HO Track questions (getting started)



It doesn't cost anything to try it and go with a different solution. You may find that you like the noise it makes or that it doesn't bother you. What I remember from the track-on-plywood days was the Bachmann standard series diesels (I recommend them for kids--they run ok and take a lot of abuse) being the noisiest thing around. I put a tiny little drop of oil on the outside of the motor bearings, and they quieted down drastically.

Every once in a while you'll come across turnout maintainence guides in magazines such as Model Railroader. I don't remember when the last article was, but perhaps someone else will.

You can plan for DCC but use block control for the time being. I figure a set of feeders every 4' or so will do a good job in keeping your track fed. *snip*

Puckdropper
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al wrote:

Sticky switch points have a variety of remedies 1. Check for flash, crud, carpet fuzz, dirt and whatever in the turnout making it stick. With the switch motor removed or disconnected, the points should move very freely. Sometimes the rivets that retain the points are clinched too tight. 2. As you have noticed, twin coil machines draw a lot of juice. Make sure they are getting enough. I wire my turnouts with at least #18 wire. The #22 or #24 used by the phone company is too small. Also, the inductive kickback from a twin coil machine makes the push button switches arc, which cruds up the contacts after a while. A major bennie of capacitor discharge turnout power packs is reduction of arcing in the push button switches. Few to no power packs have enough omph to flip two twin coil turnouts simultaniously. Some lesser HO power packs have difficulty powering locomotives and switch machines at the same time. 3. If the turnout is on the rug, or slightly bent, the crossbar can drag on the rug and slow the machine down. 4. Twincoil machines work fine on AC. If you can find a beefy 12 or 12.6 volt transformer, you can mount it in a box and you have a turnout power supply. As long as you make sure the hot connections to the AC line are properly covered (like inside the box) to prevent touching them by accident, and you have some strain relief on the power cord, you are good to go.
Good luck
David Starr
David Starr
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al snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com says...

The foam would help tremendously.

Well, the Peco and Shinohara track IS nicer looking, but I've never seen any problems with the operation due to plastic being too high, mostly what happens is the rails get tweaked and need to be tweaked back to being straight. I knew a guy who made his own switches from scratch, they looked fantastic, but it's too much work for me. He started doing it because didn't like the looks of Atlas, and was too cheap to buy the others. He was a whiz with a dremel tool, grinder, soldering iron, and saws. Once he got all the parts made, he could crank one out very quickly. He had bags of ties, real wood dyed black/brown, frogs (I think he bought those from some place), and rails cut to length. He had a whole system. I couldn't take doing it, #6's and up are ok for me.

Well, actually, you kind of do both. I used to occasionally have Addams type collisions on my N setup by using a couple of locos that ran backwards. I used to run huge trains, like 100 cars on it, and one time a friend and I took all our stuff and filmed a set up wreck. It was pretty neat to see cars flying all over the place. All that broke was a few couplers. We put a couple of basket case boxcars right behind the locos and they got smashed up, but we wanted them to be, they were moved to the "Scrapyard" afterwards, cut into pieces.

I had a yard big enough to hold almost everything I had on my last Nscale layout. I had a bunch of tiny blocks in it, so I could park and move locos around. DCC would have been awesome back then.
The new yard will have blocks set up on all the yard tracks, mostly so I can run DC until I make the jump to DCC. I have six locos that have plug in DCC sockets and a bunch more that are easily done, so when I decide to do it, it will be pretty easy tog get rolling
BDK

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Don't ever! Screws, nails, etc. will transfer sound through the insulating top (roadbed, whatever) to the plywood under-skin. You can use sheetrock screws to hold while the glue sets but then take them out.
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al wrote:

SNIP
Scanned over your post and some of the replies. I am newly returned to the hobby and won't try to answer many of your questions since I am just learning about the changes that have taken place over the last 35 years...
Your comments about the table caught my eye. I had pretty much given up on the the whole business back when I did my earliest layouts. 99% of my frustration was due to bad track work and most all of that came from trying to tack track down directly to plywood sheet. Bumpy, twisty crap.
I made a big effort to learn how to do the benchwork (lattice) style of layout and used a failry ductile wallboard material as the top surface. By being very careful to avoid flaws or reworking any section that had derailings, I managed to get a layout that ran so perfectly that I was actually stunned. The smoothness was greatly enhanced by using cork roadbed. The track was 100% Atlas snap and/or flex track - so I know their product can be made to work quite nicely. But is up to you...
My suggestion: You should be able to use thin laminate-finish plywood - just make sure your surfaces are as you intend them to be and firmly secure the roadbed to risers or the framework below. If you really want to make it easy to tear up, consider using a spray adhesive if/when you put down the cork roadbed. The maker (3M) claims it is temporary and/or repositionable as long as you only spray one surface prior to application.
Good, careful trackwork is the key. Any tiny little flaw is 87 times bigger than you think.

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ephemism wrote:

Homasote. That is the trade name for the best train table material. It's soft, gray, made out of ground up newsprint. Soft enough to allow you to push the track nails in with long nose pliers. Good sound deadener. When it come time to make a new layout the nails come right out with the same longnose pliers. Plywood is not so good. The glue layers are so hard you have to drill to get track nails to go thru them.

Second the motion. With Snaptrack you have to be sure that each piece joins straight to the next piece without little kinks. Once I get it straight I always need track nails to hold it straight. The HO rail joiners are not all that strong. If the track is only secured in place by rail joiners, kinks will work their way in. I think of rail joiners as devices to pass the electricity, but I do not rely upon them to hold the track in place, that's the job for track nails.

Amen to that.
David Starr
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al wrote:

SNIP
Scanned over your post and some of the replies. I am newly returned to the hobby and won't try to answer many of your questions since I am just learning about the changes that have taken place over the last 35 years...
Your comments about the table caught my eye. I had pretty much given up on the the whole business back when I did my earliest layouts. 99% of my frustration was due to bad track work and most all of that came from trying to tack track down directly to plywood sheet. Bumpy, twisty crap.
I made a big effort to learn how to do the benchwork (lattice) style of layout and used a failry ductile wallboard material as the top surface. By being very careful to avoid flaws or reworking any section that had derailings, I managed to get a layout that ran so perfectly that I was actually stunned. The smoothness was greatly enhanced by using cork roadbed. The track was 100% Atlas snap and/or flex track - so I know their product can be made to work quite nicely. But is up to you...
My suggestion: You should be able to use thin laminate-finish plywood - just make sure your surfaces are as you intend them to be and firmly secure the roadbed to risers or the framework below. If you really want to make it easy to tear up, consider using a spray adhesive if/when you put down the cork roadbed. The maker (3M) claims it is temporary and/or repositionable as long as you only spray one surface prior to application.
Good, careful trackwork is the key. Any tiny little flaw is 87 times bigger than you think.

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