New Garden Railway

Hi there, I'm new to posting on this group.
I am building an LGB garden railway and wondered if this is a good group for LGB related stuff. I am new to both LGB and garden railways but don't
want to waste the groups time if this is the wrong place to post some questions.
Thanks,
Dave.
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No problem. The group charter and FAQ is at http://www.ukrecmodelsrail.co.uk/index.php
--
Martin S.

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there's also a group under Yahoo: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/16mmngm / As it's same suggests it's predominantly 16mm narrow gauge, but a garden railway is a garden railway. There's always something useful to find there.

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Happy to help if I can. I started with LGB 6 years ago.
Contact me if you want to ask anything

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snipped-for-privacy@tam730073.freeserve.co.uk says...

Terry,
Thanks for the offer and to everyone else here who's responded. I have sent you a private email but as I haven't had a response wondered if your email address is correct here? Perhaps I missed some clever spam block?
Being so new to LGB, I have decided to go from the off with Digital MTS control and most of my questions are around that. I'm sure some people here will consider this sacrilage, but I don't care much for detail accuracy and am much more interested in the simple fun of building and running a garden railway. Being G scale, I think it will be much easier for me to make buildings and scenery from scratch. And the result will be something that I can share much more easily with friends and neighbors.
Of course I am still in the early planning stages but have already purchased the LGB MTS Digital starter set to get some experience of train control and programming. I suspect over the winter I will add to the track and trains as well as MTS control aspects so that I'm ready to start building early next year.
So, is there anyone here qualified or experienced to answer some questions on LGB MTS stuff?
Many thanks,
Dave.
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Phil: Why is being able to directly emulate the driver in the cab sacrilage? There are too many signalmen out there! 8-)

Some pictures of our can be found from the www.fillin.co.uk site and follow the link to 'domestic' site
or directly with http://www.argonet.co.uk/users/fillin/index.html and follow the link to Lin's Garden Bahn
THis is controlled by the LGB MTS since as an erly adopter of Zero-1, I wouldn't support Lin building it with anciennt signal-power-block control since it would have involved too much wiring, and restricted operation. THe entire layout, now around 3 sides of the garden, is powered from just 2 wires connected to the track, and point modules powered locally from the rails. It makes installation very easy, and changes are not a major problem. (choosing logical numbering is the hardest part 8-) ) We now have points 1-20 remoted, with 2 spare gaps in the numbering.
Don't forget the G scale society. Visits to others layouts are an education (but can lead to expense when you see waht would go /so nicely/ on your own layout 8-) )
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Phil Spiegelhalter: snipped-for-privacy@fillin.co.uk
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Phil, thanks for the info and links. I had already found the G Scale Society web site and taken an interest. When I purchased the MTS Starter Set a couple of weeks ago I did what I thought was a smart thing and got the shop to swap the train control for the universal control. My reasonning for this being that the universal control would not only allow me to programme and control the trains but also in the future, switches, switch routes etc. However, I have already found a limitation of this control in that it (or the MTS2 central station) has no memory.
Therefore, set Loco 1 going at say speed step 4, switch to loco 2 and get it going at the same speed, switch back to loco 1 to say turn the lights on or start the steam generator and guess what, it stops. Because, the system has no memory of what settings were already in place for loco 1. I read on the LGB web site this is not a fault and is to be expected. I also read there is a gludge to work around it being that you set a certain CV to a certain value, which gives you a 2 second delay before the loco activates any instructions. The idea here being that when you switch back to loco 1 you guess what speed you had it had and press the direction button the corresponding number of times. So... my first question...
Do I have to use the LGB digital control system or is there something better out there that will get over this limitation?
I'm also interested in trying the PC software and link to control the trains but am confused by the use or requirement for the MTS Train Detection Module, Display Module and Feedback Interface. The instructions, web site and CD that came with the set are very vague on these and it is unclear to me what's needed for what. It seems to me that all the LGB instructions and information were originally written for the original MTS and while they've added to them for MTS2 it hasn't been done well and so the result is confusing. For example, all the information talks about needing the MTS remote adapter, but this plainly isn't true for MTS2.
So, if I want to control my layout via the PC and I want the software to know where my trains are, and what position switches and signals etc are in, what else other than the PC interface do I need?
What rail do you use? I am finding out there is much more choice than just the LGB rail and at the moment think the Aristocraft rail looks a better choice (and marginally cheaper).
If you or anyone has the time to provide me accurate detail to these issues or recommend a place to go and get the answers, I'd be really grateful. I've searched the web but still haven't found clear answers to these questions.
Thanks,
Dave.
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Phil: We have the Mk2 controller from the Digital Start set, with universal controller 55015 and 2 'knob' controllers 55016 allowing 3 different operators at a time. (and without changing loco codes on the controller) The knob controllers are easier for visitors!.
All controllers are wireless, so that we can carry them around the layout as required, or control them from by the BBQ (picture 16?) (we also have a playmobil RC train for if there is no power on the track)
Your Q1/ Several dcc systems operate on the basis that you can only take over a loco when its speed is zero - this is not the case if you are still using only 1 controller - it is the fact that, as you say, the original speed is not maintained/remembered... this is avoided on the knob controllers simply by 'presetting' the speed (turning the knob) to the approximate value before finishing typing in the loco code.
Also, if the CVs of the locos are set to have acceleration and deceleration values not equal to 0, then you will no longer see the step changes in speed of the locos, and this will also give you time to 'pulse in' a few speed steps on the universal (push button only speed change) controller. You might also want to reduce the maximum speed of each loco, especially if younger visitors are expected!!

There are places in the literature where dcc NMRA compatibility is mentioned, but this is not stated everywhere. There opinion is that is is adjusted / optimised for conditions in a garden:
Their Mk2 modules are ideal, in my experience: they have memory for bad track (not to be confused with Lenz's recent demos of backup power etc) They run silently with 16kHz power, and are literally plug and play.
Note that modules supplied as factory fitted (eg in the Digital Start set) are NOT the same as the off-the shelf Mk2 module, or FRR module, since they may have connectors usable for speed detection and sound system connection.
Of course you could buy an alternative fully-NMRA dcc compatible system, and use that instead. For my OO layout, I am using a combination of ZTC and Lenz modules.
I do find the module designs of the lgb are well suited to their purpose, and integrate easily - of course this may come at an apparent initial premium.

I do not have the PC software for either the LGB MTS or OO dcc. I have seen it briefly at a G Scale member's house, but didn't use it.

As with other suppliers, they have difficulty updating product manuals to keep up with other changes in the range! Also due to sale of goods act etc, no manufacturer will state that they can control other manufacturers devices etc..
The important thing,I think, is that you have the Mk2 Central Controller - this is the central hub, and limiter/enabler of the whole system. With the original Central controller + mouse you could only operate 8 loco codes The knob controller can call 16, and the universal 23 (or that should be 0-15 and 0-22, but I avoid the 0 code except to quickly check a new loco (and then I can use one of our original sarter set dc controllers)

As with any dcc system, a lot! This is where dcc is debating the methods for the future too.
Basically as I understand it ( I don't have it myself..)
The PC makes programming the locos easy
The PC can be set up with a track diagram and therefore provide graphic indication (as my Zero-1 micromimic does) If ONLY the PC is used to change points, it will know which way they are set (as does the Z1 micromimic) -- assuming no leaves jammed the points! ( I listen for the sound of it operating )
55025 remote controlling the points (or signals or lamps etc) requires the accessory module: this controls 4 outlets in an easy to connect, compact package - ours are out in the garden, either under the toytrain buffer stop or supported on a piece of wood and covered with a plastic bag for weather proffing.
To automatically control parts of your layout, you need to detect where a train is.
The train detection method is up to you (and a matter of great debate in some newsgroups - will it work with a loco at the rear instead of the front etc? A simple treadle switch would work.
You could go for current detection by a small voltage sensor on EACH section you wish to detect --- this works better on LGB because you are more likely to have illuminated stock especially for night running-- and therefore any illuminated coach could trigger the detector. In some ways I favour optical detection which always finds the front of the train. However I do not use it on the LGB.
A G scale member we visited was using their detector to operate a point and signal for access from a branch. This also required switchable isolation of both approaches to the point.
Whatever your detector (its just a switch, in the end) it must communicate back with the central controller or computer.
This is what the 55070 feeback interface is for: It can have 2 detectors connected and translates these back into a usable format (LGB BUS signal) which can be understood by the controller or PC.
Running software of your choice (ie not supplied by LGB), as I understand it, your PC could then respond to the message by issuing the command to change a point or something --- the detection module may do this directly for such a basic operation, after programming.. what does it say in you universal remote manual???

I have used LGB track throughout, and originally only radius 1 (from sets) for the windy branchline, but now inlude R3 and R5 for transition curves and the 'main line'.
The entire power is simply passing through he fishplates, and is still working after a year, around the 3 sides of the garden!

My suggestion is to buy 1 module of each type, and try to see for yourself how it best works for you.

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Phil Spiegelhalter: snipped-for-privacy@fillin.co.uk
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writes

I had five years almost trouble this way, and the track was re-laid two years ago the same way but using graphite grease as well.
It was not a major task to bridge any troublesome fishplates "on site" with a large soldering iron. I did three in five years, definitely a saving on doing them all initially.
For a long mainline, I might be inclined to solder wires to each rail end at table height indoors, and just join the wires outside, an easier task.
--
Chris Brown

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I had little choice on a key factor, minimum radius.
In a very small space I was stuck with LGB 2 ft radius points and curves. It wasn't so bad, as I am inclined to diminutive industrial or light railway locomotives and stock. I would strongly recommend opting for the longest radius curves that are feasible. 4ft, or even 3ft, would be a big plus. I used LGB track between the points, in stations where I needed to cut pieces for length, but used quite a lot of Peco nickel-silver out in what passes for my main line.
On a raised bed, the track lies on sections of twin-wall polycarbonate sheeting laid on packed earth with a levelling of sand. This has not moved in seven years, but could be quite easily re-packed in necessary. Bridges and a curved viaduct are composed of square section PVC drainpipe, with various cosmetic facings added to taste. Very low maintenance.
Regards,
(roughly where are you? a demonstration beats a good number of written hints)
--
Chris Brown, Emett fan. See http://www.picturetrail.com/emettplus

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wrote:

The "G" Scale society would probably be helpful, they have area co-ordinators who could steer you to any of the local garden railways & retail establishments..
Most "G" scale people will be happy to show-off their lines, & pass on their experiences, good & bad.
LGB users are often regardeed as "cheque-book" modellers, 'cos it's possible to buy much of what you need from one catalogue, but there are other manufacturers out there.
Depending on what you want from your garden railway, it's possible to build narrow-gauge main & branch lines, operating as per protoype, of or have a circle of track, capable of carrying refreshments from house to garden!
i've had "G" in the garden since the early '90's, * IMHO, it's probably the easiest scale to work with an a garden envireonment.
David C. .
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Welcome to the group!

Post away. It's not the majority interest, but the expertise here covers just about everything.
I have a small garden railway which has given seven years good service, and has a few unusual features. I avoided almost all wood and concrete in its construction, which has been a good decision (in my case at least.)
A few pictures can be seen at the site in my signature, alongside by other interest. Go for the "Not Emett at all" folder
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Chris Brown, Emett fan. See http://www.picturetrail.com/emettplus

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