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Wiring and associated gubbins!

wenlock

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I tend to find wiring a layout one of the more tedious aspects of railway modelling, a job that "needs" to be done rather than enjoyed! On this occasion however it all seemed relatively painless and didn't take as long as I had feared. I'm still undecided about the merits of DCC, it all seems a bit too much like computer programming rather than playing trains for my liking! I do like the idea of sound in my locos though, so I may have to overcome my prejudices and embrace digital control at some point in the future. With this in mind I've wired the layout so that it shouldn't be to problematic to make the change to DCC if I decide to go down that route.

 

I wanted to use an adhesive tape to form negative and positive feeds along the length of the layout and found a suitable product online. http://www.matlockminiatures.com/Shop/index1.html This tape has an adhesive backing and has one of the strips anodised a different colour from the other so that it's easy to tell which is the negative or positive feed.

Self adhesive copper tape

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This tape was stuck to the underside of each baseboard and jumper wires were then soldered into multipin connectors at each baseboard joint http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/maplin-d-sub-connector-socket-25-way-yq49d

 

The surface of the foil is covered with a thin insulating layer of plastic, this obviously needs to be removed before its possible to solder onto. I must have been having an off day because I spent at least half an hour trying to scrape away this top layer of plastic with a variety of techniques before it dawned on me that if you touched it with the tip of the soldering iron it simply melted away leaving a clean surface! Once I made this important discovery, the track feeds proceeded smoothly using red cable for the positive feeds and black for the negative. Once all the track feeds were in place I spent a happy hour or so watching my locos trundle along the track for the first time :locomotive:

 

The next step was to make the points operational and to switch the polarity of the crossing "V". I decided to use Tortoise point motors, which I'm pleased to say were very easy to install. I found the wire that is supplied with the point motors a bit to springy, so I substituted it with some 0.9mm stainless steel wire. I used a length of the adhesive tape to form a separate 12 volt dc feed for the point motors, this time using yellow and blue cable to carry the power.

 

Point motor feeds

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I used double pole/double throw on/on microswitches http://www.maplin.co.uk/search?text=Sub-Miniature+Toggle+Switch+E+On-On+DPDT to switch the points. I had a few offcuts of black perspex left over from another project, so I decided to make a box that I could fit the microswitches into. I'm not sure if the Edwardian GWR would have approved of the gloss black finish, but I rather like it!

 

DPDT on/on microswitch

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Micro switches and point feeds

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Perspex box

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Point switch box

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Before I laid the points, I'd soldered a feed using white cable to the underside of the frog. This feed was now soldered to one of the pair of switches incorporated in the Tortoise point motor. Negative and positive feeds were then taken from the track feed self adhesive tape to the remaining terminals on the point motor.

 

Tortoise point motors

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Underside of boards

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I've no idea if this will work, but I've uploaded my first video to youtube!

 

I'm planing on using the remaining switches on the Tortoises to operate a track indicator panel that will incorporate LED's to show the direction that the points are set. That however will have to wait because I've had enough of wiring for the time being!

 

There's been little progress on top of the baseboards I'm afraid, but I have made a start on the backscene. A sheet of flexible MDF was cut into 15inch high strips and these have been fixed to the layout using softwood blocks and wood screws. Once the contour of the scenery has been finalised and I've built the road overbridge, there may be a little judicious trimming of the backscene where it curves around the front of the layout.

 

Left end of layout

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Overall from right end

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Overall from fiddle yard end

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That's the state of play so far, if I can master this video editing lark I'll post up some clips of some stock in action!

 

Dave

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Dave,

 

Great to see more progress.  The layout is really coming along nicely now.  Love the idea of using the self adhesive copper tape, nice and neat.  Just a personal opinion (and obviously it's a work in progress so you may have this in mind anyway), but I think if my back scenes curved around to the front of the layout as yours currently do I would consider rounding off the corner to blend the top of the back scene down to ground level (wherever that may be).  Do love the way the back scene curves around the whole scene though!

 

I look forward to seeing more videos too :-)

 

Ian

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Lovely trackwork and tracklaying. It makes mine look like a right mess!  Yours looks beautiful in the raw whereas mine only looks "acceptable" only once it has been painted.

 

Chris

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Hi Dave,

 

If you don't want to do electrics then DCC is actually the way to go....

 

No isolating sections to hold locos, you can stop them wherever you want.

 

There are a few rules:

 

1. Every piece of track must be live at all times

 

Well that's it.... I'm not going back....

 

Cheers,

 

Friso

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Dave,

 

Great to see more progress.  The layout is really coming along nicely now.  Love the idea of using the self adhesive copper tape, nice and neat.  Just a personal opinion (and obviously it's a work in progress so you may have this in mind anyway), but I think if my back scenes curved around to the front of the layout as yours currently do I would consider rounding off the corner to blend the top of the back scene down to ground level (wherever that may be).  Do love the way the back scene curves around the whole scene though!

 

I look forward to seeing more videos too :-)

 

 

Ian

Hi Ian, Glad you like the progress so far! The plan for the front edge of the curved backscene is exactly as you suggest :-) Once I've built the road bridge and established the height of the ground contours, this will dictate how high the front of the backscene will finally be. I'm also toying with the idea of a curved pellet/facia that will follow the front edge of the baseboard and incorporate the layouts lighting.

 

I'll see what I can do regarding the videos for you!

 

Lovely trackwork and tracklaying. It makes mine look like a right mess!  Yours looks beautiful in the raw whereas mine only looks "acceptable" only once it has been painted.

 

Chris

Thanks Chris! Nothing wrong with your track work though, I've been following your Isle of Wight project and that curved pointwork is lovely!

 

Hi Dave,

If you don't want to do electrics then DCC is actually the way to go....

No isolating sections to hold locos, you can stop them wherever you want.

There are a few rules:

1. Every piece of track must be live at all times

Well that's it.... I'm not going back....

Cheers,

Friso

Hi Friso, you're probably right! Most of my modelling pals have gone down the Dcc route and think I'm a right Luddite! I'm sure I'll eventually go down that route, but for now I'm just pleased to have something running!

 

Best wishes to you all

 

Dave

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Quote "This tape has an adhesive backing", may I ask how well you consider this adheres to the baseboard. Have you treated/sealed the boards prior to using the copper tapes ? I have seen this method used before and think that it provides a very good alternative to providing bus wiring.

 

Looking very impressive, keep up the excellent work.

 

Grahame

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Quote "This tape has an adhesive backing", may I ask how well you consider this adheres to the baseboard. Have you treated/sealed the boards prior to using the copper tapes ? I have seen this method used before and think that it provides a very good alternative to providing bus wiring. Looking very impressive, keep up the excellent work. Grahame

Hi Grahame, thanks for the positive comments.   The tape is reasonably sticky, about the same as masking tape.  If you make a mistake it's possible to peel it off the underside of the board and reposition it.  I didn't treat the underside of the board, but sealing it might improve the adhesion further.  If mine does start to become unstuck, I've got a roll of Duck Tape that Ill stick on top of the tape which will permanently fix it!

 

Dave

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That 'flexible MDF' looks interesting - never encountered that before.

Hi Miss P, yes the MDF is clever stuff!  I bought mine from Selco, but I'm fairly sure that one of the diy stores like B&Q should stock it.  Its not cheap, an 8 foot by 4 foot sheet was about

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Hi Grahame, thanks for the positive comments.   The tape is reasonably sticky, about the same as masking tape.  If you make a mistake it's possible to peel it off the underside of the board and reposition it.  I didn't treat the underside of the board, but sealing it might improve the adhesion further.  If mine does start to become unstuck, I've got a roll of Duck Tape that Ill stick on top of the tape which will permanently fix it!

 

Dave

 

Hi Dave,

 

Thank you for the reply, I would be fairly happy to use it but I think I'd seal the u/side first ( MDF man too, boards are ready to put up) and maybe use some double sided carpet tape or similar as a back up.

Wish I could bend round a 12 in radius without creaking !

 

Grahame

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Hi Dave, just seen this. Two very useful tips there, as others have commented - the tape and the bendy MDF. I had heard of the latter but your photos illustrate just what it can do. I think I need to investigate that. 

 

The point switch box is looking very sleek too!

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