HO Code 100 or Code 83


Rosin core - use no other type. Personally I use silver solder because I like the way it looks, but lead solder is perfectly fine too. If you're soldering to rail, use solder paste on the joint before heating, it helps a LOT. *
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(snip)
What a great post!
Thank you, Dan!
~Pete
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Twibil wrote:

You are welcome!
Dan Mitchell ===========
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Seconded. This has been one of the better threads in the group in a while, excepting your cool photo essays. *
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Actually, you don't want to be oldering the rails together! The ends of the raisl should havee a small gap in them so that they can expand and contract with the temps in your room. Don't forget that the roadbed is also expanding and shrinking with both temp AND humidity so the two won't be going anywhere near each other for expansion rate. Insstead, you drop a wire from the bottom of the rail through the roadbed to the big wires underneath. You can use a finer wire like 26ga. (phone wires) for this job. Also, when you solder wires onto a rail after the track is insalled, do it on the far side from the viewer so you don't see it. A good solder job on the inside of hte rail will mean that the joint doesn't get into the flange area of the track.
-- Bob May
rmay at nethere.com http: slash /nav.to slash bobmay http: slash /bobmay dot astronomy.net
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Bob May wrote:

Mostly, I agree. However, SHORT sections of rail can be soldered together as needed. I'd avoid any runs longer than ten feet.
I certainly agree that soldering truly long sections of rail together is asking for problems. It will likely either buckle or pull apart, eventually (the prototype has similar problems with excessively long sections of welded rail). This can lead to kinking, "gauge" issues, and bad electrical connections. I've seen it happen on model layouts MANY times. It's not really the rail that's causing the poblem, but the benchwork and roadbed which expands/contacts FAR more than the rail (especially where humidy changes a lot seasonally).
On the other hand, very short sections of rail sometime "float" about a bit TOO much, without restraint. The rail WILL shift lengthwise with train motion and expansion-contraction. All the gaps may migrate to one area, leaving several tight joints and one big gap. Thus, SOME soldering of rails together may be desired.
UN-soldered rail joints should NOT be depended on as electrical connections. Each SECTION of rail, whether one rail, or a soldered section, should have a power feeder.
The alternative is to solder a "drop" feeder to EVERY rail section (not really a bad idea, but a lot of work).
Dan Mitchell ===========
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On 15/06/2010 15:13, None wrote:

The only necessary electrical blocks are reversing tracks, ie, sections of track in which the _train_ reverses direction (from "East" to "West", or from clockwise to counterclockwise),ie, return loops or wyes. You can control these manually or automatically.
It's useful on large layouts to have "power districts", electrical blocks intended to reduce loads on busses, ease trouble shooting, and prevent a short from shutting down the entire system.
Signalling blocks are another issue. These are operational blocks, and may be electrical blocks also, depending on implementation.

Same as for DC: every 8-10 ft of track, or every physical section of track. This reduces the effect of the rail's (and rail-joiner's) resistance. Turnpouts may be a problem: they should be constructed and wired to ensure a continuous electrical path on both rails.

That's a personal question. ;) Old-timers will recommend Digitraxx and NCE. But MRC is also good. Wireless highly recommended.

On a small layout such as yours, IMO yes. Logically, a turnout is just a device connected to a controller, ie, in terms of DCC electronics it is the equivalent of a locomotive: it has an address, and you send control signals to it. So you either carry a second controller, switch between loco and turnout control, use a control panel, or use a computer running some dispatcher software.
If you use a control panel, you don't need DCC. OTOH, DCC makes it easier to simplify (and automate) route selection,linking turnouts and signals, and such. Generally speaking, DCC turnout control works best on layouts large enough to justify a Dispatcher role. Then again, on a small layout, manual control may be easiest, and is certainly cheapest.
In any case, I recommend a separate power and control circuit for turnouts (and signals, if used). Same for layout lighting, BTW.
HTH wolf k.
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snipped-for-privacy@ruddy.moss writes:

You can use a control panel with DCC. Items like the SIC24 from team digital work quite well for that, and then your control panel needs only a loconet wire leading out of it, instead of a billion feeds to each of your switches.
I don't have an active control panel, but we built three light boards that hang over the layout, with the track schematic on them and LEDs showing turnout position. The SIC24s behind the boards watch the turnout commands (including those automatically sent by decoderPro events), and change themselves to follow the commanded turnout position. it's very handy, and there's only a power feed and a single loconet cable to run the whole thing. It's also fun to watch the lights change as the train moves over the layout and encounters switches that need to be set for it to proceed. *
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*snip*

*snip*
Just wanted to add that decoders are pretty well interchangable. The most important things with decoders are physical size and current rating. You can also ignore the "Z/N/HO" scale designation pretty safely with most brands. (Watch out for S, O, and G scale decoders, they aren't as readily interchangable with the Z/N/HO decoders.)
Puckdropper
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Puckdropper <puckdropper(at)yahoo(dot)com> writes:

One thing to watch out for are old decoders on ebay that don't do 128 speed steps. 14 is way too few, and 28 isn't all that great either. *
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