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1.The terminal block is the most under appreciated piece of equipment manufactured by MTH.

2. The TIU/AIU should have been manufactured with 4 screw holes, to anchor them in place on the shelf where they sit.

3. When starting to wire your platform, buy the best wire stripper you can find.

4. Spade wire terminals must have a minimum 5.5 mm gap to use on the TIU.

5. Add 1" ten amp quick blow fuses between the transformer and the TIUou will never have to change the 20 amp fuse in the TIU.

6. Hammer a nail next to 10 amp fuse holder. Use a small bag to store the replacement fuses. You will never have to search for fuses again.

7. When starting up your trains identify something that tells you power is going to the tracks. Mine is a Z Stuff semaphore activating on the outer track. The other is a semaphore lamp on the inner track. Caboose lights are another verification.

8. Consider to only wire switches that cannot be easily reached by hand. Otherwise use a manual throw. This can minimize excessive wiring under the platform. Don't forget to label the switch mechanisms.

9. Color code and identify all wires. My color code is red. Yours should be multicolor!

10. Rule 17 compliant locomotive headlights is a rule made to be broken. Am I the only one whose eyes are bothered by their brightness?

11. All locomotives with cab to tender deck plates needed to be manufactured an extended 2-3 mm to ensure they stay raised. Mine all fall down after 3 or fewer times around the loop. A small piece of the sticky area of a Post-It note added to the tender may resolve this problem.

12. Spare draw bars should be sold in packets of 3, all same size. I have never lengthened the draw bar, only kept them the same size or shorter.

13. Replacement traction tire size for an engine should have been listed in it's instruction manual. Same for LED types.

14. Wipe the dirt and grease off tracks 2-3 times per year.

15. Make a list of all switch and accessory names and sequence. You will have to enter them again at some point, likely more than once.

16. Moving a connected A-B-A diesel consist from a storage shelf to a operational track requires 3, maybe 4 hands.

17. Old style power connectors between locomotive and tender never came undone. The same is not true for the current circuit board style of connector, thought they do look better.

18. An eighteen volt setting from a ZW transformer may be other than that amount. Check with a volt meter and adjust as necessary.

19. Five of my 25 engines arrived with quality issues. Some were minor, others major. All were corrected to my satisfaction.

20. Is there anything worse than Christmas scented smoke fluid? Coal scent adds something.

21. WI-fi installs should identify the operating system requirements for purchasing and downloading the App from the I Tunes store.

22. A string of white miniature Christmas lights is extremely useful for illumination when working under the platform. It provides a soft illumination that is easily moved.

23. 18 gauge solid core wire is perfect for wiring the track. Solid core makes connections easier.

24. Purchase a 4 pack of  interlocking 2' by 2' squares of foam pads for where you work underneath the platform. This makes it much easier on the knees.

25. When I got my first MTH engine it was a Proto Sound 1 0-8-0 NYC steamer. I was amazed that it did not have to move and would still have smoke coming out of the smoke stack. I still am.

 

Bill

 

 

 

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Bill:

The best information about model trains often arises from practical wisdom -- like yours.  Here's my point #26:  Mount control buttons for action accessories on the perimeter fascia board of the layout near the accessory. Kids can find and press the buttons and then watch the action. Use Lionel #90 vintage push-buttons (with a large orange button) for goof-proof performance for simple ON/OFF devices.

Just saying ....

Mike Mottler    LCCA 12394

1.The terminal block is the most under appreciated piece of equipment manufactured by MTH.

2. The TIU/AIU should have been manufactured with 4 screw holes, to anchor them in place on the shelf where they sit.

3. When starting to wire your platform, buy the best wire stripper you can find.

4. Spade wire terminals must have a minimum 5.5 mm gap to use on the TIU.

5. Add 1" ten amp quick blow fuses between the transformer and the TIUou will never have to change the 20 amp fuse in the TIU.

6. Hammer a nail next to 10 amp fuse holder. Use a small bag to store the replacement fuses. You will never have to search for fuses again.

7. When starting up your trains identify something that tells you power is going to the tracks. Mine is a Z Stuff semaphore activating on the outer track. The other is a semaphore lamp on the inner track. Caboose lights are another verification.

8. Consider to only wire switches that cannot be easily reached by hand. Otherwise use a manual throw. This can minimize excessive wiring under the platform. Don't forget to label the switch mechanisms.

9. Color code and identify all wires. My color code is red. Yours should be multicolor!

10. Rule 17 compliant locomotive headlights is a rule made to be broken. Am I the only one whose eyes are bothered by their brightness?

11. All locomotives with cab to tender deck plates needed to be manufactured an extended 2-3 mm to ensure they stay raised. Mine all fall down after 3 or fewer times around the loop. A small piece of the sticky area of a Post-It note added to the tender may resolve this problem.

12. Spare draw bars should be sold in packets of 3, all same size. I have never lengthened the draw bar, only kept them the same size or shorter.

13. Replacement traction tire size for an engine should have been listed in it's instruction manual. Same for LED types.

14. Wipe the dirt and grease off tracks 2-3 times per year.

15. Make a list of all switch and accessory names and sequence. You will have to enter them again at some point, likely more than once.

16. Moving a connected A-B-A diesel consist from a storage shelf to a operational track requires 3, maybe 4 hands.

17. Old style power connectors between locomotive and tender never came undone. The same is not true for the current circuit board style of connector, thought they do look better.

18. An eighteen volt setting from a ZW transformer may be other than that amount. Check with a volt meter and adjust as necessary.

19. Five of my 25 engines arrived with quality issues. Some were minor, others major. All were corrected to my satisfaction.

20. Is there anything worse than Christmas scented smoke fluid? Coal scent adds something.

21. WI-fi installs should identify the operating system requirements for purchasing and downloading the App from the I Tunes store.

22. A string of white miniature Christmas lights is extremely useful for illumination when working under the platform. It provides a soft illumination that is easily moved.

23. 18 gauge solid core wire is perfect for wiring the track. Solid core makes connections easier.

24. Purchase a 4 pack of  interlocking 2' by 2' squares of foam pads for where you work underneath the platform. This makes it much easier on the knees.

25. When I got my first MTH engine it was a Proto Sound 1 0-8-0 NYC steamer. I was amazed that it did not have to move and would still have smoke coming out of the smoke stack. I still am.

 

Bill

 

 

 

Very nice list, Bill. For #20, I would add is there anything better than MTH coffee scented smoke fluid. And, for #26 I would add is there any better transformer than the MTH Z 4000. Arnold

Bill:

The best information about model trains often arises from practical wisdom -- like yours.  Here's my point #26:  Mount control buttons for action accessories on the perimeter fascia board of the layout near the accessory. Kids can find and press the buttons and then watch the action. Use Lionel #90 vintage push-buttons (with a large orange button) for goof-proof performance for simple ON/OFF devices.

Just saying ....

Mike Mottler    LCCA 12394

I use door bell buttons.  $2 or so a piece and easy to push!

I would add that even simple wiring takes 4 times as long as I budgeted in my head to do!

Last edited by jhz563

#29  Dream big but build in reality. Time, money, space, ability  and the frailty of the human body put restrictions on  the layout we all want to have. I started a switching layout 3 years ago and haven't completed even a fourth of it. Don't get in over your head. You will just get frustrated like me and think about tearing it down and starting over, but I have too much invested in it. 


5. Add 1" ten amp quick blow fuses between the transformer and the TIUou will never have to change the 20 amp fuse in the TIU.

6. Hammer a nail next to 10 amp fuse holder. Use a small bag to store the replacement fuses. You will never have to search for fuses again.

Add  ten amp quick acting(electromagnetic) breakers between the transformer and the TIU and you will never have a need for fuses again.

For what it is worth, place all possible wire connections facing you at table height instead of under the table, you can recess terminal blocks and hide them with something but avoid at all costs making connections under the table.  If a change is required at some point the connections are right there in front of you and can be addressed while sitting on a stool.

Also, household items are sometimes far less expensive and easier to use that dedicated hobby supplies.  All of my track blocks are activated using household light switches mounted to the side of the table in plastic junction boxes.  

Question on #5 . Add 1" ten amp quick blow fuses between the transformer and the TIUou will never have to change the 20 amp fuse in the TIU.

Can you post what this looks like, where you could buy this and how to set this up? Photos would be most welcome!

Usually a Grainger Supply product.   Fuse block that accommodate automotive type fuses, purchase at an Auto Supply store. 

Accessory distribution pictured. 

Eight track circuits, no more that 7.5 amps per track circuit. 

Link to Grainger product. 

Last edited by Mike CT

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