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It all started with a persistent short circuit in my ZW transformer.  I finally unhooked the thing for bench testing, and it ran fine!  Can't imagine what the problem is...

GEDC2030

So, bid a fond farewell to the glorified test track that has served me well for over a decade...

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And especially farewell to that Chic Sales wiring nest! 

The general plan is to strip the 4 x 8 down to the bare wood, put a layer of Homasote on top and actually fasten the track in place!  With wires underneath and all!    The existing 1x2 perimeter frame will be discarded in favor of a 1x3 frame with clearance to run wires, while still fitting nicely on the old dining room table that serves as its legs. 

Here's a sneak peek of the track plan: 

Gfx_RTC Rework 20.12.03

As you can see, I'm retaining the essential test track ethos, with a figure 8 oval thrown in for grins and giggles.  The main difference is the bump and go test track.  Since a substantial proportion of the RTC fleet is bump and go trolleys, I figure a dedicated test track for 'em is in order... 

The fact that the layout will bear a demented grin is merely coincidental.    Honestly.   

Anyhow, watch this space!  I'll probably start work in earnest after the holidays.   

Mitch

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@Scotie posted:

Sorry to see it go but there's nothing worse than trying to find a problem in wiring "that just grew".

You've read the advice here before but different colors for different functions and labels wouldn't hurt.

We'll be looking forward to the new and improved--

Thanks, all!  Actually, what I plan to do is fairly simple wiring.  Feeder wires to diagonal corners of the ovals, a feed to the bump and go track (using the antiderail feature of a 1022 switch to control the siding) and feeds from the front switches to their diagonal opposites so that both ends are straight or turned at the same time.  Other than a couple of wires for lights and such, that'll be it.  I figure I'll paint the Homasote in the garage, and do the rest of the assembly in the living room, stapling the wires to the plywood underneath as I go....

Mitch

Accompanying a redo of former layout wiring patterns comes wisdom on how to do it better (at least differently) next time. I've built several garage-based O-gauge holiday train layouts, and I improved the wiring scheme and pathways with each re-doing during 12 years of being Santa's toy train helper.  Here are my "tricks of the trade" - although not a "secret" among hobbyists. Others may offer practical tips.

1)  Color-coded wire pairs according to function:  track power, accessory power (usually fixed 14 v), lighting for buildings (usually 12 volts DC), 5.5 v for Miller signs, etc. Although some hobbyists are committed to wire labeling, I'm not a neatnick. My layout isn't big enough for NASA-style wiring practices.

2)  Terminal strips for junctions (by Radio Shack online), and the nifty 12 or 24 connection terminal strips by MTH.

3) Spade lugs soldered to ends of wires for goof-proof wire connections. Time-consuming up front, but worth it.

4) Lots of plastic cable ties to support wires along their path to avoid the "explosion in a spaghetti factory" look.

5) Bus wiring with feeders along the routes to lock-ons. I prefer the Lionel lighted lock-ons for a quick visual check-up of all active track power connections. i know - some hobbyists prefer to hide all track wiring. I envy their fastidiousness, but not enough to join that fraternity.

6) Lionel metal lighted bumpers at the end of sidings. The track power wires connected to each siding can be connected to toggle switches to show on/off of track power for each siding.

7) Wiring to accessories mounted on the perimeter fascia board adjacent to each accessory. I favor Lionel #90 momentary contact pushbuttons or the classic slide switch for on/off control.

8) Master power switch for the entire layout - one switch kills all electricity.

And so it goes ...

Mike Mottler    LCCA 12394

It all started with a persistent short circuit in my ZW transformer.  I finally unhooked the thing for bench testing, and it ran fine!  Can't imagine what the problem is...

So, bid a fond farewell to the glorified test track that has served me well for over a decade...

And especially farewell to that Chic Sales wiring nest! 

The general plan is to strip the 4 x 8 down to the bare wood, put a layer of Homasote on top and actually fasten the track in place!  With wires underneath and all!    The existing 1x2 perimeter frame will be discarded in favor of a 1x3 frame with clearance to run wires, while still fitting nicely on the old dining room table that serves as its legs.

Here's a sneak peek of the track plan:

Gfx_RTC Rework 20.12.03

As you can see, I'm retaining the essential test track ethos, with a figure 8 oval thrown in for grins and giggles.  The main difference is the bump and go test track.  Since a substantial proportion of the RTC fleet is bump and go trolleys, I figure a dedicated test track for 'em is in order...

The fact that the layout will bear a demented grin is merely coincidental.    Honestly. 

Anyhow, watch this space!  I'll probably start work in earnest after the holidays. 

Mitch

Remember to scrounge ( I particularly like the Demented Grin) What about the Royal KITTEH?

miglet

Last update of 2020! 

Vehicles and buildings removed...

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As Fortescue supervises operations from the rear platform of his private sleeping car...

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...Sylvia Siamese is astonished by the change!

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Meanwhile, Norma Bates Kitteh wants to know, "Where mah trains at?"

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Before tearing the track up, I decided to mock up the final track plan to get an idea of what it looked like.

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Norma, of course, offered somewhat sketchy assistance.

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A less than fond farewell to Chic Sales wiring!

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And here, I think, we'll leave things until after New Year's...

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So, I let some of Miggy's sheep out to graze until then.

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Mitch

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Big work going on there.  The changes will add to operational enjoyment.  I'm glad you are letting the sheep graze.  Two thumbs up.

@O Gauge Jim posted:

Hey Mitch, it looks like you and Norma are having a great time with the rebuild. By the way, how are your giraffes doing during this pandemic? Hope you have them safely masked up.Have a Great New Year  and stay safe.

And to you, Jim!

As for Fortescue, he's socially distancing. 

GEDC2058

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  • GEDC2058

I decided to run at least one train for New Year's.  While the inner tracks are only mocked up and not in running condition, the original outer oval is still intact (for now), so I decided to break out one of the orphan trains I rescued a few weeks back...

The little 242 ran like a champ, as did the original 35w transformer.  In fact, once I oiled all the wheels, I had to dial back the transformer a bit so the train wouldn't overspeed!    Interesting fact:  This plastic-shelled locomotive sports a traction tire,  something I thought started in the MPC era... 

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Naturally, Norma Bates Kitteh got into the act.

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As did Sylvia Siamese.

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Even Fortescue was on hand...

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...stopping to confer with the sheep in what I suspect is going to become known as "Miggy's Meadow". 

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Ya know, in this era of Bluetooth remotes, digital controls and all the alphabet gobbledygook,  sometimes it's nice to just get back to basics, run a simple train around a simple oval and bask in the smell of ozone and 3-in-1 oil...

Happy New Year, all! 

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