Future home of the Northern Pacific and Black Hills Ry.

badlandnp Mar 17, 2013

  1. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    (emphasis mine)

    Good idea on running the loop* of wire under the tie(s) to hide it. Just don't get it tightly embedded in the glued-down ballast, or you'll loose the flexibility of the loop of wire.

    *Loupes, while very handy for model railroading (as long as they're not buried under railroad ties), are generally a poor choice to conduct electricity.
     
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  2. DeaconKC

    DeaconKC TrainBoard Member

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    How much of a problem with expansion exists with using Kato Unitrack? My layout area is an enclosed porch, so there will be serious temperature variations.
     
  3. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    How big is your layout? Thermal expansion is proportionate to both physical size and temperature change. On an HCD-sized layout, it's not normally significant.

    What is the maximum temperature swing (annually and daily)?
     
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  4. DeaconKC

    DeaconKC TrainBoard Member

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    Okay, it will be 32"x 76" so close to a HCD. Temp swings? It hit 96 today and can hit the teens regularly in the winter.
     
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  5. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    That will be fine. I would use powered unijoiners every 4 to 6 track pieces, and probably less than that. Some folks use powered joiners on every other (if not every) piece, and of course it works, but if you are using Kato's powered unijoiners, that can get expensive. There is a short video on one of our sponsors' website that shows how to make your own powered unijoiners (easy, but of course requires soldering.)

    I would also keep the layout covered when not in use, with a cloth cover that breaths. A "California twin" size (longer than standard twin) fitted cotton sheet works great for HCD layouts, including my 36x80. Depending on how tall the terrain and structures are, you may want a "deep" fitted sheet (made for thicker than normal mattresses.) Get the cheap ones with lower thread count (you're not going to lay on it anyway.) The sheet helps moderate temperature changes, yet breaths to avoid condensation, and keeps dust and insects off the layout too. Fitted sheets have elastic around the edges to keep the sheet on the mattress (or in this case, the layout), so you don't even have to tie them down.
     
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  6. DeaconKC

    DeaconKC TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Jake! Sounds like I will be haunting the resale shop when I get back next week. [Got a Cowboy Action Shooting match in TX this weekend]
     
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  7. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    I got mine pretty darn cheap at Walmart (it was just the fitted sheet, not a set.)

    Good luck at your CAS match!
     
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  8. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for all the input! Was a long day yesterday and the brain gets pretty well exhausted by the time I get to this place.

    The expansion and contraction of the code 55 is pretty minimal considering the 25 degree swings in the layout shed. I heat with a woodstove in winter, with electric backup heat. A/C in summer does ok keeping it fairly stable around a 10 degree swing. However, occasionally there are larger swings if I am away from town and the 'help' forgets or neglects or there is a power fluctuation.....causing a 30 or 40 degree swing. Issues arise then.

    I usually use a railjoiner on the longer piece connections, these allow for the required slippage. Most of the 'hard' joints like that are connecting a short piece of rail to a longer, normally near a switch or some other change. The flexible 'bonding' is a great idea, though. Now to just find the right size wire and keep it out of sight.... strands of welder cable wire come to mind. I may end up just drilling a couple of holes alongside the rail and patching in a jumper wire as needed.

    I use the cutoff wheel in my dremel as a sizer for rail joints. It looks terribly large in close ups, but allows for a very nice rail clack with the metal wheels and yet doesn't usually cause any derailment issues. I enjoy hearing the wheels clacking away over joints in real life, so want to try to hear it on mu N world.
     
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  9. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

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    [Got a Cowboy Action Shooting match in TX this weekend]

    So do you have any video links to you in action? Those are truly fun competitions to watch!
     
  10. DeaconKC

    DeaconKC TrainBoard Member

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    I am not fast enough to have any videos of me! I just go, have fun and try to shoot clean! I'm in a really good posse this week, so if I do show up, i will post pics or videos.
     
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  11. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

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    I don't even pretend to be fast, or clean, or...but I can usually hit my target when I go out with my sons and play at the range.

    Had fun tonight introducing my youngest grandson to the "layout!' He is about 18 months, and was very well fascinated!!! Got to start them early!
     
  12. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    If you have seen pics of THERR in the RV you can see it is 99.5% Unitrack. Lots of track...lots of turnouts. The temps here get in the mid 90's in summer and the single digits in the winter. Being in an RV the temps inside it get hotter then the outside temps in summer and a lot colder then the outside temps in the winter. I have had ZERO expansion or contractions issues with Unitrack in 12 years. JMO
     
  13. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    What category do you shoot? I used to shoot Duelist (one-handed on revolvers). It was lots of fun!
    How closely did you space your powered unijoiners?
     
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  14. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    None of my Unitrack joiners are powered other then by the track itself going through the Unijoiner. I soldered feeders from underneath the trackbed...about an inch from the end of the track. There is a feeder every 3rd section of Unitrack...or roughly every 3 feet. I have had zero conductivity problems with my track in 12 years. (y)
     
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  15. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the data point!

    Whether the track or the Unijoiner is where power is inserted into the layout, the Unijoiners still have to convey it to other track sections. And from all I have read and experienced, Unijoiners do it well for a long time.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2022 at 1:36 AM
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  16. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

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    I do recognize that Kato makes a good product. But, I want an old 1920's era appearance with my rail and ties. so I don't mind tinkering with a bit of soldering here n there. I do have expansion joints built in, and most of the hard soldered joints are two short pieces.

    I am going to end up redoing some of my early track and switches, as they aren't as flat as they should be. Them 'dips' in the rail can cause issues as well!

    It's all a part of the fun! Getting good input and being able to give back some is a good part, too!
     
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  17. DeaconKC

    DeaconKC TrainBoard Member

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    I shoot Duelist too, Senior now, Classic Cowboy. Actually picked up a new Mernickle holster rig today! Opentops or Schofields with a CZ Hammer Shotgun and a Uberti 73 rifle in .45 Colt.
     
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  18. DeaconKC

    DeaconKC TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the great explanations! Helps a great deal with planning.
     
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  19. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Love the venerable 45 Colt!
     
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  20. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

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    Back to the layout, which I actually took time to run tonight!

    Yes, the influence of a woman brought a diseasel to the layout last year. It was a great price for it at the Fargo railfair last October. Which I hope to do again this year, soon! Anyway, her drooling over it was just too much, so....


    Then I had to get some steam therapy!!!
     
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