N scale layout

Cleggie Aug 20, 2007

  1. Cleggie

    Cleggie TrainBoard Member

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    No worries Dirk, I was kinda wondering how you got the reflection, looks great, love it!

    I haven't done a lot of work to the layout over the last couple of weeks, got caught up doing other things. Anyway it's good to have a break once and and a while. So here are a couple of pics of work-in-progress...

    [​IMG]
    The curves coming on to the helix are tighter than I would have liked but seem ok. They start off at about 22" radius but thighten to something close to 14" radius then eases out again.



    [​IMG]

    I used two Peco curved radius turnouts back to back to get a nice smooth transition onto the helix. Once I finish tacking down the track and roadbed and am happy with how it fits, I then pull out the pins and glue the foam road bed to the MDF and the track to the road bed and push in a pin or two to hold it all in place while the glue sets.
     
  2. fifer

    fifer TrainBoard Supporter Advertiser

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    Nice Ken , I just love those spirals.

    Mike
     
  3. Another ATSF Admirer

    Another ATSF Admirer TrainBoard Member

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    Hello

    Wandered past and noticed the thread. And the spirals. And the wallpaper + carpet + curtains, which lead me to think "No way he's in America"... Low and behold, he's a Southerner. Howdy.

    I love what you've done so far with a space not much bigger than mine; not one helix but two, to my procrastination. [​IMG]

    I am curious about the MDF though; what thickness are you using? And how often is it supported?

    Last I tried to work with the stuff, I did admire the rigidity and absence of grain; but I dislike the weight - it's Heavy. Ply can be flimsy and has grain, but can be a lot lighter for the same strength and rigidity. And blue foam is just .. blue.

    I agree the backdrop makes a world of difference; one other thing I would recommend looking at before the layout gets too entrenched: Lighting. It can be a lot easier to install lighting (especially for the lower deck) before all the scenery is done! :)

    Keep up the good work!
     
  4. Cleggie

    Cleggie TrainBoard Member

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    Yeah, Gidday, howzit goin' mate.
    Not too many of us Kiwi's on TB so it's good to see another. The MDF is 10mm thick and I try and add supports every 300mm onto the clear pine benchwork.

    Lighting is on the radar, I got a 12VDC 18W floro from Super Cheap Auto's as a trial. I run it off a 12Vdc 1A wallwort, worked ok but I will need more amps to power about 8 of them that I will need for the lower level.

    The next major mission after laying the trackwork for the upper level is the wiring. Drop feeders from the track to a buss wire and wire up the Tortoise switch machines and do the lighting.

    Oh, by the way I plan to run some war bonnets on my layout as well!
     
  5. Another ATSF Admirer

    Another ATSF Admirer TrainBoard Member

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    It's going a little crazy at work - must be December :)

    I wandered off to my scrap pile and checked some 12mm MDF (nearest handy) against the 17mm ply I'm using for book shelves, and I figure the MDF to be significantly heavier (perhaps twice), and the ply is handling books happily with 400-600mm support spacing. But then, books don't care about curving roadbed; so I'd still cross-brace the ply. 300mm seems like a good spacing. Although anything thinner than 17mm ply seemed seriously flimsy (flexing and torquing), the 12mm MDF didn't twist in my simple test.

    I was eying up some mains-rated fluorescent fittings I found somewhere (lighting direct?); long and skinny - not much wider than a tube, so easy to hide from direct line-of-sight. These ones work daisy-chain, with a socket on one end and plug + cord on the other. Figured it'd work quite well with no 240v wiring required.
    18W at 12V is 1.5A per tube, plus extra for the electronics / ballast / whatever a DC tube requires. I guess your 1A wall-wart got rather warm?
    Only problem I saw with flouro was the 'daylight' tubes were 3-4x the price of office white. :(

    Keep up the good work and the photos! :)
    When the tracks are wired you can start to really run trains, right? ;)
     
  6. Caddy58

    Caddy58 TrainBoard Member

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    Ken,

    great progress shots, thanks for sharing.
    I assume the PECO curves turnouts are Electrofrogs? I have great experiences with them, in my view the best and most reliable curved turnouts available (and I have used all European manufacturers, Fleischman, Minitrix, Arnold, Roco....).

    Your Helix never fails to amaze me, great work!

    Cheers
    Dirk
     
  7. Cleggie

    Cleggie TrainBoard Member

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    Warning! UP SD60M's at notch 8 moving coal. At last I can do some testing and running in my small fleet of locos!

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdvDtVvJfBA"]YouTube - UP coal train[/ame]

    I think that the 10mm MDF is a good compromise between ridgidity and flex, bending just enough to make nice smooth rise and falls. I don't think it is prone to warping, time will tell I suppose.

    [​IMG]

    This is the floro from Super Cheap, cost about NZ$25.00 and it's 8W not 18W as wrote earlier.

    Yep, they are electrofrog. I popped the over-centering spring out so I can use tortoise switch machines with them.
     
  8. RoadRunner

    RoadRunner TrainBoard Member

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    Nice video, the layout looks great!

    RR:thumbs_up:
     
  9. Another ATSF Admirer

    Another ATSF Admirer TrainBoard Member

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    Nice video. :thumbs_up:

    I'm a bit worried about the point where the subroadbed is the thinnest - at about 20s, it looks like it's cork/equivalent only on a switch at the top of the helix.
    Murphy tells me if there's any point on the layout for something to derail, it's right there; where there's the best chance of a four-foot trip to floorsville :(

    lights: 8W is probably a bit easier on your wall wart, although in that photo it looks a bit lonely; maybe it needs some friends to light the scene? The fitting looks okay for hiding behind valance and/or fascia.

    You're an inspiration; although looking at these walls of mine, even if I pull finger, I'd be unlikely to get trains running this year. January 2 maybe...

    Keep Up The Good Work :)
     
  10. Cleggie

    Cleggie TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks RR, and welcome to TrainBoard.

    Another ATSF Admirer:

    I hear ya dude, I agree it looks really scary. I plan to run a fascia around the outside of the upper level that has a 30mm (1.5") lip to catch derailments. I already had two Kato stack cars do the "death plunge" , they became uncoupled from the train and got rear ended by the loco right at the point you describe. I was out of the room at the time and had left the train running. I was on my way back when I heard the crash... ARRRGGG!:tb-hissyfit:

    I figure I will need 8 of those floros to do the job of lighting the lower level. One of the sparkies I work with said he could dig up a spare power supply from work. Hmmm, here's hopping!

    Look forward to see your progress here on trainboard
     
  11. Cleggie

    Cleggie TrainBoard Member

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    Some more dissapointment, the two curved Peco turnouts while opperationally ok (nice smooth transition for running trains) proved to be unsuitable for tortoise switch motors and were giving grief electically. Locos would stall on the points when thrown to the diverging track. Also some polarity problems, short outs. So I reworked track replacing the Peco turnouts with Atlas #7, and while not as smooth as the curved turnouts work fine and the electical problems have gone away

    [​IMG]
    It looks a little messy, curves leading to a short straight (the turnout) a short curve another straight then curves again. it took a litte bit of tweeking to get right so the trains would not derail but I am happy now. shimming the outer edges of the turnouts by placing a small strip of cardboard under the roadbed does the trick. I also used a small sprit level to check the trackwork

    [​IMG]
    Another ATSF admirer PM'ed me with some info on fluorescent lighting and I picked this little puppy up. Runs on regular mains power supply and is way brighter than the 12V light

    [​IMG]

    Another ATSF admirer sent me this is a close up photo of the fittings. Up to six fluoros can be daisy chained together. Thanks for your help mate.
     
  12. Caddy58

    Caddy58 TrainBoard Member

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    Ken,

    I am sorry to hera that the PECO Electrofrogs did not work (yet). Looking at the pic with the Atlas #7 it would appear to me that the curved turnouts would offer a much smoother geometry.

    My suggestion: Build a small test layout on a scrap piece of wood to get more familiar with the PECO system. Just place the turnout and 3 approach tracks on the board plus a tortoise.

    What has worked for me:
    Keep the points clean! The turnout relies on the points making good contact to the stock rails for electric continuity.
    You can bend the last few milimeters of the point rails slightly outwards, so they have more positive contact to the stock rail. A very small bend will allow them to sit very tightly againt the stock rail.
    Isolate both rails on the tracks leading away from the turnout. Never feed power from the side with two tracks into the turnout.
    An engine will indeed create a short when crossing the insulating gaps and the turnout is thrown in the different direction. But as you are only inches away from a derailment it is not entirely nad that the train stops....
    I am not sure about the issue with the tortoise: I use 3 different types of switch machines (though not the Tortoise), and all 3 operate flawlessly with the PECO. I understood that the Tortoise has enough power and throw-lenght to work almost any turnouts...

    It was a sharp learning curve for me switching from Minitrix / Roco track to PECO Electrofrogs, but with proper care and maintenance they offer very reliable operation and smooth track.

    Cheers
    Dirk
     
  13. Another ATSF Admirer

    Another ATSF Admirer TrainBoard Member

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    There's a thought; I believe Peco points have a tiny spring to "snap" the points against the rails and provide a small amount of "hold" there.
    I believe I once read a suggestion for tortoise and other slow-moving points-throwers to remove said spring and that might improve reliability

    wiringfordcc also has suggestions about adding tiny jumper wires under peco points from the outside ("stock") rails to the inside ones; to improve reliability beyond the miserly connection the point blades provide. (do you really want a 5A current in a short flowing through 1-2mm of nickel-silver? I've heard it can melt points :( )

    On another note, hey! I recognise that photo! :)
    Lighting my whole room at 64-6500K and it's not too bad so far; so I might not bother trying to get 2700K tubes for those fittings.
     
  14. Cleggie

    Cleggie TrainBoard Member

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    Maybe I acted in haste by pulling out the Peco turnouts? There is a posibilty that I may return them, I did like the improved track geometery, nice and smooth.

    The issues:

    Had to remove the over-centering spring to allow the tortoise switch machines to throw points. That then causes dead rails, I could not get reliable power flow. When thrown to the diverging track locos would stall on the points but would move again when I pressed my finger on the point rails.

    Also short outs, I gapped the rails at both sides of the approaches to the turnouts but am thinking that it would be better to gap the the turnouts, (isolate the frog) like Atlas turnouts and run a wire from the SPDT on the tortoise to power the frog.

    I will take Dirk's advise and build a test bed for the Peco turnouts and work through the issues.

    In the meanwhile the mainline is still open but I am not running trains untill I have finished fitting up the facia and filling in the gaps between the sub-roadbed to prevent derailments from crashing to the floor:D
     
  15. Another ATSF Admirer

    Another ATSF Admirer TrainBoard Member

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    I wonder if, having remove the spring, the tortoise isn't providing enough leverage on the thrown point to replace it?
    i.e. the points rail is coming away from the stock rail, breaking contact and derailing engines.

    I follow with interest, because I have some peco points and some tortoises behind me that I may try to bolt together at some stage..

    Oooh, an entire wiringfordcc.com section on Peco turnouts. Starts off talking about HO, but if you scroll down, he mentions code 55 N by name and (more importantly) photographs.
    Wiring for DCC: Peco turnouts

    I clearly should re-read the site to see what he's updated in the past year or two :)
     
  16. jagged ben

    jagged ben TrainBoard Member

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    Oh, we had a whole discussion about Peco turnouts here a few weeks ago. I for one don't agree that the recommendations on that site are necessary.

    Cleggie, I think your electrical problems with the Pecos will be completely solved if you just wire the frog to the tortoise. It shouldn't be necessary to do anything else. IMHO, that is. This is how we do it at the club.

    Also check that your loco wheels are in gauge, of course.
     
  17. fifer

    fifer TrainBoard Supporter Advertiser

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    I agree , I have about 47 Peco code 55 electro-frogs on the ACTRR and have used my tortoise's on HO and N and the only mod. I have made is to put a thicker throw wire on ALL of my tortoise's. This will allow you to throw the Pecos without removing the spring from the turnout.
    My .02 cents.
    Mike
     
  18. Caddy58

    Caddy58 TrainBoard Member

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    Ken,

    I have typically removed the over-center springs in my PECOs, but I just did the first install leaving them in. Actually it is the last turnout install I did for this part of the layout: The next will coem when I have aquired trackage rights to the next room, which might bever be forthcoming... I use motor driven switch motors and they are powerfull enough to "snap" the switch. It will not give realistic slow motion but throw the switch with a noticable "snap".

    Getting the over-center wires back in is not easy, so you might want to use your turnouts with them removed, but it appears that it is not an absolute necessity.

    Try the test-bed, make sure the points are clean and are a snug fir to the stock rail. Also there is typically a quite thorough instruction how to wire them in them included with each PECO turnout, so that might help you to witre them correctly (which is exactly the samem as with every live-frog turnout...)
    I am sure you will come to like the PECOs :)

    Cheers
    Dirk
     
  19. Caddy58

    Caddy58 TrainBoard Member

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    Ken,

    I have typically removed the over-center springs in my PECOs, but I just did the first install leaving them in. Actually it is the last turnout install I did for this part of the layout: The next will coem when I have aquired trackage rights to the next room, which might bever be forthcoming... I use motor driven switch motors and they are powerfull enough to "snap" the switch. It will not give realistic slow motion but throw the switch with a noticable "snap".

    Getting the over-center wires back in is not easy, so you might want to use your turnouts with them removed, but it appears that it is not an absolute necessity.

    Try the test-bed, make sure the points are clean and are a snug fir to the stock rail. Also there is typically a quite thorough instruction how to wire them in them included with each PECO turnout, so that might help you to witre them correctly (which is exactly the samem as with every live-frog turnout...)
    I am sure you will come to like the PECOs :)

    Cheers
    Dirk
     
  20. Caddy58

    Caddy58 TrainBoard Member

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    oops, double post....
     

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