New to this. O gauge FastTrack

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New to this. O gauge FastTrack
Posted by Tony W on Monday, September 10, 2018 8:19 AM
Hello,
There is a bit  of a back story and then a few questions. So bear with me. I am NEW to model trains, I have always had a fascination with model  trains but never had the time, money or space. Now I have all three, I have chosen Lionel Fast Track O gauge for a few reasons,

1.       I am visually impaired and this easiest for me

2.       I have young children and want them involved

We started on the weekend with our first set Thomas and Friends Percy, after it was running my Son was transfixed for hours (I immediately order more straight track off Amazon). My daughter started to tell me all the little houses and buildings she wanted etc..
So now I have a bunch of technical questions, I have scoured the net and cannot find a good beginners guide. I find descriptions but not how to.
Questions,

1.       If create multiple loops with switches do I need multiple terminal sections? If not can I run trains on each loop or only the one the switch is set to?

2.       What is the best master remote I should get? (I have been gifted a number of old O gauge loco’s, also old track I am not using as I am using Fast Track)

3.       At what point do I need a transformer instead of the wall pack? What should I get?

 
I will probably have many, many more questions but this good to start.
 
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Posted by lionelsoni on Monday, September 10, 2018 1:27 PM

Your post is virtually illegible as I see it.

Bob Nelson

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Posted by Carl Swanson on Monday, September 10, 2018 1:34 PM

I changed the font in this message. Should be more readible now.

___________

Carl Swanson, editor

CLASSIC TOY TRAINS Magazine

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Posted by Tony W on Monday, September 10, 2018 1:46 PM

Thank you. As I am visually impaired I use one program to do voice activated word processing, I’ve change the font in this program. I hope this is now readable. Thank you very much for changing it in the original post.

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Posted by lionelsoni on Monday, September 10, 2018 1:51 PM

Thanks, Carl.

I don't have answers to your questions, but you might clarify your first question:  Are the switches that you're talking about, electrical switches or track switches?  I find it clearer to call the latter "turnouts" when writing about toy-train problems, even though I use "switches" informally as much as anybody.

Bob Nelson

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Posted by 8ntruck on Monday, September 10, 2018 4:02 PM

Tony - Welcome to the forum.

Here are some thoughts and comments. Hope you find them helpful:

I will assume that you want to add multiple loops of track connected by switches, or as Bob says, turnouts.  The FasTrack switches will connect all of the track to the same power circuit - One control will control the whole layout. 

If you want independant control of each loop, you have two choices. 1) with LionChief controls, each locomotive with a LionChief control will only respond to its own controller.  2) With conventional control, you will need a transformer or power supply that supplies variable voltage to the track such as a CW80 for each loop, and the loops will need to be isolated from each other.

Your older equipment is likely conventional, and will require  the variable power supply.

The wall pack power supply will probably be OK running one locomotive and the switches.  Go to the Lionel web site and look for the track and power supply catalog.  It has pretty good explainations about the different systems.  In fact, the regular catalog also has a section describing the various control systems as well.

There are a bunch of good people on this forum.  I've found that somebody out there has seen, and fixed any problems I've come across, so keep asking.

Good luck.

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Posted by Tony W on Monday, September 10, 2018 4:03 PM

 Like I said I am new to this. I guess it would be called turn out as they change from one rail to another rail. They’re sold as switches. I am trying to create an outer and inner loop.  And want to know if I could have one train on each loop. What I need multiple terminals sections, or will the main terminal section on the Outerloop power the whole thing.  As to the original post says I am a real newbie. 

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Posted by Tony W on Monday, September 10, 2018 4:12 PM

This is great information. Thank you so much, I am going to go take a look at the catalogue right now. I am still a little iffy on the isolation of loops. And how I would get two or more locomotives up and running at the same time on different parts of the layout, but it will be a long time before I have such a big   Lay out  . I will most likely learn a lot more before then. Thank you very much.

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Posted by TrainLarry on Tuesday, September 11, 2018 11:59 AM

To run two seperate trains independently on the two loops, you will need to isolate the loops electrically with insulating pins in the ends of the switches closest to the inner loop.

You will need a terminal section on each loop, as well as a way to control each train. For conventional trains not radio controlled, two transformers such as the CW-80 or older postwar transformers will be needed to control the trains.

If you get Legacy controlled trains, you will need the Legacy remote to control them. With Legacy, you can use either the wall packs to power the track, or use regular transformers set to 16volts.

 

Larry

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Posted by Tony W on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 7:10 AM

This is very helpful Larry thank you.

quick question. For older trains I will need a transformer instead of wall packs, but is there a remote I could get that will controll evrythinf, trains, switches?

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Posted by 8ntruck on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 12:23 PM

Tony - the Lionel Legacy control system is designed to come close to complete control over trains, switches, and accessories. 

However, it is an expensive and somewhat complex system.  It works best with locomotives, switches, and accessories that are designed to work with the Legacy system.  With the proper interfaces, it will control almost any locomotive, switch, or accessory to some degree - This is where the complexity comes in, making all of the bits and pieces play well together.  I've used my Legacy system to run my dad's train that dates back to about 1920.

I cannot speak to the compatability between the Legacy system and the LionChief system, as I've never tired that mix.

I also have seen that Lionel has developed some apps for cell phones or tablets to control trains and accessories.  Again, I can't speak to this, as I'm somewhat of a Luddite and am not interested in this.

For starters, I'd reccomend using the conventional transformer system and/or the LionChief system.  Avoid complexity in the beginning. 

Fastrack switches (turnouts) come in three flavors - manual, remote, and Legacy listed in order of increasing price. This allows you to purchase equipment that will allow you to expand into the more complex control systems.   The manual switches are mechanically operated by hand.  The remote switches (turnouts) are operated by wire with electrical switches that are included with them.  The Legacy switches (turnouts) have the same electrical switches that the remote track switches (turnouts) have in addition to the necessary electronics to talk to the Legacy control system.

The various control systems can be confusing.  It helps to see the various systems in operation.  If you are fortuante enough to have a hobby shop with an operating layout or a train show coming up in your area make a visit and ask questions.  If not, maybe do a search in you tube on subjects like Lionel Legacy, Lionel TMCC, LionChief to see what turns up.

Good luck.  Remember - the search is part of the fun, as you normally learn unexpected things along the way.

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Posted by BigAl 956 on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 3:29 PM

If your set utilizes LionChief remotes, a small remote control that came with it, then you can set up as many loops as you want and not have to wory about electrically isolating each loop. You need to have 18v DC or AC on the track and the train will respond to the controls of the remote.

Older engines used a transformer with a dial to oparte them. Running those type of trains would require you insulate and electrically switch the loops on and off. That would be a real hassle for a newby so I reccomend you stick with modern LionChief equipment.

As for power, you will outgrow that power brick as soon as you start running more trains at once, so you are going to need a more powerful power supply. The Lionel CW80 is highly reccomended by users on this group. If you plan on building a larger layout with lots of trains a nice classic Lionel ZW is the way to go. But crawl before you walk.

Watch this video if you can. It's from the board host and will help you get started.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdfx9PqgqWw

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