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Building a new club layout (and other club related activities)

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Posted by rrebell on Thursday, July 12, 2018 1:18 AM

hon30critter

 

 
rrebell
Much better job of managing.

 

Thanks, I guess. Actually, I feel that your comments are rather condescending. You make it sound like you think I am a rank amateur at leading people. I am not. Pardon me for sharing the fact that I wasn't on the top of my game the whole time.

Enough said,

Dave

 

Not at all what I ment. We all get caught up in things. Take an example from wordworking (an a stupit me). I have used table saws for most of my adult life and every once in awhile I get into the grove and don't pay as close attention to things and the saw gets to close to me (an inch or so is too close). I shut things down for a moment and regroup and carry on with my consentration back in order. So it is not like you didn't know about things, little wordings like herding a bunch of cats proves that, you were just a little too much in the grove. One thing I notice about threads is that unlike when in person you can't read someones face so that you can instantly correct a misunderstanding. Proubly still did a bad job of explaining myself but I tried. 

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, July 12, 2018 2:11 AM

OK rrebell, my bad for over reacting. I apologise.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, July 15, 2018 8:36 PM

The President of the club spent a couple of hours on the weekend closely inspecting the work that has been done on the feeders and bus wires. Unfortunately he found several problems. A bunch of things will have to be done over. The mainline bus was nearly totally severed in a couple of places where the crew had attempted to strip it so they could attach feeders. Many of the feeder joints to the bus are badly soldered because the insulation was not opened up far enough so it got melted in with the solder joint. About 20 of the feeders will have to be removed and resoldered to the track because the existing joints are huge and messy.

I guess as the construction foreman I have to watch every connection as it is being made, or we follow Henk's suggestion which is to let the members do their best and then go in on a non meeting day to fix all the damage. We can't tell half the club that they are not allowed to work on the layout.

Dave

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, July 16, 2018 7:28 AM

 Have a "training day" where you teach people a particular skill off the layout, like soldering bus and feeder wires.

 Are you using the good sort of strip tools like the Klein or Stripmaster to do middle of the wire stripping? That takes some doing to sever the main wire using one of those. If it's #12 bus wire, that's like the biggest hole on the version of the tool I have, there's no real abiguity there. I know they come with different dies so that may not be the case with the one you have. The non-obvious part is the smaller size for the feeders, it's not the smallest hole, it's somewhere in the middle, and picking the wrong one can severe the wire. But those automatic type strippers can work for that, since it's end of wire stripping. The kind that grab from the end.

 Ir doesn;t have to be just you or the president running these sessions, unless you two are the only ones with a particular skill. Delegate. Someone who's good at a particualr thing can be the foreman and teach others. Admittedly this didn;t work out well in my case - when I moved a long time ago I donated a section of my shelf layout to the club I belonged to so they could use it as a preview sort of thing to attract people to the main layout locatioon, on only one condition - that I get to help add scenery to it so I could learn. Like most of my layouts, it had roadbed and track and was wired and working, but no scenery besides painting the base an earth brown color. Well, next time I came back, someone had added all sorts of scenery and it was essentially done. 

 And a lot of this makes me realize I am probably too uptight to have many work oon my layout - I did on the last one, one guy was a local modeller who I was helping out with the wiring on his layout, his second large layout. The other was a friend who had no modelling experience but wanted to help out. I kind of feel bad I gave him the thankless job of putting the brown paint on all the pink foam, but he was happy to hang out and help one day a week. My modelling friend was good at all the intricate stuff - kind of has to be since he scratchbuilds small steamers in N scale - and he was a whiz at putting the servos in under the layout and getting them through the throwbar first try. Perhaps my eyes were trying to tell me something back then already. Not looking forward to that moving ahead, as solering my board over the weekend made me realize just how bad my depth perception is now. Still didn't burn myself on the soldering iron despite working inches from my face though. Usually it was, why isn't the solder melting - oh, it's not touching the same pad I have the iron on.

                                             --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by Water Level Route on Monday, July 16, 2018 8:39 AM

hon30critter
About 20 of the feeders will have to be removed and resoldered to the track because the existing joints are huge and messy.

Are you planning on painting the track?  I had a few on my own layout that sound like this, but before I redid them, I tried painting one as I did the rail.  It subsequently disappeared into the rest of the brown rail.  Worked great.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Monday, July 16, 2018 8:56 AM

hon30critter
A bunch of things will have to be done over. The mainline bus was nearly totally severed in a couple of places where the crew had attempted to strip it so they could attach feeders. Many of the feeder joints to the bus are badly soldered because the insulation was not opened up far enough so it got melted in with the solder joint. About 20 of the feeders will have to be removed and resoldered to the track because the existing joints are huge and messy.

I imagine it is things like the above that cause some clubs to over-react and not let most people do certain things; they've been traumtised by having to re-do many time consuming chores to remediate poor or bad quality work.  What is the old saying: if you want something done right, do it yourself.  Sometimes thats quite true.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by rrebell on Monday, July 16, 2018 10:19 AM

Now for some advise, not on ideas or work but suitcase connerctors. Mever used them because of the problems you mention, always used Posi-taps. Cost more but can be bought in bulk and can be reused as many times as you need or resold if you close up shop. Also easy to change or redo and no wires are damaged. Only extra requirement is the buss needs to be stranded and it is better if the feeders are solid. each unit can take up to 5 feeders so no termanal strips needed unless you want to do something fancy.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Monday, July 16, 2018 10:39 AM

The Positaps look nice, but yeah, pricey.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by rrebell on Monday, July 16, 2018 12:58 PM

riogrande5761

The Positaps look nice, but yeah, pricey.

 

You can get a deal. From the manufacture they are as little as 57 cents to $1 depending on how many you want. Replacing a bus wire is more costly and the fact they can be reused. You may be able to find them cheaper even, I did.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Monday, July 16, 2018 4:56 PM

You can get a 100' roll of 14-2 indoor wire for $30 and 250 feet for $45 at Home Depot, which works quite well for bus wire.  In light of the high cost of those taps, the bus wire isn't all that expensive if you had to replace it all.  The taps are nice but still pretty pricey.

I'm guessing the guys who were nearly severing the bus wire weren't doing it right.

I'll ear mark the posh taps though for future reference.  

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, July 16, 2018 6:17 PM

rrebell
always used Posi-taps

Hi rrebell:

I believe these are what you are referring to:

https://www.posi-products.com/posiplug.html

Never heard of them before. Thanks for the suggestion.

Most of the bus connections have been done or redone as needed so it is a bit late to use the Posi-taps, but I will keep them in mind.

Dave

Edit: I just priced the Posi-Tap 12 - 18 ga size and they run about $1.39 USD each. Based on 600' of track with two feeders (+ & -) every three feet, plus two feeders for each of the 75 turnouts, that works out to just under 450 taps x 1.39 = $625.50 X 1.3 for the conversion to Canadian dollars = $918.86 incl. tax. Even if we were to put two feeders into the same tap along the double track sections we would still be in excess of $800.00 Had we known about the Posi-taps I doubt that we would have spent the money, but thanks again.

Dave

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Posted by rrebell on Monday, July 16, 2018 8:02 PM

500 for $282 american

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Posted by rrebell on Monday, July 16, 2018 8:06 PM

You can feed up to 5 drops into one P.osi

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, July 16, 2018 9:58 PM

rrebell
500 for $282 american

OK, that sounds better. I figured they must be available in bulk.

Where were you last September when I started asking about suggestions for the club's new layout?SighSmile, Wink & Grin

Dave

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 6:53 AM

People have discussed wire taps here numberous times but this is the first any mention of the positaps.  What would you use if your bus was 14 AWG wire and what drop gauge would match up to it?

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by carl425 on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 8:44 AM

riogrande5761
What would you use if your bus was 14 AWG wire and what drop gauge would match up to it?

From the link posted by Dave:

I'd say blue fits your requirement.  18-24 ga covers the range of feeders I've ever heard of anyone using.

Here's 500 for $297.97

https://www.posi-products.com/installer.cfm

OTOH, you can get the Ideal Stripmaster and a 140 watt Weller soldering gun (great for soldering to a heavy bus) for less than $100.

I have the right to remain silent.  By posting here I have given up that right and accept that anything I say can and will be used as evidence to critique me.

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, July 22, 2018 10:35 PM

I had an experience in the true dudgery of model rail roading tonight. I have taken on the task of adding connecting wires to a total of 38 Tortoises. That's 38 x 8 wires each = 304 wires. I have them cut roughly to length and I have one end stripped but I still have to solder then to the Tortoise contacts. My neck and shoulders are already killing me! Whose idea was this?!?Angry Actually, as you are all fully aware, I volunteered for the task!DunceBang Head Now I just have to do it!!!

Cheers!!, and cudos to all of you who have suffered through similar situations without crying like a baby like I am!BowLaughLaugh

I'd better get back to work!

Dave

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Posted by rrebell on Monday, July 23, 2018 12:56 AM

hon30critter

I had an experience in the true dudgery of model rail roading tonight. I have taken on the task of adding connecting wires to a total of 38 Tortoises. That's 38 x 8 wires each = 304 wires. I have them cut roughly to length and I have one end stripped but I still have to solder then to the Tortoise contacts. My neck and shoulders are already killing me! Whose idea was this?!?Angry Actually, as you are all fully aware, I volunteered for the task!DunceBang Head Now I just have to do it!!!

Cheers!!, and cudos to all of you who have suffered through similar situations without crying like a baby like I am!BowLaughLaugh

I'd better get back to work!

Dave

 

Either that or buy connectors for $3.39 each, might be able to get bulk pricing though.

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, July 23, 2018 1:12 AM

rrebell
Either that or buy connectors for $3.39 each, might be able to get bulk pricing though.

Why? How does the use of connectors reduce the number of connections that have to be made? Don't the wires still have to be hooked up to the connectors? Also, the price for the connectors may be $3.39 in the USA, but here in Canada they are pushing $6.00 ea. That is $480.00 for what? The club rightly rejected spending money on Tortoise connectors a long time ago.

We are soldering 6" lengths of 22 ga solid wire to the Tortoise contacts. Those wires are then connected to terminal strips. The terminal strips allow us to hook up the Tortoise feed and output wires however we need to. Simple, easy to understand, and cheap!

Dave

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Posted by gmpullman on Monday, July 23, 2018 4:01 AM

hon30critter
We are soldering 6" lengths of 22 ga solid wire to the Tortoise contacts. Those wires are then connected to terminal strips.

That's exactly the way I did mine, at least a hundred of 'em. I was lucky and found some nice, eight-conductor, Belden 20 ga. cable with all different colors. I stripped the jacket off. Mine is very flexible stranded wire, though.

I probably did six or eight at a time over the course of six months. I may not use all the wires on every Tortoise but they're there if I need them.

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, July 23, 2018 4:33 AM

gmpullman
 
hon30critter
We are soldering 6" lengths of 22 ga solid wire to the Tortoise contacts. Those wires are then connected to terminal strips. 

That's exactly the way I did mine, at least a hundred of 'em. I was lucky and found some nice, eight-conductor, Belden 20 ga. cable with all different colors. I stripped the jacket off. Mine is very flexible stranded wire, though.

I probably did six or eight at a time over the course of six months. I may not use all the wires on every Tortoise but they're there if I need them.

Good Luck, Ed 

Same here. I don't do any soldering under the layout, all done on the bench.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by rrebell on Monday, July 23, 2018 9:10 AM

hon30critter

 

 
rrebell
Either that or buy connectors for $3.39 each, might be able to get bulk pricing though.

 

Why? How does the use of connectors reduce the number of connections that have to be made? Don't the wires still have to be hooked up to the connectors? Also, the price for the connectors may be $3.39 in the USA, but here in Canada they are pushing $6.00 ea. That is $480.00 for what? The club rightly rejected spending money on Tortoise connectors a long time ago.

We are soldering 6" lengths of 22 ga solid wire to the Tortoise contacts. Those wires are then connected to terminal strips. The terminal strips allow us to hook up the Tortoise feed and output wires however we need to. Simple, easy to understand, and cheap!

Dave

 

I am not saying that is the right thing to do, way more expencive, just that you can do the soldering at the benchwork for the machines rather than under the layout and you mentioned a discomfort. Thought you were doing the soldering under the layout, seen that done by many.

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, July 23, 2018 11:43 AM

gmpullman
I probably did six or eight at a time over the course of six months.

I have 40 Tortoises lined up on my workbench as we speak. That's only 320 wires to solder on. Should be a piece of cake. Couple hours max!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughLaugh

The hardest part is installing the terminal strips, but once you have done a few your coordination improves and it gets easier.

I also noticed that the actuating lever screw is a very tight fit. I have decided to drill the screw hole out to 7/64". The screw still taps itself in quite tightly but I'm no longer ripping the skin off my finger tips trying to drive them in.

Dave

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, July 23, 2018 4:04 PM

 I only wish they had simpyl made the Tortoise with all the holes in a single row, then you could simply plop in an 8 position screw terminal and solder it on. Super simple, and since components liek that tend to have a decen friction fit you wouldn;t need to have extra hands - push the unit throught he holes (do a whole bunch), flip them all over, solder 8 connections per, and you now have a Tortoise with screw terminals. I suppose you could drill your own holes for 4 of the pads to get 8 holes that line up, but you'd have to be somewhat accurate and that could get more tedious than just soldering wires to the things.

 Another way is to use Molex connectors - the male part can be soldered to the Tortoise edge simply enough and the female side of any cables you'd make can be crimped on. 

                                  --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, July 23, 2018 9:32 PM

Hi everybody!

Well, the club got itself on the wrong side of the government bureaucracy!! The Ontario Government threatened to remove the club's status as a corporation because they said we had not submitted the proper paperwork despite our best efforts.

What happened is that we were missing some old records and forms when we sent in a notice of the election of new Officers and Directors last October. The government's records still showed several people in elected positions who were no longer in those positions but we had no way of knowing that because all of our copies of the documents were missing. When we submitted the new names we should have officially removed the old names but we didn't know who was in what position when. Henk had to go to Toronto to see what records they had and then draw up the documents to remove any names that didn't belong. That was the first problem. 

Then they told us that we had too many directors. We are supposed to have four and we do have four. Unfortunately a government clerk who was inputting our data spelled the President's name wrong in one document and correctly in another. The system read that as two different people thus the accusation of having too many directors. Apparently any variation in the way you write your name from one document to the next will cause the same confusion. Problem solved - right?

No, not quite. We were instructed to submit a verification form in a few weeks to make sure that things got recorded properly this time round. We were warned that if we don't get the verification form absolutely correct we could start the whole mess all over again! Even the addition of a period after your middle initial where there hadn't been one before will throw the system off. Crazy!

I do understand their reasoning for being meticulous. There are a couple of other Dave Warnicas in Ontario, one of whom I really do not want to be confused with.

Hopefully we have put that stuff behind us. We will just have to be very careful if any of the elected positions change hands in October.

Dave

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Posted by Water Level Route on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 5:37 AM

hon30critter
I do understand their reasoning for being meticulous.

I sort of do to, but isn't it disappointing to think that they don't have anything better to do than to go after a model railroad club?  Seems like there should be more important things to deal with.  Guess that's a problem everywhere.

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Posted by rrebell on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 10:26 AM

Water Level Route

 

 
hon30critter
I do understand their reasoning for being meticulous.

 

I sort of do to, but isn't it disappointing to think that they don't have anything better to do than to go after a model railroad club?  Seems like there should be more important things to deal with.  Guess that's a problem everywhere.

 

 

They don't care who you are and there is a great posibility that the person sending the notice is not even aware of model railroading. To be a corperation you need to do certain things a certain way period.

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 12:09 AM

Water Level Route
I sort of do to, but isn't it disappointing to think that they don't have anything better to do than to go after a model railroad club?

As rrebell says, the government clerks don't have a clue about what sort of operation you have, nor should they care. The club needs to be incorporated for various reasons like insurance and rental agreements. Otherwise, one or two people have to take on the whole risk of being sued if something goes wrong and being accountable if the club incurs a debt. NO, thank you very much but I'm not going there!!

In fact, up until recently the club directors could have been sued because we didn't have proper insurance coverage. We thought that the NMRA policy would cover us but that was not true in Canada. We had to buy a seperate insurance policy to cover the club executive. (Lesson to other 100% NMRA clubs outside the USA. Get your own insurance!) The NMRA insurance only covers the NMRA executive, not those executives in the non-USA clubs. We have dropped our 100% NMRA membership requirement because we weren't gaining anything from it, and quite frankly the restrictions that their insurance policy imposed were ridiculous. Maybe the clubs within the USA need to question the NMRA coverage too.

Don't get me wrong, I am still a strong supporter of the NMRA and I will continue to pay my NMRA dues regardless of the fact that my club no longer requires me to do so.

Cheers!!

Dave

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Posted by Water Level Route on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 8:36 AM

I get it with for profit corporations.  I even get it with non-profit corporations where people earn wages for running the thing.  Dave, I'm assuming that is not your case however.  I don't see why they would handle each of the situations the same.  I will admit I just don't know enough about it as I've never been involved in one.  Obviously you and the other officers need to be protected and the club has to be able to be represented on things like leases, but I can't help thinking that there should be a simpler way for an all volunteer organization.  Along that line, it seems to me that submission of a list of officers would have nullified any existing lists, but I can see where it may not.  I still fail to see how a government employee making an error on an entry should become a hassle for your group though.  That at least should have been an easy fix.  So many reasons why I didn't seek a career in politics or law.  I prefer to be sensible about things! Laugh  Good luck sorting it all out.

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 8:45 AM

Water Level Route

I get it with for profit corporations.  I even get it with non-profit corporations where people earn wages for running the thing.  Dave, I'm assuming that is not your case however.  I don't see why they would handle each of the situations the same.  I will admit I just don't know enough about it as I've never been involved in one.  Obviously you and the other officers need to be protected and the club has to be able to be represented on things like leases, but I can't help thinking that there should be a simpler way for an all volunteer organization.  Along that line, it seems to me that submission of a list of officers would have nullified any existing lists, but I can see where it may not.  I still fail to see how a government employee making an error on an entry should become a hassle for your group though.  That at least should have been an easy fix.  So many reasons why I didn't seek a career in politics or law.  I prefer to be sensible about things! Laugh  Good luck sorting it all out.

 

Mistakes happen all the time and in the US you have to prove the goverment wrong and sometimes it is just not worth it.

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