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I posted that I was starting my 8x10 layout about 3 years ago... that never happened.  So here it is.  I was planning on the first one of these two for quite some time now (as in I have most everything I need for it), but after seeing some suggestions on Mark Boyce's proposed layout, I decided to try something else.  I was initially going with "bigger curves are better," but my space doesn't really allow for that.  I played with SCARM a little bit today and came up with the second picture.  

I know there is only one reverse loop (I created it on accident) but that's okay.  I have a switcher that I can turn things around with.  I will most likely make lift-out panels in some of the open space, but I didn't get that far.  I feel like Option B is much less boring than the first one I came up with.

This time around, I'm actually starting on my layout since I have a lot of what I need now (wire, wood, and track.)

- I'm using all RealTrax
- I'm limited to the area shown to enter the room
- Separated loops are not an option as I want to be able to move a train from any loop when I want to
- Running DCS
- TIU powered by Z500 to Aux input, Variable channels 1 & 2 each powered with their own PH180
- Will be running conventional and command which is the need for the Variable channels
- Yard tracks will be controlled through toggle switches


Also attached in this post are my wiring diagram (I hope I did that correctly) and what control panel should end up looking like.

Final LayoutFinal Layout - B

 

Any suggestions or input?

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Images (4)
  • Final Layout: Option A
  • Final Layout - B: Option B
  • Wiring 1-27-17: Wiring Diagram
  • Setup-Model: Control Panel
Last edited by mjrodg3n88
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Mike,

Let me be the first to welcome you to the New Layout Club!!  I am glad you are finally getting to start as well!  I followed your topic on the wiring problem.  That was a good idea to check how it would work for both DCS and conventional at one time.  

The new plan does look a bit more interesting.  One concern is access.  The original plan looks like you would have easy access to all parts of the layout.  The new one looks like you would want an access hole right where the yard is.  

What do you plan to do with the tracks at the door opening?  A lift out bridge or duck under.  I can see you made it better in the second plan so that only one track and no switches are over the opening.  

So on either plan it looks like you have an industry siding.  Do you plan to have more than one industry at the siding?  Another siding would be nice for a little more action.   Of course I know your favorite railroads, and you have them on the control panel.  Very nice design.

What engines do you plan to run, and do you have any long cars?  Do you have any preferred buildings that you want to include?

I guess that's enough questions for now.  I'll keep following your progress.

Thanks, Mark.

In response to the comment on your thread, I think I have the wiring problem figured out, but we will see once I'm actually up and running!

Access would somewhat be an issue.  I thought about making two removable cutouts inside each radius (blue and yellow circles), but I think what I could do is in the red triangle-like figure in the picture shown below.

I'm not too sure what I'm going to do at the door, I may make it a hatch-type opening, I'll work on that once I get to that part.

I'll probably only have one industrial-like area near the yard and single track on the right of the red triangle.  My plan for that track is actually a single stall engine house.  All other open areas I want to make a town.  My largest engine is a Railking Allegheny measuring about 27 inches with the tender included.  Then longest cars I will be using are the Husky Stacks which I believe are 17 inches (cant remember though).  

As far as the buildings.... I have Ethyl's Gas station and O'Grady's Tavern, BUT... I think I'm actually going to try and make all of my own.

20170131_182621

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Last edited by mjrodg3n88
mjrodg3n88 posted:

I posted that I was starting my 8x10 layout about 3 years ago... that never happened.

 

Hey, it happens! Delays that is. I have been planning an addition to mine for going on 2 years now. Still can't make up my mind.

I am not much of a track designer, but your plan 2 does look a little more interesting. My layout now is more like the first plan and it does get kind of old just going around in circles. Others here are good at track design and will be able to offer better suggestions like Mark has above.

What software did you use to draw your wiring diagram? That looks like a real nice drawing.

Good luck on the new layout!

rtr12 posted:

I am not much of a track designer, but your plan 2 does look a little more interesting. My layout now is more like the first plan and it does get kind of old just going around in circles. Others here are good at track design and will be able to offer better suggestions like Mark has above.

I know what you mean.  I was happy with the first one, but I kept going back to it thinking, this is going to be boring.  I'm much happier with the second one.

What software did you use to draw your wiring diagram? That looks like a real nice drawing.

I used AutoCAD to design the wiring diagram and control panel.  I'm a draftsman so I have access to 2D and 3D modeling software.

 

Mark Boyce posted:

Mike,

Access sounds good!  The Railking Allegheny should be fun to see running on the rails.  How could I forget the Husky Stacks?????  I'll keep watching.

I have a total of 9 husky stacks now... almost too many haha.

This past weekend I painted the room's ceiling black and started re-wiring the room.  All, but one outlet in the room will be controlled by one light switch.  This will enable me to make sure power is shut off every time I leave the room.

Next I'm debating on lights.  Recessed or track, I'm not too sure what I should do yet.  Also, I'm not sure if I should paint the walls any certain color since I'll be adding a backdrop (it will not go to the ceiling.)

Autocad is a good program for those things. I worked for a company years ago that used it, was still the MS-DOS version back then, before Windows was useable. They had a bunch of customized libraries and commands for their own use. Wiring schematics like this were very easy to do using the custom stuff they had. Unfortunately Autocad, even Lite or Sketch is too pricey for home use now that I am retired. Very nice drawings though!

mjrodg3n88 posted:

...

As far as the buildings.... I have Ethyl's Gas station and O'Grady's Tavern, BUT... I think I'm actually going to try and make all of my own.

If you're making your own, presumably you have control over the lighting.  That said, if starting from scratch I wonder if it's too bold to suggest making the leap to 12V DC accessory lighting bus - rather than old-school 14V AC and incandescent bulbs.  So much easier to work with DC if using LEDs.

Also, I see you have your switches under AIU control.  Curious if thought was given to putting Yard power and Uncouplers also under AIU control so that "everything" is controllable from the DCS remote.

 

rtr12 posted:

Autocad is a good program for those things. I worked for a company years ago that used it, was still the MS-DOS version back then, before Windows was useable. They had a bunch of customized libraries and commands for their own use. Wiring schematics like this were very easy to do using the custom stuff they had. Unfortunately Autocad, even Lite or Sketch is too pricey for home use now that I am retired. Very nice drawings though!

AutoCad does give some flexibility, but like you said costs a lot of money. I have AutoCad, because I'm a Structural Engineer and need it for business. Lately I have been playing with Eagle CAD, which is free for electronic PCB design. Maybe that would be a good solution for schematics for layouts, but I can't foresee using it for control panels. I would maybe suggest using SCRAM or even a free graphics program for this as an alternative. 

rtr12 posted:

Autocad is a good program for those things. I worked for a company years ago that used it, was still the MS-DOS version back then, before Windows was useable. They had a bunch of customized libraries and commands for their own use. Wiring schematics like this were very easy to do using the custom stuff they had. Unfortunately Autocad, even Lite or Sketch is too pricey for home use now that I am retired. Very nice drawings though!

Thank you!  I know its pricey, but to what extent, I'm not sure.  I've actually never seen the price.

stan2004 posted:
mjrodg3n88 posted:

As far as the buildings.... I have Ethyl's Gas station and O'Grady's Tavern, BUT... I think I'm actually going to try and make all of my own.

If you're making your own, presumably you have control over the lighting.  That said, if starting from scratch I wonder if it's too bold to suggest making the leap to 12V DC accessory lighting bus - rather than old-school 14V AC and incandescent bulbs.  So much easier to work with DC if using LEDs.

Also, I see you have your switches under AIU control.  Curious if thought was given to putting Yard power and Uncouplers also under AIU control so that "everything" is controllable from the DCS remote.

Stan,

I would prefer to do everything in LED and did not know that about DC.  What would I use for that then, an HO transformer?  If so, how many would I need?  

As far as using the DCS remote for the yard power and uncouplers... I only found out recently (by seeing a post on FB) that this can be done, however... I think relays or something are needed and that is way out of my league.  I understand electric to a point, but when getting into relays, capacitors, diodes, resistors, AC/DC, etc., I'm as confused as they come.  (I do know that houses are on 120V AC, sometimes 220V, and vehicles are 12V DC..... that type of stuff)

 

crood58 posted:
rtr12 posted:

Autocad is a good program for those things. I worked for a company years ago that used it, was still the MS-DOS version back then, before Windows was useable. They had a bunch of customized libraries and commands for their own use. Wiring schematics like this were very easy to do using the custom stuff they had. Unfortunately Autocad, even Lite or Sketch is too pricey for home use now that I am retired. Very nice drawings though!

AutoCad does give some flexibility, but like you said costs a lot of money. I have AutoCad, because I'm a Structural Engineer and need it for business. Lately I have been playing with Eagle CAD, which is free for electronic PCB design. Maybe that would be a good solution for schematics for layouts, but I can't foresee using it for control panels. I would maybe suggest using SCRAM or even a free graphics program for this as an alternative. 

Thanks, I might take a look at Eagle. I have been using Tinycad for wiring diagrams, but it is kind of clumsy to use unless you really learn it and make your own Libraries. Partly my fault too as in my old age I find that I just like to learn enough to get by. Of course it's been over 25 years since I used the custom Autocad stuff at work and now I probably would not know where to start wit that either. Thanks for the Eaglecad suggestion.

mjrodg3n88 posted:
rtr12 posted:

Autocad is a good program for those things. I worked for a company years ago that used it, was still the MS-DOS version back then, before Windows was useable. They had a bunch of customized libraries and commands for their own use. Wiring schematics like this were very easy to do using the custom stuff they had. Unfortunately Autocad, even Lite or Sketch is too pricey for home use now that I am retired. Very nice drawings though!

Thank you!  I know its pricey, but to what extent, I'm not sure.  I've actually never seen the price.

Back in the late '80s early '90s it was over $3,000 a copy depending on what you got with it. Those could have also been lower prices as my employer may have gotten a corporate discount because they had quite a few copies, I'm guessing well over a hundred throughout the company. I don't know what it costs now though? I imagine it's still enough that you could get 6 or 8 nice new PS3 or Legacy diesels or a few steamers for the same price. 

mjrodg3n88 posted:...


I would prefer to do everything in LED and did not know that about DC.  What would I use for that then, an HO transformer?  If so, how many would I need?  

As far as using the DCS remote for the yard power and uncouplers... I only found out recently (by seeing a post on FB) that this can be done, however... I think relays or something are needed and that is way out of my league.  I understand electric to a point, but when getting into relays, capacitors, diodes, resistors, AC/DC, etc., I'm as confused as they come.  (I do know that houses are on 120V AC, sometimes 220V, and vehicles are 12V DC..... that type of stuff)

 

If going with 12V DC as an accessory lighting voltage bus you could use a 12V DC wall-wart, 12V DC power supply adapter, 12V DC from a PC power supply, etc.  Hundreds if not thousands of choices.  Less than $10 and any of them would power hundreds of LEDs.

But if you're lacking time or aren't comfortable working at the component or module level, there are many suppliers of LED lights and lighting products which can directly connect to the 14V AC Accessory voltage from many train transformers...or to the AC voltage from your KW set to 14V AC (or whatever you choose).  These products have the diodes, resistors, etc. built-in to work so you don't have to mess with AC vs. DC, regulated vs. unregulated, Amps vs. mA, and similar jargon tossed about with LEDs and lighting.

As for using the DCS-AIU to control Yard power and/or Uncouplers, who would have thunk that you read about it first on FB rather than OGR!  There have been several OGR threads on how to do this and, yes, in some cases you need to add relays, in other cases you don't.  So to your point, it can be confusing! 

Everyone has their view-of-the-world but as I see it, the electronics used in O gauge depends on what is going on in other more mainstream applications (automotive, PC, communications, etc.).  So we pick up the scraps where we can...like 12V DC LED lighting strips.  It was a big-win to discover these could be adapted to O-gauge applications.  But as you have seen in your other thread, maybe not such a big-win for adapting 120V AC panel meters to O-gauge voltages!

I guess it comes down to what you want to do.  And, since you're in the planning stage with somewhat of a blank canvas, I figure now's the time to blue-sky the options. What you don't want is the "V8 moment" where after everything is built and wired, you realize you could have had a fill-in-the-blank....

Last edited by stan2004
stan2004 posted:

If going with 12V DC as an accessory lighting voltage bus you could use a 12V DC wall-wart, 12V DC power supply adapter, 12V DC from a PC power supply, etc.  Hundreds if not thousands of choices.  Less than $10 and any of them would power hundreds of LEDs.

Something like this Here ?  If so, how exactly do you hook it up and to what?  I guess I don't understand this aspect...yet.

But if you're lacking time or aren't comfortable working at the component or module level, there are many suppliers of LED lights and lighting products which can directly connect to the 14V AC Accessory voltage from many train transformers...or to the AC voltage from your KW set to 14V AC (or whatever you choose).  These products have the diodes, resistors, etc. built-in to work so you don't have to mess with AC vs. DC, regulated vs. unregulated, Amps vs. mA, and similar jargon tossed about with LEDs and lighting.

I've used Evan Designs so far, bought about 20 LEDs off of them for my control panel, this can get a little expensive though.  I'd like to learn how to do this stuff anyway.  Actually, GRJ has given some insight in the past.

I'm sure hooking up the switches and uncouplers to the AIU could be confusing, I never did search the forum to find out the info though, I think I may just do that now.

 

I definitely do not want to regret not doing something.  While I can easily buy the lighting from places such as Evan Designs and stay with the AC voltage, I feel like it may be more cost efficient to go the DC route?

On another note, I'm making some progress in the room that I will be using for the trains.  I removed the previously installed raceway electric (locations in blue rectangles) and installed in-wall mounted electric.  Also, this electric was on two different circuits before and is now on one controlled by a switch.  I felt like that would be beneficial to make sure when leaving, all train equipment is turned off.

I've also painted the ceiling black and installed 6 - 6 inch recessed lights using 65 watt bright white LED bulbs and removed the florescent fixture (still shown in the picture).  

In the corner of the room, someone had built a box (shown in the red circle) to hide what looks like old A/C lines.  I removed that box and patched up the wall.  Also, I opened the doorway the the train room up about 16 inches or so and removed the out of place pegboard.  Tonight I should be able to get two coats of primer on the walls to hide that awful yellow and my black over-spray.  With any luck at all, I should be able to start building my bench work later this week.


Any ideas on what color I should paint the walls?  In the future I am planning on using a backdrop the whole way around the room, but not all the way to the ceiling.


**Note: Please ignore the messy laundry room.  In the process of working on the train room, I also removed all of the orange pegboard and installed all new drywall there too.  (It must also be noted, we did not paint that pegboard orange... it was like that when we bought the house.)

20170122_15593420170122_172400-xAttach8781_20170205_220939

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Ahhh, the room exists and you changed the lighting. Good work!

Look at the first post photos here: new Layout progress 

I use Sherwin Williams Tibetan Sky,#7134. it's my eye's match of the horizon just above tree line on a perfectly clear sunny day.

The green that I chose is Sherwin Williams Generator Green #4070.

Use the primer from the same manufacturer of paint that you choose to use everywhere. Then, the colors.

I like an eggshell base. Doesn't hold dust as much and can be wiped with a damp sponge or cloth.

That's my 2¢.

 

mjrodg3n88 posted:

Thank you Carl and Mark.

Carl, question... your link sends me to Norm Charbonneau's layout.  Am I missing something?

No, not missing anything.

I wanted you to see the color effect of light blue sky and perhaps an industrial detail for the lower half of the wall. His is empty and a good example. I don't think that you need a second color, now that I have worked with the space. just a sky blue would work.

Question, is your room 8' x 10'? I grabbed your plan B (assuming that's what you are building and it was too wide. )

I recreated it and added 10" ground tracks to keep both outside rails common. Worked on some fitment for an 8' x 10' space.

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  • Final_Layout_B
  • Final_Plan_B_02.06.17
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Last edited by Moonman

Looks like a fun to operate layout you are designing.  Having built and operated many layouts, I have found that most running issues (i.e. derailments) happen at or around switches so I try to have all switches within easy reach.

You may consider moving relocating the switch at the back of the layout further around to the end of your isle.

Good luck with you build.

Happy railroading,

Don

mjrodg3n88 posted:

Thank you, Carl.  Yes, the Plan B that I have setup is what I plan on using in the 8' x 10' room.  Actual dimensions are 100" x 117".  It was too wide?  So the ground tracks tie the outside rails together then?  I did not know that.  I could also solder them, correct (assuming thats what it does)?

100" wide may work, but it won't leave much clearance to the wall. length seems fine, although close.

yes, it does join both. The anti-derailing feature of the switches interrupts the rail continuity as well as which side of the track the lock-on is installed or the orientation of that terminal track.

Soldering a jumper will work. That's what we did at the museum layout.(250' of RealTrax and 15 switches) Made a bunch of jumpers, tinned the stripped ends. Tinned a drop on the track terminals and then attached them. I find that it provides better running.

DGJONES posted:

You may consider moving relocating the switch at the back of the layout further around to the end of your isle.

 Don, see the attached update, I know some of the track doesn't line up, but I have a feeling I can make it work.  This also gives me two reverse loops.

Moonman posted:

100" wide may work, but it won't leave much clearance to the wall. length seems fine, although close.

I may be able to take out a 3.5" inch in a few places and change a couple of the other pieces.

Soldering a jumper will work. That's what we did at the museum layout.(250' of RealTrax and 15 switches) Made a bunch of jumpers, tinned the stripped ends. Tinned a drop on the track terminals and then attached them. I find that it provides better running.

Do the ends need to be tinned?  (Do you do that just with solder?)

Also, I went to HD at lunch and picked up a gallon of SW Tibetan Sky paint.  They have the color codes right in their computer.

Here is an updated attempt.  I like that it moves the second crossover to within reach as Don has stated.  Also, I like that it provides a second reverse loop.  The only issue is that it takes a little bit away from a viewing area and also the one siding.  

The track I have highlighted in yellow was to be my engine shed/maintenance area, but I'm considering eliminating that and putting an access hole there instead, as Mark has suggested.

Final Layout - 2 reverse Loops 2-6-17

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  • Final Layout - 2 reverse Loops 2-6-17
Last edited by mjrodg3n88

Yes Mike, as John C. Suggests, figure no reach over 30".  I have seen guys use those ladders like museums use that allow you to reach over farther, but you have to maneuver the thing in and I still think they would be a pain.  You are young enough to be able to use a pop up access opening with ease!  :-) Besides, you can get your wife to take a photo of you surrounded by your layout literally!  ;-)  those photos are always cool!

The Sky color is actually a white tinted with a little blue. You'll see it when the dot on the can dries. The color off of the wall will look different depending on the amount of light hitting it.

I never liked the obvious robin egg blues or darker colors that looked unnatural. The sky is tough color mimic. I hope you like it. if anything, you'll want more blue at first.

I got away from Behr and went to SW commercial lines. ( a commercial store is not too far from me.) I get better smoothness and more mileage.

Make a 100" x 117" table (tool box) and move the whole plan B (yours) on to it. I wasn't trying to upset the applecart.

The access hatch can have a shed on top of it. Just supply track feeders to the hatch track. You can cut a track in half for the seam.

Thanks, Mark.

Eliot, I definitely did that earlier today.  I think it was you that suggested it on another thread at some point.  I use the heck out of the search feature on this forum.  I usually always search before asking questions.  That video was very helpful and priced out Lexan on my trip to HD at lunch.

Carl,  I saw exactly what you mean with the color.  I looked at the dot and asked the guy if he mixed it haha, it looked white.  Its okay, I was contemplating blue or white, so this will be perfect I bet.  No worries at all about "the applecart," I welcome all ideas, changes, suggestions.  As far as the access spot, I considered just leaving a hole there, but I could definitely just make it a hatch and leave the scenery on it.


If my drywall mud (final skimcoat) has dried the way I hope, I should be able to maybe get the room primed and possibly one coat of paint on tonight, we will see.

for the aux power on  your TIU.  just use a small transformer from a WIFI.  I get them on Ebay all the time.  ill post a pic of ones that I use.  that way, you can use the Z500 for lighting or small power of the layout Channel.  Id go get some z1000 for the TIU.  I got a bunch at the Train show at monroeville.  

Thanks, Dave.

Moonman posted:

The track plan I recreated fits in a 100" x 117". The sides are about 3 1/4" roadbed to wall. The top and bottom are about 1/2".  No Big Boys overhanging the O54.

Thanks for your help, Carl.  No worrying about a Big Boy, they are are WAY out of my price range!

Chris D posted:

for the aux power on  your TIU.  just use a small transformer from a WIFI.  I get them on Ebay all the time.  ill post a pic of ones that I use.  that way, you can use the Z500 for lighting or small power of the layout Channel.  Id go get some z1000 for the TIU.  I got a bunch at the Train show at monroeville.  

Chris, like Mark, I'm using the Z500 because it was there.  I'm content with that.  I went with Lionel PH180 instead of MTH Z1000s because of the fast acting circuit breaker in them.  GRJ suggested a nice DC power supply for LEDs on the layout, so I think I'm going with that for lighting and my old KW for the turnout and operating track power.

Charlie,
I will definitely be going with Lexan.  I have a few ideas about it already.  Thank you.

I've been working like crazy on preparing the train room since I've last posted. 

20170208_223156
To the right, you can see the switches for the train room, one for the lights, the other which has a "pilot" light is to turn on all of the outlets in the room.

20170208_223222
You can see on the floor how much (or little) I opened up this doorway.


20170208_223245
The window in the room is at ground level and I don't particularly trust people, so I tried to secure the window while leaving able to be opened.

20170208_223320
I secured a chain in a joist so that I could hold the wood up if I want to be able to see out of the window.

20170208_224004


Now for the track plan, I had an idea last night (that may not be a good thing, ha).  My Proto 1 Southern F3 ABA along with its cars (I have 7, but all of them will probably be too much for a small space like mine) I would like to keep on the track somewhere, but can't do that in the current configuration.  With that, I considered adding an underground "yard" slash reverse loop.  I'd leave the F3 and its cars on that underground track except for when I wanted to run it.  My question is, will it work?  I know it is said to keep grades below 4% (best at 2.5%) but since this is not for looks and more for function, could I drop it at 5% (or more)?  I would need it to clear one of the mainlines pretty quickly, I just don't if that engine will pull cars at such a steep grade.  If this doesn't work, its not a big deal, I just thought it'd be easier to get that particular engine out and running.

Thoughts?  See the underground track in blue.
Final - from Moonman Lower Level

Now, for the great news, well at least for me it is.  The train room is ready, and tonight, I will finally start building the benchwork.  Which leads me to another question.  I'm going to be using 2x4s (because they are much cheaper than 1X) and already have about 25 of them.  I only understand L-Girder a little, but I'm wondering if I should try to mimic that or go to open grid (I think thats what its called).  I plan on using risers for the track and think that I could get away with open grid.

Thoughts again?

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  • Final - from Moonman Lower Level

Mike,

First of all the room looks great!!  It looks like you thought of everything!  You have accomplished a lot in a short time.

I like the idea of parking that train, but as you mentioned that is a short, steep run!  Why don't you set something up temporarily like I did to see if my engines could pull the length train I envisioned using up the grade.  I happened to have my Woodland Scenics foam grade riser sections from 25 years ago and tested 6%, more than I needed.  If we can meet up at the Greenberg show on Saturday, I will bring them along and you can keep them until I see you again.

i have built open grid and L-girder.  Both worked fine for me.  I say build what you are familiar with, unless someone else can convince both of us to the other. 

Here is my test in an 11 1/2 foot room.2017-02-05 16.47.44

 

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Mike,

The problem with going down at that location is that there is only the 4 - O42 curves to achieve the drop of 5" is a 9.5% grade to provide clearance for train, then you have increase that another 3.75" to clear the framing.

Since the train is almost 14' long, this needs a rethink.

I just tried a few different ways. Not enough room to stay at level. From the switch near the bridge to the switch at the top of the O54 loop, it will hold the engines and six cars. That's both 90° corners and the long straight run. That's a 5.6% slope in 143" to 8".

Ok, see if this works for you...cut out sub-roadbed on pylons as an elevated line to park the long train. The loop past the switch is 160". The grade to the switch is 5%. The elevated loop is in Layer 1 to view it in the 2D track plan. Avoids going under and dealing with the quick drop and framing.

 

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Mark, thanks for the offer!  I'm not sure I'm going to do it yet or not.

Carl, I completely agree with you, that first proposal definitely would not work.  I'm sure your suggestion would work, however...  I never mentioned this, but I planned on having an elevated town (on top of tunnels) in the back left of the layout so I don,t know if I could pull it off.  Yesterday I did a reconfigure of just the loop we are talking about to this (another under):

Final - from Moonman Lower Level alternate

I did the math and I think it would be a 5% grade down to clear everything, BUT..... I laid the track out on the floor last night and I think the curves will end up being too close to the wall.  The cars following the ABA are 18" long passenger cars requiring O42 curves.  I think the overhang may smack the wall.  In that case and not sure if I'd do the elevated track, I may just scrap this idea.

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DoubleDAZ posted:

It's unfortunate that you started another thread on the topic of bench work because you are going to get comments in both threads and some will be duplicated depending on who's reading which thread. There are already several comments in the other thread.

Thanks, Dave.  I know that, but unfortunately not everybody looks at member's build threads, therefore a post in the other seemed more appropriate.  I even mentioned that in my initial post in the other thread.

Also, thank you for your service.

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Update on my progress:

I laid the 3/4" plywood on my garage floor and laid my track plan on top of it to trace.  After getting most of it traced and cut, I set up what I had to lay the track again (this time in the train room) and get the final plywood cuts traced.

Once I had all of my plywood cut, I laid it on homasote and cut that to the same size (WOW is that stuff messy!!).  

Now I have both the plywood and homasote laid out waiting for the risers to be put in.  I feel like I've made quite a bit of progress in a week, considering last week, the room wasn't even painted yet!

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Looks good Mike!  Yes homasote is messy.  Someone here recently mentioned using a blade that is more like a knife blade.  I would agree that would be better, though I've never seen one.  I tried cutting homasote many years ago with several passes with a utility knife.  It worked, but was hard on the hands, and you have to be extremely careful not to stab yourself.  I wouldn't recommend a utility knife myself.

Mike,

I'm glad to see you pressed ahead in spite of the naysayers regarding access in your other thread. There may come a time when you wish you had listened, but I suspect that will be quite far into the future and who knows what will happen between now and then? You're making good progress and I guess the only comment I have is about the entry. Unless I'm looking at things wrong, it appears that you've opted to include the switch on your removable section. I'll be interested to see how that works out for you. I think I would have extended the decking to support the switch and opted for a smaller entry.

Mark,
I cut a couple pieces with a razor blade, it wasn't too bad, but I wouldn't have done the whole thing with it!!

Carl,
I wish I would've known/though of that yesterday!  Oh well, its done now and I just have a lot of cleanup to do.

Dave,
Thank you.  I'll have access to other areas through removable hatches, but I didn't really want to change too much to make the space easier to walk through.  Unfortunately, yes... I did Include a switch in the walk-through.  I'm interested in....if it is going to work too.  If it doesn't I'll make the entry smaller and not include the switch, we will see!

mjrodg3n88 posted:

Dave,
Thank you.  I'll have access to other areas through removable hatches, but I didn't really want to change too much to make the space easier to walk through.  Unfortunately, yes... I did Include a switch in the walk-through.  I'm interested in....if it is going to work too.  If it doesn't I'll make the entry smaller and not include the switch, we will see!

A man after my own heart, take a chance and prove to myself whether or not it will work. While it's not advisable, if the underlayment is done right, there's no real reason it shouldn't work. The hobby is full of compromises and this is just one of many. Hopefully it will work great and prove the naysayers wrong.

Update 3/5/17

I've had the track laid over homasote and on the benchwork for a couple weeks now, but had to take a week or so off for a vacation out of the country.  I have all of my power drops run using 16ga wire, but not soldered yet.  I'm currently working on wiring the turnouts and operational tracks (which I need some help with, please see my thread asking the question about this) using 20ga wire.  Here is what it looks like so far.

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Oh, and of course my helper is right by my side as always.

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Thanks Mark.  I'll be adding a printed backdrop later, I've about spent my budget just on where I'm at today.  I know it'll be a pain later, but my goal at the moment is just to have functioning rails!  My favorite backdrop that I've seen is Chuck's.

Paul,  I think my helper that night was both, HOWEVER..... we both passed out on the floor laying under the wiring.

Update 3/8/17:

I finished some more wiring the other night, notably that for the turnouts (you can see the massive bundle of wires).  I ran out of wire so I'm currently waiting on my delivery from Delcity which should be here today.  While waiting, I decided to work on my control panel.  This to me is sort of a big hurdle to clear (aside from the gate/door that I have to build) because other than running out of wire, this is what is holding me up.  I decided not to include the NS, NW, SR, or Conrail logos.  The reason being that if they got messed up at all, I would've been pretty angry, so I scrapped the idea.  The whole control panel creation was fairly easy, its the wiring that is going to be "fun."  I watched Laidoffsick's Youtube video showing to paint the back white and use pinstripes for the track plan.

Anyway, here are the pictures:

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A little more progress over the weekend.  The good news is that there should only be a couple more wires that need to be added behind the TIU and AIU.  After that, I'll use cable nail-in clips to further organize and line everything up.  Before soldering and making the connections in the control panel, I have 3 more turnouts to run wire to and will then twist the common and hot wires together that run to the 4 uncoupling tracks.  I've also starting adding my power and running that wire, which is about 90% complete.  OF COURSE you can see that I had my helper.  Its really hard to believe that only 4 weeks ago (February 10th) I started my benchwork (and of those 4 weeks, I was out for an entire week on vacation.)

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I wish I would've used black cable ties so it'd look a little neater, but this is okay I guess.

 

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Most of the holes that the wire runs through are labeled, a couple are missing, but I'll fix that eventually.

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This wiring will look much better when I'm done running wires here.  It will also all be labeled.

 

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My supervisor.

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Mike - I really like what you came up with. Wish I had seen your 8x10 before I started building my new 8x11 (lost my basement space to my kids but gained  bedroom....long story).  Mine is similar, with an outer loop mainline and a connected inner loop. All interior space is yard and a city. I'm going lite on scenery. Because of already-expected boredom, I'm adding an elevated level, so at least I'll have the ability to run three trains.

Great job. Makes sense that you're a mechanical designer. Great use of space.

Thanks, Mark.  It has definitely surprised me how much progress I've made.  This wiring is insane though, it is without a doubt what has taken the longest so far.

Raising4daughters, thank you for your kind words.  It took me quite some time to come up with this design.  For a while my design was two simple loops with an inner yard.  I'd move stuff around, but couldn't get away from the loops.  I beat my own stubbornness and changed the inner loop from O54 to O42 and I was able to change things up.

RTR, thank you.  Hopefully I'll be able to run them soon!  You're right and she must have figured out what it was because I walked away for a minute came back to her cleaning off the Z500 with her tongue...

Thanks Doug, (and for the awesome Control Panel video that you made.)

Update 3/14/17:

Last night I was able to completely finish the wiring behind the TIU and AIU.  (I hope its complete anyway, I'll find out if I missed something when I power up the system...).   Next up, soldering to the track and making all of the wiring connections at the control panel, turnouts, and operating track.

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This past weekend I was able to finally apply power to my setup (without any trains).  Had a few things messed up, but they were veryou minor.  I programmed into my DCS remote and tested all of my switches and uncouplers.  This was the very first time I was ever able to experience the control of them through the remote.  Man this is going to be fun!  It was neat to stand back and watch the control panel lights swicth. 

After about 5 minutes though, smoke from the KW.  I immediately took it outside.  Thought about scrapping it, but I read some of the threads on here and talked to the guy at my LHS.  With that I messed with it last night and the arms that the rollers are on were really bent, causing parts of them to touch the coils.  I straightened them out and made sure only the rollers were touching.  After about 15 minutes, still no smoke.  I think I may be good to go. 

Also, I now have the frame for the door up.  Now I have to cut the track on the hinged side and connect the power drops to the door and pushbuttons I have going to it.
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And of course, I wasn't alone and couldn't go uninterrupted 
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Mike the ME:

Your attention to detail in dressing-up the wiring pathways is a marvelous example for neatniks to follow and a gentle indictment to hobbyists whose under-table wiring may look like an explosion in a spaghetti factory. Your control panel is ultra-cool.

Your wiring plan is an inspiration to me since I'm now approaching the electrical phase of my emerging 15x19-feet L-shaped home layout. It will include circuitry for both Lionel (TMCC) and MTH (DCS) control systems for operating trains of both brands.

With appreciation for the inspiration!

Mike (ritrainguy)

Mark Boyce posted:

Woah!!  The source of the smoke problem!  You are now an electronics expert!!!   That's what they always said at work; see it once, now you are an expert!

It is shaping up really well, Mike!  

Thank you, Mark.  Haha, no expert here, just did some research here on the forum and sort of guessed what was being talked about.  I actually think it was GRJ's suggestion years back!

Mike H Mottler posted:

Your attention to detail in dressing-up the wiring pathways is a marvelous example for neatniks to follow and a gentle indictment to hobbyists whose under-table wiring may look like an explosion in a spaghetti factory. Your control panel is ultra-cool.

Your wiring plan is an inspiration to me since I'm now approaching the electrical phase of my emerging 15x19-feet L-shaped home layout. It will include circuitry for both Lionel (TMCC) and MTH (DCS) control systems for operating trains of both brands.

With appreciation for the inspiration!

Mike, thank you very much for your kind words.  I'm just super anal about things and when it comes to wiring, neatness.  Even when doing wiring in my house, the 12/2 wire has to be flat and not twisted as often as possible.  Good luck on your your L layout!!

 

This past weekend I did quite a few things. 

First, I was having issues with one of my turnouts.  When I’d try to flip the switch, it would buzz and not switch.  I read on here somewhere that one of the outside rails in the “V” could be touching attached ground rails so I taped them off, still the buzzing and not switching.  Assuming I had a bad switch, I figure eh, what the heck, I’m just going to run a train around a few times and worry about that later.  Mistake.  The train went over it without any problems for a while, then it happened.  The engine sparked at the track, shut off, and I smelled something burning.  Shut everything down, pushed the engine to another location, fired it up, whew, it wasn’t the engine burning.  Okay, I figured I burnt the switch motor since it wouldn’t work anymore.  When the engine would go over it, it would briefly shut off until it hit the next piece of track.  Finally I took it apart and found the issue that caused the buzzing and also what burned and why the engine was shutting off.  One of the ground contacts underneath had come apart and one of the 4 copper ribbons under that “slide” had been burnt through.  Of course that had to be the one for power to the center rails.  I was about to throw in the towel, but figured, what the heck, if it’s junk already, I can’t hurt it.  I soldered the ground contact then pulled the bad copper ribbon out and replaced it with 4 single strands of copper from 20 gauge wire.  The trick was, I laid the strands flat, held them in place near the end, twisted the protruding end, and soldered it.  I did this to both sides.  After that, I laid it right where the copper ribbon was and soldered it to the wire at each side, covered with electrical tape, and then reassembled the entire thing.  Tried it out, success!  No more buzzing or engine shut off and it switches flawlessly.  Note, the pictures below are not mine.  I google searched and they linked back to posts here on the forum.

Railhead53 Switch Picture
Photo Credit: Railhead53 - Circled in green is the ground contact that separated.


Pennsydave Switch Picture
Photo Credit: Pennsydave - Circled in purple is where the ribbon was burnt (seeing this now, I could've just done what has been here.)


Once that was fixed, I figured I’d try out the Norfolk Southern SW1500 PS2 switcher that I bought from someone on FB.  Well, that was about par for Friday night.  Check Track, Engine Not found, perfect.  Searched here on the forum (as I always do before asking questions) and found the possible answer, the battery.  The next day I went down to my LHS and bought a BCR.  Now, I know everybody talks about them, but I have never used one so didn’t care much.  Plus, I’m terrified of ruining the engine electronics somehow.  Anyway, I took the old battery out, put the BCR in, put it on the track, waited 1 minute, success.  Now I have the BCR bug.

Last night I replaced the 9V battery in my Southern F3 ABA PS1 with a BCR I bought a few months back.  Man those things are great and so easy to replace!!  Before I put everything away to start on the train room, I was running my RK Allegheny 2-6-6-6 and noticed squealing when the smoke unit was on.  Of course I did my usual search here on the forum and found the issue.  Took the shell off, took the smoke unit apart, oiled it, put it back together, another success!!!

I had one more thing to complete which I was sort of dreading, adding the latches to my door.  I bought two spring plungers from McMaster-Carr and wasn’t sure they’d work how I intended.  Last night I went for it, recessed them into the wood, closed the door, and yet another success!!

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After that, for the first time on my layout, I was able to run some trains, and all I can say is this is fun!!

My only issue now is that I have WAY too much rolling stock.  I’ll be posting in the For Sale Forum at some point.

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**Update 4-18-17**  With Videos.


I just realized I haven't updated this in a while (just have been posting in What did you do on your layout today?), although I haven't really done much.  Since my last post, I have glued the Homasote down (with wood glue), painted it a tan color to prevent it from absorbing moisture and warping, added foam between the Homasote and track (to quiet the sound of the Realtrax), and added latches and labeling to the control panel.  Another thing I did was add push buttons to the gate/door jam for two reasons; one being to kill the power to track on each side if it is open, and two, to operate the indicator LED on my control panel.  If the gate/door is open, there is a red LED that will flash and if closed, a solid greed LED will be on.  I also replaced the simple on-off light switch with a nice dimmer and wow does that make such a difference in the train room!

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For the labels, I used a label maker with black ink on clear tap, then trimmed as close to the text as I could

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The top push button is a (on)-off-(on) for LED control and the bottom is a simple off-(on) for track power control.

 

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This is the foam I used for insulation under the Realtrax.  Frost King AC Weatherseal from HD.  I cut this into 4 strips, meaning instead of it being 2-1/4" thick, each strip was about 5/8" thick.  It seemed to work pretty well too.

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The latest picture of my layout.  I doubt I'll be doing much more to it until the fall.

Another thing I did was move all of my train stuff back into the room from the garage.   As you can see, I put my wife's shoe problem to good use with the boxes.
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Below is another vantage point from the room.
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And videos if anybody is interested:

Gate/door operation:



Running trains:


I have the Southern F3 ABA that goes with this set, but I wanted to see them behind the NS Heritage Unit




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