Maybe this has been discussed before but I haven't seen it. I'm working on finalizing a moderately sized (10'x14') layout (O31, O54 and O72 sections), my first real layout, and could use some assurance that my approach to testing it out is sound, not scattershot and I don't miss anything. I'm wiring for DCS and will add Legacy eventually. Ross bed or foam track bed on top of painted plywood tables is the plan. I want to operate both conventional and using command control throughout with up to 6 power districts (some isolated, some simple back an forth trolley and such). Very soon I'll have 5 districts up (elevated and isolated O72 will come later) with 12" 16 gauge power drops soldered to each block with blocks having 8-10 sections.
My goal is to get to the point where I can put down painted roadbed, screw the tracks into the table and wire track power underneath. I'm feeling that that is a point of no return to some extent.
So the order of things is what I could use some expert commentary on.
- I'm assuming I will wire on top of the table to temporary terminal strips (on top of table) and confirm section by section that it all works, at least conventionally, using a cheap conventional engine. Look for shorts, derailments, etc.
- Figure out where to mount hardware (terminal strips, relays, other controllers) under table, probably in two locations.
- Add DCS (star) and make sure that works as hoped. Never done that before but I'll have a lot of wiring on my table for 20+ blocks and a lot of tape to keep it flat. Evaluate DCS signal strength. When I'm satisfied with this then...
- Test fit trackside accessories for fit and clearance with larger engines and cars (some accessories are more worrisome than others).
- Confirm operation of all switches with temporary wiring and evaluate... fix as needed. Eventually these will be wired to a control panel with momentary SPDT and then to AIU eventually. Don't wire switches yet (can manually switch as needed for now). (BTW, when I get to it should switch control wires go to a terminal strip or just be continuous long wires to the SPDT/AIU?
- Prep for roadbed (no ballast but Ross roadbed and foam under flex and O31 tubular). Paint roadbed and add, super elevate curves. How is this done? 1/16" shim around outer edge entire curve? 1/8"?
- Add uncoupler and UCS track
- Drop power wires to under table. I'm not trying to scenic this to the max at this time so is it safer to drill holes just outside of the road bed or should I drill and drop straight down under the track? I'm thinking outside is more forgiving. Drop wires for uncouplers and UCS.
- Screw down track. Or should it wait until I add most of the trackside accessories (which are powered on a separate bus)?
Does this make sense to you all? I'd like to get to the point that the track is primarily positioned and I can confidently wire track power under the table. What things am I missing?
Any comments on this would be welcomed.