1st O Christmas Layout

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by Mwether, Dec 21, 2005.

  1. Mwether

    Mwether New Member

    Hi, follks. If you have the time, I'd appreciate any and all advice on the following problem:

    I would love to run two trains under the tree this Christmas: this K-Line PRR steam freight set and a consist I've cobbled together for a Lionel B&O/Chessie GP7 GM50 like this one. Both are just conventional trains without any digital wizardry, etc.

    I've got two 41'' x 61'' SuperSnap layouts--one that came with the set and one I found on eBay--a 90 degree crossover, and a single K-Line Power Chief 120V transformer. My questions are these:

    1. If I run them both on one big "Figure 8" will they maintain their spacing or will one eventually rear-end the other/collide at the intersection? (An article on p.68 of the Nov. 05 CTT leads me to believe that this won't work without wiring in "blocks.")

    2. If I decide on two separate concentric loops, can I run them both off the single transformer? (Would the Power Chief's adjustable accessory tap work? Or could I run four wires--two to each of the two terminal tracks?) Ideally, the train on the inner loop would run in the opposite direction from the one on the outer loop, but that would be impossible given that there is only one "direction" button on the transformer, right?

    3. Given the components I've got, what would you do? (I don't think buying another transformer is an option unless I want to spend Christmas at the homeless shelter!)

    Thanks for any feedback,
  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Jeff: It's almost impossible to get two locomotives that run at the same speed. two of them on a figure 8 is impossible.
    Your transformer may be big enough to run two trains at the same time. Make a loop and see if both of them run at once. You can hook it up to two different loops as you said. Don't use the accessory terminals -- I don't think it's really controllable.
    Direction won't be a problem -- do you need to reverse them? If you use the reverse button BOTH will stop and reverse at the same time (unless you cut out the reverse units). Get one unit running forward, then take it off the track and get the secong unit running forward, then put the first one back on.
  3. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    I'd go for one loop inside the other. I think your transformer is big enough to run both trains at once. I've run two small trains at a time off a 90W transformer. Run two pairs of wires off the same set of taps, to a lockon or terminal on each loop. (I can't remember which the K-Line Supersnap track uses.) The accessory tap puts out a constant voltage (18v I think), which is way too much for running a train.

    I'm assuming you want one train running clockwise and the other running counterclockwise? That's not a problem at all. That's how I do it when I run two trains at once on two loops. It's more interesting than watching two trains race each other.

    Ultimately you'll probably want a second transformer (an old 40W K-Line or Marx transformer will be fine, and you can probably get one off Ebay for less than 10 bucks) but you can make something that'll turn heads with what you've got.
  4. Mwether

    Mwether New Member

    Thanks for the help, guys. Concentric loops it is!

    I just want to be clear on the clockwise/counterclockwise set up: I put the first loco on--say the inner one--and get it going the way I want. Then I take it off and put the outer one on. I get it travelling in the right direction and then put the inner one back on. Is that it?

    (Gosh, I love The Gauge! :D)
  5. Mwether

    Mwether New Member

    God really does smile on fools (or fathers who are trying to send their sons over the moon on Christmas morning)! I just dug out the extra SuperSnap I bought on eBay in July and in the bottom of the box--wrapped in so much bubble wrap I thought it was just more packing for the track--I found these . I am THRILLED, but still not out of the woods.

    I figure the two leads with the spade connectors go from the transformer to the thumbscrew knobs on the "controller." Does it matter which is black and which red?

    "out" from transformer

    close up of controller

    Thanks for your patience with the truly clueless!
  6. spankybird

    spankybird OTTS Founder

    Normally, RED goes to the center rail and Black to the outside rail.
  7. Mwether

    Mwether New Member

    Thanks, Tom.

    Given that the red "out" from the controller is on top as you look down on the unit (marked "#1" in the "close up of controller" picture) would that mean that the top thumbscrew (below the word "transformer" in the picture) corresponded to red?

  8. spankybird

    spankybird OTTS Founder

    I believe so.

    Good Luck
  9. Mwether

    Mwether New Member

    OK. Thanks.

    What's the worst that will happen if I get it wrong?
  10. spankybird

    spankybird OTTS Founder

    When you press the bell button the horn will blow, and when you press the bell botton, the horn will blow.:rolleyes:
  11. Mwether

    Mwether New Member

    Great! I was worried about a raging electrical fire, so reversed buttons as a worst case scenario sounds just fine!
  12. Mwether

    Mwether New Member

    Thanks for all your help on this, everybody. We begin the long trip to grandmother's house at 4am tomorrow with all the layout goodies aboard. Pictures of the first attempt will follow and may include some very wide-eyed two and four year-olds!

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all Gaugers!

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