A far Southern Region OO layout

Discussion in 'Members Personal Layouts' started by elimatta, Feb 18, 2016.

  1. elimatta

    elimatta Full Member

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    I'm certainly not the only Australian to make a layout based on the Southern Region towards the end of steam. Here is the initial track plan, provided for me by Gary, for which I'm very grateful.

    The space available is a little over 2 metres by 2 metres.

    [​IMG]

    I've now completed the basic baseboard framework. On the left hand side of this plan it rests on two old chests of drawers. As a result, I've decided to put the framework on top of the chests and add an extra layer of what now passes as 2 by 1 to leave clearance room for wiring, points motors etc.

    [​IMG]

    Resting on top of the baseboards to the right are bits of a now abandoned layout which was in a previous room. They are there simply because it is the safest place to keep them while I salvage what I can from them.

    [​IMG]

    Between the main station board along the wall and the larger area on the chests I have built a drop section to allow room for a bridge or viaduct. I now realise that it has hilariously greater depth than I need. So I'll pretend that is deliberate as a place to keep the transformer/controller as well as room for a bridge above.

    [​IMG]

    I've begun laying the station track following Gary's plan with just one difference. I like bay platforms so I have provided for one of them against the wall. I was encouraged when I found the plan which I bluetacked against the wall: it is Barnstaple (Victoria Road). I found this after Gary sent me the plan, showing how prototypical his plan is.

    By the way, that's 9mm ply. I was planning to buy 6mm but had to bring a big sheet of it home on the roof of a car, and didn't think 6 would survive the journey. Even 9 mm flapped around a bit, so I had to travel at a steady 45 kmh. Since I don't plan to move the layout, the extra weight doesn't matter.

    The dangling wires are starting to dangle less now, because I've now started to install bus wires and am chopping off the long lengths of drop wires as I go. I'm using neat connectors from Jaycar instead of soldering upside down. They're working well.

    I'd like some advice please. First, I don't intend to install points motors at this stage. I've had some success with wire in tube and think I'll use that. But just in case, should I drill a hole beneath the point bars before I begin to pin it all down, to leave open the possibility of points motors? If so, what diameter holes? I'll have to drill through the cork too, as I'll use the usual cork underlay.

    Secondly, this is all code 100 Peco. I have some fixed radius track but probably won't use it. I much prefer the look of code 75 which I'd like to use on the larger baseboard. Has anyone had experience of Peco's linking track between code 75 and 100? Is there any other way to connect the two?

    Thirdly, at my request, Gary's plan has a rather complicated return loop. Electricity is anything but clear to me. Is this a disaster in waiting for wiring? The plan is for DCC.

    Bruce
     
  2. Toto

    Toto Staff Member Founder Administrator

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    Hi Bruce,

    First of all, great thread. Loads of interesting stuff on here.:thumbup:

    You have made a great start with your plan. Looks great. There again, I would not expect anything different if Gary was involved. He has spent goodness knows how many hours working on my R & GLR plans as well. Good choice of mentor.

    I think hat you suggest about drilling holes under your tie bars is a good idea. Just in case you change your choice of point operation at a later date. Good thinking.

    The merging of code 100 with code 75 can be done using transition pieces. What you may wish to consider though is the age of your rolling stock as some of the older models have deeper wheel flanges that may not run so well on code 75. I have heard that sometimes, the wheel flanges can hit the top of the rail chairs. Something to think about.

    I use code 75 ( Peco ) and find it fine but most of my rolling stock is new with a couple of second hand items. They seem to be alright.

    You mention that you will be going DCC. What kind of operating system / controller are you / will you be using ?

    The return loop should not be an issue for you as there are various gizzmo's that can be reasonably simply wired to your track that will take care of the loop for you. Before you rush in to lay the loop however, try reading up a little on it as there will need to be Insulating Rail joiners placed at certain points on your track in order to get things to work. If I can find any suitable reading on it, I'll send you a link. It's likely to be over the weekend though unless someone else beats me to it.

    I'll look forward to seeing what you are up to next.

    Cheers

    Toto
     
  3. elimatta

    elimatta Full Member

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    Hi Toto

    Thanks for a very speedy response. There are some advantages to time differences. Except for slackers like me, Australians are at work now.
    I've bought all my rolling stock in the last few years, Hornby and Bachmann, so that sounds OK for code 75. The code 100 stuff I have was from a previous layout. I managed to lift the points without damaging them. I read somewhere that using wallpaper paste instead of diluted PVA made it easier to lift track, and it worked.
    I have the cheaper of the two Hornby DCC controllers. In my previous layout it seemed adequate for my limited needs. I have read the reviews of the alternatives since then and see that there were alternatives...
    Thanks for the comment on the return loop. It will be quite a while before I get there, so I'll read about it in the meantime. I do like the idea of running out and back.

    best wishes

    Bruce
     
  4. Gary

    Gary Staff Member Administrator Golden Goat 2018

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    Hi Bruce,

    Can I ask, are you laying your track on a cork road bed ??

    If yes, there is no need to drill holes in the baseboard for wire in tube, unless you want to install point motors in the long run. I agree with Toto that it's a great idea to drill the holes now and cover with a piece of masking tape. This will stop ballast falling through !

    On my Industry Lane layout, I used the wire in tube method, but on top of the baseboard. Here is a link to a few pics of how I went about this :

    http://p1mrc.com/p1mrc/view_post.php?post_id=1235

    The fifth and sixth photo shows clearly what I have done.

    Basically, I have used 'Remote Control Car aerial tube' as a 'tunnel' for the wire to run through. Using Liquid Nails (or a cheaper brand), the tubes were glued into position, with the wire in them and bent to the correct shape. One end (as you already know) bends 90* into the throw bar/tie bar, the other bend up 90* horizontally into a predrilled hole in a small slide switch (available from Jaycar). The slide switch is screwed to the base board on the layout edge.

    The great thing about running the wire in tube atop of the baseboard, is that you needn't worry about baseboard framing.

    Now, if you are using electrofrog points, here is a diagram of how I married the wire in tube and the polarity switching to the slide switch as one.

    [​IMG]
    What I haven't labelled above, is the two link wires that connect the stock rails to the switch blades. You can see the 'link wires' beside each of the blue and red wire where they connect to the stock rail. Please note that this is only a simple schematic to simplify the diagram.

    Another method for wire in tube, is to cut slots in the baseboard approximately 3mm deep with a circular saw. First you need to lay out all the track, then mark out where you will need to cut the 'groove', from the edge of the baseboard to just past the centre of the point. Remembering that a circular saw cuts a round end !

    Using 3mm square brass tube (K&S), small pieces 10mm long can be cut, and then pressed into the groove. The wire can be fed through these as a guide. The point end is bent up 90* (befor installing) and the other end a loop is form. Insall the point then cover the groove with masking tape so that it can be scenicked over.

    Again, this method is above the baseboard, or I should say inside the baseboard as opposed to underneath it

    Cheers, Gary.
     
  5. elimatta

    elimatta Full Member

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    Thanks again Gary. That's very crafty. I've made two trips to Jaycar this week, and in the second they were giving away catalogues so I'll be able to find the switches.
    Yes I'll use cork as you've done.
    I just realised that I may have to use some point motors because in some places the track with the points is elevated above the level of the baseboard front. I don't think that a wire in a tube should sail through the air. So I'll need to use a mixture of wire and motors.
    All good fun.
    Bruce
     
  6. Gary

    Gary Staff Member Administrator Golden Goat 2018

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  7. elimatta

    elimatta Full Member

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    Thanks.
     
  8. paul_l

    paul_l Staff Member Administrator

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    Hi Bruce

    Just catching up, your Hornby Select, although limited, will keep you good until you decide what you want DCC to do for you.

    Will you be wanting to control points / signals / lights etc etc ....... from the DCC controller. How many operators will there be (max and min), do you want central control or local control or handset control (or all three). Will you be connecting a computer to the system (very handy for loco and accessory decoder setup), and if so will the computer be used help control the layout, or even automate it.

    The advantage of thinking of this now, is you can help avoid expensive mistakes, and map out a plan.

    Worth bearing in mind is Trackbus accessory decoders (eg point point motors etc) can be easily mixed, as long as they are NMRA compliant (most are), you just give them an address and away you go, so you can mix Hornby, Digitrax, NCE, MERG, Lenz etc etc.
    Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Data busses, most use their own propriety standard, e.g. Digitrax - Loconet, NCE - Cab Bus, MERG - CANBUS, making the choice of DCC system more critical if you intend expanding its functionality.

    On the plus side, a computer can be used to interface between systems, so for my system on Victoria Road

    NCE PowerCab + additional Cab06 throttle + USB interface
    Points - Seep Point Motors operated by MERG Pulsed DCC Accy decoders.
    Traverser - homemade controlled via an arduino on the dcc track bus.

    PC + JMRI software + Android tablets / phones as additional handsets
    Within JMRI, I have setup routes so I can either click on the track plan to change the point, click on the route name to set the whole route, or manually switch them via the handsets.

    When youre ready, just post any questions.

    Paul
     
  9. Toto

    Toto Staff Member Founder Administrator

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    Hi Bruce,

    Has your head went into melt down yet. :avatar: loads of great information coming through for you. It'll take time to get your head around it but I do echo the importance of getting your control system correct.
    I use NCE myself and I'm more than happy with the flexibility that it provides but ask around as there are so many decent systems out there. It really depends on how involved you want to get.

    I'll look forward to seeing what direction your layout and system takes.

    As Paul said, fire off your questions in your own time.

    Cheers

    Toto
     
  10. Toto

    Toto Staff Member Founder Administrator

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    Hi Bruce,

    Has your head went into melt down yet. :avatar: loads of great information coming through for you. It'll take time to get your head around it but I do echo the importance of getting your control system correct.
    I use NCE myself and I'm more than happy with the flexibility that it provides but ask around as there are so many decent systems out there. It really depends on how involved you want to get.

    I'll look forward to seeing what direction your layout and system takes.

    As Paul said, fire off your questions in your own time.

    Cheers

    Toto
     
  11. elimatta

    elimatta Full Member

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    Hi Paul and Toto

    Thanks again for all your help. I keep hearing good things about NCE. I'll certainly think about it all. I can see the advantage of planning in advance rather than my customary ad hoc (money wasting) approach to modelling. I have two grandsons who are becoming interested, and will think through what I want them to do while they are young. One of them likes turning building lights on and off and changing the brightness, while the other is nearly old enough to run trains. The older one loves electronics.

    Best wishes
    Bruce
     
  12. SMR CHRIS

    SMR CHRIS Staff Member Moderator

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    :gday: Bruce

    The DCC choice is a hard area you will hear how good each system is from the users of that system and I find that they will always have something negative to say about a "rival" system to the one they use. :scratchchin:

    What I can say is if it works for you it is the right system for you.
    How will you know :confused: What works for you, have a test go with the hand sets try the buttons twisel the knobs run a train on a layout that some one has a system set up on.

    What I personally like may not suit you and vice-versa.

    I have several systems as I do lots of installs and testing of beta decoders so need to know what works with various system's

    One thing I like is a control knob throttle as you know when it is at the stop position.
    A few manufactures have rotary encoder knobs but. With these you never know the O position unless you have a number on the screen to read. CVPUSA easy DCC is one that has a throttle with control knob with a stop so you know it's at O position.

    What systems do I have,
    NCE pro radio 5amp -- great stand alone system dose every thing with one hand set, button controls are soft touch several speed step control options including rotary encoder, although the feel of the buttons sometime leaves you wondering if you pressed it hard enough to work, It's a Compact system, base station, radio antenna base, and a power pack then your hand control don't even need a facia plate on the layout to use although it comes with this option, base station also has a stand alone program track output. Also has a serial port for connection to PC can also add extra throttles to system and basic small palm size throttles are available, tethered or radio versions

    CVP USA easy DCC system this is a modular system has a base command station with 2 built in throttles then added options for tethered throttles, boosters, radio throttles. It has a Separate program track out put, this can be used without affecting the running of the layout or trains (something not all systems are capable of)
    Throttles feel sturdy, have positive push buttons, lights for Forward reverse indications, basic throttles have control knob that has the previously mentioned stop postiton so you know it's at the O position. Several radio throttle options from basic to advanced hand sets with LCD display. Throttles are a nice fit in your hand Easy upgrade command station. Plug in chip no soldering. By far the easiest system to set up and kill consists with.

    Sprog3 The Sprog is a interface between the PC and the layout the Sprog3 has the power to run a layout off via the PC using JMRI programming and throttles even wifi throttles using your mobile phone with a throttle App great to get the tech kids interested. Quickest and cheapest way to control a layout via DCC I would Recomend putting a DCC auto circuit breaker in between module and track if using as a command station not just as a programmer.

    What is my favourite
    I use the CVP easy DCC the most mostly due to its easy of operation I find I need less key Strokes to do the majority of every day DCC tasks programming of any type doesn't effect the rest of the layout can have guests running trains and be programming new locos. And I prefer the throttles of this system and I can give a basic throttle to a new operator and tell them that all they need to know is # loco number # and they are in control can't accidentally reprogram a loco by randomly pressing buttons and if the need to stop there train its a positive stop position on the throttle.

    If the system was for a first time DCC user (just wanted to run trains) a NCE power cab would be a good cost effective starting point that can if they decided later to be up graded with the addition of a booster or go to a pro system and use the hand set with that later on. One draw back is no stand alone program track option.

    The local club layout uses a Lenz System whilst it works well, it is basic and in some ways cumbersome to do tasks other than run trains and you need the manual handy to do tasks, a lot of button pressing to do things the others do with a single key stroke. :hammer:

    Before you choose If you know of modelers with different DCC systems have a test run with the systems hand sets before making a decision if it doesn't feel right in your hand you will never be happy no matter what the system can do.

    Now your really confused and are Going back to old school DC :faint:
     
  13. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    I use the Lenz system and have 3 LH100 pushbutton controls which I prefer, and an LH90 rotary control which I can't get on with, so use it only to control my motorised turntable. I've no wish to computerise my layout, preferring to control points with centre off toggle switches. It just goes to show that what suits one person is disliked by others, so perhaps the best way forward is to try other modellers control systems and see what you find is the easiest one to use by you, then you can budget for what you need without expensive mistakes.
    Keith.
     
  14. elimatta

    elimatta Full Member

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    Ahem... I won't be returning to jerky DC, but, ahem. I'll have a look at the systems when I next go to an exhibition. I'll see Gary's layout on the weekend after next.
    I'm currently examining a PhD thesis, something I do occasionally in my retirement. Electronics is much harder to understand.
     
  15. SMR CHRIS

    SMR CHRIS Staff Member Moderator

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    elimatta wrote:
    Hi Bruce
    If you get have a play with Gary's NCE at Forrestville and if your not in a hurry you can try my CVP at the Brick pit exhibition.
    I will have both systems there CVP / NCE as some of my. Operators prefer NCE others The CVP.
    At least you will be able to compare 2 of the many systems out there.

    Re the Jerky DC
    Hate to to say it, if it's Jerky on DC, it is only going to get worse with DCC it's not that there is a lack of power it's the DCC signal going missing, that causes the issues clean track/Wheels is just as or more so important with DCC, it's at that point it would have just jerked on DC
    If it Jerked on DC over a bit of track, on DCC most likely it will actualy stop this also largely depends on the decoder ability etc keep alive or if it looses DCC signal info how it restarts some decoder will stop reset and set off again from 0 speed step and return to the commanded speed step others will return imediatly to the last commanded speed step ie will jerk just like on DC.

    It's a myth that DCC's high constant voltage fixes running issues.

    In fact it can do a lot of damage if you do not respect it.

    I have had a Hornby merchant Navy for repair that has had to have all its pickup wheels replaced as was run on very dirty track the arcing destroyed the wheels plating to the point the wheels were no longer serviceable
    That modeller now makes sure his track is nice and clean.

    Bruce good luck with the DCC decision also with the Ph.D read in, and if we few locals Ozzys can help just ask.:thumbs:

    http://www.click

    Edit fixed some auto fill words that were incorrect
     
  16. elimatta

    elimatta Full Member

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    Thanks Chris. By jerky I mean unrealistically quick acceleration. I have a couple of DC locomotives and with an old DC controller they accelerate faster than a Tesla. Their minimum speed is anything but a crawl.
    Even my Hornby DCC controller runs the DCC chipped locos very smoothly by comparison. Of course I'm comparing very old DC with quite new DCC. The 1967 Beetle I once drove wouldn't match the cheapest car now for smoothness. I'm a technology fan even if I don't understand it.
     
  17. Gary

    Gary Staff Member Administrator Golden Goat 2018

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    Better let you down now Bruce...

    Linden Ford is DC...:oops: Still come for a play, I mean operating session ! Industry Lane is DCC and will be appearing at Thornleigh in June (Brickpit Stadium).

    Cheers, Gary.
     
  18. elimatta

    elimatta Full Member

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    !!!
     
  19. Toto

    Toto Staff Member Founder Administrator

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    Hi Bruce,
    try as many as you can. As i mentioned, I can vouch for NCE but I hear lenz is also good as well. its all about how it feels to you when in use.
    take your time and good luck.
    cheers
    toto
     
  20. paul_l

    paul_l Staff Member Administrator

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    Wot they all said ......

    If a system has a computer interface, then what ever you require in the future can be grafted on, one way or another. For me it comes down to the controller, missing features, idyosyncracies etc etc can normally be overcome or worked around, but if the controller feels awkward, you are never going to fully enjoy the system. Keep trying different systems for the ergonomics, then see if it can fullfill all of your requirements, and anything your not sure of, ask. It gives each of us the opportunity to preach the gospel according to our own faith :avatar:

    Paul
     

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