Atlas Flex Track

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Bob Collins, Jul 1, 2001.

  1. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2001
    Messages:
    2,227
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bob,

    I think I now get your point. When you talk about cutting the track, and soldering between insulated joiners, I take it you mean you are able to use a single piece of flextrack from one insulated join to the next, hence the need to power a "whole" piece of track. So you need to cut the piece of track to put in the terminal joiner to power that piece. Am I on the right track? I (and others I think) have assumed there were multiple pieces of track and you were terminal joining each piece, even within the one block.

    I don't have the track plan book you refer too. Do you have a layout plan on the net?

    With Garahbara, even though it is small, i decided to have at least "one of everything" on it, to use as a learning project, and be prepared to junk the whole thing if I stuffed it up! So far, so good. **Fingers crossed** [​IMG]

    I'd love to be your inhouse consultant... however from Sydney might be a bit far for just an arvo visit!! [​IMG]

    TOOT!
  2. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2001
    Messages:
    2,227
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh.... Where I needed to add power and already laid some track, I just soldered wires to the outside of the rail... dremmeled it down, and buried it in ballast. Works fine. Not the most elegant, but the connections can't be seen that easily.

    TOOT!
  3. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2001
    Messages:
    1,023
    Likes Received:
    0
    Woodie and all;
    Again, my sincere thanks for taking the time to offer your valuable knowledge. I really do appreciate it very much.

    Woddie, I'd be happy to include a copy of my track plan at this site if I knew how to do it. I have it scanned into the computer as a Word document. I had wanted to put it on before along with a couple of pix of where I am in the process, but don't know how to do it! I hope some day you can see this mess when it is all cleaned up. I'm looking at reservations for Brisbane for June 2003 and if I get that far you can bet your last Casteman's XXXX that I'll get to Sydney and have a chance to see your layout!!

    billk; thanks for the info on the joiners and the foam mounting of the swithching motors. I figured there needed to be a way to stabilize the motors, but hadn't addressed it yet.

    Bob
  4. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2001
    Messages:
    2,227
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bob,

    I've looked at your ISP and they allow you to upload pics etc. I've sent you an email on how to do this.

    Brisbane (pr. BRIZ BUN) (not BRIZ BAYNE) in June 2003! Long way off! You will have to come via Sydney anyway. All flights from the US are via Melbourne or Sydney. (unless that changes in the next 2 years). Castlemaine XXXX (fourex). YARK! Why do they call it XXXX? Cause Queenslanders can't spell beer!. It's a Queensland beer only. Difficult to get elsewhere.

    TOOT!
  5. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2001
    Messages:
    2,593
    Likes Received:
    0
    For what it's worth, here is my opinion on the question of power feeds to rails. I will start by stating that I laid the mainline of my railroad three years ago, using Atlas code 100 track. My intention was, and is, to go back and handlay each scene one at a time later, but to get operational quickly. Since the code 100 was "temporary", and I was using DCC, I only used 1 feed for 100' of track, counting on the rail joiners for conductivity. I was pretty sure this wouldn't work, but it would be no big deal to add feeders as required. Three years later I now have only two feeders, having added another set to offset voltage drop. I am very surprised at this. However, I still don't feel comfortable with this for lifetime dependability. And when I built the hidden portions (reverse loop staging at each end) I attached feeders to every other rail joiner, which was in turn soldered to the rails it joined. There really is no reason to be leary of soldering, it is not difficult. There have been many articles about how to solder feeds to flex track without melting ties. Honestly, I have melted a few. What I do now is this: Use a soldering gun, 250 watt. If you heat the joint quickly, and get out of Dodge immediately, you won't melt ties. You can remove a tie or two, solder, then slip the ties under the rails again, glue in place to the roadbed. I typically solder the feeder to the underside of a joiner at my workbench, thread the wire thru a hole drilled beneath the rail joint, slip the rails into the joiner, apply flux to the joint, heat and apply solder quickly and have no problem. When, as mentioned above, you need to attach feeders to a length of rail which is isolated at both ends, meaning you have no metal joiner to solder the lead to, you need to solder the leads to the rail, and yes, your chance of melting ties increases. Like so many other things in life, practice, practice, practice!! You can do it.
  6. George

    George Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2001
    Messages:
    532
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello Bob, et all!

    It sounded to me as if you were cutting the rail to splice in a feeder. All you have to do is put the feeder at a joint somewhere in the isolated run, not cut in separately, and placing it one extremity of the run if forced to won't mess you up.

    Gary, I have to agree with your initial approach to the feeder issue, and it's something we should all take note of.

    Unless you're working with an ATLAS trackplan where some neo-physicist has "expertly" calculated placement of insulated and terminal joiners, most of us are flying blind.

    I pretty much did the same thing as you. Set it up, insulate loops from each other at the turnouts and then watch for where you get a power fade. Put in feeders at the nearest existing joint to the worst point, then insulate the run IN HALF from the rest of the loop. Watch for the next power fade if another crops up for whatever reason, and do the same until it's rectified.

    ...And don't mistake a fade for dirty track! [​IMG] Everyone does that at least once in their lifetime, so when it happens to you, don't feel bad!

    George.
  7. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2001
    Messages:
    1,023
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi George and the Gang;
    I guess I need to be more clear about my terminal joiners. What I was trying to say was that if the track were already laid without a power source THEN it would be necessary to cut the track at least once between anywhere you had insulated joiners in order to power your track. According to my plan, done a few years ago by the late Lin Westcott,(# 82 in the 101 Track Plans) I have a need for a lot of terminal joiners as he isolates quite a number of places on the layout for yards, spurs, crossovers, etc. When you have a layout that is 10" X 21" 25 terminal joiners doesn't seem to me like a lot. It will certainly give me the option to hold engines on unpowered tracks in a number of places on the layout. I think when/if I get it finished I will have four yards of varying size (freight, passenger, inter-modial and a long spur with a turntable). There is also an area with the main turntable that has the associated service tracks. So unless I can't see the forest for the trees I don't see now that I have an excessive number of isolated areas in my trackage and hence a fair number of terminal joiners to powers those areas.

    We have just atarted a model RR club here in Rolla. Have about 15 members signed up. I am also planning to attend the NMRA show in St. Louis on Saturday. Should be very interesting. Will leave my checkbook and credit card at home!!

    Bob
  8. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2001
    Messages:
    2,593
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bob, The only reason you would have to cut the rail in the scenario you give would be if you are determined to use a rail joiner as a feed. So yes, in that case you would have to cut the rail. But you don't have to cut the rail, you can solder feeds to the rail itself. If the track involved can only be seen from one side (from an aisle, with the other side facing a backdrop) then solder the feeds for both rails to the backdrop side in order to keep them out of sight. Remove two ties, solder your feed in the middle of the ensuing gap, then use a chisel blade to remove the cast on spikeheads from the ties, and replace them under the rails. This will prevent you from melting the ties.
    George, I'm not sure what you mean when you say after adding a new feeder to cut a gap halfway back (to the previous feeder?) There are only two situations (that I can think of right now anyway) where you must gap rails. One is the rails coming from the frogs of power routing turnouts, unless the track is stub ended and does not have a power feed, and reverse blocks. All other gaps are optional, and are used in cab control to facilitate operation. These are the gaps eliminated with DCC. These gaps separate your trackwork into sections which can be assigned to different throttles, or just turned off.

    Gary
  9. George

    George Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2001
    Messages:
    532
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello Gary!

    Yes, you're right. Old habits die hard from the cab control days. I still like to isolate an area and power it from the same source. That way if I decide to use multiple throttles in the future, the bulk of the work is already done.

    I understand what you guys are saying about soldering a new lead to a troublespot, but why go through the trouble if you can go to an existing joint, take it apart and slide in a terminal joiner? No soldering, no cutting. I'm assuming of course this is before you ballast, then naturally soldering a lead is the best solution.

    George.
  10. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2001
    Messages:
    2,593
    Likes Received:
    0
    George, Funny how different people can have different opinions about what's hard and what's easy. I look upon removing track nails and disturbing previously laid track (assuming I'm happy with the workmanship) in order to replace a rail joiner as much less attractive an option than quickly soldering a lead to the rail. No right and wrong here, just personal preference. When are you going to visit?

    Gary
  11. George

    George Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2001
    Messages:
    532
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Gary!

    If time permits, perhaps a visit in the fall. When's the Hoboken Railfest? I hope they didn't cancel that this year. That's a worthwhile excursion for anyone in the east looking for something completely different.

    I won't glue anything down until I know the basic principle of the track plan is going to materialize to expectations, function properly, clearances are more than adequate, and getting past the worst case scenario.......I change my mind on the concept! [​IMG]

    When I read in forums about people using industrial adhesives to glue the track down before "working the kinks out", I cringe from memories of my own near disasters. Yes, PVC glue is fantastic until....

    Having overcome that disaster, I've yet to master soldering, so any way I can avoid that I will. Praise the Lord and Tandy for European Barrier Strips! [​IMG]

    George.