What track to use.

astrotrain May 9, 2021

  1. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    I had to clean the contact points almost weekly Plus issues with them not closing right and causing derailments. I was using mostly the ST-5 and 6s
     
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  2. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    I have always thought switches (turnouts) which supply power to both routes, regardless of how they are set, are superior to power routing switches. It may take some extra electrical switches and operations (throwing those electrical switches) but track planning/execution is much simpler. You don't have to worry about extra gaps in the rails or extra feeders (unless you want them) and all that nonsense.

    Plus, there is no reliance on points being clean to transfer power to rails further on in the switch, which can become a PITA.

    Doug
     
  3. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks again friends. I do enjoy and need this kind of discussions. I had rather simple N gauge in the past and tried up grading to HO gauge with my last house but never got to far and now being in an apartment I need to return to N gauge and hopefully do a more elaborate layout.

    First I need to get my new mail order bicycle to run. It's working as bad as some of those turnouts.

    Rich
     
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  4. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    I like Kato's version of power routing which is done by simply repositioning two screws under the turnout. All the electronics are inside the turnout which keeps everything clean.
     
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  5. brokemoto

    brokemoto TrainBoard Member

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    I must clean frogs and points weekly, as well. In fact, I hope that train shows resume shortly, as I am on my last bottle of LL track cleaner. I have had two things cause the points to misalign. One is fatigue on the spring. The other is that the turnouts will "flex", which causes misalignments and gauging problems. I have had to open a few holes in the ties with a pin vise and set a ruler next to the ties then anchor the turnout. This addressed most, but not all, of the alignment problems

    This is one of the features of the Katos that I do like. The one drawback is that when the continuity problem arises, it is often the cross shaped piece inside that is the culprit. This means that you must pull up the turnout, take it apart and make sure that everything is aligned properly and that the cross shaped piece is contacting the poles properly. I will take this opportunity to clean all of the contact surfaces in side the turnout.

    Enemy Numero Uno of all things N scale is DIRT.
     
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  6. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Also Kato unitrack section including the turnout do have spike holes o tack it down. Flip a section over and the holes reveal themselves. Just need a small drill bit to complete them all the way through.
     
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  7. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    In N scale is is practically impossible to build a frog with separately powered routes through it that will not short out with metal wheels rolling through it. So they make the entire frog as one conducting* piece. Some means of powering it correctly per the route selected is required. Whether that is done near or within the body (or roadbed) of the switch, or remotely, is immaterial.

    *or insulating, as in the case of "insul-frog" switches, but those have problems with small locos at slow speeds, particularly in small scales where locos lack the mass and momentum to carry them across the insulated frog.

    What "extra gaps" are you suggesting are not needed? If the switch is related to a reversing loop, then the reversing loop needs the gaps and extra feeders, not the turnout.

    Or have I missed something?
     
  8. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    First, I used the word "nonsense" in my post above about power routing vs. non-power routing switches when I should have just used the word "stuff". It is certainly not nonsense.

    The extra gaps to which I was referring is in certain track arrangements where throwing switches certain ways will cause shorts if the gaps are not there. This actually applies to the power routing switches that rely on making both rails the same polarity to make the unused route inactive rather than the switches that merely remove power from different rails.

    I used the under table Atlas combination switch machines/electrical switches on the code 55 switches I have to change the frog polarity and it works perfectly. I believe if there was such a thing as a "unicycle" locomotive (0-2-0) it would be able to pass through these switches without stalling.

    Doug
     
  9. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Doug,

    If I understand it, your arrangement of a rail switch, with a separately acquired, installed, aligned and wired switch motor and electrical switch(es) under the layout, accomplishes no more or less than what the Unitrack switches do, in one factory assembled, aligned and tested unit, with no less reliability.

    Note, I would exclude the Unitrack #4 switches WRT out-of-the-box reliability, but in truth, they require less effort to tune up for perfect reliability, than aligning, mounting and wiring separate switch motors and electrical switches under the layout. All that is required is filing shallow notches in the #4's rails to accept the point ends.

    Nevertheless, congratulations; we both seem to have found separate solutions that work best for us.
     
  10. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    No wonder you had problems. The ST-5 and 6 switches were made to be NEM (Normen Europäischer Modellbahnen (German) or Normes Européennes de Modélisme (French) compliant not NMRA. They are a Code 80 set track component with a curve radius of 9 inches which is below NMRA standards. The entire set track housing the switch is only 3.5 inches long with a 22.5 degree frog angle. People in Europe and England use them with their two axle lorries or van cars. In the US they are mostly used for trolley lines or streetcars where a short compact switch is the order of the day. By contrast the Peco long C 55 switch has a curve radius of 36 inches, a frog angle of 10 degrees and a length of about 6.5 inches.
     
  11. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    They initially worked just fine but as time wore on they became very difficult to keep clean and their movement went downhill. Plus they fit nicely since I have 8.5 inch rad on my mainlines and run only 40 foot cars and small 4 axle switchers and steam is limited to 3 axle. Tight rad in the port area also. Got rid of them and went with Kato's short rad turnouts and cured my problems. Lest you forget I am running a standard gauge layout with a narrow gauge flavor.
     
  12. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    Well, I just don't like the looks of Unitrack and I like trackwork and related things. Wiring and such.

    Doug
     
  13. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Different horses for different courses... that's what makes this hobby so widely interesting: there are all sorts of aspects to it; we can dig deep into those we like, and choose methods and products to minimize those we don't.
     
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  14. astrotrain

    astrotrain TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks all for your replies ' Sorry for not posting sooner but been busy . So not one person suggested Atlas code 100 and Atlas 100 turnouts. After looking around that seems to be the most in stock now in these weird times. I know code 100 is not the most realistic of the bunch but is it reliable. Thanks
     
  15. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    Code 100 does not exist for N scale. You are asking about N scale right?
     
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  16. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    I'm sure you mean Atlas code 80 for N scale. It's fine, especially the custom line #6 switches. I have had zero problems with them.

    As for the standard switches, you may want to make sure you get the right ones as some of the Chinese-made ones weren't too good. The point area is the problem. Look for ones with the points that have "L" shaped rails instead of a solid piece and have narrow blades that meet the stock rails. They are pretty much trouble-free.

    After some experience, you can get the solid rail version too when you know what to look for.

    Doug
     
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  17. OleSmokey

    OleSmokey TrainBoard Member

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    I dono, Don't know if i did it wrong or what but i had various issues with atlas code 55, Micro engineering an then Bachmann. Had different issues but just thought it was that brand. After watching Mike Fifer and his layout, I went with Kato. The biggest issue with them is that they don't give any smoothness when it is laid to a bump on the layout like what plaster cloth can make. I kept having issues till i quit and let it go for a couple of years. When i saw that Fifer was rebuilding his layout and how easy it was cleaning up the track, I did the same thing. I tore everything that was good off the old rr and started all new with the Kato track and turnouts. So far i have not really had any big issues other than not getting the track down tight. I have it down right now and its running really well! Thanks Mike!!
     
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  18. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    Lord, Lord, Smokey! are you laying track directly on the plaster, no subroadbed, no cork? If that's the case, the problem in't the track, its you. As some say, a building is only as good as it's foundation.
     
  19. OleSmokey

    OleSmokey TrainBoard Member

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    Kato has the roadbed built in. I was kinda told to lay down plaster before i lay down the track. When i saw Fifers new layout and saw how he did the foam I am trying it his way. My old layout had two issues. I laid down track on the fresh plaster cloth. Second was not smoothing down the plaster more to give the kato a better surface to lay flat on. Don't know why some said to plaster first and others after track laid down. I had so many comments i wasn't sure which way to go. This time after watching Fifer I am laying down track first. Plaster after. Not planning any plaster other than the river and town but not ready for the town to be glued down. Doing this one a lot different. I had a lot of the scenery down before i laid the track down. That made two big mistakes. The tunnel was easy, no plaster. smooth and no issues with it. The track outside of the tunnel was my issue. One other thing that had a bearing on how smooth it was that i was using white beaded foam. That was one of the major issues. There is nothing white on this layout. All pink! I have a couple of power routing to fix but the main is doing great. Happy with the main line. After running a couple more power cords to the track it should be done. I am running power over everything at around 3-4 foot all the way around the main. Nothing yet on the logging line yet. One thing at a time.
     
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  20. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    I put a feeder every 4 pieces of Unitrack straight or every 39". Curves were a 'guess'...close counts !! I havent had a bit of problem in 9 years !!! You should be fine every 36" - 48". (y)(y)
     
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