Help Me out With This DC Stuff.....

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Cannonball, Mar 24, 2007.

  1. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    OK, being mainly into O gauge, I'm used to AC power. I can put my track together pretty much any which way and things work fine. However, I got an HO set for my daughter at Christmas and from what I've read, DC power is a different animal as far as track layouts go.

    I guess I can't do a reversing loop without insulating some track because it will cause a short?

    Will a figure 8 with a 90 degree crossing do the same thing? :confused:

    Any other oddities I should know about when working with DC powered layouts?

    Your help is much appreciated. :wave:
  2. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    A figure 8 crossing should not cause any problems (if the crossing is OK..), A loop that closes back on itself will need to have a section fully isolated and wired with a DPDT switch to reverse it's polarity when needed.
  3. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

  4. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    So an O gauge layout like this one adapted to HO wouldn't cause any problems with DC?

    Attached Files:

  5. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    It can be wired for DC but you do have a couple of reverse loops inthe plan.
  6. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    So even though the figure 8 would be OK, the switches create the reverse loops and would have to be insulated because of that, right?
  7. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Right. Sometimes its not always easy to see where those loops are. I follow the plan with my finger, noting which direction I started. If I find myself heading back on the original track inthe opposite direction I've discovered a reverse loop.
  8. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Thanks for the info.
    That helps a lot. :)

    Although all this seems to make DC stuff sort of limited unless you're really into doing lots of wiring or point to point stuff where loops aren't a problem.

    Maybe that's just me but I like keeping things simple.
  9. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    good tip ralph on following with finger. I didnt see it untill I followed it.
    Who says you cant teach a old dog new tricks. roof
  10. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    So if I've got this right, I could take out the 4 switches connecting the tops and the bottoms of the firgure 8 loops and that would eliminate my reversing loops and the need for insulating track sections.

    So something like this would work, right?

    Attached Files:

  11. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    If you foillow along the outer oval and then go into the firgure 8 I'm afraid you'll still find reverse loops. Sorry. :)
  12. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Dangit, you're right.

    They don't make AC powered HO trains by any chance do they? :confused:

  13. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Here's a suggestion...if you remove the turnouts connecting the figure 8 on one end of the plan you'll have a continuous oval that can direct trains into a continuous figure 8 that can also go back onto the outer oval again without reverse loops.
  14. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    You are a brilliant man, Ralph. ;)
  15. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Glad that helped! :)

    Best wishes!
  16. Torpedo

    Torpedo Member

    It isn't the DC versus AC that is the issue here. It is two rail versus three rail. Even if you had AC power on a two rail layout, you would still have to electrically isolate the reversing loops. :)
  17. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Canonball is a rubber!

    Seriously, you do a beautiful 4x8 in O27, and you want to switch to HO?

    Be aware that in some ways, you will fit even less into a 4x8 in HO than you will in O27. In HO, the 18" radius curves you are forced to use if you want more than just an oval along the outside edge will limit you to what you can run, just like the O27 did/does. Not quite as much, but still limiting.

    Furthermore, the 18" radius curves are the same as (and take the same amount of space as) the O36 curves. They will limit your track arrangements possible on a 4x8 almost as much as O36 curves. The only difference is the HO track is narrower, and can be arrange to have parallel tracks on 2-3" centers instead of the 6+ inches with O27 turnouts (switches).

    Just a thought - I know others have mentioned this. If you used O36 (or even O31) curves with your Marx, it will likely stay on the track a lot better. I found on my Lionel layouts that I could not use O27 curves with any track on grades - I couldn't keep the trains on the track coming downhill. I had to go with O31 or O42 curves for the elevated sections, and use O27 curves on the flat and on sidings where I could control the speed a little better. Another trick , if you have the old reliable 1033 or 1044 transformers, is to use the 0-11 volt terminals instead of the 6-16.

    Whatever you choose, keep on enjoying the hobby. You seem to accomplish in a week work/fun that takes me a year.

    yours in training

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