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Pete the Elaner

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    Milton Keynes
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    It's a fun hobby. Please remind me if I appear to forget.
    My home layout: http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/120795-south-hampstead/#entry3387669

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  1. The handset is just 1 way to switch points with DCC. It is convenient for some because it already exists. I would not like it on anything with more than about 4-5 points though. Mimic panels (which look & feel exactly like to the classic style) can still be configured to send the switching commands to the system....or you can use the handset...or a computer...or a panel of levers. You can even use more than 1 method, even identical panels at each end of the layout. The panel itself may be a little more to configure but will save on the vast amount of wiring you will need for a traditional panel.
  2. Surely short circuits are always unwanted & best avoided? The fact that with DC, you often get only a minor hesitation & a spark isn't a good reason for not bothering to avoid them if provided with a workable solution. Isolating & re-feeding encourages smaller sections. These are easier to troubleshoot if something does go wrong.
  3. It depends on what you mean by "as required". I isolated & re-fed my sidings long before I thought of using DCC. activating them with a switch on a panel rather than which way the point was set. That was "as required" for me & left me with a layout which worked quite well. The fact that it could have a DCC system & have locos sitting in sidings with lights on was something I never considered (or took advantage of).
  4. I was concerned about the force used to throw the microswitch but I was surprised how soft it was. I only used them in the first place because the inbuilt switch on the PM1s was unreliable. 2 out of 5 I installed would not switch the frog at all. That was after suffering failures with Peco's PL-13s. I have tried Tortoise motors & they worked nicely but stuck out below the baseboards I was using a the time. They are also a continuous current motor so they need wiring differently from a solenoid.
  5. I mounted microswitches so they are activated by the motor pin. They have proven much more reliable than the SEEP included switch or Peco's PL-13.
  6. As mentioned earlier, you don't actually need to decide in advance. Unifrog will work out of the box & you should have no issues with point blades failing to connect. The dead section itself is very small so whether you need to feed this from a switch or leave it dead will depend on what you run. Twin bogie diesels will be fine but 0-6-0s may not. If you are used to points feeding sidings depending on which way they are set, then you will need a re-think because Unifrog points keep sidings live at all times. If you are in the habit of using small sections & always isolating then re-feeding sidings (which most DCC users & also some DC users do anyway) then you can use insulating joiners like before.
  7. My first few prints came out badly & it took a while to learn the right tricks with my laser cutter too, so don't worry, you will get there. It looks like a minor levelling issue. Did you level it before the second print? I mistakenly believed this it was a 1-off job like aligning the laser cutter, but I have since found out that it needs to be done before every print. Thankfully it is a task which becomes quite quick with practise.
  8. DIdn't many older booking halls have very high ceilings? There was certainly an echo in them.
  9. Comparing it against the stone one, I agree. Zero relief is "less wrong" for brick than stone, so brick paper may be the easiest way to renovate it. (Embossed brick gives too much relief & paper gives too little, so the lesser of two wrongs is a matter of taste.) Even with a paper wall, I feel that some relief on window ledges helps to bring it to life. This could be very thin card, which is quite easy to cut. Maybe a new roof made from Wills slate sheet would help too?
  10. Not many Gold members on this thread. Am I right in thinking that Gold membership suppresses these ads? If so, the ball is in my court if they are annoying me.
  11. I've read most of the replies & cannot add much. Equipping most of your locos with TTS & using DCC will be much cheaper than fitting Loksound/Zimo decoders to them & using DC, but DCC offers so much more: playing of horns, compressors, spirax valves etc. TTS are more limited than the other brands so I won't use them myself: Volume controls are very sketchy. You can only play 1 'spot' sound at a time - the compressor will fade out & in to allow the horn to sound. Zimo & Loksound will play 4. You can't sync the sound with wheel revs (not an issue with diesels). Motor control is much better with the premium decoders. Dynamic braking is available with Zimo/Loksound. Deceleration is set to 'coast' & you can brake using a button on the handset. This may not be to everyone's taste, but it works a lot better than anything I have seen on DC. TTS doesn't support it. The one thing I can add is that all your locos will work with DCC. "DCC ready" means they have a socket so you can just remove the blanking plate & fit a decoder. With older locos, you need to do a little soldering to fit one, but it is not too difficult. Some of the earlier "DCC ready" locos don't actually have enough space for a decoder..only a blanking plate, which is much smaller, so this is a bit misleading. The only locos which are a real pain are of the split chassis type, but I can only think of steam locos & small shunters which have this type of chassis. Your Hornby 08 will be fine.
  12. I do understand your frustrations. I'll be blunt & honest: You are falling into the same trap that the vast majority of us (including myself) have fallen in to many times. We want something something more complicated than we can get running reliably. We often don't realise it will get too complicated, then we are dissatisfied with the end product because it doesn't work as we wanted it to. When I was building my first few layouts, I would not have listened to somebody telling me I was being too ambitious. I really don't meant to be negative. Laying track is ok but wiring it up is boring as hell, which is why less track can often be more fun.
  13. I agree. What is officially HS2? If you consider it to be from London to Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds & Scotland, including all the spurs & connections to places like Crewe, the final figure is very expensive. If you re-classify some of it to HS2 phase 2, HS3, HS4 etc then what remains as HS2 is considerably less & you publish the savings. It is a common trick in both public & private projects. We may not have heard of HS4 yet, but by the time we do, this post will be long forgotten. Then later when you present the extras as new projects, they get different scrutiny, but you keep the argument that HS2 is almost done now, so it would be a huge waste to abandon the extra parts & many will argue that if it the first part exists, it makes sense to extend it.
  14. I understand your frustrations. I like wiring more than most, but even I find it tedious & boring. Getting something running for the first time gives you a huge lift, so from one point of view, you want to get to this stage as quickly as possible. But on the other hand, getting there too quickly involves taking what I would consider to be shortcuts (minimum feeds, large sections, relying on point blades for electrical contact & probably a few other things which I now do from experience without even questioning why). I have on several occasions been asked to help sort 'a couple of faults' with a layout & found that they are quite fundamental & resulted from the builder taking shortcuts, whether through haste or a lack of knowledge or experience. Can you flip the boards onto their side or even upside down to work on them? Working underneath is a real back breaker even for someone quite fit.
  15. It helps to think of a DCC "Controller" as 3 separate components...which are separate with some systems. I think of HiFi as a good analogy. The dial is often known as a 'throttle'. This provides the user interface. Some systems can cope with more throttles than most of will ever need. HiFI analogy is an audio source, like a turntable, CD player, tape deck or radio tuner. The command system controls the layout. This processes the inputs from all throttles & outputs them into low level control codes for the layout. You need 1 & only ever 1 of these for the entire layout. This is like a Hi-Fi's pre-amplifier. Boosters take the low level signals & add power to them, like a power amp does in a HiFi If you have a big layout with lots of trains running at once, then you may draw more current than what a small system can output. You have a Hornby Select photographed. This is a complete system in a box (throttle, command system & booster) so you cannot just add another to it. A select can be added to an Elite, but the Elite sees it just as a throttle. The output could be fed to some sort of booster, but this won't just give you more current. You would need to split the layout into 2 isolated sections & feed each from its own booster (as mentioned, the Select contains its own booster), so each "power district" is fed from its own booster. Trains can pass from 1 power district to the next. I can run 5 double-headed 8 coach trains at once on my layout & cannot remember seeing it draw more than about 2.5A, so I am confident you do not need to think about power districts & additional boosters.
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