Confessions of an "0" gauge 'Virgin'......help needed!

Discussion in 'Hand built track' started by Keith M, Jul 18, 2020.

  1. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Ok, so I'm fairly soon going to be making my first venture into "0" gauge, having bought the Connoisseur "02" tank loco kit, gone the whole hog and bought motor, gearbox and plunger pickups, the intention is to actually run the thing, so for that I'm gonna need some track. Never having built my own track but considering myself an accomplished solderer, I'm wondering if I should go for maybe C&L and build my own, or just go out and buy some Peco or whatever. I've not looked at pricing whichever is likely to be the cheaper option (or indeed availability during the current situation!) and presently I've no idea of an actual layout in mind, so again, no awareness of eventual cost. It looks as though the only possible way I can build a useable layout is in my garage, a "U" shaped 'end-to-end' one, and the area I will ultimately have available will be 6.5M long by 0.6M wide on the first leg along the garage, a 4.2M long 150mm-ish (twin tracks) wide "shelf" across the back and a 2.3M by around 500mm wide return leg. The "shelf" across the back of the garage is necessarily narrow as we still need to accommodate 2 cars, leaving either outside is not something I'd even consider (despite living in a very 'low crime' area!) as I'm just too 'Old Fashioned'! Height of the layout from the floor will be 950mm. The garage itself is concrete sectional, timber lined but uninsulated inside, with a 'Plasticoated' steel roof with anti-condensation lining, so gets cold in winter and can be very hot in summer (if we ever get one!), so the layout won't get used during winter.
    As it'll be DCC from the 'off', but due to metal expansion in warmer weather, I'm thinking of allowing (say) a couple of mm between each rail end, and rather than running busbars under the board, I was thinking of soldering a short wire between each rail end joint, looping under the board from rail end to next rail end, so that the track itself becomes the busbar, each individual rail linked to the next. I doubt I'll ultimately have more than a couple of loco's in total (Say's He, where have I heard THAT one before!!!), but any help/suggestions on what's the best way to proceed and layout suggestions from the "0 gauge guru's" amongst us would be very much appreciated.
    Keith.
     
  2. Toto

    Toto I'm best ignored Staff Member Founder Administrator

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    Sounds like a reasonable space Keith.

    Let me think about the rail to rail links. There may be other advantages in having a two wire busbar.

    Are you going to have other electrical items like yard lights, building lights etc ? The reason I ask is that if so, I would power these off a separate supply which " again " a busbar system would be advantageous as it would let you tap into your supply locally.

    So .... in summary ..... a bus bar for the DCC and a separate Bus bar for accessories the power supply coming from a seperate transformer.

    I think it would be worth thinking it through before discounting the bus bar system. I'm sure others will chime in with more comments. I'll be back with more later after some more thought.

    What kind of point control will you be using, slow motion type or the peco " snap " type. This may also help determine the best way to power things.

    Sounds exciting though. :thumbs:

    Cheers

    Toto
     
  3. paul_l

    paul_l Staff Member Administrator

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    Hi Keith

    Peco points will give you a quicker result, but knowing how you like hands on, and only limited amounts of soldering.

    4 video's on point construction









    As for expansion gaps, I'd be more tempted pin the board joints and section breaks so they dont move, on the rails between have rail brakes / expansion joints approx every 420 mm for 60ft rail sections, 350mm for 50ft, 280mm for 40ft etc etc. You will also get a authentic clickety clack as a bonus. Cosmetic fish plates solderd to one side of the rail joint will allow the rails to expand / contract while helping with alignment (Peco fish plates will also do a similar job but not look as good).
    I always have at least one track feed per length of rail.

    Paul
     
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  4. SMR CHRIS

    SMR CHRIS Staff Member Moderator

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    Welcome to the Dark Side Keith you may have seen the light, and it’s a slippery mossy slope :avatar::avatar::avatar:
    Your very optimistic at staying small with the loco fleet :facepalm: I said that in the beginning and now io have enough for multiple layouts.
    Your space seems very generous compared to what Have had to model in and building exhibition layouts in, so you will definitely be able to get a very nice layout / Model Railway.
    Re the shed I’d consider the small expense of upping the insulation to make it’s habitability over a wider period of the year.
    Track hand made track Soldered track or individually glued chair track will be a lot more susceptible to expansion / contraction issues in a unstable climate.
    The advantages of the Ready to Place track like Peco is it’s proven to stand up well to the expansion contraction issues of Harsh climate’s my Moonan Flats lives in a area that has in summer temps of 45’c plus and winter 0’c and it has stood up very well over the last few years only needing a small adjustment once to the rotating sector plate and that was at a show in hot conditions Ozzy Summer in a Non air conditioned Venue.
    re track price works out very similar per foot or per per point However the peco point is very generic and Size wise sometimes looks a little short in a layout. Going hand made Or kit can get much better athletically looking results with the points. However there’s the trade of of the fragility of them in a harsh climate.

    Enjoy this jump in modelling size and welcome to the Rubber gauges club:hismiley: :thumbs::thumbs::thumbs:
     
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  5. Kimbo

    Kimbo Staff Member Moderator

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    Great to hear your going to build a layout Keith for your new acquisition :thumbs:

    If it’s of any help to you, my advise would be to use Peco pointwork and track. Having now built four o gauge layouts in the Australian climate I can totally agree with Chris that the Peco products will stand up to all the expansion and contraction movements your likely to get in your garage in the UK.

    I’ve not built any o gauge track, but I have used Marcway points and c&l trackwork in doors on my layout. As you probably know these are custom hand made pointwork with soldered sleepers. In 4 years this layout which is the extension to LSD has had several minor track issues which have always been found on the pointwork, mainly expansion joints on frogs or switch blades sticking.
    LSD, Uses all Peco points apart from the three way point and I’ve had no issues with any of them, the point being both layouts are in the same environment and the issues have nearly always being with the finer scale products.

    Kim
     
  6. Toto

    Toto I'm best ignored Staff Member Founder Administrator

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    A clear picture starting to emerge here Keith I think. You are not in any rush so look into the other elements that may contribute to your decision making. More opinions on the wiring are in my opinion the main headline items. Again, when doing this, consider how you are going to deal with accessories etc.

    Maybe once a track plan emerges it will help as it will give you an idea of how big your need for electrical will be. Not just the DCC element but the other electrical elements. Lighting, point control and any other special features.

    The Cobalts I used for example, from memory used a separate supply to power the motor then another to feed the frog. I'd need to look that up again as it's been a while but it is a consideration. If its solenoid motors then you will be operating them from a DC supply. Somebody correct me if I am wrong here.

    Cheers

    Toto
     
  7. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    My 00 gauge layout has 2 buses, one for the DCC and the second for entirely separate DC lighting, split into 2 sections, each section powered by an independant transformer supply with full-wave rectification, each section supplying around 50 LED street/building lights. This layout is in my loft, fully insulated, central heated and with a dehumidifier on a time control so extremes of heat and/or humidity are controlled, but unfortunately that won't be possible in my garage for the 0 gauge layout, hence why I will be unable (or unwilling) to use it in the depths of winter. Heating isn't an option as it would be far too costly to run, and as we on occasion bring wet cars into the garage, humidity isn't controllable either. I've not got as far as deciding on points control, but 'wire-in-tube' isn't practical for the distances involved so control will be electrical, but as 0 gauge is entirely new to me, I've no experience of point motors for this gauge- I have half a dozen of Hattons 'own-brand' solenoids which, if they're 'Man-enough' for the job, may be pressed into service, but on my 00 gauge layout, I mainly used the Seep PM1 solenoids with secondary changeover contacts which operate colour light signals. Connection of these is by 6 core 'Burglar alarm' cable out from and back to the main control panel with the relevant signals fed out from here, again using 6 core and feeding 2 different signals, cables being mainly contained by plastic 'minitrunking' in an attempt to keep it as reasonably tidy as possible. Depending on the number of points/signals on the 0 gauge layout, I may well use a similar approach but again, nothing is 'cast-in-stone' at this time, hence my need for experienced advice from the 0 gauge community as expensive mistakes are even more expensive in 0 gauge than 00 gauge!:giggle:

    Keith.
     
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  8. jakesdad13

    jakesdad13 Staff Member Moderator

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    Hi Keith, it's great to see you are getting stuck in and building an O gauge layout and what a great space to work with. As for trackwork, Peco is good tried and tested product but is basic. If you want more authentic looking trackwork then you could go for C&L but I don't know how long you would have to wait for it, he makes ready to lay track with the correct sleeper spacing and with the correct rail angle as per the prototype. His point kits are good too but the wait for them is problematic, though I cannot say I've heard any complaints lately.
    An alternative is Marcway ready to lay track, I think it is similar to C&L in respect to prototype, plus is close enough to go and fetch it (as long as it is in stock....). If you want to build your own points Peco do their own Individulay components, I seem to recall Paul_L using these when C&L let him down.
    If you need any help or advice you know where we are mate.

    Cheers, Pete.
     
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  9. Toto

    Toto I'm best ignored Staff Member Founder Administrator

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    As far as point motors and wiring goes, they are the same in any scales. Paul and I use the same whether 4mm or 7mm. Where the costly mistakes can come in is getting DCC accessories right. Things like button boards or other control accessories. However, if you are doing your own manual electrical switching ( which sounds likely ) there would be less to be concerned about. Basically DCC running with DC switching. Entirely possible and every bit as much reliable.

    The only restriction would be being able to operate locos on DCC but not extending that control to other elements / accessories. Paul can maybe explain better than me.

    All good which ever way you go. Rule 1 applies.

    Toto
     
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  10. paul_l

    paul_l Staff Member Administrator

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    For point motors I'd go for servo motors - they tend to be designed for outdoor conditions, so should cope with the garage variation in temps / humidity.
    May even be worth looking at upvc sections / marine ply for the base board construction.
    I would just point out (pardon the pun), the above videos on track construction were built for a garden layout, so they must hold up to British weather -cold & damp to seriously cold & damp rather than hot to Oh my God I've woken up in Oz :avatar:

    The issues I had with C&L was via his mail order service or lack of, and total lack of service / response to email quiries. If you buy the bits at a show normally you'd be ok. However at the moment, he can't attend shows so maybe he can get around to answering emails.

    Paul
     
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  11. York Paul

    York Paul Staff Member Moderator

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    I have it on very good authority from others that when contacting C&L you just have to ask for Mr Door-Handle. :avatar:
     
  12. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    When I built my loft layout, I used what the trade call " Far Eastern ply", 9mm thickness. This is a high quality ply (though not "Marine grade") and I was considering using the same, since the layout will be fixed and not portable, so weight isn't an issue. There is a company in the next village which supplies insulation board including the blue type, but I doubt it would withstand the weight of 0 gauge stuff without many supports so I've pretty much discounted using this especially as the layout won't be portable so doesn't need to be lightweight, and when constructing stuff, I tend to build in a 'Victorian' fashion, well over the strength needed so it won't give way anytime soon. I hadn't thought of using servo's for points as my intention was to just use DC solenoid point motors (since I have half a dozen 'spare' anyway) but it's worth a thought.
    Whatever baseboard I use will be screwed along the main 6.5M length using right-angle brackets to the top of a run of Lidl's 'knock together' shelving which is screwed to both floor and wall so it ain't going anywhere, intention is to use shelf brackets to support the narrower run across the back of the garage then a 2.3M x 0.5M board over part of my 'metalworking bench' for the final leg, and I want to minimise wiring under the board as it will be awkward to install with shelves below and easy to damage when removing or replacing stuff from these shelves. It's unlikely that I'll get much of a start to the layout itself before the onset of winter, but I can use the time to accumulate some of the materials I'll need ready for a quick start when the weather warms up next year as I'm not into working in a freezing garage at my time of life and anyway, I have the 02 to build first and perhaps some rolling stock, which should keep me occupied during the colder months.
    Keith.
     
  13. paul_l

    paul_l Staff Member Administrator

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    and he's well and truly hooked, our work is done :avatar:

    For layout support - angled brackets would give room to open car doors

    upload_2020-7-22_23-22-17.png

    Paul
     
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  14. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Fortunately the garage is 14ft 6in wide and 32ft long (at one point we had 4 cars and 2 motorbikes in there!) so I can go to 2ft wide boards at each side (but only 2 tracks wide across the back) without any clearance problems Paul, so no need for folding 'add-ons' and angle brackets or 'gate-legs'. My intention is to make the inner edge of each board curve round at each change of direction, so I need to know the radii of 0 gauge track curvature. 00 gauge is available as 1st/2nd/3rd/4th radius, but I've no idea what radius 0 gauge track is available in, similarly I don't know what type of rail is best to use, flat bottomed or bullhead profile, what track profiles are points/crossovers etc available in, which is best suited to my intended layout, wether points track profiles are available in both types etc........so many questions! I'm hopefully going to get some ply delivered next week, so with luck I may get a start on cutting and fitting the baseboards, the plan being to get all the baseboards completed ready for track, then leave actual track laying until better weather next year as I've loco and rolling stock to build. Oh, and did I mention I've not even looked at track planning yet........any idea's/suggestions welcome!
    Keith.
     
  15. York Paul

    York Paul Staff Member Moderator

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    This may help with questions you need answers to Keith, it is the old version but the principles are the same.


    https://www.gaugeoguild.com/manual/02_1_Plain track.pdf


    The only and best advice I can offer you Keith is do some research before you start baseboard planning and building your research should address what era do you intend modeling... important because this denotes the type of stock and locos you will run and this must also take into account our modelers Rule 1 principle. Second question to ask yourself is what level of authenticity you seek, there is no point going to the effort of hand building your pointwork and junction arrangements if you feel generic Peco points will work best for you. Hand built C&L stuff is great if A) shallow radius curves are not a space issue and B) you feel you have time, knowledge and patience along with the jigs to build your own track... I don't mean "knowledge" in a derogatory way but a certain level of track component understanding is important if you go to the expense of buying kit build points in order to attain realism, if not then Peco points will do the trick nicely saving time and money.

    As for rail, most stuff is bull head and on timber sleepers but you can get concrete sleeper packs and flat bottom rail for self assembly is available too... points made from flat bottom rail (to mimic modern scene stuff) is a very different animal indeed.

    Finally and I don't mean this in a derogatory way to the 4mm chaps here but whatever you have become accustomed to and know regarding functionality and application of 4mm scale stuff just forget when working with the larger scales... 4mm is what it is and any comparision of standards to 7mm scale will only cause confusion. The larger scales starting with Gauge O and upwards have characteristics which perform much as the real railway might, 4mm scale is really just a representation in small format... again no offence to anyone with 4mm intended but as they say each to their own.

    Ask futher questions as you need Keith and hope this starts to make things clearer. :thumbup:
     
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  16. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    So joining the Gauge 0 Guild might be a good idea then?
    Keith.
     
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  17. Bonky

    Bonky Full Member

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    Joining GoG is an excellent idea. Just keep clear of the politics - a very toxic area. The advice and expertise is excellent- as is the Gazette (quarterly).

    If it's not suitable just leave after 12 months!

    Richard
     
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  18. paul_l

    paul_l Staff Member Administrator

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    Hi Keith

    Rough guide keep your min radius above 5ft.

    Anyrail or Templot may also be of assistance

    Paul
     
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  19. York Paul

    York Paul Staff Member Moderator

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    That is subjective Keith but generally a good move, I am in the Guild because I receive the Gazette which publishes traders products and announcements of new items coming out. With some lines you can get a product discount by quoting membership number, however there is also an internet forum where a lot of members have migrated to and leaving the politics to those who choose to become involved in that aspect is always best.
     
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  20. paul_l

    paul_l Staff Member Administrator

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    Hi Keith - I'm also a member of the Gauge O guild - I am taking the medication and involved in the self help so maybe cured in the future :avatar:

    It is a great source of information, with the back catalog of gazzettes available to down load as pdf's, manuals and galleries, plus discounts to Guild organised events.

    Again not interested in the politics - I have enough issues dealing with Toto :avatar:

    Paul
     
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