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Owen E

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  1. Long delay since my last post, part illness and part lack of time/space to do things. Find attached two pictures: one of the edited layout actually put out on a floor for measurement (with the friend who'll be building the baseboards with me), and one of the current trackplan. It's been slightly lengthened to make it simple to have a break between the two boards, and since the layout photo I've also added an internal point by the Town Station in lieu of a passing loop. That gives somewhere else to hide a loco whilst other stuff is happening on the inner line, without having to run round to the yards. In case you're wondering, as buildings/scenery will be removable, the join won't be blocked by anything on the layout when it needs to be broken down. Next stage, at the start of April: order some ply (12mm seems a good depth?), with the final size equivalent to 5x3.5ft for each board - total being 5x7, or rather just under that. We'll batten it both for support and to give room for wiring for the "join" (that's a slightly faffy thing I'm not entirely looking forward to...). We may edge the whole thing with a safety rail of ply as well, eventually. My intention is to Copydex down the track, though I'm umming and ahhing on whether to "embank" the track with cork too. Advice accepted. We'll also prime the boards grey, which can be a mid-term railbed colour as well as serving as the basis for other painting. After the raw materials are put together and the track laid, painting and buildings will be the main imaginative concerns.
  2. Yep, found that thread too. The pickup engineering seems a little hard for my current level of expertise, though perhaps I could learn to do it (I've learned a lot recently in getting into model trains!). The Bachmann 43xx has square stubs, yes, and yes, the central one did slip as I got it out of the box for the 2nd time. But also easy to requarter, as you say. I should look at the Mainline axles to check there's been no slippage (it might explain Sir Frank Ree - a very slight slip might cause jerking that isn't immediately breaking the rods). Not sure how to account for "Scots Guardsman", though...
  3. I've hunted that one now, thanks. I did remove a lot of grease yesterday - including on the various springs which are a main conductor! I'll look again tonight. It's an overengineered design, though the circuit itself is clear. It just has a lot of awkward/weird parts compared to, say, the older Mainline-style design, or indeed X03/04 and Ringfield stuff from Hornby.
  4. Hello braintrust In building a cheap collection of 2nd-hand trains, I've ended up with plenty of the rejects - notably tender-drive Hornby and split chassis Mainline/Bachmann. When you can get a decent detail engine for a tenner, you're more willing to take a risk on the mechanism! (And the tender-drive Hornbys are nearly all good engines, at least after servicing.) Of my six split chassis engines, 3 have some sort of issue. (The other three - Bachmann A4 Golden Eagle and Lord Nelson Sir Martin Frobisher, and Mainline Hinton Manor, are all pretty good.) Advice/info desired. *Mainline Patriot "Sir Frank Ree" - Ringfield-style motor. Slightly bumpy on the track. I've read of something called "jerky wheel syndrome" affecting split chassis types - could this be that? It otherwise runs...okay. *Mainline Royal Scot "Scots Guardsman" - Ringfield-style motor. When working on it last night, it started by audibly drawing a lot of power but moving incredibly slowly (full power made it crawl). I then opened it up and checked out its magnet (measuring over 1000 on the magnetometer) and making sure its commutator etc were clean (they were from last service, when I gave it new brushes, too). After putting it back together, it didn't move, though there was initially a low electric hum. This stopped after I moved it bit to see if anything was out of place. Is this a sign of failed insulation, or what? *Bachmann 43xx - Cam motor and weird plastic/brass block. This intermittently runs very well and not at all - i.e. runs smoothly and looks great, and then stops and doesn't pick up at all (with no continuity through the wheels). This has, it turns out, a cracked central axle by the gear - would that stop continuity? I would expect it just to cause it to seize up. I have seen one guy who 3D prints these axlesets online so perfectly willing to look into that. (I bought this one for £20 or something, normally they're over £40 second-hand, a tenner on parts isn't inefficient if it works.) Thanks in advance for help/advice (other than "use a hammer to fix it", which is tempting but not on the list of options!)
  5. As I'm still waiting to lay track for the final measurements next week, I've only my engine work to show here. Three of my collection of X03/X04 motored locos. The LMS Jinty (painted by a previous owner from a BR Jinty) is a Triang, possibly from as far back as the late 50s; the J83 and 57xx are 70s-era Hornby Triang. These three are all working very nicely with one or two small jobs to do. These will officially join the railway at launch as the "small engines" for three of the four companies - the SR currently has a China-built Holden 101, though I'll see if I can't surreptitiously get a Terrier on the cheap so it's a historical engine for Helen's railway. All three took some work - the 57xx and J83 had a number of tired wires, the J83 and Jinty were both utterly filthy (the J83 had a staple in an axle bearing!), and the Jinty needed its power wire resoldering at the bottom after light use as the join wasn't very strong. I'm proud of what we've accomplished so far. One thing I like about the older second-hand stuff I've bought is - despite quality issues re previous owners - they've been easy to learn to fix. Open-frame, clear engineering, no funny or overfragile parts - these and the Ringfields, for all their flaws, have been a really positive education. (I have another, hmm, 4 X03/04 engines - the M7 pictured above, which has a half-broken collector array that I think is going to need an effective rebuild, as I can't find the part online. Lots of shorting issues, though it did run briefly, though very badly, tonight. There's a "spare" 57xx and J83, which are currently acting as parts donors - chiefly for motors - and another engine that hasn't officially joined the shed yet.)
  6. The plastic insulation has given out on my one and replacing it seems like the simplest solution. Any help available?
  7. Andy - they've both sparked with old brushes, I did replace the brushes on the Jinty last night as hers were very low, but that didn't increase sparking (it did improve running, though!). The Pannier has a suppressor at the wire join, Jinty doesn't anymore. Pebbles, I'll have a go - that sounds plausible! It would explain why normal cleaning methods have exacerbated an issue.
  8. Perhaps, but I doubt it - I clean the slots, and have done so on both *since* I last lubricated motor bearings on either.
  9. Thanks Roy. Will try that at some point. Follow up question to all: both my Jinty and Pannier with said motors are cleaned up and technically up for anything. However, both now share a worrying habit: sparking/arcing on the commutator face/cylinder as they run. Any thoughts? This has happened in the context of being clean, including commutator slots.
  10. I don't think that's within my power, but might not be a bad idea. This thread was my "initial technical questions" thread - the other is where I planned to put design/construction updates.
  11. 4 x 2x3 (or 2x4) would deal with the problem of cutting across curves, as they'd approach at 90 degrees, but would be more problematic for that set of internal sidings, I would have thought. Food for thought.
  12. Ha - as a pre-emptive explanation, I direct people to my layout thread. There is some logic to what's on that plan, and there are "objectives" to fulfil (it's a family play/RPG layout). I would have liked a passing loop for convenience but there's not a great deal of "wiggle room" inside the loop once points are accounted for. The existing crossover as it stands is as advised in that thread - to ensure it's trailing. Suggestions welcome, of course, but it's worth laying out the parameters.
  13. The layout is designed - see picture below (prominent scenics will be detachable). I'm aware there's a good question about where the dividing point comes - my carpenttry-skilled friend and I will be laying everything out in a couple of weeks to decide final measurements etc before we buy wood. 3 x 4x2 *would* work, but puts pointwork at more risk of being at crossovers and involves more points of continuity. That seems suboptimal to me, though I grant the reasoning offered above isn't stupid or anything!
  14. I think going along your lines, Jeff, may be best for our first amateur attempts. The other option would be the miniature plugs/sockets. If there's no underwiring, how necessary would underbattening be?
  15. Plugs and sockets sound good - if anyone has any to recommend, do drop a link. No, we'll be on DC. For a few reasons, mostly relating to finance, this is the better bet. Perhaps DCC for a future layout!
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