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Some 4x8 Questions

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Some 4x8 Questions
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 4, 2003 1:50 PM
Dear Model Railroaderers,
I'm ready to build and have a few questions on the 4x8 track plan in the July 2003 MR issue. I apologize for not having a link to the track plan but it's a 4x8 divided longways by a backdrop w/a 3 track yard and 3 industrial spurs on the north side of the backdrop and a grain siding w/spurs on the south side of the backdrop. Some questions:

1. Where would you recommend installing a control panel on or around the layout for the power pack(s) and turnout switches? Would you recommend manual turnout switches or under the table switch machines or what?

2. Would you recommend block divisions or one loco only operation (so no insulated rail joiners, blocks, etc)?

Thank you,
Dan
  • Member since
    April 2003
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Some 4x8 Questions
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 4, 2003 1:50 PM
Dear Model Railroaderers,
I'm ready to build and have a few questions on the 4x8 track plan in the July 2003 MR issue. I apologize for not having a link to the track plan but it's a 4x8 divided longways by a backdrop w/a 3 track yard and 3 industrial spurs on the north side of the backdrop and a grain siding w/spurs on the south side of the backdrop. Some questions:

1. Where would you recommend installing a control panel on or around the layout for the power pack(s) and turnout switches? Would you recommend manual turnout switches or under the table switch machines or what?

2. Would you recommend block divisions or one loco only operation (so no insulated rail joiners, blocks, etc)?

Thank you,
Dan
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 4, 2003 2:47 PM
First of all, I would recommend using a DCC system such as MRC's Prodigy that's available for as low as $125. You could sit this system on a homemade shelf attached under the layout with some scrap plywood sitting on a bracket made of 1x1s or 1x2s. I would suggest mounting the system at one of the ends to allow fairly equal access to both sides. If you use the Atlas SnapTrack components and flextrack, all I would suggest you wire would be a small loop of larger gauge wire such as code 20 to serve as the main bus wire and attach at two seperate locations the two feeder wires of a smaller diameter wire to give the track a healy supply of power. I hope this helps you and send a reply if you need further assistance.
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 4, 2003 2:47 PM
First of all, I would recommend using a DCC system such as MRC's Prodigy that's available for as low as $125. You could sit this system on a homemade shelf attached under the layout with some scrap plywood sitting on a bracket made of 1x1s or 1x2s. I would suggest mounting the system at one of the ends to allow fairly equal access to both sides. If you use the Atlas SnapTrack components and flextrack, all I would suggest you wire would be a small loop of larger gauge wire such as code 20 to serve as the main bus wire and attach at two seperate locations the two feeder wires of a smaller diameter wire to give the track a healy supply of power. I hope this helps you and send a reply if you need further assistance.
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 4, 2003 3:29 PM
1. Maybe a walkaround throttle and manual turnout controls? No DCC, though.
2. You could start out by using the insulated joiners to divide your track into blocks, but just wire all the blocks together for now. Then you can separate the blocks later.
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 4, 2003 3:29 PM
1. Maybe a walkaround throttle and manual turnout controls? No DCC, though.
2. You could start out by using the insulated joiners to divide your track into blocks, but just wire all the blocks together for now. Then you can separate the blocks later.
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Posted by Javern on Thursday, September 4, 2003 3:38 PM
get some Caboose industries ground thros for control of the turnouts, pick up a inexpensive MRC command 2000 for cheap on Ebay
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Posted by Javern on Thursday, September 4, 2003 3:38 PM
get some Caboose industries ground thros for control of the turnouts, pick up a inexpensive MRC command 2000 for cheap on Ebay
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 4, 2003 4:00 PM
I would use dcc, ground throws, and undertable switches both. This will make wiring a snap. If you use a prodogy you can install computer ethernet cables (cheap) and plug in as you go around the layout. DCC is the norm now and will gain more and more market share in the future as the conservative members of the hobby finally give up and accept change. Ground throws are great on mains where they are easy to get to, are cheap, and they are almost indestructable. For areas where you need to reach in, esp around brittle buildings and wonderfully landscaped terrain, an under-table switch machine is a must. Atlas machines are cheap and reliable, but others (which cost more) are slower and or last longer. Avoid on table switch machines. They look worse the longer you look at them.
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 4, 2003 4:00 PM
I would use dcc, ground throws, and undertable switches both. This will make wiring a snap. If you use a prodogy you can install computer ethernet cables (cheap) and plug in as you go around the layout. DCC is the norm now and will gain more and more market share in the future as the conservative members of the hobby finally give up and accept change. Ground throws are great on mains where they are easy to get to, are cheap, and they are almost indestructable. For areas where you need to reach in, esp around brittle buildings and wonderfully landscaped terrain, an under-table switch machine is a must. Atlas machines are cheap and reliable, but others (which cost more) are slower and or last longer. Avoid on table switch machines. They look worse the longer you look at them.
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 4, 2003 4:35 PM
"DCC is the norm now and will gain more and more market share in the future as the conservative members of the hobby finally give up and accept change."
Pure evangelism, wishful thinking and rationalization for the expense.
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 4, 2003 4:35 PM
"DCC is the norm now and will gain more and more market share in the future as the conservative members of the hobby finally give up and accept change."
Pure evangelism, wishful thinking and rationalization for the expense.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, September 5, 2003 3:57 PM
"Pure evangelism, wishful thinking and rationalization for the expense".... I seen the same thing written in a 60's magazine about 2 rail HO being the future. I seen the same in a 1940's book about diesels taking over for steam. I had an uncle who said that almost word for word about JFK's speach about going to the moon. I see a day when even department stores train sets will come with DCC and a new DCC system will be $25 and decoders will be standard on even toy locomotives. Kind of like how RC cars killed off slot cars and how RC cars are found in Dollar stores for under $10 now. How computers cost 4000 and now are 400. VCR were 1000, now 39. DVD were 1000 and never will be desired over VCRs... Now 50 dollars and everyone basically has one. Records vs CDs, pocket calculators vs fingers, cell phones v bell south, computers vs a whole list of office products, telephone vs telegraph, car vs horse, trains vs canals, the list is endless.
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, September 5, 2003 3:57 PM
"Pure evangelism, wishful thinking and rationalization for the expense".... I seen the same thing written in a 60's magazine about 2 rail HO being the future. I seen the same in a 1940's book about diesels taking over for steam. I had an uncle who said that almost word for word about JFK's speach about going to the moon. I see a day when even department stores train sets will come with DCC and a new DCC system will be $25 and decoders will be standard on even toy locomotives. Kind of like how RC cars killed off slot cars and how RC cars are found in Dollar stores for under $10 now. How computers cost 4000 and now are 400. VCR were 1000, now 39. DVD were 1000 and never will be desired over VCRs... Now 50 dollars and everyone basically has one. Records vs CDs, pocket calculators vs fingers, cell phones v bell south, computers vs a whole list of office products, telephone vs telegraph, car vs horse, trains vs canals, the list is endless.
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Posted by BRAKIE on Friday, September 5, 2003 5:51 PM
First DCC is NOT the norm as many DCC flag wavers will have you to believe..I use DCC and recommend it as a CHOICE and not a "must have".
I would use Caboose Industries ground throws and for DC the MRC Control Master 20 for walk around..For DCC I would recommend a set capable of walk around and not a fix throttle like the starters sets..This will also save you from having to upgrade at a later date when you build a bigger layout. For DC block control I would use the Atlas controller with selectors for ease of wiring.

Larry

Conductor.

Summerset Ry.


"Stay Alert, Don't get hurt  Safety First!"

  • Member since
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  • From: OH
  • 17,574 posts
Posted by BRAKIE on Friday, September 5, 2003 5:51 PM
First DCC is NOT the norm as many DCC flag wavers will have you to believe..I use DCC and recommend it as a CHOICE and not a "must have".
I would use Caboose Industries ground throws and for DC the MRC Control Master 20 for walk around..For DCC I would recommend a set capable of walk around and not a fix throttle like the starters sets..This will also save you from having to upgrade at a later date when you build a bigger layout. For DC block control I would use the Atlas controller with selectors for ease of wiring.

Larry

Conductor.

Summerset Ry.


"Stay Alert, Don't get hurt  Safety First!"

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, September 12, 2003 2:38 PM
Dan,
Put the power pack or DCC unit on a small shelf under the layout where it can be reached easily. Some people have used drawer slides to mount the power pack so it can be pulled out when you are operating the layout. Use Caboose Industries manual throws where they can be easily reached. Use under table where they are hard to reach and mount a small pushbutton control on the facia.

You can start without any blocks and cut gaps if you change your mind later. As I recall, this was a fairly simple loop with sidings and running 2 trains would be a problem. You could make the yard a separate block and keep a second engine there but you would have the issue of getting them switched around to run the second one.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, September 12, 2003 2:38 PM
Dan,
Put the power pack or DCC unit on a small shelf under the layout where it can be reached easily. Some people have used drawer slides to mount the power pack so it can be pulled out when you are operating the layout. Use Caboose Industries manual throws where they can be easily reached. Use under table where they are hard to reach and mount a small pushbutton control on the facia.

You can start without any blocks and cut gaps if you change your mind later. As I recall, this was a fairly simple loop with sidings and running 2 trains would be a problem. You could make the yard a separate block and keep a second engine there but you would have the issue of getting them switched around to run the second one.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, September 19, 2003 10:52 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by billkamery

"DCC is the norm now and will gain more and more market share in the future as the conservative members of the hobby finally give up and accept change."
Pure evangelism, wishful thinking and rationalization for the expense.


Sorry you feel so threatened by the new technology, but although you don't like it, DCC is growing in popularity all the time as prices drop and more and more DCC becomes plug-and-play simplified.

And it works very well for a small layout, because you can do all sorts of moves with multiple locomotives without having to flip block switches literally every few seconds.
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, September 19, 2003 10:52 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by billkamery

"DCC is the norm now and will gain more and more market share in the future as the conservative members of the hobby finally give up and accept change."
Pure evangelism, wishful thinking and rationalization for the expense.


Sorry you feel so threatened by the new technology, but although you don't like it, DCC is growing in popularity all the time as prices drop and more and more DCC becomes plug-and-play simplified.

And it works very well for a small layout, because you can do all sorts of moves with multiple locomotives without having to flip block switches literally every few seconds.
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, September 19, 2003 11:14 PM
sonds like your just starting out so...
1. start with a simple DC system like the tech 4's from MRC and try one or two motorized swites.
2.start with one loco and if you want more well you go buy you some more.

It seems hard at first when you start building but as you go along it will ge easyer.
Hope this helps.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, September 19, 2003 11:14 PM
sonds like your just starting out so...
1. start with a simple DC system like the tech 4's from MRC and try one or two motorized swites.
2.start with one loco and if you want more well you go buy you some more.

It seems hard at first when you start building but as you go along it will ge easyer.
Hope this helps.
  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: California - moved to North Carolina 2018
  • 4,422 posts
Posted by DSchmitt on Friday, September 19, 2003 11:34 PM
Get at least one basic book on model railroad wiring and look at the examples in it.
Its generally best to allow for at least two locos to be able to run independently (even if one locol will jut be sitting on a dead spur or siding most of the time).
DCC is probably the wave of the future, but you can start with block wiring and switch to DCC later. (Many DCC ready locos are available now). Since the layout is divided down the middle, and if you intend to do switching, go with walk around throttle and ground throws.

I'm in N Scale and have never used DCC because of the space needed for the decoders. My feeling is that DCC would be more usefull for switching rather than for most main line running because the real railroads try to keep their trains separated in blocks anyway.

A N scaller I know converted his existing RR to DCC then converted back, not because there was anything wrong with DCC, but because the DCC did not enhance operation for the way he perferred to operate his layout..

Don

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: California - moved to North Carolina 2018
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Posted by DSchmitt on Friday, September 19, 2003 11:34 PM
Get at least one basic book on model railroad wiring and look at the examples in it.
Its generally best to allow for at least two locos to be able to run independently (even if one locol will jut be sitting on a dead spur or siding most of the time).
DCC is probably the wave of the future, but you can start with block wiring and switch to DCC later. (Many DCC ready locos are available now). Since the layout is divided down the middle, and if you intend to do switching, go with walk around throttle and ground throws.

I'm in N Scale and have never used DCC because of the space needed for the decoders. My feeling is that DCC would be more usefull for switching rather than for most main line running because the real railroads try to keep their trains separated in blocks anyway.

A N scaller I know converted his existing RR to DCC then converted back, not because there was anything wrong with DCC, but because the DCC did not enhance operation for the way he perferred to operate his layout..

Don

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Some 4x8 Questions
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, September 20, 2003 2:55 PM
I am looking at building a similar size layout for my Senior Project at school. It must take 15-20 hours and I would like to keep costs low. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks,
Chris
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Some 4x8 Questions
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, September 20, 2003 2:55 PM
I am looking at building a similar size layout for my Senior Project at school. It must take 15-20 hours and I would like to keep costs low. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks,
Chris
  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 342 posts
Posted by randybc2003 on Saturday, September 20, 2003 7:45 PM
To Chris:
Consult your local hoby shop; stay away from "discount stores". Go for a small number of quality, if economical pieces. For a first pike, try a "Atlas Flat-top". Atlas books cover simple, introductry stuff. Stick with Nickle-silver track, etc, and stay away from brass. Your hoby shop should have a number of "Build This Simple Railroad" books, that cover all aspects. Develop a trackplan that includes spurs facing both directions, a switch-back, and at least one run-around track. Two runarounds long enough to hold 3 to 5 cars will permit running two trains similtanously against each other. Block control is cheaper than DCC but can be set up to look forward to it. Build simple car and structure kits. Develope a theme you are familiar with. (If you live in farm country, display granger facilities. Latch on with a friend, and have fun.
  • Member since
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Posted by randybc2003 on Saturday, September 20, 2003 7:45 PM
To Chris:
Consult your local hoby shop; stay away from "discount stores". Go for a small number of quality, if economical pieces. For a first pike, try a "Atlas Flat-top". Atlas books cover simple, introductry stuff. Stick with Nickle-silver track, etc, and stay away from brass. Your hoby shop should have a number of "Build This Simple Railroad" books, that cover all aspects. Develop a trackplan that includes spurs facing both directions, a switch-back, and at least one run-around track. Two runarounds long enough to hold 3 to 5 cars will permit running two trains similtanously against each other. Block control is cheaper than DCC but can be set up to look forward to it. Build simple car and structure kits. Develope a theme you are familiar with. (If you live in farm country, display granger facilities. Latch on with a friend, and have fun.
  • Member since
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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, September 20, 2003 8:09 PM
Thanks For the info.

Chris
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    April 2003
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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, September 20, 2003 8:09 PM
Thanks For the info.

Chris

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