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Hi all,

 

After years and years of false starts, I have finally started on my layout. Hopefully it will measure 14ft in length by 4 ft. It will be end to end with fiddle yards at both ends but my hope is to make it one complete loop in years to come (and space permitting!).

 

I will post later all about where the layout is based and exact building details. However I need to some help as I am still confused!!!

 

2 of the 4 baseboards are built and I have started laying the track on baseboard 1 using peco code 100 track which will be the main station area.

 

Baseboard 1 on xtra cad is from 8ft - 14ft wide and incorporates the curved point. This is the main station area. Baseboard 2 is from 4ft - 8ft and has 2 main points one to the passing loop and 1 to a goods area.

 

I am using sweeping curves 60" and 48" at the station and due to the length will have to use 2 pieces of flexitrack. I have decided to solder both pieces together but after researching on the internet people seem to solder differently around the fishplates. My question is would you recommend soldering both outside and inside sections of the fishplate to connect the track or just outside only incase the loco & stock catches the soldering in the inside of the track?

 

Secondly, as all points are electrofrog, I am not sure whether to insulate the passing loop completely or use insulating joiners at the frog ends only. I assume the goods sidings (not decided exact layout of it yet) will also be completely insulated?

 

The layout will be DC but I intend to modify the points as per PECO guidelines for DCC incase I decide to switch in the forthcoming years.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Colin

Layout electrics.xtc

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DON'T SOLDER FISHPLATES under any circumstances. To maintain electrical integrity solder a jumper wire onto the outside of the rail across every fishplated joint about 10mm from each side of the joint. Soldering across the fishplates will prevent the rail from expanding and contracting as the temperature changes and will cause alot of problems sooner rather than later

 

Nick

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Thanks for the advice so far, it would be easier not to solder the fishplates but everywhere I looked suggested to solder flexitrack together as it needs the support especially in tighter radii. Good job I asked. Do I need to leave a small gap between the rails to allow expansion or just keep the rails tight as possible?

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Thanks for the advice so far, it would be easier not to solder the fishplates but everywhere I looked suggested to solder flexitrack together as it needs the support especially in tighter radii. Good job I asked. Do I need to leave a small gap between the rails to allow expansion or just keep the rails tight as possible?

Expansion gaps depend on what type of room the layout is in. If there's a big difference in temperature then you need to be more careful initially if it's in a centrally heated room then you can leave smaller gaps. If you are laying track on a hot day then only leave very small gaps to allow for an extreme and consequently if it's cool allow bigger gaps when laying it. I use small plasticard shims to ensure a gap and push the rails tight, fix it down then remove the shims to leave uniform gaps. I use 0.5 or 1mm plasticard depending on temp, if it was very cool I might even consider 1.5 - 2 mm.

 

With nice big radii like you mention then I doubt soldering fishplates would help anyway. More important are regular track feeds if you are considering DCC later as fishplates are relatively poor conductors over time as they get slighty tarnished.

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Now contrary to what others have said I always solder fishplates to guarantee electrical continuaty. I also use a 30 thou slitting disc to cut staggered expansion gaps approx., half way along the baseboard length, thro' each rail, baseboards vary in length between 4 & 5 feet, track soldered to copperclad sleepers at board joins. This work is all done when the room temperature is between 60 & 70 degrees F.

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Paul the big radii may not be the problem, but at the other end of the board the curves will be around 36" radii. Will the fishplates hold under the stress of such a tight curve?

Yes they will it's when you get down to less than 24 inches you need to be careful in my experience. Note Paul M in his post above does it for electrical conductivity not alignment. In a spare room with minimal temperature difference you would probably be fine soldering it on corners as long as you leave gaps on the straights as you will not get much movement. It's not a definite science and as you can see both methods can work in the right situation. I think you can get away with small gaps if you don't solder say 0.5mm at joints in a central heated room just to allow for the summer heat as long as it won't get direct sun.

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Now contrary to what others have said I always solder fishplates to guarantee electrical continuaty. I also use a 30 thou slitting disc to cut staggered expansion gaps approx., half way along the baseboard length, thro' each rail, baseboards vary in length between 4 & 5 feet, track soldered to copperclad sleepers at board joins. This work is all done when the room temperature is between 60 & 70 degrees F.

 

Hi, do you solder both sides of each fishplates or just outside sections only? Thanks

 

Yes they will it's when you get down to less than 24 inches you need to be careful in my experience. Note Paul M in his post above does it for electrical conductivity not alignment. In a spare room with minimal temperature difference you would probably be fine soldering it on corners as long as you leave gaps on the straights as you will not get much movement. It's not a definite science and as you can see both methods can work in the right situation. I think you can get away with small gaps if you don't solder say 0.5mm at joints in a central heated room just to allow for the summer heat as long as it won't get direct sun.

 

Thanks again Paul for that!!

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I have always soldered fishplates on curves (Outside of the rail only so you get a smooth ride) and allowed for expansion on the adjoining straight. My layout lives in a garage with temp swings of about 30C and in 10 years, no porblems !

 

Any alignment problems I get tend to be due to baseboard issues - sagging due to over wetting the ballast on one occasion and a slipped cross board support on another.

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Hi, do you solder both sides of each fishplates or just outside sections only? Thanks

 

 

Sorry just got back to this thread, with the inside of the fishplate well soaked with flux, the solder flows throughout.

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