New to scarm, have designed a large lionel fastrack layout and, as shown below, have 3 sections left to complete.  Is there a tool that will calculate the track length necessary to complete the layout?  I have tried inserting tracks using the program's numerous track sizes to no avail.  I'd like to make certain that I have all the proper fastrack sizes before beginning this "Christmas--not permanent" layout.  Thanks!

 

 SCARM

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There is a tape measure on the right side of the menu bar that you can use to determine the distance between the tracks. However, my guess is you’re not going to be able to fill those spaces with sectional FasTrack for SCARM to connect them in the program. If you want them connected in SCARM, the only way is to “snip” a longer track to fit. Chances are there is enough play in the track that things will connect in real life, but it’s difficult to see that without looking at the actual file. Any chance you would attach the SCARM file?

Bob, here's a file with the changes I made. To download it, right-click and select "save As", "Save File As", "Save Link As" or something like that.

I've also included a cheat sheet that shows what combination of FasTrack pieces are needed for specific lengths. I've found that I waste a lot of time trying to fit various combinations of small pieces, so now I just measure with the tape, then consult the cheat sheet.

In your case, the opening on the main track was 3.75". If you look at the cheat sheet, there is no combo that works. However, if you look further down the sheet, you'll see there is one for 13.75", so that's the one I used. The opening in the next siding was 8.75 and the sheet shows there was a combo for it.

The 3rd opening was a problem. No combo worked because the tracks were off-center and didn't meet at a straight angle. So, here's what I did (see photos):
- I selected the section between the curves and moved it out of the way.
- I added a 10" and 5" to both ends of the empty section.
- I moved the section back in place over the tracks I added.
- I removed the added tracks from one side and measured the opening.
- It was close to 9.25" and I found the combo for it.
- I added that combo to both sides of the section and it all fit.

Note that I also moved the left side of the storage tracks to the right and added a 10" track coming out of the curve. I did this because you had an "S" curve there that could cause problems. Trains don't like changing directions from one curve to the next without a straight section between them. You can move it back if you want by simply taking out the 10" track, moving the turnouts and the first parts of the sidings over and then adding 10" tracks to the 3 sidings. 

Tip: If you orient the layout so the longest part is on the X axis, you get a larger area to work with and a larger view of your design. It also helps to locate it near the 0:0 corner so the rulers go along the top and down the left side as positive numbers. You'll see what I mean when you open the SCARM file.

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Wow Dave!  Thanks for all of your effort in helping me solve this issue!  Took me a second (or two) to figure out the cheat sheet but I broke the code!  Way cool!  Since you've obviously done this before, I have a couple of "electric" questions too.  I plan on using my 275 watt zw to power this operation (without powerhouses) along with a Legacy controller.  Many of the videos I've seen use blocks,  multiple transformers or powerhouses and much discussion about amps.  With the layout you've helped me design, do you believe that my zw is adequate to power the layout?  Other than powering my track at one location only and using the track power to power my switches (I am gonna attempt to have the Legacy control the switches and not wire them directly to the zw; and using another output of the zw to power crossing gates, lights, etc; I haven't put much thought in designing a more complex electrical plan.  Any thoughts?

I know nothing about the ZW or Legacy, so someone else will have to chime in. My best guess it that the ZW will be just fine running 2 engines with 1-2 more sitting on the sidings.

The key to how many trains any transformer can support is amps. Each train draws amps and that depends on the engine, how much weight is being pulled, etc. I have a small 100 watt MTH Z-1000 that provides ~5.5 amps. It runs 2 trains (steamer with lighted passenger cars and a diesel) with a single connection to an 8x14 Christmas layout on MTH RealTrax. My understanding is the ZW outputs ~16 amps at full power, but realistically ~11 amps under normal operation. That is just something I read after a Google search. Bottom line is amps are important when determining how many trains can be run without adding more power.

There are different kinds of blocks. Power blocks used to be needed in order to run multiple trains and I guess still are for conventional running. Modern trains use digital controls where fixed power is run to the tracks and systems inside the engines determine how much power goes to the wheels. That way you can run multiple engines on the same track without the need for blocks and toggle switches.

Another kind of block is a wiring block. With a 13x20 layout, it’s advisable to provide multiple power lines from the transformer to different areas of the layout. I run DCS, so if this were my layout, the DCS gurus would suggest dividing it into 5-6 blocks where the center rails would be insulated between blocks. Legacy is similar in that fixed power goes to the track and the engines control the power to the wheels. I don’t know if Legacy suggest blocks or not, but it never hurts to insure there is adequate power all around the layout.

 

texasspecial-

it is not quite ready for primetime - the O60 & O72 switches require the 1 3/8" half-roadbed piece to be in place in SCARM and the layout. The fitment will definitely be changed.

The small fitters are included with the switches and fill in on the Out track and the Thru track on the out end.

The fixed daz file is attached - red is the 13/8" half-roadbed - blue is various size - just select it with the mouse cursor and loo at the low left to see the size.

Carl

Arctic Railroad

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texasspeciallionel posted:

Wow Dave!  Thanks for all of your effort in helping me solve this issue!  Took me a second (or two) to figure out the cheat sheet but I broke the code!  Way cool!  Since you've obviously done this before, I have a couple of "electric" questions too.  I plan on using my 275 watt zw to power this operation (without powerhouses) along with a Legacy controller.  Many of the videos I've seen use blocks,  multiple transformers or powerhouses and much discussion about amps.  With the layout you've helped me design, do you believe that my zw is adequate to power the layout?  Other than powering my track at one location only and using the track power to power my switches (I am gonna attempt to have the Legacy control the switches and not wire them directly to the zw; and using another output of the zw to power crossing gates, lights, etc; I haven't put much thought in designing a more complex electrical plan.  Any thoughts?

You have about 67 feet of track - so, try it with 1 pair of feeders and then add more if you get a slow spot. FasTrack has terminals on most full pieces. You don't need blocks, just additional feeder pairs. The old ZW (is it postwar) should be fine for track and switch uses - set the voltage no higher than 18 volts AC

6 engines at once could tax it

also, it doesn't have a quick acting breaker to protect the electronics in the trains - maybe run some inline fastblow fuses at 5-6 amps

You could isolate one of the passing sidings to kill power and park a train (which would be a block) - why - if you park a passenger train there legacy will keep the engine shut down, but, the passenger car lights will be on constantly.

Good idea to put the accessories on another transformer - phase it with the ZW

Carl

Arctic Railroad

Moonman posted:

texasspecial-

it is not quite ready for primetime - the O60 & O72 switches require the 1 3/8" half-roadbed piece to be in place in SCARM and the layout. The fitment will definitely be changed.

The small fitters are included with the switches and fill in on the Out track and the Thru track on the out end.

The fixed daz file is attached - red is the 13/8" half-roadbed - blue is various size - just select it with the mouse cursor and loo at the low left to see the size.

Dang it, I hate FasTrack (or at least how SCARM treats it). Those fitters always get me. 🤪

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