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As I find time I am building a new layout. The figure below was my 'original' design. I had the yard work wired in then showed my design to a friend who I consider a hi-rail expert. The track module outlined in red is a half copy of John Allen's Timesaver switching game module. My intent was to have something for my friends to do when they came over other then watching trains go round a circle.

timesaver 2b

When I showed the design to my friend Peter he pointed out that the Timesaver module was too far inside the board so it would be difficult to place cars where needed to start the game - something I never thought about! Peter made some other suggestions. The bottom line is the design below.

timesaver 2d

With the new design I should be able to reach in to place cars (furthest track is about 30 inches in) plus I still have the yard where I can reach individual cars to manually uncouple them. Down the road I want to install some turnouts at the end of the yard for an engine run around track.

Another good thing about starting over is that I discovered from the reading a John Armstrong book the wonderful world of easements. For various reasons I chose to run O63 and O54 curves on the main lines so easement will come in handy. Since I don't have any flexible track I found out if I use O81 1/3 curves - two going into the curve and one on the end, I end up with the same total curve pattern in area - see below. This is not much of an easement but I think it will still make the trains look better going into and out of a tight curve.

The last curve on the right is actually both the all O54 placed over the one containing the O81 1/3 curves. It is a almost perfect fit. Note this particular track is Atlas O. I started out with Atlas O sectional track so have a good inventory. However for any new turnouts or track I use Ross. A lot of the interior siding and yard work is all Ross. Since Ross does not make partial curves probably the best course would be Gargraves flexible track or cutting down an O81 sectional curve.

Easement

Joe

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Original Post

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The following is just a suggestion.  If you narrow your ovals 10 inches between east and west sides and place your yard entry on the west side, you could place your yard lead switch almost at the top (north) of that west side.  That way, you can work the yard and add one arrival / departure track (siding) along that side and not "foul the main" while switching.  Using a west side yard lead also keeps the Timesaver area closer to the east edge.

Of course, I don't know what you had planned for the middle of the space, so this suggestion might be totally impractical.  Still??

Chuck

Last edited by PRR1950

Chuck:

Thanks - I actually did what you said but did not post that design. One thing I left out. Both the top (north) and left (west) butt up against a wall so placing the yard on the west side with the A/D track along the north wall looked great but it dawned on me I did not have manual access to individual cars in the yard.  I plan to use one of the yard spurs as an A/D - Classification track. Also down the road when I can afford them I want to buy two Ross yard crossing tracks and add to the end of the yard track so I have a run around (see below).
The space at the top is reserved for a mountain scene. I don't have the room to raise track high enough for a cross over so decided to fake it with a mountain scene against the north wall. I am going to build the mountain with one or maybe two elevated tracks that go no where other than into tunnels. I will place some cars disappearing into the tunnels for effect. This way I can show off some of my wood bridge and trestle work.

Joe

timesaver 2e

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Did some more design modifications in the lower yard. I changed the Ross yard crossing turnouts to the opposite direction, moved them forward so a yard loco can back them into two separate yard tracks. I also added more track to the bottom refinery tank car stub. Now a yard diesel can remove loaded tank cars from the left and move in empties from the right.

 

CLONE of timesaver 2d

 

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Started pulling off what track I had screwed down and powered. Once I get the table cleaned off which also means clearing out all the track wiring from the bottom of the layout table my plan is to go slow with re-routing track power terminal boards making sure all the runs from the power supplies to the boards and board to board are heavy gauge wire. I believe some of the runs were 18 gauge. I want to make sure I have 14-16 gauge minimum. I am using Split Jaw connectors for track connection so the wires from the terminal strips to the track will be all 18 gauge.
Then it is on to the top. In my haste to lay track (other than painting the homasote white) I did nothing else except lay some Woodland Scenics sand mats down for the yard. I kind of like these mats. My plan was to paint after the track was installed and tested out. Since my layout is small I think instead I may go back to the grass mats. I used these  on my last layout. I had a little problem with the mats laying down with wrinkles or bumps but all in all they looked good and because of their vinyl backing provided a great moisture barrier base for further scenery work.

New Layout 001

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Hi Joe,

If I may offer a few suggestions.

First,

The passing siding at the top of your layout is already connected to the inside loop on both ends.  See the red circles on the diagram below.    Since it's already connected to the inner loop the third connection at the bottom of your layout is not really necessary.  See the red X.

Capture 1

My suggestions would be to:

- remove the lower connection to the inner loop on the bottom part of your layout

- use the inner left side of the layout to create a small stub end yard

- remove the timesaver

- in place of the timesaver and in the rest of the space inside the inner loop why not create several industries which creates more prototypical switching opportunities which may hold more interest both operationally and visually to those who want to do something besides watch trains run in a circle.  You really don't have room for scenic elements within the timesaver the way your layout if configured.  You even have room to create a runaround covering most of the passing siding and can run your switching moves off of that.

- if you do create a runaround off the passing siding you now can use the siding as an interchange to drop off cars from a mainline consist.  You can use smaller curves on the runaround and tracks to industries to give you more room for scenery as switchers can navigate down to O31 or O27.   This is very prototypical and would enable you to add even more interest to the layout both operationally and visually.

Either way, you have a nice looking layout in a modest space. 

Keep us posted on your progress.

Regards,

Greg

 

 

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Greg Houser posted:

Hi Joe,

If I may offer a few suggestions.

First,

The passing siding at the top of your layout is already connected to the inside loop on both ends.  See the red circles on the diagram below.    Since it's already connected to the inner loop the third connection at the bottom of your layout is not really necessary.  See the red X.

Capture 1

My suggestions would be to:

- remove the lower connection to the inner loop on the bottom part of your layout

- use the inner left side of the layout to create a small stub end yard

- remove the timesaver

- in place of the timesaver and in the rest of the space inside the inner loop why not create several industries which creates more prototypical switching opportunities which may hold more interest both operationally and visually to those who want to do something besides watch trains run in a circle.  You really don't have room for scenic elements within the timesaver the way your layout if configured.  You even have room to create a runaround covering most of the passing siding and can run your switching moves off of that.

- if you do create a runaround off the passing siding you now can use the siding as an interchange to drop off cars from a mainline consist.  You can use smaller curves on the runaround and tracks to industries to give you more room for scenery as switchers can navigate down to O31 or O27.   This is very prototypical and would enable you to add even more interest to the layout both operationally and visually.

Either way, you have a nice looking layout in a modest space. 

Keep us posted on your progress.

Regards,

Greg

 

 

Hi Greg:

I see what you are saying - yea it looks like some redundant turnouts.  I have a detailed plan attached. since the inside loop will contain a passenger station I think I will delete the turnout at the top left. I will delete the track going to it from the blue turnout (third track from top) and replace that with a simple curve into the passenger yard. Your idea actually frees up the main line so the passenger train can run while yard switching goes on inside.

My original intent with the timesaver module was to have something for friends to do when they came over. I have it set up as steam locomotive yard so I will have various cars (tankers, hoppers, gondolas, box cars, etc.) I could position for the game. But you are right I have only two customers - the flour mill and the refinery. Looks like you are going to responsible for keeping me awake tonight while I ponder!

 

CLONE of timesaver 2d full

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Joe,

By your reply to my suggestions, I'm not sure I made myself clear.  I was suggesting that you place the initial switch for your yard in the northwest corner and run your yard lead all the way down the west side.  At the southwest corner, the lead would curve into a mirror image of the yard you now show.  If you shrink your ovals enough on an east-west basis, you could easily include a yard lead and an A-D track on the west side without jeopardizing your reach issue very much.

Chuck

I have re-worked the design and came up with the following. I combined the time saver module with the yard track, moved it to the edge of the layout and now have a long yard track. With this design I can manually reach everything in the time saver module and yard. The time saver module will double as a diesel and steam locomotive yard. I left the passenger train yard double ended so a train could pull in and out.

CLONE of timesaver 2d rev 1 track

 

CLONE of timesaver 2d rev 1 full

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The table has been cleared. I am waiting for some Woodland Scenics sand mats for the yard at the bottom and the diesel / steam yard on the right side. In the meantime I am going to re-route all the power and ground lines under the layout, hopefully clean them up and make them look neater.

Chuck: Thanks for your idea about the yard lead. it worked out great. No more fouling the main.

Train Board Nov 2017 001r

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Last edited by Joe Fauty

Just finished up re-routing the ground wires. Since I was dropping down to 14 gauge wire at first I was going to use a common ground for everything to hopefully save on wire runs but as I started running wire I decided on two ground circuits. I have my three track power supplies on one common ground and the ITADS, ACC, and Turnouts on another ground circuit.

Next week I will start re-routing power. This will be fairly straight forward just as with the ground with the following exceptions:

1. Power for each of the three power districts (track power) must be electrically isolated from one another.

2. Power district 2 will contain spurs with on/off switches that must be wired from the control board.

3. Power for the ITADS and turnouts could be ganged together but since I have separate transformers for these I will keep the power lines isolated.

4. All accessories are powered by a 12VDC supply so this power for this circuit must be kept separate.

Sand mats came in the the two yards. Once I get the wiring done I will lay down the mats and start placing track.

Joe

A VIEW FROM THE UNDERGROUND (pun intended)

I spent Sunday under the layout routing power wires for track, ITADS, Acc, and turnouts. Below are some photos. I actually cleaned up a lot of 'hanging wires' bit it's a jungle under there.

Wiring 001

This is the back of the power supply drawer. I have two 180 watt power bricks plus the MTH Z4000 to power the three track power districts. The 14 volt AC output will power all ITADS. I have a 30 watt 12DC power supply (3 taps at 10watts each) to power all accessories and a small Lionel 1 amp Acc supply for my turnouts.
It is hard to see however other than power cords I have all output wires from the supplies connected to European style terminal boards on the bench-work with enough slack to allow me to pull the drawer out. A close up is shown below.

Wiring 003

Next to this drawer is another pull out drawer that is my 'control board'. It contains toggle switches for the turnouts, Accessories and track spurs. The connection scenario is the same as with the power supply drawer.

Wiring 002

There is a lot of clutter under here and it is only going to get worse when all spur tracks, turnouts and accessories are connected. Note - all the red 'connectors' hanging off the European terminals are wire ferrules.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=os66cID30Ek

I also tweaked my design by adding a long track lead to the industrial siding. The thinking here is that a diesel can drop off its delivery of empty cars and pick up  loaded cars from each siding. I just need to determine if I still have enough room for the buildings I want to fit.

CLONE of timesaver 2d rev 4

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Spent Sunday filling in holes with putty. I decided to cover the worst sections (periphery) with Woodland Scenics vinyl grass mats. I have used this before. It provides an excellent scenery base to build up on.

Rather than using double sides tape I opted for the mat adhesive Woodland Scenics sells. It appears to be a basic contact adhesive since one has to brush the adhesive on both the mat and mating surface. I have the grass mats installed in the back of the layout. I will be running sand mats along the front and right side where the freight yard and time saver module (actually a locomotive yard) will go.

Layout 12-4 [1)Layout 12-4 [2)Layout 12-4 [3)

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All the grass mats are in place. I ran out mat adhesive so used double side tape for the last mat. Not sure which I prefer. There are some spots, mostly edges that are coming loose (mat adhesive) I'm thinking about the 3M Super 77 spray adhesive for these. If this doesn't work then hot glue (the mats are vinyl).

I used the grass mats once before on my very first layout. If left alone they look kind of blah but I found out that they can be a very good scenic base to build up more scenery on.

I started placing track to make sure everything fits. Once that is done I will start wiring track (place track bed and drilling new holes).

Prescott Layout 2017 001

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Did some more track placing. Hopefully this Sunday I can finish up placing track and start wiring power and ground. Looks like my plan was bigger than my layout....... I will need to work on the two loops that go behind the MTH Station. I have the feeling I am going to need to push everything over to the right to make this track fit.

Joe

Prescott Layout 001

 

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Got all the track in place - had to make some changes. I have started to wire track.

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To wire the track I am using a connection system called Split Jaw connectors. I have posted some info on this system before. Below are some photos.

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Below are photos of the track wired and in place. Once I ballast the connectors will be hidden.

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This will be my last post for quite a while. I have a few hours on Sundays to work the layout as the rest of my time is spent on customer work. Once all track is wired I will post again on wiring the Ross and Atlas O turnouts.

Joe

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Last edited by Joe Fauty

Art:

Splitjaw Products, Inc

The guy to talk to is Jerry.

Power Supply Connectors (Standard)
SKU B-250-PSC-5.0
Weight  0.02lbs
Material: Brass
Code: 250 - 5.0mm
Type: 16-14 Gauge

Note - if you use Gargraves track because of the flange at the bottom the clamps are too shallow to fit properly. I am not sure if Jerry has modified any clamps to fit Gargraves since that was two years ago. The standard clamp will fit Ross track perfectly. If you are using Atlas O track Jerry will need to shave off about 1/32 from each piece so they will fit. He has done this for me and other people so it won't be an issue.

Wired in some more track. It turns out there is some track that unfortunately lie over 2x4 horizontal bench bracing so I could not drill holes for the Spiltjaw connectors. I had to go back to the Atlas O terminal joiners. I have a bunch of terminal joiners I soldered up my self. Good thing I did not toss them.
Also shown is a Klein wire cutter/stripper I use to cut wire. I learned a while back the ends of the stripper have pretty much a perfect profile to fit over terminal joiners and clamp them tighter to the rails.

Prescott Layout 001

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Congratulations on the layout Joe. I have been away for quite awhile and didn't know you were building a railroad. I have been static for quite a long time rehabbing from reoccurring problems from a small stroke back in the day. I still have a degree of cognitive impairment and occasional vertigo but much better. Unfortunately all of your great Structure work for me has accumulated a layer of dust and my rails still have traces of ballasting glue and rail rust paint. I am limited in my tasks by hand tremors and fatigue but fortunately railpower and turnout wiring was done back in 2010. Hopefully I can soon get back to work and clean up the mess. I have a rolling walker for when my legs tire so moderate work is possible.

I look forward to watching your progress. 

Dewey

PS: I had to take up plumbing to hide all of my dangling cords/wires.  Fortunately the main  Service Panel is right below in the garage so in Jan. '10 I was able to snake up a #12-2w/grd  and lnstall a new single wall receptacle to supply the center.

 

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Last edited by Dewey Trogdon

Did not wire as much track as I wanted to. I had to mostly work underneath the layout. The old layout design had all spurs connected  to one power district. In the new design the spurs are split between two power districts. So I had re-route wire under the control board to the various toggle switches.

I did manage to drop two more pairs of wires. I extended the yard up to a turnout and wired spur 1 to the control board (this is how I discovered my routing error above).

Prescott Layout [2)

The spur contains a lighted bumper I made from wood. I have made both wood and plastic versions. I do have a bunch of Lionel lighted bumpers that I will be using for the time being till I build more of my own. I discovered that the lights on the Lionel bumpers are rated at 12 volts so have a very limited life span when connected directly to track voltage. I found red bulbs rated at 18 volts and am using these on both my bumpers and the Lionel bumpers. (Note - for the Lionel bumpers you need to remove the socket and the leaf springs so it is actually easier and cheaper to buy the unlighted versions). As shown below I connect the bulbs to the track using Atlas O joiners.

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Everything  will be hidden once ballast is applied. Below is a picture of the bumper. The four vertical posts in the front are designed to fit in between the track ties so the bumper does not slide back when a locomotive hits it.

Prescott Layout [1)

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Since a forum member expressed interest in the split jaw connectors I thought I would add a little more info on how I make connections to them. the spilt jaw connectors come with a ring crimp connect. The normal method is to crimp a wire into the ring connect then attach the connect to the jaws. I want to make absolutely sure the wire never slips out of the crimp connect so I use ferrules. I first crimp the wire into the ferrule then I crimp the ferrule into the ring connect. Using this method the wire is not going anywhere.

Split Jaw Connector 005various 001

Also if anyone is interested in building their own bumpers from wood or plastic see the attached file. If I install lights into the bumpers I use a Plastruct SX-4 flange upside down. I drill a hole to fit the top of the flange then glue it in place. The light bulb fits nicely inside the flange.

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Last edited by Joe Fauty

Did not get far this Sunday at all. I decided to delete a web page on my web site in the morning then spent 4 hours fixing the resulting mess that occurred with page navigation. I did manage to wire in one spur that will hold the locomotives. I made one change - deleted the Atlas O high speed turnouts between the locomotive track and the classification track. Didn't see the sense in the long length of the turnouts compromising the number of cars I could place on the classification track. Next week I will wire in the classification track and hopefully move onto the 4 way yard switch.

One thing I did learn - the Ross #4 yard crossing switch will not work with 054 or 072 Atlas turnouts. The yard switch is narrower then both. I did not have time to try them with Ross turnouts but I suspect the result would be the same. It appears you need Ross #4 turnouts and TR345 curves to make things fit. They work fine with the Ross 4 way but it looks like I will need to cut track to fit on one side.

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Deuce:

It's not big - about 14 x 18

I will have two main lines if I want to watch trains go round and round but most of the layout is switching especially the left side which is part of John Allen's famous time-saver switching game.

I am still struggling with 'pick it here and drop it off there'. I have a lot of pick up here but not many drop it there.

Model Structures posted:

Deuce:

It's not big - about 14 x 18

I will have two main lines if I want to watch trains go round and round but most of the layout is switching especially the left side which is part of John Allen's famous time-saver switching game.

I am still struggling with 'pick it here and drop it off there'. I have a lot of pick up here but not many drop it there.

My logic for design is "how is the commodity handled" or how is the freight handled?   sources/suppliers to processors/distributors - to end user/retailers.

Then, pick it here and drop it there happens at each stop with fulls and empties.

Now, it would seem to depend of what kind of buildings that you have and where you place them.

I would view the dual mains as a main and a local that you can foul while picking here and dropping there.

The RR's functions (yard tracks and spurs, passing sidings) can be both.

Ok, after looking at you sidings in the center and the timesaver area it appears each pair would a be customer. The miner, logger, producer is in the yard already.

One cuts and builds a train in the yard, delivers in the proper order by dropping off the "fulls" and then collecting the "empties" on the other siding, proceeds and returns to the yard to the A/D track, where a switcher moves the cars around.

They magically get full and the customer empties theirs.

If a structure that you have is a producer, it doesn't matter. You take them empties from the yard and bring fulls back to get sent to some imaginary location.

The structures define the story, the action is the same - drop and pick at every location.

Model Structures posted:

Deuce:

It's not big - about 14 x 18

I will have two main lines if I want to watch trains go round and round but most of the layout is switching especially the left side which is part of John Allen's famous time-saver switching game.

I am still struggling with 'pick it here and drop it off there'. I have a lot of pick up here but not many drop it there.

Thanks. I decided to look up the Timesaver switching game, and found out that it can be employed in a smallish space. A bit more reading and I found the Inglenook Sidings Shunting puzzle, and I'll incorporate that into my layout. Thanks!

Thanks for the comments All!

I wired in the second spur during the evenings this week. Next up is the Ross 4-way. I had this wired in on the last layout so wiring will be fairly straight forward this time around. Last hook up I had non-derail on the four output rails plus three DZ 1011's (you also need the DZ-1008 relay) for turnout direction. Once I have everything wired and working I will post the electrical schematic I made. I have connection schematics for various signal and detector options I have used in the past (MTH, Lionel, Z-Stuff). I have posted them before but if anyone is interested and if I have the combo you want I can post again. I did buy a bunch of Atlas O #200 snap relays to use with Atlas O switch motors and dwarf signals but have not tried any as yet.

Many moons ago when I started my first layout (circa 2008) I invested in some Lionel IR detectors - never tried the MTH verasion. For the most part they worked just fine and most are still working but as they quit I am replacing with Z-Stuff DZ1075's. This is solely due to the size difference which is phenomenal and so far the DZ detectors have been bullet proof with Lionel and MTH signals.

Decided to take a 'break' form track wiring today. Instead I worked on some lighted bumpers plus two Gargraves decoupling tracks.

I purchased two of the newer designed decouplers (the short version). When I read the instructions for the decoupling track I got confused since one paragraph stated no center rail connection and other paragraph talked about extending center rail connection for locomotive/car rollers. I called and talked to a rep from Gargraves who set me straight. There indeed is no center rail connection however one can extend the amount of time a roller connects to the center rail by installing a track pin and butted it up against the plastic enclosure for the magnet. The pin needs to shortened to accommodate the short run.

I took this a step further and did the following.

Below is the track as it comes in the package (I removed two pins)

Prescott Layout 004

I took a center rail from a short piece of Gargraves track, glued it in place then cut it with a Dremel tool (cut off wheel).

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I then sanded the rough edges with disc sanding attachment

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This the final result. I think it looks neater then simply having a pin hanging out in mid air.

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I spent the rest of the afternoon wiring up some custom and Lionel track bumpers for lights. I found 18 volt red bulbs from Cir-Kit concepts.

I drilled out the center hole to 1/4 inch then installed a Plastruct SX-4 flange, after which I painted the Lionel bumper black

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The bulb needs to go through the flange before the Atlas track rail joiners are soldered on.

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Had to trim the wires down to length

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Soldering the wires to the rail joiners are easy as long as the wires and the rail joiners are tinnedfirst.

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Broke my rule - Sundays are reserved for my layout not customer work. I wanted to finish up some building flats (see Sunday Scenic Showcase).

My plan was to wire in the Ross 4-way. I will do so this W/E. In the meantime I have attached some 'circuit diagrams' I made. They cover switch control, non-derail, and turnout position indicator lights. As you can see I use Z-stuff 1008 relays and their beautiful 1011 detector (just make sure you tape over the IR sensor). I have wired the 4-way once before so am close to 100% confident the diagrams are good.

Joe

 

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Last edited by Joe Fauty

Worked on connecting the Ross 4-way. 5 hours to connect one switch motor!
I spent about 2 hours under the layout moving terminal boards dedicated to the turnout and re-routing power/ground wires plus wires from the toggle switches. It took about 1/2 hour to run the three wires from one switch machine (had to extend lengths etc.). The rest of the time was spent figuring out why the switch machine wasn't working. Turns out:

 - the multimeter I was using (Sears Craftsman nearly as old as me) is finally starting to play games.
 - I have a separate power supply (power / ground) system for ITADS and turnouts. I connected the ground to the wrong ground system.
 - I relearned a lesson about Ross switch motors. I run both Atlas O and Ross turnouts. To help the Atlas O switch machines run cooler and not burn out as quick as they are prone to, I add rectifying diodes in line for the power wire. Diodes do not work with Ross switch motors and in fact make them non-operable. I had diodes hanging off the terminal boards but they are for the non-derail feature but I happily hooked them in circuit with the switch machines.

I have attached a corrected version of one of the sheets I earlier posted.

 

Connecting Signals to Turnouts rev 1 - 02

Next Sunday I am going to wire in Z-Stuff dwarf signals / 1008 relays to indicate turnout position.

Joe

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Model Structures posted:

Decided to take a 'break' form track wiring today. Instead I worked on some lighted bumpers plus two Gargraves decoupling tracks.

I purchased two of the newer designed decouplers (the short version). When I read the instructions for the decoupling track I got confused since one paragraph stated no center rail connection and other paragraph talked about extending center rail connection for locomotive/car rollers. I called and talked to a rep from Gargraves who set me straight. There indeed is no center rail connection however one can extend the amount of time a roller connects to the center rail by installing a track pin and butted it up against the plastic enclosure for the magnet. The pin needs to shortened to accommodate the short run.

I took this a step further and did the following.

Below is the track as it comes in the package (I removed two pins)

Prescott Layout 004

I took a center rail from a short piece of Gargraves track, glued it in place then cut it with a Dremel tool (cut off wheel).

Prescott Layout 005

I then sanded the rough edges with disc sanding attachment

Prescott Layout 006

This the final result. I think it looks neater then simply having a pin hanging out in mid air.

Prescott Layout 007

I spent the rest of the afternoon wiring up some custom and Lionel track bumpers for lights. I found 18 volt red bulbs from Cir-Kit concepts.

I drilled out the center hole to 1/4 inch then installed a Plastruct SX-4 flange, after which I painted the Lionel bumper black

Prescott Layout 009

The bulb needs to go through the flange before the Atlas track rail joiners are soldered on.

Prescott Layout 008

Had to trim the wires down to length

Prescott Layout 010

Soldering the wires to the rail joiners are easy as long as the wires and the rail joiners are tinnedfirst.

Prescott Layout 011

Joe

Is the item number for the bulb CK1010-33B?

Thanks

Mike

My Lord! Things actually went smoothly today!

I hooked up three DZ-1011 dwarf signals through 1008 relays to indicate turnout position. Plus the last two switch machines were wired. Everything works (see circuit diagrams from 2-19 and the correction from 2-26).

I wired the one dwarf signal to the switch motor previously wired just to make sure the connections were correct.

Prescott Layout 004Prescott Layout 005

I then wired the other two switch machines made sure they worked then their companion dwarf signals. Everything works just fine.

Prescott Layout 007

Because the 4-way was moved to a new position as mentioned earlier I had to move terminal boards under the layout to accommodate the new position. As a result almost all wires from the switch motors and the dwarf signals were too short. I am not much on soldering so try to avoid it as much as possible. To splice wires together I use a combination of wire ferrules and crimp splice connectors. My process is shown below.
Note I am using 22 gauge wire which is way too thin for the normal red crimp connector plus I never liked crimping a bare wire into a connector. They too often pull out (probably my technique).

I first crimp the wires with 22 gauge wire ferrules (blue)

Prescott Layout 001

These ferrule are too small for the standard red crimp connect but an 18 gauge ferrule (yellow) fits snugly. So I  crimped the 22 gauge ferrule into a 18 gauge ferrule.

Prescott Layout 002

I then crimped the ferrules from the two wires into a standard splice connector. These wires are going no where.

Prescott Layout 003

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Got some more work done on the yard. Spent most of the day placing track and roadbed. I had to cut some track to make the yard cross overs work. I also soldered wire to four tracks that will act as non-derail track for the 4-way. While not strictly necessary for the yard I think the non-derail is cool and is too easy to wire so why not............

A picture of the yard - already see where I screwed up. Luckily the track is not wired or screwed into place as yet. I envisioned the far yard cross over as a round around but allowed only 10 inches behind it. I am going to need to move it up another 10 inches - no big deal.

Prescott Layout 003

This is shot of the Gargraves and Atlas O De-coupling track.  Given the bar's lenght The Gargraves is definitely going to be easy to cite cars on.

Prescott Layout 004

I needed to place the Atlas O De-coupling track in-between two Ross tracks but could not use the Atlas O to Ross track pins. Below is a picture of the underside of the Atlas o track. As can be seen three of the four track joiners are soldered to the track.

Prescott Layout 001

So I attached a 1.75 inch Atlas track to one end and was fortunate that I had undercut the Ross track at the other end to receive Atlas joiners. So on one end I have the Atlas O to Ross joiners and normal Atlas O joiners on the other end.

Prescott Layout 002

Next W/E hopefully I will wire all the track for power and the attach the wires for the non-derail feature.

Joe

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Did some work on the yard this Sunday. As mentioned in the last post I had to move one yard cross over up further to allow enough room for a locomotive to back up into the next yard lead. It took some maneuvering of track and some more custom cutting track to length. I cut roadbed to fit then added power lines to all track (that's the mess you see in the second photo) and will connect to terminals next weekend. Then hopefully it is on to connecting the cross overs and non-derail features for the 4-way. After that connecting the decoupling tracks.

I also have been making sign posts (got this from a job I did for a customer) that designate the turnout number to coordinate with my control board. I think it is much better to say 'park the box cars on siding #5' rather than 'the fourth siding from the right'.

Prescott Layout 001

 

Prescott Layout 002

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Model Structures posted:

 

...

Prescott Layout 002

Next W/E hopefully I will wire all the track for power and the attach the wires for the non-derail feature.

Joe

Do NOT use these joiners to join Gargraves/Ross track. Thermal expansion/contraction can cause gaps and/or gauge shift to form. You're better off filing/cutting out the webbing on the bottom of the Gargraves Rails and using regular Atlas track joiners. The design was a good idea, but if your layout environment is subject to changes in temperature and/or moisture you can get separation problems.

Matt:

Thanks for the heads up.

I have the layout in a spare room in my house plus I screw down all track. Hopefully this will alleviate the issue. But I will monitor and see if anything happens. One thing I did notice. The joiners are pretty flimsy. Once inserted they will break if you need to remove for any reason.
The yard will be the only place I use these joiners. Everywhere else (especially the main lines) when I go from Atlas to Ross I will use the undercut method you mentioned. Since I am screwing down all track I have been thinking about just butting the ends together w/o any joiners at all. Power / ground will be connected on both sides. This method works for isolated ground track plus going form one power break into another. Your thoughts Matt?

Finished up laying track plus ground/power in the yard. Next W/E I will wire the non-derail and the two cross over turnouts. I have one track that doesn't look straight which I will have to fix plus for some reason the switched spur all of a sudden does not turn on so I will have to figure out what is going on there (probably pulled a wire loose crawling under the layout).

A while back I bought four cheap LED dwarf signals from Hong Kong (see photo below). I am going to try these with a DZ-1008 relay and see how they go. The signals come with a resistor attached so it should be a straight hookup.

I also bought a Gargraves gantry track (see photo). I had already built a gantry that would ride on rails however as you can see it is too wide for the Gargraves track. My plan is to use the existing gantry up front and build another one that will fit the Gargraves track.

Various 001

Various 002

It is hard to see but the dwarf signal is towards the middle of the photo.

Prescott Layout 001

The new Gargraves gantry track

Prescott Layout 003

My gantry is too wide for the gantry track so I will use it either up front or in the back depending on fit.

Prescott Layout 004

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Looks like my ambitions were bigger than I thought.

I fixed the issue with the spur not turning on. My diagrams said it was spur #2. My wiring said spur #8. Both now match as spur #2.

I also discovered one of the turnout indicator lights was now working either. Turns out the wiring runs over the pull out control panel and pulling out the drawer also pulled out the wires......... so I spent time re-routing and fixing this issue.

I did manage to drill holes for the turnout wiring and associated lights and crimp on ferrules in preparation for wiring next weekend. I have shown my system before but will repeat here. I am not much of a fan of soldering so use a method that involves wire ferrules whether they end up in old fashion spade connects or simply insert into European style connectors. since the wires for the switch motors and lights are very small I first crimp them into 22 gauge wire ferrules  ( the little blue ones) which fit very nicely into 18 gauge yellow ferrules. These in turn will fit into any 'red' standard crimp connect. To add more wire to route to the terminal connectors   I crimp the 18 gauge ferrules into red butt splices. This technique works great for me and gives a super strong joint.

I also discovered that the yellow 18 gauge ferrule will fit into 'push-in wire connectors (see last 2 photos). These connectors come in 2/3/4 and probably more ports. They are basically shorting connectors. So you can connect 3 wires from three different accessories to the connector and use the 4th wire to go to a terminal.

Prescott Layout [2)

Prescott Layout [1)

Prescott Layout 001Prescott Layout 002

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Didn't post anything for the last week because what I attempted did not work. Even though not strictly required I had the isolated track so decided to make the 4-way in the yard non-derail. This should have been easy enough to do (I did it before) - see picture below

4way-with non-derailing

 

Well I hooked up everything and NOTHING WORKED!
Tried various combinations of wiring for about two hours then gave up. While eating dinner I had an A Hah moment. The switch machines have their own power separate from track power which means separate grounds. So the next day I made both grounds common, declared victory and tried the non-derail.  Needless to say NOTHING WORKED!
So this W/E I will move all the wiring/terminals to the top of the layout where it is much more comfortable to work and figure out what is going on.  I know these scheme works since I have done this before so I figure a simple routing error somewhere.

Having fun
Joe

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Joe,

One of the diodes needs to be reversed consistently - choose the same direction for the all of the L's and all of the R's. They are only needed to prevent the controller lights from flickering. All in the same direction will stop the current flow.

Z-Stuff DZ-1000 for non-derail

I like the way Ross suggests a 3" spacer track between the switches for the 4-way yard . I use that for power control and the non-derail trigger rail. It looks like you could move that point to the track after the switch end - the two short center straights and the two outsides curves to parallel.

Dan - thanks. I'm going to keep the common ground. It's a good idea. Yep the red boxes are the switch machines. 

Carl - I was wondering. I had the diagram you gave the link for plus the diagram I got from somewhere. I will try reversing the L diodes before I go into the shop today.
I am also using 3" track on the inside straight portions but opted for making the curved transition track on the two outside portions of the 4-way due to lack of space. On all other Ross turnouts I am using the 3" track. It is so much easier to use plastic pins on the ends of the 3" then cutting into rails and filling with silicone.

Joe

Spent all day working the ground issue to no avail.

I have three power districts powered by two Lionel 180 watt power bricks and one tap (track 2) of the Z4000. Each power source is connected to a Legacy Powermaster then to a common ground under the table. The Turnout machines are powered by the 14VAC tap on the Z4000 with a separate ground.

As long as I keep the ground for the turnouts separate from the power district ground the track voltage and turnout machines along with Z-Stuff dwarf lights connected through 1008 relays to the turnout machines work just fine. Only the non-derail does not work since it needs a common ground between the switch machines and track ground.

Just to be sure about the Z4000 I disconnected the 14VAC wires, then shorted ground between the 14VAV tap and track 2 directly on the transformer (ie before the powermasters). The Z4000 acted just fine. As soon as I ran a wire from the 14VAC ground tap on the transformer under the table and connected to ground after the powermasters, track 2 of the Z4000 goes to 12 amps at about 1.2 VAC.

As I said earlier I did have the non-derail working on my previous layout. The only change I made was to switch a new legacy powermaster for an TPC400 that was previously connected to the Z4000.

Joe

Still playing around with the Z4000 - see https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...58#79142442707728458

Based on tracking the common wire last night I may have a potential feedback issue though am not sure as yet (diagrams on the other post).

I sort of declared victory last night and ordered another Lionel 180W power brick. This way I will have three bricks feeding three powermasters and use the Z4000 for switch motors, ITADS etc.

Model Structures posted:

As I find time I am building a new layout. The figure below was my 'original' design. I had the yard work wired in then showed my design to a friend who I consider a hi-rail expert. The track module outlined in red is a half copy of John Allen's Timesaver switching game module. My intent was to have something for my friends to do when they came over other then watching trains go round a circle.

timesaver 2b

When I showed the design to my friend Peter he pointed out that the Timesaver module was too far inside the board so it would be difficult to place cars where needed to start the game - something I never thought about! Peter made some other suggestions. The bottom line is the design below.

timesaver 2d

With the new design I should be able to reach in to place cars (furthest track is about 30 inches in) plus I still have the yard where I can reach individual cars to manually uncouple them. Down the road I want to install some turnouts at the end of the yard for an engine run around track.

Another good thing about starting over is that I discovered from the reading a John Armstrong book the wonderful world of easements. For various reasons I chose to run O63 and O54 curves on the main lines so easement will come in handy. Since I don't have any flexible track I found out if I use O81 1/3 curves - two going into the curve and one on the end, I end up with the same total curve pattern in area - see below. This is not much of an easement but I think it will still make the trains look better going into and out of a tight curve.

The last curve on the right is actually both the all O54 placed over the one containing the O81 1/3 curves. It is a almost perfect fit. Note this particular track is Atlas O. I started out with Atlas O sectional track so have a good inventory. However for any new turnouts or track I use Ross. A lot of the interior siding and yard work is all Ross. Since Ross does not make partial curves probably the best course would be Gargraves flexible track or cutting down an O81 sectional curve.

Easement

Joe

It is a great thing to get great advice.  Most people have way too many spots on their layout which are difficult to access.  WELL PLAYED!  :=)

lehighline posted:

Good! That eliminates one potential problem.

This sounds as if you have a phasing issue between your power supplies. Have you checked that all 3 sources are in fact in phase with each other? Just because they have polarized plugs on the house side does not guarantee they will be in phase.

 

Chris

LVHR

Yep - checked all three  - in phase

With the Z4000 out of the loop everything is working. I have wired non-derail for for two of the three switch motors and all is working well. I will wire the one remaining switch motor tonight.

To do list:

1. Re-trace ground circuit and make sure it is ok
2. Wire reaming non-derail
3. wire switch motors for the two crossover turnouts
4. wire dwarf signals for the crossovers
5. wire the four de-couplers (two Gargraves and two Atlas O)

So phasing is not the issue. That leaves your wiring.

Just as a final check, try swapping a brick and the Z4K. If all is well with the transformers, there should be no change in status. Which definitely leads you back to the layout wiring. Somewhere you have to have at least one common and/or hot lead reversed. Can you pull the 4-way completely out of the layout and work on it on the bench?  Then you have only one (big) component to deal with.

Spent another 5 hours playing around with the Z4000. I disconnected all track wires. I disconnected all the power supplies then double checked the the power / common wiring to all terminal broads under the table. I reconnected the power supplies and checked voltages at each terminal with the track wires still disconnected. Since the power supplies share a common ground if I had an out phase Z4000 I assume I would see a much higher voltage between a terminal board for the Z4000 and one for the 180W power bricks plus a voltage between the power ('A' or pos) between the Z4000 and a power brick. All was well. Just to double check I turned the power plug for the Z4000 around in the power strip (I have a plug adapter that allows me to do this) and sure enough there was voltage between the 'A' terminals of the Z4000 and the power bricks.

So bottom line I know my wiring is good, I am pretty certain the Z4000 is in phase with the power bricks. If I short grounds ('U') terminals on the Z4000 for the track 1 voltafe and 14VAC before the Legacy Powermaster I have no issues, if I connect the grounds after the powermaster I have issues. If I connect one or the other I have no issues. So I am declaring victory and moving on. I have a power brick on order. I will use this to power the third track district and use the Z4000 for turnouts (common ground with power bricks) and accessories only. I have tried this already and it works.

Next Sunday it is back to wiring track and turnouts in the yard. I bought some LED dwarf lights from a Hong Kong outfit. It will be interesting plying around with these...............

Joe

I owe everyone a huge apology. I must have been testing phase the wrong way. I reviewed Lionel's YouTube video on testing phase and duplicated the light technique. Sure enough the Z4000 is out of phase with the two Lionel power bricks. The light was turning on when connecting red terminal to red terminal from the Z4000 to all three powermasters but not when connecting red to black.

I have a three prong into two prong adapter so used it to turn the Z4000 plug around in the power strip but this did not work for some reason. I tried turning the Lionel power bricks around but then they would not turn on the powermasters.

The one thing Mike ?Reagan's? video otherwise excellent did not touch upon was how to correct two power supplies out of phase with each other.  I have a feeling I would need to have someone go inside the Z4000????

I still have a third Lionel power brick coming in, supposedly tonight so will hook it up to the third powermaster. For some reason the 14V terminal if used by itself will work with the power bricks on a common ground. If it does not I have a small Lionel CW40 I can try.

Last edited by Joe Fauty
Moonman posted:

Joe,

Is the Z4000 healthy? Throttles ok and such? Has anyone ever been inside for repairs? It shouldn't be out of phase, even though it's a strange beast to me.

I didn't like because it wouldn't turn on track power with the throttles preset.

Shoot an email to GGG and see what he thinks of this.

As far as I know it is ok though it is old - 2007/2008????). No one has ever touched the insides.

By GGG do you mean Gunrunner John?

I just received the 180 power brick. I will install tomorrow. I have the CW40. If it will power all my turnouts and dwarf signals then the Z becomes a boat anchor and goes sup for sale.

The new 180W power brick arrived. I replaced the Z4000 with the power brick for Track 1 plus I installed a CW80 (thought it was a CW40) for accessories. I programmed the accessory voltage for 13 volts (pretty cool add-on by Lionel!) to power the various turnouts switch machines plus all the dwarf signals. Got a photo of the revised power drawer below.

Prescott Layout 2018 001

I tested the three power bricks and the CW80 with the lamp and everything checks out. So all track wire plus the non derail wiring was re-connected. As Mark said - I am back on track again. I have non-derail working for both the forward two switch machines on the Ross 4-way. They work fine however when I try to connect to the non-derail to the approach switch machine the other switch machine points start to flutter so I need to do some more thinking here.

I also tried the non-derail with and W/O diodes and could not tell any difference in performance nor the lights so stayed with wire only. I wonder if this has to do with the flutter????

I barely mentioned I had a Z4000 'boat anchor' and a friend magically showed up and took it for his layout. I did contact MTH via their web page email about a week ago. So far no replies.

Joe

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Went back to the non-derail issue. But first I discovered that two outside rails coming off the Ross yard crossovers were isolated. These two rails are between the crossover and the intentional isolated rails for the non-derail feature. I broke a cardinal rule of mine (always wire track power and ground on each end of a turnout) because this track was sitting on top of my control board and I did want wire running over the area of the board. I had to take up a lot of track to fix this but it is done.

isolated track rail 002

isolated track rail 003

Back to the non-derail. I have the basic wiring done. I can control the two outboard turnouts  with the isolated track now. However as soon as I add the entry turnout into the wire scheme a lot of weird things happen - flutter, the entry turnout switching when I use a toggle switch control wired to one of the outboard turnouts. So next week I am going to remove the wires for the dwarf signals (they are connected to DZ1008 relays and ultimately to the turnout machines) and see what happens with the non-derail.

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Some stuff happened last week so this entry is really for last Sunday. I could not get the non-derail to work for the entry turnout and finally figured out why. When I first wired the 4-way in the previous design I used 2 toggle switches connected to the left and right outboard turnouts. Each toggle switch in turn  was connected to the entry switch in the appropriate direction. This time I wired in 3 toggle switches - gave the entry turnout its own switch. So if I tried to wire non-derail for an outboard and the entry turnout I created a back-feed which made the outboard turnout flutter. I am going to change this during the week.

Meanwhile thinking I was out of the woods (yea right) I used a small lightweight caboose with lights (I use this to make sure track power is on when wiring track) to test the non-derail but also sent it all the way through the crossovers. The bottom crossover worked just fine. However going through the curve on the top crossover the caboose kept shorting out and blowing the transformer fuse.

Ross Yard Cross Over 003

I tried thee other cabooses (cabeese???) with no issues. It was just this one little guy. As I mentioned above it went through the other crossover with no issues so it was not the caboose itself. Well after going through the turnout upteen times looking for issues I starting sending Steve at Ross Custom Switches emails. Steve kept giving me pointers to what to check. It was during the week I was trying some stuff Steve recommended when I needed to use both hands - one for the caboose on one on the track when I noticed the crossover would wobble side to side about 1/16 inch. Background - I don't glue the cork roadbed not do I glue track. I simply screw the track through the roadbed and into the homasote under layer. So I figured what the heck and put a screw smack dab in the middle of the crossover (see below). After four days of head scratching and exercising Steve the caboose started sailing through the crossover with no issues.

Ross Yard Crossover 001

Ross Yard Crossover 002

Now on to a new adventure. I am actually going to wire these switch machines..............NO NON-DERAIL

Joe

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I have been spending the last few W/E's working on the dwarf signals for the 4-way and the two cross overs. I am using DZ1011R dwarf signals and DZ1008 relays. Call this a learning lesson - wire the two exactly according to the diagram D. Zander supplies. I neglected to connect the yellow wire from the 1008 to the DZ1000 switch motor (so only the green wire was connected). The relays / dwarf signals worked great until they did not work anymore. So far I have 3 fried 1008 relays.......................

DZ-1008 and DZ-1011 indicator

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Mark:

Thanks! If you do decide to place signals but don't want the hassle of all the wires necessary for relays the easiest thing to do is hook up the signals to IR detectors. Lionel and MTH make big massive ones. Z-Stuff makes a much smaller version but get the right one - I think it is the 1075. The other one (1070?) only works with Z-stuff signals. You can also eliminate the detectors all together and just go with Z-Stuff signals alone since they have built in detectors. When I use the DZ-1011R with the relay I place a piece of electrical tape over the sensor. If you use any Z-stuff signals with the 1075/1070 you have to do the same thing.

Joe

While I had the bench test setup going I decided to hook up the dwarf signals I bought from a Hong Kong outfit called WeHonest (they are all over Ebay). What I found out is (DZ1000 switch machine middle wire connected to power and switch control unit middle wire connected to ground) is that in order to make the lights work I had to connect its green wire to ground, red wire to the DZ1000 yellow and the black wire with the resistor to the DZ1000 green. No other combination would work.

Chinese Dwarf Signals [1)

Chinese Dwarf Signals [2)

Chinese Dwarf Signals [3)

When get one of my Atlas O switch motors up and running I will test again but I expect the same results since I am connecting the motor's middle wire to power also instead of the normal connection to ground - contacted Atlas O and they said this was ok. I did this so that all toggle switches are connected to ground whether they are for Ross or Atlas O.

I finished testing the DZ1008 relays. Ended up with three bad all my fault.

First impression on the Chinese dwarf signals - they are small but the bulbs are bigger than normal as you can see in the photos. Big take away is that no relay is needed to make these signals switch. Only question now is how long do they last?????????

Joe

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Joe,

Almost 3 years ago, forum member jhainer was making infrared sensors and signals with wehonest stuff. Some other folks have used their products. jhainer had no issues so far with the signals, although he's torn down and rebuilt his layout twice. Generally, good products.

Check the voltage feeding the lights. LEDs will last a long time without over voltage. It's kind of standard what voltage colors need. I believe red is 3.3 and green around 2.5 volts dc. I cannot recall if they tied the cathodes (- ) or anodes (+)  together on the resistor feed.

 

Back in action again. All the Ross turnouts in the yard are wired along with DZ1008 (the proper way) and DZ1011R's for turnout indication. Everything seems to work. Only minor issue is the 4-way. I have the lead turnout wired into the two outside turnouts but only on one side of each turnout. It works fine this way. I can not connect the lead turnout to all 4 positions of the two outside turnouts otherwise feed back makes the outside turnouts flutter. So I live with this.

Next up are the Atlas O and Gargraves uncouplers then I move on the the yard lead where I have my first two Atlas turnouts - one for a siding where I plan to store a switcher and one connected to the yard lead. I am going to try the Chinese dwarf signal on the siding since it does not require a relay to work. I have a bunch of trackside mast style signals. I may hook up one down down further on the yard lead and try the Atlas snap relay here.

Stay tuned - more wiring drama to come.

Joe

I decided to 'bench test' connecting the dwarf signals I have to the Atlas O switch machine / 200 snap relay. Below is what I came up with.

1. the 'China Dwarf' has a built in electronic relay so is not compatible with the Atlas O switch machine. It did work with the Ross DZ-1000 switch machine.

china dwarf

2. Connecting the 200 snap relay to the switch machine is straight forward. Yellow wires go together and to the toggle switch, Green wires go together and to the toggle switch and in my case the middle wires go to power. Ground is connected through the toggle switch.

3. I tested the Atlas switch machine / snap relay with the DZ-1011R dwarf. The circuit diagram below worked.

snap relay to 1011

4. I tested the Atlas switch machine / snap relay with the MTH dwarf signal. The circuit diagram below worked.

snap relay to MTH

You can see the 1011R and MTH dwarf are way different from each other. I don't have any
Atlas O dwarf or Lionel dwarf signals so can't test those. I forgot to test the MTH dwarf with the DZ-1000/1008 cicuit when I had that circuit set up but will do so down the line. Z-stuff has supplied a circuit diagram on their web site. They have the 1008 blue wire connected to power. I assume it is implied the 1000/1008 yellow, green and red are connected in the usual manner but nothing is said about the 1008 black wire. I am assuming for now it goes to ground.

I have had the MTH dwarf signal operating for about two hours now and so far the house has not burned down.

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After performing the bench testing I decided to turn on the power to the existing turnouts and dwarf signals. Should not have done that. The two new DZ-1008 relay I wired in to replace the two previous ones for the cross overs stopped working. This is after I wired according to D. Zanders instruction sheet below

DZ-1008 and DZ-1011 indicator

That's 4 in a row now. Not sure what is going on. It seems they blow on power turn on. I am using a CW-80 accessory tap set at 13.6VAC. The 1008 is rated for 24VAC.
I am going to wire in another one for one crossover but also an Atlas snap relay for the other crossover and see what happens.

Joe

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  • DZ-1008 and DZ-1011 indicator
Moonman posted:

Joe,

Almost 3 years ago, forum member jhainer was making infrared sensors and signals with wehonest stuff. Some other folks have used their products. jhainer had no issues so far with the signals, although he's torn down and rebuilt his layout twice. Generally, good products.

Check the voltage feeding the lights. LEDs will last a long time without over voltage. It's kind of standard what voltage colors need. I believe red is 3.3 and green around 2.5 volts dc. I cannot recall if they tied the cathodes (- ) or anodes (+)  together on the resistor feed.

 

I've used both the switch signals and 3 aspect signals from WeHonest. All are still going today.  I utilize arduinos to control the signals now, so I'm running them at 5v. They are common anode with a resistor.  So the black wire with the resistor goes to positive, and each led wire would go to ground to activate. Before using the arduinos, I simply added one diode to the red wire, two to yellow, and 3 to green.  Then connect the red wire to the red block signal rail, and yellow to the yellow block.  Green goes directly to ground.  And you have a working 3 aspect signal for about $3. 

Using the arduino, I can cleanup the ground sensing on the signal rail (software debounce) and have the lights fade in and out, which looks cool. The arduino nano is less than $3, the breakout board is $1.50, and it can control two signals.

If you primer and spray paint the tower mast and ladder with silver metallic paint, you have a pretty decent looking signal for about $3.25 each.  I didnt do anything to the switch signals.  I thought they were fine the way they were. 

 

A friend (old school Navy tech electronics guru) came over to look at the DZ-1008 relays and the wire circuit I am using. Assuming I wired correctly (which D. Zander confirmed) Dan's first thought was a voltage surge from the CW-80. I am using the 14V accessory tap so when power turns on the full 14 volts turns on at once. Dan thinks there is a surge before the power supply settles down to 14V. Dan took one relay home and it looks like the two diodes and transistor in line from power (red wire) to the relay blew. Dan has an oscilloscope he is going to bring over after I get back from vacation to confirm the voltage spike (my voltmeter is not fast enough to see it). if this is the reason then Dan is going to check a second CW-80 I own to see if this is just one anomaly or is common to 'all' CW-80's.

Dan has parts on order and is going to repair the other relays.

Meanwhile I connected the wire circuit to the variable post of the CW-80. It has been four days of turning the power on and off (moving the handle from zero to 14 volts) and so far everything is working.

I also wired in my first Atlas O 200 snap relay. It is under the board so I can't hear any noise from the switching which I understand is a complaint of some. I bench tested on top of the train board and yea there is noise. So if the relay is wired in on top of the board say next to the switch motor one will hear it. I plan on inserted a rectifying diode in line with the power to help keep the relay and for that matter the turnout motors from overheating. I also use 10 amp heavy duty momentary toggle switches so the diodes are probably just a feel good measure.

Joe

 

I'm Back..........

Two W/E's vacation plus one week dropping a kidney stone (My first ever! Hopefully my last ever....)

My friend Dan confirmed the 1008 failure was a blown transistor leading to the micro relay inside the 1008. He is replacing parts. So far using the tap on the CW80 to bring the voltage up from zero is working great.

I felt somewhat human today so wired three Atlas O turnouts. I wired one snap relay and one Z-Stuff 1011R for position indication. For a change no surprises. The wiring diagram is shown below. I was not a fan of the 200 snap relay because of my experience with the switch machines but after the first one I am now a fan.

Snap Relay

I have to wire in two more snap relays plus the 1011R's then the uncouplers. After this the yard is done and I can start moving down the yard lead track.

In the photos below the caboose marks the extent of the wiring so far. Please excuse the mess.

Layout 7_18 [1)Layout 7_18 [2)

Joe

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The yard is officially done. I can now start on track power / ground for the yard lead out to the inner main line. I wired the last two Atlas turnouts. I used the DZ-1011R along with the Atlas 200 snap relay - see wire schematic in last post.
I then wired in the two Atlas O and Gargraves uncoupling tracks. A photo is shown below.

Layout July 2018 001

The wiring for both are very different. The Atlas O uncoupling tack is connected to track ground through the track itself. The one wire screwed into the side of the track goes to a controller then to track power.
The Gargraves uncoupling track is a three wire affair. The white wire you see in the photo goes to track power. The black wire goes to the control box where another black wire is connected. This wire goes to track ground. Both tracks were tested and work just fine. Even though the Gargraves uncoupling track is more expensive than the Atlas O I like the looks better than Atlas O plus the magnetic bar is long so precise placement of the car uncoupler does not have to be as precise as for the Atlas O.

Below are more photos of the finished yard

Layout July 2018 002

Layout July 2018 004

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If you all remember a few posts back I was having problems with DZ-1008 relays blowing up on me and could not figure out what was happening. I had the turnouts and relays powered by the accessory taps on a Lionel CW-80 set to 16 volts. A friend took a look at the circuit board inside the 1008 and said it appeared the transistor had blown from over voltage. Once I switch over to the throttle lever the problem went away. Dan came over today and tested two CW-80's I have with an oscilloscope and sure enough on start up the voltage spike on one was 28 volts and on the one I was using a whopping 32 volts. No wonder I was blowing relays like crazy.....................

Joe

Last edited by Joe Fauty

It has been a few weeks since I last posted. Power has been wired to all the track in the yard plus a small module which is half of the famous John Allen Timesaver game. I figure when friends come over they will have something to do other than watch trains go in circles.

Prescott layout Aug 2018 002

Front end of yard

Prescott layout Aug 2018 003

back end of yard

 

Prescott layout Aug 2018 004

Prescott layout Aug 2018 005

Yard lead plus the Timesaver module

Prescott layout Aug 2018 001

I bought a Gargraves gantry track from a friend. I needed to cut it down a little to fit. I had built the gantry crane in the photo but it was too wide for the Gargraves track so I just purchased a Lionel TMCC gantry crane that will fit the track. My plan is to used both together - hopefully......... if there is enough room
I will probably move my crane up forward and use the Lionel crane in the back.

Next week end I plan on wiring power to the first main line. There are a few turnouts that need wiring but I figure finish the track power first so I can at least run some trains!

Joe

 

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Mike:

I'm not sure if the two tracks can be physically connected but you could butt them up to each other (may have to cut off the pins on the Scaletrax) and power on both sides. With a gantry crane you will be backing in flat cars and gondolas for the most part.

I should have the gantry crane by the end of this week. if so I post a picture.

Joe

I purchased a cinder hoist a while back from Crescent Locomotive Works. Since it involves cutting a hole on the layout base plus modifying track I am going to tackle this project next on the entrance to the Allen Yard (the Timesaver module).

Crescent Locomotive makes an awesome looking hoist in which the spout moves up and down along with a bucket that starts at the bottom and can be raised to the top of the hoist.

The cinder hoist is in and looks pretty good if I do say so myself. It wasn't too hard to install.

Cinder Hoist 001

A template comes with the hoist. The instruction sheet says how to place it.

 

Cinder Hoist 002

I drew an outline with a black magic marker.

Cinder Hoist 003

 

Cinder Hoist 004

I cut the the sand mat out

Cinder Hoist 006

Then drilled four holes in the corners big enough for my jig saw. Then I made a mess.

Cinder Hoist 007

Next up was removing ties form the track that will go over the hoist pit. This is needed to make the track fit into the slot on the hoist.

Cinder Hoist 005

The hoist is inserted into the hole

Cinder Hoist 008

The track is placed into position

Cinder Hoist 009

I use cork roadbed so I needed to place some under the hoist to make everything look good.
This is one beautiful cinder hoist.

Joe

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Last edited by Joe Fauty

Was thinking on how to identify turnouts other than placing stickers on the machine or the lights and came up with a modification of a sign post I made for a customer a few years ago. Those were rectangular and identified mainlines and sidings (N, E, S, W) for the customer.
I just bought a disc punch from Ebay which can make discs from 1/8 to 1/2 inch ( I have one that will go from 1/2 to 1 inch that is in transit). I punched 1/2 inch discs, printed the decal using Avery Clear mailing labels and mounted them on a U-Post I bought from Innovative Hobbies (Ultra Sign Posts).
I really like these U-posts. I have a line of sign posts on my web site. I have been using 100 mil sq styrene but am going to switch over to these posts.

Joe

Turnout ID 002

Turnout ID 003

Turnout ID 004

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mike g. posted:

Thanks Joe! I was able to open the ppt. file and the pdf file. The odp only opened it MS Office!

Can you tell me where to get the free Office Presentation?

https://www.libreoffice.org/

I call it Open Office from force of habit but it is Libre. Open Office was the original but Libre is a better quality software.

https://www.howtogeek.com/1876...hich-should-you-use/

Last edited by Joe Fauty
mike g. posted:

Thanks Joe! I was able to open the ppt. file and the pdf file. The odp only opened it MS Office!

Can you tell me where to get the free Office Presentation?

Mike, if you have Microsoft PowerPoint, you don't need Open Office. PowerPoint is also useful in making graphics for printing images to mount on thin board for buildings, walls and such. Former forum member Lee Willis introduced some nice uses of the graphics tools in PowerPoint.

Did a little more work today.

I connected power and ground to the gantry crane. I soldered wire to two Ross pins then ran one outside rail to ground and the other to a toggle switch on the control board. I programmed the crane as accessory 1. To rotate the crane one selects ACC 1 and uses the red throttle knob on the Legacy remote. To move the crane along the track select '2' on ACC and use the red knob. To move the  'hook' up or down use the boost button. To turn the magnet on and off use the brake button. It takes some getting use to but this accessory is going to be a lot of fun.

Prescott Layout Sept 2018 006

 

Prescott Layout Sept 2018 005

I also changed around the position of my gantry crane. Last post I had the crane straddling the Gargraves track. I changed it so the crane now rides on one Gargraves rail and on its own track on the opposite side. The reult is a lot more room on the one side for crates.

Prescott Layout Sept 2018 011

I wired track out to the main line - finally - (where the UP caboose is)

Prescott Layout Sept 2018 007

Prescott Layout Sept 2018 008

I also tried a new approach for power for my custom built bumpers on Ross track. I have been soldering the lamp wire to Atlas O rail joiners and using them upside down on the Ross / Gargraves track but the rail joiners interfered with proper seating of the bumper plus the joiners were very loose. So I soldered the wire to Ross track pins. The fit of the track pins is a lot tighter but they do stick out a little.

Prescott Layout Sept 2018 001

Prescott Layout Sept 2018 003

Prescott Layout Sept 2018 004

Next week it is the approach track to the double crossover then the real fun begins.............

Joe

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I just purchased a little Lionel yard shack that has crane sounds. It is supposed to act in concert with the movements of the crane. Lionel also has a small shed that has steel mill sounds. I am not sure if both are the same sounds or not.

Did some more work on the layout. I have one main line section that goes up to 1 inch then back down again on a 2% grade. I first laid down the track then using a magic marker traced out the edges.

Foam Risers

I then removed the track and installed Woodland Scenics foam risers using hot glue.

Prescott Layout 001

Prescott Layout 003

Prescott Layout 005

I used pink foam for the straight sections since it is less expensive then the Woodland Scenics foam.
Next W/E I am going to cut since foam walls I bought from Scenic Express a few years back and glue them to the pink foam. Woodland Scenics plaster cloth will go every where else.
I am thinking about using foam to raise the area behind the track and the wall with the window to 2 inches, install some industrial flats and track. The track won't get any power but I can park box cars there.

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Last edited by Joe Fauty

Have not done much. Things went down hill real fast with my back - upshot lower back surgery on Nov 20 (T12 down to L5). Never did anything in a small way...............

I am filling in some space in the back. My plan is an elevated section with an industrial building front (got a bunch of old Korber flats) plus a straight track not connected to the layout. I figure it would be a good place to store box cars rather then in a closet. I have enough room for a 3 inch side wall, docks plus the track.

Prescott Layout Nov 2018 001

Prescott Layout Nov 2018 002

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I'm back (no pun intended). Surgery was Nov 22. It took a bit to get into shape enough to start bending over the layout. Fortunately doc only needed to scrape bone on all 6 discs. My legs don't hurt anymore and that is a blessing.

I am trying something new for me on an elevated section of the layout. Jury is till out on how it will look. I had some Woodland Scenics vinyl sand mats left over so cut them into sections to lay over the foam inclines. I used a heat gun to bend the mat into place then hot glue on the edges to glue into place. I went over the edges with the heat gun again to remelt and flatten any rough sections. There is a seam I need to cover up. The plan is to place cork roadbed then ballast. Hopefully more sand over the seams plus scenery will work.

Guess we will see what happens

Joe

Prescott Layout 001

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Prescott Layout 003

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Joe, Welcome back!!  I'm glad you got relief, but that sounds nasty what the doctor had to do.  I only have one bulging disc, but it is pressing on the sciatic nerve.  The doctor hopes a steroid shot will cause the disc to not bulge as much and get off that nerve.  We will see.

As to the layout, I think the vinyl sand mats looks great covering the foam risers.  So far, so good I would say!

Thanks guys

I was getting epidural shots. They work great until they stop working (that's why the surgery). I still get them - once every three months for my neck which affects my right arm.

I had some sand I purchased from Hobby Lobby a while back. I spread wallboard putty over the seam in a small section and poured the sand over it. It worked good except the sand is the wrong color. I have an email into Woodland Scenics asking if there is a fine ballast or some other product that has the same color as the sand mats.

Joe

Did a little work on the layout - actually backwards. As shown below my original intent was to glue the Woodland Scenics vinyl mats across the foam risers.

It was a neat idea that did not work out. No matter how hard I tried to glue the mat down it was always loose. Screwing the track down through the track bed and the foam risers will not work unless I could find #4 screws over 1 1/2 inch long. Plus I found out when placing the track bed the risers were too narrow (so much for planning ahead).

So I removed the vinyl, cut some pink foam and glued it to the sides of the risers. I then used a wire foam cutter to bring the pink foam down roughly to the height of the riser. By the way lay some painters blue tape on the riser when using the foam wire cutter otherwise the wire will go right through the foam riser. I finished off by hand sanding with 60 grit paper to smooth everything out.

I also cut away some of the vinyl mat on both sides of the riser (not shown below). I will tape in some paper next week to create an 'embankment' then try plaster cloth.

Prescott Layout May 2019 [1)

Prescott Layout May 2019 [3)

Prescott Layout May 2019 [4)

Prescott Layout May 2019 [5)

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Finally did some more work. I am going to try plaster cloth. I spent the last few weeks setting up for it. I found that if I spread foam glue between the paper and the risers it holds the paper better while I use tape.

I have come to the conclusion I don't know what I am doing but I am having fun not knowing...........