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Greg, Matt, Steve, Paul, Fridge56Vet

 

I apologize for not replying sooner but somehow I managed to miss your posts after Greg got the ball rolling again back in August. Several guys have emailed me with questions in the meantime, (which I always welcome) and I did not think about checking the thread for other comments.

 

I really appreciate what you wrote. I still add a few things now and then, and I finished a small project not long ago that I plan to post in the next few days – after deer season is over, though.

 

Matt, those carts are turning out very nicely indeed!

 

Thank you all!

 

In the meantime, here are four of the several videos I have posted and which some of the forum members may have missed. All are HD and look great on a large screen TV.

 

August 2015 (Several trains including the VL Big Boy in full operation – 13 minutes)

 

March 2014 (MTH Big Boy pulling a long train – 11 minutes)

 

Nov 2013 (Shay delivers logs to sawmill and working accessories – 7 minutes)

 

June 2013 (Several trains tour the layout; music added – 20 minutes)

 

Thanks!!!!

 

Alex

I was away for the weekend, including away from computers. . . 

 

Fred,

Oh, I don't know; you set your own standard and that is all you have to satisfy. When I started in model railroad beyond an oval on the floor, I wouldn't have dreamed of a layout as I now have. As a matter of fact, I never dreamed of anything like it until just a few months before I started it!

 

Matt,

Glad you liked the video. (Yes, there were a lot of hunters out here this weekend as well.)

 

Thank you both!

 

Alex

Holy Big Boy Smoke, Batman!!  Where have I been to have missed this topic??  

Alex, I knew you had a super layout from other topics, but I totally missed this one!  While I like all types of trains, I really liked the Western Maryland Shay and logging operations!  Having seen the Big #6 at Cass, it is an all time favorite of mine!  

I see I have a lot of reading to do to catch up on this topic.  Thank you!

I have created several threads that illustrate some of the improvements I have made to my layout, and I think it would be a good idea to include some of those pictures in this thread. Here are some of what I consider more significant. (As always, clicking on the pictures provides larger images, and allow you to advance from one picture to the next.)

The turntable that doubles as a hatch. (The smaller, rectangular hatch next to the turntable allows me to remove the bridge before I lower the turntable.)

MRS TT Weathered 1 med DSC_2190MRSTT 03H med DSC_2244MRSTT 04h med DSC_2246MRSTT 05h med DSC_2249MRSTT 06h Hinge med DSC04163

Improved Archery Range -

ArcheryRange 01 med IMG_1563ArcheryRange 02 med IMG_1566ArcheryRange 03 med IMG_1564ArcheryRange 04 med IMG_1565ArcheryRange 05 med IMG_1561

Adding a few trees and painting a rather plain wall. One B4-Picture, and several after -

aB4 SteamPark 01 med DSC_2164AF SteamPark 01 med DSC_2337AF SteamPark 03 med DSC_2326AF SteamPark 05 med DSC_2330AF SteamPark 06 med DSC_2334AF SteamPark 07 DSC_2338

Expansion to the layout. B4-Picture and after -

Expand 01 Before DSC_2292Expand 03 DSC_2369Expand 04 DSC_2353Expand 07 DSC_2356Expand 08b DSC_2382Expand 09 DSC_2358Expand 09d DSC_2381Expand 11 DSC_2360Expand 12 DSC_2363Expand 15 DSC_2366Expand 16 DSC_2367

Using Azatrax detectors to trigger a road crossing signal -

Detector 1 AZT range med IMG_1539Detector 2 AZT range med IMG_1548Detector 3 AZT REC med IMG_1556Detector 4 AZT Trm med IMG_1555

A slightly modified Menards car makes the roster!

US Cable FltCar 03 DSC_2340US Cable FltCar 05 DSC_2342

And finally, LED strips to denote a couple of the step-up viewing platforms; especially useful when viewing the layout with the room lights off and just the layout buildings, etc. turned on -

Platform Edge LEDs med IMG_1618Platform Edge LEDs med IMG_1621

Thank you for looking!

Alex (Alexander Müller)

Attachments

Images (37)
  • MRS TT Weathered 1 med DSC_2190
  • MRSTT 03H med DSC_2244
  • MRSTT 04h med DSC_2246
  • MRSTT 05h med DSC_2249
  • MRSTT 06h Hinge med DSC04163
  • ArcheryRange 01 med IMG_1563
  • ArcheryRange 02 med IMG_1566
  • ArcheryRange 03 med IMG_1564
  • ArcheryRange 04 med IMG_1565
  • ArcheryRange 05 med IMG_1561
  • aB4 SteamPark 01 med DSC_2164
  • AF SteamPark 01 med DSC_2337
  • AF SteamPark 02 med DSC_2323
  • AF SteamPark 03 med DSC_2326
  • AF SteamPark 04 med DSC_2328
  • AF SteamPark 05 med DSC_2330
  • AF SteamPark 06 med DSC_2334
  • AF SteamPark 07 DSC_2338
  • Expand 01 Before DSC_2292
  • Expand 03 DSC_2369
  • Expand 04 DSC_2353
  • Expand 07 DSC_2356
  • Expand 08b DSC_2382
  • Expand 09 DSC_2358
  • Expand 09d DSC_2381
  • Expand 11 DSC_2360
  • Expand 12 DSC_2363
  • Expand 15 DSC_2366
  • Expand 16 DSC_2367
  • Detector 1 AZT range med IMG_1539
  • Detector 2 AZT range med IMG_1548
  • Detector 3 AZT REC med IMG_1556
  • Detector 4 AZT Trm med IMG_1555
  • US Cable FltCar 03 DSC_2340
  • US Cable FltCar 05 DSC_2342
  • Platform Edge LEDs med IMG_1618
  • Platform Edge LEDs med IMG_1621
Last edited by Ingeniero No1

Mark, Matt - Thank You!

The turntable was an early modification to the layout, but after I had already built the frame structure, plywood, etc. Initially, that area was for the several times listed/announced Lionel Rotary Coal Tipple - last time in the 2011 Vol-II catalog; but which never materialized. So in September 2011, seven months after I had started the layout, I decided to cut a big hole to fit the magnificent 34" Millhouse River Studio Turntable. This turntable size would be suitable for my MTH Premier Big Boy, and unbeknownst to me at the time, my future Lionel VL Big Boy as well.

Matt, that small rectangular hatch was there first 

Cutting the 2x4 frame through the 5/8" plywood was not fun, but at least I had not yet installed all the QuietBrace over the plywood. I had to cut several cross braces and add others. (Pictures from Sep 2011.)

Turntable Hatch med A DSC04146Turntable Hatch med B DSC04148Turntable Hatch med C DSC04152Turntable Hatch med D DSC04174

The turntable is held up in place with six 1/4-20 nylon thumb bolts (into the plywood) plus two steel 1/4-20 wing nuts on steel studs that protrude down through the plywood.

Turntable Hatch med E DSC04172

The most challenging part was how to hold the turntable up, in place, while I worked on it. A furniture dolly, a saw horse, and some spacers did the trick.

Turntable Hatch med F DSC04158

Thank!

Alex

Attachments

Images (6)
  • Turntable Hatch med A DSC04146
  • Turntable Hatch med B DSC04148
  • Turntable Hatch med C DSC04152
  • Turntable Hatch med D DSC04174
  • Turntable Hatch med E DSC04172
  • Turntable Hatch med F DSC04158
Last edited by Ingeniero No1
Ingeniero No1 posted:

Mark, Matt - Thank You!

The turntable was an early modification to the layout, but after I had already built the frame structure, plywood, etc. Initially, that area was for the several times listed/announced Lionel Rotary Coal Tipple - last time in the 2011 Vol-II catalog; but which never materialized. So in September 2011, seven months after I had started the layout, I decided to cut a big hole to fit the magnificent 34" Millhouse River Studio Turntable. This turntable size would be suitable for my MTH Premier Big Boy, and unbeknownst to me at the time, my future Lionel VL Big Boy as well.

Matt, that small rectangular hatch was there first 

Cutting the 2x4 frame through the 5/8" plywood was not fun, but at least I had not yet installed all the QuietBrace over the plywood. I had to cut several cross braces and add others. (Pictures from Sep 2011.)

Turntable Hatch med A DSC04146Turntable Hatch med B DSC04148Turntable Hatch med C DSC04152Turntable Hatch med D DSC04174

The turntable is held up in place with six 1/4-20 nylon thumb bolts (into the plywood) plus two steel 1/4-20 wing nuts on steel studs that protrude down through the plywood.

Turntable Hatch med E DSC04172

The most challenging part was how to hold the turntable up, in place, while I worked on it. A furniture dolly, a saw horse, and some spacers did the trick.

Turntable Hatch med F DSC04158

Thank!

Alex

Thanks for the detailed pictures.  The furniture dollies can be used in so many ways.  I used them to create all my under layout storage.  An idea that I borrowed from you (ref my post of 8/29/15 on this thread).  This site is great for sharing new ways to enjoy the hobby.

Thanks once again.

PS There will be a hatch in my next expansion.

Last edited by decoynh

Thank you, Alan! (But your layout remains in a class of its own, though.)

Mark -

Yes, Patrick and I were separated by distance, about 660 miles, but we communicated quite a bit when we were building our layouts. Luckily for me, he started his about six months before I did mine, and although I worked quite fast, he was making progress at least twice as fast as I was, so I benefited by learning how he tackled the challenges inherent to a medium-large layout. The extreme details he had on his layout, however, were the best.

I am glad to share how I did what I did so others can improve on my methods, and end up with better results.

Thanks!

Alex 

Keith, Mark - thank you!

Mike, if you mean these (pictured below for one grade) - They are 3/4" plywood (mostly) or solid pine. I cut them in increasing 1/8" height increments and spaced them 6" apart, which resulted in about a 2% grade for both grades (up and down, or down and up). I have approaches at each end, and this made the grades closer to 1.9%. The trestle also is at 2%, by the way. 

Grade-c West Spacers med DSC03472

And thank you as well!

Alex

Attachments

Images (1)
  • Grade-c West Spacers med DSC03472
Last edited by Ingeniero No1

Alex,

You are truly a craftsman and artist with imaginations above and beyond, I went thru every page looking at every picture and video craving more and more! You have really made me rethink what I want to do, even though mine will not even be close to the size you are running here.

I look forward to seeing your layout on the cover of OGR if not already published, with the hopes of you considering the submittal of how to's to the magazine.

Enjoy,

JoeG

Hi Joe,

Thank you for your nice comments!

Actually, I have been waiting until my layout was a little 'more finished' to contact Allan Miller and Rich Melvin about an article on the layout. In all honesty, the layout now is as complete as it needs to be for an article. I finally ballasted all of the visible track, there hardly is any space left for structures, all the accessories are operational, and the trains are running fine, so I am ready.

If case you missed them, I have had several articles in OGR magazine –

Run 256, on the Wooden Trestle (9 pages)

Run 263, about my neighbor teenage girl’s work on the layout (2 pages)

Run 267, on construction a building around a support post (6 pages)

Now I would welcome the opportunity for an article on the layout, so I'll contact Allan and Rich.

 Alex

Hi Alex,

well, I have spent most of this weekend reading and re-reading your journey into making the most incredible layout that I have ever seen (or expected to see��).  Before I forget, thank you for documenting this entire process.  I am totally impressed.  How I got started on this thread, and the reason for my post, is that I am stuck trying to make my control panel for a 16x20 layout.  I have tried to learn about relays and the specs I need them to be via the Internet but to no avail.  I came across your relay modules and was wondering if you could tell me how to build them including the exact type of relay you used, the specs and why?  I have about 10 track blocks on two main lines and a number of sidings along with 17 turnouts (so far).  The track wiring consists of 12 gauge main lines with 16 gauge drops.  I obviously don't want to take 12 gauge to the control panel, thus the desire to use relays with a much smaller wire to the toggle switches on my control panel.  I will be using DCS. 

Thank you.  If you would prefer not to reply on this thread, my email address is mike_mccormick444@verizon.net.  I really appreciate your help.

Mike,

I did not read you post until a short while ago. I don't mind at all emailing you with the information your requested, but maybe other people would want to know as well, so I will post it. But please, do not hesitate to email me if you like!

I started using 12vDC coil relays, which I bought 50 at $4 each from Mouser: Tyco T9AP5D52-12. (*) These have 20 amp rated SPDT contacts, which is more than enough. I built six of the eight 6-relay modules I needed, installed them, and they work great. Before I finished the other two modules, however, I found cheaper relays on E-bay. They also have an LED for each relay to indicate when they are picked up. The SPDT contacts on these relays are rated at 10 amps, but that should be fine, and have 5vDC coils. So I bought several of those modules for $10 each, and each module has (8) eight relays!

Whichever relays you select is up to you and what you feel comfortable with. I just looked on E-Bay, and found 6-relay modules for $6 and free shipping. See last picture below.

My terminal blocks before I installed the relays.

01 Before med DSC06959

Homemade relay (Tyco) module wiring

02 RELAY MODULE 1

Relay module completed (Tyco relays) 12vDC coils

03 Installed-Labeled med DSC06963

After-the-fact discovered 8-relay module, 5vDC coils

05 8-Relay Module LBL med DSC07709

New (purchased) relay module installed. Only six relays used in this case.

06 purchased relay module labeled med DSC08004

6-Relay module referenced above with link, also 5vDC coils. Wires are supplied.

Relay module 6relays s-l500

I used 22 and 24 AWG wire from the toggle switches on the control panel to the modules (some 120 feet away) to actuate the relays. It is nice indeed to be able to turn off any spur, siding, or main district as we wish. 

Hope this helps, and let me know if you need anything else.

Alex

(*) PS. I have 14 of the Tyco relays left, which I am not going to use, and will sell them for $3 each if anyone want them.

Attachments

Images (7)
  • 01 Before med DSC06959
  • 02 RELAY MODULE 1
  • 03 Installed-Labeled med DSC06963
  • 04 Before and After - Relay Track Control med
  • 05 8-Relay Module LBL med DSC07709
  • 06 purchased relay module labeled med DSC08004
  • Relay module 6relays s-l500

Hi Alex, 

Thank you for responding.  I think I understand but to clarify a few things:

1) on the 6 relay 5vDC module found on eBay, the inputs from the control panel (for 6 track blocks) plus the 2 wires for the 5 volt power (pos & neg) attach to the 8 pins on the longer side of the module.  Correct?  I assume the pins will be marked as to what goes where. 

2) I would need a 5v DC power supply to drive the relays. Correct?

3) Can you recommend a 5v power supply?

So, my daughter-in-law maybe mad at me.  I showed my son your post here on Sunday and all he has done since is read it.  He also showed his colleagues at work.  He is a mechanical engineer and is fascinated by what you have done!  

Again, I thank you for sharing what you have done and for helping me with my questions.

Mike

Ingeniero No1 posted:

I have created several threads that illustrate some of the improvements I have made to my layout, and I think it would be a good idea to include some of those pictures in this thread. Here are some of what I consider more significant.

AF SteamPark 06 med DSC_2334AF SteamPark 07 DSC_2338

Thank you for looking!

Alex (Alexander Müller)

Great work!

Always enjoy what the members have done. Hoping to transition from "Pink" soon!

PA Train Guy posted:

Hi Alex, 

Thank you for responding.  I think I understand but to clarify a few things:

1) on the 6 relay 5vDC module found on eBay, the inputs from the control panel (for 6 track blocks) plus the 2 wires for the 5 volt power (pos & neg) attach to the 8 pins on the longer side of the module.  Correct?  I assume the pins will be marked as to what goes where.  I have not used that specific module, but yes; that is the way it should be; i.e., 2 pins for the 5vDC power, and six pins for relay signal. By the way, in some cases the signal is +5v, in other cases it is -5v, and this is usually noted on the module.

2) I would need a 5v DC power supply to drive the relays. Correct?  Yes.

3) Can you recommend a 5v power supply?  I have tried (and made) many, but lately have been using the 'wall power adapters' that are sold at Amazon, E-Bay, etc. for $4 to $9. Most of these are rated at 2 amps, which is fine. If you have 12vDC already available, you could use a 'Buck Step Down' module that will take the 12vDC as input, and provide 5vDC as output. E-Bay sells these for around $2 - $3, which handle a range of input voltages and can be adjusted for various outputs. However, if you want to keep it simple, use the 5vDC supply.

So, my daughter-in-law maybe mad at me.  I showed my son your post here on Sunday and all he has done since is read it.  He also showed his colleagues at work.  He is a mechanical engineer and is fascinated by what you have done!  THANKS!

Again, I thank you for sharing what you have done and for helping me with my questions. Glad to do so!

Mike

Alex

BobbyD -

Thanks!

Alex

Last edited by Ingeniero No1

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