After laying the track. What is the next step?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by gregbva123, Jun 21, 2003.

  1. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Greg: I'm not sure about soldering the rail joints if you've laid the track and it's a small layout. You may change your mind and do a new layout and want to re-use the track.
    using separate power packs for the mainline and the yard makes it hard to move from one to the other. Unless you have a passenger on the main and freight in the yard and they don't mix? You should have at least one extra block to store your train in when the other is changing over.
    (Oh yeah, the term "transformer" is for the Lionel trains. HO modellers use "power packs" (which the hobby shop understands) or "throttles" or "controllers". Power Packs contain a transformer plus a rectifier plus a speed controller plus a direction switch and possibly a pile more things. If you bring home a transformer and hook it up, it does interesting but unpleasant things to your motors.)
    A terminal strip is a bunch of screws where wires terminate - usually in pairs. (do not confuse with Gypsy Rose Lee at Grand Central. ;) )
  2. gregbva123

    gregbva123 Member

    If I have a transformer (MRC Tech 4) for the mainline and I was switching that train into the yard. Couldn't I have the power on in the yard when the train comes in and it will keep on rounding.

    In the yard, I have a engine house with 3 block controls for 3 loco's, a passenger train area for 5 paaenger trains with loco's and 5 block controls and a coca-cola plant with one block control and a coal plant with 3 block controls. What do you think? I have the track plastic joiners after the switches, so when a train switcher pulls in there it will stop when I want it to and I can still use the track in front of the switch to continue more switcher movement with other loco's. This a good idea?

  3. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Yes it could...IF...the pack is set in the same direction. Because your packs differ in control settings, your train will lurch forward or brake down passing into the other block. Take your black or negative side on each pack and wire them together in series then to each block. Wire the positive sides of each pack to their respective sections, i.e. one pack to all mainline trackage and one pack to each block in the yard area. With the addition of some wire and a double pole, double throw switch to each block you would have cab control, the ability to use either pack on any bock to control two different trains at the same time.
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Are you using common rail wiring? That is, one rail is wired permanently as one piece and is wired permanently to one pole of both power packs. If you aren't wired this way, any locomotive that picks up power from one rail at the from and the other at the back will stop dead at the double insulated gaps.
    (You can still have gaps in the common rail; you just wire them all to the same place. Gaps are handy for troubleshooting.)
  5. gregbva123

    gregbva123 Member

    I have the plastic gap spacer on the outside rails on all piece of yard track and mainline. Hope this will work?
  6. jwmurrayjr

    jwmurrayjr Member


    Reconsider DCC. It's simple, easy, and magic!

    It'll make your layout a "dream" railroad.

    Looks like you've got all of the expensive stuff already.
  7. gregbva123

    gregbva123 Member

    I would like to go to DCC, but all my engines are not DCC engines. Maybe 5 out of the 30 I have. Plus, on my small 10 x 12 room layout, I would have to put the glue up and place in brass rail connectors and that's probably 14 areas. Which way should I go, DCC or regular Block control.

  8. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member

    The beauty of going DCC after you have wired for Block control is that you do not have to do anything to your wiring if you have it wired properly and are having no problems with it. Since you are still in the beginning stages it is still easy to set up for DCC.
  9. billk

    billk Active Member

    I'd take the "go with DCC" advice with a large helping of salt - except for your slight confusion about wiring I've read nothing so far that would make it worth it to you. If you're into the latest electronic gizmos and willing to put up with the frustrations of getting them to work, fine. Otherwise weigh the additional expense (it's not just the start-up costs, there will be more $$ for every locomotive you get), difficulty (maybe wiring is easier, but you only have to get it right once), etc. for what it will bring you that you want.
  10. gregbva123

    gregbva123 Member

    I think with my small layout (10 x 12 room) I should go with block control and not pay the initial start up cost of $200 + and then $30 or more for each one of my 30 locomotives. Plus as I have read, some locos do not even have enough room for the decoders to install.

    If I had a huge layout then DCC would be a sure plus, but for what I am doing. The old way of block control seems to be more fun and will take some thinking to make it work.

    Sorry DCC, maybe later.


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