Possible 0 gauge track plan and my thoughts on it.

Discussion in 'Suggested Layout Track Plan Examples' started by Keith M, Sep 24, 2020.

  1. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    As many will know, I'm about to start in 0 gauge after a few years and a reasonably sized 00 gauge layout in my loft. The 'new' 0 gauge layout will be in the rearmost part of my 32ft x 14ft 6in garage, "U" shaped with likely a single track across the rear, linking the two 'legs' of the "U". I'm not very conversant with track planning software and I use a Mac anyway, so most won't run on it (and I'm somewhat thick when it comes to using it!) so having looked around, I came across "FreeTrackPlans.com" and found a plan which might well suit my intentions, albeit with a bit of 'adjustment' to suit. My intention is to build it as a 'Heritage' railway, mainly so that I can run whatever eclectic mix of loco's I choose (invoking 'Rule 1' here I guess!), probably modelled on a 'post-Beeching' ex-Southern now disconnected through line, one 'leg' is about 6.5M long by 600mm wide, opposite 'leg' is 2.4M long by 600mm wide joined across the back of the garage by a250mm wide section. This is the plan I'm considering, actually modelled on Buxton which is not too far from my home, the lower drawing is the most likely option.

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    Last edited: Sep 24, 2020
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  2. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    The baseboards have already been constructed, all fixed in place to the top of a run of Lidl's 'knock together' steel workshop shelving down the main 6.5m run, which is fully occupied with the various stuff that we all accumulate over our lives, and as a result, I don't want to run any wiring under the boards due to the likelihood of it getting snagged on objects being put into or removed from the shelves below, so a bit of a 'Think outside the box' was necessary. I am by trade a retired Electrician, so am quite familiar with what's available to my trade that might be of use in my proposed layout, so here are my thoughts on how I intend to proceed, feel free to shoot me down or indeed make alternative suggestions as to how best keep wiring out from under the boards. I've previously made use of the pvc 'minitrunking' available nowadays, and as I have edged my entire layout boards on the 'open' side with a 40mm 'upstand' (to hopefully prevent any stock from taking a suicidal dash to the concrete floor below!), my intention is to use 38mm x 16mm trunking fitted to the outer side of the 'upstand', allowing me to run points/signal wiring in it, using surface mounted 'Hattons PM-01' point motors, drilling through and passing wiring directly into said point motors, then using 'wire-in-tube' to connect point motor to point. For signals, I may need to run the smallest size minitrunking from the main one, under the board to directly below each signal, again to prevent wiring damage. I'm no artist and I can't use computer programmes to draw an explanatory diagram, so here's a (very) rough sketch of my idea. The trunking I intend using is 'flat-packed' on a 12m roll, it's fixed in place first then the sides are 'folded in' and just click into place to form the "U" shape, lid clipped on after cabling.

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  3. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    These are the Hattons point motors, I have half a dozen left over from my 00 gauge layout and they have a crank fitted as part of the standard mechanism, which would seem to make them ideal for 'wire-in-tube' actuation of points or indeed of semaphore signals. Shame to waste them! (Tighta*se alert!):giggle:

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  4. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Now onto actual layout control. My 00 gauge layout is Lenz DCC controlled and has been from the off, and I have no intention of doing anything differently with the proposed 0 gauge layout. As a Lenz user (Yes, I know, other systems are available! :giggle:) I decided to stick with what I know rather than two entirely different systems/controls, these days at 73, I'm not the sharpest knife in the box, and I don't need the added confusion of different systems so I'll stick with what I know, and with that in mind, I've got hold of a secondhand Lenz "Set 100" which comprises the LZV100 control unit and an LH100 pushbutton throttle which I prefer infinitely over the LH90 rotary throttle. As it happened, it also came with 3 of the LS100 Lenz DCC 4 way point switching units, which I've not used before, having preferred 'Analogue' control by switches, but I'll give it a go and if it works without problems then "It'll do", if not, the LS100's will be sold on and I'll go analogue again. I don't intend running busbars on this layout as stated due to not wanting wires under the boards so perhaps at the risk of controversy, I intend to link each track (likely to be Peco Setrack SL700BH 1 yard lengths) rail to the next by soldering a link of 1.5sq mm copper wire between them at the ends, (at the rear side, so not seen from the front) thus making the actual rails themselves the busbars, no difference to my mind (and speaking as an Electrician!) to running busbars under the boards and linking runners from each rail above. If the layout were more complicated then I appreciate this might bring problems, but as a relatively simple layout, I can't see any problems, but I'm open to corrections/comments. Here's the Lenz kit.

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  5. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Finally, and really not much to do with the layout itself, but as an aid to help me see what I'm doing, I've also done an 'upgrade' to the garage lighting (and been impressed enough with it to do the same with my loft 'train room' lighting likewise). A simple enough upgrade but one which other members might not be aware of, is the availability nowadays of LED versions of the standard sizes of Fluorescent tubes, which make a considerable difference to light levels from 'standard' fluorescent tubes, not too expensive either, though we are perhaps lucky inasmuch as in Alfreton we have a well-known 'cheap shop' which stocks the 5ft size at £7.99, not too bad considering a standard replacement fluorescent tube would set you back around half that, LED one is rated at 22 watts as opposed to the fluorescent tube at 58 watts (or 65 watts if they're the larger diameter tubes ), so not only a better light level, no more flickering and flashing to start, especially when it gets colder, (LED tubes start immediately), cheaper to run and best of all, they come with a replacement starter switch (standard one won't work with LED tubes!) included. The brand I have is "Status", looking on Ebay, makes such as Phillips are more than twice the price I paid, so it pays to look around, no more excuses of not having seen what I'm looking for!:giggle:
    No connection with either manufacturer or supplier!
    Keith.

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  6. Kimbo

    Kimbo Staff Member Moderator

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    Nice straight forward looking plan Keith :thumbup:
    FreeTrackPlans web site is very good, not seen that one before.
    Kim
     
  7. Toto

    Toto I'm best ignored Staff Member Founder Administrator

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    The only question I have is if linking the track power the way you intend, may you not have a possible issue with volts drop ? What is the longest length of your track ?

    I think the beauty of droppers off a main bus is it can reduce the potential of volts drop as the source power is nearer at hand to each point of connection. Might be wrong.

    Cheers

    Toto
     
  8. paul blythe

    paul blythe Full Member

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    You are absolutely correct Toto. Another advantage is that with each section having its own supply you dont have to worry about electrical continuity of the rails from one end to the other. I would say on a preserved railway running at low Speeds with relatively short trains volt drop may not be a problem though. If it was a through mainline with large Pacifics with high current motors hauling long trains it may be more of a problem.
     
  9. jakesdad13

    jakesdad13 Staff Member Moderator

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    Hi Keith, great introduction to your new layout :thumbup:. Regarding the wiring of the track, I watched a YouTube video by Paul Chetter showcasing one of his sound chips. He was running a loco on his personal layout and I was interested to see he was using copper self adhesive strip running alongside the track on top of the base boards, the droppers went from this to the rails all above board. He hadn't done any ballasting or scenery but the bus and droppers would be hidden once the scenicery had been done.

    Cheers, Pete.
     
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  10. Kimbo

    Kimbo Staff Member Moderator

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    Pete, that exactly how LSD was “wired” up. The “dropper wires” on my install are no more than 50mm in length. The tape is self adhesive and can be extended by folding over a section, pre tin it then solder the two ends together. LSD is just under 5m in length and every section of track and point work is soldered to the tape, no matter how small a section it is. In nearly 5 years I’ve never had a track power issue.
    Keith, your intended wiring solution will work as well, as long as every track join is bridged and there is no reliance on fish plates to carry power.
     
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  11. Toto

    Toto I'm best ignored Staff Member Founder Administrator

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    All interesting stuff really. So many ways to skin a cat. :avatar: no harm to cats mind. :facepalm: feline correctness and all that.

    Looking forward to seeing which way you go Keith. :thumbs:
     
  12. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Total length of the layout from end to end is just 11M and the plan is to feed the track exactly in the mid point, so 5.5m each side of the feed in. 1.5sq.mm cable is capable of carrying around 20 amps, so I don't anticipate any noticeable volt drop as the cross sectional area of the rails is much more than that, and I don't intend relying on fishplates for any purpose other than keeping rail ends in line. All the link wires will be soldered as I'm not keen on connectors in any shape or form since my electrical training reminds me that all joints have a resistance, particularly screwed connectors, so there's no substitute for proper soldered joints to minimise this. As far as loco stock goes, I have the 02 currently under construction, the Scorpio Rebuilt 'Merchant Navy" as yet unbuilt, and the plan (hope?) is a Dapol Class 08 (most of the 'Heritage' lines seem to have one of these), I'd REALLY like a "Spamcan" B of B, and finally a "Schools", that will probably be all I'd be able to reasonably use on a limited amount of layout. York Paul suggested that as I have a complete and fairly accurately detailed "Winston Churchill funeral train" in 00 gauge, one in 0 gauge would be nice, and I fully agree, but due to the relatively short length of track and the fact that it'll be a 'Heritage' railway, I'm afraid that's likely to be a 'non-starter', much as I'd like it. I'll settle for the unrebuilt "Spamcan" though, my usual noticeable "Southern" bias being evident here.:giggle: No 'third rail' stuff though!
    Keith.
     
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  13. jakesdad13

    jakesdad13 Staff Member Moderator

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    Hi Keith, I'm with you on having the track joints soldered for continuity, my only fear is that if they are rigidly soldered there could be problems with bowing of the track due to heat expansion/contraction. I too am not a fan of fish plates either but as you say they do keep the track in alignment, if a small gap between the rail ends is allowed, and the rails are bridged by short lengths of wire, the track can move and electric continuity is confirmed. Plus it will give a very pleasant "clickety clack" as stock passes over.

    Cheers, Pete.
     
  14. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    That's pretty much the way I intend to go with the tracklaying Pete, just leaving a small gap between each rail end. I won't be starting tracklaying until next Spring though, my idea is to accumulate much of the stuff I'll need (and some loco/rolling stock construction) over the Winter months as at my age I'm not into working in freezing garages any more, done enough of that in the past! Hopefully when it warms up a bit next year, I can then get stuck in fairly smartly and with luck, be 'ready to run' by early Summer, that's the plan anyway.
    Keith.
     
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  15. Walkingthedog

    Walkingthedog Full Member

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    I think it is a big mistake to solder track joints. If temperatures vary too much it can be a disaster. Add droppers to each section and use the fishplates just to align the track.
     
  16. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    I think you misunderstand my method as I'm not intending to solder track joints. I will solder a 1.5sq mm copper wire to a point near the end of each individual rail of a track section, leave a couple of mm gap between the next, then solder the other end of this link wire to the next rail on the same side of the next track section, again a short distance from the end of this rail, doing the same on each side of the track, but not of course joining opposite rails together. This will result in the rails themselves becoming the 'bus bar', but leaving a small gap between each track section will make allowance for expansion during warmer weather. Fishplates will only mechanically keep consecutive track sections in line although despite there being some electrical continuity between track sections via these fishplates, full electrical continuity will not rely on them but the soldered link wires between each track section. Hope this clarifies my method somewhat.
    Keith.
     
  17. Walkingthedog

    Walkingthedog Full Member

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    Yes I did realise that later. I know some people have soldered fishplates and ended up with a model of a big dipper.
     
  18. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    No worries. I realise that my intended method is somewhat unorthodox ( pretty much sums me up I guess!), but as an Electrician I'm maybe pushing the boundaries.......if you don't give it a go then you'll never know if it works, and if it doesn't then I'll be the first to admit I got it wrong. I'm not afraid of trying different approaches to most things and when I make a start next year, I'll be documenting the way I do it, warts and all, it'll give folks a giggle if things don't go how I expect at the very least, but whatever, I'll just shrug my shoulders and try something else.......every days a school day!:giggle:
    Keith.
     
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  19. Walkingthedog

    Walkingthedog Full Member

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    Bridging the gap with wire is an excellent way of guaranteeing continuity, I know several people who have used this method, me included.
     
  20. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    G`day Keith,
    I have connected the gaps with fish plates and wire on my loop around the workshop. I came in approx. 10mm from the end of each piece of track and soldered a wire link from it to it`s neighboring next section of track. It`s set track so there`s lots of joins.
    It`s not a scenic section so the wires are visible, but the point is, there are no electrical issues .....ever...... and slight gaps between the rails help it deal with expansion.
    The shed temperatures can go into the mid 40`s, so expansion is something that has to be taken seriously in Australia, however by leaving a number of very small gaps there has never been a problem.
    Your logic is sound........go for it....:thumbs:
    :tophat:Gormo
     
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