More Newbie Questions

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by petersd, Sep 8, 2002.

  1. petersd

    petersd New Member

    First of all I would like to thank everyone for the information that was provided to me on my newbie question. I have bought a few books which have helped and now I feel confident that I can build a layout, but I still have questions not in the books. I have found a layout that I like and am getting ready to order the track and such.

    I chose Kentucky Central RR located in Practical Guide to HO Model Railroading. This layout will reside on 4' x 8' and I will be using Atlas Code 83 Nickle Silver track.

    My questions are as follows:

    1. Rail Joiners - should I use insulating or nickle silver?
    2. Should I solder the rail joiners?
    3. I know that I need a new power supply so what should I use?
    4. On remote switches do I also need a switch machine that mounts under the table? I am using Atlas Snap Switches, remote model numbers 540 & 541.
    5. Since I will be using incline risers should I glue down my roadbed and track or can I still use track nails?
    6. If I plan on getting DCC in the near future is there anything that I should be aware of now to simplify my life?

    I hope to get started in the next week or so and any help and guidance that I can get would be great.


  2. RI541

    RI541 Member

    1. Insulated rail joiners block power from one track to the next. And are used mostly for blocking one section of track from another such as a siding. I'd use the nickle silver joiners.

    2. I always solder the joints together. I have less problems with the tracks seperating.

    3. I use a MRC TECH II dual control 2800. The only thing it doesn't have that I would like is the brakes.I can live with out the momentum for now.

    4. I'm not sure about this.

    5. Glue, as the styrofoam doesn't hold nails for sh.....:eek:

    6. DCC is whole other ball game but as for trackage I think the only think is you don't need the insulated rail joiners. But I haven't done enough homework on this to realy say.

    Good luck, take lots of pictures and share, share, share umm:) :)
  3. farmer ron

    farmer ron Member

    Dave, I agree with Vic's comments, but before you start one suggestion, get a roll of brown ( or white) paper to cover a 4X8 area that you intend to use, either put it on the 4X8 plywood or on the floor. Take your plan and draw it on the paper one to one size. You do this so you know where everything is going to go and if you need to make alterations it is much easier on the paper than re cutting wood or tearing up glued areas. If you have a couple of switches just photocopy them and use them as templates on the paper, cut out 18, 22 etc radius curves of cardboard and use these for your curves. What I have found in the past is that what looks good in a book sometimes does not always meet your expectations on the real thing. I have done this with each layout that I have built or assisted with and works great, you know where each switch goes, how much room you have for curves , buildings and scenery. After you get everthing the way you like it you then can transpose your plan onto the wood and away you go.

    1: Use nickle silver railjoiners, only use the insulated ones where you want your power to stop to prevent shorts or create a block.

    2: soder the rail joints, especially on curves.

    3: sorry can not recomend one, I use a cheap old MRC one and it works fine.

    4: Sorry have no idea on this one.

    5: What kind of incline risers are you using, are you just cutting the plywood and raising it, if this is the way you are going then yes you can screw the base material ( eg : homosote etc) to the plywood then tack your rodbed to it then tack your track to this. If you are using something like woodland scenics foam risers them you will have to use glue, as Vic states nails do not hold to foam.

    6: I wire my layout with the plan of future DCC, I have a few blocks and I wire them with a DTDP switches, this was I can use lets say A side for DC and in the future when I obtain a DCC system I can turn all the power on on the B side. This way it two fold. if I have a problem DC or DCC I can isolate everything to locate it quickly and if I have most of the layout on DCC and want to use a DC only engine on a separate section I just throw the switches accordingly. I am not too proficent on DCC and still have a lot of learinging to do.

    Keep us informed on how progress goes, Ron...
  4. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Questions # 4

    I think that the Atlas Snap Switches will work with the Atlas under-the- table switch machines. Placing the switch machine under the layout is always far more realistic looking than having it on top.

    As I recall an Atlas Snap switch with the extension added is equal to an 18" curve on the diverging side so it will mate up with Snap Track. Is there anyway you could modify the track plan to use #4 turnouts instead. You'll get a lot better operations.
  5. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Power supply - go to your hobby store and see what they have in stock for MRC. In my mind they're the best value for the money. I've got an MRC Tech IV 260 (with brakes and momentum), and *LOVE* it.....................
  6. msh

    msh Member

    Just a thought...

    I've joined the thread a bit late - been out of town - but I'd bet (and correct me if I'm wrong guys) you could take a graphic file to Kinko's and get them to print it full size. Now I was spoiled by having a plotter at the office to accomodate me, but it just occured to me they could do it for anyone who isn't so blessed.

    Plan the layout in advance of building or buying anything. Track, buildings, industries, landscaping - the works. You'll be headed for a fantastic layout with a smaller amount of headaches or those little surprises that change things a big way.
  7. IMRL393

    IMRL393 Member

    I wonder how much that Kinko blow-up would cost!

    If cheap enough it would be a great idea ... otherwise, pass the pencil!

    - George
  8. msh

    msh Member

    Wouldn't have to be a blow-up if saved to actual dimensions. But you're right - it could cost ya. Ah, well.
  9. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    This is all good advice you're getting here, & I can't add much that hasn't been said...only to tell you what an old O scaler told me once...
    "ALWAYS keep it simple", &
    "NEVER be afraid to change something you don't get right the first time".
    I still live by this wisdom.
    Good luck to you!
  10. alkcnw

    alkcnw Member

    Peter, I have to agree with all that has been said so far. The Atlas snap switches have the switch motor built right on them. You can take them off but then you have to cut off the mounting bracket, They can be run with under table machines. But if you are using Atlas snap switches you can substitute Atlas custom line #4 turnouts, they are interchangable and they look alot better. They also use under table machines!!:eek:

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