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Wordsmith

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  1. So I built myself a 5 ft x 2 ft 6" baseboard over Xmas and am now slowly laying track on it. I can get 14" radius curves, which is probably closer to what would go onto a more permanent layout. (9" radius curves were too tight for my Schools loco). I'm laying the track on 0.8 mm thick cork just to see what difference that makes. If I get all the track laid this month, the plan for February is to get an occupancy detector and try and figure out how that and JMRI work. Much head scratching in prospect. Couple of questions in the meantime if I may. How often do the major manuf
  2. Link wiring is essentially directly taking the power from one rail to another, rather than from a power bus. Not the best of diagrams, but you could essentially power a siding by wires from the mainline rails. But @KingEdwardII has given me the answer. If you use link wiring, occupancy detection won't work as it wouldn't detect if the train is on the main line or in the siding. Another lesson learned - thanks... Wordsmith
  3. Thanks both - I've put trying out MTB MP1 point motors on my 'to do' list. Another question if I may... I've got the little Peco 'Wiring the Layout' booklet. And they have a section on using link wiring as an alternative to drop feeds. So I rewired the sidings on my little experimental layout in that manner. That resulted in less wiring under the baseboard because the sidings are no longer directly connected to the power bus; essentially they're getting their power from the head shunt drop feeds, and the link wiring is overcoming the self-isolating feature on the point
  4. Ah thanks - got them working. Remarkably simple when you know what to do. It's the figuring out what to do from a low starting point of knowledge that's more difficult. Only problem I now have is that Traintronics seen to have become a Covid 19 casualty and are no longer trading. Are there any other slow motion point motors with built in decoders? The obvious candidate from a bit of Googling would seem to be a Cobalt digital IP. My gut feel (and I stand to be corrected) is that built in decoders will mean marginally less wiring under the baseboard (and less
  5. Thanks all for the above comments - I wanted this to be a future retirement hobby that made me think. And it's certainly going to make me do that. I'm beginning to experience the gulf between what you can pick up from books/the Internet and what practical experience can teach you. As to stopping distances, etc., I've found out that you can program acceleration and deceleration rates, etc, into a loco, so that's also on my list of things to play with in the near future. The hobby has come on a long way since I built DC layouts as a teenager.... Wo
  6. My ignorance is showing - thanks for the info. So now I need to figure out how to get my DR5000 command station to talk to the point motors - which looks fairly simple. The other thing I wanted to use the DR4018 for was to turn sections of track on/off as an experiment. I figured if a loco was moving extremely slowly when it hit a dead section of track, it would stop in a fairly precise location - a step towards computer controlled shunting. One of the many things I want to try out - at first by using a manual on/off switch and seeing how reproducible the stopping point is.
  7. Hi Mike, Yep - I'm using electrofrog points. I'm planning to model the SR in the 1930's. And as a lot of that was tank engine based, I didn't want the locos stalling on insulfrog points. And yep, insulating rail joiners over the place. One of the many lessons I've learned is to wire as you go along and then run an engine along the new section of track - that way you find problems early and avoid a lot of re-wiring/adding more insulating rail joiners. :o( I have Traintronics TT300 point motors that I'm planning to run via a Digikeijs DR4018 module, although I've yet t
  8. So - made a little bit more progress and now have things running on my little 4 ft x 2 ft trial baseboard. Although the first thing I found was Dapol Schools locos don't like running round 9" radius curves. So I'll be building a slightly 5 ft x 2 ft 6 inch baseboard (and 12" radius curves) when I've exhausted the learning potential of this one. :o( But now understand how to wire the track correctly. (Bit of trial and error - mainly error). A couple more questions if I may. Is it worth pre-planning wiring runs and then putting in the feeder wire positions accordingly?
  9. Thanks both - will experiment. I hadn't realised how slow, painstaking and a PITA laying track accurately was. One reason I'm happy to make any mistakes on a small test layout first... Wordsmith
  10. Another question for the experts to answer. I'm using Peco code 55 flexible track. It's not very keen to be bent into curves of 9" or 12" radius. Or in staying (prior to pinning) in something approximating the Tracksetta curve. Is there a trick to making it more flexible - for example by cutting more gaps in the webbing underneath? Or is it a case of bending it to shape with a Tracksetta curve, putting some panel pins outside of the track to keep it roughly in place, and then pinning it? Advice welcome.... Wordsmith
  11. Thanks both - I got some of the Peco track pins; they were smaller diameter than what I had. Which, with a small hand drill, enables me to get the track down neatly without splitting the sleepers. I've also found I can solder the dropper wires on neatly using crocodile clips to hold the wire in the required position on the track first That leaves me one hand for the soldering iron and one for the solder wire. I get on better using flux-less solder and painting on the rosin flux by hand. I hadn't realised how painstaking tracklaying would prove to be - it's slow motion
  12. Hi both - the problem is that the width of a sleeper is not enough to accept a track pin. The baseboard isn't a problem - it's MDF. Having thought about it, I think I'll try drilling a tiny pilot hole in the sleeper first. It'll split when I hammer the pin in, but hopefully the pin will still fix the track in place. I'm planning to glue track down on any permanent layout I construct, but the current baseboard is just for experiments. Cheers, Wordsmith
  13. So, another question I hope someone can give some help on. Is there any practical alternative to gluing Peco code 55 down? I've tried pinning it with track pins, but that doesn't look to be a roaring success. I was hoping not to have to glue it down, because I wanted to experiment a bit with with different types of points, introducing gradients, etc, as time goes by. But pinning is not particularly successful, particularly on the 9" radius curves I'm trying to put in just to get something running on my 4 ft x 2 ft baseboard. Thanks.... Wordsmith
  14. Got it thanks, plus one or two books on railway electrics downloaded onto my Kindle. To learn, I really need to start playing with stuff... Wordsmith
  15. Firstly thanks to @jamespetts for the detailed reply. Very helpful.... This will be a bit of a slow motion reply as I'm not planning to build much until I retire, to it's really learn the techniques and gradually stock-up with the rolling stock, track and points. Having not tried this for over 40 years, the initial impression is how much the technology has changed. In terms of the logic of wiring, it was relatively easy to wire up an old DC type layout. Lots of wires, but conceptually fairly straightforward to do. DCC is rather different. I downloaded some books from
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