your layout and start from scratch. Just pack them up and move them to the new train room in the new house and set them back up again. I did that 4 times (tearing apart a layout) before I built my 99 square ft. mobile 'module' which is THERR RV.
If I have to move again I will just drive the layout to the new house and plug it back in. I know not everyone can do what I did and separate modules seems a good way to go.
If I wasn't so old and had to start over again it would be 'modules !! !
Those SP coaches look great. Are they custom painted ? The Dark Olive Green looks perfect !!