After laying the track. What is the next step?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by gregbva123, Jun 21, 2003.

  1. gregbva123

    gregbva123 Member

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    Hello,

    In the picture as you can see I laid the HO Atlas Track and switch. What is the next step and the best way to do that task?

    Is it wiring? What is the best wiring techiques to use, etc...

    Thanks,
    Greg

    Just a beginner, Thanks.

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  2. gregbva123

    gregbva123 Member

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    2nd picture of layout

    2nd picture of layout. Does anyone see any problems.
    Thanks,
    Greg

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  3. Lighthorseman

    Lighthorseman Active Member

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    Good Work!

    That is some NICE looking work, Greg.

    What happens next? You stand back and say, "Yep. I'm good.":)

    I'm sure that the wiring gurus will wade in at this point. What do you want to run? Multiple trains? One train running continuously while you switch the industries and yard? Block control, or DCC?

    The local wiring experts will be able to answer everything you want to know. Wiring can be as simple, or as complex as you can imagine. The key is to want to know what you'd like from your layout.

    Be sure to post more!
  4. billk

    billk Active Member

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    Of course wirings next - then you can run trains!!! :)
    Actually, if's sometimes easier to do it at the same time - then you can solder leads to the rails at the workbench.
  5. gregbva123

    gregbva123 Member

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    I am going to use Block Control

    I have the HO Atlas Track laid down and glued. Track has the plastic space joiner and I have about 22 different areas that need power in those sections. I also have 18 Atlas powered switch machines. I hope I did not make this more complex than I needed it to be. I was thinking of wiring two or three swtich on the same switch control to have less controlers. Any advise out there?

    I have the layout in a 11 x 13 room and the track has one complete circle with various switch yards. The layout goes along the three walls and I want to add a Coca-Cola Plant, Diesel Facility, Coal Plant, Log Facility, Engine/car yard and a Passenger Terminal. I was think of adding a log track above the main layout just for looks and add snow. Any suggestions here too?

    Thanks,
    Greg
  6. billk

    billk Active Member

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    Re: I am going to use Block Control

    Greg -

    Since you have insulated your tracks into so many blocks, I assume you not going with DCC at the current time, right? For each section, you will need to connect feeder wires to each rail. These are short wires, fairly small (20-24 AWG) that pass through the layout surface to the bottom, where they are connected to bus wires. The bus wire is heavier, (14-18 AWG), and is used to connect the individual tracks (via the feeders) to the power supply, control switches, etc.

    I would solder the feeders to the rails (that's a whole 'nother subject), but you could use other methods (wire nuts, suitcase connectors) for feeder-bus connections. This isn't near enough detail, recommend you pick up a book on the subject!

    Finally, you mentioned connecting 2-3 turnouts to the same controller. That's fine as long as you want to throw all the turnouts at the same time, but keep in mind that each turnout solenoid draws a lot of current and your power supply might not be up to it.
  7. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

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    You seem to have taken great care in your track laying. It looks like you've even got Kadee magnets laid out on each spur. I'd get ready for wiring and take some of the scrap track and hone some soldering skills. Since you're going block control, you could choose to wire it with the Atlas switch system that's been around for a very long time and is quite reliable. Or, you could look around for one of the many books published over the years on this subject. One I have that I'd highly recommend is "How to Wire Your Model Railroad" by Linn Westcott. It can be found regularly on Ebay for around $3.
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    I would reccomend that you have a controller (throttle) and a locomotive handy. Then wire one section, and run a locomotive over it. Move to the next section, wire it, and then test the locomotive over both sections. Do the entire layout like that, then if you get a short, you will know it is in the area you just finished. When you design your engine facility, put in a lot of locomotive length blocks. If you put ten locomotives in an engine facility, you need to isolate them from each other; or you will overload your power pack.
  9. gregbva123

    gregbva123 Member

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    Should I do Block Control or DCC?

    What would be the easy route from here. I have the layout and track laid with plastic gap spacers for block control. Would it be easy to switch to DCC with those plastic gap spacer in the track? All the switches still need to be wired the regular way, DCC would take some headaches out of the wiring which I'm not looking forward to.

    If DCC, which DCC system is the right one. All of my locomotives would have to have a DCC decoders installed. GEEZ! I'm looking for some insight on this idea.

    Thanks,
    Greg

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  10. gregbva123

    gregbva123 Member

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    Another pic

    These are the Trains my father left me with before he died in January 2001. I'm making this HO Model Railroad in decation to him.

    Thanks,
    Greg

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  11. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

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    DCC is great and wonderful and after you install it your trains will do remarkable things...but...you're just starting out, take it easy, remember why you started it. See if you can find a club or two in the area. Even better if you can find on that uses staight DC and another using DCC. If they're anything, they'll be more than happy to run you thru their systems. Then decide. DCC is a big step and its only recently that DCC ready equipment has become available. I doubt any of the locomotives your father bought would be easily converted to DCC, and that's something you don't want to do til you're ready for it. You're well on your way with this layout, use it as an oppurtunity to build up your skills in unfamiliar turf like wiring, soldering and such. These are skills you can bring with you when you move up to DCC.

    I lost my father this past winter and because of the circumstances involved, lost all of his train equipment too. His memory is being carried on in a town named after him on our club layout and on the cab side of my 4-8-8-2 cab-forward (his nickname was "Big Al").
  12. gregbva123

    gregbva123 Member

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    Thanks for your post

    Thanks for your post and the information. My father to loved Lionel and HO trains. I sold a lot of the equipment on Ebay, but I kept what means a lot to me and my father. I am having made a "O" Gauge Model train shelves in glass above the layout in his name and building this HO Railroad because he never had a chance to set up or run his trains living in an apartment building all his life. He will look down and watch the trains run in his honor.

    "Big Al" must have been a great father to and I'm sorry to hear you lost him. It's a good thing and a great healing thing you are doing in his name too.

    I will probably just run Block Control unless anyone else has any suggestions. A year ago, I almost bought a DCC system but decided against it and set up track for block control.

    Block Control seems hard, but I will work on it and find a way. Any suggestions? I was thinking of using one transformer for the track and one for the accessories and switches.

    Thanks,
    Greg
  13. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    If you are debating between dc and dcc, I think it is a good idea to start with dc. I doubt if any of the locomotives you inherited are set up for dcc, unless he bought some dcc ready locomotives in the last year or two before he passed. I would reccomend using at least #14 guage bus wire, and 18 ga drops from the track to the bus wire. The other thing to be careful of is metal in the scenery. If you used foam base, make sure that if it is the type without foil or else make sure to remove the foil backing before using it. If you are using screen wire under plaster to make scenery, use non metal screen wire. That way, if you want to go to dcc later on, you will have less "bugs" to work through.
  14. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    If you wire for DC, you can switch to DCC later using the same wires. There are some helpful tricks in the blocking for DCC that make it easier, but complicate the DC wiring.
    Start by running all the block wires to terminal strips near where your control panel will be. If you're using common wire, use separate terminal strips for the common rail -- then you can just run jumpers of the special metal bits to wire them all together.
    Then wire from the terminal strips to the switches. I used Atlas components on two of the simpler stations on my layout, just for speed of installation.
    You can jumper all the blocks together for test running before you set up the control panel -- I did this and it lasted for five years!
    You can use switches either to just turn power on & off to the blocks or to choose one of two power packs for running two trains at once.
    Reverse loops require an extra switch.
  15. gregbva123

    gregbva123 Member

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    I think after reading I'm going to stay with Block Control, because my layout is small and all my 30 engine are not DCC. Maybe DCC in the future.

    Any ideas on the best way to wire block control atlas track code 83? Only running one train on main line and one in switch yard.

    Thanks,
    Greg
  16. billk

    billk Active Member

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    Greg - Can you post a track plan. It doesn't have to be to scale, but should show how the tracks connect, all the turnouts, etc.
  17. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    I presume you will be storing the unused locomotives off the layout and "five finger" switch as many as you are going to run for operation? If that is the case, wire the mainline as one block, and the yard as another block. Use a double throw-double poll switch on the yard lead so that you can control the lead from either throttle, but never both throttles.
  18. gregbva123

    gregbva123 Member

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    First of all, What is a terminal Strip?

    Second, I was thinking of wiring the mainline on one power transformer and all the yard activities on another transformer. Would this work?

    Also, the Atlas switches have very fine wires coming out of the switches. What is the best way to connect these wires back to the controller? Connect the wires from switches to other wires and solder together or tapes together, or something else?

    Thanks,
    Greg
  19. billk

    billk Active Member

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    Q: First of all, What is a terminal Strip?

    A: Go here for picures of a bunch of different kinds:

    ]Radio Shack

    Q: Second, I was thinking of wiring the mainline on one power transformer and all the yard activities on another transformer. Would this work?

    A: Not very well. You need to use DPDT (double-pole/double-throw) switches so either power supply can be connected to either section.

    Q: Also, the Atlas switches have very fine wires coming out of the switches. What is the best way to connect these wires back to the controller? Connect the wires from switches to other wires and solder together or tapes together, or something else?

    A: I'd solder each fine wire to a heavier (18AWG maybe) wire and run the heavier wire back to the controller.
  20. gregbva123

    gregbva123 Member

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    Wow,

    This forum is great and you guys have a lot of knowledge on the model railroad building ideas.

    Any suggestions on soldering track the right way, or should I solder the track at all? I am using Atlas code 83 sectional track and layed it down and connected it with the brass rail joiners and glued the track down. Now should I solder the tracks together at the rail joiners or not?

    Thanks,
    Greg

    :)