Hi all newbie to these rail groups and N Gauge model railways.
Im in need of a hobby im an electronic engineer with interest in simple control circuits. Im looking to build an operational layout, made up of shunting yard type. I wont have enough room for continous run. Planned size is 18" by 3ft. Operation will take priority over scenery and looks. Any rolloing stock/locos I buy will also be looked upon as investment that i could hopefully sell on say ebay for minimum loss if i loose interest.
I need to choose Era, Area, Deisel of Steam.
My main concern is smooth running
At the moment i do love the look of Fleiscmann steam models, & they seem to hold their value. But how well do they run at shunting speeds? I like European Steam I also like the American Diesels What i dont like is Graham Farrish, the last time i looked the models looked
**** & didnt appear good value for money.
Control: im very interested in DCC and using "Memory Wire" for controlling points.
So what runs well and is good value for money.? Oh and what track would you recommend
18" x 36" (3 ft) isn't much room for any kind of run. Did you mean 18 feet?
Well, you can forget that. In most cases you'll be _lucky_ to recoup 50% of your investment on resale of used items.
Hmmm... Well, Kato and Atlas make _good_, smooth running modern American prototype diesels, that take "drop in" decoders that replace the OEM light boards. (In fact, the Kato P42 [Amtrak passenger loco] is arguably the best running locomotive EVER built in ANY scale. I have 2.) Lifelike has done a couple of small switchers (shunters) that are nice and reliable, and can have DCC installed without too much trouble. (see
select "Links" from the menu on the left, then "DCC Info", finally scroll down to "Lifelike SW9/1200")
As to slow speed operation, is 1 tie (about 1.5mm) in 15 minutes slow enough? I can make my SW9/1200s crawl like that on DCC.
Kato's USRA Mikado 2-8-2 steam locomotive is also good, as is Lifelike's recent Mallet. ConCor's Daylight GS4 is very nice, and takes a plug-in decoder. In general, avoid Bachmann (unless it's new production AND you can run several and pick the good one... if any)
There's a HUGE selection of good quality rolling stock available in Modern US N Atlas, MicroTrains, Red Caboose, Intermountain, LBF... lot of nice stuff!. If you like odd/unusual flatcars, Alan Curtis right there in the UK makes some very nice kits.
You might also consider Japanese prototype - Kato, MicroAce, and Tomix make some very nice and smooth running models. I've seen a Tomix 12 axle (Co-Co-Co-Co) "electric" locomotive pull over 100 cars... by itself. Compare these beauties to your GraFar, and you'll never go back!
Should be doable, with relays. Not sure about the drain of keeping points thrown for long periods off an accessory decoder output directly. How about a design for a unit to operate 3 position semophores with memory wire?
All the locomotives I addressed above are "DCC-able", with varying degrees of effort. The most difficult would be the Japanese prototypes - it hasn't really caught on there yet, but with Kato co-marketing the Digitrax Zephyr unit in Japan now, it won't take long.
For American prototype, Atlas Code 55, hands down.
Set track, Tomix and Kato, but it's a bit pricey and hard to find in the UK. Check out this group for hints and tips for who to order from via the net:
I'm a fan of steam, but bogie Diesels probably offer slightly better running due to the fact that they keep more wheels on the rails due to their flexible wheelbase.
Fleischmann BR 94 (probably catalogue #7094)
Normal two coil solenoids work well for points, or the likes of Tortoise brand slow motion motors. Memory wire is excellent for moving signals and crossing gates. Don't get too complicated to start - use what works first and save your energy for the complicted bits :-)
Fleischmann - expensive but lasts for decades and has excellent resale value.
So long as it has nickel silver-rail .... Peco or Fleischmann. They have different height bases so you would need to pick either one or the other, or pack the Peco to Fln height.
Runs reasonably well, in common with most Fleishmann.
But, one can improve the running. SB and Verbeck (German companies) offer conversion kits for many German models which consist of modified gearing, and sometimes a replacement Faulhaber coreless motor (which runs slower and much smoother than the standard motor).
For example, I have an article in the 2mm archive (URL in sig for membership) which describes improving a Fleischmann T16/BR94 model (as recommended above). The author calculated that the standard model, at the maximum motor speed, could do a scale 307km/hr ! The simpler conversion using a Verbeck kit, improves the gearing from 15:1 to 26:1, as well as swapping the motor to a Faulhaber plus flywheel. This is a significant improvement. The more drastic conversion took the gearing to
66:1, which resulted in a loco which, at lowest speed, can run so slowly that the only way it can be seen to move is to watch the flywheel rotating.
For DCC control of N locos, I suggest looking at the DCX73 and DCX74 decoders from CT Electronik:
But be careful. Most US and other throttles shorten the life of coreless motors. They work best on pure voltage regulated (flat) DC. Their life is measured by motor start/stops, and are so sensitive they start and stop at each pulse with a lot of throttles.
When I still lived in the UK I used a Gaugemaster, which was certified by its manufacturer for use with Portescap motors (another coreless motor with attached gearbox).
These motors are popular among the UK finescale community, and many throttles are available that are specifically designed for them. One of the best is Stewart Hine's Pentroller (designed for the Pendon layout which uses Portescaps). Rich Weyand's Cooler Crawler is supposed to be suitable but I haven't tried it.