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Gripping

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  • Member since
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  • 649 posts
Gripping
Posted by AltoonaRailroader on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 2:04 PM

Good afternoon,

I need to vent here and I hope you can give me some guidance. 

I've had my layout under construction for about 5 years now, it's a 9x9 around the walls design, mostly moving Coal from a unfinished mine to power station with a few other spurs and under table stagging. 

Lately I've had nothing but problems and I'm ready to tear it down to the foam board and start over. Switch motors burned out in bad places for under table stagging, cars jumping switches, hitches coming off, Bullfrog turnout controls just coming apart. I'm just tired of it. I can't make any progress because I can't get caught up on the stuff that keeps breakiing. 

Is this all just part of the hobby? This was my first REAL attempt at a big layout, (bigger than 4x8) and I was very happy with it at first. But now it's just frustration. I still consider myself a novice but I've been at this for about 10 years now, started with a little 4x5, then a 4x8 with the 4x5 and now my 9x9 ATW.

Thanks for the ears. Rant over. Bang Head

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Posted by RR_Mel on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 2:10 PM

It’s just life in general!  I wish my problems were with my layout and not real life problems.
 
 
 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
  
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by Lonehawk on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 2:30 PM

RR_Mel

It’s just life in general!  I wish my problems were with my layout and not real life problems.
 

True dat! 

I've found that frustration comes with the territory.  The thing is to have either the ability to step back and say "frak it" and cool off a while, or the ability to see what's wrong, fix it, and move on before the frustration gets to you. This is where video games come in for me.  Nothing releases stress like going full-auto on some undead brain-munchers.   Laugh

- Adam


When all else fails, wing it!

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Posted by UNCLEBUTCH on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 5:17 PM

Well its a hobby, not a job. If or when you get to point that you want to tear it all out,walk away. Come back later, fix the issue or tear it out and start over.

 Myself; I try to advoid stress by keeping things simple. I don't own a switch machine,my fingers always work. My wireing is simple,2 wires red and white never the two should meet. I don't want a reversing loop,or signals or any other high tech stuff. Some MRers love it, I aint one of em. MRing is ment to be fun

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 5:39 AM

Nothing wrong with ranting, it is good to get it out. But, I gotta say, if you have been at this 10 years, and you are experiencing the severity of problems that you are describing, something is very wrong.

Burned out switch motors, cars jumping switches, bullfrog turnout controls coming apart. All this stuff in the aggregate is not normal.

I have been in the HO scale side of the hobby for 14 years now. I found the first three years problematic with derailments and unintended uncouplings occurring far too frequently due to poor track work. But those first 3 years gave me the experience that I needed to move forward successfully. This should not still be happening after 10 years.

Why not tell us about these specific issues a little more? Any idea what is causing these problems and failures?

I would like to tell you that this is all part of the hobby, but the problems you describe are more than troublesome. Tell us more, and maybe we can help.

Rich

 

Alton Junction

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Posted by bearman on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 6:11 AM

I am of the school of thought that says walk away from it for a few days or even a couple of weeks.  Then address each issue individually to the exclusion of the others. 

I am also a proud member of the minimalist school of thought.  The only electricity related item on my layout are the rails.  There are no lights in buildings or rolling stock, and all ground throws and my turntable are manually operated.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 8:41 AM

AltoonaRailroader
I've had my layout under construction for about 5 years now, it's a 9x9 around the walls design, mostly moving Coal from a unfinished mine to power station with a few other spurs and under table stagging.

Hey, Toona, last time I talked to you you were just about to start that layout. Since then I had to tear my layout down and move to Arizona. Now after five years, you are the one with the layout, and I'm just starting mine finally. You got any pictures I can see?

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 10:18 AM

AltoonaRailroader

Good afternoon,

I need to vent here and I hope you can give me some guidance. 

I've had my layout under construction for about 5 years now, it's a 9x9 around the walls design, mostly moving Coal from a unfinished mine to power station with a few other spurs and under table stagging. 

Lately I've had nothing but problems and I'm ready to tear it down to the foam board and start over. Switch motors burned out in bad places for under table stagging, cars jumping switches, hitches coming off, Bullfrog turnout controls just coming apart. I'm just tired of it. I can't make any progress because I can't get caught up on the stuff that keeps breakiing. 

Is this all just part of the hobby? This was my first REAL attempt at a big layout, (bigger than 4x8) and I was very happy with it at first. But now it's just frustration. I still consider myself a novice but I've been at this for about 10 years now, started with a little 4x5, then a 4x8 with the 4x5 and now my 9x9 ATW.

Thanks for the ears. Rant over. Bang Head

 

Well lets take it one item at a time and for that we need to know what products you have like track etc. Switch moters sound like atlas stuff but could be wrong, but not all Atlas stuff is created equal.  What brand coupler, if not Kadee they will not last forever. I use Kadee as a benchmark because I have some from the days before magnetic uncoupling and they are still great and I have only seen a 2-3 broken over 30+ years anywhere or even that many that had lost their springs. Bulfrog controls, know of them but no experience.

  • Member since
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  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
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Posted by selector on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 11:09 AM

I don't know how many hours of use all these appliances have to this point, but if you are experiencing such a cumulation of faults over the past several weeks suddenly, I could see it being due to two possibilities: improper use/mounting/lack of maintenance, and engineered expiry due to design and materials and good ol' wear 'n tear.  That SHOULD BE after many hundreds of hours of use, about 1000 throws of points at a minimum, and untold hours of fun.  It should not be because they have really sat unused and waiting for you to come back and get on with the building and running a train around the loop while you do that.

One other possibility, now five years on, is that your layout has sagged due to its construction, or twisted, wood has shrunk or cracked, or it has expanded in higher humidity and fasterners were pulled through a bit resulting in weak and wider joints...even solders can let go after a while.  I occasionally have to resolder some feeders because they let go, and not just where they attach to the rail; it can be lower down. 

Now on my fourth build, I have come to accept that owning and enjoying a functioning layout doesn't absolve one of the requirement to fix things now and then.  Apart from mistakes like not lining point correctly for a run, other aspects change over time, and almost always it isn't going to be an improvement.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 1:39 PM

Well put Selector, as always.  I'm also with Rich, after 10 years, and still having all of these problems ?  I think means that some of these problems weren't addressed when they first started, and maybe a few were put off as " I can live with that, I'll fix it later", and now you are overwhelmed with nothing but problems.

Coupler, truck and wheel issues with rolling stock shouldn't really be an issue any more, and track work problems can arise as the bench work materials age, and maybe cause some routine maintenence issues, but as with all problems, you have to deal with them as they happen.

Just step back, be cool, and think things over.  Pick your problems apart, and post them, so we all can help you deal with them.

Mike.

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Posted by AltoonaRailroader on Thursday, February 08, 2018 8:05 AM

Thanks for the input everyone. I have already taken some advice and am backing away for a little bit. 

A correct point was brought up about taking care of things and not get behind on things that fail. It's the sometimes I just want to run trains syndrome. 

I know wha the problems are. 

I only glue my hitches on instead of screws.

I used Atlas switch machine for a stagging switch that is in the worst place it could be. I knew not to do this but got anxious and did it anyways. 

Cars jumping turnouts is because I sometimes try to cram more switching into a tighter spot that it should and angles are bad. Also, some cars are not weighted properly. I think I may need to step back and renegociate my wants and druthers sometimes. 

 

I think it just boiled down to having a bad day and letting my "relaxing" hobby get the best of me. I do love this hobby, I just need to breathe and regroup. This is only one of my three main hobbies so cash flow is split between them. 

Thanks again.  

ARR

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Posted by doctorwayne on Thursday, February 08, 2018 11:25 AM

AltoonaRailroader
Thanks for the input everyone. I have already taken some advice and am backing away for a little bit....

I'm glad to hear that.  When I first saw this thread, I thought the topic would be about pliers or locking tweezers, or even questions about how to open the cap on a stubborn bottle of paint.
Now that you've aired your gripes, it's good to see that you've come to grips with the problems.   Take the time to go through them methodically, and you'll eventually come through with a smoother running layout.  Even though we all get impatient once in a while, this hobby isn't a race - take your time and enjoy it.

Wayne

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, February 08, 2018 11:34 AM

doctorwayne
 
AltoonaRailroader
Thanks for the input everyone. I have already taken some advice and am backing away for a little bit.... 

I'm glad to hear that.  When I first saw this thread, I thought the topic would be about pliers or locking tweezers, or even questions about how to open the cap on a stubborn bottle of paint.
Now that you've aired your gripes, it's good to see that you've come to grips with the problems.   Take the time to go through them methodically, and you'll eventually come through with a smoother running layout.  Even though we all get impatient once in a while, this hobby isn't a race - take your time and enjoy it.

Wayne 

Wayne, you need to get a better gripe on reality!  Laugh

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by doctorwayne on Thursday, February 08, 2018 11:42 AM

Realty?  What's this got to do with property values?

Aw, never mind....I musta been spellbound. Stick out tongue

Wayne

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, February 08, 2018 1:12 PM

doctorwayne

Realty?  What's this got to do with property values?

Aw, never mind....I musta been spellbound. Stick out tongue

Wayne

 

You're headed southbound?   Huh?

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by rrebell on Thursday, February 08, 2018 1:30 PM

doctorwayne

Realty?  What's this got to do with property values?

Aw, never mind....I musta been spellbound. Stick out tongue

Wayne

 

Property values, now you got my attention, you should see what they are out in the west, sounds like tulip time again.

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Posted by BATMAN on Thursday, February 08, 2018 1:35 PM

rrebell
Property values, now you got my attention, you should see what they are out in the west, sounds like tulip time again.

https://www.realtor.ca/Residential/Single-Family/18980122/4976-CHANCELLOR-BOULEVARD-Vancouver-British-Columbia-V6T1E1 

 

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1

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Posted by mbinsewi on Thursday, February 08, 2018 2:06 PM

Really? "hitches"?  So, do you glue the cover on the coupler box?  Does any glue get down into the coupler and cause problems, like having no side to side movement?

And when you need to replace a coupler, you pry the box apart, hoping you don't damage anything?

Sorry about all the questions, it just struck me as amazing that you do this.  If it works for you, that's all that counts.

From your reply, I guess you have a lot of items to fix and adjust.  If you have any problems along the way, ask, that's what these forums are for.

Mike.

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Posted by AltoonaRailroader on Saturday, February 10, 2018 8:27 AM
Hi SpaceMouse, I’ll have to get some new pictures.
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Posted by AltoonaRailroader on Saturday, February 10, 2018 8:36 AM

I really appreciate everyone’s questions and advice.  I have completely regrouped and found a new passion for this hobby. I’m starting to dig into true operations to see if that will solve some of my problemS by truly recognizing them. I started building a rolling stock roster, in a spreadsheet and in one of the tabs I’ve created a list of all of my problems. And prioritize them. And I will start working on them as I work through my layout. I’ve inspected all of my rolling stock and fixed some massive problems with some of them and made notes on how to fix others. 

Some things I’ve thought would help me.

1. Buy better quality items, rolling stock, turnouts etc.

2. Fix problems by recording them  

3. Be patient and do things right the first time  

 

  1. Tain on people  

 

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Posted by rrebell on Saturday, February 10, 2018 10:44 AM

AltoonaRailroader

I really appreciate everyone’s questions and advice.  I have completely regrouped and found a new passion for this hobby. I’m starting to dig into true operations to see if that will solve some of my problemS by truly recognizing them. I started building a rolling stock roster, in a spreadsheet and in one of the tabs I’ve created a list of all of my problems. And prioritize them. And I will start working on them as I work through my layout. I’ve inspected all of my rolling stock and fixed some massive problems with some of them and made notes on how to fix others. 

Some things I’ve thought would help me.

1. Buy better quality items, rolling stock, turnouts etc.

2. Fix problems by recording them  

3. Be patient and do things right the first time  

 

  1. Tain on people  

 

 

Good plan. But you know even the worst stuff can be made to work flawlessly, it just takes time and many times the time is just not worth it. Note, even the best stuff may need some work, just ussually not near as much and most of the time it will be right on, right out of the box.

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Posted by BroadwayLion on Sunday, February 11, 2018 11:53 AM

LION has not been up to the railroad of him in almost a year. Not since him broke a leg, and now two filghts of stairs are problematic. But what the Heck, I can co it if I want to. So I'll get back up there soon, but first I must put my computer office in order.

After that... Him knows the problems waiting for him. LION can deal with them things.

LION has torn out and replaced much on this layout, and him is not afraid to pull out stuff and try again. Him pulled out an incline and replaced it with a 1 1/2 turn helix. Him pulled that out and replaced it with a four track helix. Is subway train, WTH: Decorate the inside of the helix to look like a subway tunnel!

LION is on the third itteration of layout wiring. I'll replace the maine bus one more time just to tidy things up a bit.

 

 

Oh Well, not all of the problems are on your railroad.

 

ROAR

The Route of the Broadway Lion The Largest Subway Layout in North Dakota.

Here there be cats.                                LIONS with CAMERAS

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Posted by AltoonaRailroader on Monday, February 12, 2018 11:16 AM
Thanks LION. I'm starting to come to grips that I have some big operating problems and I need not be afraid to rip out track and redo. Example, when I come out of my tunnel from staging I need to be able to go from the outer loop to the inner in one move. When I laid my track I did not take this into account and put my cross-over turnouts on backwards. Time to call in the MOW and get this fixed. :) ARR PS. Sorry to hear about him leg, hope him feel better soon.
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Posted by AltoonaRailroader on Monday, February 12, 2018 11:20 AM

rrebell, you're right. The reason my Fast Tracks Turnout control broke in the first place was because it needed a little extra attention with a exacto blade. Once I did a little trimming it worked much smoother. 

 

AAR

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Posted by rrebell on Monday, February 12, 2018 8:47 PM

AltoonaRailroader

rrebell, you're right. The reason my Fast Tracks Turnout control broke in the first place was because it needed a little extra attention with a exacto blade. Once I did a little trimming it worked much smoother. 

 

AAR

 

Yeh, I know it is a learning curve and it is hard to know who to trust as some stuff out there is pure garbage but we run into the same proublem in regular life, example (sorry but I just had to add this). I have been looking for a carpet cleaning machine and one had quite a few negatives but I always look further and found many of this nature "this product is garbage, it stopped working the first time I used it and all I did was clean up a gallon of paint I spilled", you can't make this stuff up.

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